Here are this morning’s top stories:
Bill Belichick focused on Patriots, not their opponent – Michael Whitmer – Whitmer files his notebook this morning which leads off with Bill Belichick’s comments from yesterday where he wouldn’t take a stab at who he thinks they may face next weekend.
Positive signs in the Patriots’ secondary – Shalise Manza Young – Manza Young writes that the week off should do the Patriots secondary some good, after five of New England’s top six players have been on the injury report for anywhere from a couple of months to a week or two.
Tom Brady always a must see QB – Jeff Howe – Howe has some fun comments from a couple of Brady’s teammates, who enjoyed some of the big moments where he led them back from late-game deficits and won in dramatic fashion this season.
Youth integral to team’s hopes – Karen Guregian – Guregian writes that unlike years past, youth and inexperience is part of the recipe this year heading into the postseason for the Patriots.
Line appreciates Logan Mankins’ powerful presence – Mark Daniels – Daniels has comments from members of the offensive line, who appreciate the example Mankins sets on the field.
Bill Belichick explains the art of the play-action – Jeff Howe – Howe has comments from Belichick, who explained some of the nuances of the play-action part of the game.
Mankins, Dobson, Dennard absent – Mike Reiss – Reiss has attendance notes from yesterday’s practice, which saw Logan Mankins among the missing players.
Possible playoff opponents: Colts – Field Yates – Yates takes a look at possible opponents for New England, with this entry focusing on the Indianapolis Colts.
Recapping top Patriots storylines – Mike Reiss – Reiss has some notes from yesterday, including the fact yesterday’s practice was one of the coldest of the year and Brady pointed out, “Mental and physical toughness is something that is really important this time of year.”
Brady reluctant to talk O’Brien, McDaniels – Mike Reiss – Reiss writes that Brady wouldn’t comment Wednesday when asked about former Patriots’ offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien.
Penalty watch: Pats have 2nd fewest in NFL – Mike Reiss – Reiss looks at the penalty numbers by the team, and notes that they’re among one of the most disciplined in the league.
O’Brien thoughts from Pats perspective – Mike Reiss – Reiss gives his thoughts on Bill O’Brien’s hiring in Houston, and has an interesting perspective in this entry.
A look at the nuances involved in the New England Patriots’ play-action attack – Nick Underhill – Underhill looks at some of the nuances of the team’s play-action game, with an interesting take on some of the pieces involved in executing it.
Aqib Talib on Pats secondary: ‘I think we can play a lot better’ – Mike Petraglia – Petraglia has comments from defensive back Aqib Talib, who said after looking at the game film knows improvements can be made by himself and the secondary.
Report: Browns will interview Josh McDaniels on Saturday – Christopher Price – Price cites a report by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen that has Josh McDaniels set to meet with Cleveland on Saturday.
Youthquake: Patriots will rely heavily on rookies this postseason – Christopher Price – Price looks at the inexperience on New England’s roster as compared to some of their potential opponents.
Tom Brady: Pats fans ‘let it rip’ in the playoffs at Gillette Stadium – Mike Petraglia – Petraglia writes that Brady gave fans praise on Wednesday and notes the advantage the team has in playing at home vs on the road.
Belichick thinks extra points are a waste of time – Michael David Smith – Smith has a note from Bill Belichick’s press conference where he said Wednesday he’d like to see something done about extra points aren’t so “automatic”.
ATTLEBORO SUN CHRONICLE:
Pats also score big off the field – An interesting note for this morning as the Chronicle reports for the fourth consecutive season, the New England Patriots have been recognized by TEAM Coalition as the top team in the NFL for designated driver pledges.
PATS NOTEBOOK: McCourty ‘fine,’ eager for playoff return – Mark Farinella – Farinella files his notebook this morning and writes that leads off with comments from McCourty, who appears will be ready to go next week.
Patriots looking in the mirror – Mark Farinella – Farinella writes that as the Patriots await their next opponent, for now they’re in “self-study” mode.
Patriots playing playoff waiting game – Rich Garven – Garven writes that the team was back at work yesterday and will work out today and Friday before getting the weekend off as they wait to see who they’ll face next week in the Divisional playoff round.
Patriots know they need to keep their foot on the gas – Paul Kenyon – Kenyon has comments from Brady, who feels they need to make sure they work hard at continuing to put pressure on opposing teams during the playoffs.
Patriots Journal: McDaniels given OK to interview for Browns’ job – Paul Kenyon – Kenyon files his notebook this morning, which leads off with the fact McDaniels is set to interview with Cleveland, and also has additional notes from a “chatty” Bill Belichick from yesterday.
Gronk Sells His Ridiculous Florida Mansion for $2 Million – Hayden Bird – Bird writes that Gronk sold his mansion in Tampa for $2-million, making about a half-a-million dollars in the transaction.