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Ravens S Eric Weddle says the Patriots are the toughest offense he’s faced

The Ravens safety has high praise for the Patriots offense.

Baltimore Ravens S Eric Weddle wanted to sign with the New England Patriots this past offseason, but the Patriots weren’t on the market. He calls All Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski his favorite player to watch in the NFL. It’s clear that Weddle has a deep respect for the Patriots franchise, so it was great to read his thoughts on Monday’s game between the Patriots and Ravens in an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Greg Bedard.

Weddle calls the Patriots the toughest offense he’s faced “schematically” and based on “how many different things they do,” but acknowledged that other teams have more talented receivers.

“Across the board, [the Patriots are] one of the best for a reason,” Weddle said. “They run what they run, [QB Tom Brady] makes a lot of players great and you have to respect that.”

“It’s always fun [facing Brady], it’s always cat and mouse,” Weddle added. “I gamed him a few times where he’d check a play and we were ready for it. The out and up, I was all over, should have been thrown but he doesn’t and it’s a broken play. A couple runs where I make him do those things and we shut them down, but then he got me once in a big spot. That’s the price you pay for doing what you do.”

Weddle also noted that TE Martellus Bennett stepped “in the spots” where Gronkowski would have played, and that the New England offense lost some versatility and running ability out of their two-tight end sets. Weddle thinks the Patriots running backs are “just like receivers out there.”

“They spread you out a lot more [without Gronkowski],” Weddle explained. “With those backs, they’re like receivers. You saw [James White]. Put him out at No. 1 and he runs a slant for 60 [yards] when we’re playing man and we’re doubling [WR Julian Edelman] and we’re playing 2-man away so it’s like, you can only take away so many [options] and they made a great play. That’s just the matchups that they present on a play-to-play basis. Very rarely do they give you a chance to take advantage.”

Weddle has been one of the best safeties in the NFL this year and maybe the Patriots could have found room for him in the secondary. Weddle dominated the Patriots with 11 tackles, a sack, and an interception in the end zone.

I’m sure that New England is just happy to leave with a win, and with the hope that Weddle and the Ravens don’t line up on the other sideline for the rest of the year.