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

Patriots players got a refresher on NFL social media policy because of Brown

Patriots players got a refresher on NFL social media policy because of Brown

FOXBORO -- Antonio Brown's live stream of coach Mike Tomlin's postgame speech on Sunday had a ripple effect that traveled all the way to New England: Just in case Patriots players weren't familiar with the league's social-media policy, they were reminded of it this week. 

"We were reminded of that," receiver Chris Hogan said. "I’m not sure what the timing is, but obviously, I don’t think we’ll see guys doing that in the locker room."

Players are prohibited from using social media in the locker room until media outlets have been given an opportunity to talk to players following games. Brown's Facebook Live video, which garnered national attention almost as soon as it went online, was shot well before the visitor's locker room at Arrowhead Stadium opened following Pittsburgh's win over Kansas City.

"We have a team policy on that," special teams captain Matthew Slater said. "Strictly enforced. We go from there."

Of course part of the reason the video became as widely disseminated as it did was because it caught Tomlin calling the Patriots "a--holes."

"I have a lot of respect for Coach Tomlin," Slater said when asked about Tomlin's speech. "I appreciate the way he prepares his team. I’ve had a good working relationship with him over the years, and it will continue to be that way."

Both Slater and Hogan insisted that their focus will be trained solely on preparing for what Tomlin and his players will do when they arrive to Gillette Stadium Sunday night -- not what they say leading up to kickoff.

"You come in here, you're automatically bought into what we preach here, what coach [Bill] Belichick preaches," Hogan said. "It's football. We're 100 percent football here. It's not about anything outside. Between the media or whatever it is outside of football, whatever we're doing. When we come here, it's 100 percent football. That's all we're focused on is the opponent we're playing that week."

Whether Goodell visits Foxboro or not, Patriots players say they don't care

Whether Goodell visits Foxboro or not, Patriots players say they don't care

FOXBORO -- Roger Goodell will reportedly be in Atlanta for the NFC Championship Game this weekend and therefore will miss the AFC title game between the Patriots and Steelers at Gillette Stadium on Sunday. His absence will mean he hasn't been to a Patriots game in more than two years, when he was present for the AFC title game in 2015 -- the birth of Deflategate. 

It's news that broke on Tuesday and sent some Patriots fans into an uproar. Patriots players, though, sound like they're having a hard time caring one way or the other.

"He’s the commissioner, so obviously whatever he wants to do, he can do," Tom Brady told WEEI's Kirk and Callahan Monday. "If he wants to come, that would be -- yeah, he can come."

In the Patriots locker room on Tuesday, others struck a similar tone.

"I could not care less," said Patriots receiver Chris Hogan. "I'm focused on Pittsburgh and their defense and studying them as much as I can this week, watching them as much as I can so that I can go out there on Sunday and be prepared."

Special teams captain Matthew Slater was similarly disinterested in the discussion.

"The game's going to be played," he said. "Whoever's in attendance is in attendance. We'll just worry about trying to play well."