EX-PATS PRE­SUME CHANGES, OR ELSE

Boston Herald - - SPORTS - NFL NOTES Karen Guregian

Rod­ney Har­ri­son knows all about liv­ing up to ex­pec­ta­tions as a Pa­triot. He also knows Bill Belichick.

It’s never fun af­ter a loss and never a good idea to have the Hoodie em­bar­rassed, par­tic­u­larly at home.

The de­fense al­lowed the most yards (537) and most points (42) dur­ing the Belichick era dur­ing their loss to Kansas City. Some­thing bet­ter change to­day at the Su­per­dome against the Saints, or else Belichick will start mak­ing moves.

“I ex­pect no patience af­ter this next game. If things don’t change, I ex­pect some­body to lose their job. That’s what it comes down to,” Har­ri­son told the Her­ald. “You’re not on schol­ar­ship any­more. There’s a sense of ur­gency. You get paid a lot of money to per­form. I don’t care who you are, I just don’t think there’s a lot of room for patience right now. This game will tell a lot.”

It was stun­ning how badly Chiefs coach Andy Reid ex­posed the Patriots de­fense. Even Har­ri­son was taken aback.

“There were a lot of mis­takes. The one glar­ing thing was mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tion,” said the NBC an­a­lyst, who was on hand at Gil­lette Sta­dium. “A lot of time, Kansas City was at the line of scrim­mage and they were still try­ing to talk and com­mu­ni­cate. You don’t see that from a Bill Belichick­coached team, just the con­fu­sion. That’s a cause for con­cern, but also, the lack of pres­sure (gen­er­ated up front).

“I just felt at one point, they were more pre­pared than the Patriots.”

Still, Har­ri­son is ex­pect­ing im­prove­ment across the board given what’s at stake. While the Patriots might still strug­gle given a lack of depth, hardly helped with Dont’a Hightower ex­pected to miss the game with a knee in­jury, the ba­sic problems should be cor­rected by Belichick and de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Matt Pa­tri­cia.

“Maybe they out­smarted them­selves play­ing that four-safety look,” Har­ri­son said, re­fer­ring to Jor­dan Richards’ use as a hy­brid line­backer. “Some­times, you can’t out­wit or out­trick some of­fense. You got to stand up to them. I think they’ll play bet­ter this week.

“The first game, maybe some guys don’t un­der­stand the sense of ur­gency. So they got their (butt) kicked. This sec­ond game will tell a lot about the char­ac­ter of the Patriots.”

For­mer Patriots great Wil­lie McGinest agreed that Belichick won’t stand for the same mis­takes.

The proof was in the film ses­sions. They likely weren’t much fun for the play­ers last week.

“He’ll show the mis­takes,” the NFL Network an­a­lyst noted. “Guys have to elim­i­nate the men­tal er­rors. Some of the big plays that hap­pened were self-in­flicted. The Tyreek Hill big play was a blown cov­er­age. (Cas­sius) Marsh had bad tech­nique on the long Ka­reem Hunt touch­down pass ... Look, guys just have to play bet­ter.”

No doubt Belichick will make some ad­just­ments, es­pe­cially with­out Hightower, who was play­ing out on the edge given how thin they were at the position.

Rob Ninkovich’s re­tire­ment, the loss of free agents Jabaal Sheard and Chris Long, and rookie Derek Rivers go­ing down to a sea­so­nend­ing in­jury has left the cup­board nearly empty at de­fen­sive end. Add in Shea McClellin on in­jured re­serve and the Patriots front seven is hurt­ing in depth and tal­ent.

But that’s still not an ex­cuse.

“Guys have to step up,” said McGinest. “Bill put ev­ery­one on alert. He told them. Ev­ery­body’s fight­ing for a spot.”

Belichick might have to ul­ti­mately get help from the out­side to shore up the front. (The trade dead­line is Oct. 31.) Belichick hasn’t been shy in the past about find­ing what he needs to help patch a weak area. Cor­ner­back Aqib Talib came from Tampa Bay and tem­po­rar­ily bailed them out at cor­ner­back in 2012. Line­backer Akeem Ay­ers wasn’t well known in 2014, but helped the team win a Su­per Bowl. (A free agent now, he has re­port­edly been in for a visit.)

If some­thing’s not quite right in the room, Belichick will make a move to elim­i­nate some­one, as Har­ri­son sug­gested. No one saw the Jamie Collins trade com­ing, even though the star line­backer was due to become a free agent at sea­son’s end.

“I think we should all just chill for a minute, and let them play this week and give them an op­por­tu­nity against a real good quar­ter­back who has some weapons in a very hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment and see how they re­spond,” said Har­ri­son. “I think you’ll be able to tell a lot about this team and how they re­spond from what hap­pened to them a week ago. They’ve had plenty of time. The Saints didn’t play well this past week. Ev­ery­thing is look­ing up for them. We’ll see how it goes.”

Bris­sett’s big time

The Colts pulled the plug on quar­ter­back Scott Tolzien, hand­ing the ba­ton to Ja­coby Bris­sett less than two weeks af­ter ac­quir­ing him for wide re­ceiver Phillip Dorsett. Bris­sett barely knows the of­fense, but the for­mer Pa­triot gets the start in to­day’s home opener against Ari­zona.

It’s doubt­ful he’ll look

any worse than Tolzien did last week against the Rams in a 46-7 loss, a game Tolzien didn’t even fin­ish.

“We had a pack­age last week for (Bris­sett), so we were op­er­at­ing with two dif­fer­ent game plans with wrist­bands,” Colts of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Rob Chudzin­ski said via the In­di­anapo­lis Star. “I’ve been im­pressed in the short time he’s been here. It would be a very chal­leng­ing sit­u­a­tion, but he’s the (right) kind of guy, very smart, very poised and I like some of the things I’ve seen on the field from just his phys­i­cal tools as well.”

Andrew Luck isn’t even prac­tic­ing yet, so for now, Bris­sett is the man in Indy.

Mak­ing con­nec­tions

A half-dozen Patriots play­ers were on hand at a Bridge Over Trou­bled Wa­ters fa­cil­i­ties in Brighton on Tuesday, putting the fin­ish­ing touches on a play­ground pro­vided by the team and the NFL.

“There’s a lot more things that are im­por­tant in life (than football), to be able to help peo­ple who re­ally are in need, who can ben­e­fit from us, help­ing them, pro­vid­ing them with things that maybe I had grow­ing up and they don’t,” said running back Rex Burk­head. “Hope­fully we can have an im­pact on their lives.

Burk­head said he’s also us­ing the com­mu­nity events to get a feel for New Eng­land.

“It’s cool to in­ter­act with peo­ple in the com­mu­nity, fans and kids who grew up around here,” he said. “It’s cool to get a feel for the cul­ture and how peo­ple are around here. It’s cool to be a part of it.”

Method mus­ings

Re­ceived a copy last week of Tom Brady’s new book, “The TB12 Method.”

It’s in­ter­est­ing be­cause it’s writ­ten in Brady’s voice. He’s speak­ing to the reader as he ex­plains his train­ing reg­i­men and how to achieve sus­tained peak per­for­mance. You learn all about mus­cle pli­a­bil­ity and why that’s been im­por­tant to him.

“The mo­ment an­other player’s hel­met makes con­tact with my body, my mus­cles are pli­able enough to ab­sorb what’s hap­pen­ing in­stantly,” he writes.

It’s the same prin­ci­ple that has tight end Rob

Gronkowski also work­ing with Brady’s body coach Alex Guer­rero in hopes of avoid­ing in­jury.

Here are a few other tid­bits from the book:

On some­times cheat­ing on his diet: “I won’t al­ways turn down a cheese­burger or an ice cream cone. I just won’t have one ev­ery night, and I won’t have 10 of them, ei­ther. Last year, my wife and I went to Italy, a coun­try that presents a lot of temp­ta­tion. Yes, I brought along my elec­trolytes, as well as my protein, nu­tri­tional sup­ple­ments and TB12 Snacks, but in Italy I definitely ate some things that were not TB12 com­pli­ant! My brain and body needed the down­time. Too much of a bad thing is bad for you, but too much of a good thing isn’t a good thing, ei­ther.”

On the im­pact football has on his body: “Play­ing football for a liv­ing was like get­ting into a car crash ev­ery Sun­day — a sched­uled car crash — and I be­gan de­vel­op­ing a whole new un­der­stand­ing of what I was putting my body through ev­ery week, and the amounts of trauma my body was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing.”

On his fu­ture: “I want to play un­til my mid-40s, and I re­al­ize that re­quires a fo­cused, dis­ci­plined ap­proach. I’ve al­ways been more mo­ti­vated to tar­get and im­prove on my de­fi­cien­cies, and I still am. Coach Belichick says, ‘You pay the price in ad­vance,’ and a team­mate of mine liked to say that ‘The only place where suc­cess comes be­fore work is in the dic­tio­nary.’ ”

On get­ting older: “Ev­ery year, peo­ple like to re­mind me that an­other 12 months have gone by, and that fa­ther time is un­de­feated. That say­ing has been around for a long time. It’s prob­a­bly true, and re­al­iz­ing that has made me con­tin­u­ally re­think my ap­proach to my ca­reer and my holis­tic, in­te­gra­tive train­ing reg­i­ment ... To me, get­ting older has been a pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence ath­let­i­cally.”

Fos­ter feel­ing sunny

For­mer Patriots running back D.J. Fos­ter, claimed off the team’s prac­tice squad last week, is hop­ing he can con­trib­ute to the Cardinals right away. It was a home­com­ing for the for­mer player at Scotts­dale Saguaro High and Ari­zona State.

“It means a lot. It was great putting on that jersey,” Fos­ter said last week, via az­cen­tral sports. “This is the team that I watched. Be­ing a lo­cal guy, this is who I tuned in to watch ev­ery week. It’s definitely a bless­ing to be a part of this or­ga­ni­za­tion. I just want to come out here and work hard and help.”

Bruce Ari­ans said he and his staff loved Fos­ter com­ing out of col­lege last sea­son, but Fos­ter went un­drafted; the Patriots signed him as a rookie free agent.

“I en­joyed my time there,” he said. “I have noth­ing but re­spect for that or­ga­ni­za­tion. They taught me so much and gave me a foun­da­tion.”

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