Patriots expect a physical game against Browns


Patriots expect a physical game against Browns

By Danny Picard

FOXBORO -- The Cleveland Browns have one of the worst offenses in the NFL. They average only 16.9 points per game and don't have a star-studded depth chart.

But coming off a bye week, the Browns are a team that feels good about itself, having defeated the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints, 30-17, in New Orleans, nearly two weeks ago.

It was only their second win of the season, but it came in the type of style that Cleveland is supposed to be known for: its defense.

Linebacker David Bowens intercepted two Drew Brees passes, and returned both for touchdowns. The Browns picked Brees off four times in the game.

The Patriots are preparing for a similar type of defensive battle against the Browns on Sunday.

"These guys are a physical bunch, they can score a lot of different ways, and it's our job to stand up to the pressure and win the ball game," said Patriots tight end Alge Crumpler on Thursday.

"They're very solid," he said. "They're a much more physical bunch than the group Vikings that we just played. They're very disciplined, and they're a little rested, so I'm sure they're going to come out with some new looks."

But some looks will be similar. Browns head coach Eric Mangini spent six seasons on the Patriots' coaching staff as a defensive backs coach and the defensive coordinator.

"I would expect to see some similarities across the board," said Crumpler.

Another familiar face is tight end Ben Watson, who is in his first season with Cleveland after spending six years in New England. Watson has two touchdown receptions and 336 receiving yards in seven games for the Browns. In Cleveland's West Coast-style offense, a lot of the focus is on the tight ends.

The Pats' defense will be focusing on it as well on Sunday.

"Watson is one of the fastest tight ends in the league, so I mean, I would want to get the ball in his hands, too," said Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington.

Even with familiar faces on Cleveland's sideline, the Patriots will also be expecting some new looks from Mangini's squad. The reason? The Browns are coming off a bye week and their coaching staff has had extra time putting the game plan together.

It's the same thing the Patriots did against the Ravens in Week 6.

"You've got coaches sitting there, thinking of a thousand different things to try, since you've got a few extra days," said Crumpler. "And I'm sure they'll throw some new looks at us, just like we threw some new looks at Baltimore when we had our bye week."

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard

Edelman says 'there was no maliciousness' to his Steelers comments


Edelman says 'there was no maliciousness' to his Steelers comments

It's funny how during a week like this one, a singularly ridiculous act -- such as Antonio Brown's live stream of the Steelers postgame locker room celebration last weekend -- can lead to a series of brush fires that pop up only to be peed on and put out. 

That was the case yesterday as a comment Julian Edelman made to WEEI earlier this week about Brown's Facebook Live video was spun as a sort of vicious burn directed at the Steelers franchise. 

"That's how that team is run," Edelman said, a comment that read as a more serious indictment than it actually sounded. "I personally don't think that would be something that would happen in our locker room, but hey, whatever. Some people like red and some people like blue. Some people like tulips and some people like roses. Whatever."

That led to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger being asked about Edelman's comments, and defending the honor of the Rooney family, during a press conference on Wednesday.

"I don’t think I need to speak much," Roethlisberger said. "We’ve got our trophies out there. I’ve got owners that I think are the best in the business. They’re family to us, and I’m sure if he talked to his owner, he would say the same thing about the Rooneys. Anybody in here in the football world or the regular world that owns the Rooneys knows what they stand for. It’s a blessing to call them a family."

And on and on it went. Later in the day, Edelman was asked about his comments during a conference call with Pittsburgh reporters.

So just in case you're keeping score, a Steelers player streamed a video of coach Mike Tomlin calling the Patriots "a-holes," which prompted a response from Edelman. That response prompted a response from Roethlisberger, whose response to the response then led to a response to the response to the response from Edelman.

Got it?

"Yeah, I mean I think it was taken out of context," Edelman said. "I have nothing but respect for the Pittsburgh Steelers. They’re an unbelievable franchise. It starts from the top with the Rooney Family, Coach Tomlin, I think they just mis[interpreted] – I mean, I don’t know, I may have said it, but I think more of that was that it’s not the way we would do it here. That’s just how that goes. There was no maliciousness about it, but it’s whatever. That’s what the media does, try to make stories."

Quick Slants Podcast: Antonio Brown’s betrayal; Matt Light; eyeing up Pittsburgh


Quick Slants Podcast: Antonio Brown’s betrayal; Matt Light; eyeing up Pittsburgh

Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry discuss the aftermath of Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live video. Curran interview Matt Light ahead of the AFC Championship. They dissect the press conferences of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, and look at how to beat the Steelers.

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2:29 Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live aftermath

13:14 Stopping Le’Veon Bell

27:16 heywassyonumba? with Patrick Chung and Kyle Van Noy

32:30 Injury report updates for AFC Championship

36:51 Brady and Belichick’s press conferences

44:50 Matt Light interview