By TomE. Curran
Heading into the NFL draft, Tom E. Curran plans a series of looks at potential Patriots draftees. Today's player: Akeem Ayers.
Akeem Ayers, 6-3, 254OLB, UCLA
The Skinny: A player who only flashes moments of playing to his athletic ability. But those flashes are good enough to make Ayers a player teams are going to be intrigued by and may overdraft. He's smooth, quick, has good hands and can pursue, pursue, pursue.
Gotta Have Him: If the Patriots could extract consistent play from Ayers, he'd be a nice component in their defense. As Wes Bunting of the National Football Post says, "Talent-wise, he's a top-20 player. He could physically play any linebacker position in the NFL."
Don't Need Him: He's way too inconsistent and intermittently soft for a demanding team like the Patriots. "If a game is close he can be a nasty player. When his team gets down he gets real soft. Putting in effort day in and day out? He doesn't show it. His motor is not consistent and it shows on tape every time you watch him."
Forecast: He could be seen as a Rosevelt Colvin-type player but effort was never a concern with Colvin and it is with Ayers. Interesting because of his versatility but doubtful for New England.
Patriots Draftability: 4
Tom E. Curran canbe reached at email@example.com.Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran
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."