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New England Patriots Links 12/22/11 - Defense Must Keep Bush From Burning Them

Julian Benbow reports the Patriots defense knows it has to shore up before facing another explosive runner in Reggie Bush Sunday.

"He’s a special guy,’’ said Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich. "A guy like Reggie can do a lot of different things. He can catch the ball out of the backfield, he can run the ball, he can play on punt return, he can return the ball, so there’s many things he can do on the field that can hurt you, so you’ve just got to make sure you don’t let him do those things.’’

"I think our run defense, really the last two weeks, is really been something we’ve struggled with,’’ Ninkovich said. "We need to get back to the things that we were doing well early and midseason, doing a good job against the run.’’

Rob Gronkowski talks about how different the Dolphins are compared to Week 1.

The big difference is that first I think that they went 0-8 and now they're on fire. They are just winning a lot of games now, they're in every game, their offense is looking good, their defense is looking smooth. Definitely a team that's just looking to knock someone off, looking to give [us] a loss, so we've got to go out and we have to be prepared because we know they're coming hard.

They're doing what they do. They're playing their defense, we're studying up obviously on it and everything, trying to learn what they've changed and everything, but they got the same players and they're all good players and they all play hard. We know that they're going to be especially playing hard this week again and trying to get the ‘W,' so we've got to be out there. We've got to be ready because we know their defense is going to be coming.



  • Mark Daniels reports the streaking Dolphins are a much improved team that will be totally different than the one the Pats faced in September.
  • Chris Gasper breaks down his three keys to a Patritots win over the Dolphins.
  • Mary Paoletti says the Patriots and the Dolphins both have plenty to play for, so don't sleep on Sunday's game.
  • Mike Reiss serves up some quick hits from the media-access period in the locker room.
  • Ian Rapoport notes that when Tom Brady calls his receivers "very unselfish" he's telling the truth.
  • Christopher Price traces the connection between Rob Gronkowski's production and how he's utilized.
  • Jeff Howe thinks Mark Anderson has a seriously never-quit motor, and 19 other Patriots thoughts.
  • Tom E. Curran says Mark Anderson will have a chance to make a big mark down the stretch this season.
  • Jeff Howe gets some Patriots players to talk about life at the bottom of a pile.
  • Mike Reiss tells us Julian Edelman's role as Broncos QB Tim Tebow earned him one of the Practice Players of the Week honors.
  • Steve Buckley points out Nate Solder has been an eligible receiver nine times already this season.
  • Mike Reiss gets the scoop on former Titans safety Vincent Fuller from AFC South reporter Paul Kuharsky.
  • Mike Reiss notes the Patriots will have a chance to revisit with rookie TE Will Yeatman, who was a surprise performer at Patriots training camp this year.
  • Christopher Price breaks down which Patriots defenders have done the best job of getting after the QB through 14 games.
  • Mike Reiss notes that in their last five games the Patriots have been one of the NFL's least penalized teams.
  • Mike Petraglia highlights Bill Belichick offering a glimpse into what goes on on the sidelines during a game.
  • Christopher Price lists who has been Tom Brady's favorite receiver through 14 games.
  • Mike Reiss highlights Bill Belichick's breakdown of a few successful plays against the Broncos and says it's worth the time to check out the entire video.
  • Ian Rapoport Patriots Notebook: Brian Waters appreciates the matter-of-fact approach to winning the division in the Patriots locker room; Stevan Ridley credited his blockers for his season-high 11 carries for 65 yards Sunday; Deion Branch spent most of Sunday re-habbing so he can get back on the field sooner; Patrick Chung looked "lively" at practice; Aaron Hernandez missed practice (not injury-related) and BenJarvus Green-Ellis missed with an illness; Andre Carter had surgery yesterday and was in good spirits.
  • Julian Benbow Patriots Notebook: Bill Belichick explains the rapid-fire decision making process for in-game adjustments; Brian Waters says he hasn't been on this type of football team in a while, where they view a division title as just a step to the ultimate goal; Marcus Cannon 'is coming along well'; Branch is getting better; Practice squader Cedric McKinley was working in a Target warehouse before getting the call from the Patriots; Injury and practice participation updates.
  • Mike Reiss tells us the Pro Bowl final fan results, with a look at the Patriots that finished in the top 5 in the AFC.


  • Kevin Fishbain (Pro Football Weekly) Patriots-Dolphins matchup of the Day: OLBs Cameron Wake & Jason Taylor vs. Matt Light, Nate Solder & Marcus Cannon.
  • James Walker (ESPN) Why Patriots are going to the Super Bowl.
  • Brian Baldinger ( Unsung heroes: Patriots defense. (2.25 min. video)
  • NFL Live (ESPN) Are the New England Patriots the number 1 team in the AFC? (2.50 min. video)
  • Alex Marvez (Fox Sports) Should Rodgers still win MVP award?