Tag:Brandon Spikes
Posted on: January 29, 2012 5:30 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 3:17 pm
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25,000 Pats fans send team on way to Indy

By Josh Katzowitz

INDIANAPOLIS -- Showing their dedication to their beloved Patriots -- or just proving that there’s not much going on in Foxboro on non-football Sunday mornings -- New England fans waved goodbye to their team during a pep rally just before the Patriots took buses to the airport that led them here Sunday evening.

The team website points out that an estimated crowd of 25,000 descended upon Gillette Stadium for the pep rally.

[CBSSports.com's Full Super Bowl Coverage]

One of the highlights of the day was Wes Welker’s appearance in front of the mic. “Y’all ready for some football?” shouted Welker, who couldn’t finish a sentence without the crowd cheering madly for him. “Are you going to yell at everything I say?” he said before yielding the stage to his teammates.

Some players dressed garishly stylishly, as Deion Branch sported a white sports coat and linebacker Brandon Spikes somehow successfully showed off his pink suit.

“We’re going on a business trip,” linebacker Jerod Mayo told the crowd. “Hopefully we can bring back a championship.”

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Posted on: January 18, 2012 2:20 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2012 12:16 pm
 

Film Room: Patriots vs. Ravens AFC CG preview

Brady and Lewis will match wits in the AFC Championship Game. (Getty Images)
Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit

Tom Brady is right: the Ravens are the best team the Patriots have faced this season.

Cam Cameron’s offense poses problems for Bill Belichick’s defense, while Ray Lewis’ defense actually has a fighting chance against Brady’s offense. Here’s the breakdown.



1. Patriots formation versatility
Keep in mind, the Patriots, at least offensively, are also the best team the Ravens have faced all season. Their versatility is like nothing we’ve seen before.

Last Saturday they spent a bulk of the game in a no-huddle that featured tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez and wideouts Wes Welker, Deion Branch and Julian Edelman. Remarkably, they were able to run effectively out of this personnel grouping, as Hernandez carried the ball five times out of the backfield for 61 yards.

Those runs are almost just gravy – something the defense must now respect. The real purpose of putting Hernandez in the backfield is the same purpose as all of New England’s other alignments: to get a potent pass catcher matched up on a linebacker. Even safeties have major trouble covering Hernandez and Gronkowski.

This game will be no exception, as Baltimore’s strong safety Bernard Pollard is simply not capable of doing it, and the Ravens are unlikely to remove Ed Reed from centerfield. Brady rarely throws in the direction of starting cornerbacks. Even when he goes to Wes Welker, it’s often when Welker has drawn a matchup against a backup slot corner or non-cornerback.

Because the Patriots don’t try to confuse defenses so much as force them into bad matchups, HOW the Patriots line up to play is almost more important than how they actually play. Most of the damage is done through crafty presnap alignment. (This is one reason so many of Brady’s throws come off three-and five-step drops; the decision of where to go with the ball is made prior to the snap.)

The Patriots frequently go up-tempo to prevent defenses from having enough time to regroup or alter matchups before the snap. The only sure way to take the chess match element out of the equations and force the Patriots to win with execution is to play press-man coverage across the board. Problem is, no defense, including Baltimore’s, has enough quality cover artists to do this.


After a win over the Texans last week, Joe Flacco and the Ravens will take on Tom Brady and the Patriots at Gillette Stadium in the AFC Championship. Jason Horowitz and NFL.com's Pat Kirwan preview this game. Watch the game on CBS at 3 PM ET. 

2. Baltimore’s response
The Ravens may not have enough cover artists to play the Patriots man-to-man, but they might be the one team capable of matching wits with them. Ray Lewis is arguably the smartest front seven defender in the league, while Ed Reed is arguably the smartest back four defender. Those two are capable of recognizing New England’s subtle tendencies and getting their teammates into the proper defensive play-call.

Of course, Brady and Bill O’Brien know this and will likely inject a few tendency-breaking wrinkles into the gameplan. Of course, the Ravens know that the Patriots know that they know this, and the Patriots know that the Ravens know that they know and ... you get the idea – this has the potential to be one heck of a chess match.

Look for the Ravens to do plenty of presnap communicating and disguising at the line of scrimmage. It helps that they’re comfortable playing a plethora of different coverages. The outcome may be decided by which side can bully the other into a reactionary position. The Patriots can do that by going hurry-up; the Ravens can do it by blitzing fervidly up the middle.

3. Ravens pass-rush
To beat Tom Brady, you have to rob him of the trust he has in his pass protection. Brady – like any quarterback – does not like pressure directly in his face. And though he’s as tough in the pocket as anyone in the game, he has a tendency to get just a tad jumpy after taking a few hits from edge-rushers.

Recent playoff history shows that if a defense can create pressure and doubt, Brady will eventually start eating up the play clock worrying about protections. That makes him a significantly less dangerous player versus when he’s hurrying things up and concentrating on his receivers’ routes.

The question is, can the Ravens generate a pass-rush? If they blitz, they likely can. But one of the best kept secrets in football is that this is generally a four-man rushing defense. Because the Ravens use so many 3-4 or 2-5 fronts, their four pass-rushers come from a variety of different spots, thus creating the illusion of a blitz:

The Ravens use a lot of zone exchange concepts in their pass-rush. A zone exchange is essentially a four-man pass-rush where linebackers or safeties rush the quarterback, while a defensive lineman or another linebacker drops back into coverage. It can be confusing, often creating the illusion of a heavy blitz. The Thanksgiving night game – in which Baltimore had nine sacks – provided a good example.

Above (click image to enlarge): Upon first glance, this appears to be a blitz featuring five, possibly six pass-rushers.

Below: The Ravens use a lot of zone exchange concepts in their pass-rush. A zone exchange is essentially a four-man pass-rush where linebackers or safeties rush the quarterback, while a defensive lineman or another linebacker drops back into coverage. It can be confusing, often creating the illusion of a heavy blitz. The Thanksgiving night game – in which Baltimore had nine sacks – provided a good example.

The Ravens’ four-man rush has seemingly evaporated over the last month. It registered a quiet five sacks over the final three weeks of the regular season and then got zero pressure on T.J. Yates in the divisional round. With talents like Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata and Pernell McPhee, it’s imprudent to assume the pressure can’t suddenly return.

But worth noting is that the Patriots’ pass protection in the last month has also been as sharp as the Ravens’ pass-rush has been dull.

4. Dialing in on Ray Rice
Bill Belichick always builds his defensive gameplan around eliminating the opponents’ greatest strength. This season, no man has done a better job at eliminating Ray Rice than Cam Cameron. (Rice averaged less than 10 carries a game in Baltimore’s four losses.)

To be fair, Cameron has featured Rice most of the season, and the results thus far speak for themselves: 13 wins and Rice leading the NFL in yards from scrimmage.

But if Belichick has inside linebackers Brandon Spikes and Jerod Mayo shadow Rice, or if he brings safety Patrick Chung down in the box every play or has his linebackers sellout against the run, will Cameron have enough patience to stay with his superstar?

The Patriots run defense is coming together, while their secondary can be tempting to attack.

5. Baltimore’s passing game
It was virtually nonexistent against Houston, mainly because deep threat Torrey Smith was nullified by Johnathan Joseph. The Patriots don’t have a corner on Joseph’s level (or even in Joseph’s stratosphere).

If the Ravens want to take their deep shots with Smith, all they’ll have to do is block a mundane Patriots pass-rush (last week’s performance at Foxboro notwithstanding). Devin McCourty was serviceable as a nickel free safety against Denver, but it remains to be seen whether the struggling corner can suddenly play a new position when facing a strong-armed quarterback and polished play-action passing game.

In other matchups, tight ends Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson were quiet against Houston but should be able to work the seams against New England. Anquan Boldin will be extremely problematic for the Pats. The thought of him working outside against Kyle Arrington seems patently unfair; inside is even worse, as the Patriots don’t have a true slot corner.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all the Championship games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: December 12, 2010 11:15 am
 

Spikes' positive test came from ADD meds?

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

You already knew that Patriots rookie Brandon Spikes has been suspended four games for violating the league’s banned substance policy.

He released a statement after the suspension was announced, saying “the substance was a medication that I should have gotten clarification on before taking,” and “it was not a performance enhancer or an illegal drug.”

Sounds like Spikes was telling the truth.

According to the Boston Globe, Spikes tested positive for a medication that’s used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Apparently, the drug is thought to contain amphetamines – which is on the banned list.

Spikes still isn’t planning to appeal the suspension.

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Posted on: December 10, 2010 3:58 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2010 4:47 pm
 

Spikes suspended 4 games for banned substance

Posted by Will Brinson

It's not a real workday without some shocking NFL-related news, so here you go: Brandon Spikes, the rookie linebacker for the New England Patriots, has been suspended four games by the NFL for a violation of the league's banned substance policy.

"I’ve been contacted by the NFL and informed that I will be suspended four games for the detection of an illegal substance in a drug test," Spikes said in a statement released through the Patriots. "The substance was a medication that I should have gotten clarification on before taking. It was not a performance enhancer or an illegal drug. The integrity of the game is very important to me. I understand the league’s ruling and apologize to my teammates, the fans and the Patriots organization for this mistake."

Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald first reported the news Friday afternoon and stated that Spikes would not appeal the suspension. Rapoport's initial report also noted that the suspension is not related to steroids, which Spikes' statement seems to confirm.

Because he's not appealing, Spikes will be eligible to return on January 3, the day after the team's regular season finale.

Spikes has totaled 61 tackles, zero sacks and one interception (although it was a crucial one against the Jets Monday) through 2010, and, considering that his most notable "achievement" this year was a "movie release" from his days in Florida, you could argue that he's a bust so far this year, even though as the 62nd overall pick he is starting on a defense that appears to be gelling, despite it's next-to-last ranking in total yardage.

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Posted on: September 26, 2010 11:42 am
Edited on: September 26, 2010 12:51 pm
 

AFC inactives, Week 3

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

First, those who are active: Texans WR Andre Johnson, who had been questionable with an ankle injury; Patriots LB Brandon Spikes, who was a late add Saturday to New England’s injury report but was listed as probable; WR Joshua Cribbs, who hurt his ankle at practice Wednesday; and Baltimore CB Cary Williams, who has finished serving his two-game suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy.

Tyson Jackson, Chiefs, DE: This is the second week in a row Jackson has been out, dealing with a knee injury suffered in the first game of the season. This isn’t terrible news for Kansas City. Although he was the No. 3 overall pick last season, Jackson has done next to nothing on the field thus far.

Adam Jones, Bengals, CB: He’s been better than expected this season, but his shoulder is banged up. Expect second-year CB Morgan Trent to get much more playing time as the third CB.

Antwan Odom, Bengals, DE: He was supposed to play today as he appeals his four-game suspension for violating the performance enhancing drug policy. But he’s not on the 45-man gameday roster with a wrist injury.

Jerome Harrison, Browns, RB:
This probably won't phase coach Eric Mangini much, because, for some reason, he doesn't like seeing Harrison, who's got a thigh injury, on the field. But now that Peyton Hillis and James Davis will get the carries, it's hard not to see Cleveland struggle in the running game.

Jake Delhomme, Browns, QB:
This was expected. But it's still important nonetheless. Especially since that means Seneca Wallace will get another start.

Brian Robiskie, Browns, WR: With three important pieces of Cleveland's offense out of today's game, it could get ugly today vs. Baltimore.

Terrence Cody, Ravens, NT:
Even though he practiced all week and wasn't on the injury list, Baltimore still decided to deactivate the rookie.

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Posted on: September 2, 2010 12:25 pm
 

Reebok never had a deal with Brandon Spikes

Posted by Will Brinson

Poor Brandon Spikes. News surrounding his "sex tape" just won't go away.

First he had to admit it was actually him (although it was in college, which makes it more understandable, maybe?), then there was the (now fake) news that Reebok yanked away a potential endorsement deal as a result , and now it turns out that, via Darren Rovell, there never was a deal . Rovell tweets that "there never was a $ deal w/ Brandon Spikes."

Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald has more information, including an email response to him from Reebok spokesman Daniel Sarro.

“The media reports that Reebok has terminated an endorsement contract with Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes are completely false,” Sarro wrote to Rapoport. “Reebok never had a deal with Brandon. The story was reported without confirmation from Reebok, and as a result inaccurate information is now being reported as fact. We had discussions with Brandon earlier this summer, as we do with many NFL players, but no agreement has been reached and he is not currently under contract with Reebok.”

So, yeah, that's unfortunate for everyone involved -- particularly Reebok, since they had to go through the whole process of denying the issue, and Spikes, since it means another day where people are continuing to talk about a pretty embarrassing moment of his.

Rapoport does make a good point, though -- all along it was called a "potential deal." And Reebok isn't denying that, just that there was never actually a deal in place. Either way, it doesn't seem like they'll be doing business together, which is kind of a shame, considering they are the company that ran with ads featuring Chuck Liddell and Chad Ochocinco exercising naked.

Just seems like too much readily available synergy not to take advantage of on their part.

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Posted on: September 1, 2010 8:56 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 8:57 pm
 

Reebok jerks potential deal off table

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

If you thought the news of Brandon Spikes’ sex tape would shrivel away – like I’m sure Brandon Spikes would have preferred – there’s more news tonight regarding the fallout of the Internet video.

It’s not quite as sexy as Tuesday’s news , but it likely will strike closer to the rookie Patriots linebacker's heart.

The Boston Herald writes Reebok has pulled out of a proposed marketing deal with Spikes. The financial terms weren’t available, but you can be sure, the deal would have allowed Spikes to upgrade his video camera system (maybe add a few mics, get some better lighting, procure one of these director’s chairs. You know, do it up nice).

The paper also writes Spikes could face disciplinary action from the NFL for violating the personal conduct policy, but since the taping apparently occurred when Spikes was in college, I wonder how the NFL could justify that.

UPDATE:
The Boston Globe , citing a blog called "What Would Joe Namath Do?", writes the financial deal was worth about $60,000 and could have increased in value with on-field incentives. Talk about a real kick in the … um … shins.

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Posted on: August 31, 2010 1:39 pm
Edited on: August 31, 2010 4:42 pm
 

Brandon Spikes embarrassed by sex tape

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

I discovered an interesting e-mail sitting in my in-box this morning, a video purporting to be a sex tape involving Patriots LB Brandon Spikes.

It was hard to tell whether Spikes was the man in the web cam video, but it was rather graphic (frankly, I only got through about a minute of it, because, well, I didn’t want anybody looking over my shoulder in the Starbucks where I’m working).

Now, Spikes’ agent, Terry Watson, has spoken on the matter. As the Boston Herald writes, Watson said the second-round pick is embarrassed about the video and said “it certainly doesn’t reflect the kind of person that he is.” Also, the video apparently was made when Spikes was in college.

The Patriots have made no comment.

I won’t provide a link here, but I’m guessing you can find it somewhere on the Web. Just make sure you’re not in a Starbucks when you press play.

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