GIANTS' AHMAD BRADSHAW PRAISED BY PATRIOTS' VINCE WILFORK
Excerpt: "While Giants
running back Ahmad Bradshaw
was getting used to his new surroundings in Indianapolis, New
England Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork
was busy singing his
"You know what I think? Bradshaw is one of the most underrated
running backs in the league, I really do," Wilfork said today. "I've been saying
this for a long time. This guy, he can run the football. He's a tough, tough
"And like I said, I put him up there with some of the best going today but
because they have three real good runners, I think he gets overlooked
Wilfork said he was especially concerned with the Giants'
backfield in general and their ability to mix in personnel and change up their
style at a moment's notice."
"Man, the backfield that they have, they have three good running backs. They
have power, they have speed, they have quickness, they have some catching out of
the backfield, you name it they have it," he said. "Definitely every play, it's
a different type of runner." Read more...PATRIOTS BEGIN SUPER BOWL XLVI PREPARATION IN INDIANAPOLIS WITH FULL-PADS PRACTICE
"The New England Patriots held their first practice in Indianapolis today, and
they suited up in full pads.
“I felt like it would be the best way for us to prepare for the game,” coach
Bill Belichick said at his press conference today.
Belichick called it a “good crisp workout.” The Patriots will have a film
session this evening following media availability. The Giants
, meanwhile, arrived in Indianapolis
today and have not practiced on-site yet.
The Patriots’ practice site for the week is the Indianapolis Colts’ facility,
and receiver Deion Branch admitted being on the turf of their AFC rival was
“weird,” at least for the first day. He thanked the Colts for allowing them to
practice there, though, before playfully ribbing the set-up.
“I don’t know, who made the decision for us to practice there?” Branch said
in jest. “See, that may be another thing. The league may want to make us mad or
something, I don’t know. I would say they have a good facility, and whoever made
that decision, we thank them and thank their coach for allowing us to use their
building to practice in. We promise you we won’t get it dirty.”
TE Rob Gronkowski
(ankle) did not practice again today,
Belichick said. He has not practiced since injuring the ankle in the AFC
GIANTS HOPE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE AT CORNER WHEN PATRIOTS TRY TO COVER VICTOR CRUZ IN SUPER BOWL
"There’s one criterion Dan DePalma uses to confirm he’s done a good job of
covering Victor Cruz in practice.
“He hasn’t gotten me to fall yet, so I’m very proud of that,” the Verona
native and member of the Giants’ practice squad said the other day after a
practice in preparation for Super Bowl XLVI against the Patriots. “I’ve seen him
shake a lot of good DBs and make them fall down.”
Fellow rookie tackle James Brewer, dressing in the next stall, overheard the
“He didn’t make me fall either. ‘Show’ team in walk-through,” said Brewer,
the 6-6, 330-pound tackle. “Write that down: ‘James Brewer did not get broke off
by Victor Cruz.’?”
Light-hearted humor? Of course.
But based on a well-founded concern likely keeping defensive coordinators up
at night? Absolutely.
In the past few months, Cruz has proved his early success wasn’t a fluke and
that even double teams and bracket coverage can’t stop him completely. Teams
have tried everything from “inside-outside” coverage to putting two defenders
over him at the line of scrimmage, both strategies employed to limit his lateral
movement.Which is why it’s somewhat difficult to believe what the Giants
believe — that a wide receiver
will cover him in the Super Bowl.
The Patriots and Bill Belichick, long known to experiment with receivers in
the secondary, have used Julian Edelman as a nickel cornerback in obvious
passing situations this season. Heading into the Super Bowl, the Giants think
that strategy will remain in place, even against their new single-season
franchise receiving leader.
“If he’s on defense, I’ll see him as a defender,” Cruz said. “I see him as
having to cover me, so I’ll just treat him like a defense and execute my route
and win — like I usually do.”
In other words, the Giants will most definitely not be the ones shying away
from such a matchup of Cruz against a college quarterback who, until this
season, hadn’t played defensive back since high school.
“I hope he’s out there when we play them,” wide receiver Mario Manningham
told the Boston Herald last week. “I don’t want to sound like, you know what I
mean. To our advantage, I hope he’s out there.”They believe he will be.
“They had Edelman playing (the Ravens’ Anquan) Boldin last week, so we’re
preparing for it,” DePalma said. “They’ve been doing it all year. So we might as
well prepare for what they’ve been showing. And if they don’t do it, it’s no
surprise to us. But we might as well be ready for it.”
DePalma, a 5-11, 200-pound undrafted free agent from West Chester (Pa.),
played the role of Edelman in practice last week. When the Giants resume
practice Wednesday, he’ll do the same. After all, he’s a wide receiver
masquerading as a defensive back, so he should provide an authentic look for
Plus, he actually played some corner in college, so he’s been able to scout
Edelman a bit. What he sees is the Pats’ simplifying things a bit for him.
“It’s more of a man technique. Even when they’re playing zone they try to
keep him on somebody, man-press, hands-on type of deal,” DePalma said. “It’s
really hard to read a receiver, especially when you haven’t done it in a while,
so they try to keep him on somebody, play on the hip, I guess you could
The Ravens didn’t try to take advantage of Edelman until the final minutes when
Joe Flacco hit Boldin twice for a total of 38 yards. On the second of those
completions — a 29-yarder — it appeared Edelman botched a coverage at the line
by taking the wrong receiver out of a “bunch” formation (one receiver at the
line with two stacked behind him) after the Ravens motioned into that look.
Perhaps the Giants will run a similar formation, which is a standard part of
their offense. They’ll also likely see if Edelman can stick with Cruz on a
“switch” route off the line, during which he crosses with another receiver at
Those are just a few ways of taking advantage of Edelman’s locking onto a
player — if, of course, that remains the plan for New England.
“It’s not completely man (coverage), but they try to keep him on somebody,”
said DePalma, who is also playing the role of wide receiver Wes Welker to
benefit the starting defense. “That’s why they think he’ll be on Victor, even
when they’re in zone, just to kind of have him on somebody.”
Sounds like the Giants want him on anybody.
“It’s a different stage,” Manningham told the Herald. “This ain’t regular
season. That ain’t your real position, so we’re going to try to expose you. It’s
all or nothing now. That ain’t your position, this is the Super Bowl and we want
you to play that position.”
PATRIOT'S OWNER, ROBERT KRAFT, HEAD TO SUPER BOWL WITH A HEAVY HEART
"Four years ago, the Giants advanced to their first Super Bowl without longtime
owner Wellington Mara, who had died of lymphoma just over two years before at
the age of 89. It was difficult for the team to not notice his absence as his
son John was the first to hoist the Lombardi Trophy after the Giants defeated
PATRIOTS' TOM BRADY HAS CONFIDENT MESSAGE FOR FANS, TEAMMATES
As the two squads prepare for a Super Bowl rematch next Sunday, it's the
Patriots side that will sense a void in the owner's box. Robert Kraft's wife,
Myra -- a constant presence during the Krafts' ownership dating back to 1985 --
died last July of cancer at the age of 68.
The Patriots have played with an "MHK" patch above their hearts in honor of
Myra and the team has rallied around Kraft, who has endured an emotional season
without his wife and still refers to Myra as his sweetheart.
Emotions were high again today when the Patriots were sent off with a pep
rally at Gillette Stadium before they went on to catch a flight to
"At the stadium today, it was so special because the times we’re in now, to
have 25,000 of our fans come to the stadium and cheer our team off and they were
chanting my sweetheart’s initials as well," Kraft said. "It was a very emotional
experience and very special."
Both Kraft and the Maras have dealt with emotion in Super Bowls and are
familiar with each other, having been instrumental in negotiations with the
players' union during the lockout.
"I’m very fond of the ownership on the other side," Kraft said. "The Mara
family has done so much for the league over the last 90 years and put the league
"And the Tisches are a great family and they have a great team. And Coach
[Tom] Coughlin – Tom and Bill [Belichick] they worked together so I think the
fans of the NFL are going to have a great football game."
"This morning at Gillette Stadium, 25,000 fans filled the lower bowl of the
structure to send off the Patriots to Super Bowl XLVI. When it was quarterback
Tom Brady's turn to address the crowd, he did so with confidence.
PATRIOTS' BILL BELICHICK SAYS GRONKOWSKI'S STATUS IS DAY-TO-DAY
"We're going down there, and we're going down there for one reason," Brady
said. "We're going to give it our best and hopefully we have a lot more people
at our party next weekend."
The Patriots would only have a party, of course, if they defeat the Giants on
Sunday. Brady's take on his confident words?
"It was a pep rally," he said, as the team arrived at its hotel in
Indianapolis tonight. "People were pretty excited."
His fellow teammates appreciated his message.
"You'd have to ask Tom about that statement, but I think we’re a confident
football team," guard Brian Waters said. "I think we have every reason to be. I
think both teams have every reason to be. But I'm confident in my teammates, and
as the week as goes on, I've said -- the way we prepare, if we prepare like we
prepared the other 17 or 18 weeks in this season, I think the confidence level
will be at an all-time high."
The Patriots arrived in Indianapolis a day ahead of the Giants. They will
practice tomorrow and Tuesday will be their off day, mimicking a regular
"Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said that tight end Rob Gronkowski will be
"day to day" this week after sustaining an ankle injury last Sunday against
Gronkowski was seen wearing a black walking boot when coming off the team bus
Gronkowski injured his ankle in the third quarter on a Bernard Pollard
tackle. Earlier in the week, Gronkowski's father, Gordy, told a Buffalo radio
station earlier this week that it was indeed a high ankle sprain.
This season, he hauled in a league-leading 17 touchdown receptions and
finished sixth in the league with 1,327 receiving yards.
"I know that I need to make some plays with (either of the tight ends out of)
the game," Welker said. "They're definitely a big integral part of our offense
in everything they do, and if one's not in the other guy has to step up and do
some things out there."
Perhaps in a vote of confidence for Gronkowski, Welker added: "We're going to
continue to lean on (Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez) through this game."
Of the week in general, Belichick said that the team is looking to keep their
schedule as normal as possible in order to combat all the possible distractions.
They will practice tomorrow and take Tuesday off, resuming a regular practice
schedule on Wednesday.
"We'll try to approach it in as much a routine as we can," he said. "The team
has been great all year in terms of their focus and preparation, so hopefully
that will serve us well this week."