Welcome to the Patriots Bulletin Board, where we curate the most notable quotables of the week leading up to that Sunday’s Patriots game. Might have to dig deep to find anything notable from Foxboro, but providing bulletin board material is an annual hobby of Patriots opponents. We’re on to game day!
BOSTON (CBS) — After the most surreal, agonizing, insufferable offseason in NFL history, football is finally here. The New England Patriots square off with the Pittsburgh Steelers to kick off the 2015 NFL season, and for Patriots fans it’s also Banner Night, as the team will raise their long-anticipated fourth Super Bowl championship banner, much to the delight of those in New England – and the utter disgust of those everywhere else in the country.
The Patriots will undoubtedly be fired up at simply raising the banner, and getting back their Hall-of-Fame quarterback from an averted suspension goes without saying. Expect them to come out with plenty of fire, which the Steelers defense may not have the personnel to handle.
Once the dust settles, the Patriots defense will have a tough task facing the Steelers’ elite offense. Pittsburgh is missing 2014 All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell and emerging wide receiver Martavis Bryant sue to suspensions, but they still have Big Ben and Antonio Brown and face a Patriots secondary riddled with question marks entering the season.
The Steelers are not usually wont to give the Patriots or any other team much bulletin board material (save for Anthony Smith), but they gave some this week. It’s tame by “trash talk” standards, but the Patriots will surely view it as such.
Here are the five most notable quotes from Patriots and Steelers personnel entering the NFL Week 1 opener…
Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier on defending Rob Gronkowski: “You just have to jam him up a little bit…You have to mess up their timing and get in his face with pressure, then I feel we can slow him down a little bit.”
(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Here’s that tame trash talk I was talking about. It’s not that bad, but you can rest assured Gronk had this plastered on his locker. “Slow me down a little bit, you say? Slow THIS down!”
Shazier is a first-round talent, so the Steelers will probably depend on him heavily to try and cover Gronk. He clearly has a lot of confidence in his ability to do that, and Gronk is ready to go after an injury-free offseason, so this will be a matchup to watch.
Tom Brady: “It’s time for me to do my job…Anything that’s happened over the last seven months wasn’t really my job.”
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Pretty much sums up the circus that was DeflateGate. Even if Brady stuck the needles in those footballs himself, it’s amazing how he went through the wringer like he did and nearly got suspended four games instead of getting the simple fine he (allegedly) would have deserved.
With opposing fans across the country questioning his legacy and dismissing his accomplishments more than ever, Brady should be motivated to deliver an F-U season for the ages. Get ready for 40-yard bombs to Gronk up 52-7 in the fourth quarter against the Redskins.
Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward on Gillette Stadium: “It’s a hostile environment that truly loves their team.”
(Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
You hear that, Patriots fans going to the game? They’re expecting HOSTILITY Thursday night!
Unfortunately, Gillette Stadium has garnered something of a different reputation in recent years. But there should be a lot of energy in the stands once that banner goes up and Brady takes the field.
Start drinkin’ early.
Bill Belichick on Ben Roethlisberger’s praise for the Patriots defense: “I think that sounds like Ben buttering us up pretty good…Half these guys have never played against him. But that’s very complimentary of Ben to say that.”
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Belichick knows a thing or two about buttering up his opponents. It’s pretty much all he does, regardless of who the Patriots are facing. Big Ben gave him a taste of his own medicine and Belichick basically spit it out.
Belichick has a point: Roethlisberger will be facing many Patriots defensive players for the first time in his career. But the Hoodie did manage to sneak in one zinger…
Belichick on Roethlisberger’s listed weight: “Yeah, he was probably that in the eighth grade…He’s all of 241, trust me.”
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
He’s not saying Big Ben is a fatso, just that he’s a big boy who’s incredibly hard to tackle. The Patriots front seven will literally have their hands full trying to bring him down and prevent him from making big plays outside the pocket.
If Roethlisberger can routinely escape pressure from the front seven and improvise big throws down the field, the Patriots defense will be in trouble. Keeping him contained on the edges and getting pressure up the middle will be key.