Sunday, September 22, 2013
Locker Room Buzz: New England Patriots
By Mike Reiss
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Observed in the locker room after the New England Patriots' 23-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Gillette Stadium on Sunday:
Talib's matchup with Jackson draws raves: Cornerback Aqib Talib drew a big media crowd and talked about the coaching staff's plan to have him match up against Buccaneers receiver Vincent Jackson. "That's love. That's what you want to hear. I take pride in that kind of stuff," Talib said after limiting Jackson to 3 catches for 34 yards in the first half before Jackson left with a rib injury in the second half. Teammates took note that the performance came against Talib's former team. "Aqib came out and played with a chip today," safety Devin McCourty said.
Bolden the new face in the offensive backfield: After missing the first two games of the season while recovering from a knee injury, running back Brandon Bolden made his debut and was on the field for 26 snaps (including penalties). Used as big part of a three-man rotation alongside Stevan Ridley and LeGarrette Blount, the second-year runner from Ole Miss was the final player to speak with reporters in the locker room as he was swarmed by a large crowd. "Just missing the first few games, if that doesn't get you excited, I don't know what will," he said of his return.
With kids at his side, Kelly looks ahead: Veteran defensive tackle Tommy Kelly had his two sons, Tommy Jr. (8) and Jamison (5), by his side as he spoke with reporters. The Patriots' defense had three fourth-down stops in the game, and Kelly said when an offense goes for it on fourth down, it's almost like an insult to the defense. Then, without prompting, he looked ahead to next Sunday's game against the Falcons. "That's a big-time offense," he said. "They're going to throw the ball so as a defensive lineman, your eyes kind of light up. Julio Jones ... Roddy White ... they're a lot to handle."