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New England Patriots Links 12/31/09 - Patriots United, Focused, Committed, Prepared

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Adam Kilgore reports Steelers' LB LaMarr Woodley told reporters in Pittsburgh he expects the Patriots and Bengals to "lay down" in order to keep the Steelers out of the playoffs.

On this topic, Logan Mankins had some thoughts. "I don’t think we owe them anything," Mankins said. "We put ourselves in this position, and that was by winning games throughout the year. If they didn’t want to have to count on us to win games, they shouldn’t have lost games. I think we were in the same position last year, where we needed a team to lose. That was no one’s fault but our own. Whenever you’re counting on other teams to lose, you’re in a bad situation."

Bill Belichick responds to a question about the offensive line not giving up a sack in four games, and if they're doing anything different.

No, not really. We try to protect well in every game. A lot of that has to do with the receiver's being open. The quarterback needs somebody to throw the ball to. If you protect long enough to be able to get the ball to whatever the designed route is, whether it be drop back, play action, empty, closed formation or whatever it happens to be. It gets back to team execution. It's not just the line. It's the backs. It's the tight ends. It's the receivers. It's the overall timing of it and, of course, being able to run the ball always helps the pass protection. I'd say it's a team thing.

Gary Kubiak on how tough it is for a quarterback to miss a year and return to Pro Bowl form.

"That just tells you the great player that he is, what the game means to him and how hard he's worked to get back. I have the utmost respect for him. I obviously saw him many, many times when I was in Denver and we played against him a great deal.

I'll tell you the way it is: as I'm raising Matt [Schaub], I'm showing him a lot of Tom [Brady]'s film and how he handles things, how he plays the game – foot work wise, poise wise. I mean, he's the model guy; he's the model player and handles himself with a great deal of class. Those are the guys that play a long time in this league and are successful. There's nobody better for Matt to keep an eye on week in and week out, year to year. But, I'm very impressed by what Tom's done and obviously he's been exceptional. Last week, apparently, he was just incredible. So he's gearing himself up for January. That's what he does best."

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