Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, in his weekly chat with Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning, talked about Sunday night’s 30-23 victory over the Falcons that put New England at 4-0 heading into next Sunday’s game against the Bengals, and he lamented the loss of veteran defensive lineman Vince Wilfork.
Wilfork, who suffered an Achilles injury that reportedly is season-ending, has been one of the team’s defensive leaders for almost a decade.
“He’s such a great presence obviously in the locker room, as a leader, as a veteran player, as a guy who’s been in so many big games and big situations. It’s such a disappointment to lose him,” Brady said. “He’s irreplaceable. We’ll have to find a way collectively as a team fill the void. But it’s an unfortunate injury. Injuries are a part of the game. But the season-ending ones are always tough to swallow.”
A five-time Pro Bowler, Wilfork has missed only six games in his nine-plus NFL seasons.
“He makes everybody job a lot easier when you play at that caliber and that level that he’s played at for so long,” Brady said. “He’s so dependable, consistent, and he makes his biggest plays in the biggest moments. Someone else is going to have to step in and do that, and I think we’ve dealt with injuries in the past. The league really doesn’t slow down for anybody. I’ve said before, no one really feels sorry for the Patriots. We’re going to have to go out and try to find a win regardless.”
Added Brady: “His message was always taken to heart by everybody. Vince always backed it up on the field. Coach always talked about tough, physical teams, and that was Vince. The other guys, hopefully they’ve watched, the other guys on the roster have watched and learned a little bit about how Vince was able to do some things. And maybe that aspect of what Vince’s leadership has provided will pay off for our team.”
Cornerback Aqib Talib had an impressive game against the Falcons, picking off a pass and coming up with the game-clinching pass breakup in the end zone in the final minute.
“He’s doing great,” Brady said. “He’s been another positive influence on our team since he got here. He’s just been great on the field, great off the field. In the offseason he was a full-time participator, he won the offseason award. I think that really shows what his leadership style is all about, too. And then to go out against one of the best offenses in the league, with that caliber of receiver that he was matching up against all night — Julio Jones and Roddy White — and to play as well as he did was really a huge boost for our team.
“The guys who are as talented as Aqib on our team need to play at high levels every week. That’s what we’re going to need to have. We just don’t have a lot of margin on error right now. Who knows if we will all year, but in order to win these games we’re going to have to really be at our best.”
Added Brady: “I love having Aqib on the team. I go against him every day, and I know how hard it is. He’s really got a unique combination of size and speed and ability to play the ball in the air. His length is impressive. I know a lot of times when I throw the ball in practice and I feel like, ‘OK, I’ve got the completion, I got it over the top of him,’ he’ll jump up and knock the ball away. You go, ‘God, he’s just hard to throw over the top of,’ because of his reach, his wingspan, his ability play the ball at the highest point. And when you make a mistake, he makes you pay. That’s something that I see on a daily basis.”
The offense looked sharper Sunday than in the first three games as the Patriots continue to await the return of some key players who are out with injuries.
“We’re doing OK,” Brady said. “We’re just trying to grind it out. Hopefully we have a little margin of error. Hopefully when guys get healthy we’ll be a little bit more more well-rounded in our offense and be a little tougher to defend. But I don’t think we’ve got everything figured out quite yet. We’ve got a long way to go.”
On how winning a big game like Sunday’s can spark the team: “When you win games in the first half of the season, they pay huge dividends late in the season. As the season goes on, typically our team has found ways to improve. Over the course of these weeks you learn more about what your team does, and you learn more about what the other team does. I think that’s really the trademark of a Bill Belichick-coached team. In November, December you start to really understand and play to your strengths, as well as the coaching — because I feel we have the best coaches — that we’re able to really hone in on what the other team does well, or what they don’t do well, and we try to attack those areas.
“In the early part of the season, the mental toughness, the discipline, the worth ethic of teams really never shows up, because you’re only four games in. When it starts getting hard in November and December, you see what you’re made of. So, if you can win these games and put yourself in a great position for the second half, it really sets you up to really be dangerous when it matters the most.
“We went to Atlanta, I think our team certainly felt great about the game going in. We didn’t lack any confidence. We felt we could go in there and beat a really good team that plays really well at home, and we did just that. There wasn’t, like I said, much room for error. But we’re 4-0, and that’s a pretty good place to be at this time of the year, considering all the circumstances we’ve been through.”
On injured tight end Rob Gronkowski and how he’s progressing toward a return to game action: “He’s like every other injured player, he comes out there and he does whatever really the team has asked him. He’s been able to practice, and we’re just trying to work him back in to getting where he’s physically and mentally prepared to play. Whenever he’s ready, that’s when he’s ready to go.”
On if he’s seen any limitations with Gronkowski: “I’m not really a doctor to evaluate those things. Honestly, my week is focused on what I need to do. And then the guys that play, play. The guys that don’t, don’t. I don’t sit here and evaluate a guy from week to week. That’s not really my responsibility.”
On unsigned Raiders defensive lineman Richard Seymour saying he has no interest in returning to the Patriots: “I love Richard. He was a great part of our success here for a long period of time. I didn’t really like playing against him too much in Oakland. I think he’s enjoying his retirement. So, good for him.”
We had an impromptu visit from Peter King from SI / MMQB to our Fenway Studios and decided to talk some NFL and Patriots with him.
Pete talks with The Senator, Phil Perry about the Patriots trading for Dwayne Allen, ruling out a return to New England for Martellus Bennett. They also talk about the potential future of Patriots backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo and some of the big names in NFL free agency
Pete, Thornton and Price give their final thoughts and predictions for the Super Bowl.
Dale, Holley and Rich Keefe discuss NBA lottery pick Lonzo Ball with his very outspoken father Lavar Ball. The guys touch on the Celtics, his feud with his sons' high school coach, Lonzo being better than Steph Curry and much more.
Kirk, Gerry, and Alex Reimer discuss whether or not Isaiah Thomas will win a title in Boston.
Gerry, Kirk, and Trenni react to the Celtics loss against the Suns.
Dale, Michael and Rich Keefe catch-up with former Sox GM Theo Epstein who is in town with the World Champion Cubs to take on the Sox this weekend.
We sit down with the manager of the Sox, John Farrell, for our weekly interview.
Rob Bradford is joined by Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Craig Breslow, who is one of the foremost authorities among professional athletes when it comes to understanding how charities work. Not only does Breslow head up his own charity, the Strike 3 Foundation, but also proactively has taken the Boston Globe to task via a letter to the editor after a 2013 article criticizing the allocation of funds for high-profile athlete's charities. Breslow digs into the recent controversy surrounding Tom Brady's affiliation with Best Buddies, explaining why the recent Globe article was misguided.
Gerry and Kirk read some inspiring quotes from Tony Robbins and Curtis is all set to see the man himself in June.
Tony Robbins fans were sent to the hospital after getting injured walking over coals and Pat is a massive fan of Tony Robbins.
Gerry, Kirk and Arcand react to Brady getting into a business relationship with Tony Robbins.
Night 1 of the draft has passed and Jimmy Garoppolo is still here. The general consensus on the Bears was that they screwed up their draft. And Larry Bird is out in Indiana. Is there hope for Ordway's Paul George dream?
The offensive issues for this Red Sox team are becoming more and more obvious. We also react to our interview with Pedro Martinez.
Chris Sale basically took on Tanaka and the Yankees by himself last night. And the Sox hot corner of days past seem to be gone as far as third base goes.
Final two hours of Dale and Holley with Keefe for a Friday.
Dale, Holley and Keefe discuss a variety of topics for the first two hours of Freestyle Friday.
We close out the week with another edition of the madness and LAROY!!!!!!!!!!! takes you into the weekend.
Kirk Minihane, Springsteen super fan, is joined by Garry W. Tallent, founding member of the E Street Band. Kirk and Garry talk about what it's like on tour with Bruce, how the band goes about selecting songs for the tour, Garry's projects away from the band, and Garry's upcoming solo tour that will bring him to the New England area.
Kirk Minihane, future radio hall of famer, sits down with current radio hall of famer Howie Carr. Kirk and Howie talk about Howie's latest book Kennedy Babylon. If you like famous people engaging in sex scandals, hard drug taking, and murder this is the podcast for you. Its a fascinating look at Boston's most famous family and the problems that took the family down.
Kirk Minihane, host and overlord of the morning show, brings Gerry Callahan and producers Chris and Ken into the studio to hear his show proposal. Kirk is thinking about making some changes to the morning show and wants to hear his crew's opinion.
Ben and Alex talk to Charlie Stillitano, the man responsible for the International Champions Cup. He has created tournaments for the biggest teams in the world to be played in the US every summer. This year he will bring Juventus and Roma to play in Foxboro on July 30th.
Ken and Chris have the Good Weekend recap of a Friday Christian Arcand edition of K&C.
It’s Day 1 of the NFL Draft tonight so Jim Hackett & Pete Davidson offer a little pre-draft fodder for you featuring the Top Tight Ends and Top Wide Receivers. It’s Day 1 of the draft so there’s a lot of focus on the Top Tier talent who you could see drafted tonight including analysis on OJ Howard, Evan Engram & David Njoku; all Tight Ends that could be drafted in tonight’s 1st Round – a rarity. The analysis deepens with more focus on the Top 10 Tight Ends including Jake Butt, Bucky Hodges and Jordan Leggett. Then the boys turn to the Top Wide Receivers, including John Ross, Corey Davis, Mike Williams and JuJu Smith-Shuster. We’ll see where these guys land tonight, but you can learn more and have a few laughs right now.
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