Monday, September 30, 2013
Locker Room Buzz: New England Patriots
By Mike Reiss
ATLANTA -- Observed in the locker room after the New England Patriots' 30-23 victory over the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome:
Physical football the key: The final player to conduct interviews in the locker room was running back LeGarrette Blount, and, to a degree, the bruising 250-pound running back epitomized the team's offensive approach. "We wanted to be physical," he said of the Patriots' power running game. Blount said coach Bill Belichick had stressed that message to players early in the week. In a cramped locker room, it was Blount, fellow running back Stevan Ridley and several offensive linemen who drew big media crowds.
Mostly positive despite near-collapse: While quarterback Tom Brady didn't seem overly enthused, perhaps because of the way the offense couldn't close things out, one player said it was mostly a positive message from Belichick to the players. "Hey, we're 4-0. And we had a lot of doubters out there," one Patriot said, pointing out that the author in this space was one of them. In his postgame news conference, Belichick said: "I'm really proud of the way our team played. They made a good example of what it takes to win in this league, and that's 60 minutes of good football."
Talib's play draws raves: The first player whom media members swarmed was cornerback Aqib Talib, whose pass breakup in the end zone on fourth down sealed the win. Belichick raved about his performance, saying Talib has played well going all the way back to spring camps.
Wilfork's status a natural concern: Defensive tackle Vince Wilfork's wife, Bianca, attends almost every road game, and Belichick was seen speaking with her after the game. Naturally, the Patriots are concerned after Wilfork was carted to the locker room in the first quarter. Wilfork was later spotted with a protective boot over his right foot.