The Patriots will unveil a new-look defense Monday night in Miami, attempting to improve on last season's uneven performance. Even though the team finished 14-2, the Pats' lack of a pass rush and inability to stop the opposition on third down are areas that need improvement.
"We're always trying to get better," said linebacker Rob Ninkovich. "I think that this year we've been working hard to change some of the things that weren't happening for us last year . . . Try to get after the quarterback a little bit and improve from last year."
Fellow linebacker Jerod Mayo is taking it as a challenge.
"We definitely have a chip on our shoulders as a defense," said Mayo. "We're trying to go out there each and every week and pitch a shutout. That's just our goal."
FOXBORO -- Seems as though the Bills don't quite have their stories straight.
On the one hand, you have Bills players, who say that they won't hesitate to retaliate if a Patriots player gets near one of their pregame warmup drills, as Jacoby Brissett did in Week 4.
On the other hand, you have the Bills coach, who sounded less eager for there to be any kind of scrap before this weekend's game at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
"No, I mean with us, just go out and warm up," Ryan said in a conference call Wednesday. "That’s what you do, but any of the extracurricular things, you know, there’s absolutely zero focus on that, and shouldn’t be any focus on that. It’s just about playing games.
"I mean if people want to show how tough they are, put the boxing gloves on and get in the ring or something. That might be more impressive -- I don’t want Gronk by the way.
"But I definitely don’t want to see that happen, and our focus is 100 percent on the game and doing the very best we possibly can."
It's an interesting comment from a coach who has made it very clear that he wanted to build a "bully" in Buffalo. His team shut out the Patriots after trying to intimidate New England's rookie quarterback before the game. Did his team not benefit somehow from what occurred before kickoff that day?
He doesn't think so.
"It had nothing to do with our team . . . Absolutely nothing," he said. "You know, those things happen every now and then but it was no big deal. It did absolutely nothing for us."
Tom Brady has fans everywhere, apparently. Even in Pittsburgh. Even on the Steelers roster.
Showtime's Inside the NFL caught video of Brady meeting with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger before Sunday's game between New England and Pittsburgh.
The pair hugged near the 50-yard line at Heinz Field. Brady called Roethlisberger "big guy." Roethlisberger, who was out with a knee injury, told Brady he wanted to play "so bad."
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Then Roethlisberger became a fan. And like many of them, he had a request.
"Um, hey, listen," he said. "I've never done this before, but I would love to get a jersey at some point. It'd mean...There's not many I want to put in my office. You're the best, dude."
Brady was happy to oblige. Just not right at that moment.
"Sure, I'd love to," Brady said. "I'll get you after the game."