Brady on big hits, revved up Chargers 'D'


Brady on big hits, revved up Chargers 'D'

By Mary Paoletti

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady didn't want to go in-depth on "devastating hits" on Wednesday.

When asked if the media is sensationalizing the subject or if the game really is getting too dangerous, Brady skirted the issue.

"I've never really hit anybody and I don't get hit too much in the head, so who knows?'' he smiled. "They make rules; we've got to follow them."

He said that he hasn't even seen Brandon Meriweather's helmet-to-helmet hit on Todd Heap from Sunday's 23-20 win over the Ravens. The subject in general seemed simple enough to the Patriots QB.

"It's a dangerous game, it really is. I think we all signed up for this game, we know it's dangerous,'' Brady said. "Nobody wants to see anybody get hurt. That's not why we play the game. But we also know about the physical nature of the sport. Everybody in this locker room has been hurt. That's just part of what you're signing up for. "

Whatever happens, happens. At least for Tom Brady.

"I know Brandon. You get trained as a player and everyone's just trying to go out there and make the play. Sometimes I guess guys cross the line, sometimes guys are trying to do it within the rules that are set for us. It's a very instinctive game out there. They're going to enforce the rules however they see it. We learn to make adjustments with them."

Case closed.

The only story Brady's concerned with is New England's upcoming matchup with San Diego.

"They're 2-0 at home and 0-4 on the road and we're playing them at home and I'm sure we're going to get their best. It's going to be a good challenge.

"We want to play good teams," Brady added. "We want to play them on the road.''

Despite what Bill Belichick called "a bit of a slow start" from the Chargers, Norv Turner's club can pose some problems for the Pats. Teams are switching things up on defense now that New England no longer has an established deep threat like Randy Moss. Last weekend, Baltimore brought its safeties up and forced Brady to put the ball in the air. San Diego will likely do the same.

"It's about mixing and matching,'' Brady said. "If the safeties are going to come down low, try to stop the run, you have opportunities in the passing game. I think that's where you get problems as an offense, where you can't take advantage of what they're doing on defense."

Taking advantage won't be easy. And there could be a lot of heat on Brady in particular.

"They've got a ton of sacks,'' he noted. "I think they're first in the league in defense. Shaun Phillips has six sacks. He's a great pass rusher. They've got a really good front seven."

The QB knows his stats. San Diego does lead the NFL in team defense, allowing just 255.2 yards per game. And four of Phillips' sacks came in a single game against the Cardinals platoon of QB's.

What he didn't mention is that the Chargers are also first in the league in team offense -- to the tune of 432.7 yards per game.

It will take a complete game on all fronts for the Patriots to come home with a win. In light of New England's come-from-behind, last-second victory over Baltimore last weekend, this week at practice will be a busy one.

"You can't just play 30 minutes of football," the captain acknowledged. "There's not one position on this team that can't have their best game, because the way the Chargers play at home, the explosiveness that they have on offense, the way they're creating turnovers on defense and sacks and negative plays . . .

"Each guy in this locker room has to have their best game this week."

Mary Paoletti can be reached at Follow Mary on Twitter at http:twitter.comMary_Paoletti

Quick Slants Podcast: Gostkowski’s woes with Chuck Zodda


Quick Slants Podcast: Gostkowski’s woes with Chuck Zodda

New England Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski has now missed five kicks on the year, including field goals against the Miami, Buffalo and Cleveland. 

In an emergency podcast, Tom E. Curran speaks with Chuck Zodda of Inside The Pylon about Stephen Gostkowski’s kicking woes.

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Geno Smith has torn ACL; Ryan Fitzpatrick to start for Jets


Geno Smith has torn ACL; Ryan Fitzpatrick to start for Jets

The Jets’ quarterback situation took a comically typical turn Monday, as Ryan Fitzpatrick will be under center after an MRI revealed that Geno Smith has a torn ACL. 

After starting New York’s first six games of the season, Fitzpatrick was demoted to backup for Sunday’s game against the Ravens. Smith was injured on a sack by Baltimore’s Matt Judon, forcing Fitzpatrick back into action. 

After leading the Jets to a 24-16 win, Fitzpatrick made his dissatisfaction with being benched known. 

“The biggest thing in this game in order to last, is to have belief in yourself,” Fitzpatrick said in his postgame press conference. “Because when the owner stops believing in you and the GM stops believing in you and the coaches stop believing in you, sometimes all you have is yourself. That’s something that I’ve had to deal with before. That’s something I’m dealing with now.”

On the season, Fitzpatrick has completed 136 of 237 passes for 1,561 yards with six touchdowns and a league-leading 11 interceptions.