Patriots Notebook: Super Bowl LII Awaits
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Ahead of Sunday’s game, former Eagles linebacker coach, Steve Spagnuolo, still seemed upset about his team’s loss to the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX.
“I’ll tell you, the biggest thing we learned was to make sure you have two signal callers,” Spagnuolo said. “Not one signal caller, because they may have all your signals.”
Spagnuolo, who went on to become the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants, helped take down an undefeated New England team in Super Bowl XLII. However, his complaints, which are over a decade late, are similar to other Spygate grievances made by former Rams stars Marshall Faulk and Isaac Bruce, who lost to the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI.
Despite no evidence ever being released of the Patriots filming signal callers prior to the 2007 regular season game against the Jets, nor any evidence of New England filming practices, that didn’t stop Spagnuolo from continuing his accusations.
“They’re getting our signals. They know when we’re blitzing,” Spagnuolo said. “We believed that Tom [Brady] knew when we were pressuring because he certainly got the ball out pretty quick.”
Brady, notorious for his fast release time, has not responded to Spagnuolo’s most recent charges.
Gronkowski says he’s playing, looks to make history
Despite still being in the NFL concussion protocol, tight end Rob Gronkowski says he’s going to play on Sunday.
“We’ll see how it goes and what the doctors say,” Gronkowski said. “I’m not the guy that says, ‘Oh, I’m out of the protocol.’ That’s the doctors’ calls and hopefully, that’s very, very soon.”
However, just moments later, when was asked whether he thought he would play, Gronk responded with a smile and a simple “yes.” He practiced today on a limited basis.
Gronkowski, who has previously been on three Patriot teams that have gone to the Super Bowl, missed the big game last year and was limited in Super Bowl XLVI.
The 28-year-old tight end is looking to break some records if he does indeed play, as there are several within his grasp heading into the weekend. Gronkowski needs just six catches to pass Dallas Clark for most career playoff receptions by a tight end, after breaking Clark’s record for career playoff receiving yards by a tight end against the Jaguars last week.
Gronkowski has 10 playoff receiving touchdowns, which is already the most by a tight end, but he is just two scores behind John Stallworth for second most playoff receiving touchdowns by any player. Jerry Rice is the all-time leader with 22 touchdowns, a number far out of reach for Gronkowski this year.
Van Noy grateful for trade
Linebacker Kyle Van Noy has settled into a starting spot this postseason, making key plays in both wins against the Titans and Jaguars.
But before Week 8 of last season, the 2014 second round pick was a backup linebacker for the Detroit Lions. Belichick then dealt a sixth-round pick for Van Noy, also picking up a seventh-round pick in the process.
“I wasn’t very happy, at first,” Van Noy said when asked about his trade Tuesday. “Any time that happens, the first thing you think of is yourself and what you did wrong. I wasn’t perfect in Detroit…then I got to New England, and what a blessing.”
With Pro-Bowl linebacker Dont’a Hightower missing the second half of the year, Van Noy stepped up and notched 73 tackles, 5.5 sacks and two pass deflections in 12 starts. Although he didn’t put up those stats in his seven games with the Pats last year, he says he felt at home from the moment he got to Foxborough.
“My teammates, the coaches, they had their arms open,” Van Noy said. “For me, it was remarkable to have a group of guys that rallied around me to be on the same page as them and continue to play football at a high level.”
Van Noy, now the leading man in the middle of the Patriots defense, looks to anchor the team in the pass and run games against a steady Eagles offense.
Madden sim sides with the Patriots
EA Sports released their annual Madden Super Bowl simulation Monday, in which the Patriots were picked to come out on top, 24-20.
After taking the lead in the fourth quarter with a jump ball touchdown to Danny Amendola, the Patriots attempted to run the clock past the two-minute warning. However, Eagles defensive lineman Malcolm Jenkins stripped Dion Lewis with 1:44 left, giving the Eagles the ball deep in their own territory.
After leading the Eagles to midfield, quarterback Nick Foles tossed up a prayer with time expiring, only for it to be broken up in the end zone by Stephon Gilmore, reminiscent of his game-sealing pass deflection in the AFC Championship Game against the Jaguars.
New Jersey mayor against the Patriots
Collingswood, New Jersey’s mayor, Jim Maley, is not the biggest Patriots fan.
The mayor of the Philadelphia suburb sent a letter to his neighbor Tuesday, stating that the town had passed “an Ordinance to prohibit the flying of flags with any resemblance of a Colonial soldier or any reference to the love of Country exhibited by Colonial soldiers (e.g. as being a Patriot).”
While it may seem like a light joke, Maley threatened to cut off people’s water if they disobeyed the action.
The resident whose house was targeted by the mayor has escalated the matter, completely covering his house in Patriots decorations and openly daring the mayor to cut his electricity.
“Just this kind of camaraderie we have as sports fans, that’s what sports are really all about,” the man told the local FOX29 News.