No Huddle: Patriots-Rams postgame sound


No Huddle: Patriots-Rams postgame sound

New England's win over the Rams in Old England was about as lopsided as it gets. Surprising to no one, the 45-7 victory had the Patriots in as good of moods Sunday night as we've seen all season.

They will enter Week 9 on the upswing of 5-3, just as they did in 2011.

Here's some of the best post-game sound from both sides.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on playing at London's Wembley Stadium:

BB: "The stadium was great. Playing on grass is always good. We play most of our games on turf. It's good to see the jerseys muddy, grass stains. Guys picking up dirt out of their facemasks, stuff like that. We don't see a lot of that back in the States. We see grass fields down in Florida, Tampa, Miami, Jacksonville. It's Florida grass. We were out there in the mud and rain. Good oldfashioned football game. I think our guys liked it."

The night definitely had a different look. Between the rain and the colorfully lined grass, it didn't take long for players to look like they'd engaged in more of a paintball battle than a football game. Offensive lineman Nate Solder's belly was so splotched with red it appeared he got shot right in the gut.

And there were divots everywhere. One memorable tackle saw linebacker Brandon Spikes pop back up with a huge chunk of dirt and grass lodged in his helmet.

You had to wonder during the week if the real grass would slow the game down at all. There were a few slips, but overall, the surface didn't appear to bother New England much, as Belichick noted.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady on the crowd noise at Wembley:

TB: "There's times when the crowd's really into it. They booed us. "

They certainly did. New England's 45-7 lead was built and unchallenged with more than 11 minutes left in the game. Backup QB Ryan Mallett was inserted into the contest on the Patriots' next series.

That alone wasn't enough to make local Londoners break out a Bronx cheer. No, the boos rained down on Mallett's second drive when he kneeled instead of trying to run the score up further on the Rams.

Brady continued on the difference between the crowd at Wembley and the crowds in the U.S:

"Were the fans more engaged? I think they liked seeing the action. There were a lot of stoppages between the timeouts. There were quite a few stoppages today. That's how the game is played."

It's an interesting point when you think about it: British (European, really) football fans are raised to worship a sport with a clock that doesn't stop. Think about all the breaks in an NFL game; the locals must have either loved the beer breaks or been bored to tears.

Rams quarterback Sam Bradford on the fast start by St. Louis:

SB: "Yeah, you can't ask for a better start to the game. First time we touch the ball, go down and score, exactly what we plan to do and then it just all fell apart from there."

It's amazing how the team's first, lightning-like touchdown drive indicated absolutely nothing as to the rest of the night would go. St. Louis scored on a five-play drive that took little over two and a half minutes. The weird thing is, the 50-yard touchdown strike looked just like a 46-yarder thrown to Seattle's Sidney Rice just two weeks ago. In that moment, it looked like the Rams were going to have their way with the Patriots secondary just like other teams have. Especially considering the receiver on that score, Chris Givens, set a record on the play with five-straight games with a 50-plus yard catch.

Bradford on thinking the offense would perform better against the Patriots secondary:

SB: "You look at their defense and I think they were 30th defending the pass, so we came into this game really expecting to move the ball."

At least Bradford did his homework.

Sometimes cornerback-sometimes safety, Devin McCourty on keeping the whole unit together despite adversity, including a head injury to corner Kyle Arrington:

"I felt today I did a better job communicating, getting all those guys on the right track. Actually once you have some moving parts back there, guys go down, it's important everybody lines up and plays the same defense.

"They put me back there, put me in charge of making sure everyone knows what they're doing. I felt I did a better job this week than last week. Things started to slow down for me back there."

With the continued absences of safeties Pat Chung and Steve Gregory, it looks like McCourty will continue getting reps at the position. If nothing else, it helped balance the youth in the secondary when he started alongside rookie Tavon Wilson in the backend and Arrington paired with rookie Alfonzo Dennard at cornerback.

There will be a serious lack of depth to consider in general if Arrington is out for long. Cornerback Ras-I Dowling was placed on IR just two days ago with a torn thigh muscle. Marquice Cole got more minutes Sunday night and played well, but left the game in the fourth quarter in an injury.

The bye week couldn't come soon enough.

Nose tackle Vince Wilfork on tight end Rob Gronkowski's big night:

VW: "He's a funny guy. I always say, if somebody doesnt like him, that person has the problem because he's very likable. Hes just one of those guys that you can't get mad at. Even if you do something wrong, you yell at him, but you feel bad yelling at him. He is always coming up with something. He always seems to find a way to come up big for this team. Once again, he did it tonight."

That's a lot of love for Gronkowski's character from the big D-tackle. But some compliments about on-field play should have been thrown in, too. The tight end had eight catches for 142 yards and two touchdowns. It was his second 100-plus yard receiving night of the season, but offensive night by a mile.

Brady on Gronkowski's enthusiastic touchdown celebrations:

TB: "I don't know what the hell he was doing that first time. I was just trying to get out of the way so he wouldn't get fined. But, yeah, he needs some work on that."

You can read more about those here. Pret-ty funny stuff.

NFLPA tells rookies to be like Rob Gronkowski

NFLPA tells rookies to be like Rob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski is a model citizen in the NFL. In fact, the NFL Players Association is advising rookies to be more like Gronk, according to The Boston Globe

The New England Patriots tight end has developed a name for himself on and off the football field. With that attention comes branding. And at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere from May 18 to 20, the NFLPA encouraged rookies to develop their own brand -- much like Gronkowski.

“Some people think he’s just this extension of a frat boy, and that it’s sort of accidental,” Ahmad Nassar said, via The Globe. Nassar is the president of NFL Players Inc., the for-profit subsidiary of the NFLPA. “And that’s wrong. It’s not accidental, it’s very purposeful. So the message there is, really good branding is where you don’t even feel it. You think, ‘Oh, that’s just Gronk being Gronk.’ Actually, that’s his brand, but it’s so good and so ingrained and so authentic, you don’t even know it’s a brand or think it.”

Gronkowski's "Summer of Gronk" has indirectly become one of his streams of income. The tight end makes appearances for magazines and sponsors. Because of his earnings from branding and endorsements, he didn't touch his NFL salary during the early years of his career.

Gronk was one of three players who were the topics of discussion during the symposium. Dak Prescott and Odell Beckham were also used as examples of players who have been able to generate additional income from endorsements. Beckham, in particular, has been in the spotlight off the football field. He's appeared on the cover of Madden, and just signed a deal with NIke which is reportedly worth $25 million over five years with upwards of $48 million over eight years. His deal, which is a record for an NFL player, will pay him more than his contract with the Giants.

“A lot of people talk to the players about, ‘You should be careful with your money and you should treat your family this way and you should treat your girlfriend or your wife.’ Which is fine. I think that’s valuable,” Nassar said, via The Globe. “But we don’t often give them a chance to answer the question: How do you see yourself as a brand? Because Gronk, Odell, none of those guys accidentally ended up where they are from a branding and marketing standpoint.”

Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation


Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wishing everybody a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend. 

*Apparently Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette has yet to try Nashville’s hot chicken despite his time behind the Preds bench. It’s okay, I have yet to try it either in my handful of visits to Music City. 

*Good stuff from PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough. Apparently it wasn’t so easy to make Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed when it came time for director Doug Liman to cut Swingers together

*Sidney Crosby cares about the history and the issues of the game, and has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation despite the hate that always comes with such responsibility. 

*Puck Daddy examines Crosby’s performance in the playoffs, and the odds of him winning another Conn Smythe Trophy. 

*The Penguins have made it to the Stanley Cup Final without Kris Letang for their playoff run, and that’s an amazing accomplishment. 

*Erik Karlsson said that he will be tending to his injured foot next week, and expects a full recovery for next season after a brilliant run with his Ottawa Senators

*Larry Brooks again rails against the Stanley Cup playoff structure and it’s relation to an “absurd regular season.” Say what you will, but the fact the Penguins are there for a second straight season shoots down some of the absurdity stuff in my mind. The best team from the East is where they should be and they did it without Kris Letang to boot. 

*Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex Debrincat is confident his abilities will translate to the NHL despite his size after taking home honors as the best player in junior hockey this season. 

*For something completely different: Apparently there’s a hard core comic book geek gripe that “The Flash” is burning through bad guys too quickly. This would make sense if they couldn’t revisit these bad guys at any point, but they absolutely can go back to a big bad like Grodd anytime they want.