With a two game winning streak in hand, the New England Patriots are looking to make it three straight wins when the Carolina Panthers come into Foxborough on Sunday. "If you're covering, you have to plaster the receivers and yeah, it's a zone, but you gotta mess with receivers and challenge 'em man to man". That's a tall order against Brady, who has eight touchdown passes and no interceptions in three games. Even more, he seems not to be taking off and running as he may have more frequently in the past. Even still, Pats coach Bill Belichick likes to take away the top option, which is clearly Benjamin with Olsen out.
But Rivera knows Kalil's got to get better, and get better soon.
Flowers said the challenge this week is slightly different though because while Watson is a wiry 220 pounds or so, Newton is listed at 245 and has been known to weigh in the 260s. "I don't think I said very nice things to him, so I'd like to apologize to him", Brady said. "I wish we'd have gotten that call".
Breakout for McCaffrey: This may be the worst - and slowest - group of linebackers New England has had in a decade. "You have to understand that guys are going to break the pocket, and act accordingly".
Newton said Wednesday he believes Kaepernick sacrificed his career when he began kneeling last August to protest social injustice and Newton respects him for it.
For this to happen, the Panthers will need to stick to the run game and not abandon it. Christian McCaffrey, a Stanford product and the eighth overall pick in this year's draft, has been a reliable and multifaceted threat.
WORST TACKLE: Eric Rowe had an opportunity to stop Devin Funchess for a short gain on a third-down play. You don't get that kind of production by doing one thing. I have a lot of respect for this organization. Newton will have time to throw, and he'll have his moments against a suspect defense. "Obviously the plan is to get into them first". "They run the ball. You've got to try to make them as one-dimensional as possible and against these guys it's hard". If I had seen something out of him in recent weeks that convinced me he could do it I'd be with you. As great as Tom Brady is, he tends to look a little human when he is constantly under pressure. "It is tough, especially with a scrambling quarterback and one of the best in Cam", he said.
The Patriots made headlines this offseason with a bevy of trades to improve their Super Bowl roster, but none more noteworthy than the trade that landed Brandin Cooks in Foxboro. Peppers said he didn't want to kneel because he wanted to make it clear he was not showing disrespect for the USA flag. We're starting to jell as a defense as a whole, but obviously, it's only Week Four now. "So we've got a challenge ahead of us and we've got to go in there and do our job".