Brady first unanimous NFL MVP selection

191543.jpg

Brady first unanimous NFL MVP selection

Associated Press
DALLAS -- Here's a Brady Bunch for NFL fans: Tom Brady got all 50 votes for MVP.The New England Patriots quarterbackon Sunday became the first unanimous choice for The Associated PressNFL Most Valuable Player Award since the AP began using a nationwidepanel of media members who cover the league.He surpassed himself, too: In 2007, when Brady won his first MVP, he got 49 votes; one voter went for Brett Favre."It is always flattering to be chosenfor such a prestigious award," Brady said. "But I also look at it as ateam award, as nothing in football gets accomplished without the mentaltoughness and determination of every player and coach associated withthat team."I am very humbled to be a part of anorganization where winning comes first, and our goals are based aroundthe success of the team."Those successes, including three Super Bowl titles in the last 10 years, are in great part due to Brady's excellence.Although he didn't set nearly as manypassing marks as in '07, Brady by far was the league's top performer inleading New England to a 14-2 record, best in the NFL. He had a recordstreak of 355 throws without being intercepted, and passed for 36touchdowns with only four picks.Not that the 33-year-old Brady would compare this season's Patriots to any others."Every team every year is different,"he said, "and over the course of 100 practices and many games a teamestablishes its identity. Players change, schemes change, opponentschange, which is why the game is so exciting year in and year out."The fact that 32 teams start outeach year with the same goal is why the popularity of the sport is atan all-time high. The great part about our sport is that nothing comeseasy, and wherever you stand at the end of the year is the exact placethat you deserve to be."Individually, Brady stands above allothers. The only Patriot to win the award, he and Peyton Manning, hisrival for the NFL's best quarterback, have split the last four MVPs.Brady followed his previous MVPtrophy with a lost season, tearing left knee ligaments in the firsthalf of the 2008 opener. His return in 2009 was solid, although handand rib injuries slowed him.This year, even with a sore rightfoot that required postseason surgery, Brady was simply dynamic. Hetwice threw for four touchdowns in a game and four times had three.Twelve times, he had a passer rating of at least 100.And he guided a young team in transition to 14 victories."Brady is so special because he'ssuch a great leader and all the players can relate to him," team ownerRobert Kraft said. "These kids (rookies) who come in live in awe ofhim, but the nice thing is he treats them well."He works very hard, he studies veryhard," Kraft added. "Being a great quarterback isn't just being veryskilled. It's being able to process information quickly, to make theadjustments, and I think he's fabulous at that."As fabulous as he might have been, Brady, not surprisingly, has some regrets about 2010."When the season is over, 31 teamsare disappointed about the outcome," he said. "There is only onechampion, and nobody plays this game for second place. The desire andhunger is about winning, which to me never gets old. The motivation toget up and work every day for that goal is something that challenges usall."Our team has very highexpectations, and our team will come back this year with the samepurpose," he said. "Whether or not that leads to a championship seasonwill be determined by the commitment each player makes to do their jobas best as they possibly can."The way Brady does.

Van Noy sees playing-time bump as he learns Patriots language

van_noy.jpg

Van Noy sees playing-time bump as he learns Patriots language

When Kyle Van Noy was traded to the Patriots in late October, he had a lot to learn. He needed to understand the layout of his new team's maze-like facility. He needed to adjust to a new locker room. He needed to adapt to a new home. 

He also had to become fluent in a new language.

The former Lions 'backer was inactive for two weeks before he was comfortable enough with the Patriots system -- and the coaching staff was comfortable enough with him -- to get on the field. He played 29 snaps against the Niners in first game with his new club, then saw 28 plays against the Jets. On Sunday he saw his role expand as he played 40 of a possible 51 plays, which was more than Shea McClellin (38) or Dont'a Hightower (33). 

"Kyle has done a great job of working really hard to acclimate to what we’re doing, and he has had to learn really fast as far as the system, the communication, the language," said defensive coordinator Matt Patricia on a conference call Tuesday. "It’s like when you go to a different system, offensively or defensively, a lot of times it’s just learning the vernacular and the verbiage . . . That’s a big part of it. Then getting more familiar with that kind of terminology and the communication is critical because there’s a lot of calls and adjustments, things like that that we’ve got to do on the field."

Van Noy was making some of those calls himself on Sunday as he wore the green dot on his helmet when Hightower was on the sidelines. Even with the added responsibility, Van Noy was able to play freely enough that he put together what might have been the best game of his three-year career. 

Used at the end of the line of scrimmage as well as in a more traditional off-the-line linebacker role, Van Noy was effective in defending both the pass and the run: He stuffed three Rams rush attempts, he recorded a quarterback hit that led to an incompletion, he drew a holding call, and he recorded an athletic interception when he tracked a wobbling Jared Goff pass that floated over the middle after Jabaal Sheard hit Goff's arm as the rookie released his throw.

After several of his stand-out plays, Van Noy was visibly excited on the field and later on the sidelines. It was the culmination of six weeks of work, learning as much as he could from a coaching staff that was eager to teach him. 

"He’s extremely prideful in his work and his approach to the game," Patricia said. "He’s very cerebral. He’ll ask a lot of questions. He really wants to understand what we’re doing and why, which is great. We’re trying to give him those answers and insight into kind of where some of this either came from or developed or situations like that so that’s really good."