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Tag:New England Patriots
Posted on: February 3, 2012 12:28 pm
 

Coughlin not concerned Giants are too cocky

                                     (Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)
By Ryan Wilson

INDIANAPOLIS -- The seven days leading up to the Super Bowl feels more like seven months when you're looking for stories that haven't been beaten into the ground by Wednesday. It must be even more interminable for the coaches and players who have to endure it.

Before the Patriots left New England, Tom Brady told fans gathered at a pep rally that “We’re going down there, and we’re going down there for one reason. We’re going to give it our best and "hopefully" we have a lot more people at our party next weekend.”

The New York media ran with Brady's words -- ESPNNewYork.com's headline: “Brady planning victory party," The New York Post: “Tom’s taunt,” and the New York Daily News went with: “Tom’s talkin’ trash.”

Brady, of course, was asked about it once he arrived in Indy.

“Well, it was a pep rally,” he said smiling. “People were pretty excited. Certainly players were excited. I know 25,000 fans who were there were excited as well. It was great to see the support. We get great support, home and away, and hopefully we have some Patriots jerseys in the stands next Sunday night.”

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Giants defensive end Justin Tuck echoed Brady's sentiments when asked about it at Tuesday's Media Day: "Man, it was a pep rally," he said. "What was he supposed to say? I don’t think it’s Tom doing anything but getting fans riled up."

On Friday, it was Giants head coach Tom Coughlin's turn. He was asked whether he worries about his team being too cocky.

“I’m not sure what you’re referencing," he said. "I know that there are one or two quotes out there, but, to be honest with you, I don’t know that either one of them is any different than Tom Brady’s quotes. I think it’s just a matter of our team has played good football against a great football team. We always focus our team on confidence enough to get there and confident enough to get back. That’s the way we look at it.”

Mercifully, there's just one more day until the Super Bowl is here.


Super Bowl XLVI Preview
Will the Patriots get revenge this time around or will the Giants continue their run to another Super Bowl title? Pat Kirwan joins Scott Braun for the preview.

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Posted on: February 3, 2012 11:50 am
 

Like Coughlin, Belichick has no plans to retire

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By Ryan Wilson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Earlier this week, CBS analyst and former Giants quarterback Phil Simms said that he tells players that when they think their career is over to "play two more years. ... Because the rest of your life is a long time."

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No idea if that tenet holds for head coaches, too. On Friday, in his last meeting of the week with the media, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was asked if there was a chance he'd retire should New England win Sunday. It would be Belichick's fourth championship since 2001 and further solidify his Hall of Fame credentials on a career in coaching that began with the Baltimore Colts in 1975.

“Right now, I’m really thinking, ‘What’s the best thing I can do to help our football team on Sunday against the Giants?’ I want to really try to do a good job in the job that I have," he said. "I enjoy all the aspects of the job. I enjoy the team-building, the drafting, the free agents, team acquisitions, those kind of things.

"I enjoy bringing in the young players and working with guys who haven’t been in the NFL and teaching them the basic fundamentals in how to become a professional football player for the New England Patriots. I enjoy working with the veteran players, the Tom Bradys and the Vince Wilforks and the Wes Welkers and all those kind of players that can do really special things because of their not only talent, but experience."

He continued: "I enjoy the competition on a weekly basis. Not just on Sundays, but the preparation leading up into the game. I enjoy all of it. It beats working. It’s fun to address those challenges on a daily basis, so right now I’m really focused on the game and that’s where my energy is going to go, toward doing the best I can for the New England Patriots against the Giants on Sunday.”

If Belichick's words aren't convincing enough, his newfound effusiveness appears to be. So for now, the 59-year-old ain't going anywhere, sharing the sentiments of his counterpart Sunday, Tom Coughlin.

CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco asked Coughlin after the Giants beat the 49ers in the NFC Championship game if, at 65, he had any thoughts on calling it quits.

Retire to do what?” Coughlin said. "I feel good … I still love what I do."


Super Bowl XLVI Preview
Will the Patriots get revenge this time around or will the Giants continue their run to another Super Bowl title? Pat Kirwan joins Scott Braun for the preview.

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Posted on: February 3, 2012 9:06 am
Edited on: February 5, 2012 10:06 am
 

Belichick: Gronk hasn't experienced setbacks

Gronk got a question or two about his ankle Thursday. (Will Brinson, CBSSports.com)

By Josh Katzowitz

INDIANAPOLIS -- Another day, another couple of questions about the status of Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. After Gronkowski was limited in Thursday’s practice -- the big news, of course, being that Gronkowski and his high ankle sprain actually did practice --coach Bill Belichick said Friday morning that he didn’t have setbacks and that he “was OK this morning.”

Considering Gronkowski participated in drills for the first time since his ankle injury in the AFC championship game and came away feeling fine is obviously good news for New England. The fact he didn’t have any negative effects this morning is even better news. The next step: practicing again today and, again, not experiencing any setbacks.

“Rob has worked extremely hard,” Belichick said. “He’s been in treatment morning, noon and night. Hopefully he continue to progress. He’s coming along, and he’s moving in the right direction.”

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Asked to elaborate on what exactly Gronkowski did at practice, Belichick said, “He was limited. He did some of the things that we did in practice, but not all of them.”

Then, a deadpan: “Is that what you were looking for?”

Gronkowski was slightly more verbose after Thursday’s practice.

"It's definitely huge, significant," Gronkowski said. "Obviously I want to get out there, I want to get some practice in before the Super Bowl. I want to do as much as possible, whatever I can do before the game. We'll see how I am feeling, talk to the training staff, talk to the coaches, put it all together."

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Posted on: February 2, 2012 8:02 pm
 

JPP: Brady reacted to pressure that didn't exist

                                     (Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)
By Ryan Wilson

INDIANAPOLIS -- The last time the Patriots and Giants met in the Super Bowl, quarterback Tom Brady was sacked five times. On Wednesday, Brady was asked about the implication that he can be rattled in the pocket.

"It wouldn't be the Super Bowl if they (the Giants defense) weren't trying to knock me down or knock me out … but our offensive line gets paid too," he said. "We're going to try to eliminate (bad throws) … we had too many of those last time (against the Ravens). We're not going to be able to win the game playing like that."

The Pats and Giants met earlier this season too, and while Brady was sacked just twice, it was the perceived pressure that forced him into mistakes -- at least to hear Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.

“I think it will have much impact on his performance because if you look at Week 9, when we played them, it’s like he felt us," Pierre-Paul said during Thursday's media availability. "When we looked back on the film, we watched the film, and we didn’t really rush like we can rush as a defense. He was throwing balls on the ground and stuff, but like I said, it’s going to be a battle. We have to get there. We have to. …

"(Brady) did react to pressure that didn’t exist, and he was just throwing the ball places where there wasn’t even a receiver there. Imagine us getting there even faster and actually doing our jobs and getting hits on him.”

Brady has a short history of underwhelming performances against the Giants (he's also played poorly in the games just prior to facing the Giants, too), but he's also one of the most successful quarterbacks in NFL history and a three-time Super Bowl winner.

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Following the Patriots' conference championship win over the Ravens two weeks ago, Brady said he "sucked" and promised owner Bob Kraft that he would "play a lot better" in the Super Bowl. Good news for New York, however: turns out, Brady's human. Pierre-Paul was asked if the Patriots quarterback was was a god.

"He's not," he responded.

Which was made clear from watching him play against the Giants.

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Posted on: February 2, 2012 7:30 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 7:31 pm
 

EoF on the scene: Super Bowl XLVI, Radio Row

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By Ryan Wilson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Radio Row has gone from a ghost town to hopping in 24 hours. Almost all of this had to do with Tim Tebow (who we somehow missed) and Madonna (who we didn't). Enjoy.



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Posted on: February 2, 2012 6:42 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 7:45 pm
 

Gronkowski returns to Patriots practice Thursday

Gronk should get plenty of questions on Friday as well. (AP)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Rob Gronkowski returned to practice on a limited basis for the Patriots Thursday afternoon after an entire week of speculation about whether or not he would be able to play on Sunday.

But Patriots coach Bill Belichick didn't officially put to rest any of the concern about Gronk possibly missing the game when he delayed any further decision on Friday.

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"He did some things. He didn’t do everything," Belichick said following practice. "We’ll see how he is tomorrow. I think that will be the big key – how he responds to this today."

Gronk's status early on Friday at the media session will be telling; if he's moving around well and able to walk without any serious limitations, it'll be an excellent sign for New England. (We noted earlier on Thursday that Gronk was "strutting" prior to the media session and fake limping afterwards.)

“It was good. It was fine," Belichick said when asked how Gronk performed. "We’ll see where he is tomorrow -- whether that set him back, whether it didn’t and whether he’s able to continue to progress on a daily basis. But it was a good test for him, too, at least.

"At least he was out here and did some things to see how it feels. We’ll see how it goes."

Gronkowski, per our Patriots Rapid Reporter Paul Dehner Jr., called getting back to practice "huge" and "significant."

"It's definitely huge, significant," Gronkowski said. "Obviously I want to get out there, I want to get some practice in before the Super Bowl. I want to do as much as possible, whatever I can do before the game. We'll see how I am feeling, talk to the training staff, talk to the coaches, put it all together."

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Posted on: February 2, 2012 12:11 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 12:13 pm
 

Former Jet Ihedigbo only looking ahead to Giants

                                        (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

INDIANAPOLIS -- James Ihedigbo spent his first three NFL seasons with the Jets playing for Rex Ryan and trying to beat the Patriots' brains in. Now with New England and about to play in his first Super Bowl, the fourth-year safety isn't interested in talking about the past.

"I've refrained from talking about the Jets because that's not what this games about," Ihedigbo told CBSSports.com. "This game's about us, the hard work we've put in to get to this point."

While many of the storylines have been about the state of Rob Gronkowski's ankle and how Tom Brady will deal with the Giants' pass rush, the Patriots' defense has their own issues. Chief among them: stopping Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, as well as a revitalized New York running game.

"The Giants are a very explosive team," he said. "Nicks and (Ahmad) Bradshaw didn't play the last time we saw them and that adds more explosiveness to their offense. You look at how well (Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs) have run the ball in the playoffs and it's been very effective for them. They may not have run the ball well in the regular season but in the playoffs they really stepped that up so our ability to stop the run is going to be key in this game."

For some perspective, the Giants ranked 20th in rushing efficiency during the regular season, according to Football Outsiders. Against the Falcons in the wild-card game, New York rushed for 172 yards, but just 95 against the Packers the following week, and 85 against the 49ers in the conference championship game.

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Clearly not the same running attack the Giants brought with them to Super Bowl XLII (they ranked fourth in the league in rushing efficiency that season), but Jacobs thinks he and Bradshaw will be an important part of any success the offense has this Sunday.

“We can keep them off balance. I think we’re good enough for any team… to prove that we can go out there and make a difference in this football game," he said. "Everyone’s been talking about tight-ends, wide receivers, quarterbacks and so on and so forth and it’s kind of good for the first time being a part of the New York Giants football team that the running backs are being talked about. We as running backs are going to embrace that, because it never has happened. We’re going to try to take it and stay under the lights for a little bit and be on top of the lights on Sunday.”

The Patriots defense has been maligned for much of the year but that unit has played better of late, too. As the unofficial leader of the secondary, Ihedigbo knows that the previous 20 weeks don't matter. Just the next three days. 

“I definitely have taken on a leadership role," he said Thursday. "I’ve played in a lot of big games in my young career in the NFL and those guys understand that. We all understand what it takes to win and what’s asked of each other. The bar is set high for all of us, because the way we play determines whether we win or lose. We play well, we win. If we don’t play well, it’s not going to be a good game.”


New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin spoke with the media on Thursday about the importance of building on their victory in 2007 and staying focused for the upcoming game against the Patriots.

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Posted on: February 2, 2012 11:29 am
 

Hernandez: Gronkowski will be 'fine to play'

Gronk got a question or two about his ankle Thursday. (Will Brinson, CBSSports.com)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Rob Gronkowski sat at Thursday's media session and answered questions about his ankle for an hour. Of course, so did everyone else -- the redundancy of the questions wasn't just limited to the Patriots tight end, whose ankle has become the singular dead-horse storyline of this Super Bowl week.

When he finally got done, he stood up and faked a pronounced, heavy limp as he left the room. It was a funny moment, but it's not indicative of his health. Prior to the media session, I spotted Gronk at the players end of the hallway, waiting to walk down for interviews and he was joking around with his teammates and strutting in short bursts.

Gronk wasn't the only one being inundated with questions about his ankle: fellow tight end Aaron Hernandez

"Everybody else will just have to step up, but I’m sure he’ll be fine to play," Hernandez said when asked about a gameplan for Sunday if Gronk can't play.

Did Hernandez slip up and reveal something? Maybe -- he used the exact same phrase a few minutes later when asked if he was sick of hearing about his teammate's ankle.

"I’m sure he’ll be fine," Hernandez said. "I was expecting these questions because when probably the top player on your team besides Tom Brady is injured, it is a big thing."

Gronkowski was a little more forthcoming when asked if he's getting tired of spending a half-hour each morning talking about his ankle.

"A little bit," Gronkowski said, laughing.

It's good news for the Patriots, though, because Gronkowski's ankle is all anyone's talking about this week. Revenge? Pssh. No time to talk revenge when there's a need to ask about Gronk's ankle over and over again.

In a constant battle between two nearly dead horses, the concern in Indy over Peyton Manning's future is slightly more important than the concern over Gronkowski's ankle.

But only slightly; Gronk's injury might have taken the lead Thursday morning when someone asked him -- this really happened -- if his other ankle was jealous. Welcome to the Super Bowl, GronkNation.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com