Tom Brady took a beating in the AFC championship. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Tom Brady took a beating in the AFC championship. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

SAN FRANCISCO — Former Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson watched like everyone else as Tom Brady was hit some 20 times in the AFC championship, including four sacks.

His main takeaway?

If the Patriots quarterback wants to keep playing at a high level and the Patriots want him as their quarterback, they need to seriously address the offensive line.

The team has already taken one step in addressing the unit with the dismissal of offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo. But Johnson believes reinforcing the unit with some fresh faces through free agency and the draft is necessary as well.

“If Tom wants to play for nine more years like he says, one area you cannot skimp is that offensive line,” Johnson told WEEI.com. “If you’re going to have him as your quarterback for a long time, you’ve got to make sure you keep him upright. In 2014, the season started out 2-2, and I’m getting calls from EEI, ‘What needs to change here for the Patriots to turn this around?’ Protect Tom Brady. Just keep him upright and they went on to win the Super Bowl so that’s the key thing. You’ve got to have an offensive line to protect him if you want him to be your quarterback for the next five-to-seven years.”

Johnson, who works in Houston as a sportsradio talk show host, believes it wasn’t all on the offensive line. He says Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips was the one who made adjustments to make it very hard for Brady to consistently find open receivers.

“I give it up to Wade Phillips, who I’ve been critical of as defensive coordinator of the Texans, the team I cover,” Johnson said. “Wade never changed what he did schematically [in Houston]. He kind of ran the same type of coverages, blitzed a lot and just never changed. I kind of thought that’s what he’d do in this game. If you blitz Tom Brady, and you play a lot of man-to-man, he will eat your lunch. By blitzing him, it makes the reads simpler for Tom and the ball comes out fast.

“So when you have an offensive line that is struggling and you have a lot of backups out there, when the ball comes out fast, it really negates their deficiencies. But what Wade did was only rush three guys, four guys, flooded the zones. Tom’s back there holding the ball, holding the ball, holding the ball. He put a really good game plan together.”

As for the Patriots’ own defense, Johnson said the group couldn’t have played much better than they did, save perhaps the two Manning touchdown passes to Owen Daniels on Jamie Collins. Johnson knows the Bill Belichick system as well as anyone and believes players like Collins and Dont’a Hightower anchor a unit that plays the Belichick system perfectly.

“It’s definitely the linebacking corps. But it’s really the front seven, in general,” Johnson said. “There’s just so much team speed. Jamie Collins is that guy, is kind of like that guy that you can use in multiple ways. You can pass rush him, you can have him cover. He’s good against the run. Dont’a is a beast stopping the run. He has a role. Everybody has a specific skill set and role they can do. With Chandler and Rob, they’re great off the edge. They have a legit pass rush and Devin McCourty is a great safety. It was a good move obviously to move him from corner to safety. They just find ways.

“Malcolm Butler, who would’ve thought, right, that he would’ve had the year he had, a Pro Bowl season. Like the defenses I played on back then, very smart situationally. Maybe the proverbial bend-but-don’t-break [defenses]. It’s not going to go down as one of the more dominating defenses in the NFL. But they’re always going to be damn good and very good situationally, and that’s the mark of a good Bill Belichick team.”

Johnson recalled what Belichick always told his teams in the early 2000s, when they were winning three Super Bowls in four years.

“What makes Bill so flipping good is that he can break the game down into simple form,” Johnson said. “Whenever we played against the Kansas City Chiefs, their biggest nemesis for us back then was Tony Gonzalez, particularly in the red zone. So whenever [they] got in the red zone everybody knew on the defense that Tony Gonzalez was going to be targeted [by the quarterback]. That’s where they were going to go to. We would double-team him, we’d emphasize to hit him off the line.

“Wayne Chrebet in the slot on third down, we were going to hammer Wayne Chrebet in the slot on third down. So, he would make the game of these different plays, which can be confusing to process, and break it down into a simple process and break it down into a simple form like that so that we’re all like coaches out there. We knew in those situations what that team liked to do and so we were prepared for it.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

One of the biggest Super Bowl 50 topics in New England this week wasn’t about the game itself, rather would Tom Brady attend the game where all the previous MVPs would be honored?

Robert Kraft

Robert Kraft

One of the biggest Super Bowl 50 topics in New England this week wasn’t about the game itself, rather would Tom Brady attend the game where all the previous MVPs would be honored?

The announcement came Thursday that Brady would in fact be in San Fransisco for the game despite his ongoing Deflategate case between he and the league.

WBZ-TV’s Steve Burton caught up with Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Friday in San Fransisco and Kraft explained why Brady is attending the game.

“I chatted with him about it and he was his usual selfless self, saying he represents all of the players on the team, the coaches and the New England market,” Kraft said. “Without that sense of team, he wouldn’€™t have gotten those MVP awards.”

The Patriots owner is already looking ahead to 2016 with the hope the Patriots are playing in Super Bowl 51 in Houston.

“We still have a pretty good team and there are a lot of young players on the team. We’€™re blessed with the best coaching staff in the NFL,” Kraft said. “We’€™re going to have some fun next year, I promise.”

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

SAN FRANCISCO — Ted Johnson has made a name for himself after winning three Super Bowls with the Patriots by being outspoken.

He’s at it again.

Ted Johnson is still outspoken on HGH and brain injuries. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Ted Johnson is still outspoken on HGH and brain injuries. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

SAN FRANCISCO — Ted Johnson has made a name for himself after winning three Super Bowls with the Patriots by being outspoken.

He’s at it again.

Speaking to WEEI.com Friday, two days before Super Bowl 50, the linebacker-turned-Houston sportsradio host said that Peyton Manning shouldn’t be dealing with allegations of HGH use, in part because he thinks it should be legal.

“I’m a proponent of HGH,” Johnson said. “I think HGH should be allowed and maybe be regulated. It helps guys recover. There’s so many good things in being able to use HGH for guys that play football because your bodies just get beat up. Now, it’s got to be used within reason and regulated. I don’t have a problem with it. I think it’s much to do about nothing.

“I feel bad that he has to deal with that distraction but I’m a proponent of it. Used carefully and regulated, I don’t have a problem with HGH.”

Johnson said he is doing very well for himself now after some very dark days following his football career, which ended after winning his third Super Bowl in Jan. 2005 in Jacksonville.

Johnson told the New York Times in 2007 that he suffers from amphetamine addiction, depression and headaches related to post-concussion syndrome and Second Impact Syndrome. He then suggested Bill Belichick pressured him to participate in full contact practice drills three days after suffering a concussion in an exhibition game against the Giants in Aug. 2002.

Johnson said during those drills, he suffered a second concussion, and that Belichick asked him to participate against the advice of the team’s head trainer. Belichick denied those allegations. Johnson told WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan that he was only joking when he said he’d consider returning to football in 2006 after Junior Seau was injured. Those five years were an emotional roller coaster for Johnson, a ride he admitted again Friday involved Adderall and cocaine.

“A lot of people know my story. I sought out drugs to feel better,” Johnson recounted. “I was having headaches. Cognitively, I wasn’t firing on all cylinders. Behaviorally, I was changing, depression. You have a lot of impulse issues. And so, I sought out drugs to feel better. And the first drug was Adderall. It made me feel better. It was not prescribed for what I was feeling because it’s not a medication used to treat that. But I started using that. It made me feel better. Cognitively, I was sharper. It just cleared things up. My headaches went away.

“But when I started abusing that and going to four doctors and lying to all of them, and going through my scripts within a few days, when I couldn’t get that, you go to the street equivalent, which was cocaine. So, I had to deal with that for years, the cocaine addiction. I’ve put that behind. I’m doing much, much better and I’m in a business down in Houston, in sportstalk radio where I’m challenging myself cognitively every single day. I’m on the radio for five hours. That’s the one thing you have to do. It’s like exercise for the brain. It’s really good that I”m in that profession. It’s really hard but it’s also going to benefit me in the long run because of the cognitive exercise I get on a daily basis.”

Now Johnson, at the Super Bowl this week doing his show and promoting the brain-injury scan Cerescan, is trying to get the word out about what can be done to prevent others from traveling down the same path.

“A lot of this stuff, when it comes to brain disorders or brain trauma-related injuries, we need to find out answers in how to best see what’s going in the brain, where the brain, where the problems are,” Johnson said. “CT scans and MRIs are technologies used to take pictures of the brain. But it’s like taking a picture of a frame of a house. It only tells part of the picture. Whereas the technology that Cerescan uses, it’s like taking a picture of the house and it’s plumbing. So you see where the blood-flow is, where the blood-flow isn’t, what region of the brain the blood is getting to and where it’s not and so you can make a diagnosis because of the imaging and go treat it now.

“It’s a more treatable disorder and you can treat it better because the diagnosis is clearer from the imaging you get from Cerescan. It’s the next-level brain imaging.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

SAN FRANCISCO — In this edition of the Super Bowl 50 podcast, WEEI.com’€™s Mike Petraglia caught up with Hall of Fame corner Mike Haynes and asked him what he thinks of Malcolm Butler, Bill Belichick, the loss in Denver and Rob Gronkowski.

Blog Author: 
WEEI

Roger Goodell poses Friday with "NFL Man of Year" finalists Anquan Boldin, Ben Watson and Eli Manning. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)SAN FRANCISCO - If you were expecting Roger Goodell to change his stance at this point you must not have been paying attention for the last nine months.



MIKE PETRAGLIA

BIO | ARCHIVE


While all eyes in the football world are on Super Bowl 50 this weekend, in about a month they will all be focused on a New York court room when the NFL’s appeal of Deflategate will be heard.

The Deflategate case will be back in court next Month. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The Deflategate case will be back in court next Month. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

While all eyes in the football world are on Super Bowl 50 this weekend, in about a month they will all be focused on a New York court room when the NFL’s appeal of Deflategate will be heard.

The NFL is appealing the reversal of Tom Brady‘s four-game suspension for his role in Deflategate.

Goodell, speaking at his state of the league address in San Fransisco Friday, was asked by the New York Daily News’ Gary Meyers if the league does wins the appeal, will Brady’s four-game suspension go back into effect?

Once again, Goodell never directly answered the question saying he isn’t focused on the matter and he doesn’t want to speculate on what may or may not happen.

“This is not an individual player issue. This is about the rights that we negotiated in our collective bargaining agreement,” Goodell told reporters. “We think they are very clear. We think they are important to the league going forward and we disagree with the District judge’s decision. We are appealing that, which is part of the legal process. I am not focused on it right now. I am not going to speculate what we’re going to do depending on the outcome. We’ll let the outcome be dictated by the appeals court. When that happens, we’ll deal with it then.”

The NFL’s appeal of a district court decision vacating the suspension of the quarterback will be heard on March 3.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

A Carolina Panther has a bone to pick with Rodney Harrison, and it’s not loud-mouthed cornerback Josh Norman, but NFL Man of the Year Thomas Davis.