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he had in OTAs coming into camp
30-08-2018 08:56 AM
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he had in OTAs coming into camp
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Opponents tend to freak out against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick just when they’re about to conquer the New England Patriots’ dynastic duo. The Philadelphia Eagles swear they won’t fall into that trap if they have the chance in Super Bowl 52.

The pair have built such a reputation of coming through in the clutch that foes often outthink themselves with conservative DeMarcus Ware Jersey , uncommon or unconventional calls against the five-time champs.

Think Seattle in Super Bowl 49 and Atlanta in Super Bowl 51.

The Patriots have built an extreme confidence through five Super Bowl-winning seasons under Brady and Belichick and are disciplined when other teams get discombobulated, like last month when they sniffed out Ben Roethlisberger’s fake spike and intercepted him in the end zone, reshaping the AFC playoff picture.

”You’re basically talking about experience and knowing that no matter what the score is, it’s not insurmountable,” said ex-NFL quarterback Joe Theismann.

He pointed to Brady’s habit of making a few plays every game that swing momentum and Belichick’s knack for coaxing his counterparts into beating themselves – like the Indianapolis Colts did with their fake punt fiasco in 2015.

”The New England Patriots find a way to make a play when no one else seems to be able to do that,” Theismann said. ”Teams that haven’t been in that situation don’t really understand the ability of New England teams to be able to overcome darn near anything.”

Like the 25-point second-half deficit Brady rallied the Patriots from in last year’s Super Bowl or the 10-point fourth-quarter hole he dug them out of against Jacksonville in the AFC championship last week.

”You’ve got to play a damn near perfect game against them,” lamented Jaguars safety Jarrod Wilson.

Therein lies the trap.

The Jaguars were on the verge of knocking off New England when a flurry of follies in Foxborough aided Brady’s two-TD rally that sent the seemingly impervious Patriots back to another Super Bowl.

”You can never have a safe lead with (No.) 12 at the helm,” Jaguars safety Tashaun Gipson said. ”… That’s Tom Brady, the greatest to ever lace up the cleats at the quarterback position.”

And Belichick, arguably the best to ever roam the sideline.

The Eagles swear they’re not going to give the Patriots any help next Sunday in Minneapolis.

”You know what? If I make this all about them, we’re in trouble,” coach Doug Pederson said. ”Honestly. We’re in trouble. Everything’s going to be written about it, has been written about it, talked about it, discussed, debated and it’s about us. And I’ll keep saying that. It’s about what we do and how well we execute and I can’t worry about that.”

The Eagles (15-3), who statistically can make the case for being the best opponent Brady and Belichick have ever faced in the Super Bowl Sam Shields Jersey , don’t see themselves getting out of their comfort zone against New England (15-3).

”Doug is going to do what got us to this point,” right tackle Lane Johnson said. ”Just because you’re in a big stage doesn’t mean you have to do anything out of the ordinary to make bigger plays. Don’t make the moment bigger than what it is.”

The Patriots may need no assistance but that hasn’t stopped teams from helping them out like Jacksonville did last week with a delay penalty coming out of a timeout and a rushed punt that essentially gave Brady an extra timeout before halftime.

”I think why the Patriots are so good is because they capitalize off people making those mistakes,” Johnson said. ”They don’t make mistakes, hardly. They’re well-coached. You don’t necessarily have to be the most talented team. You saw last year they weren’t the most talented team. Yet, they’re the best team because they function together well and they’re coached well.”

New England safety Duron Harmon said the Patriots never panic like so many other teams because they rehearse adversity so well and so often in practice.

”We go over every type of situation that you can think of,” Harmon said.

Theismann said Belichick is simply the best at teaching ”if somebody’s going to beat us, they’re going to have to beat us; we’re not going to beat ourselves.”

”What New England does is New England preaches discipline and understanding your job,” Theismann said, singling out lieutenants Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia in addition to Belichick, who, along with his personnel assistants, identifies coachable players who fit in.

”Think about it: You never see Bill Belichick run up the sideline and call a timeout because the time clock’s running out,” Theismann said. ”You don’t see Bill’s players making those kids of errors. I mean, I was very fortunate to play for Joe Gibbs and Joe was the same type of game manager, where he was aware and he made me aware of all the possible circumstances and situations that you deal with.

”For example, when you’re coming out of your own end zone, if you’re backed up inside your own 3-yard line Austin Seferian-Jenkins Jersey , it’s a great time to run a hard count because you’re only going to get a yard and a-half penalty. Instead of first-and-10, it’s going to be first-and-11. But you do have the possibility of making it first-and-5.

”There is a game within the game that the Patriots play better than anybody.”

T Trumaine Johnson sees a lot of the tantalizing potential of his old team in his new squad.

The New York Jets cornerback, who helped the Los Angeles Rams reach the playoffs last season, was feeling predictably optimistic as he and his teammates reported to the team’s facility Thursday for the start of training camp.

”You’ve got to have faith,” Johnson said. ”Just bringing that winning culture from where I was last year, I can see it. I really can. Just got to wait and see.”

Johnson was the Jets’ biggest free-agent acquisition this offseason, signing a five-year, $72.5 million deal in March that included a $20 million signing bonus and $34 million in guaranteed money. That came after the cornerback spent his first six NFL seasons with the Rams, who went 11-5 and snapped a 13-year postseason drought with Johnson a key part of the defense.

He’ll be the No. 1 cornerback in coach Todd Bowles’ unit in New York, which hasn’t been to the playoffs since the 2010 season. Johnson saw signs from afar that the postseason absence might not last much longer, particularly because seven of New York’s 11 losses last season were by 9 points or less.

”I was watching them,” he said. ”They were losing close games and they beat some playoff teams. They’ve got all the potential in the world to be a playoff team.”

Most NFL teams feel the same at this point in the year, brimming with confidence before the dog days of camp start kicking in, with expectations for some becoming increasingly more tempered.

But the Jets like the approach the players are taking at the start.

”I can see the atmosphere has changed and the season could be great,” guard Brian Winters said. ”As far as attitudes, we’ve got great attitudes in the locker room. That vibe’s a lot better than in the past.”

New York is coming off its second straight 5-11 season under Bowles, who helped establish an improved environment around the team last year despite the losses.

The positive outlooks might be attributed in large part to moves general manager Mike Maccagnan made in the offseason. Along with Johnson Bruce Ellington Jersey , the Jets signed a number of free agents who could play major roles this year, including linebacker Avery Williamson, running back Isaiah Crowell, wide receiver Terrelle Pryor, center Spencer Long and kicker Cairo Santos.

”I think it was a good start,” wide receiver Jermaine Kearse said of last season. ”This year, it’s about winning games. You want to be competitive, and that’s important, but in this league, it’s about winning games and being productive in that area. For us to take the next big step is to be able to finish games.”

All eyes this summer, however, will be on the quarterbacks as 39-year-old veteran Josh McCown, comeback kid Teddy Bridgewater and first-round pick Sam Darnold all compete to be the guy leading the huddle in Week 1 of the regular season.

”I think it pushes each one of them individually,” defensive end Leonard Williams said. ”I’d be happy if any one of them were the starter for the season.”

McCown is the incumbent and Bowles has said he will open camp as the starter while taking the bulk of the first-team snaps. But Bridgewater, signed in March after four seasons in Minnesota, could give McCown a run if he’s fully recovered from the severe knee injury that cost him the bulk of the last two years.

Then, of course Darren Fells Jersey , there’s Darnold.

The No. 3 overall pick in the draft is considered by many to be the future face of the franchise. And that future could be now. Darnold will be given every opportunity to beat out both McCown and Bridgewater for the job, and he showed positive strides in offseason workouts and minicamp.

”I thought Sam got better each day throughout OTAs,” Kearse said. ”And I have no doubt that he’ll have the same attitude and same mindset he had in OTAs coming into camp.”

Darnold just needs to get to camp first.

The rookie hadn’t reported with the rest of his teammates as of early Thursday afternoon as his agents and the Jets worked through the final details of his contract. There didn’t appear to be much concern on either side, though, with most expecting Darnold to be signed and ready to participate in the team’s first practice Friday afternoon.

That’s when the road to potential success begins for the Jets, and nose tackle Steve McLendon believes it comes down to three things for him and his teammates.

”No. 1, it’s being focused,” he said. ”No. 2, it’s being driven. And, No. 3, you understand you only have one life.”

NOTES: Long, coming off knee and quadriceps injuries last season with Washington, said his quad is doing ”great” and knees are ”feeling better than they have the last few years.” He added that he might be eased into practices, depending on how the training staff wants to approach it.



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