Point is made about Spikes
If Bill Belichick’s comments during a conference call yesterday are any indication, Brandon Spikes did not return to the Patriots raring to go.
The rookie linebacker was reinstated last week after serving a four-game NFL suspension for violation of the banned substances policy and he took part in two days of full-pads practices.
During such suspensions, players are not allowed to practice with their teams or be at the team facility.
Asked how Spikes looked on the field, Belichick did not offer a positive assessment.
“It looked like he hadn’t practiced in four weeks with the team, so he’s got a ways to go,’’ he said.
Spikes did not appeal his suspension so that he would be able to contribute in the postseason. But he may have work to do to make sure he plays a big role against the Jets Sunday.
“We’ll see. We’ll see,’’ Belichick responded when asked if a few more days of practice would get Spikes back on track. “Hopefully he’ll be better this week than he was last week. He should be with the extra days of practice and just getting back into it, but we’ll see how it goes.’’
Linebackers coach Matt Patricia said Spikes is working to “get himself back in the groove’’ and that anyone who misses four weeks of work faces an adjustment period.
“There’s a progression he’s going to work at, obviously, and we’re just going to truck along like we normally do, working hard every day, trying to get better in each individual performance so that collectively, as a whole, we can get better,’’ Patricia said.
Brady focused Rex Ryan set off his one-sided war of words with the Patriots a little bit early last week when he praised Colts quarterback Peyton Manning for his commitment to preparation and added that the Patriots’ Tom Brady only “thinks’’ he studies as much as Manning.
Speaking during his weekly appearance on WEEI yesterday, Brady let the comment slide off his back.
“Everyone is entitled to their opinion,’’ he said. “Maybe he’s right. He’s a good coach, so I’ll just keep getting ready like we’ve done all year and get ready for Sunday night. It’s an exciting week for us, I think everyone is in [preparation] mode; it will be a tough game. I’m excited to play the Jets again.’’
Claims such as Ryan’s don’t motivate or aggravate him, Brady said.
“I don’t think anything people say bothers me over the years,’’ he said. “People have had their opinion over the years and I feel really confident with our team and the way our team prepares each week and I’m sure we’ll be prepared going into this game on Sunday. The only thing I care about is us being ready to play on Sunday. He does what he needs to do and we do what we need to do.’’
It isn’t Ryan’s words that will push Brady, it is the thought of winning his fourth Super Bowl.
“We’re at the point in this year where we’re motivated by much more than what people might say to us,’’ he said. “We have a great opportunity to play a division rival at home in the biggest game of the year. There will be a lot of hype and buildup, and the reality of it is none of it matters. There’s going to be a lot of things said this week and none of it matters.’’
But Ryan was right about one thing last week: Brady does get help from Belichick (Ryan essentially claimed Manning gets none from the Colts’ coaching staff).
“I get a ton of help from our coaches. Of course we do,’’ Brady said. “I think we have the best coach in the history of football. Coach [Belichick] comes in every Wednesday — Tuesday this week — and tells us what to do to win, and he’s right almost every time.’’
Message received? Another defensive rookie, lineman Brandon Deaderick, was suspended for four days last week, and reinstated Friday night after the Patriots placed veteran Mike Wright (concussion) on injured reserve.
It is believed Deaderick’s suspension came after he was late for and/or missed several meetings.
Director of player personnel Nick Caserio believes the team will have to wait to learn if Deaderick got the message.
“We’ll find out,’’ Caserio said. “He’s here. We’ll start practicing [today] and we’ll ask him to prepare for the game just like we ask any other player. If he’s ready to play, then he’ll be given his opportunity. So we’ll see how it goes this week.’’