Curran: The hype machine is Jet-fueled


Curran: The hype machine is Jet-fueled

By Tom E. Curran

"Don't fuel the hype." That's something Bill Belichickpreaches to his players. This week, they won't need to.The hype will be self-sustaining. And if the hype ebbs, some wayward Jet is sure to throw a log on the fire.
Like, say, Braylon Edwards.In Week 2, heDougie'd on the fallen carcass of Darius Butler. In Week 13, he moped that the Patriots ran up the score in their 45-3 win. And in Week 18, soon after the Jets took out Indianapolis on Saturday night, Edwards had his attention turned to New England. "I give them all the credit in the world," Edwards said, referring to the Patriots 42-point win. "They played well. But with that said, we allowed them to do it. We played their game. They got up on us and went to cover-2 zone. Who the hell has three-quarters worth of cover-2 play? So, if we take advantage of them early on and their man-to-man coverage or their cover-3, now, they're forced to play our game. Now, we fight."A couple of points to ponder while digesting Braylon's wisdom. And his tweets. Edwards is certainly under the impression that the secondary he grooved on in Week 2 is the same in January as it was in September. Despite having played against it. Despite the fact another AFC East coach, Tony Sparano of the Dolphins, says the play of Patriots' corners Kyle Arrington and Devin McCourty has been the key to New England's improvements. Further - while you can't expect the Jets to stop running their mouths because they subscribe to the Rex Ryan tenet of "This is who I am, this is what I do . . . " - the ferocity of the Patriots beating should at least be recalled, not dismissed. The Jets lost by seven touchdowns. In Sun Tzu's "Art of War" there's a passage that saysIf you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.
"We knew we'd get back at them," said Edwards. "We just knew. In the back of our minds, we always felt as though we would get back to them and it would be about us."It's not even about revenge," Edwards added. "That's regular season. Who cares? Yeah, we got embarrassed, but that's the regular season. This is the playoffs."It's even seemingly innocuous comments like that can be used as kindling. Edwards - he of the four career playoff games - holding court on the importance of the postseason, when Tom Brady's played 18 of them? The Jets certainly have talented football players and nobody's saying their coaching staff is a collection of morons (Sal Aloisi may qualify, though), but they are mooks. They are so self-absorbed in trying to live up to the back-slapping, backroom brawling, loose-lipped, renegade persona their head coach has hatched for them, they can't see how what they say impacts opponents. Or what it says about them. Ryan's drive-by belittling of Tom Brady last week didn't seem intentional. Ryan was simply trying to make a point about Peyton Manning's preparation. Before he knew it, he was saying Tom Brady may think he studies the game but he doesn't do it like Manning. Next breath, he realized he'd dope-slapped Brady and decided to credit Belichick. Which, in turn, made it seem like he was belittling the Indianapolis coaches for not being as sharp as Belichick and being dumber than Manning. It's just disorganized. And while the fans and media love Rex in all his unvarnished, foot-worshipping ridiculousness, it's not conducive to winning football. "Say little when you win. Say less when you lose."Brady's trotted that line out a few times during his career. Seems to work well.
Tom E. Curran can be reached at Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Floyd looks to improve rapport with Brady: 'Tom likes things a certain way'


Floyd looks to improve rapport with Brady: 'Tom likes things a certain way'

FOXBORO -- Michael Floyd has been with the Patriots for about a month, and he admits he still has a lot to learn.

Specifically when it comes to his rapport with Tom Brady, Floyd knows there's room for improvement. Against the Texans last weekend, he was targeted three times. One led to a pick. Another was almost picked. One was caught for nine yards. 

On the intercepted pass and the near-interception, Floyd ran slant routes from the left side of the Patriots formation, but he appeared to run them in ways that Brady didn't anticipate. Instead of coming back toward the ball as it approached, Floyd leaked up the field, perhaps hoping to turn what would be an intermediate gain into a bigger play. 

On WEEI earlier this week, Brady took the blame for the pick. But Floyd shouldered his share of responsibility for the turnover on Wednesday.

"You just gotta come downhill," he said. "Obviously at this time of the year, a lot of guys are really checked in on film work and how you play and splits and stuff like that. You gotta make sure you're really fundamentally sound and come downhill to every single ball."

It's one of many lessons Floyd has tried to absorb since being claimed off of waivers by the Patriots in mid-December.

In the regular-season finale against the Dolphins, he looked to be learning at an impressive rate as he caught three passes for 36 yards and laid a monster block that helped spring Julian Edelman for the longest touchdown reception of his career. 

As he prepared for the AFC title game, though, he acknowedleged that he has a way to go -- particularly when it comes to understanding the nuances of how his ever-demanding quarterback wants things done.

"I've only been here a month so I think that's every single day," Floyd said of getting to know Brady's preferences. "I gotta keep my head in the playbook and ask questions. That's what I do every single day. There's nothing wrong about asking a question. They see that I'm the new guy here, and I -- for the most part -- get all the answers that I need."

He added: "Tom likes things a certain way. Me being the new guy, or any of us, we make sure that we do it that way."

Patriots-Steelers injury report: Hightower, Bennett, Hogan added

Patriots-Steelers injury report: Hightower, Bennett, Hogan added

FOXBORO -- The Patriots took their lumps against the Texans in their Divisional Round win last weekend. 

After going into the game with just two players listed on the injury report -- one of which was Danny Amendola, who ended last week as a full participant in practice -- that list has grown significantly. 

Amendola (ankle), Martellus Bennett (knee), Brandon Bolden (knee), Dont'a Hightower (shoulder), Chris Hogan (thigh), Malcolm Mitchell (knee) and Jabaal Sheard (knee) all showed up as limited participants in Wednesday's practice on the team's most recent injury report.

Both Mitchell and Hogan have said over the course of the last two days that they are moving in the right direction. Mitchell was held out of the Divisional Round, and Hogan was hurt during the Texans matchup. Amendola, meanwhile, suffered an ankle injury in Week 13 and Saturday's was his first game since then.

Bennett, Bolden, Hightower, Sheard and Hogan were all new additions to the injury report. Bennett has dealt with ankle and shoulder issues for much of the season, and he tweaked his knee in the fourth quarter, remaining on the ground for an extended period of time before jogging to the sideline and eventually returning to the game. 

Here's Wednesday's practice participation/injury report for the Patriots and Steelers: 


WR Danny Amendola (ankle)
TE Martellus Bennett (knee)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder)
WR Chris Hogan (thigh)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (knee)
DL Jabaal Sheard (knee)


RB Le'Veon Bell (not injury related)
K Chris Boswell (illness)
S Sean Davis (shoulder)
C B.J. Finney (illness)
WR Darrius Heyward-Bay (illness)
QB Zach Mettenberger (illness)
QB Ben Roethlisberger (not injury related)
LB Vince Williams (shoulder)

LB Anthony Chickillo (ankle)
TE Ladarius Green (concussion)
S Michael Mitchell (not injury related)

LB James Harrison (shoulder/triceps)
DE Ricardo Mathews (ankle)
RB Fitzgerald Toussaint (concussion)