A. As someone who wrote and read long winded college application essays that were filled with annoying SAT vocabulary, the simplicity and honest manner in which Trey Flowers, 25 speaks is refreshing. Asked Friday by Pats Maven about his improved play against the run, Flowers said "the way I look at it you have to earn the right to rush the passer. And if you play the run play well and tackle the running back behind the sticks then you get to rush the passer because you are like more likely to be in passing situations. Teammate Deatrich Wise said Flowers is always thinking. Earlier in the week, Flowers was asked about the Pats giving up a lot of points against Kansas City and Chicago. "We would like to hold every team to zero points, but the others guys get paid too and they make plays. We just keep working hard"
Flowers who played at Arkansas might be quiet but also has a sense of humor. Asked why he wanted to major in business in college, his answer might not be ideal for a Harvard Business School application essay, but is truthful. Flowers said with a laugh "Because I want to make money," Flowers, who is the best Pats front seven defensive player, will likely make a lot of money in the offseason given that he is free agent.The question is whether the Pats will pay him the $11-$14 million per year he could receive on the open market.
"We have eight games left that is what I am excited about," Flowers said.
Asked if he was excited about potentially making a lot money in the offseason,
"I am excited to get up every day and play for this team."
B. Tom Brady is three yards away from 1000 career rushing yards. Brady joked that if he earned 1000 yards rushing and starting losing yards he would ask backup Brian Hoyer to replace him. Asked about memorable runs besides evading Brian Urlacher in 2006 - Brady dove over the goal line in a game against the Baltimore Ravens. Ray Lewis lodged his helmet into Brady's back on the play and Brady remembers the play because of the pain he experienced. Brady, like Aaron Rodgers wears No. 12, but only wears that number because as a rookie P Lee Johnson wore No. 10, the number Brady wore in college, so former Pats equipment manager Don Brocher (now deceased) gave him No. 12. When Johnson was cut, Brady still decided to stick with No. 12.
C. One unexpected twist this week in game preparation was in addition to trading Ty Montgomery - the Packers traded their best safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Brady said that every week unexpected things happen like a player getting injured so you have to be ready for all the players. On a defense that has struggled this season -- trading Dix was a strange move given that he had played every defensive snap and led the team with three interceptions. The rest of the team has two combined. The Packers traded him because they didn't want to pay him in the offseason but if the Packers lost him in free agency they would have received a compensatory pick (between a third round and seventh round pick).
As for Montgomery, Montgomery has returned 10 of their 12 kickoff returns this season. The Packers sent him packing too - not sure they have an answer at kick returner either. Devin McCourty thought Montgomery looked good on film and given that he was averaging four yards a carry - hard to think McCourty was incorrect. Bottom line, Packers are a worse team than they were a week ago. Surely, Packers fans are excited about draft picks in the future when they have Aaron Rodgers, 34, in the present.
Rodgers, who had a knee injury earlier this year, looks healthy.
"I’d just watch the end of the San Francisco game. I think that will take care of that for you. Yeah, he (Rodgers) looks healthy to me. If he’s got more left, then that’s even worse, but he’s plenty athletic, is moving well. I mean, they’re having a hard time catching him and tackling him. So, maybe it can get better, I don’t know, but it still looks pretty good," Bill Belichick said.
D. Packers Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine used to be the New York Jets Defensive Coordinator when Rex Ryan was coach. The Packers run a lot of creative blitz packages out of different looks like the Jets did when they faced the Pats years ago. To counter that, the Pats should just go hurry up with five wide receivers. That will tire out Packers DE Clay Matthews and force the Packers to potentially take out some linebackers (where they are strong in the middle with Blake Martinez) and put some more defensive backs in the game where the Packers lack depth. The Packers also showed they are susceptible to a running back catching the ball out of the back field when they gave up six catches for 81 yards to Rams RB Todd Gurley last week. Look for James White to have a very good day. White was especially happy to find out that Pats Maven wrote a feature on him Thursday. White, a quiet guy, laughed and clearly thought to himself is this really me getting all the publicity.
E. Bill Belichick gave legendary SI Writer Paul Zimmerman (affectionately known as Dr. Z) who died Thursday at 86 a heartfelt tribute Friday. Belichick expressed condolences to the family and said he spoke to Dr. Z numerous times over the years off the record about players and other parts of the game.
"Paul was a great ambassador for professional football, and I think that what he did through the years with his background and insight on the draft, I would say some of the behind-the-scenes organizational insight that he gave due to his great sources and trust that he created with so many people was pretty interesting reading in the Sports Illustrated columns. I always kind of felt like Paul and Will McDonough were kind of two of the really well-connected, respected writers that covered the game, certainly when I came into the game and then for many years thereafter," Belichick said.
No one covered the draft better than Dr. Z (along with Joel Buschbaum) and he was often accurate in his predictions. McDonough and Dr. Z were probably two of the greatest writers to cover the NFL.
"I mean, for a guy who wrote about the draft a week before the draft and would get quite a few things right, it was, I thought, pretty impressive. You always wanted to read that story," Belichick said.