Remember Terrell Suggs?
Sneering, snarling, quarterback-sacking Terrell Suggs?
The ex-Ravens linebacker who used to incite Tom Brady in a approach few may, attain into Brady’s aggressive soul and poke the best quarterback of all time? Suggs hunted quarterbacks with one of the best of them within the mid-2010s, together with Brady. He would stand and flex over his victims, a soccer villain with a message: I got here, I noticed, I sacked.
No one was protected, in his thoughts or his teammates. Not even Brady and the Patriots on the peak of their powers.
In 23-plus seasons, Suggs’ Ravens stay one in all solely three groups with a number of playoff wins over the Bill Belichick-era Patriots, becoming a member of the Giants and Broncos. Once upon a time, in a dynasty that feels far, far-off, the Ravens, Giants and Broncos had been seen as rivals. Competitive equals, the uncommon opponents who may wound the Patriots’ pleasure and undercut their standing as the category of the league.
The Jets, underneath Eric Mangini after which Rex Ryan, crossed this threshold, too, earlier than coming undone by their very own dysfunction. More just lately, the Jets have misplaced 14 straight to the Patriots, who go to them once more on Sunday.
Some would level to the Jets as a real Pats rival. Patriots captain Matthew Slater insists dangerous blood nonetheless flows between the sidelines.
“In a situation like the one this week, it goes beyond football and to rivalry of cities, right? Boston and New York,” Slater mentioned this week at his locker. “For us as gamers, I believe we take pleasure in that. (We) benefit from the alternative to symbolize our metropolis and compete towards an incredible opponent and an opponent that doesn’t like us very a lot.
“So you know, there’s something different about those games. It’s hard to really articulate what it is, but you feel it. You feel it in the buildup, you feel it in the heat of competition and it’s a special thing.”
So, about that buildup.
Here’s how defensive captain Deatrich Wise defined his historical past with the Jets on Thursday, a six-year span throughout which he’s by no means misplaced: “Really, very competitive, close games. Or, very competitive games. And that’s about it. That’s it.”
And right here’s how Bill Belichick, whose hatred of the Jets is just not solely well-known and well-documented however spans virtually three a long time, addressed a query about whether or not Pats-Jets nonetheless carries a rivalry really feel.
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“Well,” he began Friday. “It’s a division game.”
For a rival, with whom you’ve got shared playoff battles, head coaches and numerous wars of phrases? Asked who’re the Patriots’ present rivals, Slater once more pointed to the Jets. Not due to any particular historical past, although, however geography.
“Yeah, everybody in your division,” Slater mentioned. “I think you’ve got to consider them rivals, teams you’re playing twice a year; especially in a division like ours. The Jets are certainly atop the list. I don’t think they like us very much.”
In personal moments, a number of Patriots admitted to the Herald they know the Jets love to speak. They boast within the media and act in a approach Belichick would by no means allow. Yet, right here had been the sound-bite highlights to come back out of northern New Jersey this week.
Second-year receiver Garrett Wilson mentioned dropping 14 straight to the Patriots was “unacceptable.”
“It’s time that things change around here,” he added.
Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner described the Pats offense as “really simple.” But Gardner, a rising star at a place recognized for its bravado and irrational confidence, additionally applauded Mac Jones and Co. in those self same feedback.
“They excel at it,” Gardner mentioned of the group’s system. ‘What they attempt to do is get different individuals to mess up and make errors. They simply do all the things proper.”
Can we get a touch of salt right here? Where is the vitriol? Where is the even collection historical past?
If not the Jets, the Patriots cannot look inside their division for a rival. They’re 3-11 towards the Bills and Dolphins since Brady left. Miami went from pesky ache to perpetual roadblock. After final weekend’s win, the Dolphins are 5-0 in Tua Tagovailoa begins towards Belichick.
Baltimore beat them 37-26 in Week 3 final season. Two years earlier, Cam Newton steered the Pats to a 23-20 upset win within the November rain. The season earlier than that, the Ravens ended the Patriots’ undefeated begin to a 2019 marketing campaign that led to a Wild Card playoff loss and Brady’s exit.
Upon exiting the sphere then, Brady instructed Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson: “Great recreation, dude. You performed nice.”
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Jackson replied: “GOAT (greatest of all time).”
A month earlier, the Patriots performed what nonetheless marks their most up-to-date recreation towards the Giants, a 35-14 house win. The assembly earlier than that, the Pats received a 27-26 nail-biter in 2015. The collection historical past is so historical that rivalry can not maintain.
It holds true for Denver, too. The Broncos will host the Patriots on Christmas Eve, however have performed them simply twice and crushed then as soon as since 2016. The Pats are 1-1 towards Denver’s final 5 head coaches, together with new headman Sean Payton.
No different groups, not even the Steelers, come near incomes the rival tag. Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin publicly acknowledging each groups’ had been in a “transitional” section earlier than final yr’s matchup was the closest any Patriot or Steeler got here to creating a controversial remark; to stoking the outdated fires of one of many AFC’s most enduring rivalries within the 2000s.
The Pats received an in depth recreation, 17-14, and left. The Patriots will journey once more to Pittsburgh this December, however might not see the Steelers once more till 2025. What sort of rivalry is that?
The excellent news concerning the Jets is that the Patriots will meet them once more on Jan. 7. But no stakes are promised in a season finale, very like they weren’t in 2020, the final time the Pats-Jets kicked off a season finale. By then, it was a race to see who may hurry up and head house the quickest.
The feedback forward of that recreation, even when each groups are knocked out of the playoffs, may very nicely mirror remarks offensive captain David Andrews made this week concerning the Jets. What does he see within the Pats’ supposed rival?
“They’re a really good football team,” Andrews mentioned. “They’re always tight games, always tough games.”
Right. Just just like the final 14.
Mills taking part in it ‘protected’
Patriots security Jalen Mills seems to be a main candidate to maneuver again to his outdated place of cornerback after the group misplaced Marcus Jones to injured reserve on Friday. Jones joined fellow cornerback Jack Jones on the shelf for a number of weeks.
But Mills, talking to reporters Friday, sounded immune to the concept.
“My focus this offseason, and this season, has been in the safety room,” Mills mentioned. “So I’ll just leave it to the coaching staff.”
Mills additionally made clear his desire between the 2 positions: “I like taking part in security,” he mentioned.
But if beginning nook Jonathan Jones can not go Sunday towards the Jets, the Pats’ starting-caliber group will probably be right down to first-round rookie Christian Gonzalez. Mills began 26 video games at nook the previous two seasons. He recorded 78 tackles, two interceptions and a dozen cross breakups.
Mills added he does not anticipate the coaches to vary his place mid-game, however would not reveal whether or not the workers has already moved him in observe.
“You’ll just have to wait until Sunday,” he mentioned.
Mills has primarily performed free security within the Patriots’ dime personnel packages with six defensive backs. Elsewhere at security, the Pats have Kyle Dugger, Jabrill Peppers, Adrian Phillips and third-round rookie Marte Mapu.
Miami’s Hill praises Gonzalez
Patriots rookie nook Christian Gonzalez took on maybe probably the most troublesome task he’ll face all season final week, shadowing Miami’s Tyreek Hill, a possible future Hall of Famer, on important downs and for many of the second half.
Hill completed with 4 catches for 50 yards. The Dolphins scored only one landing within the second half, a 43-yard rush by working again Raheem Mostert.
After the sport, Hill praised Gonzalez on the “It Needed To Be Said” podcast.
“I was able to go against the rookie. He’s real good,” Hill remarked. “A very lengthy corner. He had some real good speed and technique about him.”
Patriots defensive deal with Lawrence Guy provided his personal reward for Gonzalez this week, saying: “You can see the growth on him. He’s willing to learn and ask questions, and I think the best thing about the young players on this team altogether is you can see that they’re willing to work every single day.”
Quote of the Week
“We all know where we’re at. We don’t need a come to Jesus meeting after the second week.” — Patriots linebacker Matt Judon