EX-PATS PRESUME CHANGES, OR ELSE
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.
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.”
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.”