for entire Bruschi Article Archive
Training Camp Positional Analysis: Linebackers
04 / by Frank Tadych, Patriots.com
course of the coming weeks Patriots.com will take a look at the
position-by-position roster battles that fans can expect to see when training
camp kicks off on July 29 at Gillette Stadium.
If you're a Patriots fan looking for the typical training camp fodder of heated
position battles and depth chart intrigue, you may want to look past the
linebacker position. The Patriots return all four starters at linebacker in
2004, and considering a return to health of Rosevelt Colvin and a
proposed position switch by Dan Klecko, the linebacker group – already a
team strength – also becomes one of the deepest positions on the team. With so
much certainty at the position, expect head coach Bill Belichick and the
coaching staff to keep as many as nine linebackers on the opening roster.
The Patriots corps is made up of a group of veteran stalwarts, starting with
Tedy Bruschi and Roman Phifer at inside linebacker. Bruschi (6-1,
247) started all 16 games for the Patriots in 2003 and finished second on the
team with 137 tackles. He added two sacks and a career-high three interceptions
– two of which he returned for touchdowns. Bruschi is joined in the middle by
Phifer (6-2, 248), who started 15 of his 16 games last season after starting all
30 of his previous games since joining the Patriots before the 2001 season.
Phifer increased his tackle total for the third-straight
season, finishing third on the team with 133 stops after registering a team-high
109 in 2002. Since he joined New England after spending his previous 10 seasons
with the Rams and Jets, Phifer is the Patriots leading tackler with 334 over the
last three seasons. Also in the middle for the Patriots is 10th-year player
Ted Johnson (6-4, 253), who was a second-round pick in 1995 and has spent
his entire career with the team. Johnson was limited to eight games in 2003
because of a broken foot suffered in the opener, but made two starts and
registered 26 tackles.
An intriguing question surrounding the Patriots linebackers is the status of
Klecko. A fourth-round pick in 2003, Klecko (5-11,283) played his rookie season
along the defensive line, but spent June's mini-camp getting repetitions at
inside linebacker. Klecko would provide much needed youth at the position for
the Pats; three of the four listed starters are 31 years or older, with
28-year-old Mike Vrabel the youngest of the group. Larry Izzo
(5-10, 228) is officially listed at inside linebacker but is solely a special
teams player – but a successful one at that. Izzo led the team with 31 special
teams tackles last season, and has been named to the Pro Bowl following the 2000
and 2002 seasons as the AFC's special teams representative.
One of the biggest acquisitions by the Patriots in recent
years was Colvin, who signed as an unrestricted free agent from the Chicago
Bears prior to the 2003 season. Colvin (6-3, 250) was expected to step in as a
starter at outside linebacker after registering 21 sacks the previous two
seasons, but suffered a fractured hip in the second game of the season and was
placed on injured reserve following season-ending surgery. Colvin took part in
mini-camp, but uncertainty surrounds his official status – not if he will
return, but rather when – as he prepares for training camp.
Vrabel and Willie McGinest provide the Patriots unique flexibility at
outside linebacker. Both have the ability to play effectively against the run
and the pass, allowing coaches to leave either on the field at linebacker or as
a down lineman regardless of the defensive scheme. McGinest (6-5, 270), who has
the second longest tenure of any Patriot, registered 5.5 sacks and 79 tackles
last season – his highest tackle total since 1999. Vrabel (6-4, 261) played
perhaps his best pro season in 2003, collecting 69 tackles, two interceptions
and a career-high 9.5 sacks to lead the Patriots.
Matt Chatham (6-4, 250) enters his fifth season with the team as a
valuable reserve and special teams player. Chatham started four of his 16 games
last season and also registered 19 special teams tackles. Also in the mix at
outside linebacker are nine-year veteran Don Davis and second-year player
Tully Banta-Cain. Davis (6-1, 235) was active for 15 games last season
and finished second on the team with 24 special teams tackles. Banta-Cain, a
seventh-round pick in 2003, began the season on the physically unable to perform
list before contributing on special teams the remainder of the season.
New to Patriots camp at linebacker in 2004 will be fourth-year player Justin
Kurpeikis (6-3, 254), a free agent from Pittsburgh who spent a short stint
on the Patriots practice squad in 2003, second-year player Lawrence Flugence
(6-1, 239), and rookie free agents Eric Alexander (6-2, 223) of Louisiana
State, Quinn Dorsey (6-4, 270) of Oregon and Grant Steen (6-2,
242) out of Iowa.
With experience, depth and flexibility, the Patriots enter the season set at
linebacker. The core of Bruschi, Phifer, McGinest and Vrabel will again make the
group a strength of the defense. The return of Colvin and the decision on where
to play Klecko – which will both presumably take place during the preseason –
could ultimately answer some of the team's few lingering questions at the
position. A battle will ensue during training camp for the final one or two
spots at the position, which could be decided by age and the ability to play
7/23/04 Patriots feel Super with
'extra ingredient' Dillon
By Tom Pedulla, USA TODAY
defending champion New England Patriots could look to be almost unstoppable
after adding three-time Pro Bowl running back Corey Dillon as they open the NFL
season on a 15-game winning streak and try to win their third Super Bowl in four
Then again, looks are deceiving in the
parity-driven NFL, where the poor grow rich overnight and the mighty can tumble.
New England knows both scenarios. The
Patriots went from last to first in the AFC East in winning their first Super
Bowl in 2001, missed the playoffs the following season at 9-7, then reasserted
themselves last year.
Memories of their crash should help the
Patriots avoid another fall as much as the coaching acumen of Bill Belichick,
two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback Tom Brady and a defense that permitted a
league-low 238 points. Even a potentially disruptive scenario has been avoided
with cornerback Ty Law, displeased about his contract situation, ready to go to
"In some ways, you can get fat and
happy," Brady said. "But I think that's really the lesson we learned. Not that
we didn't think we were working hard a couple of years ago, but I think we
realize how much harder we're going to have to work."
Tedy Bruschi says: "I think we can look at that experience and say that we
sort of know what it's like now because I think there was not a man on that
(2002) team who had ever defended a Super Bowl championship. Now there's a bunch
of us on the team, and I think that experience will help."
differentiate between the regular season and the playoffs. So the New
England Patriots officially kick off their schedule with a 12-game
winning streak when they host the Indianapolis Colts on Sept. 9, leaving
them much to do to reach the record.
|San Francisco 49ers
|Source: Elias Sports Bureau
|At Arizona (4-12)
|At Buffalo (6-10)
|N.Y. Jets (6-10)
|At Pittsburgh (6-10)
|*At St. Louis (12-4)
|*At Kansas City (13-3)
|At Cleveland (5-11)
|At Miami (10-6)
|At N.Y. Jets (6-10)
|San Francisco (7-9)
||Jan. 2, 2005
2003 playoff teams
The Denver Broncos of quarterback John
Elway and running back Terrell Davis were the last to win consecutive
championships, in 1998 and 1999. The Dallas Cowboys, powered by quarterback Troy
Aikman, running back Emmitt Smith and wideout Michael Irvin, were the last to
win three times in a four-year span, from 1993-96.
That New England has the opportunity to
do something extraordinary is not lost on the veterans who report to Gillette
Stadium on July 29 for training camp. San Francisco, Dallas, Denver and New
England are the only franchises with multiple Super Bowl titles the past 15
Aikman cites the league's remarkable
balance in explaining why he believes the Patriots can surpass his Cowboys in
"If they go on to win three of four, to
me it would be a more significant accomplishment because they would be in more
dogfights than we were in," Aikman says. "We could go out and not play great and
still win. If you don't go out and play well in today's NFL, you will not win a
lot of games."
Bruschi contemplates the history that
can be made and says, "It would be incredible. It's just not done any more. You
think of the great teams in previous decades — the Niners, the Cowboys, the
Steelers. ... We hope to be one of those teams. How do you have that? You have
to win the Super Bowl. And our formula ...is taking it game by game."
That's the game-by-game focus ingrained
by Belichick, who was already at work while vacationing on Cape Cod.
"Whether we won 15 in a row or didn't win
15 in a row," he says, "nobody cares about that now, certainly not
The reference is to the regular-season
opener. The Patriots, who picked off Peyton Manning four times in bouncing the
Colts 24-14 in the AFC Championship game in January, host them Sept. 9, a
Thursday night, to kick off the season.
Still, Belichick knows the Patriots are
40-14 over the past three seasons and addressed their only major weakness, at
running back, by acquiring Dillon from Cincinnati for a second-round draft
"I'm respectful of it," Belichick says of
the team's recent history, "but I don't want to dwell on it."
History is filled with powers that
toppled for reasons other than talent.
"Before you've had success, it's easier
to put the team first," says Aikman, now a Fox analyst. "As you have success,
individuals want more of the credit. Just look at the Los Angeles Lakers."
Will Dillon be worth the gamble?
Aikman is convinced the Cowboys' plunge
could have been averted.
"The demise of our team had nothing to do
with lack of talent," he says. "As an organization, we lost sight of what it
took for certain achievements. I don't think we worked as hard on the back end
as we did to get there. As an organization, you get complacent."
Not New England. Executive of the year
Scott Pioli and coach of the year Belichick moved aggressively to land Dillon
before the draft, allowing them to seek to bolster other areas with rookies.
Dillon represents a gamble. At his best,
he is a Cadillac among running backs. He rushed for 8,061 yards and 45
touchdowns in seven seasons for Cincinnati. He averaged 1,253 yards his first
six years before injuries to his groin and hip contributed to a career-low 541
rushing yards and two touchdowns last season.
At his worst, the 6-1, 225-pounder has
potential to be disruptive. He once said he "would rather flip burgers" than
play for the losing Bengals, only to sign a one-year, $3 million deal. He never
appeared to be swept up in the enthusiasm new coach Marvin Lewis brought to the
Bengals in elevating them to 8-8 last year.
After a season-ending loss to Cleveland,
Dillon flipped his helmet, cleats and shoulder pads into the stands at
Cincinnati's Paul Brown Stadium and emptied his locker the next day. With Rudi
Johnson ready to replace him for the Bengals, Dillon was widely shopped before
the deal was struck — on Patriots Day — for the 56th overall draft choice.
Dillon, who was never part of a winning
team in Cincinnati, met with New England's management before the transaction was
completed. He convinced them he will embrace the team concept they insist on and
backed it up by agreeing to restructure the final two years of his contract to
create salary-cap room.
In exchange, he was given incentives that
include $100,000 for 700 rushing yards, $375,000 for 1,000 yards and $500,000
for 1,600 yards. His career high: 1,435 yards, in 2000.
That sacrifice persuaded owner Robert
Kraft that the possible huge reward justified the risk.
"The fact that a player of that caliber
was willing to come to the team and adjust his salary and have a chance to make
it on incentives, that seems like a team kind of guy to me," Kraft says.
Dillon worked hard and said the right
things at June minicamp. He said he was "an extra ingredient in this pie" and
added, "These guys have been there and done that. I just want to go out there
and help them get another one."
Brady is excited about the possibilities
for a running game that ranked 27th among 32 teams.
"I think Corey expects to have a great
year," Brady says. "Judging from what he's done in minicamps, hopefully it looks
as good in the fall as it has the last couple of months."
Team chemistry the strength
Law, a key figure in the team's success
because of his ability to blanket the finest receivers in man-to-man coverage,
also appears back in the fold after a tumultuous offseason.
Displeased that he had not received a
contract extension, he accused Belichick of being a liar and hinted he might
boycott training camp by saying, "We all gotta eat." But a well-fed Law was
suddenly back after meeting with his coach and participating in minicamp.
"We're world champs," Law said then, "so
you can't be upset or mad too long."
New England's greatest strength under
Belichick has been its team chemistry.
"They are really the blueprint of a
team," New York Jets coach Herman Edwards says. "They get all of their players
to understand what they need to do to be successful, and that's why they are
It is almost unthinkable that New England
will be faced with as much adversity as last season, when injuries cost starters
103 games and Brady fought through a shoulder problem that required offseason
surgery. Sidelined starters included a prized free agent, linebacker Rosevelt
Colvin, due back from a broken hip.
"That team was truly a team," Belichick
says. "They had a lot of respect and feeling for each other. They performed very
unselfishly. We won 15 games in a row and really, no players stepped up and
tried to take credit for it. I thought that was a great thing."
Can that esprit de corps be re-created?
"Every year is different. I don't think
you can orchestrate chemistry," Belichick says. "You can't tell people what
their relationships are going to be or how they are going to feel about each
Former Denver tight end Shannon Sharpe,
who retired to join CBS as a commentator, likes New England's prospects for
"They have the best chance to do it since
we did it," he says. "They have their offensive (Charlie Weis) and defensive
(Romeo Crennel) coordinators back, and they've got Tom Brady.
"Right now, you'd be hard-pressed to show
me a quarterback better than Tom Brady. All he does is win. All he does is win
Kraft is not holding out yet another
Super Bowl triumph as a benchmark for success. He is intent on avoiding the
finish of 2002 and advancing to the postseason and a shot at winning it all.
"I'll be really down," the owner says,
"if we don't make the playoffs."
Contributing: David Leon Moore
Patriots ready to defend
By Glen Farley, Enterprise staff writer
FOXBORO — Members of the New England Patriots say they're ready to ring in a
"It's time to rest this (the 2003 championship)," veteran tight end Christian
Fauria said, "and start working on getting another one."
That work officially begins Thursday when members of the defending Super Bowl
champions report to Gillette Stadium for the start of their second training camp
at the state-of-the-art facility they have called their home since 2002.
"It's one brick at a time," said place-kicker Adam Vinatieri, whose right
foot put championship rings on the Patriots' hands in 2001 and 2003. "We've got
a long ways to go before the house is built."
Perhaps, but the foundation is still standing.
"I think the older group of guys that we have know how to work," said
quarterback Tom Brady, who is entering his fifth year in New England. "The
veterans come in and we want to get stuff done. The older guys have to show how
to do it and how to win games."
The holdovers from last year's team are responsible for a 15-game winning
skein the Patriots will carry into their Sept. 9 regular-season opener with the
Indianapolis Colts in a rematch of the 2003 AFC Championship Game at Gillette.
That streak, the two rings and a cumulative record of 40-14 over the past three
years could all be pretty heady stuff for the sons of Bill Belichick.
"Believe me, Bill knows how to keep our heads on straight and what to
focus on," ninth—year veteran linebacker Tedy Bruschi said, downplaying the
potential for a post-Super Bowl letdown, "and our focus is on Sept. 9."
If nothing else, a number of these Patriots have past experience to fall back
on: Thirty-seven of them were members of the 2002 squad that followed a Super
Bowl XXXVI campaign by failing to qualify for the playoffs as Belichick's team
took a step back before stepping back up last year.
"Any time you have success, I think there's a tendency to be satisfied," said
safety Rodney Harrison, who joined the Patriots last year following his release
after nine seasons in San Diego. "I think the guys learned from the previous
Super Bowl not to be content."
"It's a process of laying brick by brick on the foundation and making sure
you have a solid foundation going into the season, then being able to play well
and execute in competitive situations during the year," Belichick summarized.
"We executed to a 9-7 level in 2002. What our level will be this year, I don't
think anybody knows and it would be hard to predict. You have to go through the
same process to get to that point and then you have to play well when you have
your opportunity in the regular season. I don't see the process changing too
The cast of characters hasn't changed a whole lot since the Patriots closed
the 2003 season with a 32-29 victory over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl
Granted, the starting defensive and offensive lines have taken weighty hits.
Nose tackle Ted Washington and defensive end Bobby Hamilton both relocated to
Oakland and guard-center Damien Woody took the free-agent route to Detroit.
Antowain Smith, a running back, who just signed with Tennessee, was
serviceable enough to help carry the team to its two titles, but was released.
However, there is still a large carryover from the starting lineup that
Belichick put on the field last season.
In fact, with former Cincinnati Bengals problem child Corey Dillon acquired
via a trade on, of all days, Patriots Day, it would appear there has been a
major upgrade in that department. If that's one step up, the punting game
(former Pittsburgh Steelers Josh Miller is in; frequent shanker Ken Walter is
out) should be another.
The team has added youth and, it would like to think, talent, at tight end,
wide receiver, the defensive line and secondary as well. Armed with two
first-round picks, the Patriots tabbed Washington's successor in mammoth
University of Miami defensive lineman Vince Wilfork and added another young
tight end to the mix in Georgia's Benjamin Watson.
"We have to defend our title," defensive end Jarvis Green said, "and we have
the potential to do bigger things."
But along with that potential comes the bull's-eye they wear on their backs,
the product of a past that includes 12 straight regular-season victories, five
shy of the all-time NFL record of 17 set by the 1933-34 Chicago Bears.
"It's a 'What have you done for me lately?' business, as it should be," said
inside linebacker Ted Johnson. "People are going to be gunning for us."
"Expectations are always high for this football team," said Richard Seymour,
at the age of 25 already a two-time Pro Bowl selection in the Patriots'
defensive line. "I think we set the standard for what we want to be. Anything
less than that is unacceptable."
"It's all about eliminating bad football and playing well and playing smart,"
said Vinatieri. "Obviously, teams are going to give you their best effort when
you're the defending champions. We know that. We know we have to play well."
Falling short of that, the 2004 Patriots risk developing into the second
coming of the 2002 Pats, becoming just another in the cluster of NFL non-playoff
"We went through that in '01 and it wasn't a good feeling not making the
playoffs after winning the Super Bowl," outside linebacker Roman Phifer said.
"We're aware of that and more in tune with not letting that happen again.
Everyone's trying to keep a tight focus and Coach Belichick has emphasized
"Hopefully, it will be a long ride," said four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Ty
Law, who after an offseason of discontent over his contract status, appears to
be a happy camper once again, "and it can end up like last year."
By Michael Felger/ Linebackers
Monday, July 26, 2004
Sixth in a series
of positional breakdowns as the Pats head into training camp on Thursday.
There is only
one training camp question mark when it comes to the
news] linebackers. And it resides squarely on the metal plate that's been
surgically implanted on the broken hip of Rosevelt Colvin.
will constitute a huge hurdle for the prize 2003 free agent, who suffered a Bo
Jackson-type injury lunging for a fumble in Philadelphia in Week 2 last season.
Colvin's progress has been steady since then, and at the Pats' June minicamp he
appeared to run well in helmet and shorts. However, Colvin didn't practice in
team drills and had not been cleared for contact.
According to a
source, Colvin's recent medical evaluations have been excellent. The source said
Colvin currently has ``no limitations.''
medical information on the Pats is always sketchy. But if Colvin is in pads when
the Pats take the field for their first practice on Thursday, then there's every
reason to believe he'll be in uniform on opening day. If not, it's a waiting
modeled his recovery after Jacksonville safety Deon Grant, who suffered a
similar injury as a rookie with Carolina in 2000 and was back in pads exactly
one year later. The key difference is that Grant suffered his injury in late
July, which gave him the time to work out the kinks during training camp the
next year. If the Pats are using the one-year time frame, then that will put
Colvin's first padded practice in September. There have been rumors this
offseason that Colvin is headed to the physically unable to perform list, which
would make him eligible to return to the field after Week 6 of the regular
said at the owners' meetings in March that he expected Colvin to be ready for
the regular season. Whether he meant the start of the season remains to be seen.
rest of the linebacking corps this camp will exemplify what Belichick values
most at the position: experience and intelligence. Belichick has drafted just
three linebackers in his four years with the Pats, all of whom came in the
seventh round. Two of those players (Casey Tisdale in 2000 and T.J. Turner in
2001) were cut in training camp. The third, 23-year-old Tully Banta-Cain
(drafted in 2003) goes into this year as the only linebacker under the age of 26
with a chance to make the roster.
The rest of the
position is made up of savvy, productive veterans, players who know Belichick's
defense and the AFC offenses like the back of their hands. Those players allow
Belichick and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel to produce complicated game
plans every week knowing their players can handle it.
often said that outside linebacker
is the smartest player he's ever coached, which is considerable praise given
Belichick's 30 years on NFL sidelines. And Vrabel, who turns 29 in August, is
one of the younger guys. Vrabel's career has taken off since joining the Pats in
2001, and he'll continue to play a key role on the pass rush and on the edge in
who is all of a sudden an elder statesman, possesses many of the same qualities
that Vrabel does. Ageless wonder Roman Phifer is back for a 14th NFL season,
and he'll remain in a rotation on the inside with the athletic and instinctive
Tedy Bruschi [news]
and the powerful Ted Johnson
Bruschi is a player who keeps getting better with age, and the Pats coaches felt
he should have been in the Pro Bowl last year. Perhaps this is the year.
Matt Chatham is
an underrated up-and-comer. He's a stalwart on special teams and a trusted
backup on the outside. Special teams captain Larry Izzo doesn't get much time
with the regular defense, but whenever he does, he seems to play well.
BostonHerald.com - Patriots: Colvin main question
Linebackers a veteran crew
MICHAEL PARENTE , Sports Writer
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the New England Patriots will emerge from
training camp as one of several front-runners to win Super Bowl XXXVIX in
stop the defending champions from making it three titles in four years? Perhaps
Father Time will play a role in shaping the outcome of this upcoming season.
The Patriots don’t have many holes, but they have aging players at some
positions and it could come back to haunt them.
Five of the 16 linebackers who will report to camp are older than 30, and while
that may not seem like much, keep in mind that three of them are potential
Tedy Bruschi, who started all 16 games at inside linebacker last year, turned
31 in June. His backup, Ted Johnson, is also 31, while Roman Phifer -- the
other starter on the inside -- turned 36 on March 5.
And if Rosevelt Colvin does not start the season on time, as expected, due to
his recovery from hip surgery, that could force veteran Willie McGinest back
into the lineup at outside linebacker.
McGinest, who made 11 starts at that position a year ago, will turn 33 in
December. So the youngest linebacker in the potential opening-day starting
lineup could be 28-year-old Mike Vrabel.
Good news or bad news? That depends on your outlook. That same foursome led one
of the most feared defensive units in the NFL last year and their veteran
leadership on and off the field was exceptional. Bruschi is one of the most
vocal players in the locker room and Phifer’s tireless effort in the weight room
serves as a fine example to players of all ages.
The question is: How much longer can they produce at this level? Bruschi was
durable last year, but he played through pain. He suffered an arm injury in
September that never forced him to miss any time and then played through a
strained right calf in Super Bowl XXXVIII against Carolina. Over the last three
seasons, he’s missed only six games due to injury, but has been hurt each year.
Johnson only played in eight games last year because he broke his foot late in
the season. He’s missed 26 games since 1999. McGinest, another injury-prone
player, managed to stay healthy in 2004, missing only two games, but given his
track record, it’s not blasphemous to question whether or not he’ll stay that
way this season. The 11-year veteran went through a stretch from 1997-2001 in
which he only played one full season, and that was when he was younger.
The other player to look out for is Phifer. His performance last year was
tremendous. For a player his age to record over 100 tackles and play each week
is a testament to how hard he works to stay in shape. He’s only missed two games
in five years, but his age is a concern.
Can he keep it going this late in his career? Considering his strict workout
regimen throughout the year, it wouldn’t be a stretch to assume that Phifer will
stay healthy in 2004, but if he shows any signs of slowing down at age 36, the
Patriots could have problems. Perhaps that’s why they’ve switched former
defensive tackle Dan Klecko to linebacker.
Lawrence Flugence, Grant Steen, Quinn Dorsey, Justin Kurpeikis and Eric
Alexander will compete for spots on the practice squad.
Several things need to happen for the linebackers to succeed again this season.
For starters, they need to get Colvin back relatively early and they need him to
be the same player he was in Chicago.
Coming back from a broken hip is difficult, but Colvin is only 26, so he has a
better chance of bouncing back than perhaps an older player would, but there is
a concern that he may never again have the explosive speed that made him such a
hot commodity when the Patriots were scouting him during the 2003 offseason.
That’s why Vrabel’s performance will be so crucial. Colvin could miss the first
few weeks, and perhaps wind up on the physically unable to perform list for the
first six games. Vrabel needs to produce like he did last season - 52 tackles,
four forced fumbles and two interceptions.
The Patriots have younger options at linebacker, including 23-year-old Tully
Banta-Cain, who impressed in limited action last season, and Matt Chatham, a
special teams’ standout who filled in nicely for Colvin early in October. The
veterans, however, are the core of this group, and as long as they stay healthy,
there is no reason to believe they can’t be as dominant as they were in 2003.
The problem is determining how realistic that scenario is. For whatever reason,
the Patriots did not draft a linebacker in April, which was odd considering
their plan to get younger on defense. Perhaps that shows how confident they are
in their current group.
Whether or not that was a smart move will be determined once the season gets
Overall grade: B-
A veteran group that will dominate as long as it doesn’t start acting its age.
If the defensive line doesn’t hold up, they will be counted on even more than
they were last year. The addition of Klecko in the middle should add some
This Week's Notes and
Sunday Morning Camp Notes
Bruschi was the star of a blocking drill that faced the linebackers off
against the running backs. The popular linebacker ran through, around and over
foes Fred McCrary, Michael Cloud, Patrick Pass and Malaefou Mackenzie.
Official Website of the New England Patriots - 8/2/04 8:08:14 AM
Belichick's 7/30 Press Conference
Q: You have a lot of players
that are able to help Tully make the switch from defensive lineman to
linebacker. With Dan Klecko, it seems to be a unique switch. Do you have anyone
who could help him make that switch?
BB: [Tedy] Bruschi.
Q: Playing inside?
Bruschi played down similar to Klecko. Bruschi played inside, he played
defensive tackle, three-technique, at Arizona. He led the Pac-10 and led the
NCAA in sacks and all of that. That transition for him is similar to what [Dan
is doing]. Now Dan played primarily defensive tackle though he did play some end
a little bit at Temple but primarily he played defensive tackle,
three-technique, one-technique, he played in there on the guard and so forth. It
is pretty similar to what Bruschi did.
Official Website of the New England Patriots - 8/2/04 8:17:48 AM
Dan Klecko's New Role
"It's like being a rook all over," said Klecko, a second-year player from
Temple. "I think I could work on everything. There's not a thing I could say,
`Well, I got that down,' at linebacker." But he's coming along thanks to
tutelage from Tedy Bruschi, who made a similar transition. At Arizona, Bruschi
played defensive line -- as Klecko did at Temple -- and tied the NCAA record for
career sacks. When he's having a rough patch, Klecko is buoyed by Bruschi
letting him know he experienced the same pitfalls converting to linebacker after
playing tackle in college.
Boston.com / Sports / Football / Patriots / Klecko still trying to fit in
Klecko is lucky because he has an ideal role model to
follow in Tedy Bruschi
Bruschi came out of college having spent four years as a defensive lineman (both
end and tackle), but when then-coach Bill Parcells and then-assistant
got a hold of him in 1996, they began tinkering.
over the next four years, going from pass-rushing end to weak-side linebacker to
middle linebacker. Now Bruschi is one of the top players at his position in the
NFL. But remember, it took him four or five years before he became truly
comfortable (and productive) playing on his feet. And it took him a few more
years after that to take his game to the next level.
Bruschi has given him plenty of pointers along the way.
consider him one of the great middle linebackers,'' Klecko said. ``So for him to
come up to me and say, `I went through that exact same thing,' that really
BostonHerald.com - Patriots: To stay on field, Klecko takes it inside
just happy to be here
Thursday, August 5, 2004
FOXBORO - Want to know why
Tedy Bruschi [news]
is one of the most popular Patriots
news] players of all time? Want to know why fans line up to get a glimpse of
the veteran linebacker? Why he draws the biggest cheers at training camp? Why
his No. 54 has been a consistent best-seller in the team's pro shop?
Just listen to
him talk about why he signed a contract extension with the Patriots this spring,
giving up the opportunity to make a bigger killing as a free agent after the
``How much is
enough?'' Bruschi said following practice yesterday at Gillette Stadium. ``How
much do you need? I live in North Attleboro. I don't live glamorously. I live in
a nice home and we're happy where we are. You really have to look yourself in
the eye and say, `Do you want to go out there and chase every single dime?' Or
do you want to stay somewhere and establish something. I chose to stay and
scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent after the 2004 season. But instead of
playing out the year and taking his chances, he ``settled'' for a four-year,
$8.1 million contract with a $3.5 million signing bonus. To be sure, those
aren't welfare wages. But when you consider that the franchise number (the
average of the top 10 highest paid players at the position) for NFL linebackers
is more than $4 million per year, Bruschi certainly didn't break the bank.
considered by many to be a top 10 linebacker, and if he's not, he's definitely
close. By anyone's estimation, a deal averaging $2 million a season was on the
employ an agent and handles negotiations himself.
``I'll tell you
this,'' he said. ``If I had an agent I wouldn't be here. Agents tell you, `I can
get you more.' But after they say that, it's always, `But it's going to have to
be somewhere else.' And then the player has to make that decision. And I didn't
need to make that decision.''
Bruschi's teammates were said to be perplexed that he would settle for a
below-market deal, thereby strengthening the internal salary cap on the Pats.
received countless congratulations from my teammates,'' Bruschi said. ``To play
out the year and be a free agent, it's a lot of speculation. I don't want to
live by `What ifs?' What if something happens the first month of the season? The
AFC Championship Game, when I hurt my calf. Remember? You never know what's
going to happen. The Patriots came to me good-heartedly and said, `Let's get
something done to keep you here,' and I said, `Let's do it.' ''
Anyone who saw
Bruschi playing on the field with his two young sons, Tedy Jr. and Rex, Tuesday
night knows how important family is to him. And in the Pats, he has a good
match. The players' wives and children are always around.
are just more important to me,'' Bruschi said. ``It's been said that if I was a
free agent I could have gone out there and made more money, but that's just not
important to me. What's important to me is the friendships I have on the team.
The fans I've been around for nine years now.''
As for the fans,
the bond with Bruschi remains incredibly strong.
``I relate to
them,'' he said. ``They are my kind of people. Just blue-collar, hard-working
people that just work hard and love their families and do the best they can to
get the job done. That's the way I would describe the people in the stands - and
that's how I would describe myself.
``I'll tell you
something that would just kill me,'' Bruschi added. ``To go to another team and
then come play a game here and see all those people wearing No. 54 jerseys in
the stands. That's something I couldn't take.''
Extra conditioning works for defense
of 'gassers' now mean strength and energy later
FOXBOROUGH -- Among the nearly 85,000
fans who have attended Patriots training camp, some probably have noticed
defensive players running -- voluntarily -- back and forth across the adjacent
practice field during the team segment of the workouts. They aren't doing so as
punishment, but rather punishing their bodies in preparation for those key
moments during the season when they need to dig deep for something extra.
"It's conditioning," said Rodney Harrison, who, along
with Tedy Bruschi, Roman Phifer, and the originator of the idea, Ty
Law, ran 10 to 12 "gassers" between plays yesterday. In Harrison's 10th year
last season, he never seemed to run out of gas. Not only was he fueled by what
he thought was mistreatment from the San Diego Chargers, he says he was stronger
because of the "gassers."
"Ty Law got me started doing it and it really helped me out
last year," Harrison said. "Eighth week of the season, fourth quarter, I felt
like I had more endurance, I felt like I was stronger. I probably was running
better than I'd ever run. During the fourth quarter, you feel like you have more
More players are adopting the routine and Bruschi has added
crunches to it. "It's contagious," Harrison said. "Everybody's doing it now.
It's just working hard, paying the price. You figure everyone else is standing
around doing nothing, you can get in a little extra stretching, a few sit-ups,
Harrison is also taking steps to make sure his teammates who
play on the other side of the ball are as prepared as possible; in practice, at
the end of a run or completion, he catches up with the ballcarrier and attempts
to poke the ball out from behind. He did it at least twice yesterday, the first
time forcing Corey Dillon to fumble. Harrison says he does so to make
certain it doesn't happen in a game.
"It irritates them to death when I come up there and do it,
but what it does is -- like I tell Corey, because I think he was getting a
little agitated, but he's laughing about it now -- I do it to make sure our
runners secure the ball," Harrison said. "And it works on me going to get the
ball out. So now every time those guys catch the ball and they're running,
they're aware. Because that's a turnover. I do it all day. I don't care if the
play is 40 yards away, I run all the way to the ball and try to poke it out."
Notes and Quotes: 8/15/04
Part 1: Answering the burning
Aug. 16, 2004) -- There are plenty of questions as we head into the regular
season and I would like to answer 10 of the most burning as we look toward
Kickoff Weekend 2004, beginning with the first five.
1. Are the Patriots, once again, the team to beat in 2004?
The Patriots are the team to beat, without question. They did such a great
job of upgrading their already-potent team during the offseason with the
Vince Wilfork from Miami and acquiring
Corey Dillon from Cincinnati. If Dillon is what he was his first couple of
years -- a running back with a chip on his shoulder -- he should provide a power
running game with big-play capability.
The Patriots won two of the past three Super Bowls with an average running
game, reminding me of the old days when the 49ers used the pass to set up the
run. But if Dillon is healthy and focused, this team has a chance to be amazing.
It's going to be hard to stop them.
What's also surprising is that the Patriots retained both of their
coordinators. This is one of the first Super Bowl teams that I can remember that
didn't lose a coordinator. It just doesn't happen.
The record-setting defense is really good with star players at every
Law in the secondary and
Richard Seymour on the defensive line are terrific, but the group that gets
very little credit is the linebackers.
Bruschi jump out at me every time I watch the film. They are just smarter
than the offenses they are playing against. The Patriots defense was so dominant
all year, it was surprising to see the Panthers move the ball so well against
them in the Super Bowl, but they did shut down a powerful Colts offense in the
AFC Championship Game. They should be just as good this year.
NFL.com - NFL
Prior to the start of practice veteran linebacker Tedy Bruschi called the
team together and introduced newly signed rookie Benjamin Watson in the
center of the gathered players. After the players all waived to the rookie,
Bruschi sent Watson to the sidelines in front of a set of bleachers so that the
32nd pick in April's draft could vociferously introduce himself to his new fans.
“My name is Benjamin Watson. I am a tight end from the University of Georgia.”
Official Website of the New England Patriots - 8/17/04 9:20:05 AM
Klecko a younger Bruschi?
MICHAEL PARENTE , Journal Register
News Service 08/18/2004
-- Every now and then, Tedy Bruschi watches Dan Klecko trying to make the
transition from defensive tackle to linebacker and sees a younger version of
"I see Klecko
making the same mistakes I was making at that point in my career," said Bruschi,
who played defensive end at the University of Arizona before becoming a
linebacker with the Patriots.
"It’s really eerie. I look at him and say, ‘Wow. I used to do that, too.’"
The idea is to turn Klecko into the type of player Bruschi is today, which would
reaffirm the theory that college defensive linemen are better suited to play
linebacker in Bill Belichick’s system.
Bruschi isn’t the only one who’s made the transition -- Mike Vrabel did it after
compiling an All-American career as a defensive end at Ohio State. Eight years
later, he’s one of the most dependable linebackers on the roster. The Patriots
are now taking Klecko and Tully Banta-Cain, a three-year starter at defensive
end for California, and asking them to do the same thing.
Just because Bruschi and Vrabel have done it doesn’t mean the Klecko and
Banta-Cain experiment will be successful. Belichick said a defensive lineman who
tries to become a linebacker is actually at a disadvantage.
"Guys that have played exclusively with their hand on the ground have to make a
big adjustment when they stand up and play on their feet," Belichick said. "You
play further away and have more people that have angles to block you as opposed
to when you are on the ground, where it is only one or two guys that can really
get to you."
With that in mind, what makes him so confident he can keep converting linemen to
"Where else are you going to get (linebackers)? That is what they play in
college," he said. "You look at guys in college that are 6-foot-3 or 6-foot-4,
and 250 to 255 pounds, and they are playing down (on the line). They are not
playing on their feet. It would be great if they were, but where are they?"
What it boils down to is that Klecko and Banta-Cain are too small to play up
front in the NFL, but have the size and speed to make it as linebackers. Klecko
is 5-foot-11 and 275 pounds while Banta-Cain weighs 250 pounds and stands at
6-foot-2. By comparison, Bruschi is 6-foot-1 and 247 pounds while Vrabel is 261
and 6-foot-4, so it’s obvious that Klecko and Banta-Cain fit the mold.
Because of their size, they have the "linebacker-type athleticism" that
Belichick looks for, in addition to the intelligence to learn new coverages and
the versatility to play on special teams. He also said that defensive linemen
who zone blitz in college - in other words, occasionally drop back in coverage -
are more capable of making the switch because they have experience playing on
Banta-Cain and Klecko have done all of that, but Banta-Cain is further ahead at
this point because he was actually recruited by California to play linebacker.
After his freshman year, they switched him to defense end. The Patriots saw his
potential at linebacker and selected him in the seventh round of the 2003 draft.
Now that he’s back to his old position, he feels more comfortable.
"I always felt like if I was going to make it in the NFL, I would convert back
to linebacker, just because of my size," Banta-Cain said. "I’m where I need to
be right now. I think I’m in the right place to be, considering the linebackers
that have made the same transition I’m trying to make. I’ve learned a lot from
Klecko, who got his first taste at linebacker last Friday in the team’s
exhibition opener against Philadelphia, said he’s still got a lot to learn.
"I don’t have the full understanding. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not standing here
saying, ‘Me and Ted Johnson are on the same wavelength of knowledge at
linebacker,’ but I do have a little more of a grasp on it now," he said. "It’s
really starting to come together for me, but there are a lot of things I wish I
could take back.
"I’ve just got to get used to seeing things quick and just hitting things a
little faster. I need to get those little things down and concentrate on the
game. I’ve got to get used to using my speed as a linebacker, because everything
is new to me. I was a little nervous, a little tentative maybe, and I need to
just work on it and get better."
How this experiment turns out is important because Klecko and Banta-Cain
represent a small piece of the team’s future at linebacker. Neither will start
in 2004, but the players who will aren’t bulletproof. Roman Phifer is 36, and
Bruschi and Johnson have been injury-prone in the past. All it takes is an ankle
sprain or a muscle pull before we see one of these two in a big spot.
Should that happen, the Patriots will need Klecko and Banta-Cain to play like
veterans sooner rather than later. The mistakes are acceptable now, but in three
weeks, they’ll be expected to produce.
"You are in the dirt your entire life, then they ask you to go five yards off
the ball. That’s tough," Bruschi said. "It’s not an easy transition because you
see the game from one perspective your entire life, then you change, but as I
tell these guys, it will come with time."
The Herald News
Klecko shifts gears: Leans on Bruschi for move to
By Kevin Mannix
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
news] linebacker Dan Klecko
was finished with yesterday's practice. Then he wrapped up his one-on-one
post-practice tackling drills with Tyler and Carter Vrabel, Mike's two young
sons. Then came a brief interview period.
As he finally started down the
stairs from the field to the locker room, he stopped when he saw
was still answering questions back on the field.
``C'mon Bru,'' he said. He
obviously had questions of his own for his fellow inside linebacker and former
Smart young man, that Klecko
kid. If anybody can relate to his transition to linebacker, it's Bruschi. Who
better to sound out about the adjustments that he's being asked to make?
When he was a rookie and
second-year player back in 1996 and 1997, Bruschi also had to make the move from
defensive lineman to linebacker. He knows the trials Klecko is facing from
experience, and he knows how to deal with them.
``You've been in the dirt your
whole life (playing on the line),'' said Bruschi, who left the University of
Arizona tied for the NCAA Division 1 career sacks record with 52. ``Then they
ask you to go 5 yards off the ball. The other night (against Philadelphia) I saw
Kleck making the same mistakes I made at that point in my career. Actually it
was sort of eerie watching him out there. It was like, `Wooooo! I remember doing
``You're used to seeing the game
a certain way and now it's all different. It's a huge transition, one that will
take a lot of time. When I came here, they weren't sure where to play me and I
went from the line to outside linebacker, then to the inside.
``Even that time on the outside
didn't help me at first. I still didn't know what I was doing.''
There were times last weekend
that Klecko was quite obviously sitting in that same sinking boat. He'd be a
step late on this play. He's miss coverage on the next one. He did finish with
four tackles, but given the number of snaps he took, that wasn't a lot.
Still, the second-year player
was thinking good thoughts.
``Things went well,'' said
Klecko, a fourth-round pick out of Temple. ``There are a lot of little things to
focus on. That's what I have to concentrate on for the game against the Bengals
(Saturday night). I was a little nervous and tentative at first and a couple of
their (completions) were my fault. But I started seeing things a little better
at the end.
``There were a lot of things
that could have been better, but I don't think I have to change anything. I have
to get used to seeing things and working on the little things. Everything
happens really quick out there.''
Fortunately, quickness is the
hallmark of Klecko's game. He doesn't have great size or straight-line speed,
but he's quick off the ball and he understands the game.
Those, according to Bruschi, are
major attributes for any defensive lineman-turned-linebacker.
``Reading and reacting to what's
going on is the most difficult adjustment,'' the veteran linebacker said. ``You
need a head on your shoulders. He has that. It's just going to take time. I keep
telling him to keep working like he is and things will fall in place. It will
come with time.
``Impatience will be part of it.
Frustration is going to be there, too. It's all part of it. I was so frustrated
at first that I didn't know what I was looking at.
``Then I'd see things again and
again and I'd start to get it. That's the way it will happen for Kleck. He's
doing things the right way. He's getting plenty of work and he's learning from
BostonHerald.com - Patriots: Klecko shifts gears: Leans on Bruschi for move to
Notes and Quotes: 8/25/04
On 31-3 Bengals loss:
Tough duty The Patriots are using this week to
get into a regular-season practice schedule. It's an important week, considering
how badly they performed in a 31-3 loss at Cincinnati Saturday night. The team
practiced in full pads yesterday, and most players expected the rigorous
session. "I hope we have a tougher week of practice," linebacker Tedy Bruschi
said. "We've got work to do, bottom line." . . .
"I feel the want to get back out there, right away to get back out there after a
game like that," New England linebacker Tedy Bruschi said, "to get the pads on
and get practicing, because, it's obvious, you watch the film and there are some
points on the film we have to get better at."
"It felt the same as it did after every time you get
your lunch handed to you," said linebacker Tedy Bruschi. "People tend to forget,
but we've had times before where we had bad days like that. It's not the first
time, and it's probably not the last."
Bruschi hungry to start
hitting: Pats rev it up after Cincy loss
Tedy Bruschi (Staff photo by Ted Fitzgerald)
By Michael Felger / Boston Herald
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
FOXBORO -- Whenever Tedy Bruschi hears
coach Bill Belichick talking about getting back to "basics" and "fundamentals,"
he knows that means only one thing.
"We're going to
hit," Bruschi said.
And so it was
yesterday, as Bruschi and his teammates geared up for a full-pad, full-contact
practice at Gillette Stadium. The players donned their equipment knowing
Belichick would turn up the heat after an embarrassing 31-3 preseason loss in
Cincinnati last Saturday.
In fact, that
performance has led to a somewhat unusual atmosphere in Foxboro for this time of
year. It's not often a defending Super Bowl champion feels urgency in August,
but the Pats are certainly in that neighborhood.
"I feel I want
to get back out there right away, to get back out there after a game like that,"
Bruschi said. "Because it's obvious. You watch the film and there are some
points where we've got to get better. So let's suit up and go get better."
One of those
points was the run defense, as the Pats allowed the Bengals to rush for 155
yards. That came a week after the Pats gave up 104 yards on 21 carries to the
Eagles in the preseason opener. Overall, the Pats have allowed 4.5 yards a carry
in the preseason. Not good.
That has led to
some obvious questions on the defensive line, where newcomers such as Keith
Traylor and rookies Vince Wilfork and Marquise Hill have been adjusting to the
Pats' 3-4 scheme. The free agent loss of nose tackle Ted Washington has already
become a talking point, but overlooked in the discussion has been the departure
of veteran defensive end Bobby Hamilton (who followed Washington to Oakland).
Hamilton was an
underrated and consistent run stuffer for the Pats for four years. He wasn't
flashy, but the players around him could rely on him holding his point and
funneling the run in a certain direction. Former nose tackle Chad Eaton once
said the reason he was able to have such a strong year in 2000 and earn a big
free agent contract was because he played next to Hamilton.
The Pats let
Hamilton go, in part, because they wanted 2003 first-round pick Ty Warren to
emerge as the starting left end. But while the Pats may have gotten younger with
the move, it remains to be seen if they are better.
the linebackers have had to adjust to the new personnel in front of them.
"A little bit,"
he said. "Ty Warren and Truck (Traylor) are different players than Ted
Washington and Bobby Hamilton. As you know, from year to year you're going to
get change. So we've had two games and now we've got two more to get used to
each other before (the season-opener vs.) Indy."
defense is predicated on gap control, which means it's imperative that the
linebackers "fit" behind the defensive linemen. Bruschi and fellow inside
linebacker Roman Phifer had grown accustomed to where Hamilton and Washington
were going to be on every play. Now they have to find the same symmetry with the
newcomers. So far, it's been slow going.
"We got work to
do. That's the bottom line," Bruschi said. "The (Bengals) were able to run for
over 150 yards on us, and we haven't let that happen in a while. So what do we
do? We're in pads. We're going to be working on our run drills, working on our
fits. Have a physical week and try to fix the problem.
that's what fundamentals mean to me," Bruschi added. "Getting back to
two-gapping and pressing guards and playing direct runs, which is what we have
to work on."
MetroWest Daily News - Sports Coverage
Bruschi takes loss to heart
Linebacker Tedy Bruschi was itching to get back to work following Saturday's
embarrassing loss in Cincinnati. (Staff photo by Keith Nordstrom)
BY MARK FARINELLA / SUN CHRONICLE STAFF
FOXBORO -- Given the opportunity, Tedy Bruschi wouldn't have been putting on
the pads for practice Tuesday.
He would have preferred to be dressing for a game -- some real action,
designed to wash the bitter taste of Saturday night's debacle out of his mouth.
``I feel the want to get back out there right away ... to get back out there,
to get better, to get the pads on and get practicing,'' the Patriots' veteran
linebacker said, ``because it's obvious when you watch the film, there are
points on the film that we've got to get better on.''
Just about everyone connected with the Patriots agreed that there was very
little positive to be gleaned out of Saturday's 31-3 preseason loss to the
Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. It's been just a little less than a
year since the Patriots felt that kind of sting after a game -- last year's
31-0, season-opening loss at Buffalo, to be exact -- and even the fact that this
one doesn't register in the standings didn't mitigate the disappointment of
being so thoroughly outclassed.
``What happened Saturday is what happened,'' Bruschi said. ``We've got things
to work on, and we see that through the films, so that's what we've got to focus
on. We're not going to focus on how long it's been since this has happened or
that has happened, it's what did happen.''
The Sun Chronicle Newspaper
Notes and Quotes: 08/28/04
On the meeting the Panthers :
to be a challenge, but it’s something we’re looking forward to," linebacker Tedy
Bruschi said. "We weren’t happy with the way we played last week. We practiced
hard this week and worked to improve the things that needed to be improved. This
is a big test for us and we’ll be ready to respond."
Notes and Quotes: 09/05/04
Some have even mentioned the Patriots as a team ready to put together a
dominating stretch of seasons because of the presence of Belichick and Brady,
plus a sound fiscal strategy. "You'd rather have people say good things about you than bad," linebacker
Tedy Bruschi said, "so it's nice that they're saying good things rather than
bad. "But we realize in order to live up to those compliments, we have to do more.
We still have to win a lot more games, and that's what we are trying to do." The problem, though, is that life in the NFL is confusing - to say the least
- changing so fast simply because so little separates the champion from the
contenders or even the pretenders.
still have right idea
He tries to pick up tips wherever he can. "He's really eager. He comes and asks me a lot of questions, sometimes too
many," Bruschi said with a laugh. "Sometimes I just wish he'd leave me alone." But Bruschi went through the same learning process himself. "I can relate to it," he said. "I know how difficult it is, but give him a
year or two under his belt and he can be a quality player."
APP.COM - Klecko
shows progress in switch to ILB
From Belichick's 9/7 press conference:
Q: Can you talk about what a guy like Tedy Bruschi means to the younger
BB: I think Tedy means a lot to our whole
team—defense, special teams, offense, everybody. Tedy is a high-energy guy. You
know he loves the game. He loves to practice. He is very enthusiastic and upbeat
about whatever it is he is doing, whether it is covering punts, whether it is
blitzing, whatever it happens to be. I think he sets a great example and is a
good guy for any player to watch in terms of preparation, playing style,
toughness, instincts, you name it. Naturally, the players that play the
linebacker position spend a little more time with him. A younger guy like Dan [Klecko],
if he does everything Bruschi does and does it the way Tedy does it, he will be
a lot better for it. And Dan is a hard-working, conscientious kid himself, so it
is a good fit.
Q: What does it mean to the organization for a player to legitimately want
to remain a Patriot for life?
BB: That is great. That is what we are all hoping for,
is that we can keep as many people, as many good players, as many good people,
coaches, scouts, you name it, in the organization for as long as possible. There
is movement in the league, and we know that there are opportunities in a timely
fashion, at one point or another for everybody. Hopefully we can keep, as much
as possible, our productive people intact and move forward with that. But, we
know we can't do it with everybody, so that is life in the NFL. Having Tedy
here, him having been here, and knowing he is going to be here for some time in
the foreseeable future is good for our organization, it is good for our defense,
and it is good for the head coach.
Official Website of the New England Patriots - 9/7/04 7:17:29 PM
Roseville's Bruschi glad he opted not to toe
By Jim Jenkins -- Bee Staff Writer
Published 2:15 am PDT Monday, September 6, 2004
FOXBORO, Mass. - Tedy Bruschi is reasonably sure he wouldn't
be entering his ninth NFL season had he remained a defensive end.
When the New England Patriots selected the former Roseville
High School star in the third round of the 1996 NFL draft, Bruschi was coming
off an All-America season at Arizona. There, he had been the focus of the
Wildcats' "Desert Swarm" defense and tied an NCAA record with 52 career sacks.
The Patriots were impressed, but they could see something
else. Unless Bruschi grew considerably, he wasn't going to fare well butting
heads with the mammoth offensive linemen in the NFL.
"I realized that to stick around in this league, it would
have to be as a linebacker," Bruschi said. "Once I learned how to play the
position, I decided I was going to take it to the next level."
Rob Ryan, who spent four seasons as the Patriots' linebackers
coach until becoming the Raiders' defensive coordinator this year, said it's
easy to see why the change has suited Bruschi's strengths.
"Tedy isn't the biggest guy (6-foot-1, 247 pounds) or the
fastest," Ryan said, "but he's always been a fierce, smart competitor, one of
the toughest players I've coached. You never hear him complain, even though I
knew that some of the time, he was playing with a sore back. He's just the kind
of guy you want in the middle of your defense."
Bruschi's ball-hawking instincts have resulted in two
touchdowns on interception returns in each of the last two seasons, and
annually, he's at or near the top of the tackles list for one of the league's
Bruschi has a contract for four more years and intends to
"I've been around with guys like (Patriots inside linebacker)
Roman Phifer, who has been in the league 14 years, so he's a good example of
someone playing this game for a long time," Bruschi said. "I've had a good
career, but I don't want to pat myself on the back just yet. Hopefully, I can
help this team win another Super Bowl. The talent is here."
And after Bruschi's playing career is finished? The father of
two children, he's unsure where he will reside. His parents and other relatives
still live in California, but he spends the offseason on the East Coast. He does
know what line of work he wants to enter, however.
"I want to stay in football, be a coach somewhere," Bruschi
said. "It's what I'm good at and something I enjoy. Why not stay in it as long
as I can?"
may live on the Edge: Bruschi, Pats won't forget James
By Michael Felger
Wednesday, September 8, 2004
FOXBORO - Edgerrin James is something of a
forgotten man when it comes to the Colts, especially in New England, where
everyone talks about Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison and
Bill Belichick [news]'s
success against both. Tedy Bruschi
said the condition exists because most people focus on the ``glamour.''
But you can be
sure that James is not forgotten inside the Pats' locker room.
the Pats remember the first drive of the third quarter in last season's AFC
Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. Leading comfortably, 15-0, the Pats
watched as the Colts came out of the tunnel and ran down their throats. James
carried seven times on the drive, gaining 32 yards. Dominic Rhodes also gained
11 yards on a single carry, and when James scored from the 2-yard line, the
Pats' cozy lead had evaporated.
and perhaps luckily for the Pats, the Colts abandoned the run after that drive.
They gave the ball to James on the first play of their next possession (a 1-yard
gain) and then called all passes the rest of the quarter, resulting in two
incompletions, a sack and an interception.
never made the Pats prove they could stop James. Perhaps that will happen
tomorrow night when the Colts and Pats renew acquaintances at Gillette.
``In the second
half they just came out and gave it to Edge,'' Bruschi said. ``All of a sudden
we were back at the 20-yard line saying, `We've got to worry about Edge now.'
And that opened it up for them a little bit. So it's possible - maybe they'll
come out wanting to establish Edgerrin James and the running game. It's
something we've got to be ready for and we're going to focus on that a little
more than we have been.''
notwithstanding, the Pats have had their share of success against James in
recent years. In five games against the Pats since Belichick took over in 2000,
James has broken the 100-yard barrier only once. He's scored only two rushing
touchdowns. His rushing totals - 105 carries, 420 yards, 4-yard average - are
good, but certainly not great.
Still, you can
make the argument that James is the key to Indianapolis' success against the
Pats, even if the fans, not to mention the Colts, don't realize it.
``They want the
glamour. Marcus Pollard, and Harrison and Peyton, everyone wants to see them
throw it,'' Bruschi said. ``But Edgerrin sets it all up for them. Because if
that threat is not there in the backfield, as a defense you can really focus on
Of course, what
makes the Colts so dangerous is Manning's ability to play-action fake to James
and then hit Harrison down the hash marks. It's a staple play of the Colts'
offense, one that helped them put up 34 points in a November loss to the Pats at
the RCA Dome.
``You can't tell
the guys who are supposed to stop the run to play play-action or the (Colts)
will run the ball right over you,'' Belichick said. ``And you can't tell the
guys that have to (watch out for) the play-action to play run, because then
they'll throw it past you. They do a great job of creating a run-pass conflict
for the linebackers and for the guys in the secondary. We have to read our keys
and be disciplined and see it.
``At the same
time, the (Colts) do a good job on the running play itself, and they hurt us
with that in the third quarter last year. We have to do a better job of
defending it. Those two plays tie together, and I'm sure they're sitting there
saying, `If you stop one, you can't stop the other.' You just can't stop them
both, and that's why they run them together and they run them together very
well. That's a big challenge for us defensively.''
Wednesday, September 8, 2004
PATRIOTS BEAT: Mike Lowe
FOXBORO, Mass. - Ah, opening day, NFL style.
Do you play it straight and just look at it as Game 1 of a
16-game schedule? Or do you embrace its uniqueness?
Depends on whom you ask.
The NFL is making a big deal out of Thursday night's
season-opening game between the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts at
Gillette Stadium, a made-for-TV rematch of last year's AFC final.
The game will have all the wrappings of a mini-Super Bowl: a
pregame concert including Elton John, Mary J. Blige, Destiny's Child, Toby
Keith, Lenny Kravitz, the Boston Pops (and Jessica Simpson via satellite from
Jacksonville, Fla.), fireworks, confetti and craziness all around.
But the players and coaches who will stand on the sidelines
will try to ignore all that.
As Patriots safety Rodney Harrison said: "When it comes down
to it, at 9:07 (p.m., kickoff time), you've got to go and crack some heads."
That's not to say the players aren't excited about playing on
national television on opening night.
"Oh, yeah," said linebacker Tedy Bruschi, the heart, soul and
face of New England's defense. "You see the stages being built and all the acts
that are going to be here, the commercials on TV about NFL Kickoff.
"This kicks off the entire season. All it does for me is
generate excitement. It gets me excited to play, and the bigger the audience,
the more people watch, it gets you a little more excited to play."
When asked if he liked any of the acts, Bruschi said he did,
"but I don't know how much I'll see them."
Probably not at all, unless he is more interested in the show
than the game.
Just minutes before Bruschi spoke at his locker Tuesday
morning, Coach Bill Belichick addressed the hype surrounding the opener and its
festivities delivering a not-so-subtle message to his players as to where their
focus should be at 8 p.m. when the music begins.
"We're not going to be part of that," he said. "We're going
to play the game. Look, if the players want to watch Mary Blige sing, then I'll
get them good seats in the stands and they can watch it to their heart's
"What we need is for people to get out there, cross the white
lines and perform better than the Colts. That's what we need Thursday night."
When asked if this reminded him at all of the days and hours
leading to the Super Bowl, with the hype and musical acts, center Dan Koppen
smiled and said: "I don't say (Super Bowl) any more."
But the opener does have similarities to the Super Bowl.
"And you can't let it be a distraction," said Koppen, a
second-year player from Boston College. "We're here for a job, and our job is to
go out and play football. And that's what we've got to do."
The idea, said quarterback Tom Brady, is "to upstage any of
the performers with the game."
Give the fans a show - a game - that they will long remember.
Give them something special because while it may be just a
game to the teams involved, it carries much more significance.
"The NFL is trying to let everyone know that it's the start
of a new year . . . and they should," Bruschi said. "The beginning of football
season signifies a lot of things. Kids are going back to school, the summer's
"It's the start of a new year. I know it's not Jan. 1, but
this is the start of a new year to me and to a lot of people in America. It sort
of signifies that we're back and let's have a good time and get this thing
It's a super way to start the season
worship Bruschi for his unselfish, all-out style -- and he appreciates them, too
FOXBOROUGH -- Even before he arrived here, Tedy Bruschi
decided that, if left up to him, he would stay.
A native Californian, Bruschi declared New England his new
home the day the Patriots made him the 86th overall selection of the 1996 draft.
After eight seasons, and having recently signed an extension through 2007,
there's a good chance that Bruschi, provided he continues to play at or near his
current level, will achieve what has become rare in professional sports --spend
a career with one organization.
"That means a lot to me," Bruschi said after a training camp
workout and post-practice autograph session. "I remember vividly the day I got
drafted. The first thing I said to my girlfriend, Heidi -- who's now my wife --
I said, `I'm going to play out this contract with the Patriots and keep signing
back with them. They're the ones I want to finish with because they're the ones
I'm going to start with.' And that's before I knew anything about New England,
the area, the fans. It was just a bond, a loyalty I had."
Bruschi, who played almost everywhere along the front seven
earlier in his career before settling in as an inside linebacker three years
ago, has become one of the more popular players on, depending on the day, the
region's most popular team. He is Mr. Patriot, Mr. "Full Tilt, Full Time"
because of his whatever-it-takes style of play. He comes across as someone who
sincerely appreciates the privilege of playing pro football.
He has a special connection with the fans here because, he
says, he relates to them. "I think I'm just one of them out there playing
football," he said. "They're just normal people out there, and I consider myself
a normal guy.
"I'm so normal," said Bruschi, a saxophonist who enjoys a
night at a jazz club or an evening at a fancy restaurant. He's also as devoted
to his family as he is his team. "My big project this year was blowing back my
backyard. I brought in some people, took out some trees, took out rocks, leveled
the backyard. I wanted a yard for my kids [Tedy Jr. and Rex]. Better the lives
for my kids, that's what I do when I'm not around here."
Those times when he is, Bruschi approaches every practice and
every meeting with the same enthusiasm he brings into a Dolphins game in
December. He is a leader and a team captain who understands how important it is
for a leader to also know how to follow. Young players following his example
should have few problems in their careers.
"He loves football. He loves the game," said linebackers
coach Dean Pees. "He brings that kind of passion to the game when he plays it
but he brings a passion to the classroom, too. Passion doesn't always
necessarily mean I'm jumping up and down, I'm screaming, I'm yelling, but it
means you take it very seriously, you understand it, you really try to do
everything you can do to prepare yourself and make yourself a better football
player. And I think that's the passion he brings to the game."
Rodney Harrison said Bruschi reminds him of another
contemporary linebacker who personifies passion.
"His consistency, his professionalism, his heart, his
commitment to the game, not once have you ever heard Tedy complain about
anything or say anything bad," Harrison said. "He's like a Junior Seau. Always
working, always doing the little things. Junior is Junior, and Junior's going to
be in the Hall of Fame. But [Bruschi] is the same type of guy. That's what I see
in him. I see Junior Seau all day when I watch Tedy Bruschi. He's very
unselfish. Committed. Willing to sacrifice." If it means playing weak-side,
strong-side, and middle linebacker, so be it. Special teams? Coaches don't have
to ask Bruschi twice. He's the type, if a coach says, "Jump," he will reply,
He just punches in, does his job, and punches out; one could
imagine him wearing a hard hat to work if he weren't wearing a helmet. On the
field Bruschi is able to wear so many hats well, Pees says, because he not only
understands his responsibilities as the team's "Mike" (middle) linebacker, but
those of the other 10 positions.
"I've worked with a lot of linebackers who were very
intelligent at their position, but I don't know if I've worked with anybody
that's as intelligent about the whole defense," Pees said. "He knows what
everybody's doing, and that makes him special. I haven't seen or been around
someone who took it to quite his level."
"Everything I try to do is just based on winning football
games," Bruschi said. "That's all. Whatever sacrifice I need to make, whatever I
need to do, I will do to help the team win. Coming in playing special teams --
where do I line up? Third down -- what do you want me to do? You want me to play
Mike, Wil [weak-side], Sam [strong-side], whatever it is. That's the attitude I
have. I've never gone up to a coach and said this is where I want to play.
They've always put me where they felt was best and I've always accepted it as, I
trust them and that's where I need to be and I need to do my best to help the
Compared to what he may have commanded as an unrestricted
free agent following another strong season (he was an alternate for the Pro Bowl
last year after posting 137 tackles, three forced fumbles, and returning two of
three interceptions for touchdowns), Bruschi, who represents himself in
negotiations, didn't appear to come out on top in June when he signed a
four-year, $8.1 million deal that included a $3.5 million signing bonus. But he
did, because there are things more valuable to him than money.
Like loyalty. He is making good on his promises to remain
faithful to the franchise that, in his words, took a chance on a 6-foot-1-inch
defensive end out of Arizona (it didn't hurt that he tied the NCAA Division 1-A
career sack record with 52). Since becoming an unrestricted free agent for the
first (and, to this point, only) time in February 2000, Bruschi shook hands on a
deal three more times with the Patriots.
"To go to another team and have all those fans who bought
that No. 54 jersey with my name on the back, which to me is the biggest
compliment they could give me, for me to look up and see someone wearing the 54,
for me to know that they'd have to see me wearing a 54 with another team's
colors, I wouldn't like that," he said. "That would be painful to me and I
wouldn't want to do that to any of them."
Boston.com / Sports / Football / Patriots / Solid backing
Patriots win 16th
FOXBORO, Mass. (AP) - New England linebacker Tedy Bruschi figures the streaking
Super Bowl champs were starting from scratch in the NFL season opener.
''No one cares about last year,'' Bruschi said.
''The question is, 'Can you do it again?'''
On Thursday night in New England's 27-24 victory over Indianapolis, Patriots
linebacker Willie McGinest did, and Colts kicker Mike Vanderjagt didn't.
One play after McGinest sacked Peyton Manning for a 13-yard loss, Vanderjagt's
field-goal streak ended at 42 when he missed a 48-yarder with 19 seconds left,
giving New England its 16th straight victory - two shy of the NFL record.
''I was going to swipe at the ball and try to get the fumble out, but I figured
he'd dropped back far enough,'' said McGinest, who stopped Edgerrin James on a
fourth-and-1 play with 14 seconds left last season in Indianapolis in the
Patriots' 38-34 victory.
Two-time Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady completed 26 of 38 passes for 335 yards and
three touchdowns, but threw his first interception at home since 2002.
In the rematch of New England's 24-14 victory in the AFC championship game,
Indianapolis gained 446 yards, more than the Patriots gave up in any game last
James rushed for 142 yards, but the Colts turned the ball over twice at the
Patriots' 1 on Bruschi's interception on their first series and James' fumble on
their next to last possession.
The 1-yard line proved to be a tough obstacle for the Colts again.
''This year's a different year, different teams,'' Manning said. ''You're
supposed to score when you have chances down there.''
Manning threw two scoring passes to Marvin Harrison and Brandon Stokley. But the
star quarterback is 2-9 against the Patriots and 0-6 in Foxboro, where he's
thrown nine touchdown passes and 16 interceptions. Brady is 5-0 against the
Colts and 41-12 as an NFL starter, including the playoffs.
''There's lots of room for improvement because you just don't want to let it
come down to such close plays at the end of the game,'' Brady said.
That helps keep the Patriots from looking ahead to Oct. 10 when they play Miami
in what could be their record 19th straight win in the streak that includes the
playoffs. Miami is one of five NFL teams that share the mark.
''You can't win all those games in one week,'' Brady said.
The Colts' chance to win Thursday ended when Vanderjagt, whose 32-yarder tied it
at 3 early in the second quarter, sent his final attempt wide right.
''We had a lot of bad football going on before that kick,'' Colts coach Tony
Dungy said. ''It was probably a fitting end to the game.''
Vanderjagt said ''I didn't choke'' but took the blame for his first miss since a
44-yarder in the 14th game of the 2002 season.
''When you crash, you crash and burn,'' he said. ''I blame it on no one but
Before the opening kickoff, the NFL staged an hour-long entertainment show at
Gillette Stadium. It was telecast with a 10-second delay to give the league and
ABC a chance to pull the plug on anything too racy such as Janet Jackson's
breast-baring at the Super Bowl halftime show.
Elton John headlined the show that included the unveiling of the Patriots'
second Super Bowl banner. But McGinest said, ''I think our show was a little
more exciting than the pregame show.''
Waynesboro Record Herald: Patriots win 16th straight
Notes and Quotes: 09/10/04
On the Colts’ first series, Tedy Bruschi intercepted
Peyton Manning’s pass at the New England 1. On their next to last series, Eugene
Wilson forced James to fumble at the 1 and rookie Vince Wilfork recovered.
And on Indianapolis’ final possession, Willie McGinest
sacked Manning for a 12-yard loss that made the kick by Vanderjagt, who had made
42 consecutive field goal attempts, much tougher.
“You look back and you see you’re running out of room
and you see something’s got to be done,” Bruschi said. “First and foremost, you
want to stop them with zero points, get a turnover and get out of there. After
that, you want to force them to a field goal, but you really just don’t want to
let them in the end zone.”
MSNBC - Pats not exactly super, but
open just fine
New England hasn't lost since last Sept. 28, the fourth game of the season,
"That was some good football out there," said linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who
intercepted Peyton Manning at the 1 in the first quarter. "That was two good
"Offensively that's one of the better teams in the league and I've got to
give them their props. They kept coming at us and kept coming at us and
fortunately we took the ball away."
Bruschi set the tone in the first quarter. With New England leading 3-0, the
Colts drove to the New England 6, but Bruschi intercepted a Manning pass at the
Oh, what a near-miss win
good," linebacker Tedy Bruschi said. "They are a good team. You try to focus on
Peyton and his receivers, and you forget about Edgerrin and he’s getting 140 on
us. They have so many weapons and you can’t just focus on one. When you do that,
they hit you with the other."
The Patriots buckled down in the third quarter and allowed James to rush for
only 36 yards on nine carries. The offense took advantage and scored 17
unanswered points to erase the halftime deficit and give New England a 27-17
lead. Most of the production came with Ted Johnson playing interior linebacker
and Jarvis Green manning a defensive end position, though Belichick didn’t feel
it was a personnel issue.
"I thought defensively we played a little better in the third quarter, but it is
team defense," he said. "I don’t think it was, ‘This guy was in there,
everything was great and somebody else was in there and everything was bad.’ I
didn’t see it that way. We had trouble with guys going to the middle of the
field. We had trouble with the running game. All of those things were problems
at one point or another, and they are all things that we need to do better."
Whatever adjustments were made at the half, the Patriots need to do more of the
same next weekend in Arizona, or else we’ll see a repeat of that forgettable
"We have to look to where they got us and fix those areas," Bruschi said. "It’s
still early, so we’ve got time."
The Herald News
FOXBORO, Mass. (AP) New England linebacker Tedy Bruschi figures the streaking
Super Bowl champs were starting from scratch in the NFL season opener.``No one cares about last year,'' Bruschi said. ``The question is, `Can you do it again?'''On Thursday night in New England's 27-24 victory over Indianapolis, Patriots
linebacker Willie McGinest did, and Colts kicker Mike Vanderjagt didn't.
CBS 4 Denver: Sports National
On the Arizona Game Tribute to Pat Tillman
England helmets hanging from the locker of each player had already been affixed
with the "40" decals on Wednesday. Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi plans
to wear the decal honoring Tillman the rest of the season.
"It's something I'm proud to do," Bruschi said. "It's on my helmet right now.
I'm proud to wear that number on my helmet, not just for this week but I'll wear
it for the whole year for the sacrifice that Tillman made and the hero that he
showed he is. We're not talking about political views or anything like that.
We're talking about a hero. A hero that really sacrificed his life to really
show the spirit of America and make all of us here appreciate what we have and
be thankful of what we have because of people like him."
Official Website of the New England Patriots - 9/15/04 5:35:11 PM
The plan is for the Cardinals to wear the No. 40 decal for the remainder of
the season. Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi also intends to do so. He does not
concede the emotional lift solely to the Cardinals in Arizona's home-opener.
"I'm sure having a week dedicated to Pat Tillman is going to have (the
Cardinals) a little bit more emotionally charged," said Bruschi. "But I'm a
little bit more emotionally charged too, because of who he is and what he did."
Lowell Sun Online - Sports
Other nominees for AFC Defensive Player of Week 1 were:
- New England linebacker
Tedy Bruschi, who notched 12 tackles and an interception on New England's
1-yard line. Bruschi's interception was one of three turnovers forced by New
England in its red zone.
NFL.com - NFL
``Maybe with some of the teams we play, you can watch a regular-season game
or two and feel like we're prepared,'' said linebacker Tedy Bruschi, one of the
sextet that played against the Cardinals in the 27-3 New England victory at Sun
Devil Stadium, site of Sunday's game, in 1999. ``But for this one, we've really
got to do some deep film work on the beginning of the preseason, toward the end
of the preseason and really focus on the first regular-season game, too, to get
ourselves mentally prepared.''
There will be a lot of factors afoot in the game, not the least of which is
the Phoenix area's legendary mid-day heat. Forecasts for game time Sunday have
temperatures expected to hover near the 100-degree mark, one of the reasons why
Belichick has opted to bring the troops out to Arizona after practice ends on
``I went out there with my family in the offseason,'' said Bruschi, whose
playing days at the University of Arizona are almost a decade in the past, ``and
when we got there, the first thing we said to each other was, `It's hot!' That's
just what it is.''
The Sun Chronicle Newspaper
might not feel the effects as much because they’re used to rotating a number of
players in and out of the lineup at all positions, thereby insuring they’ll have
a fresh set of legs on the field at all times. Add that to the fact they’ll hold
a walkthrough Friday in 103-degree weather and it’s a safe bet they’ll be
prepared for the heat by Sunday.
Still, not all the players are wild about leaving on Thursday, including
linebacker Tedy Bruschi.
"Saturday would’ve been OK with me," Bruschi said.
Fellow linebacker Rosevelt Colvin added that the "downside is you don’t get to
see your family for the extra day."
The Middletown Press
Sunday, September 12, 2004
Bruschi hits all the right notes
Copyright © 2004 Blethen
Maine Newspapers Inc.
FOXBORO, Mass. — As usual, the crowd gathered quickly around
Tedy Bruschi's locker. Television cameras, microphones, notebooks. The media was
four-deep Thursday night after the New England Patriots defeated the
Indianapolis Colts 27-24 at Gillette Stadium, their semicircle around Bruschi's
locker partially blocking the entrance to the locker room.
Bruschi, now in his ninth season as a Patriots linebacker,
played a big role in the victory, with 12 tackles and a diving interception at
the 1-yard line to halt the Colts' first drive of the game.
One reporter congratulated Bruschi on the pick, and then
said, "You have tight end hands."
Actually, Bruschi has musician's hands.
Football, you see, is just part of Bruschi's life. He may hit
and scratch and claw for a living, but he has a much more artistic side.
He plays the soprano saxophone and the clarinet and when he
needs a break from the chaos that can be football, he makes time for his music.
"I was just blowing (the saxophone) last night," he said two
days before the Patriots' season opener. "Whenever I have a few minutes or the
kids are calm, I'll break it out a little.
"It just resets my mind, really. Sometimes it seems like I'm
constantly thinking about football and this is something that just sort of takes
me away a little bit, something that gets me back to being balanced and to being
And that means a lot to Bruschi because, he said, he won't
have football forever. But he will have his music.
He has twice been invited to play at Boston Symphony Hall in
a fund-raiser for the Longy School of Music, a conservatory and community music
school located near Harvard Square in Cambridge.
He was part of a saxophone ensemble that played Roger
Buckland's "Watch Your Step," back in June.
"That's one of my favorite things to do in the off-season, to
get together with the kids," said Bruschi. "You have a little fun. It's like I'm
back in middle school playing in front of crowds."
Yes, that's right, Bruschi was a member of the band back in
high school. His mom got him started in the boys' choir in the fourth grade and
he gradually moved to instruments. He didn't actually start playing organized
football until he was 14, and even then he continued to play in the band,
playing junior varsity games and then playing in the band for varsity games.
But before his junior year at Roseville (Calif.) High, he had
to make a choice because he was moving up to the varsity in football. "I chose
the cleats," said Bruschi. "I just liked being more physical. Music was always
fun, but hitting people sort of just came natural to me."
No kidding. Bruschi has become the face of New England's
defense. Undersized for an inside linebacker at 6-foot-1, 247 pounds, and not
especially fast, he nonetheless has become one of the NFL's premier linebackers.
His full-speed approach to the game - "Full Tilt, Full Time" says the poster in
his fan section - has endeared him to New England's fans.
Rodney Harrison, in his second year with the Patriots,
compares Bruschi to his former teammate in San Diego, Junior Seau. "He's just
hard-working, professional, consistent and he makes plays all over the field,"
said Harrison. "When you look at him, he's not the biggest, he's very
unassuming. But the guy plays like he's 6-5, 300 pounds. That's how much heart
he has in him."
He takes that heart to his music as well. To get ready to
play at Symphony Hall, he practiced and practiced and practiced.
"You practice a piece so long that when you get out there,
you sort of just let it go and you play," he said. "Sort of like football. You
get ready with a game plan and when game time comes around, you know what to do
and you just let your talent take over."
Bruschi's role with the Patriots has evolved over the years,
going from a special-teams player to a special linebacker. Of course, he had to
make the transition from defensive line in college - at Arizona, he tied the
NCAA career sack record of 52 (with the late Derrick Thomas) - to linebacker as
the pro. According to a pro football scouting guide, he ranks 14th among inside
linebackers, but is also considered the best playmaker.
"Tedy means a lot to our team, defense, special teams,
offense, everybody," Patriots Coach Bill Belichick said. "You know he loves the
game. He loves to practice. He is very enthusiastic and upbeat about whatever it
is he is doing.
"I think he sets a great example and is a good guy for any
player to watch in terms of preparation, playing style, toughness, instincts,
you name it."
Bruschi is now helping Dan Klecko, a second-year Patriot,
make that same transition. The two talk constantly and Bruschi is always willing
to spend extra time with Klecko.
"Even besides that, he's just a great guy," said Klecko, a
nose tackle in college. "He helps with everything, from making the team to
everything in life. He's a good guy to model yourself after."
The 31-year-old Bruschi said he's just trying to prepare
Klecko for the day he can play in the starting lineup.
That exemplifies why Bruschi is so important to the Patriots.
Just before training camp began, Bruschi signed a four-year contract extension
worth $8.1 million.
He still had a year remaining on his contract and could have
played out the season and ventured onto the free-agent market. Bruschi, who does
not have an agent and represents himself in negotiations, didn't want that.
"I really didn't want to speculate about what could have
happened after this year or anything like that," he said.
Bruschi probably could have received more money elsewhere as
a free agent, but that wasn't important to him.
"There are some things that are just more important to me,"
All you need to do is look in his locker at the photos of his
wife, Heidi, and sons Tedy Jr., and Rex, to know what he's talking about.
"Football is always going to be a game to me," he said. "I'm
fortunate enough that it also happens to be my job and it is able to pay the
bills. But to me it will always be a game. I've shown that it's more important
for me to stay and be where I'm happy."
And Bruschi couldn't see himself wearing a No. 54 of a
"I want to keep that Patriot 54 on as long as I can," he
"I will be (a Patriot for life)," he said. "I'm telling you
right now I won't play anywhere else. I want to be a Patriot."
And that's sweet music to the Patriots and their fans.
Bruschi hits all the right notes
No denying, Bruschi's a classic
By Glen Farley, Enterprise staff writer
FOXBORO — He is the New England Patriots' "Music Man."
"I'm not a football player," Patriots inside linebacker Tedy Bruschi says. "I
play football, but there's a lot more to me than that."
Perhaps, but there's no denying that since his selection in the third round
of the 1996 NFL draft, Bruschi's play has helped the Patriots strike the winning
chord that has produced three trips to the Super Bowl and two Vince Lombardi
With 12 tackles and a goal-line interception of a Peyton Manning pass in the
first quarter, Bruschi was at it again last Thursday night, helping the Patriots
play a winning tune in their 27-24 season-opening victory over the Indianapolis
Colts at Gillette Stadium.
Blue-collar tough and blessed with Erik Estrada good looks, Bruschi could be
described as the quintessential football hero.
On the contrary, though, in a league filled with trash-talkin', rappin' and
squawkin', Bruschi is unique.
Here is that rare NFL star who prefers Pavarotti to Puff Daddy.
"Seeing Luciano in Vegas was the coolest thing I did in the offseason," said
Bruschi. "My dad (Anthony Sr.) used to call me in the room and say, 'Hey, Tedy.
Sit down and listen to this.' To see (Pavarotti) live with my brother during the
offseason in Las Vegas was a real treat for me."
To put that in perspective, Bruschi is a fan of a man who has been singing
opera for longer than he has been alive.
"Prior to (seeing Pavarotti at Caesars Palace), I'd just listened to his CDs,
listened to his music," said Bruschi. "I love it. That's my father's influence
coming into me.
"I like the modern music, the top 20 stuff," said Bruschi, "but I've got as
much of (Andrea) Bocelli and Pavarotti as anything else."
As the number of 54 jerseys worn by the female segment of your typical
Foxboro crowd suggests, Bruschi exudes sex appeal.
But, to quote the man himself, there's a lot more to him than that.
Bruschi also has sax appeal.
"I was in fourth grade when I knew (the saxophone) was my instrument," said
Bruschi. "I absolutely fell in love with it."
Twenty-two years later, he's still at it.
"I played it (last Wednesday, the day before the season opener)," said
Bruschi. "Playing my sax, golf (are relaxing). Bad practice, I need to get my
mind off it because I don't want to take it home to my wife (Heidi, whom he met
at the University of Arizona) and kids (3-year-old Tedy Jr. and 2-year-old Rex).
That helps free my mind a little bit."
The problem is trying to find the free time to play it.
If an NFL player's in-season schedule isn't busy enough, Bruschi has the
added challenge of having two little ones around the house.
"You've got to keep it low a little bit at times because they're either
napping or when they're awake and you're playing, they want to push the
buttons," said Bruschi. "It's, like, 'OK. Just push the buttons.' And they're
saying, 'Can I blow, Daddy?' They're chipping the reeds and everything like
that, but it's fun. It's good to have the kids well rounded."
As a student-athlete at California's Roseville High, Bruschi was well rounded
to the point where he paid the price, arriving at school at 6-6:30 a.m. to
practice with the marching band, then staying late to practice with the football
Yes, Bruschi is one football player who truly marches to the beat of a
Developing into an all-conference, all-metro and all-northern California
defensive tackle at Roseville, Bruschi was ultimately forced to chose between
game plans and sheet music. Graduating from junior varsity to varsity football
as a junior, Bruschi opted for sacks over the sax, but he has never forgotten
his roots, which date back to the age of seven when he sang in a choir, moving
to the clarinet at age eight and then the saxophone at nine.
This past June 21, Bruschi was among those honored at a fundraiser that
raised more than $100,000 for the scholarship and outreach programs of the Longy
School of Music, a premier center for musical education located in Harvard
Square that is one of only eight independent music conservatories in the United
Bruschi was one of a select group of junior and senior saxophone ensembles
(he was a junior) that played Roger Buckland's "Watch Your Step" at Boston's
Just as he did before strapping on his helmet to bang heads with Manning,
Edgerrin James and Marvin Harrison in front of 68,756 fans and a national
television audience last Thursday night, Bruschi experienced them prior to
carrying his alto saxophone on stage to join 10 students from the Longy Junior
and Senior Ensembles.
"Like a game, after the first play, the first hit, in a concert after the
first note you're alright," said Bruschi. "It's the same in that way for me."
Just as he relies on the likes of Richard Seymour, Roman Phifer and Rodney
Harrison on game day, Bruschi relied on his musical teammates come show time.
"Toward the end, you think about the notes you missed," said Bruschi. "There
were a couple of notes I missed, but, just like a game where you might miss a
couple of assignments, you can get covered up. I was playing with 10 other
junior saxophonists, so your tenor sax next to you might cover up just like in a
game where you might mess up a play and a teammate might cover up for you. So it
works both ways."
The Enterprise at SouthofBoston.com
Here's a great article
that was the Sunday Herald (but wasn't online...)
Too small to read but here's a picture of the full spread:
I was able to Smart Capture it from my
online subscription however it was too big to get full pages large enough to
read so I needed to do it in chunks... Toggle between thumbnailed pictures
Always a step ahead
The Arizona Republic
Sept. 16, 2004 12:00 AM
Bruschi has played for New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick for so long
now that he's not surprised by the breadth or the intricacies of the game
plans handed to him each week.
No, Bruschi marvels at what happens on Sundays, when the clock is ticking, the
other team's offense is moving and the game plan needs altering.
"I've seen everything that Bill will eventually throw at us," said Bruschi, in
his ninth season out of Arizona, "and I can kind of anticipate what is going
to come. What surprises me a lot are some of the sideline adjustments he and
(defensive coordinator) Romeo Crennel make. Once something is giving us
problems, we'll come in at halftime or sideline adjust and get something fixed
right then and there."
That's what the Cardinals are dealing with Sunday in Belichick and the
Patriots: a coach known for imaginative game plans and willing to change on
"He's going to come out and present a lot of problems at the beginning of the
game," Cardinals coach Dennis Green said, "then he'll adjust and add
additional problems in the second quarter. He has been known to pile on, so
he'll come with more adjustments in the third quarter, and in the fourth
quarter you are going to see some things you never saw before."
That's one reason this game seems like such a mismatch. Green is in his first
year as coach of the Cardinals. He doesn't have a roster full of his kind of
players yet, and he certainly hasn't fully installed his system.
Belichick, in contrast, is in his sixth year with the Patriots, who have won
two Super Bowls in the past three years and have a 16-game winning streak, two
shy of the NFL record.
Belichick, though, brushes off that stuff as if it were lint on the
sweatshirts he loves to wear. What the Patriots are, he said, is 1-0 this
season. Nothing else is relevant.
"There's no championship team," he said. "There's been one game played this
year, and that's it. And so nobody's won anything, nobody's done anything."
Over the past three years, no other team has been as good as the Patriots at
doing whatever it takes to win. They'll do it by passing 48 times, as they did
in beating Carolina 32-29 to win the Super Bowl in February.
Or they can pound the ball, especially this year with the addition of running
back Corey Dillon.
Defensively, the Patriots can beat a team in myriad ways.
In a Week 1 27-24 victory over Indianapolis, they rushed just three linemen
about half the time, Green said. Against Cardinals quarterback Josh McCown,
making his fifth start Sunday, they could send everyone but the ballboys.
The problem, Green said, is determining what the Patriots will do from play to
play. On one play, their weakside linebacker will go one way. On another,
he'll do the opposite.
"All those things come from his willingness to be unpredictable and to have a
system that's so well-tuned," Green said of Belichick. "That continuity is
something most people don't have a chance to have."
In evaluating players, Belichick and Scott Pioli, the team's vice president of
player personnel, pay particular attention to mentality. Can a player handle
what the coaching staff will ask of him?
"I think really what it comes down to is, when you take a player onto your
team, you get everything that that player has," Belichick said. "You get his
mental makeup. You get his physical makeup. You get, to a certain degree, his
work ethic. You get his confidence.
"You may be able to improve some of those things marginally, but in the end,
you're getting the whole package, and you'd better be comfortable with that or
you're probably going to end up looking for another player."
Always a step ahead
Pats honor true patriot
By Brian Gomez
Monday, September 20, 2004
Ariz. - Hunched over near his locker inside Sun Devil Stadium,
paused for a moment to wipe some sweat from his brow, and then to gather his
thoughts about Pat Tillman.
``He's an American hero in my
mind, for what he did and for the sacrifices that he made,'' Bruschi said of
Tillman, the former Arizona Cardinals safety who was killed in Afghanistan five
On Sunday, Tillman, the first
NFL player killed in combat since the Vietnam War, was honored across the NFL,
as all players wore No. 40 decals on the back of their helmets. The Cardinals
paid tribute to their former player at halftime of the 23-12 loss to the
Patriots, including the presentation of a framed jersey with Tillman's name and
No. 40 to his widow, Marie.
``He represented the United
States, and he fought for us,'' said Pats punter Josh Miller, who, like Bruschi,
attended the University of Arizona. ``We were able to take our hat off to him
and his family.
ke Bruschi and Miller, Pats
linebacker Willie McGinest
acknowledged Tillman's sacrifices.
``He was a good player, and he
stood for a lot of things,'' McGinest said. ``Not a lot of guys would have done
what he did.''
As he jogged out of the tunnel
before the second half, Tom Brady
caught the tail end of the tribute, where fans unveiled a banner of Tillman's
jersey that covered about 40 rows. The gesture made the Pats quarterback put
things in perspective.
``What he gave to this country
and the sacrifices that he made gives everybody a great example of what a hero
he is,'' Brady said. ``He is the type of person you should look up to. What we
do by playing football doesn't hold a candle to what he did in his life, and the
actions he chose.''
Bruschi understood the
importance of Tillman's contributions well before the halftime ceremony.
``Without the tribute, I know
what kind of sacrifice he made,'' Bruschi said. ``I was proud to wear the 40 on
my helmet. I respect Pat Tillman, and I'm glad they did something for him.''
BostonHerald.com - Patriots: Pats honor true patriot
Bruschi Still Patriotic
Tedy Bruschi was one of the original enforcers of the
University of Arizona's legendary defense the Desert Swarm. Nearly nine years
later, he's showing he can still reek havoc in the desert.
"It was eerie to be out there again," Bruschi said following
his Patriots' win over the Arizona Cardinals. "I guess I'm five and oh now (at
Sun Devil Stadium). I won here at the Fiesta Bowl and all my college career.
It's good to come away with a win."
While his New England team rides a 17 game winning streak,
Bruschi, who tied the NCAA record with 52 sacks as a Arizona Senior, still finds
time to follow his Alma Mater. "I know they lost in the final minute with missed
kick but I'm confident Coach Stoops will bring us back," Bruschi said.
Bruschi's allegiance is unwavering for his Patriots too. He's
been in New England since being drafted in the third round. During the
off-season he signed an 8.1 million dollar contract extent ion over the next
four years that included a 3.5 million dollar signing bonus.
"I've been here 9 years and I hope to finish here," Bruschi
Notes and Quotes: 09/19/04
On Emmitt Smith
`Once you get into
your 15th year, I'm sure I can pop in some film from his sixth, seventh or
eighth year, and see things he's not able to do now,'' Patriots linebacker
Tedy Bruschi said of Smith. ``Back then, he was
doing such amazing things. But still, what he does now, is still darn good.
``I saw him in preseason, and last week, where he ran for that touchdown, and I
said to myself, `Man, he's still got it.' He can still do things when his number
is called upon.''
BostonHerald.com - Patriots: The lead runner: Old pro Smith can still show the
youngsters a step or two
We anticipated them getting the ball early and they had some success early,
especially in the early drive," said Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi, alluding
to Smith gaining 8 yards on each of his first two carries. "But we made a few
sideline adjustments and we realize [Smith] is still a threat and we respect
Boston.com / Sports / Football / Patriots / Stop signs align for defense
Report Card: Linebackers: A-
Ted Johnson and Roman Phifer, the rotation at inside linebacker, combined
for only four tackles because they were able to shut down Smith early, take him
out of the equation and force Arizona to go with the passing game.
BostonHerald.com - Patriots:Report Card
Shula backs Belichick:
Downplaying streak is perfect approach
By Michael Felger/ Patriots Insider
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
- At some point the Patriots are going to have to
admit they've won 17 straight games - and counting. They're going to have to
acknowledge their place in the NFL history books. They can't deny it forever,
Bill Belichick [news]
would like his players to do just that. As
likes to say, the Pats have merely won one game 17 times. That's
the company line, and it permeates the locker room, where every player is told
not to believe the hype.
According to one former coach
who knows a thing or two about streaks, that's the only approach to take.
Rest of article here:
BostonHerald.com - Patriots:
On Facing High
what you have to do is acknowledge [expectations] first and foremost, because
it's on TV, it's in the newspapers, it's in the locker room when the media comes
in and you're asked about it," Tedy Bruschi said. "So you have to talk about it.
I think you just acknowledge it, respect it, and realize that it's there. You
try not to focus on things you did last year. You move on and realize that we've
won two games this year and try to make it three."
This system of dismissing expectations and dealing with the task at hand through
preparation and strict focus appears firmly in place for the Patriots. This team
has discovered a formula of doing things it's own way. Ironically, it's the
exact winning success that this system has produced that leads to the
expectations the team must now deal with.
"We've been in such a mode for so long," Bruschi said. "Just going, and I think
[coach] Belichick does such a great job of just continuing to harp on it. In the
team meetings and practices he's just harping on what we have to do to win that
week, and I think he's done a good job of that."
Official Website of the New England Patriots - 9/24/04 5:11:01 PM
Patriots awe rookie
The Arizona Republic
Sept. 24, 2004 12:00 AZ
Receiver Larry Fitzgerald is
only 21 and has experienced two NFL games. But he can't imagine a team defending
him better than New England did last week.Fitzgerald caught five passes for 36
yards against the Patriots, but most of them were harmless short slants.
"It just showed me how much harder I have to work to get on that level one day,"
he said. "I've never played against a cornerback the caliber of Ty Law.
You come out of the huddle and you see (linebackers) Willie McGinest and
Tedy Bruschi. They have so many guys that are Pro Bowl-caliber players."
Patriots awe rookie receiver
September 23, 2004 06:32 PM
NFL Players ''Drafted'' by United Way
ALEXANDRIA, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept.
23, 2004--The National Football League and United Way team has added nine new
players to the roster for the 2004 public service advertising campaign kicking
off the 30th season of these popular ads which focus on community involvement.
The new campaign debuts this month with the start of the 2004 NFL season on ABC,
CBS, FOX and ESPN to an audience of more than 100 million people weekly. After
three decades, the series has featured nearly 1,000 spots and it is the
longest-running charitable collaboration of its kind.
"United Way Draft," the creative concept behind the new ad series, is a
spin-off of the NFL Draft. But rather than drafting players into professional
football, United Way is drafting featured players and millions of volunteers
into civic engagement by encouraging them to get involved in their local
communities around the country.
"For more than 30 years, the NFL has helped United Way show millions of
Americans what can be accomplished when people work together in their community
and truly make a difference," said United Way of America president and CEO,
BRIAN GALLAGHER. "With this latest campaign, we hope to inspire even more
Americans to get involved in the things they care about most and help improve
This year's United Way "Draftees" include: TEDY BRUSCHI of the New England
Patriots, KEVIN CARTER of the Tennessee Titans, BRIAN DAWKINS of the
Philadelphia Eagles, MARSHALL FAULK of the St. Louis Rams, EDWIN MULITALO of the
Baltimore Ravens, CHAD PENNINGTON of the New York Jets, ANTWAAN RANDLE EL of the
Pittsburgh Steelers, MIKE RUCKER of the Carolina Panthers and BRIAN URLACHER of
the Chicago Bears.
NFL Players ''Drafted'' by United Way;
A man of many talents
Sunday, September 26, 2004
Tedy Bruschi has established himself as one of the most productive and
popular New England Patriots. The 31-year-old linebacker and team captain
contributes on both defense and special teams. A third-round draft choice out of
Arizona, the California native has spent his entire nine-year career with the
team. There is more to No.54 than football, however. He serves as his own agent
and also plays the alto saxophone, twice performing alongside others at Symphony
Hall in Boston as part of the Longy School of Music's annual gala. Tedy and his
wife Heidi have two sons, Tedy, Jr., and Rex, with a third on the way.
Q: How did you first become involved in football?
A: Football was an accident for me, really. I had moved up to
Roseville, California from San Francisco. I moved up there for the second half
of my eighth-grade year, met some friends and then going into high school
orientation, I saw a few of those friends. They waved me over. Down by their
feet, they had some cleats and a cooler. I asked them what they were for, and
then said, 'We're going to go and try out for the football team, and you should
come.' So I said sounds like fun, and I went.
Q: You play the saxophone and have even performed in public. How did
your interest in music develop?
A: It was suggested to me by my mother (laughter). She initially
wanted my brother Tony to sing in a boys choir, and my brother didn't want to do
it. I said I'd do it. Of course, I was so young, around 7 years old. My brother
was close to 10. ... We both ended up doing it. That's how I initially got into
music. I ventured into playing the clarinet, which was my first instrument, then
moved to the alto saxophone.
Q: Those are two time-consuming activities. At what point did they
A: They clashed around my junior year in high school. My freshman and
sophomore years I played my freshmen or junior varsity football game, then I
would change and play at halftime of the varsity game. I would change uniforms
and go out there and play (the sax). When I was a junior I was on the varsity
football team, and I couldn't do both. I couldn't change my uniform at halftime
and go out there and perform. (laughter). I had to make a choice, and I liked
football a little bit more.
Q: You still play quite a bit, practicing frequently in the off-season
and even some during the season. What does it do for you?
A: It's like going to the golf course. It just takes my mind off
things. I always think about football. I try to leave it here (at Gillette
Stadium), but I think about football at home. I think about plays, I think about
games, I think about opponents. When I play my instrument or I'm out there
hitting some golf balls, it really just clears my mind, and I just get in such a
relaxed mood where I find myself a lot more enjoyable to be around.
Q: So it's challenging but not competitive?
A: My whole life is based on competition when I'm here. I welcome my
music when I don't have to compete with anyone, except with myself in terms of
trying to get better.
Q: There must be some pressure when you play in front of people?
A: Yeah, there is. That's when I say to myself there's a lot of people
out there, and I get into my game mode, go out there and do what you do. After
the first note, you feel better, just like after the first play in football.
Q: You talk about your Mom getting you involved in music, but your Dad
influenced you as well. Can you talk about the memorable concert you went to
A: Luciano Pavarotti, that was probably the highlight of my
off-season. My father would motion me into the room (when I was kid) and say,
'Hey Ted, listen to this song.' It would be Luciano on his record player, he
would sit there, have a glass of wine and listen to Luciano Pavarotti's music. I
would sit there and listen, too. I sort of learned from my father as I sat there
Q: Now you say you're not competitive in golf, but I heard you are
competitive if you are playing your brother Tony.
A: That's true, that's true. My brother doesn't play football, so we
have our little games out there. Not too many words were said when we were
playing. It got to the point where we said, 'OK, we're not competing this time,
let's just play and have fun.'
Q: Your wife was a high school volleyball coach for a while and a
talented athlete as well. Is she as competitive as you?
A: She was a Division I softball player and volleyball player at
Arizona. She has a lot of athletics in her background, and she is just as
competitive as me. When I would watch her coach, it was more of the same.
Q: You serve as your own agent, pretty unusual in a sport with
complicated contracts as well as a salary cap. Did you feel uneasy about that at
A: It was a scary a little bit, but I trusted the information that was
given me through the players' union and the information I got from other
players. I was real confident that I was smart enough to handle it and confident
enough that a good deal could be hammered out no matter who I dealt with. To do
that, I also knew I wasn't going to have another voice telling me that possibly
I'd have to switch teams (to make more money).
Q: You've said before you're more interested in security and
continuity than chasing a few extra bucks.
A: When I was a kid growing up, I felt players moving and coaches
moving, it really took away from being a fan of the NFL. I like football, I like
watching it, but I really couldn't follow a team because it seemed like a team
was totally different the next year. I made it one of my goals to try my best to
stick with the same team before I got drafted. I've tried to do everything I
could to make that happen.
Q: What was like when you realized you became pretty popular, when
people starting recognizing you and looking up to you?
A: Every time I see a "54" jersey I'm still surprised. I see someone
in the stands with my jersey and name on the back, I sort of shake my head and
can't believe someone is wearing my jersey.
Q: Does that popularity add any pressure, any sense that you are a
role model? Do you start to think hey, people are watching me?
A: I do think of that. I want to be a role model for kids and show
them the right things to do, but I don't want to put too much pressure on myself
to do that because I want to be a role model for my family, for my two sons, for
my third son that is on the way. If I just focus being the best man, the best
father and husband I can be, I think that's all I should really focus on.
Q: You've been in the league for a while now. Are you a guy who wants
to play football as long as you absolutely can, or do you think you might be
someone who reaches a point where you figure you have accomplished enough and
you want to try some different things?
A: I think I'm a guy who is
smart enough to know when it's time to move on in my life. I'm in my ninth year
now. After every year, I take an inventory, talk to my family about how I'm
feeling and how our life is at that particular point, and that's when I make the
decision about whether it's time to keep playing or stop.
A man of many talents
Nearing a decade of service in NFL, Bruschi loyal to
took his wedding ring out of his travel bag, kissed it, slipped it on the
proper finger and walked into the adoring light.
About 100 New England Patriots
fans, some wearing No. 54 Bruschi jerseys, hailed Bruschi as he left the
locker room following a 23-12 victory over the Cardinals on Sunday.
It has become a routine. A former
UA All-America defensive end, Bruschi improved to 5-0 at Sun Devil Stadium,
even if this one seemed a bit surreal.
"It was sort of eerie out there
walking out there," he said. "I think I should be wearing No. 68 (his UA
number), wearing an 'A' on my helmet."
Still, it was another in a series
of A-list days. After winning his second Super Bowl in three years Feb. 1,
Bruschi did not exactly sit around polishing his ring.
In the interim, Bruschi has:
● Visited the White House;
● Attended opening day at Fenway
● Leveled the back yard in his Las
Vegas home to create more play room for his two sons, with a third on the way;
● And, oh yes, signed a four-year,
$8.1 million contract that included a $3.5 million signing bonus.
Nine years after tying an NCAA
record for sacks, Bruschi has a firm grasp on his future, too.
"The Pats are my team, the place I
want to stay," said Bruschi, 31.
"I've been with them through ups
and downs, and I don't see why I shouldn't finish with them."
Nor they with him.
"He's got a lot of energy. He's a
real upbeat guy. He's a very emotional guy, which is great for our team,"
coach Bill Belichick said after the Patriots limited the Cardinals to 167
"He's smart. He's made the
transition from being a down lineman in college to not only being a
linebacker, but being a coverage linebacker, not just a rush linebacker. He's
a great team player."
Another connection to the past was
made at halftime, when former ASU and Cardinals safety Pat Tillman was
Tillman was killed in Afghanistan
last spring while serving as an Army Ranger. All NFL teams wore Tillman's No.
40 on their helmets Sunday.
Bruschi and Tillman never met but
they had a lot in common. Bruschi was the Pac-10 defensive player of the year
in 1995; Tillman won that award in 1998.
"I was proud to wear the '40' on my
helmet today. He's an American hero in my mind, for what he did and the
sacrifices he made," Bruschi said.
About 50 family members and friends
watched Bruschi play, including former UA teammates Jim Hoffman and Chris
"It's nice to have a homecoming
when I come back here," Bruschi said.
Bruschi draws a crowd in the
Northeast, too. There are two Internet fan sites devoted to Bruschi, a fan
favorite who has adopted the "Full Tilt, Full Time" motto of the fans in
Section 116 at Gillette Stadium.
A New England football signed by
Bruschi was going for $106.95 Sunday on the Internet. His autographed
throwback No. 54 red jersey is sold out, although a few in the crowd had them
"My family is great. My career has
gone OK to this point," Bruschi said with typical modesty.
"I'm just trying to keep it going.
Today was (New England linebacker) Roman Phifer's 200th career NFL game. I
look to him in terms of longevity.
"Hopefully I can play as well and
as long as he has."
Notes and Quotes: 09/27/04
On Drew Bledsoe:
The Pats have noticed on film that Bills quarterback Drew Bledsoe is making a
concerted effort at unloading the ball quicker. ``I've seen him hit a number of
check-downs already in the last couple of weeks,'' said linebacker
``He'll look downfield and immediately come back to a tight end or back in the
flat. I think he's getting better at that, yeah.'' . . .
BostonHerald.com - Patriots: Wilfork eager to see ex-mate McGahee
Quarterback Drew Bledsoe facing his former team? It's an old storyline, said
Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi. "I think we're used to seeing him
as our opponent now," Bruschi said. Bledsoe agreed that "it's not the same as it
was a couple of years ago" but acknowledged "it is still definitely a date on
the calendar that I am very aware of."
Daily News Transcript - Sports Coverage
To be sure, the Patriots will go after Bledsoe, as the Bills’ offensive line has
struggled for over a year trying to protect him. “You realize you’re going
to have a chance to get there, but you’re going to have to beat the protection
schemes,” Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi said. “I’ve seen a number of
checkdowns the last few weeks, seen him look downfield and then come back to a
back or a tight end. I think he’s getting better at that.”
The Telegraph Online
On Travis Henry:
Buffalo (0-2) has struggled on offense the first two games, averaging only
242.5 yards per game. The Bills, though, do have a rugged runner in Travis Henry
who seems to have earned the genuine respect of the Patriots (2-0). The biggest
knock on Henry has been that he fumbles too much. "I think he is one of the
hardest runners in the NFL," New England linebacker Tedy Bruschi said. "You
really need to wrap up on him and tackle this guy because he's established you
can't arm tackle because of his strength."
Run defense must face another test
FOXBORO - Streak? What streak?
That, predictably, is the approach the
news] are taking toward their quest to match the NFL's unofficial record of
18 straight victories on Sunday in Buffalo. The players say it all means
nothing to them and, with their history, you just might be able to believe them.
``When you win 16 or 17 in a row, there's a reason why we've gotten here and
that's taking it one game at a time,'' said linebacker
Tedy Bruschi [news],
spouting the cliche they've proven true over and over again. ``We've always
looked at it as one game and all of sudden, here we are and you've racked up a
bunch in a row and people want to ask you about it. But we're still going to
approach it the same way, focusing on the opponent you have that week.''
BostonHerald.com - Patriots: Mum's the word on streak
On The Red Sox...
Down in Foxboro, where the Patriots play, no one is taking October off. If
the Patriots beat the Bills on Sunday in Buffalo, they will go for the record,
19 consecutive wins, the following week at home against Miami.Will anyone notice
if the Red Sox are still alive? "I don't really care about the streak,"
linebacker Tedy Bruschi said. "We've only won two games. Those other games were
last year. "This is crunch time in baseball. People are excited about the Red
Sox. I'm excited, too. But they'll be just as excited for us when we get
| 09/29/2004 | In New England, Patriots win titles, but Red Sox are heart and
On Matt Chatham:
Many of his teammates, while kidding him about the article, were also
surprised to find Chatham had another talent. ``On the field, and in the
locker room, guys put on a certain persona. Like a lot of people didn't know I
played the saxophone,'' said
``Chatham's the same way. It's like, `What, he really did something for the
magazine? He can actually write?' So I was really surprised by it.''
BostonHerald.com - Patriots: Take this job and love it: Matt Chatham, Jarvis
Green moonlight with eye on the future
Notes and Quotes: 10/05/04
Pats still a bit streaky
By Kevin Mannix/ Report Card
Tuesday, October 5, 2004
Tedy Bruschi should have been voted to the Pro Bowl last year, a slight
that won't be repeated this year. He's been dominant, making big plays when the
game is on the line. His forced fumble against Bledsoe was the play of the game,
just as his interception turned the Colts game in the Pats' direction. He
finished with seven tackles (tied for the team high) with two sacks and a forced
BostonHerald.com - Patriots: Pats still a bit streaky
Belichick on Bruschi
Belichick lauded linebacker Tedy Bruschi for his playmaking ability. Bruschi,
of course, stripped Bills quarterback Drew Bledsoe in the fourth quarter to set
up Richard Seymour's game-sealing touchdown return.
"I think that there are certain players that sometimes you can't even
find the right word or the right identification, but you just know that they are
playmakers. They just have a knack for making plays. They have an instinct for
the ball or an instinct for the situation. They just seem to make the right
decision at the right time and not always do the same thing. They could have the
same situation come up a couple of times, one time do one thing, one time do
something else, but it's the right thing. Tedy is one of those players.
"He's very instinctive. He's been a high producer at
every level of football he's ever played, regardless of what position it's been
at, line, linebacker, special teams. Whatever he's asked to do, he's a good
football player. He's the type of guy you want on the field in every situation."
MetroWest Daily News - Sports Coverage
Pete Prisco on Bruschi:
Give me 22 Tedy Bruschi's and I'll beat you every Sunday. That
guy is a football player, pure and simple. He had seven tackles and two sacks
against the Bills. Bruschi is worth every penny the Patriots pay him. If every
player in the league played with the passion of Bruschi, we would have better
football. I love that guy.
CBS.SportsLine.com - NFL Week 4 Review: Few certainties in parity-driven NFL
Player of the Week... Week 4
DEFENSE: LB TEDY BRUSCHI, NEW ENGLAND
The Patriots' Bruschi chalked-up eight tackles, including 2.0 sacks, in
a 31-17 victory at Buffalo for the team's 18th consecutive victory -- one
win away from netting the longest winning streak in NFL history. The nine-year
veteran from Arizona forced a game-clinching Buffalo fumble on fourth-and-3 at
the New England 17-yard line as the Patriots clung to a 24-17 lead with 2:59
left in regulation. After forcing the fumble, Bruschi had the presence of mind
to get up and block the nearest Buffalo player to enable teammate Richard
Seymour to run 68 yards for a touchdown after recovering the loose ball. The
game was the third of Bruschi's career in which he produced multiple sacks.
This is the third Player of the Week distinction for the 6-1, 247-pounder,
all of which have been awarded since Week 2 of last season.
NFL.com - NFL
Patriots win a
October 9, 2004
Just look at some of the
plays that have extended the streak:
* Tedy Bruschi's strip
of Drew Bledsoe as Buffalo threatened to tie last Sunday's game. Richard Seymour
returned it 68 yards for the clinching touchdown. McGinest and Bruschi seem to
be the biggest big play men: Bruschi's interception return last season was the
only TD in a 12-0 win over Miami.
Patriots win a different way
Game Preview: Miami at New England
Oct 9, 2004
Bruschi has been a full-time starter since 1999, his fourth year in the
league. Since then, he's developed a reputation as a big-time playmaker with
nine interceptions, 38 pass breakups, nine forced fumbles, three fumble
recoveries and four defensive touchdowns. Of course, that touchdown total
doesn't include the one
Seymour scored last week when he picked up a fumble forced by Bruschi and
ran 68 yards for a touchdown. In three games this season, Bruschi has
Manning at the goal line, forced that aforementioned fumble in Buffalo and
notched a pair of sacks. "I think with some players you can't even find the
right word or the right identification, but you just know they are
playmakers," head coach
Belichick said. "They have an instinct for the ball or an instinct for the
situation. They just seem to make the right decision at the right time. Tedy
is one of those players.
PatriotsInsider.com: Game Preview: Miami at New England
He's in position to succeed
Versatile Bruschi still a driving force
FOXBOROUGH -- In his ninth year with the Patriots, Tedy
Bruschi has continued to defy description. Is he a defensive lineman in a
linebacker's body? Or is he a linebacker with a defensive lineman's demeanor?
"I think there's certain players that sometimes you can't
even find the right word or right identification," said Patriots coach Bill
Belichick in trying to define Bruschi as a player. "But you just know they're
Ah, now there's a word that seems to best suit Bruschi --
"Tedy's one of those players," Belichick said.
Bruschi proved that much in Sunday's 31-17 victory over the
Bills, registering two of New England's seven sacks against Buffalo quarterback
Drew Bledsoe, marking Bruschi's third multiple-sack game of his career.
"I came in as a defensive lineman and I had to learn how to
play linebacker," said Bruschi, who has consistently re-invented himself since
he was drafted in the third round of the 1996 draft as a standout defensive end
from the University of Arizona. "I tried to take my game to the next level every
year -- not just in terms of statistics, but in terms of improving every year as
"You get to a certain point where you can make tackles, you
can make sacks and you can make interceptions, but can you take it to the next
level and help your team score and get the ball in the end zone or do something
that affects someone to help them get the ball in the end zone?"
Bruschi's first takedown of Bledsoe proved pivotal, resulting
in a forced fumble as Bledsoe tried a play-action bootleg on a fourth-and-3
attempt from the New England 17 with 2:59 left and the Bills trailing, 24-17. It
produced the game's biggest play when Richard Seymour scooped up the loose ball
and returned it 68 yards for a clinching touchdown.
Bruschi, though, instinctively sniffed out the play-action
well before the ball was snapped to Bledsoe. "I sort of had a feeling the way it
looked; the demeanor of the offensive line, and the running back [Travis Henry],
and the way Drew had more of a drop-back action," he said, describing what he
saw before Buffalo's ill-fated fourth-down attempt. "I felt it was a pass, so I
just went for the quarterback instead of the running back."
The ball had no sooner been snapped when Bruschi found
himself in Bledsoe's face, poking the ball loose.
"Well, the ball was close when it first came loose and it was
either me or Drew," Bruschi said. "One thing I wanted to do was not let Drew get
it, so I tried to sort of pick him up a little bit and separate him from the
ball. I knew he had better position on it than I did, and I had to hope for the
next best thing, which was to hope that one of my teammates would come and get
Seymour pounced, but he never would have scored his first TD
as a pro were it not for Bruschi's heads-up play.
"That's Tedy," said safety Rodney Harrison. "Tedy's always
around the ball. He's constantly coming up with the big play and he's always
delivering for us."
Just as he did the last time Miami visited Foxborough.
Playing before a Gillette Stadium crowd of 68,436 that braved
a snowstorm last December, Bruschi helped the Patriots clinch the AFC East
Division title with a 12-0 shutout of the Dolphins.
Bruschi helped break open a 3-0 game by scoring the game's
only touchdown on a 5-yard interception return of a Jay Fiedler pass, triggering
a memorable reaction from the crowd, which celebrated the play by tossing snow
into the air in perfect synchronization with Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll, Part
"I don't think it'll be snowing Sunday," Bruschi said with a
laugh, referring to the Patriots' AFC East showdown against the winless Dolphins
at 1 p.m. at Gillette Stadium. "Maybe it will, you never know. But, yeah, that
was a memorable moment from last year and how the fans reacted, you usually
can't have a reaction like that because you don't usually have a storm during
the game, that close to the game.
"It was something people will talk about, it was last year,
but it was something I'll remember. That's one of the greatest crowd reactions
I've ever been around, to see the snow go up in the air like that. It was
something that you don't forget."
It only served to underscore Bruschi's uncanny play-making
"He's very instinctive and he's been a high producer at every
level of football he's ever played, regardless of what position it's been at --
line, linebacker, special teams," Belichick said. "Whatever he's asked to do,
he's just a good football player. He's the type of guy you want in every
situation. [Special teams coach] Brad [Seely] would love to have him on every
special teams. You'd love to have him on every play, defensively.
"He's the type of player you have a lot of confidence in and
he's a very productive player. He finds a way to get it done -- not always the
most conventional way of doing it, because he's got his own unique playing
And that's precisely what drew the Patriots to draft Bruschi.
"I remember when we sat in the draft room and took him, the
conversation was, `Look, we're taking him, we're taking a good football player,
we don't know what we're going to do with him exactly, but we figure we'll find
something,' " Belichick said. "He was a third-round pick. It was a significant
pick. It wasn't like he was a throwaway guy in the ninth round or something."
The Patriots converted Bruschi into a linebacker, working him
on the outside of their 3-4 defense. He moved from outside to inside linebacker
where "he became a third-down, sub-rusher for us," Belichick said.
"It was clear pretty quickly that not only was he going to
make our football team, but he was going to help our football team -- and he did
in his rookie year in 1996," Belichick said.
"And he was a lot of fun to be around. A high-energy guy, a
great guy to coach."
Belichick then offered the perfect description of Bruschi
when he said of his playmaker, "He's just a football player." . . .
Boston.com / Sports / Football / Patriots / He's in position to succeed
Bruschi comes up big again
By Steve Conroy
Tuesday, October 5, 2004
Bill Belichick clearly
recalled yesterday the discussion he had regarding
in 1996 when the Patriots were thinking of drafting him.
Bruschi didn't fit the mold of an NFL defensive lineman, the position he played
at Arizona. His level of achievement, however, in the Wildcats' ``Desert Swarm''
defense was hard to ignore. He had 52 career sacks, tying him with the late
Derrick Thomas for the Division 1 record, he was a two-time finalist for the
Lombardi Award and he was his team's MVP.
conversation was, `We're taking him, we're taking a good football player. We
don't know what we're going to do with him exactly, but we'll find something,'
'' said Belichick, an assistant on Bill Parcells' staff at the time.
established his position on the team as a rookie and has displayed an uncanny
penchant for making game-breaking plays ever since.
He did it again
Sunday in Buffalo when, on fourth-and-3 at the Patriots' 17-yard line with the
Bills driving for what could have been a tying score late in the fourth quarter,
he broke through the line of scrimmage. Before quarterback Drew Bledsoe knew
what to do, Bruschi was on top of him, knocking the ball out of his hands so
could scoop it up and run it
back for a touchdown.
certain players that sometimes you can't even find the right word or right
identification for, but they just have a knack for making plays,'' Belichick
said. ``They have an instinct for the ball or the situation and they just seem
to make the right decision at the right time. And he might not do the same thing
in the same situation . . . but it's the right thing, and Tedy's one of those
instinctive. He's been a high producer at every level of football he's ever
played, regardless of what position it's been - line, linebacker, special teams.
He's just a good football player. He's the type of guy you want on the field in
every situation. . . . He finds a way to get it done.''
His play Sunday
was just the latest in a long line of big plays made during the team's run to
two Super Bowl wins.
``That's what I
feel that not only I can do, but also other guys,'' Bruschi said. ``Willie (McGinest)
has taken interceptions to the house, (Mike) Vrabel's made big plays,
and our DBs score also. I think a lot
of us are capable of not only getting a turnover, but turning turnovers into
He's the only
player in NFL history to return four consecutive interceptions for TDs, the most
recent of which was his 5-yard return against the Dolphins last season that
clinched the AFC East title and set off the memorable snow-tossing celebration
at Gillette Stadium.
something that's happened by accident,'' he said. ``Ever since I came in the
league - I came in as a defensive lineman and I had to learn how to play
linebacker - I've tried to take my game to the next level every year.''
BostonHerald.com - Patriots: Bruschi comes up big again
Patriots' Bruschi continues to
stop at nothing to come out on top
The veteran linebacker will do anything to get past
his blocker and get to the ballcarrier. "If you can't go left or right," he
says, "you have to go over him."
01:00 AM EDT on Tuesday, October 5, 2004
As some of his teammates grooved to music, chatted on cell phones or
participated in the daily game of cutthroat dominoes, Tedy Bruschi slowly
dragged his tired body across the New England Patriots' locker room yesterday
morning. As he settled into his locker, someone asked the 31-year old veteran if
he was sore.
"Did you see the game?" Bruschi said. "It was real physical
out there yesterday."
It's easy to see why Mondays aren't Bruschi's favorite day of
the week. On Sunday, Bruschi was one of the stars in the Patriots' 31-17 win
over the Buffalo Bills, a game where he threw his body all over Ralph Wilson
Stadium just like he has in virtually all 123 games of his career.
"I like going airborne," Bruschi said of his aggressive play.
"If you can't go left or right, you have to go over him."
It's a style that's led to a host of big plays, the type of
plays that decide football games. Bruschi played a central part in the game's
biggest play on Sunday when he blitzed Drew Bledsoe late in the fourth quarter,
stripped the ball from the Buffalo quarterback and watched lineman Richard
Seymour scoop up the loose ball and ramble 68 yards for a game-breaking
Despite an advanced age for an NFL linebacker, Bruschi, 31,
seems to possess that special knack for always being around the football. In his
nine seasons, Bruschi has 9 interceptions, 22.5 sacks and 4 touchdowns off
"That's what I feel I can do," Bruschi said about his
playmaking skills. "Not only me, but Willie (McGinest) has taken interceptions
to the house, (Mike) Vrabel's made big plays. Ty Law, of course, we feel our
(defensive backs) can score also. There's a bunch of us out there on defense who
can make a play and get a turnover, but also turn a turnover into points."
Bruschi's heroics, especially late in a game, are so routine
they seldom surprise either his teammates or coach Bill Belichick.
"Some things you can't teach," said safety Rodney Harrison.
"He has that awareness you can't teach. He's always around the ball and will
make the big play."
Belichick was asked yesterday just what it is that makes
Bruschi such a difference maker.
"There are certain players where sometimes you can't find the
right word or the right identification. You just know they're playmakers," the
coach said. "They have a knack for making plays, an instinct for the ball or an
instinct for the situation. They just seem to make the right decision at the
right time. Tedy's one of those players. He's been a high producer at every
level of football he's played, regardless of the position he's been at. Line,
linebacker, special teams, whatever he's asked to do, he's just a good football
player. He's the type of guy you want on the field in every situation."
Coming out of the University of Arizona as a star pass
rusher, some scouts weren't sure if Bruschi could make it in the NFL. At 6-1 and
247 pounds, he was labeled too small for defensive end and maybe too slow for
linebacker. The Pats, however, saw a productive player who tied the NCAA record
with 52 quarterback sacks. Former coach and general manager Bill Parcells
grabbed him with a third-round pick in the 1996 draft.
"I remember when we sat in the draft room the conversation
was 'We're taking him. We're taking a good football player and we don't know
what we'll do with him exactly,"' said Belichick. "Once he got here, it was
clear pretty quickly that not only was he going to make our football team but
that he was going to help our football team. That was in 1996. He's a fun guy to
coach. He's a football player."
When you string together the type of career Bruschi has, fans
and coaches start looking for cracks in the armor. When will Bruschi's body
start to break down. When will the injuries take their toll? When will his legs
slow to the point where he's no longer effective?
Bruschi says he thinks about such things now but he's faced
challenges before. He's helped the Patriots to two Super Bowl victories in three
appearances and remains a key to the team's fortunes.
"Ever since I came into the league, I had to learn how to
play linebacker and I had to take my game to the next level every year. I had to
keep improving as a player," he said. "You get to the point where you can make
tackles and make sacks and make interceptions, but can you take it to the next
level and help your team score and do something that helps the team win? That's
what we're after."
projo.com | Providence, R.I. | Patriots
Bruschi Named AFC Defensive Player of the Week
By: Ian Logue/PatsFans.com
October 06, 2004
New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi has been named the AFC Defensive
Player of the Week for his performance against the Buffalo Bills last Sunday.
Bruschi chalked-up eight tackles, including 2 sacks, during New England's
31-17 win over the Bills.
Leading 24-17 the veteran linebacker forced a game-clinching Buffalo fumble
on 4th-and-3 at the New England 17-yard line with 2:59 left in the game, which
teammate Richard Seymour scooped up and ran back 68 yards for a touchdown. The
play sealed the victory for the Patriots who have won 18 consecutive games.
This is the third Player of the Week distinction Bruschi has received, all of
which have been awarded since Week 2 of last season.
history: Pats close in on NFL legends, dating to Halas Era
By Kevin Mannix
Sunday, October 10, 2004
FOXBORO -- Should the
news] do the expected and beat the Dolphins today to extend their winning
streak to 19 games, they WON'T set an NFL record. The league doesn't recognize
postseason games in its official book of records.
As far as the league anals are concerned, the record for consecutive
victories is 17 straight, set by the 1933-34 Bears of the George ``Papa Bear''
Halas Era -- Bronko Nagurski, Red Grange and the rest of the Monsters of the
Midway. Using that league mandated criterion, the Patriots have won 15 straight
and won't get a chance to share the record until next week against the Seahawks
with a shot to break it the following week against the J-E-T-S.
Record or not, what this team has accomplished over the past calendar
year is extraordinary. Should they win today, they will have surpassed the 18
consecutive victory totals compiled by some dominant, Hall of Fame-laden teams.
There were those early Bears of Halas, Nagurski and Grange. There were
the 1941-42 Bears, who in the middle of a 33-2-1 run, had 18 consecutive
victories, each by at least 10 points, and featured Sid Luckman and Bulldog
Turner. There were the 1972-73 Dolphins who won back-to-back titles and had six
Hall of Famers, including former Patriot Nick Buoniconti. Then there were the
1989-90 49ers with Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and Ronnie Lott, and the 1997-98
Broncos of John Elway, Terrell Davis and Shannon Sharpe.
Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers never managed that. Neither did Chuck
Noll's Steelers or Jimmy Johnson's Cowboys.
And here are the Patriots, YOUR New England Patriots, on the verge of
history, still following the lead of their head coach, still shrugging off their
Pretty good stuff there, huh,
Deep down, you guys have to feel satisfied with what you've done and are about
``It doesn't mean anything,'' the Pro Bowl safety asserted. ``Nothing at
all. The only thing that matters is where you are at the end of the season.
We're only 3-0 right now. We haven't done anything. We haven't qualified for the
playoffs. We've won three games. That's it.
``When guys start feeling good about their accomplishments, they're
setting themselves up for a fall and to be assassinated by their next opponent.
We know that. We also know that the time to enjoy the fruits of our labor is at
the end of the year, after the Super Bowl. Just like we did last year. But
during the season you have to stay humble and hungry.''
shares Harrison's broad overview of the need to look ahead, not behind. But he
does admit to an appreciation of what the team has done. Briefly, anyway.
``It's definitely a big accomplishment but I guess the way we look at it
is we're more concerned about this year and definitely this week,'' Vinatieri
said. ``There are a handful of guys on this team who weren't even with us when
we won the first 15 (last year).
``If we're able to set records, the time to look back will be when we're
old and gray. We'll be able to say, `It was pretty damn good to set that
record.' It will be the same when we look back on the championship years. This
isn't the time for that.''
the catalyst in so many of these victories, simply chuckled when asked about the
team's ability to avoid the dangers of enjoying successes under
``As soon as we come in after a game, Bill goes over what he saw -- good
and bad -- and he's talking about our next opponent,'' Bruschi said. ``I guess
we might enjoy what we've just done on the field on the way back to the locker
room after the game but that's about as far as it goes.
``And it's not just one guy. It's this whole team. We all believe in
moving on and focusing.''
And, in the spirit of teamwork, that leaves the rest of us to focus on
the mundane minutiae of in-season records.
BostonHerald.com - Patriots: Chasing history: Pats close in on NFL legends,
dating to Halas Era
Bruschi's brain gives him edge
By ALAN GREENBERG, The Hartford Courant
FOXBORO -- There's an old Southern football saying about
competing and winning: It isn't the size of the dog in the fight that matters,
it's the size of the fight in the dog.
And when the "dog" with the most fight is also one of the
smartest, adept at anticipating his opponent's next move, able to overcome his
lack of size and speed with an unorthodox but successful style, then you have,
in Patriots Coach Bill Belichick's understated term, "a football player."
But isn't every helmeted person in the NFL "a football
player?" Only technically. They may all play football, but to a coach's way of
thinking, there are only some whose essence makes them worthy of the compliment,
"He's a football player."
Tedy Bruschi is one.
Last Sunday in Buffalo against the Bills, the Patriots
linebacker, who is generously listed at 6 feet 1, 247 pounds, made another of
those big plays that have come to define his career. With 2:59 left and the
Patriots clinging to a 24-17 lead, the Bills, having driven 64 yards to the New
England 17, eschewed a field goal attempt and went for it on fourth-and-3.
Although an unblocked Bruschi surged through a center-guard
gap and sacked quarterback Drew Bledsoe, what made the play special was that
before he attempted to tackle Bledsoe, Bruschi had the presence of mind to first
try to knock the ball out of Bledsoe's hands.
Bruschi could have done the conventional safe thing. He
could have sacked Bledsoe and the Patriots would have taken over on downs. Maybe
Bledsoe would have fumbled when Bruschi tackled him, but probably not. Either
way, Bruschi would have been acclaimed, not blamed. Assuming that Tom Brady and
Co. could then make a first down, the Patriots would have run out the clock to
seal the victory.
But by first knocking the ball out of Bledsoe's hands, which
allowed defensive end Richard Seymour to grab the fumble and run 68 yards for
the game-clinching touchdown, Bruschi made a huge play that, in essence, ended
"In that situation, I don't just want the tackle," said
Bruschi, who was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week and leads the
defense today as the unbeaten Patriots play host to the Dolphins, going for an
NFL record 19th consecutive victory.
"I don't just want the sack. I want the big play. I want the
score. That's how our defense thinks. I slapped at the football instead of going
for the big hit. Then big Richard got it and took off. That's how we want to
play. Somebody do something. Somebody make a play."
Bruschi's way of thinking is pervasive on the Patriots
defense, and it's a key reason why they're so successful. Patriots defenders
make lots of big plays, but not because they gamble. They're more like
card-counters who double down at the blackjack table when they know the
percentages are clearly in their favor.
Unless they're desperate, which, being ahead, they rarely
are, the Patriots defenders won't go for the glory play if they don't have
backup, if missing it probably means a big gain or touchdown for the opponent.
The Bledsoe strip-sack was Bruschi's second huge play of the
young season. In the opener, the Colts, trailing 3-0 in the first quarter, had
second-and-goal at the New England 6 when Peyton Manning tried to rifle a throw
over the middle to tight end Dallas Clark, who was standing just over the goal
line. The ball never got there, because Bruschi, seeing that the play wasn't a
run, slipped back into a passing lane and intercepted.
"I think that there are certain players ... they just have a
knack for making plays," Belichick said. "They have an instinct for the ball or
an instinct for the situation. They just seem to make the right decision at the
right time and not always do the same thing. They could have the same situation
come up a couple of times, one time do one thing, one time do something else,
but it's the right thing. Tedy is one of those players. He's very instinctive."
Bruschi last season became the first player in NFL history
to return four consecutive interceptions for touchdowns. The last one, a 5-yard
TD return of a fourth quarter Jay Fiedler pass Dec. 7 at Gillette, was the
game's only touchdown and sealed the Patriots' 12-0 victory over the Dolphins,
clinching the AFC East title.
That's fairly amazing considering Bruschi was a defensive
lineman and sack monster (52, tying the NCAA record at the time) at the
University of Arizona who played his entire career hunched over in a three-point
stance before joining the Patriots.
Little wonder that when you ask Bruschi which personal trait
he is proudest of when he looks back at his eight-plus Patriots seasons, he
"My intelligence," he says. "That I'm able to learn multiple
positions. Every year, I had to reinvent myself and do something different."
Belichick was a Patriots defensive assistant under Bill
Parcells in 1996 when the Patriots picked Bruschi in the third round.
"I remember when we sat in the draft room and took him,"
Belichick said. "The conversation was, 'Look, we're taking him. We're taking a
good football player. We don't know what we're going to do with him exactly, but
we figure we'll find something.'
"We made him a linebacker. He worked some outside, which is
where your pass rushers traditionally play in the 3-4 defense. ... Then we moved
him inside. Then he really became more of a rusher in obvious passing situations
for us. His role was (to do that) and play in the kicking game. Playing in the
kicking game was a little bit new for him. He hadn't done a lot of that his last
couple of years in college, so that was an area of growth for him. But it was
clear pretty quickly that, not only was he going to make our football team, but
he was going to help our football team. He's a lot of fun to be around. He's a
high energy guy. He's a great guy to coach."
Bruschi's brain gives him edge: 10/ 10/ 2004
Karen's Note: Guess I know how to pick em...
here's an article on my favorite Patriots Player and my favorite Red Sox Player!
Catalysts for success: Sox’ Damon, Pats’ Bruschi
By IAN M. CLARK and KEVIN GRAY
Union Leader Sports
OCTOBER SPLENDOR has arrived, and it doesn’t get much better than
this, New Englanders.
Along with the spectacular foliage and crisp afternoons, we’re enjoying two
of the hottest sports teams in all the land. Today, the Patriots attempt to win
an unprecedented 19th straight game in the NFL. Meanwhile, the sweep-happy Red
Sox are preparing for Tuesday’s Game 1 of the American League Championship
While both teams have thrived on selfless leadership, qualities that could be
found among a number of players, the spirit of the Red Sox and Patriots is
epitomized by two fan favorites, the Sox’ Johnny Damon and the Pats’ Tedy
New Look Sox
Many players have made an impact, but Red Sox center
fielder Johnny Damon and Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi are emotional
catalysts for their teams' success. (AP)
A white-knuckle ride through the 2003 postseason ultimately cost manager
Grady Little his job and increased business for anger-management therapists. To
start the healing process, the Sox brought a loose approach to spring training.
Damon, with a Vidal Sassoon hairstyle and caveman beard, personified the
new-look club. By the time Boston met New York for an ultra-hyped spring
training game, the Sox had left behind the gut-wrenching Aaron Boone homer, the
botched Alex Rodriguez deal, and the off-season angst that gripped a region.
Through time and a major trade involving Nomar Garciaparra, the Red Sox
forged a new identity and surged into the playoffs, with Damon at the forefront.
If Jason Varitek is the no-nonsense leader and Kevin Millar the
team-chemistry major, Damon is most certainly a catalyst from his leadoff
While more attention was devoted to Boston’s sluggers, David Ortiz and Manny
Ramirez, a steady Damon turned in perhaps the best leadoff seasons in all of
baseball. No leadoff man had more runs (121) or RBIs (94), and Damon led the
American League’s leadoff hitters with 20 homers and 76 walks. The bearded
wonder batted .304 during the regular season and collected another three hits on
Friday night, finishing the American League Division Series with a .467 average
and four runs scored.
If New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick were to draw up a blueprint
of his ideal football player, the list of specifications would start with
athletic ability, smarts, heart, willingness to work, the proverbial “high
motor,” and instinct.
Belichick and the Patriots covet players with as many of those traits as can
be squeezed into pads and a helmet. Team credos are blue-collar work ethic,
tunnel vision, a make-no-excuses attitude, and respect for the opposition.
And no player better epitomizes the Patriots’ ideal than a 6-foot 1-inch,
247-pound linebacker named Bruschi.
A defensive lineman at Arizona, Bruschi tied the NCAA Division I record for
career sacks with 52. But as a third-round draft pick in 1996 (when Belichick
was assistant head coach to Bill Parcells), Bruschi was considered too small to
play line in the NFL. Converted to linebacker, Bruschi has become the
prototypical overachiever in his nine-plus seasons.
Belichick saw the potential in Bruschi right away.
“It was his rookie year. I remember when we sat in the draft room and took
him. The conversation was, ‘Look, we’re taking him. We’re taking a good football
player. We don’t know what we’re going to do with him exactly, but we figure
we’ll find something,” Belichick said. “It was clear pretty quick that, not only
was he going to make the team, but he was going to help our football team.
“He’s a lot of fun to be around. He’s a high-energy guy. He’s a great guy to
Johnny Be Good
Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein believes the multi-skilled Damon is one
of the game’s most valuable players. Manager Terry Francona, while answering
questions about Boston’s firepower, felt compelled to spotlight Damon during the
first ALDS press conference at Anaheim.
“He ended up with 94 RBIs from the leadoff spot. I mean, he’s had an
incredible year. I am a little surprised people haven’t talked about him more
because his impact on our ball club has been unbelievable.”
In the 10th inning Friday night, Damon showed his defense excellence with a
typically superb catch, which dramatically changed the complexion of the game.
The victim was Anaheim’s Jeff DaVanon, who drove the first pitch from Derek Lowe
to deep center, a shot that could have put the go-ahead run on second or third
Damon said the ball “kept going and going, and it actually scared me that
Sprinting back to the warning track while 35,547 fans hold their breath is
never a comfortable feeling.
“It’s not a good feeling at all. We play this game and try to be as loose and
relaxed as possible,” Damon said. “You play hard on every play . . . and
whatever happens after that, you never know.”
A year earlier, Damon had been involved in a fearsome collision with then-Red
Sox second baseman Damian Jackson, Damon getting knocked unconscious with a
concussion that kept him out of the remainder of the ALDS. Migraine headaches,
the lingering after-effects of the collision, continue to plague him.
Red Sox fans have come to appreciate Damon’s free spirit, hustle and
performance more than ever before. After sparking Boston’s surge throughout the
second half of the season, the third-year Sox center fielder (signed as a free
agent after 5½ seasons with Kansas City and one with Oakland) was voted winner
of the annual 10th Player Award.
New England’s omnipresent linebacker has consistently ranked among New
England’s leading tacklers, but it’s the plays that don’t show up in a box score
that set Bruschi apart. He is always around the ball. He can fill the hole on
rushing plays. He can hang with running backs and tight ends in coverage.
And as Bills quarterback Drew Bledsoe knows, he can blitz. Bruschi met up
with old friend Drew, the former Patriot, in the biggest play of last Sunday’s
31-17 Patriots victory in Buffalo. New England was ahead 24-17, but the Bills
were driving late in the game.
On fourth down, the Bills called a fake handoff to running back Travis Henry.
Having done his homework, Bruschi was not fooled. Knowing that Bledsoe tended to
make a small hop when trying to sell a fake handoff, Bruschi ignored Henry once
he saw Bledsoe make the anticipated movement, and focused his sights on the
Wrapping up the quarterback would have been grand, but Bruschi saw an
opportunity and slapped the ball out of Bledsoe’s hand. The Patriots’ Richard
Seymour scooped up the fumble and began to rumble toward the opposite end zone.
Yet Bruschi wasn’t finished with the play. Spotting the one Bill with a chance
to stop Seymour, Bruschi threw a crushing block, and Seymour proceeded to go 68
yards for the game-clinching touchdown.
Said Belichick, “I think that there are certain players that sometimes you
can’t even find the right word or the right identification, but you just know
they are playmakers.”
He was speaking of Bruschi.
New England fans hope to watch Bruschi and Damon make many more plays
throughout the month.
On Sunday, Oct. 31 — Halloween — the Patriots visit the Pittsburgh Steelers
for a 4:15 p.m. tilt. If the Red Sox win the American League pennant and the
World Series goes the full seven games, New England fans will be able to finish
watching Bruschi and his buddies just in time to change channels to catch the
first pitch of Game 7 from Fenway Park.
October splendor has arrived.
Union Leader and New Hampshire Sunday News - 11-Oct-04 - Catalysts for success:
Sox’ Damon, Pats’ Bruschi
Champs always come through
By DAVE GOLDBERG
The Associated Press
Of the six NFL teams that have won 18 consecutive games –
including playoffs – the New England Patriots have by far the lowest margin of
That is no surprise to the Patriots or anyone who has watched
them as they seek their 19th straight win today against Miami. They do not
dominate, they simply make big plays when they need them – over and over again
as coach Bill Belichick and assistants push exactly the right buttons.
Just look at some of the plays that have extended the streak:
• Willie McGinest's sack in the dying seconds on opening
night that pushed Indianapolis back just far enough to miss a potential tying
field goal. Last year, McGinest's fourth-down stop at the goal line in Indy
saved a game.
• Tedy Bruschi's strip of Drew Bledsoe as Buffalo
threatened to tie last Sunday's game. Richard Seymour returned it 68 yards for
the clinching touchdown. McGinest and Bruschi seem to be the biggest big play
men: Bruschi's interception return last season was the only TD in a 12-0 win
• Rodney Harrison's interception of Peyton Manning's pass in
the end zone on Indianapolis' first possession in last year's AFC title game set
the tone for New England's victory. Harrison is the classic Patriot, an aging
Pro Bowler discarded by San Diego who proved to be the ultimate team player on a
• Long kick returns by rookie Bethel Johnson that led to wins
last season against Tennessee and Indianapolis, one reason the Patriots got
home-field advantage in the playoffs, where they beat the Titans and Colts
That is not even counting numerous big plays from quarterback
Tom Brady and the huge kicks by Adam Vinatieri, including two that won Super
Bowls in the final seconds – and two in the snow at Foxboro that won a 2001
playoff game with Oakland that propelled New England to its first title. Or Troy
Brown's 55-yard punt return for a touchdown that sent the Patriots on their way
to an upset of Pittsburgh in the AFC title game that year.
"They just don't make mental mistakes," says Don Shula, whose
unbeaten 1972 Miami Dolphins also helped win 18 consecutive games, a streak that
carried over to 1973.
"They make big plays in big games defensively. McGinest in
the Colts' opener this year. Last week, end of the ballgame, they strip the
quarterback and run it in for a touchdown. It's what you expect from a
Adds Seattle coach Mike Holmgren, an assistant on the San
Francisco team that won 18 straight: "They've had five or six games in that
stretch where they could have lost. Somebody came up with a big play. I like
their team because they appear to not care who gets credit."
The Patriots' average margin of victory during the streak is
8.9 points per game.
That's four points lower than the Denver Broncos of 1997-98,
another of the 18-win teams. And it goes up from there: the '89-90 49ers at
13.3; Shula's Dolphins at 14.7; the 1941-42 Bears at 15.2; and the 1933-34 Bears
That reflects this era in which free agency and the salary
cap have promoted parity. But that also demonstrates the remarkable nature of
the Patriots' streak.
Even 15 years ago, the 49ers were one of a half-dozen teams
(most of them in the NFC) at a level above the rest of the league, an imbalance
that provided some easy wins. Denver's streak came during the salary cap era,
but it turns out the Broncos were cheating. They have been fined twice by the
NFL and forfeited draft choices for cap circumvention during that period.
The Patriots' system is perfect for the cap.
They don't necessarily get the best individual, although
Seymour, McGinest and Ty Law all were first-round draft choices and are
certified Pro Bowlers. They traded a second-rounder this year to get Corey
Dillon, also a name player, to upgrade the running game.
But don't give them much credit for spotting Brady and taking
him in the sixth round; if any team had known how good he'd become, he would
have been drafted much higher.
Many Patriots are like Bruschi, a 250-pound lineman at
Arizona who was a third-round draft choice in 1996, when Belichick was an
assistant to Bill Parcells.
"I think that there are certain players that sometimes you
can't even find the right word or the right identification, but you just know
that they are playmakers," Belichick said this week. "They have an instinct for
the ball or an instinct for the situation. Tedy is one of those players. He's
very instinctive. He's been a high producer at every level of football he's ever
played, regardless of what position it's been at — line, linebacker, special
teams. Whatever he's asked to do, he's a good football player. He's the type of
guy you want on the field in every situation."
The Patriots come up with players like that more often
than other teams. They now are trying to turn Dan Klecko, an undersized
defensive lineman taken in the fifth round last season, into a linebacker, with
Bruschi as one of his tutors.
"I remember when we sat in the draft room and took him,"
Belichick recalled, talking again of Bruschi. "The conversation was, 'Look,
we're taking him. We're taking a good football player. We don't know what we're
going to do with him exactly, but we figure we'll find something.' It was a
significant pick. It wasn't like it was a throwaway guy in the ninth round or
"It was clear pretty quickly that, not only was he going
to make our football team, but he was going to help our football team and he did
in his rookie year. He's a great guy to coach. ...
"He's a football player."
And he defines the Patriots.
Northwest Herald - Online
Patriots set standard
BY MARK FARINELLA/SUN CHRONICLE STAFF
FOXBORO -- Trumpets did not sound from upon high, choirs of angels did not
sing, the Red Sea did not part, and nothing really miraculous happened when the
New England Patriots had finally earned their 19th straight victory late Sunday
No, this was the ultimate Lunch Pail A.C. victory -- a regular win, won by
regular guys who, collectively, have been better in the last year than anyone
else who ever played in the NFL.
``There's always something you can improve on,'' linebacker Tedy Bruschi said
after the Patriots' 24-10 triumph over the winless Miami Dolphins at Gillette
Stadium. ``You can pick any type of situational thing that our coaches will pick
upon that we haven't been performing too well, and we'll find something to
improve at, don't worry.''
But that's no knock on the Patriots or what they have accomplished.
Having won more games in a row, including playoffs, than any other team in
the eight-decade history of the NFL is no less of an accomplishment just because
the Patriots have the uncanny knack of playing just how well they need to play
to dismiss an opponent.
In their streak, nine of the games have been decided by a touchdown or less.
Read the rest of article here.
Pats' record-setting day --
Belichick joins celebration
By Michael Felger
Monday, October 11, 2004
FOXBORO - If you were
among the 68,756 to attend yesterday's game at Gillette Stadium, study your
ticket closely and hang on to it. Like an old Beatles album, it contains clues
and messages about something that was a forbidden topic in Foxboro until
Bill Belichick [news]
was drenched by a rare Gatorade bucket shower at the end of yet another victory.
put it, the Pats aren't going to get any trophies for defeating the
Miami Dolphins [stats,
news], 24-10, and setting the NFL record of 19 straight victories. But for
at least a day, Belichick allowed himself and his players to revel in something
no other NFL team has ever accomplished.
``That felt good,'' said Belichick, his hair still
soaked in the postgame interview room. ``I told the team they should be proud to
accomplish something no other team has accomplished. But the goal isn't to win
Though tepid, that acknowledgment marked the first time
Belichick had ever mentioned the streak to his players.
Tom Brady [news]
said it constituted a ``green light,'' and the players followed suit by finally
owning up to it.
``This is something we can hold on to,'' linebacker
Tedy Bruschi [news]
said. ``Something no other team has done before. We can talk about it today, but
come Wednesday, I won't mention it again.''
The front office obviously had a sense of history as
well, and it included several subliminal clues about the streak on their
tickets. If you take the numbers of the two players pictured,
Eugene Wilson [news]
(26) and Tyrone Poole (38), you'll find the individual digits add up to 19. Look
closely at the uniform number of the referee in the picture: No. 19. And written
on the stands in the background is the phrase: ``Sec. 19 in a row.''
And the Walrus was Paul.
news]' achievement is not only unprecedented but also remarkable when you
consider how competitive our league is today,'' commissioner Paul Tagliabue said
in a statement. ``Congratulations to the entire Patriots organization on this
The NFL officially recognizes records only set during
the regular season. The Pats, whose current streak includes three playoff wins,
can tie the NFL's record for consecutive regular-season victories (17) by
beating Seattle next week.
As for the game itself, it's hard to accurately gauge
how well the Patriots played because the Dolphins are a mess - and they played
like it. Surely, the Pats defense was its usual ferocious self, as both Dolphins
quarterbacks Jay Fiedler (ribs) and A.J. Feely (concussion) were knocked from
the game in the fourth quarter.
The Pats said they took up the challenge of matching
Miami's well-regarded defense. Every time they heard another accolade thrown at
the Dolphins, the Pats became more determined to assert themselves.
put the exclamation point on the win with his knockout sack of Fiedler in the
shadow of the Pats' end zone late in the fourth quarter.
``We knew they could give our offense problems if they
clicked on all cylinders. So we had to go out there and do the same thing,''
cornerback Ty Law
said. ``That's when you come from out of the shadows and knock them in the
The Pats took advantage of bad Miami mistakes all day. A
Randall Gay interception set up a 1-yard touchdown catch by
Daniel Graham [news].
A failed run on fourth down by punter Matt Turk set up a 5-yard touchdown catch
by David Givens
And a Fiedler fumble in the third quarter (forced by Harrison) eventually led to
a 1-yard scoring run by Rabih Abdullah.
Brady threw for only 76 yards (a career low), but it was
more than enough. The Pats will now set their sights on the 3-1 Seahawks, who
will fly into Gillette next week for what is sure to be called a Super Bowl
preview. The topic of the streak is about to become taboo once again.
``We will enjoy it for about 15 minutes,'' kicker
Adam Vinatieri [news]
said. ``And then we'll get ready for Seattle.''
BostonHerald.com - Patriots: Pats' record-setting day -- <br>Belichick joins
Patriots surge into the books
FOXBORO - It took a
Gatorade bath to finally wipe the grimace off Bill Belichick's face.
As the Patriots marched into history with their 19th straight victory, Coach
Doom finally allowed his players to savor the record he had forbidden them to
ponder. And his players made sure he would do it in the traditional way - wet.
"I think it was due," cornerback Ty Law said of the soaking after a 24-10 win
over the Dolphins yesterday at Gillette Stadium. "We accomplished something and
it's out of the way. But I don't think Coach Belichick has to worry about
getting another bucket on him unless we win a championship. It was like, 'OK,
let's dump him, so it's over with and we can move on.'"
Compared to the way the local baseball team celebrates not-quite
championships a little bit up the road, it was hardly euphoric. But that's the
way things have been in Foxboro, where two Vince Lombardi trophies sit in the
Remarkably, the Patriots established the standard for consistency in the era
of parity, where teams go from good to bad and back from one season to the next.
The four great franchises that had won 18 straight were all from the pre-free
"You guys have to answer that question because we've had a one-game-at-a-time
mantra," linebacker Tedy Bruschi explained. "It just happened that we strung
them together 19 times. That's the way we looked at it and that's why we've
succeeded. We don't look at streaks, we look at opponents.
"We're going to have a little fun with this," Bruschi went on. "But we
realize what got us in this situation in the first place, that undeniable focus
about looking at the next opponent and the next practice. Come Wednesday, we
won't be saying anything about it. It will be all about Seattle."
The 3-1 Seahawks visit next week, when the talk will be about a possible
Super Bowl preview, followed by the unbeaten Jets the week after. So the hype
just won't go away. But, then again, the Patriots do a pretty good job of
dealing with hype.
Yesterday's win was rather matter-of-fact. The now 0-5 Dolphins arrived with
a pathetic offense and their scoring potential was made even worse when kicker
Olindo Mare was hauled off on a cart after reinjuring a calf muscle in the
warmups. Rookie return man Wes Welker, whose prior experience was one blocked
PAT attempt at Texas Tech, had to fill in.
The Patriots didn't play all that well. Miami's still-staunch defense gave
Tom Brady, who was without his three top receivers, a fat lip and stitches while
limiting him to a 7-for-19, 76-yard afternoon. There were penalties and some
The Pats, however, were also able to score three TDs, helped by a Dolphins
interception and fumble, with Brady throwing TD passes to tight end Daniel
Graham and WR David Givens. Their defense, meanwhile, stopped the Dolphins on
two fourth-quarter stands inside the 10-yard line. In the process, they sent QB
Jay Fiedler to the sidelines with bruised ribs.
"A lot of games we've won have been done the same way," Belichick said later.
"A lot of players have made plays at key times of games and they've come from
all different units and different types of players. It comes in different forms.
There's no set formula."
Belichick said he told his team it could be proud of doing "what no other
team in pro football has done.
"But that being said, our goal is not to win four games," he added.
His players echoed those thoughts.
"Nineteen in a row, you can't take anything away from it," OG Matt Light
said. "But will it mean anything at the end of the season? If we don't win, 19
in a row is just going to tick everybody off."
"Everyone has a little bit of selfishness, to say, 'Hey I could have a piece
of history,'" Law said. "But it doesn't mean anything if we can't make it to the
postseason. Nobody will talk about 19 in a row. They'll still be talking about
the '72 Dolphins. They went undefeated with a Super Bowl win."
Daily News - Sports - Hey 19!
Patriots make history
October 11, 2004
BY HOWARD ULMAN
FOXBORO, Mass. -- Coach Bill Belichick let a rare smile crease his face
before reminding his New England Patriots what their record winning streak
''He said: 'Congratulations on the streak, great job. Now we've got to think
about Seattle,''' Patriots safety Rodney Harrison said. ''He rarely celebrates
anything. And to lead a team to 19 victories in a row is something to be proud
At least Belichick, who had been downplaying the streak all season, gave the
Patriots some time to savor their NFL-record 19th consecutive victory, a 24-10
triumph Sunday against the winless Miami Dolphins, before they start preparing
for their next game against the Seahawks.
''It doesn't mean anything right now because we are still in the middle of
the season,'' Patriots cornerback Ty Law said in a very quiet locker room. ''The
fruit will taste a little bit sweeter if we can give ourselves an opportunity to
play for another championship.''
The Patriots (4-0) won behind two touchdown passes by Tom Brady, who had his
worst statistical start as a pro (7-for-19 for 76 yards), and two turnovers by
the offensively inept Dolphins (0-5).
The Dolphins trailed 24-10 before reaching the Patriots' 1-yard line on their
last series. But quarterback Jay Fiedler hurt his ribs and back on a 12-yard
sack on second down, and backup A.J. Feeley suffered a concussion when he was
hit by linebacker Rosevelt Colvin on a fourth-down incompletion.
''As a player, you don't think about what [the Patriots] are doing,''
Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor said. ''We've got our own things to worry
The Patriots, who can match their franchise-best 5-0 start next week, had
shared the 18-game record with the Bears in 1933-34 and again in 1941-42, the
Dolphins in 1972-73, the San Francisco 49ers in 1989-90 and the Denver Broncos
''They're some great teams, and it's nice to be a part of that,'' Patriots
linebacker Tedy Bruschi said. ''[But] during the season, the only milestone that
teams want is the Super Bowl.''
The Dolphins' problems began when kicker Olindo Mare left the field on a cart
with an injured right calf before the game. They continued until Fiedler and
Feeley were hurt at the end.
''We felt good about moving the ball,'' said Fiedler, who had X-rays and
didn't know whether he would play next week. ''But you look on the scoreboard,
and you only see 10 points.''
Pats make NFL history with
19th consecutive win
By Steve Krause
Monday, October 11, 2004
FOXBOROUGH - "Get your cameras ready,"
Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi said after Sunday's 24-10 win over the Miami
Dolphins. "This is the one time we're going to acknowledge this even a little."
The game resembled a war of attrition as much as anything else. The
Patriots went into it without two front-line wide receivers (Deion Branch and
Troy Brown) and a third (Bethel Johnson) on the bench via coach's decision.
They were without starting cornerback Tyrone Poole. And midway through
the third quarter, they lost running back Corey Dillon with an ankle injury
after a 36-yard jaunt down the left sideline.
But they survived ... some would say barely. And in so doing, the set a
National Football League record for consecutive wins with 19. The last time they
lost was in Week 4 of the 2003 season (Sept. 28). So they allowed themselves the
luxury of celebrating. Rodney Harrison and Richard Seymour douse coach Bill
Belichick with Gatorade afterward (the coach's bright red sweatshirt was still
drenched when he conducted his post-game press conference). And after treating
the streak like it was a germ of mass destruction for most of the season, the
Patriots paused for a moment to reflect. But only for a moment, they stressed.
"This is the only week I really thought of it," said Bruschi. "And
that's because it was here. We had a chance to do something special. So let's do
it. Now, we go back to taking them one at a time."
The echoes were similar across the board.
"I told the guys they should be proud of their accomplishment,"
Belichick said. "That said, this has little to do with our overall goal. We've
only won four games."
Harrison had as much to do with the victory as anyone - even moreso than
quarterback Tom Brady, who threw for two touchdown passes inside the red zone.
It was Harrison who forced a fumble after Miami quarterback Jay Fiedler had run
a keeper up the middle for a first down early in the third quarter (leading
directly to Rabih Abdullah's one-yard touchdown plunge); and it was Harrison,
late in the game, with the Dolphins knocking on the door from the 1-yard line,
who burst through and not only sacked Fiedler for a 12-yard loss, but knocked
him out of the game with a rib injury as well.
"We kept them off the board," he said. "That's more important than
Like the rest of the team, Harrison paused to reflect on the
accomplishment of winning 19 straight games.
"You're used to shifting your focus immediately to next week, and you
don't usually get a chance to enjoy it too much when you win," he said. "But I'm
going to take today to enjoy this one."
Harrison admitted that before the game, the defensive backs got together
and vowed to win the game and set the record.
"We all got together and said 'let's get this record,'" he said.
But while the streak was certainly on the Patriots' minds, it wasn't on
Harrison's mind when the Dolphins had a first-and-goal from the one-yard line
with just over two minutes to go in the game.
"Are you kidding?" he asked. "We just wanted to keep them out of the end
zone. Never mind the streak."
The Patriots got into the jam because they gave up the one big pass play
they allowed all day - a 44-yard sideline pass from Fiedler to Marty Booker.
Some of the Dolphins thought Booker was in, but coach Dave Wannstedt said that
he couldn't see for sure. Also, the Dolphins were out of timeouts anyway, and
the officials don't take over the review process directly until there are two
minutes or less to go.
The Patriots stopped Fiedler on the first play, and then Harrison burst
through on a blitz to knock Fiedler back 12 yards.
"All I wanted to do was separate him from the balll," Harrison said. "I
couldn't do that, but at least I got him."
After two more incomplete passes, the Pats took over on downs and ran
out the clock.
"I think we're all proud of what we accomplished," said Brady. "But at
the same time, all it means is that we're 4-0. We have to get back to work, and
we have to do better next week if we're going to beat (the Seattle Seahawks)."
Daily Item of Lynn: More Coverage > Pats make NFL history with 19th consecutive
defense dominates Dolphins
Tedy Bruschi couldn’t believe it when he heard his teammates dumped a bucket of
water on head coach Bill Belichick’s head following the New England Patriots’
24-10 win over Miami on Sunday.
what?" Bruschi asked with a shocked expression on his face.
questions all week about their record-setting win streak, the Patriots somehow
managed to surprise themselves in the aftermath of their historic win over the
Dolphins. New England has now won 19 consecutive games dating back to last
September - the longest win streak in the 86-year history of the NFL.
"It is always good to be a part of history and doing something that no team in
the league has ever done," said defensive end Richard Seymour, who helped douse
Belichick after the game.The Patriots struggled offensively with three of their
receivers out of the lineup - but the defense dominated against the hapless
Dolphins. New England built a 10-0 lead in the first half and held off three
potential scoring drives in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
"We’re glad to come out on top," Belichick said. "I told our players they should
be proud of what they accomplished."
Patriots’ Tom Brady only threw for 76 yards, but he completed a pair of
touchdown passes in the first half to put the Dolphins in an early 10-point
As usual, the Patriots did the little things -- first-year cornerback Randall
Gay intercepted a pass and little-used running back Rabih Abdullah scored his
first career touchdown in the second half. The Patriots even closed the game
with a goal-line stand and knocked starting quarterback Jay Fiedler out of the
game with a rib injury.
"We didn’t want to give up those points," safety Rodney Harrison said. "It was
just a matter of pride. The guys just came up with big plays time and time again
and that’s the character of this team."
Amidst the celebration and reflection following the game, the Patriots made it
clear that they’re not satisfied with simply breaking an NFL record. The streak
won’t mean a thing if they don’t win another Super Bowl, but for now, their
focus is on next week’s game against Seattle.
BY MARK FARINELLA / SUN CHRONICLE
Bill Belichick had no choice but to acknowledge what his team had
accomplished Sunday. He was soaking wet because of it.
Given the slightly cliched Gatorade shower by his players after the Patriots'
24-10 triumph over the Miami Dolphins, the head coach became equally immersed --
at least by his standards -- in historical perspective during his post-game
``I told our team after the game that I was really proud of what they did,''
Belichick said. ``I thought they should be proud of what they accomplished, what
no other team in pro football has done ... but that being said, that's not what
our goal is.''
The goal, as he has said several times during this incredible run of 19
straight victories, is to keep winning -- to keep preparing for each foe as if
it is the toughest opponent the Patriots will ever face, and to meet the
challenges one play, one series, one quarter and one game at a time.
``That was nice to hear from Bill,'' linebacker Tedy Bruschi said in an
upbeat locker room after the Patriots established a new NFL standard for
consecutive victories, including playoff games.
``He acknowledged it and we all acknowledged it as a team after the game. But
ask me Wednesday, and we won't be saying anything about it. It will all be about
Indeed, the unbeaten Seattle Seahawks will visit Foxboro next Sunday, and
will get the Patriots' undivided attention once practice begins anew at midweek.
But in the meantime, Belichick gave his charges permission to enjoy the fact
that in the more than eight decades that the NFL has been in existence, no other
team has ever won 19 straight games.
They can enjoy it within limits, that is.
``I know what he was saying,'' said Bruschi, in his ninth NFL season. ``You
can read inbetween Bill's lines sometimes. I've been around him so much, it's,
`enjoy it now, but don't even say a word about it Wednesday because we're going
to get ready to play Seattle.'
``We've strung them together and we've had a one-game-at-a-time mantra, but
it just happened to be that way,'' he said. ``That's the way we've looked at it
and I think that's why we've succeeded the way we have, because we don't look at
streaks, we look at opponents.''
Perhaps for the first time since The Streak began last Oct. 5 against
Tennessee, some Patriots afforded themselves the opportunity to assess their
place in history after putting the finishing touches on the 0-5 Dolphins.
``Until you break the record, it's no big deal,'' defensive end Richard
Seymour said. ``But (Belichick) acknowledged it, and to do something that no
other team has done is great. Still, he knows, we know and everyone else knows
that there's still an awful lot of football to be played.''
In the joyous atmosphere of victory, several players admitted that their
stone-faced head coach might have been wound a little more tightly than usual,
and ran a tighter ship as a result, in the week leading to Sunday's game.
``That's just if you let Bill get to you,'' cornerback Ty Law said. ``It was
just another week for myself, and Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel and those guys
who've been around would say the same thing. Some of these rookies, it's
probably different for those guys.
``It's a matter of staying focused,'' Law said. ``I think he knows what he's
going to get out of us, but he has to coach everybody the same way, so that
strikes a little bit of fear into the young guys.''
``He was a little tight this week,'' Seymour added. ``He definitely wanted to
win this game, to go down as one of the great coaches in history. You think
about the great coaches in this league, his name will be right there at the
As it turned out, the Patriots had to earn their milestone victory. With
three wide receivers on the inactive list due to injuries, and the offense
sputtering late in the game after running back Corey Dillon's left ankle was
tweaked at the end of a 36-yard run, it was up to the defense to save the day
against a Miami team that just wouldn't quit.
The Dolphins made three fourth-quarter incursions into the red zone and two
trips inside the Patriots' 15, but hard-nosed defensive plays -- including hits
that chased both Miami quarterbacks from the game -- ensured the triumph.
In the short amount of time between the final gun and the post-game
interviews, the players didn't have a lot of time to let their accomplishment
sink in. Some even admitted that they might not take a good look at what they've
done for some time.
``Not at this point,'' Seymour said. ``Maybe a couple of years down the road
I can look back at it and have more of a perspective on it. But at this point,
we're still in the midst of it.
``It will always be something that you can tell your kids about, and
something that no one can take away,'' he said.
``I'm going to hold onto this,'' Bruschi said. ``I'm going to hold onto it
when I'm done, because during the season, the only milestone a team wants is the
``I won't keep any souvenirs from it,'' he added, ``but I'll just remember
that we achieved something and realize that the formula, how we got here, was
simple. It's just focusing on practices and taking it step by step.''
Sun Chronicle Newspaper
Truth about streak pours out
By Kevin Mannix/ The NFL
Monday, October 11, 2004
FOXBORO - Nah, the
news] weren't paying any attention at all to the possibility of their making
NFL history with a 19th consecutive victory.
It was just of interest to the media. Didn't mean a thing to the
players. It didn't come at the end of the season and it didn't result in the
team winning a championship. Yesterday brought just another victory in a game
that was not particularly well-played but was memorable because it gave the Pats
a 4-0 record for the season, 2-0 in the division.
What's to celebrate? It's only the fourth game of the year.
That, at least, was the pregame approach in the Pats locker room.
Their postgame actions spoke a lot louder than the pregame comments.
and Richard Seymour
celebrated the 24-10 victory over the winless Dolphins by dumping a giant bucket
of water on Bill Belichick
who had stayed dry after two Super Bowl victories. Not yesterday. He took a
torrential postgame dousing from his two All-Pro defensive players.
``We took the (it's only one game) approach going into the game,''
Seymour said. ``When it was over, we were part of history, that's great. It's
great to be part of history and we understood that as the clock ran out. What we
did came naturally. And he didn't gripe for a minute. He's at the top of the
list of coaches in this game and we wanted to celebrate going into history.
``Starting tomorrow, we're back on track. All that matters is Seattle
Harrison heaped praise on Belichick. ``We just wanted to express our
congratulations to the coach,'' he said. ``He's the leader of this ship - the
captain who has led us to these victories. We did what we did to show him it was
OK to loosen up a little bit and enjoy it. We wanted to tell him,
`Congratulations. You're the one who coached us to this.' ''
After the game and his dousing, it was Belichick's turn to acknowledge
the obvious: He is not oblivious to accomplishments that occur in the course of
a championship run.
``I did tell the team that I was proud of what they did, and that they
could be proud of what they accomplished, and that no other team in pro football
has done that,'' he said of the streak during his post-game press conference.
One of the most adamant ``it's only one regular-season game'' proponents
during the week was Tedy Bruschi
who was stunned when he was told of Belichick's dunking after the game.
``They really did that?'' the veteran linebacker said. ``I didn't expect
anything like that because Bill was particularly moody this week. A celebration
like that is not characteristic of this team but we're indulging ourselves a
Bruschi also admitted that for all his public denials, he did allow
himself to think about his team's position to surpass the 18-game winning
streaks of the Bears (1933-34 and 1940-41), Dolphins (1972-73), 49ers (1989-90)
and Broncos (1997-98).
``To be honest, this was the only week (the streak) was on my mind,'' he
said. ``I guess it's because this was the one game that gave us a chance to
break it. It's always been out there, but we never really cared about it because
it wasn't right there in front of us.
``Going into this game, it was right there. All of us realized that we
were in position to do something really special, and we wanted to go do it. But
we also know that it's 19 in a row, not 19-0. We've only won four games this
``This isn't a championship but it's something we can hold on to today.
Just don't ask me about it tomorrow.''
BostonHerald.com - Patriots: Truth about streak pours out
October 11, 2004
Patriots' 19th win in a row
remarkable, if not pretty
FOXBORO, Mass. -- Bill Belichick walked off the field at Gillette Stadium on
Sunday afternoon, his brown hair and red hooded sweatshirt soaked with Gatorade.
Belichick's New England Patriots had just beaten the woebegone Miami Dolphins
24-10 for their 19th consecutive victory, a pro football record.
As the game wound down, Patriots defensive players Rodney Harrison and
Richard Seymour took a bucket of Gatorade and, in a rare display of celebration
for this team, dumped it on Belichick.
"Yeah, that was a little uncharacteristic of us," linebacker Tedy Bruschi
said. "We're indulging ourselves a little."
Then, as soon as he realized what he said, Bruschi added, "It will stop
It will again be business as usual for the undefeated Patriots, who haven't
lost a game since Sept. 28, 2003. They have a home game next Sunday against the
Seattle Seahawks in what many consider a preview of the Super Bowl.
But while they could, the Patriots, who entered the game tied with six other
teams at 18 games, soaked in the glory of a remarkable record. When you consider
what happened Sunday, with Detroit going into Atlanta and beating the previously
undefeated Falcons, and Tampa Bay winning in New Orleans for its first victory
of the season, the Patriots' streak is truly remarkable.
And they know that.
"Any time you can be part of history, that's great," Seymour said. "It's
something that no other team in the history of the league has done. When you go
back to all the great football teams, go back to the Green Bay Packers, the
Steelers ... you talk about the Steel Curtain and everything they stood for ...
I think we're right up there with those guys as far as consecutive wins.
"We have to pay our respect to all the guys who came before us who had 18 in
a row. Records are made to be broken and we broke it."
Like many of the Patriots' previous 18 wins, this one was not especially
The offense struggled against a pretty good Miami defense -- although
quarterback Tom Brady threw for two touchdowns, he completed only seven passes
for 76 yards -- but the Patriots defense made enough big plays to secure the
victory. Twice in the fourth quarter, the Dolphins drove inside the Patriots'
15-yard line; twice they didn't score a point.
Harrison stopped the first drive by breaking up a pass to Randy McMichael on
fourth-and-15 from the 15. He effectively ended the second drive when he blitzed
from the left on second-and-goal from the 1 and sacked quarterback Jay Fiedler
for a 12-yard loss, knocking Fiedler out of the game in the process.
"A lot of games that we've won have been won the same way," Belichick said.
"Guys, players, have made plays at key times in the game and they come from all
different units and different types of players.
"Today we had a couple of big stands defensively and got some points early.
It comes in different forms, there's no set formula. You just try to play better
than your opponent and fortunately we were able to do that today."
Notes and Quotes: 10/11/04
On Feeling a Loss:
As a third-round draft choice of the Patriots in 1996, linebacker Tedy
Bruschi has only had to endure one losing season as a pro, Bill Belichick's
first year as head coach in 2000. Like today's Dolphins, those Patriots stumbled
to an 0-4 start. Enduring another four-game losing streak, they finished 5-11
"You never think that (it's over)," said Bruschi. "Even when we were
struggling and went 5-11 that one year, you never think you're out of it. It's
just the mentality you have as an athlete that we can come back. We can do this.
I know it's in this locker room. The attitude I have is, no matter the
situation, no matter the score, we can come back."
In the aftermath of their latest loss, 17-9, to the Jets last Sunday, Bruschi
figures that feeling came over the Dolphins once again late Wednesday afternoon.
"When you lose, it stays with you for a while, but after Wednesday's
practice, you start to feel a little bit better because that's when you start to
prepare for another team," said Bruschi. "You've got a practice under your belt
and you're saying, 'OK. We can get these guys.' "
The Enterprise at SouthofBoston.com
On Playing for the Patriots
What the Patriots have done almost as well as coaching their
established players is developing talent -- and paying below-market prices to
keep it. Top left tackles command more than $6 million a year; last week Matt
one of the top 10 players at his position, signed a six-year, $27 million deal.
"It's going to be great playing with these guys for the next few years," Light
says. "It's not always about being the highest-paid guy." Bruschi, one of the
best defensive playmakers and leaders in the game, could have become a free
agent after this season, but in June he signed a four-year, $8.12 million
extension. That deal would make him the 12th highest-paid player on the
Cincinnati Bengals. He doesn't care.
"You turn on the TV and watch the highlights," says Bruschi,
"and you see a bunch of individuals making plays and celebrating as individuals.
We don't play to make highlight shows. Watch how we celebrate -- with our
teammates. Always. You play the game to be on a team like this. Our attitude is
we don't want to be good one to 22. We want to be good one to 53."
SI.com - SI Exclusive - Peter King: A League of Their Own - Tuesday October 12,
Up Next: New
UNSUNG HERO: Tedy Bruschi. This guy means so much to the Patriots defense
his teammates should chip in and buy him the second "d" for his first name.
Three Patriots defenders went to the Pro Bowl last season -- cornerback Ty Law,
linebacker Willie McGinest and tackle Richard Seymour. But Bruschi, the scrappy
inside linebacker, is the glue that holds the unit together.
New England Patriots
rush to greatness
By Kevin Mannix/ Report Card
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Tedy Bruschi led
the way again. He had only five tackles but also contributed two deflections,
one on the Dolphins final play.
Ted Johnson [news]
cemented his role as the starter alongside Bruschi with seven more tackles (he
had 11 in Buffalo) including one that kept Fiedler out of the end zone on a
quarterback sneak in the fourth quarter. Mike Vrabel
and Willie McGinest
were fairly quiet, with one tackle and one assist apiece, but Vrabel made a big
play in holding his position to prevent a big play on a reverse. He didn't make
the tackle on Chris Chambers (Asante Samuel
did) but he made the play possible by not following the fake, forcing Chambers
outside. Rosevelt Colvin had lengthy periods of invisibility but occasionally
showed the old-time burst when allowed to rush the passer.
BostonHerald.com - Patriots: Pats rush to greatness
"It's funny because we refer to our winning streak as a one-game winning streak
19 straight times," Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi said.
Bruschi — husband, father and football player, consistently makes big,
game-changing plays for Pats
By Bryan Morry
He is the consummate Patriot — the blue-collar guy New
Englanders worship for the full-tilt, full-time style that has become his
staple. If he once was considered an over-achieving type, now he is simply an
achieving type. Achieving as in big plays and big decisions. Smart ones, too.
That’s Tedy Bruschi’s life in 2004 as a football player, husband, father and
person, in no particular order.
Bill Belichick likens his players to stockholders knowing the dividends they
receive are directly related to their commitment. He uses that terminology when
discussing leadership, and Bruschi is certainly one of the players driving the
float in the parade while others stand, wave and look pretty for the cheering
fans as it passes by.
To be sure, Bruschi adores his fans. He has a fan club that he recognizes
after every home game. Randy “Zip” Pierce, the Cardozas, ’Bama and the like all
don their “54” shirts to cheer on the Patriots from near or far. In some sense,
he is their Patriots pied piper, a West Coast guy who fits into the East Coast
fabric. One gets the feeling, though, that Bruschi is cut from a cloth that
would blend nicely in any region’s fabric.
He plays hard and makes hard plays look easy. Whether diving through to halt a
running back looking to pick up a critical yard or snaring a football out of the
air at short range, Bruschi’s underrated athleticism and instincts are on full
display when he steps on the field.
Listen to Belichick, who’s seen a few decent linebackers in his time, explain
the Bruschi phenomenon:
“I think there are certain players that sometimes you can’t even find the right
word or the right identification, but you just know that they are playmakers.
They have an instinct for the ball or an instinct for the situation. They just
seem to make the right decision at the right time. Tedy is one of those players.
“He’s been a high producer at every level of football he’s ever played
regardless of his position. He’s the type of guy you want on the field in every
situation and the type you have a lot of confidence in. He finds a way to get it
done with his own unique playing style that’s not always the most conventional.
He has quickness, balance and some deception to him. He’s very productive. He’s
a great guy to coach. He’s a football player.”
His development as a player exceeds the boundaries of his ballyhooed change from
a rushing down lineman to a versatile linebacker. With experience has come
wisdom and leadership.
He leads both vocally and by example, which makes him easy to follow. He does
what he says and says what he does. It’s a quality he also brings to fatherhood.
Bruschi and his wife, Heidi, have two boys, Tedy Jr. and Rex, and Dad leads his
boys the same way he might a young football player looking to him for guidance.
“It’s easy to say you want to be a role model and say you want to do the right
things,” Bruschi said. “But I look at it as I want my kids to be proud of me. I
want to be able to say to them, ‘These are the decisions that I’m making so
that’s why I’m telling you.’ I don’t want to be making wrong decisions and going
around telling them, ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’ I don’t like that saying.”
It’s a quality that came with maturity, becoming a husband and bringing children
into the world. Bruschi, like most, had his moments that he won’t discuss. He
refers to those as his “wild days” when quizzed.
“There was a point in my life where I was as reckless off the field as I was
on,” he said while laughing as if he can’t believe some of the things he did
back then, whenever “then” was and whatever the “things” were. “I’m talking
college and my initial years here. I could bring up examples but I won’t because
it was a long time ago. I had my crazy times and they’re over.
“I think we all [had those times] at one point in our lives. But I think there
comes a point in your life where you have to make decisions as to what you want
to be, and I decided a while back that I wanted to be a good father and a good
“There are phases of life where you mature as a person and your role as an
individual changes and you have to make the decision to say, ‘Hey, I’m ready to
leave this phase behind and move on.’ Those are decisions I’ve been making since
the end of my college career and coming out here to New England where I didn’t
want to be a college guy my entire life. I said, ‘Let’s leave that behind now.’
I have a great wife at home and a couple of kids. So who do I want to be? I want
to be a father and a family man.”
He’s also a private man. He’s not flashy like Ty Law or sowing his oats in the
public’s eye like Tom Brady. He’s not the Grizzly Adams type like Matt Light or
the practical joker like Mike Vrabel. But he could probably fit into any one of
those categories while simply being Tedy Bruschi.
Ultimately, he is one of them and they are like him. Personalities and
preferences aside, they all come to work together to be a football team with one
common goal that wins largely because of the unselfishness of good, solid
players. They understand the need for talent, but their boasting isn’t done with
words, but rather deeds. Or maybe in big plays by big-time playmakers, who make
them within the concept of a team defense rather than in one that relies merely
on a few individual stars.
Count Bruschi among those playmakers. He’s always known and accepted his role,
one that has grown steadily as he has gained experience and demonstrated the
ability to handle more and excel within his responsibilities.
A college defensive lineman, Bruschi developed into an NFL linebacker who
started as a pass rush specialist and morphed into a complete player and one of
the better inside linebackers in the NFL. He was able to handle the move and
shine in his new position because of his athleticism, work ethic, intelligence
and most of all, his football instincts. Glimpses of those instincts came early.
In spot playing time as a rookie in 1996, Bruschi made some standout plays.
He scored his first touchdown at any level when he recovered a Larry Whigham
blocked punt for a score in a win over the Baltimore Ravens in 1996. He
intercepted a Mark Brunell pass in the AFC Championship Game that season and
sacked Brett Favre twice in Super Bowl XXXI.
“Those are big plays that I remember because that’s all you try to do is help
the team when you come in,” Bruschi said in reference to his rookie season.
Belichick, who was a Patriots assistant in 1996, also recalls the sentiment
surrounding Bruschi on draft weekend. “I remember when we sat in the draft room
and took him. The conversation was, ‘Look, we’re taking him. We’re taking a good
football player. We don’t know what we’re going to do with him exactly, but we
figure we’ll find something.’ He was a third-round pick, a significant pick. It
was clear pretty quickly that, not only was he going to make our football team,
but he was going to help our football team and he did in his rookie year in
1996,” Belichick said.
While glimpses of the playmaking ability he showed as a fierce college pass
rusher showed up occasionally early in his NFL career, it wasn’t until he gained
more significant playing time that he truly and consistently started showing a
knack for big plays at big times. That came in 1999, his fourth season in the
league, when he started 14 games.
His first career regular season interception came that year in a loss at
Philadelphia, but it was a sign of things to come. Since then, he’s picked off
seven passes and is the only player in NFL history to return four consecutive
interceptions for touchdowns during a stretch that spanned from the last half of
2002 through the latter stages of 2003.
The first came in Oakland when a Rich Gannon pass deflected off Lawyer Milloy’s
foot to Bruschi, who raced 48 yards for the touchdown in a 27-20 loss that
wasn’t that close.
Two weeks later, on Nov. 28, 2002, he made the play he lists as the most
memorable individual play of his career not only because of its impact, but also
because it, in some sense, validated his move from star college defensive
lineman to star-in-the-making NFL linebacker.
“Thanksgiving. Detroit,” he said without hesitation referring to a 27-yard
interception return for a touchdown in a 20-12 Patriots win. “That culminates my
entire voyage as a football player. At the start of that play, I was a blitzer.
And that’s all I was in the beginning of my pro career. On that play, I
initially started to go after the passer, which was Step 1 of the play. Step 2
was reading the protection, which is a skill that took me a couple of years to
learn. Then when I got that read, I had to pop into coverage. That was the third
step, dropping back, which also is something I had to learn to do as a
linebacker. The fourth phase of the play was going back to the quarterback,
seeing where he was going to throw the ball, seeing it in the air, picking it
off and taking it to the house. That was sort of the latest development I’d been
trying to make — turning an average play into a game-changing play.”
He’s been making those plays ever since. While he missed the four games
following that Detroit game with a knee injury suffered that day, he picked up
last year where he left off in 2002.
Two games into the 2003 season, Bruschi snared a Donovan McNabb pass and
strolled 18 yards into the end zone to ice a win over the Eagles. His fourth
consecutive return for a touchdown came Dec. 7, 2003, when he broke open a 3-0
fourth quarter Patriots lead over Miami by intercepting Jay Fiedler and gliding
5 yards into the end zone for a touchdown that set off a seemingly coordinated
yet surreal snow fireworks display that will live forever in Patriots lore.
“There wasn’t a defensive line element to that particular play,” Bruschi said,
explaining the difference between the Miami interception and the one in Detroit
in 2002. “I wasn’t rushing the passer. I was just in man-to-man coverage with
the running back and read the quarterback,” he added to point out the more
simplistic nature of his responsibility.
His string of four straight touchdown returns was broken two weeks after the
Miami game when he picked off Chad Pennington and was tackled after a 3-yard
gain. While he didn’t score on the play, wideout David Givens did one play later
when Tom Brady hit him for a 35-yard touchdown.
Of his four touchdowns, Bruschi said, “I can hold on to that. I don’t think
anyone else has ever done that.”
Bruschi increased his interception total to nine in Week 1 of this season, eight
of which have come in the last three-plus seasons, as he has emerged from a
situational player to a full-tilt, full-timer.
“It just comes down to having your coverage responsibility taken care of,”
Bruschi explained regarding his knack for interceptions. “I do that first and
foremost. I periph the situation around me to look for different colored jerseys
and where they are. And then the quarterback read is a big part of it too. When
you realize your responsibility is taken care of, you go back to the quarterback
and read him and anticipate where he’s going to throw. That’s when you have your
He did just that in the Sept. 9 season-opening win over the Colts at Gillette
Stadium. With Indianapolis driving to a sure score on its opening possession and
facing a second-and-goal from the 6, Bruschi spoiled their party.
Peyton Manning predictably dropped back to pass and fired a throw into Bruschi’s
fully extended hands for a drive-thwarting pick.
“I was in zone coverage and I was in my area and saw Peyton looking to my left,”
Bruschi explained. “So I drifted that way and he put the ball out there and I
had to dive for that one. That was a tough catch to make, but that’s when Pepper
Johnson’s on-the-line drills helped me out a lot.”
Bruschi is as big a beneficiary of that drill as any player. It’s one that
features Pepper Johnson firing passes at linebackers from close range much the
way they would be in a quarterback’s line of fire positioned just behind the
But there was no drill to help him break open the Oct. 3 win over the Bills in
Buffalo. It was just pure instinct, playmaking ability and a little luck that
helped him make the play that clinched the Patriots 18th straight win.
With the Bills trailing by seven with 2:59 remaining in the game, they faced a
fourth-and-three situation from the Patriots 17-yard line. Buffalo called a
play-action fake on which quarterback Drew Bledsoe was supposed to keep the ball
and bootleg around the end in hopes of picking up first down yardage.
But the Patriots, and Bruschi, were playing pass all the way and as Bruschi
burst through the line, he ignored the fake to Travis Henry, who also blew up
the play by running to the wrong side of the quarterback, and hit Bledsoe while
knocking the ball free for Richard Seymour to scoop and score after rumbling 68
yards to cement the win.
“It was a terrible fake and the running back went the wrong way,” Bruschi said.
“I try to prepare myself physically so that if I’m in those situations, my body
will respond. I was able to make a nice cut that changed my direction, went to
the quarterback and knocked the ball out.”
It was just another in a long line of big plays for the one-time defensive
lineman, but now Pro Bowl-caliber middle linebacker.
In a sense, Bruschi personifies the Patriots. He is not your prototype inside
linebacker. He is not the fastest guy or even the strongest. He is perhaps the
Troy Brown of the defense, which is to say he is a player who gets the most out
of his ability and then gets more.
“I’m not super fast,” Bruschi admitted. “I have a good burst, but my main asset
will always be my intelligence and my instincts. I don’t think you can develop
instincts. I think you can look at a guy over a few practices and a few games
and see if he’s got it. But you have instincts or you don’t. In certain
situations, they take over.”
They certainly take over for Bruschi in the numerous short-yardage situations on
which he has stuffed an opposing runner at a critical time. Go back to last
year’s goal line stand in Indianapolis. Willie McGinest and Ted Washington
earned all the attention for the fourth down stop of Edgerrin James, but Bruschi
was in on the stuffs on both first and second down.
Then there was the Dallas game last year when he blew through the line to bury
Troy Hambrick on a fourth-and-one play early in the fourth quarter that
demoralized the Cowboys in a 12-0 Patriots win.
The Snow Bowl? The tuck rule and Adam Vinatieri’s amazing field goal are what
most remember, and rightfully so, but Bruschi was one of the defenders that made
those events possible. With 2:24 to go in that game, Oakland faced a
third-and-one while holding a 13-10 lead. A first down there and the Patriots
season is over. Zack Crockett took the hand-off from Rich Gannon and was
stuffed. A scan of the play-by-play reveals Ty Law and Tedy Bruschi as the
Crockett-stuffing game savers.
He did it in Chicago in an amazing comeback win over the Bears in 2002. The
Patriots trailed 30-25 with 2:46 to go without the ball. On first-and-10,
Chicago’s Anthony Thomas ran for 9 yards, all but ending the Patriots hope of a
miracle comeback. On second down, Willie McGinest stopped Thomas for no gain and
on third, it was Bruschi firing through and derailing the A-Train for a 1-yard
loss. The Patriots of course, won on a Tom Brady to David Patten touchdown pass
with :28 left.
Belichick lauded Bruschi’s ability to consistently make those types of
game-impacting plays. “I think it’s a function of, number one, preparation,”
Belichick said. “But number two is quickness and instincts. As a middle
linebacker, you don’t have much time to react. You have 10 or 15 guys moving in
front of you and you have a split second to see it and react. To me, the best
linebackers are the guys that can quickly recognize the situation and then
instantly and decisively hit it. When they do that, they are able to get through
before an offensive lineman or the back can account for them. Every once in a
while, they may go flying through and end up picking themselves up off the
ground. But that’s the way they play. They might get it a couple of times, but
the opponent will get them a couple of times.
“Others play it more conservatively and won’t make as many of those plays, but
won’t get caught out of position as much. But those good linebackers, the Ray
Lewises, the Bruschis and guys like that, have instincts, quickness and a
suddenness that when they see it, they can move in a short area explosively and
in a hurry,” Belichick said.
Bruschi sees those situations as do-or-die types and he lives for them.
“There comes a time and a situation in a game when you just have to go for it,”
Bruschi began. “There are other times when you have to play more conservatively
depending on the situation. When it comes down to, ‘this is the game,’ you have
to know when that is. If we stop them, we’re going to win and if we don’t, we
could lose. That’s when the antenna has to go up. I love that. Ever since
college when we had a great defense, the Desert Swarm defense in Arizona, we
developed an attitude where if the game was on the line, we wanted the defense
on the field to make the stop. We have that here.”
Bruschi isn’t the only Patriots defender with that mentality, but he is at least
partially responsible for its presence in his teammates’ minds. He is indeed
full-tilt, full-time and his style, along with that of other veterans like
Rodney Harrison and Richard Seymour, rubs off on others. It’s leadership through
effort and production. It’s a life lived in white-collar fashion earned with
down-and-dirty, roll-up-you-sleeves, expend every ounce of energy blue-collar
That’s Tedy Bruschi. No longer the reckless youngster, Bruschi made the choice
to be what he is — a husband, a father and big-time playmaker.
Notes and Quotes: 10/19/04
By Kevin Mannix/ Report Card
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Linebackers – B
In addition to his interception, McGinest created a sack on the game's
first play, chasing down Hasselbeck and making it possible for Warren to record
the sack. Tedy Bruschi
had a quietly productive afternoon with eight tackles while
contributed in several areas, as usual. He had seven tackles, a sack, a pass
deflection and several pressures.
BostonHerald.com - Patriots: Different team, same fate
On Crowd Noise at Gillette:
Linebacker Tedy Bruschi said that the fourth quarter of Sunday's
game was prime screaming time for the fans. "It got pretty loud," he said.
"It got deafening there for a while, and when our fans want to get into it, they
can. We haven't lost in a while, so I like the atmosphere. Our fans know
football, and when they see we need some noise, they're there for us."
projo.com | Providence, R.I. | Patriots
Few kings have ruled like the Pats
By BOB DICESARE
New England's winning culture has become so alluring
that players are doing the unthinkable: They're turning their backs on greener
pastures to remain with the Pats. Linebacker Tedy Bruschi and left tackle Matt
Light signed contract extensions for significantly less money than would have
been available elsewhere. The Patriots have no salary cap problems, remain
oblivious to urgency that leads so many of their counterparts to spend for today
only to regret it tomorrow. They'll gladly whip your high-priced free agent with
an undrafted nobody.
- Few kings have ruled like the Pats
On Curtis Martin:
"Only [seven] other guys who ever played can say they're better than him,"
Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi said Monday. "I can't talk to you on an
educated level about Jim Brown or Walter Payton, but to me, Curtis has been one
of the best around. "It doesn't surprise me what he's done since he left here
because I knew his work ethic and his mentality. I think he works even harder
when people doubt him the way they have the last couple of years. I see how
aggressively he's playing and the way he's finishing runs. He's getting up all
fired up. He's not flashy. He's not talking or on the highlight shows, but
Curtis has some hidden agendas. He wants to be the best there ever was. He's not
as flashy as some guys, he just works and works," Bruschi said. "And he gains
Boston.com / Sports / Football / Patriots / Jets' Martin finally making a
On Keeping Seattle out of the EZ:
"At that point, our guys were so up (emotionally)," said Bruschi. "Everybody
was talking about, 'No score! No score!' We didn't care what they did, we
weren't going to let them in."
The Enterprise at SouthofBoston.com
On the Jets:
Linebacker Tedy Bruschi
said he's as concerned about the Jets as any opponent he's faced in the recent
past. And that includes the Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII. "This team
doesn't do anything wrong," Bruschi said of the Jets. "We're going to have to be
at the top of our game to have a chance."
New York City - Football
Patriots heat up in red zone
By HOWARD ULMAN
AP Sports Writer
FOXBORO, Mass. (AP) — New England’s defenders let Seattle
march down the field. Just 12 seconds remained and the Seahawks had a first down
at the Patriots 2-yard line.
In the defensive huddle, the message was clear: "No score. We
don’t care what they do, we’re not going to let them in," linebacker Tedy
And they didn’t.
Matt Hasselbeck threw two incompletions, a penalty moved the
ball to the 1, and the Patriots stopped Mack Strong for no gain on the final
play then ran off the field with a 30-20 win Sunday, their NFL record 20th
It didn’t matter to the Patriots that Seattle couldn’t have
won the game even with a touchdown on the last drive. The end zone is their
territory and they’ll defend it no matter what the situation.
On their five trips into the New England red zone inside the
20, the Seahawks managed just three field goals and a touchdown.
"That last red zone stand on the goal line was huge for us,"
strong safety Rodney Harrison said. "It just showed people that, regardless of
the score, we’re going to continue to play to the end."
The Patriots defense started brilliantly with interceptions
on Seattle’s first two series that led to a 10-0 lead. It was 17-0 early in the
second quarter and 20-6 at halftime.
But with 11:05 left in the game, New England couldn’t stop
Seattle after the Seahawks’ Michael Boulware intercepted Tom Brady’s pass. That
drive ended in Shaun Alexander’s 9-yard touchdown run and a two-point conversion
that made it 20-17.
It was 23-17 when Seattle started at its 26-yard line and
moved all the way to a first down at New England’s 13. Then a 2-yard loss on a
complete pass and two penalties forced the Seahawks to settle for a field goal.
The Patriots held Seattle to field goals on three series that
went inside the 20 and another that reached the 22. So the Seahawks scored just
12 points on the kicks rather than 28 had each drive ended in a touchdown and
"That’s the difference of 16 points," Harrison said. "That
definitely changed the outcome of the game."
New England (5-0) has allowed just 16.1 points per game this
season and played well defending its goal line.
"We weren’t very good last year in the red zone so that was a
point of emphasis in the offseason," Harrison said. "If you can’t stop them from
scoring, at least hold them to three points."
The Patriots have allowed opponents to convert only 38
percent of their third-down plays into first downs.
Bruschi said it’s a matter of pride for the Patriots to keep
teams out of the end zone, even, as with the Seahawks, it doesn’t affect the
"I guess they thought we were just going to let them have six
points so we could get out of there," Bruschi said. "But, no. We’re not going to
"We don’t care when it is, what the situation is. Getting in
our end zone is going to be tough to do, and we want to send a message to
everyone that it’s going to be tough."
Patriots heat up in red zone
Beat Report: Bruschi's status takes flight
Published 2:15 am PDT Sunday, October 24, 2004
New England linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who makes a habit of launching himself over
offensive lines to disrupt offenses, earned the label of "Patriot Missile" in a
spectacular photograph taken of him recently by Sports Illustrated.
New York Jets quarterback Chad Pennington, who faces the
Patriots today, recalled with awe how the Roseville-reared Bruschi made an
acrobatic interception against him last year, calling it one of the most
remarkable plays he has seen in the NFL.
None of this fazes New England coach Bill Belichick. During a news conference
leading up to today's AFC East battle for first with the Jets, Belichick said
what sets Bruschi apart from most linebackers is his anticipation of where the
ball is going with uncanny accuracy.
"I think Tedy makes a lot of plays on his instinctiveness as
well as his athletic ability," Belichick said. "I don't think he would be the
top-testing athlete of all time, (but) he is explosive (and) has the ability
when he sees something to hit it with no hesitation."
Belichick said he has never really cautioned Bruschi, in his
ninth year out of Arizona, about going airborne so much. The coach said it is a
style Bruschi favors, though it isn't for everyone.
"There are plusses and minuses," Belichick said. "When you
are in the air, you don't have any power. You are at the mercy of whatever you
have been able to generate on the ground. On the ground, you have more power but
maybe less ability to move or avoid somebody.
"I think Tedy is kind of loose-jointed and flexible and is
able to take contact in different ways. Other guys are more rigid."
sacbee.com -- Sports -- Beat Report: Bruschi's status takes flight
Jets: A true-blue Patriot leaves it all on the
Sunday, October 24, 2004
FOXBORO, Mass. -- Tedy Bruschi decided a long time ago, on
the day he was drafted in 1996, that he wanted to remain with the Patriots.
Loyalty means something to Bruschi, and all these years
later, the transplanted Californian can't imagine turning his back on the fans
who have bought and worn his No. 54 jersey. Can't imagine leaving behind
teammates with whom he has sweated and bled and won two Super Bowls in the last
Can't imagine cutting ties with the organization that drafted
an undersized defensive end, switched his position and has supported his ascent
to one of the NFL's better inside linebackers and, arguably, the league's most
He just can't imagine taking his game-changing, big
play-making act anywhere else.
"That's just who I am," Bruschi said.
So's this: A starter since midway through the 1998 season,
the 6-1, 247-pound Bruschi is a special-teams regular who doesn't complain about
that unglamorous part of the job.
"You want to have the attitude of doing everything you can to
help your team win," he said. "Let's see more guys who say that go out and do
it. I say I want to do everything to help my team win.
"I live by what I say. If you need me on a punt team, fine.
If you need me on kickoff return, I'll do it."
And if you need him to make an interception that changes a
game, that's fine, too.
In the first quarter of the season opener against the Colts,
Bruschi made a diving interception of a Peyton Manning pass in particularly
tight quarters -- at the Patriots' 1-yard line.
Considering the 27-24 final, it's no stretch to say Bruschi's
play was instrumental in keeping alive what has become an NFL-record 20-game
"If the situation calls for me to sell out my body," he said,
"I'm going to."
That can mean blitzing, finding the perfect crease at the
perfect time and hitting a quarterback with the force of a lineman, at least. In
his former life as a defensive end at the University of Arizona, Bruschi didn't
tie Derrick Thomas' Division 1-A sack record of 52 for nothing.
Three weeks ago against the Bills, Bruschi had two
fourth-quarter sacks of Drew Bledsoe, one of which forced a fumble that
defensive tackle Richard Seymour scooped up and returned for a touchdown. The
Patriots' 31-17 victory was secured.
"Bruschi's always a guy who comes through, no matter what,"
said teammate Ty Law, the Pro Bowl cornerback.
And then there are the plays that combine all of Bruschi's
gifts, his instincts, athletic ability, uncanny sense of timing.
In the Jets' most recent meeting with the Patriots on Dec.
20, quarterback Chad Pennington saw an apparently open tight end Anthony Becht
on the second play from scrimmage. Bruschi, who was lurking in space and
diagnosing the play, leapt as Pennington released the pass.
The ball found Bruschi. Or vice versa.
"It was," Pennington said, "one of the most unbelievable
defensive plays I've ever seen."
Not quite game over, but it didn't get a whole lot better for
the guys in green. Pennington threw four more interceptions that day. The
Patriots won, 21-16.
"I was only about five yards from him when he threw it,"
Bruschi said. "I jumped up and just squeezed the ball. It happened real fast.
It's one of those plays where the ball was just in the air and I took it."
Bruschi makes it sound so simple, mostly because he likes it
that way. He is a lunch-bucket type of guy, a tireless worker who has no
interest in personal glory but who embodies these Patriots as much as any player
in the locker room.
Not only has Bruschi, 31, never been selected to the Pro
Bowl, he doesn't care if he ever is.
"I don't have a goal to be called a Pro Bowl-caliber player,"
he said. "I've always had the goal to make myself a championship-caliber player,
to make my main goal championships."
Safety Rodney Harrison has compared Bruschi to Dolphins
linebacker Junior Seau, in both the tangible and intangible qualities he brings
to the game and to his team. Harrison and Seau played together with the
"If you put Bruschi at linebacker, he'll make plays that make
you go, 'Wow,'" Law said. "I see him rush the passer as a down lineman and I
wonder how this little guy beats those big boys up there. Whether it's with
speed or with power, he finds a way to get the job done at all times."
Sometimes that means taking flight, soaring over a lineman or
a running back, whoever is in his way.
"If you can't go to the left or the right and if they're big
and you can't go through them, sometimes you've got to go over them," Bruschi
Outside linebacker Mike Vrabel has played with Bruschi since
2001. That doesn't mean he's used to his teammates' occasional high-wire act.
"If he comes in on a blitz and sees a guy standing there, he
figures he's got a better chance of going over them than he does going through
them," Vrabel said. "So Tedy will just go airborne. And you'll stop rushing
sometimes. Because you'll see feet that are literally three or four feet above
your head and you stop rushing, and it's Tedy."
Brushi has nine career interceptions -- his 2002-03 string of
returning four consecutive interceptions for touchdowns is a first in NFL
history -- and 22 1/2 career sacks.
Coach Bill Belichick says it's "a quickness and a
suddenness," an explosiveness and a decisiveness that sets apart "those good
linebackers, the Ray Lewises, the Bruschis and guys like that."
"But one of the things for me that kind of separates Tedy
from other players is his instinctiveness, his anticipation and he has the
ability, when he sees something, to hit it," Belichick said. "And it is with no
Bruschi has little time for indecision. A devoted husband and
father -- he and wife Heidi are expecting their third child -- Bruschi acts as
his own agent, representing himself in contract negotiations.
He signed a contract extension in June: Four years, $8.1
million, including a $3.5 million signing bonus.
Critics squawked that he didn't get enough. Bruschi countered
that he got what he wanted.
So Tedy Bruschi is a Patriot. Forever.
"He's a great player. He does a lot for this team," running
back Corey Dillon said. "He's not underappreciated around here. Around here,
he's the man."
the basics: Johnson goes old school
By Kevin Mannix/ The NFL
Monday, October 25, 2004
FOXBORO - When the game ended, a pleasant
wave of nostalgia struck Ted Johnson
The smashmouth linebacker had just played in a smashmouth game. What's not to
like about that.
Not just because
he had a team-high 10 tackles and forced a fumble. Not just because he and
(who also had 10 tackles) had accomplished what seemed like an impossible
mission. They had held Jets back Curtis Martin to a season-low 70 yards on 20
carries, with a long gain of 9 yards, a critical factor in the Pats' 13-7
victory here yesterday.
Bruschi took on offensive linemen and held their ground. Then they took on
Martin and made their tackles.
Which is nothing
new. That's Johnson's game. He's had games like this before, most recently three
weeks ago when he had 11 tackles in the victory over the Bills.
appreciated in this game was the sense that he had turned back the clock.
Today's game involves 220-pound linebackers whose forte is speed and quickness,
not power, a necessity in today's game of quick passes, empty backfields and no
and London Fletcher are today's inside linebacker prototypes. The new game has
limited the roles of the slobberknocker inside linebackers, who have become
``short yardage specialists.''
Not so in
news] victory. The 6-foot-4, 253-pound Johnson was a full-time player and he
responded, making the kind of plays that have highlighted his 10-year career.
That's what he
``I'm not going
to lie to you,'' Johnson said. ``When I came in (the locker room) I had the
feeling that I had just played some good old-fashioned football. They were
testing our will with the run and kept pounding away to get some momentum going.
That's football. It's about hitting and tackling and that's what was going on
out there today.
determined to pound Curtis at us and the fact that they were always within one
score of us allowed them to keep it up. It's what I enjoy doing.''
He always has.
Johnson came into the league in 1995 as a second-round draft pick from Colorado
with a background in the 3-4 defense. Martin came to the Pats the same year as a
third-round pick, only to pack up and leave for the Jets as a restricted free
agent in 1998.
part of this game that made it special,'' Johnson said with a smile. ``We came
in together and there's a lot of history between us. He's a helluva back. I
remember my first year in training camp. The first call I made to my old man was
about having to try to cover Curtis one-on-one during passing drills. It was an
responsibility wasn't a factor yesterday since the Jets' plan was to run Martin,
not throw to him (two catches for zero yards).
The Pats' plan
was to keep their former teammate from cutting up the field, capitalizing on
their pursuit. That's how a 3-yard hole is turned into a 15-yard gain.
``With Ted and
me it was a matter of remembering to stay in position,'' Bruschi pointed out.
``We know Curtis. We know his game. If we overpursue and both of us wind up on
the same side of the center, we're in trouble. That's when Curtis will cut it
back to where neither of us is and break down the field on the other side.
Giving up 3 or 4 yards is better than 20.
``You know if
you vacate your gap too soon, Curtis will see it and be gone.''
BostonHerald.com - Patriots: 'Backer to the basics: Johnson goes old school
Notes and Quotes: 10/25/04
Patriots notebook: A new closer's in town
By Mike Reiss
Monday, October 25, 2004
FOXBORO -- Keith Foulke
might be the most popular closer in town, but ask Patriots linebacker Tedy
Bruschi his choice and he's voting for running back Corey Dillon. Dillon
continued to display the powerful dimension he adds to the Patriots' offense,
helping seal yesterday's victory by rushing three straight times -- for 6, 2 and
4 yards -- as the Patriots ran out the clock without allowing the Jets to get
the ball back. "Corey is a defender's best friend," Bruschi said. "He can
pound that ball for (6) yards on first down, then Richard Seymour comes in at
fullback on third down, and they had a first down. You can sit down and drink
some more Gatorade. It's a great thing to see." Dillon finished with 115 yards
on 22 carries for an impressive 5.2 average. His 44-yard gain at the end
of the third quarter helped shift the field position, and was his longest as a
Patriot. Dillon now has three runs of 35 or more on the season. Last season, the
Patriots had just one all season.
MetroWest Daily News - Sports Coverage
Another group of high grades for unbeaten Patriots
MICHAEL PARENTE, Sports Writer
Everyone stepped up, including Ted Johnson, who had another big game with 10
tackles and a forced fumble. The linebackers collectively took advantage of the
space they had to work with and did a great job stopping the run. Martin never
got into a rhythm and the Jets were forced to use other options. Tedy Bruschi
had 10 tackles and Mike Vrabel chipped in with five. McGinest combined with
Seymour on that huge stop, which set up a fourth-and-9 that resulted in a
turnover on downs for the Jets. Pennington picked apart the defense with lots of
short passes, but the linebackers made sure the plays didn’t turn into long
Overall grade: A
Patriots 13, Jets 7
Monday, October 25,
STAR OF THE GAME
Inside linebackers Ted Johnson and Tedy Bruschi were in on 10 tackles apiece as
the Patriots defense controlled a potent Jets offense, especially in the second
Game 6: Patriots 13, Jets 7
Inspired defense carries the day
FOXBORO Before one critical defensive play for the Patriots
yesterday, a picture of Curt Schilling's surgically duct-taped right ankle
appeared on the big video screens at each end of Gillette Stadium.
"Hey, that's 'ankle up,'" said a smiling Patriots linebacker
Tedy Bruschi, who along with his defensive mates held the Jets scoreless in the
second half while the Jets' defense was also holding the Patriots scoreless.
"Whatever it was, it got our crowd fired up. We all know what's going on here.
The Sox are in the Series. Let's cheer them on too."
Usually "Hell's Bells" by AC/DC being pumped through the
Gillette Stadium sound system is enough to alert the sellout crowd of a critical
defensive play ahead. But with the Jets going for it on fourth-and-inches from
their own 23 with 6:55 to play, a still-photo of David Ortiz was posted on the
video screens for inspiration.
Jets quarterback Chad Pennington still snuck two yards for a
But Patriots strong safety Rodney Harrison, who eight plays
later batted away a fourth-down pass intended for Wayne Chrebet to essentially
seal the victory, thought this was New England's finest overall defensive
performance of the season.
"They made plays up and down the field," said Harrison about
the Jets' 268 total yards. "But they got in the end zone one time. And they do
have a lot of weapons. So yes, (it was the Patriots' best defensive performance
thus far in 2004)."
Bruschi credited crisp communication between defenders
dealing with a Jets offense that uses a lot of motion and sends a lot of
receivers into pass patterns. "They do a lot of things that make you communicate
(on defense)," said Bruschi, "especially when you're playing here at home and
the crowd is really loud and they're showing Schilling's ankle up there."21
Notes and Quotes: 10/25/04
So two streaks are over, 21 straight overall and 18 straight in the regular
"I think the reason we were able to win all those games is because we always
knew losing was a possibility," New England linebacker Tedy Bruschi said.....
The Patriots have preached throughout their streak that they only worry about
the game at hand. That philosophy will come in handy this week as they try to
put yesterday's debacle in the past.
"I know how we'll respond," New England linebacker Tedy Bruschi said. "We'll
come in ready to work and get ready for the next game. I think we'll respond
21 and done
Belichick does not provide information on injuries before he is required to
do so by the league on Wednesdays. Linebacker Tedy Bruschi noted that the
Patriots had key injuries last year, too, and they went on to win the Super
"We've been through so much as a unit," he said. "Whoever goes down, we feel
like whoever comes in can do the job, because that's what we've done in the
Director has ball with Pats
PUNT PASS AND PITCH While shooting his first feature film,
the frenetic remake of "Dawn of the Dead," director Zack Snyder
learned a few things about strategically choreographed mayhem. So it was only a
matter of time before he worked with the New England Patriots. The LA-based
Snyder, 38, was in Foxborough last week shooting a Visa spot that'll debut later
this month. (A veteran ad man, Snyder made a memorable Budweiser commercial
featuring football-playing Clydesdales getting an officiating assist from a
zebra.) Look for Ty Law, Tedy Bruschi, and
nearly 20 other players in this spot. "The premise is the guys are all saying,
'Not in our house, baby!' " Snyder says. "And that leads into them basically
getting to say what Visa can't -- 'You can't come into the stadium with any
other credit card.' " (Well, it's the card of choice, anyway.) Snyder shot the
spot on the same day "Dawn" came out on DVD, earning him some bonus cred with
the players. He said he's still sorting through the footage to see how the joke
will play. "They're like a whole bunch of De Niros out there,"
Snyder laughs. "They did great. But coach [Bill Belichick] does
put the fear of God in them, I think: 'Don't make us look bad!' "
Boston.com / A&E / Celebrity news / Director has ball with Pats; Arroyo pitches
"It's not weird at all (to lose), we knew it was a
possibility every week," linebacker Tedy Bruschi said. "That's why we played so
hard and prepared so hard every week. But a couple of things happened, a couple
of mistakes ... and they were rolling."
Yahoo! News - Eagles Emerge As Lone Unbeaten NFL Team
On the Injury situation:
"We've been through so much as a unit," linebacker
Tedy Bruschi says. "Whoever goes down, we feel like whoever comes in can do
the job, because that's what we've done in the past."
"We're all good football players, we have confidence in each other and we trust
each other," linebacker Tedy Bruschi said. "We feel like we can get the job
done. We've done it before, and we feel like that's what's going to happen this
Other guys have to step up, and guys do," linebacker Tedy
Bruschi said Monday. "The history we have here is guys go down, and we win."
Riddled Pats looking for few quick answers
By Glen Farley, Enterprise staff writer
FOXBORO — New England Patriots inside linebacker Tedy Bruschi
admits that during injury-riddled times like this, there is a natural tendency
for playmakers like him to place an extra burden on themselves.
"There is a little bit, but you really can't feel that way,"
Bruschi said Wednesday. "It's out there that we've got new guys in there so
we've got to do more, but you've still got to focus on your responsibility.
"If you're a positional player, you've got one job to do, and
that's your job, then you have confidence that the other guys are going to do
their jobs, also. Once you start trying to do somebody else's job, you forget
about your own job and you can't do that."
As it is, the Patriots' injury situation will force
inexperienced players to attempt to do others' jobs this Sunday.
The Patriots head into this weekend's game with the St. Louis
Rams inside the Edward Jones Dome without the services of starting left
cornerback Ty Law, who broke a bone in his left foot during the first quarter of
his team's 34-20 loss at Pittsburgh last Sunday.
The Patriots will also again be missing starting right
cornerback Tyrone Poole, who has missed three of the last four games with a knee
"I should be returning shortly," Poole said. "It won't be
Yesterday's injury report ruled both Law and Poole out of
"You'd like to have all the players healthy and ready to
play," cornerback Asante Samuel said. "Unfortunately, it's not like that."
A fourth-round pick in the 2003 draft, Samuel will make his
fourth start of the season against the Rams.
Beyond Samuel and strong safety Rodney Harrison, the
remainder of the Patriots' secondary could be in motion.
Rookie free-agent cornerback Randall Gay could start opposite
Samuel. Then again, Eugene Wilson, the 2003 second-round draft choice who
normally starts at free safety, could be moved into the cornerback position he
played at the University of Illinois.
If the latter option were exercised, either Gay or Dexter
Reid, a fourth-round draft pick this year, would make the first start of his NFL
career at safety alongside Harrison.
"There are several things we can do," head coach Bill
Belichick said. "We'll try to decide what we think is the best thing for this
game, and that's what it will be.
"There are a lot of considerations. I don't think you can
just isolate it to one thing. It's not about one player; it's about a group of
players. There are a lot of different variables."
"Will it be a challenge?" asked Harrison. "Yes it will. But
that's what you look forward to in the National Football League. You look
forward to challenges and seeing how you're going to step up."
Regardless, said Bruschi, the Patriots will still employ the
basics of their defense against a St. Louis offense that ranks sixth overall in
The Cardinals are fifth in passing behind quarterback Marc
Bulger, who has 161 completions in 250 attempts (64.4 percent) for 1,985 yards
and 10 touchdowns with seven interceptions.
Bulger often throws to the talented wide receiver tandem of
Isaac Bruce (44 receptions for 635 yards and one TD) and Torry Holt (37 catches
for 491 yards and four scores).
"We're still going to run what we run," said Bruschi. "Guys
have been in this system for months now since they've been drafted and signed,
gone through minicamp and training camp. They're expected to know what we do. We
can throw anything at them.
"We're not going to simplify anything because we've got a
couple of injuries," said Bruschi. "We're going to play what we play and have
confidence that we all know what to do, which we do."
The Enterprise at SouthofBoston.com
This week's Notes and Quotes:
Large and in charge
By Kevin Mannix/ Report Card
Tuesday, November 9, 2004
LINEBACKER -- A
McGinest had another quiet day, finishing with two tackles, one of them a sack.
On the other hand, he also had a deflection and a forced fumble. But since
timing is everything, WHEN he made the plays was more important than how MANY he
made. His deflection (while covering Holt 15 yards downfield) led to Roman
Phifer's interception that led to a third quarter touchdown, and the forced
fumble prevented a Rams score at the end of the half. He also smacked Marshall
Faulk around when he tried to get out on pass patterns. Vrabel supplied decent
pressure, as did Banta-Cain, who got his most extensive playing time of the
Tedy Bruschi [news]
had only three tackles but one came on a sack.
only two tackles came on successive plays against Faulk near the goal line,
saving a late touchdown.
BostonHerald.com - Patriots: Large and in charge
On Troy Brown:
Brown's exploits on defense drew praise from his teammates.
"He came in and was really big for us," said linebacker Tedy Bruschi. "He was
able to get some coverage on those receivers."
One reason for the good coverage was the pressure up front on
Bulger. "That is the thing," said Bruschi. "When you know that you have some
young guys back there, other guys have to step up a little bit. You know that
they may need a little bit of help, so try to get a bit more pressure on Bulger.
You have to get in his face and sack him."
With toughness, chicanery, versatility, and some solid
football, the Patriots erased the bad karma of last week's 34-20 loss to the
Steelers and re-established their winning ways.
Boston.com / Sports / Football / Patriots / Brown pulls double duty for defense
"He was playing some on defense, way
back in the minicamps," linebacker Tedy Bruschi said. "But you never think it's
going to happen in a game."Bruschi joked that when he first saw Brown in the
defensive huddle, he thought that he was the one confused and in the wrong
huddle: "Then I just turned to him, patted him on the helmet and said, 'How ya
doing? It's good to see ya."
Yahoo! News - Patriots start new streak with true team effort
"We have a saying around here: The more you do. ..." Tedy Bruschi said. "It
means the more you do the more chance you have of sticking around."
On Preparing for the Bills:
"You just have to get your mind right," linebacker
Tedy Bruschi said of
preparing for the Bills. "When you know a team is going to try to be physical
with you and impose its will to run the ball, you have to get yourself ready
physically. There isn't as much mental stress in terms of passing concepts. But
they have a good running back in McGahee and they like him and want to pump him
a little bit so you have to get it in your head that they are going to try to
run the ball."
Week 10 Insiders Perspective
"He’s looking at his running game now as something
he can count on," Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi said. "Drew’s handing the
ball off with confidence now. He’s saying, ‘Let the big guys up front do what
they can do.’ "
McGahee, Dillon add spark to running games
"When McGahee gets the running game going, that puts them in some third and
shorts, and all of a sudden, Drew has a lot more confidence when he doesn’t have
to get 15 yards or 10 yards and he’s facing a third-and-3 or a third-and-4,"
linebacker Tedy Bruschi said. "Percentage-wise, they’re a lot easier to
convert." Bruschi, like many of his teammates, couldn’t pinpoint why
McGahee has been more successful than Henry, but they know he brings something
to the table that was missing when they clobbered the Bills, 31-17, in Week 4.
"This is his second year in the league, but he’s basically a rookie because of
what he went through last year, so maybe that’s giving him extra motivation,
too," Bruschi said. "All I know is he’s running the ball hard and his teammates
are rallying around him. They have a lot of confidence in him and more
confidence now in their running game."
The Herald News
But the Patriots try
not to let injuries affect them. "It's an attitude of whoever's in there we have
faith in them to do the job," Bruschi said. "We just don't have faith, we expect
them to prepare themselves a certain way and be ready on Sunday." They expect to
do well as long as healthy players don't try to do too much to compensate for
the absence of injured players. "That's when you start to have problems,"
Bruschi said. "It's when, uh-oh, somebody else new is in there, so I've got to
do something different. You've got to have faith in them and expect them to do
their job and just worry about doing your job the best you can and know that the
guy next to you is going to get it done."
injuries don't stop New England
think guys just love playing football, really," said linebacker Tedy Bruschi,
who prefers to stay at his position. "When we switch guys to other positions,
they see it as a challenge. They accept it, they embrace it."
Miller throw on a fake punt? Well, certainly don't rule it out
Tedy Bruschi doesn't know McGahee well, but he's eager to learn all he
can about the 6-foot, 223-pound tailback.
"There isn't much film on McGahee," said the linebacker. "It's his second
year but he is basically a rookie. His teammates are rallying around him and
when he gets their running game going, they get a lot of third and shorts, and
that gives Drew [Bledsoe] a lot of confidence. Percentage-wise,
third and 3 and third and 4 are a lot easier to convert."
Boston.com / Sports / Football / Patriots / He'll keep nose out of trouble
Bruschi adds another twist to Patriots'
01:00 AM EST on Monday,
November 15, 2004
What had been a great night for New England fans suddenly turned scary
with just over four minutes left last night in the Patriots' game against
The party that began with the cheering of Red Sox officials, including
owner John Henry, general manager Theo Epstein and a hobbled Curt
Schilling, turned suddenly quiet as linebacker Tedy Bruschi lay on the
Gillette Stadium field with just over four minutes left and what would be
a 29-6 victory well in hand.
Bruschi had become involved in a pile in the center of the field as he
tried to make a tackle, and his body had been bent awkwardly backwards,
with his feet pinned under him. Trainers came out on the field and the
game was delayed as Bruschi was examined.
"I had to take inventory," Bruschi related after the game. "I think I'm
all right. I was able to walk off the field."
Bruschi was smiling and moving fine as he spoke about how his defensive
unit went all night without allowing a touchdown, about his second
interception of the season and about the injury scare.
"The guys call me a bunch of things. The contortionist. They call me
Gumby. They say I'm double jointed. I was just lucky. I rolled with it a
little bit and here I am talking to you."
He was asked if he was scared as he lay on the ground.
"Yeah, sure," he responded. "You don't get put in those positions too
often, so when that happens, you just want to take a little bit of
inventory and make sure everything is OK. I didn't know everything was ok.
I had to check it a little bit and decided I could walk off the field."
Bruschi had another productive night with six tackles, one pass
defended and a second-quarter interception.
On the interception, former teammate Drew Bledsoe fired the ball right
to Bruschi as he dropped back in pass protection. Bruschi looked a bit
like Corey Dillon as he made several nice moves and returned the ball 28
yards, to the Buffalo 27, before he was knocked out of bounds. He said he
took no special pleasure in getting the interception off his former
"It's the same to me," he said. "Bledsoe, Peyton (Manning), whoever it
is. Out there, we are playing against each other. Drew is a friend of
mine, but when he's out there playing against us he's an opponent. He's an
opponent who's trying to beat us. I have to make sure that doesn't
No one should get any ideas with his impressive runback, he said. It
was not, he responded to a question, an audition to play some offense so
he can do double-duty like teammate Troy Brown.
"No. They can have that," he said.
The best part of his night, Bruschi said, was the fact that his unit
did not allow a point.
"We didn't let them score. That's the bottom line," he said. "We look
up on the scoreboard and see how many points we allowed. We allowed a
special teams touchdown and we kept them off the board defensively, so
that is a successful day."
And, from all appearances, he came out of it healthy, despite the
projo.com | Providence, R.I. | Patriots
Key play of the game: Bruschi's interception buffaloes Bledsoe
10:15 AM EST on Monday,
November 15, 2004
FOXBORO -- With the Patriots holding a 13-0
lead late in the first half, Buffalo had the ball second-and-11 at its own 45
with 2:24 left.
At this point, Drew Bledsoe was in the two-minute offense and clearly he was,
as he used to say all those years ago, "trying to make a play."
The play he made was to throw it directly to Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi.
Bledsoe's intended receiver, Lee Evans, was crossing into an area already manned
But Bledsoe had apparently locked in on Evans and never saw Bruschi, who he
hit in the hands.
Bruschi embarked on an adventurous 29-yard return and four plays later,
Christian Fauria scored on a 5-yard pass from Tom Brady to make it 20-0 with 35
seconds left in the half.
-- TOM E. CURRAN
projo.com | Providence, R.I. | Patriots
[On his injury]
TB: It was one of those things [where] I was able to
sort of twist and turn and get my leg out of the turf, you know. Luckily the
turf was a little bit soft and I was able to turn a certain way many people
can't turn, guys tell me. That is why I am here in front of you today instead of
in the training room.
Q: Have you always had that kind of flexibility?
TB: Yeah, the guys mess around with me. They will call
me the contortionist. They will call me Gumby. They will call me double-jointed.
A lot of things like that. But, to my advantage, thank goodness, the bottom line
is I think I was lucky. I was lucky. I sort of got lucky with escaping injury
right there, but luckily my flexibility helped me.
Q: You are limping, though, so is there a little problem?
TB: I am limping? No, that is my Monday walk.
[Laughter] That is my Monday after the game walk. It will be better by
Q: How long did it take your team to get to the point,
under Bill [Belichick's coaching], where you were performing at a consistent
TB: In terms of the dependability, I think we got a
boost of confidence last year when we had a rash of injuries. I think the guys
who were around last year really remember that situation where we are looking
around and saying, 'Who else do we have?' We were able to survive that and guys
who came in stepped up well. Matt Chatham came in last year and stepped up well,
Larry Izzo at times. There are a lot of guys coming in and out that we have a
lot of faith in, so when we were [facing] the same situation here this week
[and] last week, we sort of remember that and say, 'Hey, it can be done. It has
been done and we expect you to do it, too.'
Q: Is it hard to maintain that level of high week-to-week
performance while other teams seem to be on a roller coaster?
TB: Sure, I think it is tough to achieve, but I think
the first thing you have to have is good football players. The way we see
ourselves in the locker room is we are good football players. We tell the guys,
'There is a reason you are in this locker room and it is to help us eventually.
If you are not playing now, eventually you are going to have to do something.'
Tully [Banta-Cain] last night, Tully came in and we have been harping on Tully
for a while now. 'One of these days, your number is going to be called and when
it is called you are going to have to do something.' Last night he came through
with a good couple pass rushes where he got a couple of sacks, I think.
Q: How impressed are you with Troy Brown's performance and
getting that interception last night?
TB: Yeah, it is impressive. I am glad I got an
interception so that I can say I got one and not just Troy. I would be a little
bit more discouraged if Troy were the only one to get an interception, but we
had a few guys getting picks last night. But, Troy is a guy we all count on. I
think we look at Troy as a guy [who], wherever you are going to put him, I think
he is going to succeed. Punt returns a few years ago in the AFC championship
game, blocking kicks, returning the kick and pitching it to [Antwan Harris]. He
has made plays for offense and special teams, and now just add defense to it.
Q: You have had your chance to be a receiver.
TB: I did?
Q: The fake punt.
TB: Oh, the fake punt. Yeah, you want to bring that
up, don't you? [Laughter] That is probably why they don't put me on offense
anymore, you know. Yeah, that was '96, Denver Broncos. Thanks. I appreciate
that. I really appreciate that. That was nice. You have been here a while. I
know you remember that.
Q: When you got up [from the field after the injury last
night] and you looked on the Jumbotron, were you saying, 'Wow, that doesn't feel
as bad as it looks,' or 'Gee, my wife saw that. She might be freaking out right
TB: I thought it was pretty bad until I got it out.
Really, until I got my leg out I thought it was going to be pretty bad. Then I
sort of contorted my body out and I still thought that something might have been
wrong and I heard Vrabes [Mike Vrabel] yelling to the sideline for the trainers
to come in and it wasn't for about thirty seconds, until I started wiggling my
leg and when the pain subsided and I was like, 'Holy smoke. I am all right.'
Yeah, you do get worried. I got the calls from my mom on my answering machine
and all that stuff and on the cell phone and everything. I know [my wife] Heidi
[Bruschi] was worried until I looked up to her in the stands and gave her a
little wave. You know your family thinks about that, but you just call them
after the game and let them know you are all right.
Q: Tedy, sometimes when an injury happens like that it is
almost a different feeling in terms of the initial shock of what happens. You
get that feeling that sometimes you don't feel it when it happens and it ends up
being very serious. You said you felt a lot of pain when you went down.
Q: Is there a difference between [those]?
TB: Yeah, sometimes when you get hurt you feel it go.
You feel it go and you know. Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving a few years ago is when
I injured my knee and I got hit on the knee and immediately I knew, 'Guys
[trainers], come on in here. Something is wrong.' That is when I missed the last
four games of the year. That wasn't really a painful thing. I guess we are
trying to describe what happens when you seriously get hurt and when you don't
get hurt. It wasn't really a painful thing, but you knew it. It just was like
'bam!' Something happened. But last night was sort of this thing where you get
stretched and then it comes back and I guess that is just a little more painful
than when it goes. Here we are getting technical.
Q: What I am wondering is if you knew, maybe even not that
long after it happened or even before you had a chance to move, that maybe this
wasn't a serious injury?
TB: Yeah. Still didn't know. Still didn't know until
that pain subsided and really had a chance to take inventory.
Q: In reference to your performance against Willis McGahee,
who didn't get to run against you guys much because you bottled him up, next
week you guys are going against Priest Holmes. There is really no let-up,
running back wise.
TB: It is really a step up. We are going to, really,
one of the premier backs now in the NFL, probably one of the best. It is Priest
and it is the philosophy they have offensively. I mean, Priest didn't play
yesterday, but then [Derrick] Blaylock had like 200 yards, I think. So, it is
their offensive line, I think. That team, that offense is that offensive line. I
look at that offensive line and I am impressed. I am impressed by the way they
play physically and they way they play together. It is the best offensive line
in the league, I think, and I have thought that ever since I have seen them play
this year. They have a lot of offensive weapons, but I think their offensive
line is the most viable part of that team.
Q: [Tom] Brady always says that he is glad he doesn't have
to play against your offense. But, it seems to me that the converse might also
be true, that this is might be the best Patriots offense since Belichick has
been here. They have played the whole season virtually without Deion [Branch]
and are still doing things. How do you, as a defensive guy, see the Patriots
TB: Well, we see them and we go up against them
actually, ones versus ones [first team offense versus first team defense] every
week on Wednesdays in certain drills. We look forward to the opportunity because
we see them doing well and we see them scoring points, but defensively you think
you can stop them. You can stop them, and I think offensively they look at us
and they see us playing well and they think they can score on us. Sometimes they
do, sometimes they don't. That is the way it goes.
Q: You sort of answered this, but how does it go on
Wednesdays? Who has the upper hand?
TB: It depends who wins, who wins the drill, really.
It gets highly competitive out there, too, because since training camp you
haven't gone against the first team offense. That is when you get into heated
battles with the offense. That is when you see the fights in training camp all
the time, because that is when ones are going versus ones. But, during the
season, you are going against scout team and they are running cards. So, when we
have a little drill on Wednesday when we get to go against the first team
offense, we look forward to it and they look forward to it also. It gets highly
competitive and I think we have the upper hand on them so far.
Notebook: Gumby Bruschi brushes off contortionist act
10:15 AM EST on Monday,
November 15, 2004
FOXBORO -- Epitomizing the Patriots bend-but-don't-break defense, linebacker
Tedy Bruschi last night got bent backwards in the fourth quarter. His right leg
caught under him as he tackled Willis McGahee and bent back at an horrific
It didn't look like a season-ender. It looked like a career-ender. Yet after
staying down for a few moments, Bruschi left the field walking.
"It's all right," Bruschi said afterwards. "I checked it, moved it, ran a
little but. It's OK right now."
Bruschi, who had a key interception in the first half, was asked if he knew
he could bend like that.
"Unfortunately, yes, I know I can," he said. "The guys call me contortionist,
Gumby, double-jointed. I was lucky. You try to roll with certain pressures when
you feel them and I was able to do that and luckily nothing happened. It's
almost like, 'Uh-oh, here we go.' "
Which was about the same reaction he had when he picked off Drew Bledsoe late
in the first half and rumbled 29 yards the other way to set up a touchdown.
"I'm just not going to go down," Bruschi said of his return. "I've scored
some touchdowns in the past feel and I know how to run the ball and read blocks
and I'm going to go for it when I get the ball in my hands."
brushes off injury scare
By Karen Guregian/ Patriots
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
FOXBORO - One
day later, it still was remarkable watching
During the fourth quarter of the
news]' 29-6 win Sunday against the Bills, Bruschi landed awkwardly - Joe
Theismann awkwardly - on his right knee. The trainers rushed onto the field,
and after a few anxious moments, Bruschi got up and walked off.
``It was one of those things. I was able to twist and turn and get
my leg out of the turf,'' Bruschi said yesterday. ``Luckily, the turf was a
little soft. I was able to turn a certain way many people can't turn. That's
why I'm here . . . instead of the training room.
``You know, the guys mess around with me. They call me the
contortionist. They call me Gumby. They call me double-jointed, things like
that. . . . I was lucky escaping injury right there. Luckily, my leg
Like everyone else at Gillette Stadium, Bruschi thought he had hurt
his knee badly.
``It wasn't for about 30 seconds until I started wiggling my leg and
the pain sort of subsided,'' said Bruschi, who had three tackles, three
assists and a key interception. ``I said, `Holy smoke, I'm all right.' ''
also was amazed at Bruschi's ability to bounce back.
``I don't know how he comes out of those plays the way he does,''
the quarterback said. ``He seems to have a Gumby-like body where he just
twists and turns. Some guys, their legs would be snapped in two, but Tedy,
he just seems to brush it off.''
Bruschi did have a limp yesterday as he walked to the podium.
``This is my Monday walk, my Monday after the game walk,'' he said
with a laugh. ``It'll be better by Wednesday.''
BostonHerald.com - Patriots: Bruschi brushes off injury scare
Pats feeling lucky
FOXBORO -- The replay of Tedy Bruschi’s injury on the Jumbotron at Gillette
Stadium on Sunday night was gruesome enough to make Willis McGahee squeamish.
With less than four minutes remaining, Bruschi teamed up with linebacker
Willie McGinest to stop running back Joe Burns at the line of scrimmage, but
as they dragged him to the ground, Bruschi’s right leg bent backward in an
A group of trainers rushed onto the field to tend to Bruschi. Within
minutes, he climbed to his feet and walked off the field under his power
despite an injury that almost looked as bad as the one McGahee suffered in
college two years ago when he tore his ACL against Ohio State in the Fiesta
"It was one of those things where I was able to sort of twist and turn and get
my leg out of the turf," Bruschi said. "Luckily the turf was a little bit soft
and I was able to turn a certain way many people can’t turn. That is why I am
here in front of you today instead of in the training room."
After the game, Bruschi said he’d take "inventory," but he assumed he’d be
fine. On Monday, he teased reporters who tried to crack Bill Belichick’s code
of conduct on disclosing injury information. When told he was limping as he
walked to the podium in the pressroom, Bruschi said that was his "Monday
walk," before adding that he’d be fine by Wednesday.
He expects to play on Monday night at Arrowhead Stadium against the Kansas
City Chiefs. Given his reputation as a hard-working, hard-nosed player, it’d
be a surprise if he’s not active. Bruschi missed the final four games of the
2002 season after hurting his knee against the Lions on Thanksgiving, but he
doesn’t think his current injury is as serious.
"Sometimes when you get hurt you feel it go. You feel it go and you know,"
Bruschi said. "Thanksgiving a few years ago is when I injured my knee and I
got hit on the knee and immediately I knew, ‘(Trainers), come on in here.
Something is wrong.’
"It wasn’t really a painful thing, but you knew it. It just was like ‘bam!’
Something happened. But last night was sort of this thing where you get
stretched and then it comes back and I guess that is just a little more
painful than when it goes."
Bruschi’s always been flexible, as evident by his ability to launch his body
toward opponents like a heat-seeking missile, but Sunday’s escape act was
miraculous considering how serious the injury looked on the replay. Once they
realized he’d be OK, his teammates poked fun at him on the sideline.
"The guys mess around with me," he said. "They will call me the contortionist.
They will call me Gumby. They will call me double-jointed. To my advantage,
thank goodness, the bottom line is I think I was lucky. I was lucky. I sort of
got lucky with escaping injury right there, but luckily my flexibility helped
Since he was lying on his back, Bruschi luckily didn’t see the replay.
"I got the calls from my mom on my answering machine and all that stuff and on
the cell phone and everything," he said. "(My wife) Heidi was worried until I
looked up to her in the stands and gave her a little wave. Your family thinks
about that, but you just call them after the game and let them know you are
Belichick made no mention of Bruschi’s noticeable limp on Monday, but he was
just as worried as everyone else when he first saw one of his defensive
captains rolling around in pain.
"It was an ugly hit," Belichick said. "It looked ugly, but just as I walked
over here I saw him and he was walking around fine, so that is good. It didn’t
look good. It didn’t look good in person and it didn’t look good on film
either. The play looks good now."
The fourth-quarter scare that ensued after Bruschi’s injury was the only
blemish on an otherwise perfect night for the Patriots. They held the Buffalo
Bills to 125 total yards of offense and cruised to a 29-6 win. Bruschi played
a major role in the team’s effort to stop the run, finishing with a team-high
six tackles and holding McGahee to an average of 2.6 yards per carry.
"I was proud of the way they played," Belichick said. "We played, defensively,
more competitively than we did up in Buffalo by not giving up the big play. We
played the running game better."
Now it’s onto Kansas City, which boasts one of the most explosive offenses in
the NFL. The Chiefs rushed for 200 yards as a team on Sunday without injured
running back Priest Holmes in the lineup, which Bruschi said is a credit to
their offensive line. Holmes might return in time for Monday’s gamel; if he
does, the Patriots will need all their weapons to slow down the Chiefs. Thank
goodness for Bruschi’s flexibility.
"I look at that offensive line and I am impressed," Bruschi said. "I am
impressed by the way they play physically and they way they play together. It
is the best offensive line in the league, I think, and I have thought that
ever since I have seen them play this year. They have a lot of offensive
weapons, but I think their offensive line is the most viable part of that
Bruschi Bends But Doesn't Break
November 16, 2004
By ALAN GREENBERG, Courant Staff
FOXBORO, Mass. --
as the Patriots were in their 29-6 victory over the Bills at Gillette Stadium
Sunday night, their success was nearly marred when it appeared Patriots
linebacker Tedy Bruschi was seriously injured with 3:59 left.
On a Bills running play in which Bruschi and Willie McGinest combined to make
the tackle, Bruschi got a leg bent and tangled in the pile of bodies. He emerged
relatively unscathed, however, and, after some hesitation, walked off the field
That Bruschi was available for interviews in the locker room after the game and
again early Monday afternoon was a clear sign that the big-play linebacker was
OK. Patriots who are seriously injured are rarely made available to the media.
"That was an ugly hit," coach Bill Belichick said Monday. "It didn't look good
in person. It didn't look good on film. But he looks good now."
Bruschi, whose interception of a Drew Bledsoe pass set up the Tom Brady to
Christian Fauria touchdown that gave the Patriots (8-1) a 20-0 halftime lead,
said when the leg got twisted in that fourth-quarter pileup, he was as worried
as the millions watching the nationally televised game.
"I thought it was pretty bad, until I got my leg out," Bruschi said. "I heard
[Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel] yelling to the sideline for the trainers to
come out. It hurt, but then I got it out and I was wiggling my leg for 30
seconds and the pain sort of subsided. I thought, `Holy smokes, I'm all right.'"
Realizing he was OK, Bruschi waved to his wife, Heidi, in the stands. His
teammates, some of whom already call him "Gumby" because of his seemingly
unnatural flexibility, could only shake their heads afterward in disbelief.
Bruschi viewed the situation with amusement, watching the replay on the giant
scoreboard as he stood on the sideline with fellow linebacker Ted Johnson.
"Ted," Bruschi said, "look at my knee."
It looked OK Monday, although one Boston reporter who doesn't cover the Patriots
on a daily basis pointed out to Bruschi he was limping.
"Limping?" he said, smiling. "That's my Monday-after-the-game walk. I'll be
walking better Wednesday."
The Patriots defense, which runs better with Bruschi, faces a challenge from the
Chiefs' high-powered offense next Monday night in Kansas City, Mo.
"Bottom line is, I was lucky," Bruschi said. "I was able to turn in a way that
many guys can't turn, or so I'm told."
Bruschi was not so fortunate two years ago in Detroit on Thanksgiving. Minutes
after he reached high to make an interception and returned it for a touchdown,
he injured a knee.
Although Bruschi said the initial pain of that injury wasn't nearly as bad as
what he felt Sunday night, he knew right away something didn't feel right. That
injury kept him out of the Patriots' last four regular season games, two of
which they lost. One was a 30-17 loss to the Jets in Foxboro in the next-to-last
game of the regular season. The Jets and Patriots both finished 9-7, but the
Jets won the tiebreaker and were declared AFC East champions. The Patriots
failed to make the playoffs.
Although things change quickly in the NFL, it's hard to imagine the defending
Super Bowl champions failing to make the 2004 playoffs. Their victory over the
Bills gave the Patriots a two-game AFC East lead over their nearest pursuer, the
Jets (6-3), who blew a 14-0 lead Sunday at the Meadowlands and lost to the
Ravens in overtime.
Even without their two starting cornerbacks, Ty Law (broken foot) and Tyrone
Poole (knee), the Patriots have won back-to-back games. Both victories were
Monday's victory marked the first time this season that the Patriots defense
didn't give up a point. The Bills' lone score came on a 70-yard punt return for
a touchdown late in the third quarter.
Bruschi & Co. limited Bills tailback Willis McGahee, who had run for more than
100 yards in each of his three previous starts, to 37 yards on 14 carries. And
they thwarted their favorite punching bag, former teammate Bledsoe, intercepting
him three times and limiting him to eight completions on 19 attempts and 76
passing yards. For Bledsoe, the final indignity was an interception by Troy
Brown, who was once Bledsoe's favorite Patriots receiver.
Connecticut Sports - Pro, College, High School News from The Hartford Courant -
Nice twist of fate
FARINELLA / SUN CHRONICLE STAFF
From the angle of the ESPN replay, it was absolutely gruesome.
Even former Redskins' quarterback Joe Theismann, an expert on gruesome televised
injuries hearkening back to when his lower leg snapped like a twig under the
weight of the Giants' Lawrence Taylor on Monday Night Football, was reportedly
shocked into silence when he saw how Tedy Bruschi's right leg folded awkwardly
under his body while making a fourth-quarter tackle.
The replay of the collision and its aftermath was enough to stop reporters in
their tracks at a TV monitor halfway between the press box elevator and the
interview rooms at Gillette Stadium. To a man, they all winced each time the
play was re-run in agonizingly slow motion.
Even Bruschi couldn't believe what he was seeing on the video scoreboards inside
the stadium -- yet amazingly, he viewed the replay of what looked like a
potentially season-ending injury after getting up and walking back to the
``It was one of those things where I was able to sort of twist and turn and get
my leg out of the turf,'' Bruschi said of the terrifying moments as he lay prone
on the field with 3:39 left in the game. ``Luckily, the turf was a little bit
soft and I was able to turn a certain way many people can't turn, guys tell me.
That is why I am here in front of you today instead of in the training room.''
The Sun Chronicle Newspaper
This week's Notes and Quotes:
"No. 1, we wanted to stop the run," said Bruschi, whose satisfaction with his
squad's effort was equal to his appreciation that a late fourth-quarter hit to
his right knee did not leave him with a serious injury. "McGahee can do some
different things than when Travis Henry was their No. 1 runner. He can bounce
out and cut back more than Travis. And the pressure on Drew -- we wanted to get
some sacks and turnovers."
Bruschi's own highlight reel featured one of those turnovers. Gunning for
wide receiver Lee Evans in the second quarter, Bledsoe saw Bruschi pick off his
pass and take off for a 29-yard romp. Finally, he was caught by Chris Villarrial
at the Buffalo 27.
"Hey, when you get it, score with it," said Bruschi. "That's what I was
trying to do. I want to score. I'm not going to go down. I've got a feel for how
to run the ball and how to read blocks."
Boston.com / Sports / Football / Patriots / Missions are accomplished
Besides being good, the Pats also are lucky. They watched linebacker
Tedy Bruschi, one of
their best defensive players, bend his ankle awkwardly late in the game. At
first, it appeared as if he had been seriously injured. Yet after a few moments,
Bruschi got up and walked to the sidelines. He actually started smiling as he
watched a replay of the injury on the giant TV screen in the stadium. "That
looked nasty," Brady said. "Some guys, their legs would be snapped in two. But
Tedy, he just seems to brush it off. I think we are all fortunate."
- NFL News
November 15, 2004
Alan Greenberg, The Hartford Courant
With the Patriots leading 13-0, Patriots linebacker Tedy
Bruschi intercepted a Drew Bledsoe pass and returned it 29 yards to the Buffalo
27 with 2:10 left in the first half. Four plays later, Tom Brady threw a 5-yard
TD pass to tight end Christian Fauria. Adam Vinatieri's extra point gave the
Patriots a 20-0 halftime lead.
Connecticut Sports - Pro, College, High School News from The Hartford Courant -
BRUSCHI WALKS OFF:
Tedy Bruschi's flexibility was tested again, and it passed
again. Bruschi's right leg was crumpled under a pile while making a tackle in the
fourth quarter. It looked terrible, but the linebacker walked off. "I think I'm all right," he siad. "They call me Gumby, they I'm
double-jointed. "I rolled with it a little bit, and here I am talking to you." It was a frightening play. "You don't get put in those positions too often,"
he said. "So when that happens, you just want to take inventory. I did. I didn't
know everything was OK, until I could check, and then I decided I could walk off
Sox get serious cheers
RRM: What are Grogan’s Grades for the demolition job over the Bills in
SG: I'm giving out A’s all around for this game. They finally beat a
team they were supposed to beat handily, and this was just no contest. Both the
Patriots offense and defense played extremely well and the only thing that
detracted from the effort was a blip on special teams. Ty Warren had a lot of
good plays and turned in what I thought was one of this best efforts so far.
I thought Tedy Bruschi played his usually solid game; he really is a Bledsoe
Killer. He made a case for playing fullback with his runback on the
interception; he made be the next in line to play fullback after Richard Seymour
after that performance! I’m just glad Bruschi didn’t get hurt on that play where
his knee buckled. When I first saw that play I thought he’d be out for awhile,
and to see him just get up and walk off the field smiling was incredible! He’s
always been a guy that takes good care of himself and he’s worked extremely hard
to become one of the top echelon linebackers in the league. He’s also pretty
flexible, and believe me most NFL linebackers aren’t built that way! Let’s
hope they can carry their momentum into Kansas City and keep their new winning
streak going this week
Grade: Week 9 | New England vs. Buffalo
Tedy on Injuries:
"I think we got a boost of confidence last year when we had a rash of injuries,"
linebacker Tedy Bruschi said. "I think the guys who were around last year really
remember that situation where we are looking around and saying, ‘Who else do we
"We were able to survive that and guys who came in stepped up well. There are a
lot of guys coming in and out that we have a lot of faith in, so when we were
facing the same situation here this week and last week, we sort of remember that
and say, ‘Hey, it can be done. It has been done and we expect you to do it,
Kent County Daily Times
Pats linebacker Tedy Bruschi , nevertheless, still is impressed with
the Chiefs' offensive philosophy -- pounding the football. He's aware that the
Chiefs can have success with Holmes or without, citing the 33-carry, 186-yard
performance of backup running back Blaylock in KC's loss to New Orleans.
"That team, that offense, is that offensive line," said Bruschi. "I look at
that offensive line and I'm impressed by the way they play physically and the
way they play together. It's the best offensive line in the league, I think.
I've thought that all year, but I think that offensive line is the most valuable
part of that team."
If this were
Cincinnati, Tedy Bruschi, who rolled his ankle, knee, entire leg, and whatever
else was there, wouldn’t have, after a few moments of pain and training staff
TLC, gotten up and walked off the Gillette Stadium turf as if nothing had
He would have been done for the year.
“I was able to walk off the field and test it a little bit,” Bruschi would say
later. “I’m just lucky. I rolled with it a little bit and here I am talking to
If this were the Cincinnati that Dillon played in most of his career, perhaps a
second-year cornerback such as Asante Samuel wouldn’t have been benched as he
was Sunday night, even with the team crying for secondary help. Belichick said
simply, “He could have played, yes.”
But he didn’t.
Dillon did, doing the things that Patriots like Bruschi thought he could.
“He’s a defender’s best friend, guys,” Bruschi said. “I’m telling you, when he
can pound that ball, take time off the clock . . . We as defenders are sitting
there, watching, watching it on the screen, just drinking Gatorade. It’s good
for us, we get rest, he wears down the defense . . .
“I knew who Corey was before he came here . . . To get him, was really
something. I was excited about it because I was hoping we could be able to see
some of the things he’s doing right now. It’s just exciting to watch the offense
and watch him run.”
The Telegraph Online
But it's not easy to play well every week.
"It is tough to achieve," linebacker Tedy Bruschi said
Monday, "but I think the first thing you have to have is good football players.
The way we see ourselves in the locker room is we are good football players. We
tell the guys, 'There is a reason you are in this locker room and it is to help
us eventually. If you are not playing now, eventually you are going to have to
FresnoBee.com: National Football League: Two in a row and more to go?
LINEBACKERS - A
There was solid
productivity from a number of players.
had six tackles to go with his big interception. Tully Banta-Cain capitalized on
his added playing time by getting in on two sacks and making an interception in
his role as a pass-rushing linebacker.
had a sack and a forced fumble to go with his four tackles.
Mike Vrabel [news]
was on his game, as well, finishing with six stops. After stuffing McGahee on a
third-and-1 run right at him, Vrabel went over to the Bills' sideline and
shouted to Buffalo coach Mike Mularkey, ``C'mon, Mike. Don't do that!' Not much
of the Bills offense worked. The Pats' outside linebackers prevented McGahee
from getting outside, and Buffalo had to rely on Bledsoe's passing for its
BostonHerald.com - Patriots:Report Card
On Stopping the Run:
In talking to players and coaches this week, one theme
emerged above all others. When the Pats have struggled, it's because players
have lost their gap responsibility by trying to do too much. ``We'll see,''
linebacker Tedy Bruschi
said. ``We think we had some success last week (in giving up 50 rushing yards to
Buffalo), but every week is a different week and a different challenge.''
``The times we haven't stopped the run, I think guys try
to help out their teammates too much,'' defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel
said. ``As an example, when you're trying to stop the outside run, the guy who
is responsible for turning the ball in, sometimes if he peeks inside, the ball
gets outside of him and it turns into a substantial gain. So it's not that he's
not trying to do his job, but he's trying to help out before doing his job
first. And that's happened to us several times.''
The Pats have made some minor changes the last two
games, the most obvious of which as been the insertion of veteran Keith Traylor
into the starting nose tackle spot over rookie Vince Wilfork. According to
Bruschi, they've also committed to a physical style.
``It's just everyone worrying about doing their
particular job. And while they're doing it, do it with a physical mentality,''
Bruschi said. ``I think when we have success, those are the two things that
really stand out. You can talk about technique and size and strength and all
that. But I think when it comes down to it, it's a certain mentality teams have
when it comes to running the ball - and a certain mentality we have to have when
it comes to stopping the run.''
BostonHerald.com - Patriots: Pats brace for run
Bruschi bounces back
Tedy Bruschi [news]
walked to his locker stall and could only laugh at the questions. Does he do
yoga? ``Nope.'' Pilates? ``Nope.''
``I feel like a bunch of guys in
white coats are going to come in here and lay me on a table,'' Bruschi said,
``but I'm all right. I really am.''
Bruschi was referring to his
good health after landing so awkwardly on his knee last week that most everyone
assumed his season was finished. Instead, Bruschi was back out at practice
yesterday as if nothing had happened. . . .
BostonHerald.com - Patriots: Chiefs don't add up: On paper KC's great, but
record is not
Return of Gumby
Linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who looked as if he had mangled his right knee
in the closing moments of last Sunday's win over Buffalo, was walking without
the slightest trace of a limp prior to yesterday's workout. Contrary to what
initially appeared to be a gruesome injury, based on the replay, the pliable
Bruschi said after the win, and again on Monday, that he survived the awkward
pileup without substantial damage . . .
ON KC Offense:
The offense hums along with Super Bowl
efficiency, scoring almost 29 points a game and leading the league in total
“Priest didn’t play, but then Blaylock
had like 200 yards,” said New England linebacker Tedy Bruschi. “So, it is their
offensive line, I think. I look at that offensive line and I am impressed. I am
impressed by the way they play physically and the way they play together. It is
the best offensive line in the league.”
Similar compliments have been offered
all year to the blocking unit of Casey Wiegmann, Will Shields, John Welbourn,
Willie Roaf and Brian Waters.
“Did Tedy really say that?” asked left
guard Waters. “Well, it’s nice of him. But sometimes those opposing players will
say whatever they think the guy they’re going to be playing against wants to
MSNBC - With Chiefs-Pats, MNF could be
It's a group dynamic
These six Patriots form heart of team
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A group of six Patriots has played together since 1996, no
small feat in the era of NFL free agency and constant personnel change.
Adam Vinatieri (undrafted free agent, '96), Troy Brown ('93 draft), Tedy
Bruschi ('96 draft), Ted Johnson ('95 draft), Willie McGinest ('94 draft), and
Ty Law ('95 draft) have been together since '96 when Bill Parcells was in
charge. All but the injured Law will be in action tonight against the Kansas
They have played in three Super Bowls, winning two. They are 85-52 in the
regular season since '96. They have worked under three coaches, played in two
home stadiums, and been a part of a team that won a record 21 straight games.
"We're kind of like the last of the Mohicans, you know?" McGinest said. "This
team looks completely different from when I first got here, but to see a few
core guys still here is really good for our team. There's some continuity there
for all of us and I think that's really important.
"We're all cool together. I remember we took a picture together after the
last Super Bowl of the guys who have been together. But it's not just football
that makes us friends. It's deeper than football, and it always will be." "We've
been around for so long that we know each other on and off the field, but more
importantly for our team we know each other on the field," Bruschi said. "You
just don't see it too often, guys in the same place and [having] as much success
as we have. The six of us have a lot more history together. We know how we're
going to react to certain situations."Nobody knows how much longer they will be
together, and when they have seen contemporaries depart, they feel empty. Nobody
took Drew Bledsoe's departure any harder than Brown or Johnson. Last year they
all said their goodbyes to Lawyer Milloy.
"You know how I reacted when Lawyer left," Bruschi said. "It's hard on me
because I'm a guy who truly believes in loyalty and who believes that guys
should be able to play together their entire careers. I've seen too many friends
leave, all the way back to Chris Slade and Lawyer. Spoke to Slade last week. [I]
keep in touch with Andy [Katzenmoyer].
"For me, I'm a true family man at home. And to me, this is my second family.
If they do have to part ways, I like to see it in a happy way where you retire.
To see people leave because they're disgruntled, that bothers me. Hopefully,
it'll work out differently for the guys who have been together for my nine years
has done his part to keep the team together by negotiating his own contracts the
last two times and probably taking less money to stay. Johnson turned down a
chance to go to Green Bay for more money. McGinest has restructured his contract
many times to fit under the salary cap. Brown always has taken less money than
he probably deserved. Law and Vinatieri are about to reach a crossroads: whether
to extend their time in New England or maximize their earning potential
"If I ran a company, I would want each and every one of those guys working for
me," Johnson said. "They all have staying power. They are the epitome of what
a professional is supposed to be. I love all of them."
It's been mostly ups,
but there have been a few downs, too.
Vinatieri may make the Hall of Fame as one of the biggest money kickers of
all time, but in 1999 he missed two normally makable field goals here at
Arrowhead Stadium and one in Buffalo that might have made the Patriots 10-6
instead of 8-8. Johnson had a rift with Bill Belichick early in the '02 season
when Belichick reduced his playing time, going AWOL for a couple of days.
McGinest survived serious injury problems to re-emerge as a strong player.
Brown recently has fallen a bit on the depth chart at wide receiver and has
had to play some defense this season at age 33.
"In football, it's hard to stay together," Vinatieri said. "That's the
tough thing. It's a young man's sport and it's a tough sport that can take
players away for health reasons. But we've been so lucky here to have had guys
achieve things together for so long."
Johnson said of the players' relationships, "Sometimes it's just unspoken
what we mean to each other. When you're reminded of it, it's pretty neat.
What's been nice to see is how we've all kind of grown up together and watched
each other grow as people off the field."
Brown has been in New England the longest, and he knows one thing about his
experience with these players: "I'll never forget them."
© Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company.
Boston.com / Sports / Football / Patriots / It's a group dynamic
Resilient Pats show Chiefs how
it's done: Champs' prime-time win brings misery to Missouri
By Michael Felger
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - They've gone into the
toughest environments, played the most high-powered offenses and suffered
injuries at the most important positions.
And still the
news] keep winning.
surprises you, like it seems to surprise many national observers, then the Pats
have a message for you: Get used to it. After surviving yet another offensive
juggernaut in hostile territory last night, beating the Chiefs, 27-19, the
players in the visitors locker room at Arrowhead Stadium seemed to have no
patience for the incessant question: How do you keep doing it?
``When are you
going to realize we've got playmakers on this defense?'' snapped linebacker
Tedy Bruschi [news].
``Everyone keeps asking me how we do it. How do we do it? We've got good
players! Does this surprise me? Absolutely not.''
notwithstanding, the Pats don't currently have the greatest players in their
banged-up secondary (hello, Earthwind Moreland). That's why they gave up their
share of plays up and down the field.
But, true to
form, the Pats made the crucial plays when they had to, and the biggest of all
were Rodney Harrison
end zone interception late in the first half and
game-ending sack with the Chiefs driving for the potential tying score.
``You've got to
be proud of these guys, because we just kept fighting,'' Harrison said. ``No
matter what the situation, we just continued to fight. And that's our motto,
continue to fight. Don't get frustrated with one another, because eventually
somebody is going to make a play.''
Pats never had to play catch-up, and that led to some good balance between
Tom Brady [news]
(315 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions) and Corey Dillon (98 yards, two
touchdowns). The offense also got a huge boost from the return of top receiver
Deion Branch [news]
(six catches, 105 yards, touchdown).
The game did
have some anxious moments, none more nerve-racking than Dillon's fumble on the
Chiefs' 3-yard line with 12:04 remaining and the Pats leading by 11. A touchdown
would have given the Pats an insurmountable lead. Instead, the turnover set up a
26-yard touchdown pass from Trent Green to Eddie Kennison, who was all alone in
the end zone after Moreland's second touchdown-producing mistake of the game.
failed on their two-point attempt, which meant the Pats had to run some clock or
produce a score to seal the win. They did both, as Dillon held onto the ball
while running for 28 yards and Adam Vinatieri
made it an eight-point cushion with a 28-yard field goal.
On the ensuing
possession, McGinest dropped Green for a sack (the Pats' fourth on the night) on
fourth down and the Pats had their third straight win. The Pats have now won 24
of their last 25 games, and in the span of three weeks they've taken down the
two best offenses Missouri has to offer - the Chiefs and St. Louis Rams.
importantly, the Pats (9-1) solidified their hold on the No. 2 seed in the AFC,
two games ahead of five teams at 7-3. They still have the Steelers (9-1) in
their sights for home field advantage throughout the playoffs. All in all, it
was reason enough for the Pats to jump on the plane in a good mood.
``It's a tough
place to come in and play,'' said coach
``I thought the players did a good job standing up to the adversity.''
BostonHerald.com - Patriots: Resilient Pats show Chiefs how it's done: Champs'
prime-time win brings misery to Missouri
This week's Notes and Quotes:
"[Arrowhead] is the loudest outdoor stadium in the league,"
concurred linebacker Tedy Bruschi. "It's so loud you can't hear yourself think."
But the Patriots did think. They always do. Above all, they
resort to their football intelligence when the environment is hostile, the game
is close, and air is ripe for an upset. There's a reason New England is 9-1 this
morning, and Kansas City is 3-7.
There is Bruschi breaking up a pass on first down. There is
an errant throw from Green on second down. And there is Harrison picking it off
in the end zone on third down. "We've got playmakers on defense," said Bruschi.
"We have all sorts of guys that step up in that situation. Are we surprised? No.
We've been doing this a long time. Our only concern is how many points are on
the board at the end of the game."
Boston.com / Sports
"I think it's us staying together," linebacker Tedy Bruschi said. "We stay
together. Even though offenses are able to have some success sometimes, it's
easy to sort of start complaining to each other and pointing people out, saying
'Why didn't you do this? Why didn't you do that?' It's just about [whether] they
got in the end zone. That's the only thing we care about. Let them get their
yards, and lets not let them in the end zone."
The Patriots have been playing well in the red zone all season. Entering the
game, they had allowed only 11 touchdowns in opponent's 31 drives inside the red
zone, a 35.5 touchdown percentage. They continued that trend Monday night,
holding the Chiefs to three points in two trips inside their 20-yard line. The
red zone has become a source of pride for the Patriots defense.
"You better start having some pride when they get that close," Bruschi said.
"Because there's nothing left to do, they're running out of field. You look back
and you see the goal line, and it's like 'We have to do something.'"
Official Website of the New England Patriots
ABC had scripted an opening for last night's "Monday Night Football" telecast
and sent it to both the Patriots and Chiefs a week ago -- a full day before the
protests over last week's Terrell Owens/"Desperate Housewives" skit
created a national firestorm over what constitutes good taste in television.
Patriots Tom Brady and Tedy Bruschi, filmed separately for last
night's opening, each intoned, "It's 9 p.m., Eastern Time, on Monday night. You
know what that means. "The Chiefs' Trent Green and Tony Gonzalez
then did a duet: "Are you ready for some football?" That led into the lengthy
Hank Williams Jr. rendition of the song by that name. Hardly controversial.
The only thing ABC was promoting this week was football.
Boston.com / Sports / College / Football / Is this move by Fox sly?
those who believe a note of concern should have been sounded over some of the
things that transpired during the Patriots' 27-19 triumph over the Kansas City
Chiefs on Monday Night Football.
`` The only concern,'' line backer Tedy Bruschi said, `` is how many points are
on the board at the end of the game.''
If that sounded a little cocky or smug on Bruschi's part as he stood before the
microphones and cameras in the cramped visiting-team locker room at Arrow head
Stadium early this morning, it wasn't meant to be. After venturing into one of
the toughest venues imaginable for a visiting team and emerging with their 24th
victory in their last 25 games, Bruschi and his team mates were just stating a
All that concerns them is getting the job done. It doesn't matter how, nor does
it matter who takes the lead and who follows. The bottom line is the final score
-- and for nine times out of 10 this year, the mission has been accomplished.
Like a fine drama featuring a talented ensemble cast, it seems as if different
players get their chances to be `` stars'' in each successive win.
Sun Chronicle Newspaper
Howie gets defensive
Howie Long selected his Top Defensive Players of the 2004 season:
1. LB Ray Lewis — Ravens
2. S Ed Reed — Ravens
3. LB Keith Bulluck — Titans
4. CB Patrick Surtain — Dolphins; CB Chris McAlister — Ravens
5. DE Jevon Kearse — Eagles; DE Dwight Freeney — Colts
6. DT Shaun Rogers — Lions
7. DT Marcus Stroud — Jaguars
8. DE Julius Peppers — Panthers
9. S Brian Dawkins — Eagles
10. LB Tedy Bruschi, S Rodney Harrison, LB Willie McGinest — Patriots
FOXSports.com - FOX NFL SUNDAY
SHOWCASE: Week 11
"It's just really a chance during the season to take a deep breath and be
thankful for all the things that have been good in our lives," said linebacker
Tedy Bruschi. "In my family's life, with our two beautiful healthy sons (Tedy
Jr. and Rex) and we have another one on the way, Heidi is eight-and-a-half
months pregnant, so things have been going good and we'll just say our prayers
and be grateful."
Patriots making time for thanks
Report Card/Kevin Mannix
LINEBACKERS - B+
extinguished the Chiefs' final hope with a 10-yard sack on Trent Green but that
wasn't the extent of his productivity. He and
did a nice job of sealing the outside as well as jamming the off-tackle holes
that the Chiefs exploited repeatedly against the Saints. Vrabel had six tackles,
McGinest had three.
Tully Banta-Cain continues to
make the most of his growing role as a pass-rusher. Although Rosevelt Colvin
hasn't yet regained the speed/power combination that made him a $25 million free
agent prior to his hip injury, he did have a cleanup sack (when Vrabel chased
Green out of the pocket).
(seven solo tackles) and Ted Johnson
(two) had the difficult assignment of holding their position against the Chiefs'
Pro Bowl guards and they handled it well.
BostonHerald.com - Patriots: That certain something
Don't say we told you, but word
out of Foxboro is there's a regular baby boom going on in the New England
Patriots locker room!
Five - that we know of - Pats'
wives are expecting little bundles of joy right around the time of the Super
Adam Vinatieri's wife, Valerie, is pregnant with the couple's
second child; Ted Johnson's wife, Jackie, is also having their
second. (She also has two kids from a previous marriage.) Mountain man-turned-metrosexual
Matt Light is going to be a dad for the second time (His wife, Suzy,
is preggers.) and Tedy Bruschi's wife, Heidi, is expecting a third
little Bruschi. Joe Andruzzi's wife, Jennifer, is pregnant with
their fourth. Oh, babies!
BostonHerald.com - Inside Track:
Send this man to Hawaii
By Hector Longo
FOXBORO -- "Individuals go to Pro Bowls, teams win championships."
New England Patriots personnel man Scott Pioli was adamant about his team's
platform when he spouted the party line during Super Bowl week last January.
That was last year.
Things have changed this year with the defending world champs, or at least
they've shifted a bit. Take the case of inside linebacker Tedy Bruschi.
His normal, active and usually nondescript self, Bruschi lies at the top of
the Patriots ticket, the campaign headliner for the team's signature defense.
Headed into this afternoon's (4:15 p.m.) showdown with the game's premier
linebacker Ray Lewis and the Baltimore Ravens, the push is clearly on here at
Gillette Stadium: "Tedy for Pro Bowl in 2004."
And why not?
When a player is as loyal as Bruschi ... (many think while negotiating his
own deal -- a la Curt Schilling -- he took a hometown discount of up to $2
million a season in extending his most recent contract, just to stay here);
As talented as Bruschi ... (he consistently ranks up with the top tacklers
and turnover specialists at linebacker in the AFC);
And as persistent as Bruschi (he's been a starter and full-time player since
1999, missing only four games to injury), it's easy to see why the Pats would
break tradition and look to reward him.
"You see the way he plays the game," said linebacker and locker-room neighbor
Larry Izzo, himself a two-time recipient of a free February trip to the NFL's
showcase in Hawaii. "If anyone deserves it, Tedy does."
In a nine-year pro career in Foxboro, the self-made Bruschi -- a third-round
pick by Bill Parcells in 1996 -- has gone from special-teams specialist to
outside pass-rusher to every-down inside linebacker and defensive captain. Along
the way, he's been to three Super Bowls, winning two, and played in a dozen
The only thing missing on his resume is a Pro Bowl, and that has to be tough
to take for a proud, but humble guy, who looks around the defensive huddle and
sees multiple Pro Bowl selections like Richard Seymour, Willie McGinest, Rodney
Harrison and Ty Law.
"All this team looks to do is win football games," said Bruschi. "Every guy
in here is focussed on that."
But why the push now for Bruschi, who set the Arizona record for sacks in his
collegiate career? What makes 2004 the year?
First off, there is his performance.
Unlike last year where he hit homer after homer, picking off passes for TDs
and changing games with lightning efficiency, Bruschi has been a quietly steady
force this year.
This defense shut down big-time runners like Marshall Faulk (12 carries, 66
yards), Willis McGahee (14-37) and most recently KC's Derrick Blalock (19-58),
and Bruschi, with 67 total tackles, is a significant factor why.
In addition, Bill Belichick has asked his inside linebackers to take
deeper-than-normal drops in the passing game to help clog lanes and aid a
depleted corps of corners.
"That's a lot of responsibility out there, more than it looks like," said
Bruschi backup Tully Banta-Cain.
Bruschi hasn't missed a step.
Second, Bruschi has his best opportunity yet to earn some notoriety on a
Miami's Zach Thomas, a regular in Oahu, plays on one of the worst teams in
football this year. London Fletcher suffers the same fate in Buffalo, while
Kendrell Bell has played just three games this year in Pittsburgh due to injury.
Donnie Edwards has 82 tackles for rejuvenated San Diego, but who's even seen
the Chargers this year? The Patriots have become America's Team, opening on a
Thursday night before a national audience and then being the marquee game on a
Take today's tilt with Baltimore, moved to 4:15 p.m. (from 1 p.m.) so it can
be the national doubleheader game. Exposure equals votes, from both fans and
Al Wilson in Denver is about the only other worthy candidate, but again, he's
no household name. Houston's Jamie Sharper and Jacksonville's Mike Peterson are
near the top of the game, and they are anonymous right now.
Most of all, lately there is the propaganda campaign leaking out of Foxboro
that the game's best defensive player, Baltimore's Lewis, has lost a step and
become a better talker than tackler at the age of 29.
While the rest of the NFL remains in awe of Lewis, Belichick made a point
this week to brand Ravens safety Ed Reed, not Lewis, as the "defensive MVP in
It was a subtle, but effective show of support for Bruschi from the coach he
The door is wide open. All Bruschi has to do is finish strong and bust
through to cap his first career Pro Bowl season. Finish strong, stay healthy and
roll into the playoffs with few or no slipups.
"Vote Tedy in 2004!"
The rest is up to you.
man to Hawaii
value: Linebacker's huge plays MVP-worthy
By Kevin Mannix/ The NFL
Monday, November 29, 2004
FOXBORO - By most estimates, the leading
candidates for defensive MVP in the NFL this year were on the field yesterday at
Gillette Stadium. Some, like Pats coach
liked Ravens safety Ed Reed. Others went with the chalk pick and felt Ray Lewis,
Baltimore's inside linebacker and a two-time defensive player of the year, was
Looking at their
numbers and the various highlight films of each, it's hard to disagree.
contrarian vote, however.
Yesterday we got
to see both Ravens up close and personal and they're good, no question. Lewis
had 12 tackles, the 20th straight time he's reached double digits. Reed was next
with nine tackles and a deflection.
But having seen
news] every game, neither Reed nor Lewis is more valuable to his team than
Tedy Bruschi [news]
is to New England. There is no other player more valuable to any team in the
league than Bruschi is to the Pats through 11 games this year.
He's dependable. Need a big play, watch No. 54. Every week, he seems to make a
play that leads to another victory.
Bruschi Moment came early in the fourth quarter. The Pats had just gone ahead
17-3 and had the Ravens in a second-and-20 from their own 20.
Mike Vrabel [news]
chased quarterback Kyle Boller out of the pocket. As the quarterback tried to
pull free from Vrabel's grasp, Bruschi came on the scene and knocked the ball
lineman Jarvis Green recovered the loose ball in the end zone to close out the
scoring in the 24-3 Pats victory.
Early in the
season, Richard Seymour
was the beneficiary of a Bruschi play. With the Bills inside the Pats' 20-yard
line and threatening to tie the game, Bruschi sacked Drew Bledsoe and forced a
fumble that Seymour returned 68 yards for the decisive touchdown.
It was Bruschi
who made a diving interception of a Payton Manning pass on Opening Day to
short-circuit an early Indianapolis drive.
night, when the Chiefs were still in the game, it was Bruschi who stuffed
Derrick Blaylock on third-and-1, forcing KC to settle for a field goal.
There are a lot
of people who make tackles. Bruschi makes plays, and that's by design.
``On that fumble
that Jarvis recovered,'' Bruschi said, ``it would have been easy to just go in
and reach for his legs and get the sack. But I always want to make big plays.
Vrabes had him and (Boller) looked like he was on his way down. I just wanted to
go for the ball and get it out.
the way I play. I don't want to just make a tackle or a sack or even an
interception. I want to get my hand on the ball and score. If I don't score, I
want to help somebody else on the defense score. Big Sey (Seymour) scored up in
Buffalo and now Jarvis has one. I'm just taking care of my D-linemen.''
What he doesn't
take care of is self-promotion, another characteristic that sets him apart from
so many of today's athletes. He's not going to respond to questions about his
own value. MVP? Don't even bring up the subject.
``You know how
I'm going to respond to that,'' he said when the MVP subject was raised in the
locker room yesterday. ``I'm just not into that and I'm not into voting. All I'm
about is championships, starting with the AFC East, and doing whatever I can to
make that happen.''
BostonHerald.com - Patriots: Bruschi proves value: Linebacker's huge plays
Best defense: Baltimore is good, but
Pats ballhawks are better in 24-3 Foxboro win
By Hector Longo
FOXBORO — The best defense in the National Football League
didn't just hit town yesterday.
With all due respect to Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and the Baltimore
Ravens, the NFL's finest defense resides here at Gillette Stadium, proving it in
the muck and mire with a 24-3 win against said Ravens.
Often overlooked because Tom Brady's offense carries its own
weight, this Bill Belichick-led defense has the Pats (10-1) on the verge of a
dynasty. The wins just keep coming, especially at Gillette Stadium.
"You breathe in the air here and you feel like you should be
playing at a higher level," said Pats linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who again showed
a national audience that he belongs in the Pro Bowl by registering seven
tackles, one sack and a forced fumble that New England recovered for a
Holding the Ravens to 124 yards of offense (a mere 2.1 yards
per play), New England improved to 16-0 at home over the last two years, 21-3
since the joint opened in 2002. And no end to the dominance is in sight.
The numbers here are staggering, be it the 10.7 points a game
surrendered in six home wins this year, the 14 points allowed to powerhouses
Indy and Tennessee in the playoffs last year, or the 10.0 a game figure
encompassing all 16 wins.
The New England defensive formula is a simple one:
Win the turnover battle. Win third downs. And finally,
persevere when it matters most.
Of course, it helps to have Brady running the show on the
other side, but this defense prides itself on doing its part, especially when it
comes to takeaways.
Like a dog that hasn't been fed for a day or two, Bruschi has
been a bit crazed in his play lately. He likes to touch the football and he
likes to score TDs, something he hadn't done much through the first 10 games
When Bruschi had his chance to hit a homer yesterday, he
didn't miss. With a defenseless Kyle Boller flopping in the pocket inside his
own 10-yard line, Bruschi blindsided the Ravens QB and stripped the ball away.
It rolled into the end zone, where teammate Jarvis Green pounced on it for a
fourth-quarter touchdown that broke Baltimore's back.
That fumble and Randall Gay's interception were two more
turnovers than the Pats offense made yesterday.
"That team was, I think, 43-2 under Brian Billick when they
win the turnover battle," said Brady, pleased that the statistic he mentioned
never came into play.
Bruschi and his crew find ways to get off the field quickly,
living by the motto that it's tough to be scored on when you're on the
The Pats defense may rank only 12th in the AFC on third-down
conversions, allowing 36.4 percent, but it's a number that consistently favors
New England on a weekly basis.
Yesterday, New England moved the chains 6 of 17 times on
third down, while the Ravens were nearly half as successful at 3 of 14.
Bruschi again was at the center of many of those stops, none
better than the tone-setter on Baltimore's initial possession of the second
half, when he single-handedly flattened Chester Taylor on a third-and-1 swing
pass for a 5-yard loss.
Maybe it was the weather.
"November and December football in Foxboro, I love it" said
Bruschi, who admitted to needing a bit of time to adjust to New England after
growing up in Southern California and playing his college ball in Arizona. "The
worse the weather gets, the better the Patriots play."
Remarkably, the Patriots defense becomes even stingier in the
final two months of the season. At Gillette in the last two years, the Pats are
6-0, giving up 3.7 points per game.
That's barely over a field goal per game — a stunning figure
when you consider the team played all six contests with playoff implications
hinging on each decision.
Baltimore, the supposed defensive beast of the AFC, was only
an afterthought here yesterday, just a little extra heat poured on the fire by
Belichick and his staff.
"I think our defense showed we can hang with the best of
them," said safety Rodney Harrison. "Every time we step on the field we want to
play well, regardless of the defense we are facing."
This week's Notes and Quotes:
Click here for the
Play of the game
"When it starts to snow and it starts to rain,
to us, it just seems like it's time to play football," linebacker Tedy Bruschi
said after New England ran its record to 10-1 with a 24-3 win.
"It was a lot of fun playing out there,"
Bruschi said. "The sloppier the better. Getting your uniform wet and dirty and
playing in the mud, that's what you love if you're a football player."
Two teams played in the
mud Sunday. One team won. The Patriots always win, it seems, no matter the
circumstances. "We adapt," said linebacker Tedy Bruschi, grinning, knowing he
was revealing no secret.
Though Boller hung in there for parts of three quarters, he eventually
succumbed on the Bruschi strip. "Vrabes had him," said Bruschi, referring to
linebacker Mike Vrabel. "He managed to slip away, and I was able to sack him and
strip the ball from him. Then it was a case of following the ball and trying to
get in there, and Jarvis was able to fall on it in the end zone."
Mike Vrabel [news]
swooped around left end untouched and nearly twisted Boller into the ground. The
beleaguered Boller somehow managed to keep his balance and swerved away, but
that gave linebacker Tedy Bruschi
additional time to poke the ball out of his hand and begin a wild goose chase in
the mud. ``I was pushing the lineman and I saw Tedy go for the ball,''
Green said. ``The ball popped loose and people went after it. It slipped through
someone's hands and I said to myself, `If I get the ball, I'm not letting it
slip out of my hands.' ''
The Patriots, led by linebacker Tedy Bruschi, held
Baltimore to 29 total yards and three first downs in the second half and even
scored a touchdown in a 24-3 victory.
agains a Ravens team that entered the game with the NFL's stingiest defence, was
New England's 17th in a row at home, including playoffs.
So after a game like this, don't even ask a Patriot how bad
the conditions were. Somebody did anyway. Same for both teams, Harrison
pointed out. "Football in November and December in Foxboro," Tedy Bruschi
crowed, smiling at the thought. "The worse the weather gets, the better the
Patriots play." This coming from a California guy who went to Arizona to
play ball. But Bruschi made the adjustment. "It took me a few years to tell you
the truth." It might have looked nasty, but Harrison said, "We practice in
weather worse than this."
"We practice when it's freezing,
snowing, when its raining," said Rodney Harrison. "These guys seem to
embrace it. Tedy Bruschi and Mike Vrabel are out there with no
sleeves on. Guys are out there with shorts on. These guys are crazy."
"I feel very energized in
November and December in this stadium," linebacker
Tedy Bruschi said. "It's a feeling we get, a feeling I get. It gets windy
and it gets snowy and it gets a little colder and it starts to feel like
football. You feel the game."
his personal foul:
Said Bruschi: ``It's my fault. I lost
my cool. . . . I always talk to the guys about not losing your composure and I
did it on that play.'' Said Belichick: ``That was really like the
Bad News Bears.''
11/30/04 NEW YORK (AP) -- The holiday season is a busy
time for the NFL -- on and off the field.
It heats up Tuesday, with several clubs involved in charity work. New England
Patriots owner Robert Kraft and linebacker Tedy Bruschi will begin a toy drive
in conjunction with Bank of America.
Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft and linebacker Tedy Bruschi will participate in
the Roxbury Boys and Girls Club holiday toy drive kickoff event at 2:00 p.m. at
the Boys and Girls Club (115 Warren Street). The event marks the start of a
partnership between the Patriots and Bank of America to collect gifts that will
later be distributed to New England area children's charities in time for the
holidays. Bruschi will unveil a giant satchel of toys, marking the first
donation to the effort before Kraft and Bruschi join volunteers in wrapping
gifts for the toy drive.
Other nominees for AFC Defensive Player of Week 12 were:
New England linebacker
Tedy Bruschi, who had
seven tackles, including 1.0 sack for an 18-yard loss. Johnson also forced a
fumble in the Ravens' end zone which was recovered by a teammate for a
On Corey Dillion's Stiff-arm technique:
"With the stiff-arm, you want to break it down and some guys aren't able to
do that against Corey," said Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi. "You want to slap
the arm down with one hand and wrap with the other. Sometimes running backs will
go at your face and you have a choice, do you knock it up or knock it down?
"In terms of the guys I've seen use it, the best is Corey," Bruschi said.
"I've seen him use it two or three times on the same play. He gets the first guy
with it, then he throws it again and again until they either get him down or he
goes out of bounds."
This week's Notes and Quotes:
The stats displayed during the Pats' Nov. 22 game in Kansas City were
headlined ``Team Patriot.''
Essentially, the graphic indicated the Pats had amassed these
statistics in the following categories through nine games: 15 players with at
least one reception; 14 players with at least one takeaway (an interception or
fumble recovery); 11 players with at least one sack; and 11 players with at
least one touchdown scored. According to the Elias, the Pats were only the
second team in the NFL over the past 20 years -- the 1998 St. Louis Rams being
the other -- to have 10-plus players in each of the four categories that early
in the season. Apprised of the impressive factoid Elias had dug up, it gave many
Patriots players reason to smile.
``I think maybe that's proof about what we've been saying for so
long, what a lot of journalists and TV personalities don't really understand
when we talk about team,'' linebacker
said when told of the statistical oddity. ``A lot of teams can talk about it,
saying, `This is how we want to play.' But do you really have something to show
that proves the way you are. We've said it for years, that everyone in this
locker room can contribute. And I think maybe that (data) shows it, the
across-the-board contribution that we've produced.''
On Belichick and Cleveland:
And just so the good Clevelanders didn't forget, he gave them
reason to remember, giving their current team, their rookie quarterback and
their interim coach a good beating. ``After what's happened to him here in the
past, I'm sure he feels good and I feel good for him,'' linebacker
Tedy Bruschi [news]
said. Bruschi remembers the way his coach and teammates felt when they
walked off the field here in 2000, losing a 19-11 game to an expansion team. But
Belichick's problems here go well beyond that game.
BostonHerald.com - Patriots: This time, it's personal: Belichick takes it to
``It would mean a lot to me if I were him, let's put it
that way,'' linebacker Tedy Bruschi
said. ``Especially with the way we lost here the last time. I'm one of the few
guys who is still on the team from that. I didn't feel too good about that one,
and I'm sure (Belichick) didn't either. That's why I'm happy for him now.''
On the Browns game:
The Patriots gained control as Bethel Johnson returned the opening kickoff
for a touchown. The Patriots were actually scoreless for a 14-minute-30-second
span of the first quarter, yet concluded the quarter ahead, 14-0.
"They might have had a high level of energy but we wanted to start with a big
play and give our offense good field position. Bethel made a great return, we
all blocked our guys. That was the tone-setter of the game," Bruschi said.
Bruschi said he was also motivated by memories of the Patriots' 19-11 loss to
the Browns in their last visit to Cleveland in 2000, and by the feeling of
helping Belichick, a former Browns coach, get some revenge.
"I am one of the few guys who was here for that game," Bruschi said. "I feel
good about it and I feel good for him."
The Patriots had surrendered only one touchdown to opposing offenses in three
previous games. But this was actually among their more dominating defensive
performances of the season. The defense and special teams produced 14 points.
The Patriots intercepted two passes, recovered two fumbles, had three sacks for
minus-36 yards, and limited the Browns' third-down efficiency to 20 percent (2
"We were here to just win and get on a plane," Bruschi said. "All three units
put points on the board, and when you do that your chances of winning are pretty
/ Sports / Football / Patriots / Defense was up for challenge
"That does not happen a lot, (where) offense, defense and
special teams all put points on the board," Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi
said. "Coming out with a big kickoff return at the beginning of the game was
something we wanted to do. We scored, and that was the tone-setter of the game."
Want to talk about discipline? Linebacker Tedy Bruschi was asked on Sunday what
he remembered most about the game vs. the Browns. “Winning,” he said. “That’s
all I really remember. I don’t even remember what the score was. Just win the
football game and get on the plane.”Only a couple of plane rides left in the
regular season. The Patriots would like to have none in the playoffs, until one
in late January.
6th ESPN the Magazine article by Tedy:
America kicks off region-wide toy drive
Monday, December 6, 2004
New England Patriots
Linebacker Tedy Bruschi recently joined Bank of America Chairman Chad Gifford,
New England Patriots? Chairman and Owner Robert Kraft, and Boys & Girls Clubs of
Boston President and CEO Linda Whitlock to kick-off the region-wide toy drive
that invites Bank of America customers and residents to stop by a local Bank of
America banking center throughout New England and donate a toy through Dec. 17.
Bank of America expects to collect 50,000 toys, which will then be donated to
local community organizations. Toys collected in Eastern Massachusetts will be
donated to the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation, and then distributed
to nonprofit organizations in Boston and Providence. Over 1,000 local Bank
of America branches in the northeast will be participating in the Holiday Toy
Drive including six branches in the Neponset area Canton's Washington
Street, Dedham's Washington Street, Norwood's Washington Street and Rte. 1,
Walpole's Main Street, and Westwood's High Street locations.
Manning no mystery: QB's success
no surprise to Bruschi
By Kevin Mannix/ NFL Notes
Sunday, December 12, 2004
unbreakable record is about to be broken. Maybe as soon as today, but certainly
before the end of the season. Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning needs just
five more touchdown passes to surpass Dan Marino's 20-year-old record of 48
touchdowns passes in a season.
Others in the NFL have expressed
amazement at Manning's production so far this year. And why not? When you throw
44 touchdown passes in 12 games, you're on an unprecedented, hellacious run.
news] linebacker Tedy Bruschi
on the other hand, is not at all surprised by what Manning is doing this year.
And he is an authority. Since 1998, when Manning entered the league, Bruschi's
Patriots have faced Manning and the Colts 11 times.
And despite Manning's 2-9 record
against the Pats in those games, he has made his mark on Bruschi.
``When you see him play in that
system with those people around him as often as we did, you just know it's a
matter of time before numbers like these come up,'' Bruschi explained. ``You
always had the feeling that one day the guy was going to throw eight touchdowns
in a game.''
Well, not quite. But Manning did
have six touchdown passes against Detroit on Thanksgiving and threw for five
against both Green Bay and Kansas City.
Here are a few of the
particulars on Manning's soon-to-be record season: Marvin Harrison has caught 12
of his touchdown passes. Reggie Wayne has 10, Brandon Stokely has nine, Marcus
Pollard has six and Dallas Clark has five. Backup running back James Mungro has
the other two.
A total of 15 of those TD passes
were between 1 and 5 yards in length. Six were between 6 and 10 yards. There
have been seven between 11 and 20 yards and seven more between 21 and 30 yards.
Five carried between 31 and 40 yards with four more going more than 40 yards.
His two touchdowns against the
Pats covered only 3 and 7 yards. With this defense you're not going to see a lot
of long passes to free-wheeling receivers. That's not the way Bruschi and his
mates play Romeo Crennel's defense.
``We always talk about being
physical out there,'' Bruschi said. ``Offenses like to run down the field to
make a catch. We don't like to let them play that way. We play a more physical
So why don't other defenses
emulate the Pats defensive style?
``I don't know why they don't,''
Bruschi said. ``That's a question for another player on another team.''
This week's Notes and Quotes:
Week 14 -- Top Performers
These guys put up some great numbers for their owners last week:
• Tedy Bruschi, Patriots: The Patriots' emotional
leader continues to lead by example after a busy game against the Bengals.
Stat Line: 10 tackles, 4 assists.
“Right now, I don’t even need it,” Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi said of the
lowlight reel. “I don’t even need it because of how well (the Bengals) playing
right now. Just the win they had last week to go into Baltimore, which is an
extremely tough place to play, and to pull out a win in the fourth quarter,
that’s all I need to see about this team. . . . I know they’re playing good
football right now.”
"I don't dismiss any game," said Patriots linebacker Tedy
Bruschi, recalling that practice-game loss to the Bengals that snapped an
eight-game Patriots winning streak in pre-season games. "Because the way we
approach things around here, we want to win no matter what the situation is
whether it be pre-season, post-season or regular-season."
On the Playoff picture:
“We still want to
improve right now, because it’s getting to be late in the year,” Pats linebacker
Tedy Bruschi said. “We want to gather some momentum up going into the playoffs
now, and Miami is still a team that presents challenges.” The Patriots do
acknowledge they have high stakes in these last three games – like home field.
“It’s very important,” Bruschi said. “We’ve gone on the road (2002 AFC title
game) and won before. But the playoffs are the playoffs. When you get there,
anything can happen.”
On the Miami game:
All I know is we're
going down to Miami, and every time I've been down to Miami my entire career, it
hasn't been too easy of a game," said inside linebacker Tedy Bruschi, a Patriot
since 1996. "They play us tough. They've got a great defense and special teams.
Their offense is still playing hard no matter what situation they've been in,
and that's what we have to do. We have to go down there and be ready to win a
Pats hope to bring the heat
The weather is
turning frightful up here, making it seem sacrilege for the Patriots to be
playing down there in Miami tonight. The sound of Dolphins' teeth chattering has
become such a Holiday tradition up here in New England. The Patriots' December
game against the Dolphins last season stirred up a winter wonderland in Foxboro.
Fans who burrowed into nearly two feet of unshoveled snow tossed it rhythmically
into the Gillette Stadium-lit night air to the tune of Gary Glitter's Rock &
Roll Part 2. "I like having flurries in the air when we play the Dolphins," said
Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi, whose interception return for a touchdown in a
12-0 victory last Dec. 7 inspired that snowy salute from the fans. "But that's
not going to happen (tonight)."
Lowell Sun Online - Sports
On the Monday Night Football Game:
On paper, this one's a yawner that could have millions of
Americans feeling like Fauria on most Monday nights.
"Does it bug me that ABC is (unhappy)?" Patriots outside
linebacker Mike Vrabel repeated the question asked of him. "No, not at all. Just
look at the history we've had down there. We don't go down there and have a lot
True, the Patriots have won only once in their last six trips
to South Florida — last year, 19-13, in overtime — but is that enough to seduce
folks to tune in once Williams Jr. starts crooning?
"I don't care what TV wants," Patriots inside linebacker
Tedy Bruschi added. "I've never cared what TV wants, the magazines or the
papers. What we want is to continue to win football games, and what Miami wants
is to win this football game. I'm sure the attitude in their locker room is to
just win a game, win a game and go from there. We happen to be the next opponent
on their schedule, and I'm sure they'll play us hard."
The Enterprise at SouthofBoston.com
like pro's: Should make presence felt in Hawaii
By Kevin Mannix/ NFL Notes
Sunday, December 19, 2004
Fan voting for the 2005 Pro Bowl, which
counts one-third of the total vote, ends today. Voting by the players and
coaches, which account for the other two-thirds, takes place tomorrow with the
rosters for the AFC and NFC teams being announced on Wednesday.
A year ago the
Pats won the Super Bowl but had only two players voted to the team - defensive
tackle Richard Seymour
and cornerback Ty Law
Linebacker/defensive end Willie McGinest
went as an alternate.
This year, it's
hard to envision there won't be a serious
news] tinge to the Pro Bowl. In fact, if production and not popularity are
criteria, the Pats could even match the domination of the Chiefs and Ravens a
year ago, when each had six players voted to the team.
The Pats should
have at least that many. As in Rodney Harrison
Tedy Bruschi [news]
and Seymour on defense. As in Adam Vinatieri
and Larry Izzo on special teams. As in
Tom Brady [news]
and Corey Dillon, and possibly Joe Andruzzi on offense.
of a spot, a couple of those players may not make it. But it would be an
absolute, total, unjustifiable miscarriage of justice if Harrison and Bruschi
Ravens safety Ed
Reed is having a defensive MVP kind of year in Baltimore, but nobody else has
the kind of numbers Harrison does - a team-leading 122 tackles, three sacks, two
interceptions, six deflections, three forced fumbles. He's also tied for fifth
in special teams tackles with 11.
with Reed, Harrison is the best safety in the conference in both stats and
linebackers, Bruschi has always faced an uphill battle against the much more
spectacular but less consistent Ray Lewis and Zach Thomas. Last year, Al Wilson
of the Broncos joined those two as the AFC's inside linebackers.
way Bruschi shouldn't get to Hawaii this year. He's a full-time player in a
defense that has dominated. Through 13 games he has 103 tackles, 3 sacks, two
interceptions, four deflections and two forced fumbles, both of which were
returned for touchdowns (by Seymour and Jarvis Green). And nobody makes the kind
of timely, game-changing plays with as much regularity as Bruschi does.
Lewis has 123
tackles but only one sack, no interceptions or forced fumbles.
Thomas does have
132 tackles as well as two sacks, but has no interceptions or forced fumbles. He
also plays for a 2-11 team and has missed the last two weeks and isn't expected
to play tomorrow night against the Pats. Durability has to count for something.
Wilson does have
two interceptions and a sack but only 87 tackles
BostonHerald.com - Patriots: Pats look like pro's: Should make presence felt in
This week's Notes and Quotes:
On Curtis Martin:
Stopping Martin is a
must for the Patriots. He has six 100-yard games against the Patriots since
leaving as a free agent after the 1997 season, and the Jets are 6-0 in those
games. Martin was held to just 70 yards in the teams’ first meeting, a
hard-fought 13-7 Patriots win back on Oct. 24.
“It is all about Curtis,” Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi said. “Every time we
play the New York Jets, all of the talk is about Curtis. I don’t want to say
anything good about him because I have said so much before. The last time we
played them, he was playing great and everybody was like, he has new life. Now
he’s leading the league in rushing. I’m not surprised. Curtis is a great player.
“Whenever we play them he is the guy that first and foremost we have to stop,”
"I don't think Curtis has ever had a bad year," Pats
linebacker Tedy Bruschi said yesterday.
Pats make merry
A pack of New
England Patriots hit Children's Hospital the other day to spread a
little holiday cheer to the kids. More than 20 Pats, including Troy Brown,
Ted Johnson, Joe Andruzzi, Willie McGinest, Tedy Bruschi, Larry Izzo, Matt
Light, Christian Fauria, Lonnie Paxton, Josh Miller, Dan Koppen, Russ Hochstein,
Matt Chatham, Dan Klecko and Stephen Neal visited the kids, signed
autographs and mugged for photos with their young fans. Additionally, Andruzzi,
along with his wife, Jen, presented a check for $243,000 to Children's
Hospital. The money was gathered the previous night at the Andruzzis' annual
fund-raiser in honor of cancer victim C.J. Buckley at the Funway Cafe in
Pro Bowl snubs -- Harrison,
Bruschi miss the cut again
By Michael Felger
Thursday, December 23, 2004
FOXBORO - Despite winning two of the last
three Super Bowls and 27 of their last 29 games, the
news] will once again be lightly represented in the Pro Bowl. Only two Pats
position players - Richard Seymour
(his third) and Tom Brady
(second) - were selected among voting by fans, players and coaches. Special team
players Larry Izzo (third) and Adam Vinatieri
(second) were also chosen. As far as the Pats are concerned, the list is more
notable for the players who were omitted than those who were included. Once
again, safety Rodney Harrison
was left off, as was linebacker Tedy Bruschi
and running back Corey Dillon. Prior to the announcement, Harrison restated why
he and other Pats were left out. ``Popularity,'' he said. ``Favoritism.'
Citing 'most important bowl,' Pats ignore Pro Bowl slight
01:00 AM EST on Friday, December 24, 2004
FOXBORO -- This will not come as a
surprise to anyone who has followed the Patriots over the last few seasons:
While others around them debated perceived snubs of several of the reigning
Super Bowl champions in Pro Bowl selections, the Pats themselves seemed unfazed.
The New England
players insisted, as they have in the past, that they are not concerned that
players such as Rodney Harrison , Corey Dillon and Tedy
Bruschi , all of whom have had outstanding seasons, were not voted onto the
"We know what the most
important bowl is," said tight end Christian Fauria in reference to the
game played the week before the Pro Bowl, the one called the Super Bowl. "That
would be a very good consolation prize."
"I motivate myself
just because I want to win football games," said Bruschi. "Would it have been
nice to go to the Pro Bowl? Yeah. I'm not going to lie to you. But
Ray [ Lewis] and [James] Farrior [the two middle linebackers
taken], those are great, great players that have had great years."
Asked about the snub, Bruschi said, "I don't use it as
motivation. The only thing that motivates me is to win football games. I'd be
lying if I said I wouldn't have been happy to make it. But Ray and Farrior are
great players that have had great years, so I say congratulations to them."
On the Jets game:
"We have a lot at
stake because we want to win," Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi said. "We want
to put the last game behind us and move on. Last week, we didn't play too well
on the road. This is another road test for us. We want to play well."
On Ted Johnson:
Tedy Bruschi [news]:
``We watch a lot of film, and I don't think there's another linebacker in the
entire league who takes on a block like Ted does.'' To the naked eye, Johnson
also appears to have added some quickness. Is that possible? ``I haven't noticed
if he's gotten quicker or not, I just know that he's starting to string together
a lot of good games,'' Bruschi said. ``To see him contribute on a consistent
basis is something I look forward to, because I feed off his game.'' Johnson
remains one of the best-liked and most respected players in the locker room,
which makes this a feel-good story. A lot of people root for Johnson, although
Bruschi wouldn't go there. ``To say you're rooting for him is to say that he
was down at one point,'' Bruschi said. ``To us, he was never down. He just had
some things to battle back from, and we knew that no matter what it was, he was
going to come back.''
Pro Bowl snub no
big deal for Bruschi
BY MARK FARINELLA/SUN
FOXBORO -- In his more
private moments, Tedy Bruschi has to be wondering exactly what he has to do to
get a trip to Hawaii out of the National Football League.
But at least for public consumption Thursday, the veteran inside linebacker of
the Patriots was offering congratulations to those who were selected to the Pro
Bowl and otherwise keeping his focus entirely upon this weekend's opponent, the
New York Jets.
"I motivate myself just because I want to win football games,'' he said. "Would
it have been nice to go to the Pro Bowl? Yes, I'm not going to lie to you. But
Ray (Lewis of Baltimore) and (James) Farrior (of Pittsburgh), those are great,
great players that have had great years, so I say congrats to them.''
There's probably no disputing those two selections. Lewis has 133 tackles, one
sack and two fumble recoveries for the Ravens' rugged defensive unit, while
Farrior's 83 tackles and three sacks are only a part of the leadership he lends
to the Steelers' defense.
However, Bruschi's stats are certainly Pro Bowl-worthy -- 106 tackles (71 solo),
3.5 sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. On a team where the focus
on individual goals and accomplishments is greater, you might get more of a
sense of outrage from a similarly snubbed player.
But not from the Patriots, where the head coach sets the tone for how such
disappointments are put into perspective.
"Every team in the league
feels that there are players that fall into that category for them,'' Bill
Belichick said Thursday. "So it's tough, because I thought we had a lot of guys
who played well this year. There's no need to go through them all on a
case-by-case basis, but I think we all know who some of our better players are.
You'd like to see them get recognized, but that's the process, so there's
nothing we can do about it. That's what it is.''
The Sun Chronicle Newspaper
bruising 'D': Linebacker's huge day helps stop Martin, Jets
By Rich Thompson
Monday, December 27, 2004
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -
news] inside linebacker Tedy Bruschi
wouldn't let the NFL's most effective tailback set the tone yesterday. That had
a lot to do with the Pats running to a 23-7 win over the Jets.
tailback Curtis Martin entered the contest leading the league with 1,511 yards
(107.9 per game) through 14 games and had crossed the century mark an impressive
eight times. The Patriots knew what their old running back could do and planned
leading the way with six solo tackles, two assists and an interception, the
Patriots defense held Martin to 33 yards on 13 carries (2.5 average) with a long
run of 5 yards. Martin's 33 yards represented the low-water mark of what's been
a remarkable season for the future Hall of Fame running back.
always priority one when we play the Jets,'' said Bruschi, who is second on the
team in tackles with 114.
``I mean, he's
their biggest offensive weapon, we feel, so we wanted to contain him as best we
could and see what receivers (Jets quarterback Chad) Pennington could hit. When
you know Curtis like we do, we know we have to stop him.''
posted some decent numbers, but overall his day was flawed. He completed
22-of-36 passes for 252 yards and a touchdown but was picked off twice and lost
a fumble on the last of the Patriots' three sacks.
established his presence on the opening possession of the game while the Jets
were driving. On first-and-10 from the New England 40-yard line, Bruschi dropped
back into zone coverage and intercepted a Pennington pass intended for Wayne
``I had zone
coverage and I had a crosser in front of me, and usually when you have a crosser
in front of you there's a crosser behind you,'' Bruschi said. ``Chrebet was
behind me and Chad kind of sort of put it up there to him as I continued to get
some depth. I was able to get in front, see the ball and leap and catch the
The fun began
when Bruschi came down with the ball on the Patriots' 26 in the middle of the
field. After quickly assessing the situation, he made a wild dash up field.
Bruschi looked like an experienced kick return specialist as he directed his
blockers while cutting against the grain. He was finally brought down by Jets
tight end Chris Baker on the New York 38 after a 36-yard return.
directing traffic a little bit,'' Bruschi said. ``I was in the middle of the
field and I looked right and left. I saw more green jerseys to my right so I
figured don't go there. I tried to cut it back to the left and
Asante Samuel [news]
kind of got a block for me. Baker the tight end was able to shed off a block and
get to me.
``As returns go,
it was a pretty good return.''
partner behind the line, Ted Johnson
felt the Patriots were successful against the Jets by sticking to the basics.
``We put a lot
of pressure on them in the second half, and Tedy's pick was huge,'' Johnson
said. ``It didn't feel like we did anything exact. It was just a case of playing
very fundamentally sound, and that's the way it is because we know we have a
BostonHerald.com - Patriots: Bruschi keys bruising 'D': Linebacker's huge day
helps stop Martin, Jets
This week's Notes and Quotes:
On the Jets game:
But, Bruschi insisted, it was all about making plays. Lately, the Patriots
weren't making enough on the field.
Sunday, Bruschi set the tone with the game's first big play -- an
interception of a Chad Pennington pass to stop the Jets' first drive of the game
at the Patriots 25.
"That was just something that told our team, and their team, 'Not today,'"
said Bruschi, who now has three interceptions. "You're not going to take this
opening drive and set the one on us like that.'"
The Jets wouldn't have another scoring chance like that until New England had
a 23-0 lead in the fourth quarter.
"That's what turnovers do," said Bruschi. "That's what big plays do."
The Patriots put all their considerable talents on display Sunday in the
Meadowlands. Quarterback Tom Brady bounced back from his four-interception lapse
against Miami last week with a nearly-flawless performance -- 21 of 32 passing
for 264 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Running back Corey Dillon rushed for 89 yards to set the team's single-season
Deion Branch caught seven passes.
Bruschi and Eugene Wilson had interceptions. Three players had sacks.
Banged up Patriots defense guts it out
The Patriots (13-2) were coming off a surprising 29-28 defeat in Miami on
Monday night. It was a challenge to change climates and face one of the NFL.'s
top defenses with one day less than usual to prepare. "Maybe it was good,"
Bruschi said. "It gave us less time to think about it."
The Patriots held Curtis Martin, the league's leading rusher, to 33 yards. He
came into the game with 1,511. "Even if he had only 1,000 yards, we'd still
respect him as the first guy we had to stop," Bruschi said.
Bruschi, who led his team with eight tackles, said he was not yet thinking
about the bye week and how it could help the healing of injured players.
"So many people have been down, we've had a lot of people step up," he said.
"We're only concerned with who's in there and who's going to get the job done.
Did we look like we had a lack of confidence out there? No."
New York Times > Sports > Pro Football > Differences Revealed: A Good Team vs. a
Very Good Team
This and that
You've got to love
Tedy Bruschi [news].
Last Wednesday, the middle linebacker guaranteed the defense would ``make
plays'' against the Jets. Then, four days after talking the talk, Bruschi walked
the walk with his interception of Chad Pennington on the opening series. The
play showed Bruschi at his physical and mental best, as he pointed out a shallow
crossing route to teammates in front of him just split seconds before backing up
and making a leaping grab of the ball. . . .
BostonHerald.com - Patriots: Playoff success on line -- To win, big guys must
LINEBACKERS – A
As was the case when the two teams met in Foxboro a
couple of months ago, Tedy Bruschi
and Ted Johnson
made life miserable for their former teammate. Bruschi led the way against
Martin with eight tackles and had a momentum-shifting interception on the Jets'
first series. Johnson had six unassisted hits in the middle and
and Mike Vrabel
made sure there would be no bounce-out lanes to the outside. After holding
Martin to 70 yards on 20 carries at Gillette Stadium in the first meeting, the
Pats' interior defense was even better down at the Meadowlands. Martin was held
to a season-low 33 yards on 13 carries with a long gain of only 5 yards. His 103
rushing yards in two games against the Pats was less than the 109 he averaged in
the other 13 games he's played this year.
BostonHerald.com - Patriots: Pats do all the talking
Player Of The Week
The Jets had the misfortune of facing the Patriots at the wrong time ... and
Tedy Bruschi made them pay.
With their veteran linebacker leading the way, the Pats shut down RB Curtis
Martin and forced three turnovers in breezing to a 23-7 triumph.
Bruschi made six unassisted tackles, helped on two more and picked off a Chad
Pennington floater on New York's opening possession as New England rebounded
from an embarrassing 29-28 loss at Miami.
``I was directing traffic a little bit,'' Bruschi said of his meandering
36-yard interception runback. ``It was a pretty good return.''
Martin entered as the league's No. 1 rusher, averaging 108 yards per game,
but he was limited to 33 yards in 13 carries, with a long gain of 5 yards.
``I never really got myself in the flow of the game,'' Martin said.
``Obviously, everything we do is predicated on me getting the running game
going. [Sunday], we just got our butts kicked.''
Tuesday Morning Quarterback -
By RUSS CHARPENTIER
FOXBORO - When yesterday's 21-7 victory over the San Francisco 49ers had ended,
after the Patriots had sealed their second consecutive 14-win season, Tedy
Bruschi was hurriedly dressing at his locker and hoping for a quick exit.
Not likely. Not after leading the Patriots with 15 tackles,
one shy of his career high, and playing all but the final three minutes of what
was technically a meaningless contest. You might have excused Bruschi for having
other things on his mind - his wife is due to deliver their third child tomorrow
- but as the action unfolded on the Gillette turf, there he was, throwing
himself into the fray time and time again.
"Right now, I'm thinking about my wife," Bruschi said. "I
want to go out in the tunnel and hug her."
Before he left, though, the ninth-year linebacker shed a
light on this New England team that has gone unbeaten at home the past two
seasons, won 28 regular-season games in two years, and has its eyes on a winning
third Super Bowl in the last four seasons.
Bruschi made it clear that to him and his teammates,
yesterday's game was far from meaningless. There's a reason why Tom Brady played
three entire quarters, and why Corey Dillon, incentives reached, re-entered the
game to score a fourth-quarter touchdown, and why Bruschi and company played
most of the game defensively.
"That's the way we are around here. We want to play good
football," Bruschi said. "There's something about rest, but if you're in a tight
game, you want to win.
"We wanted 14 (wins). I told Rac (defensive coordinator Romeo
Crennel) after the game, that's the way I want to play a football game."
The Patriots played again yesterday without Ty Law, one of
the game's top cornerbacks. Richard Seymour sat out, the status of his injured
knee unknown to anyone outside the Patriot organization. Safety Eugene Wilson,
tight end Daniel Graham and running back Kevin Faulk didn't play because of
It's been that way all season in Patriotland, yet the team,
with two exceptions, kept on plugging. Now, thanks to the first-round bye, they
hope two weeks will be enough time for their ailing to heal.
"You want your best out there (in the playoffs)," Bruschi
said. "Ty's our best defensive back, Richard's our best defensive lineman.
That's how we have to take advantage of these two weeks ... get them back."
Of course, there's always the chance the injured won't be
back, and won't be suiting up in two weeks when the Patriots host, most likely,
high-flying Peyton Manning and the Colts.
"We can't look at it that way," Bruschi said. "If we do,
you'd worry about things you ordinarily wouldn't. You have to approach it the
same way you did regular season."
Which proves, as tight end Jed Weaver said after equaling his
season total yesterday with four receptions, that everyone is interchangeable.
Weaver was signed by the Patriots after highly regarded rookie tight end Ben
Watson was hurt. That Weaver was even available to New England was surprising.
He had signed a three-year deal with Denver and even bought a house, then was
"In this league, everything is written in pencil," said
Weaver. "It stinks what happened to Ben. But on this team, you're expected to
step up when someone's out."
Bruschi's point entirely.
"If one guy's down, you look at who's next," Bruschi said.
"Is it Earthwind (Moreland)? Is it Don Davis playing safety? You trust them.
There's a reason they're in the locker room. They are good football players. I
expect it of them and I think they expect it of themselves."
It has become the Patriot way. You do not let your teammates
down. It is their mantra. So when most everyone looks at a game like yesterday
as meaningless, the Patriots take it as yet another measuring stick.
"Twenty-eight wins in two seasons," said Bruschi. "I'm proud
of that. Unbeaten at home in two years. You always want to play well in front of
your fans, protect your turf. I'm proud of that."
Bruschi said he'll rest, work out and watch all the playoff
games next weekend to see who the Patriots will be playing. His wife, new baby
and two other young sons might have a little bit to say about that, but then
this is the postseason.
"We're going to be judged in the playoffs," said Bruschi.
"When those critical situations come about, are we going to make the play? We've
done it in the past and have to do it again."
Which is why Randall Gay, who filled in for Law, was saying,
"Everybody here has been getting me prepared for what I'm going to go through
now. The real season."
Get ready, New England. Your Patriots, whoever may be
healthy, will be. Bruschi and company will see to that.
Charpentier column (January 3, 2005)
By Rich Thompson
Monday, January 3, 2005
news] inside linebacker Tedy Bruschi
didn't let the significance of yesterday's 21-7 victory over the San Francisco
49ers alter his frantic style.
Even though the Patriots (14-2) had already locked up
the second seed in the AFC playoffs and a guaranteed first-round bye, Bruschi
attacked the 49ers as if the Patriots were fighting for the final wild card
Bruschi led the Patriots with 15 tackles to improve his
season total to 129. He came up one short of the season-high 16 tackles he
logged in the Patriots' loss at Pittsburgh on Halloween. Bruschi's mantra is
full-tilt, full-time, and it didn't matter that the 49ers were an aimless,
mismanaged club with a 2-13 record.
``This game here, we played the whole game because
that's just the way we are around here,'' said Bruschi, a ninth-year pro out of
Arizona who started all 16 games this season. ``There is something about rest,
but we were in a tight game and we just want to win football games. That's the
bottom line and that's the situation we were in. This was a game a lot of people
didn't look at as important, but in this locker room we wanted to win the game.
``We wanted 14 wins and that's the only way I wanted to
finish a football season. I wanted to play the entire game no matter what the
situation is. Leave me in, I want to play.''
Bruschi had to perform at his optimum level because
49ers tailback Kevan Barlow refused to roll over, despite the circumstances. The
6-foot-1, 238-pound Barlow exhibits a running style similar to Pittsburgh's
Jerome Bettis, and he isn't shy about making middle linebackers earn their
Barlow continued to run hard even when it was obvious
the 49ers were on their way to their 14th lost cause. Barlow finished the game
with 103 yards on 25 carries and he earned Bruschi's respect with that effort.
``I've watched him, I've followed him and he's always a
guy that runs hard,'' Bruschi said. ``He was running hard, and I think our guys
were looking forward to the chance to put some licks on him.
``He's a big, physical runner and he gets up and lets
you know that he's physical. He'll say a couple of things, but hey, we're
physical too, and we kept hitting him.''
Patriots strong safety
is a defensive back with a linebacker's mentality and the numbers to
substantiate that approach. Harrison finished second to Bruschi with nine
tackles and improved his team lead to a career-high 139. Harrison registered 138
tackles last season and was named to the All-Pro team for his efforts.
``That (49ers record) never entered into it,'' Harrison
said. ``The fact is we were on all cylinders, communicating and not missing
``From a mental standpoint, we made all the adjustments.
From a defensive standpoint, we had guys out there flying around, knocking balls
down and making tackles. We made sure we played hard.''
BostonHerald.com - Patriots: Defense won't rest
Winning matters to Pats
FOXBORO, Mass. - Technically, it was meaningless. The Patriots' 21-7 victory
yesterday over San Francisco did not impact the NFL's big picture. New England
(14-2) was locked into the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs and the 49ers (2-14)
were locked out of the postseason weeks ago.
But don't tell the Patriots this regular season finale was meaningless.
"You can say it doesn't mean anything, but it does mean something,"
quarterback Tom Brady said.
"It means something to us. We are 14-2, one of the three teams in history
that have back-to-back 14-2 seasons."
Brady wasn't alone in his quest for 14.
"I know a lot of people weren't looking forward to this game, but we wanted
14. We wanted 14 wins,"said Tedy Bruschi, who played in all four quarters. "I
told (Patriots Coach Bill Belichick) that the only way I want to finish a
football season is to play the whole game."
Bruschi probably didn't need to tell his coach anything.
"They're football players. They like to play football. It's football season,"
This is the Patriot way. They have taken the "one game at a time" cliché to
new heights. Every week they tell you that game is the most important game.
Since they've now won 31 of their last 33 games, it was easy to believe them.
But it wasn't so easy this week. The 49ers are as bad as their record and the
Pats had no tangible incentives to win. How could this be the most important
"Look," Belichick said earlier this week, sounding like an angry school
teacher, "the importance of practicing and playing now is to continue to get
better, to build our performance to the highest level we can get it to because
that's where it's going to need to be."
Still, it wasn't easy to believe. Belichick, after all, portrays every
opponent as a collection of superstars. This was just more hype.
But when Bruschi took on the angry teacher persona after the game, you
started to believe that yesterday's game, as mundane and sloppy as it often was,
really was the most important game.
"To go undefeated at home is something that I can say I'm proud about," said
Bruschi, his eyes burning into a crowd of doubtful reporters surrounding his
locker. "To win 14 two years in a row, that's quite an accomplishment. Those are
things we wanted to do."
And those are things the 68,756 fans in attendance wanted to see them do.
Don't tell those fans it was meaningless. They sold out a New England home game
for the 114th consecutive time. They rose to their feet when the teams took the
field. They went wild when Bethel Johnson returned a punt for a touchdown, and
then groaned when it was called back for a penalty. They booed when Corey Dillon
fumbled. They stood and screamed when Todd Peterson's field goal hit the post in
the second quarter. They got loud when their Pats went for it on fourth-and-2
with 0:25 left in the third quarter.
And the 68,756 didn't start leaving Gillette Stadium until there was just
nine minutes left in the contest and the Pats, leading by two touchdowns, forced
a turnover on downs that iced the game.
That's pretty impressive staying power considering it was an allegedly
meaningless game and the 12th coldest game (32 degrees, 27 with the wind chill,
at kickoff) played in Foxboro since 1993. But the fans that stayed, and that was
the majority of them, still gave Gillette Stadium a meaningful air when they let
out a collective, disappointed sigh when a Rohan Davey bomb slipped through
Johnson's fingers in the fourth quarter.
"Nobody gave up and that's what we talked about all week, just going out
there and playing a solid game," said Matt Light, who was talking about his
Patriot teammates, but could have been talking about the Patriot fans.
Don't tell Jed Weaver the game was meaningless. Weaver - the back-up, back-up
tight end who saw some playing time because starter Daniel Graham was one of
eight inactive Patriots - seized his opportunity and had four receptions for 62
yards against his former team.
"You want to be hitting the same as everybody else and it was definitely good
to get out there,"Weaver said. "Everything steps up in the playoffs and it's two
steps faster and as you get closer to the big game every game is two steps
And don't tell Dillon it was meaningless. His 29-yard run in the third
quarter put him over 1,600 yards for the season (the first Patriot to ever break
that mark) and triggered a $375,000 bonus in his contract. That much money is
always meaningful. Don't tell rookie running back Cedric Cobbs it was
meaningless. Cobbs gained 13 yards on a fourth-quarter run, the longest of his
young career. Don't tell rookie defensive lineman Marquise Hill it was
meaningless. Hill got on an NFL field for the first time in his life. And don't
tell it to Je'Rod Cherry, who downed two punts inside the 5-yard line.
"Those are the kind of things you don't see every game,"Belichick said of
Cherry's special teams plays.
If you still think this game didn't mean anything and that the Patriots just
waltzed through it, listen to Rodney Harrison, who played alongside the burning
Bruschi in all four quarters.
"I'm still excited," Harrison said. "I'm ready to play again right now if I
Of course, Harrison didn't have to play immediately. The Pats won't have to
play for two weeks because they've earned a bye week. How did they earn it? By
treating each game, each week and each opponent as the most important and most
meaningful one, no matter who, when or where.
Concord Monitor Online
This week's Notes and Quotes:
``You want your best out there, playoff football especially,''
Tedy Bruschi [news]
said following yesterday's 21-7 season-ending win. ``Ty is our best DB. Richard
is our best defensive lineman. I would miss them, definitely. Our defense would
miss them. Hopefully, we can take advantage of these two weeks. But we can't
worry about things we can't control.
``If one guy goes down, you look who's next. Is it Earthwind (Moreland)?
Is it Don Davis? And you trust them. There's a reason they're in the locker
room. Even if a linebacker is playing safety, he's got to get it done. It's
expected. I expect it, and I think they expect it of themselves.''
That way of thinking certainly got the job done during the regular
season, but again, the postseason is a different animal. As for the offense, it
doesn't make me quite as jittery as the secondary, but it's had its moments.
All in all, is this 14-2 team as good as last year's team? Before the
season started, the thinking was it was better with the addition of Corey
Dillon. And with all the parts in place, it is better. But that's not the case
``I think we're a good football team,'' said Bruschi,
``but we're going to be judged in the playoffs when those critical situations
come about. Are we going to make the plays? We've done that in the past. We've
just got to do that again.''
BostonHerald.com - Patriots: Pats have flaws: Still vulnerable despite 14-2 mark
Tedy Bruschi intends
to watch as much football as he can next weekend. "It'll be nice to be in the
position of being able to watch," he said, "and I'll watch. I think you have to
watch these games, and not just because we'll be playing one of the teams, but
because you get to see how games are won and lost in the playoffs, and I think
we need to see that."
Daily Item of Lynn: More Coverage > Pats happy about week off
Super Bowl is not the next game, so I'm not sure how real it is," said
linebacker Tedy Bruschi. "Right now, I'm not thinking about a game because we
don't have one for two weeks. I'm going to go out in the tunnel, hug my wife,
and go home."
Patriots trying to forge a new brand of dynasty
the game and for the season the answer is Dillon.
Honorable mentions from yesterday include linebacker
Tedy Bruschi and Brady. Bruschi piled up 15 tackles and was a force as usual.
His absence from the Pro Bowl is a shame. If more people saw him on a regular
basis, the rest of the country would know what Patriots Nation already knows
about Full Tilt, Full Time Tedy. Brady threw for 226 yards and two touchdowns,
but an interception (a tipped ball that was not his fault) and strip-sack fumble
marred his day.
Union Leader and New Hampshire Sunday News - 03-Jan-05 - Patriots Notebook:
Patriots remain razor-sharp at
January 3, 2005
FOXBORO, Mass. — Two seasons, no losses at home. As the New England Patriots
rolled to their second consecutive 14-2 regular season with Sunday's 21-7
victory over the San Francisco 49ers at chilly Gillette Stadium, they have also
established one of the best home-field advantages in the NFL.
Sunday's victory was the Patriots' 19th consecutive victory at Gillette
Stadium, including playoffs. It is the NFL's longest current home winning
streak. They finished their second consecutive 8-0 regular season at home.
"I'm proud of that," said linebacker Tedy Bruschi. "I'm especially proud of
being unbeaten at home. You always want to play good football in front of the
home fans, you want to protect your home turf.
"It really is special when we play here because of the fans and the
atmosphere we have here. And just to show them that we're going to play hard for
them, that we appreciate them, and to be able to go undefeated two years at
home, is something I'm very proud of."
Patriots remain razor-sharp at Gillette
"We played the whole game because that's the way we are around here," said
linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who accounted for a game-high 15 tackles. "We wanted
14. After the game, I told 'Rac' (defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel) the only
way I'd want to finish the football season was by playing the whole game."
The 14th win marked an encore performance for the Patriots, who also went
14-2 last season before embarking upon their successful postseason run to their
Super Bowl XXXVIII championship.
"With a little time off, you reflect on that a little bit," said Bruschi.
"Twenty-eight wins in two seasons: That's pretty good. I'm proud of that. I'm
proud of the fact that we've never lost in front of our fans in two years."
The Enterprise at SouthofBoston.com
These are the guys
I'd want in my foxhole
Pompei - Sporting News
Inside linebacker -- Tedy Bruschi, Patriots.
Nobody blends intelligence and aggressiveness quite like Bruschi. He plays the
game the way it's supposed to be played.
Grogan's Grade 01/03/05
RRM: One player we never talk about much, Tedy Bruschi, finished the
season in style, making 15 tackles. I guess he didn’t get the memo about this
being a meaningless game?
SG: Tedy Bruschi has had a great year and really deserves to be in the
Pro Bowl. This is a guy who just every week goes out and does his job as well as
or better than anyone around. He just never seems to get the recognition he
deserves and I hope that changes for him because he really deserves it.
|Plummer, Bruschi, Reed nab AFC awards
DEFENSE: LB TEDY BRUSCHI, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
In a 21-7
victory against San Francisco for the team's second-consecutive 14-2 regular
season record, New England's Bruschi led the Patriots with 15 tackles and played
a key role in limiting the 49ers to one touchdown. The San Francisco native
recorded nine tackles within three yards of the line of scrimmage against his
hometown team. Five of his 15 stops were made one yard beyond the scrimmage line
or for a loss. Bruschi and the Patriots finished the season tied for the
second-fewest points allowed in the league (16.3 per game). The AFC East
champions earn a bye this week and will host an AFC Divisional playoff game on
Sunday, Jan. 16, at 4:30 p.m. ET.
This is the fourth career Player of the Week distinction for the 6-1,
247-pounder from Arizona and his second of the season (Week 4).
On Pete Carroll
Carroll's name has already been mentioned in connection with NFL openings,
including the one up the coast with the 49ers, who fired Dennis Erickson.
Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi thinks the San Francisco native should stay
where he is.
"He could win two or three more national championships the way he's going,"
Bruschi said. "I would ride that out."
Carroll came to New England following the team's ugly divorce with Bill
Parcells, who took a moribund franchise and led it to the AFC championship. But
with Carroll coaching and general manager Bobby Grier picking the players, the
Patriots regressed and fans lamented Parcells' departure.
"It was just sort of a downward spiral: 10-6, 9-7, 8-8 and out the door,"
"Pete just didn't get the job done the way we're doing it
now," Bruschi said. "I still think he can be a good NFL coach."
Carroll's former players rooting for coach
Report Card /Mannix
LINEBACKERS – A
Tedy Bruschi had another big game against a
power-running offense. With Barlow concentrating on pounding away between the
guards, Bruschi stepped up again, as he did against the Jets last week. He had a
game-high 15 tackles and forced a fumble.
This is where the Patriots are unrivaled in the NFL, going 9 deep.
and Roosvelt Colvin saw most of the snaps with help coming from
Larry Izzo and
Bruschi had another outstanding season finishing with 123 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 3
interceptions and 6 passes deflected. Like a clutch hitter in baseball, Bruschi
routinely made the biggest plays when the Patriots needed him most and will
retire a Patriot, after signing a new deal before the season started. McGinest
led the team with 9.5 sacks and now has 71 for his career and like Bruschi, made
play after play when games were on the line.
AFC East Report: Week 17
New England’s veterans should be mentally prepared for the playoffs, but
linebacker Tedy Bruschi said he’ll help make sure the rookies - and anyone else
without postseason experience - are ready.
"We’ve got a lot of experience, and that helps. I think it helps because, as you
can see, when we got the bye and clinched the division, we weren’t running
around popping champagne.
"We’ve been here before. We know what to expect, but we have to remember there
are guys who don’t know what to expect. That’s where our concern is - to help
them and let them know how it’s going to be. That’s why this time off will
Bruschi, who is the subject of a profile in this week’s Sports Illustrated, has
been with the Patriots since 1996 and has played in 12 postseason games - seven
of them starts.
The Middletown Press
Patriots' pair All-Pro
Richard Seymour and Adam Vinatieri could not
have more different roles on the football field, but the two share a couple of
things. Both have made significant contributions to the New England Patriots'
winning 14 games this regular season, and both were named to The Associated
Press 2004 NFL All-Pro Team yesterday. Inside linebacker Tedy Bruschi and
safety Rodney Harrison were each named to the second team.
On Wild Card Weekend:
"I think it's important to watch playoff football whether you're in or out of
the playoffs," inside linebacker Tedy Bruschi said. "I think it's important to
see what wins and loses championship playoff games. These are playoff games and
to see the things that are being done right out there and seeing things that are
being done wrong (is important). You can see that just from watching it."
Handing out the postseason hardware
Most under-appreciated: Rodney Harrison, SS, New England and Tedy Bruschi,
LB, New England. Like many teams, the Patriots dealt with a lot of injuries.
Much was made of their need to play undrafted rookie Randall Gay and wide
receiver Troy Brown at cornerback. Harrison isn't popular because he deals out
vicious hits and speaks his mind, but he was secondary's glue and the heart and
soul of a defense that finished ninth overall. Bruschi rarely gets mentioned
about the league's best linebackers, but he's a clutch performer.
Handing out the postseason hardware - Thursday, 01/06/05
NFL.com national editor Vic Carucci, a former Buffalo News writer
and one of the best guys in the business, consulted with a panel of national NFL
writers and broadcasters to come up with his annual NFL All-Interview team.
Here's a look at the pro's pros:
Linebackers: Tedy Bruschi, New England; Derrick Brooks,
Tampa Bay; Ray Lewis, Baltimore
Continued on 2004
Post Season Articles page.
TotallyTedy Media page