EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


October 15, 2013

Can Pats ride energy wave over long haul?


2. Devin McCourty — McCourty is the total package as far as NFL defensive backs are concerned. Big and athletic, fast, nimble, and man does he have the ego to match. For a former corner, demoted to safety, he sees nothing but Pro Bowl-bound when he looks in the mirror.

Lately, McCourty has lost the edge, though, the defense mechanisms are down. He speaks confidently, openly and honestly, like a leader on this defense.

For years now, I’ve called for character, true character, to be found on this defense. It says here that McCourty is supplying it.

McCourty has few fears now on the football field. As he said Sunday night, he trusts the guys he’s back there with. Clearly, that confidence is contagious back there, just as in past years the childishness has. McCourty has matured, and this secondary has too. Now, just let them play and don’t worry about the consequences.

3. Rob Gronkowski — Gronkowski’s extended leave has galvanized the locker-room. That’s the positive of that. Of course, they are in unison, railing against Gronk and his desire to continue summer vacation nearly into November.

Listen to Belichick. Every time Gronk’s name has been brought up, he immediately uses some version of the phrase “needs to be cleared medically first.”

You don’t think Brady was looking to jam the football into Michael Hoomanawanui (4 catches) on Sunday without a purpose do you.

Gronk is going to have to earn his teammates respect back when he returns, but know this football team right now is on a mission, whether it’s with him or without him.

Quick look aheadat Jets

Was the New York coaching staff paying attention? You have to wonder what Jets’ offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg is thinking as he implements this week’s game plan for Sunday’s Meadowlands matinee with the Patriots.

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