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News Blitz 1/9: Is Brady back to being an underdog?

Posted Jan 9, 2014

In this edition of the Patriots.com News Blitz, we get an update on Josh McDaniels and take a look at an article that listed Tom Brady as the worst quarterback remaining in the playoffs.

ESPN Insider, Adam Schefter reported yesterday that Josh McDaniels had withdrawn from consideration for the Cleveland Browns head-coaching job. Schefter quoted a sources saying that McDaniels interview with the Browns went "aweseome" and that he was very impressed with the organization. However, Schefter said that McDaniels decided that he wanted to remain in New England. Comcast Sports Net's Tom Curan later reported that McDaniels withdrew because he was not the leading candidate for the job.

Zuri Berry reported on Boston.com that Aaron Dobson was wearing a walking boot in the team's locker room on Wednesday. Dobson has not participated in practice since he reaggravated a foot injury in Week 17's match-up against the Bills. View the full injury report here.

If Dobson is unable to play on Saturday, his presence in the passing game will certainly be missed. But we know, he's not the only Patriots starter that will not be playing in the team's playoff game. The Patriots lost Sebastian Vollmer, Brandon Spikes, Tommy Kelly, Rob Gronkowski, Vince Wilfork, and Jerod Mayo to injury this year, but which player would be most valuable this week if the team could get one back? Adam Kaufman asks that very question in his most recent post on Boston.com. Kaufman breaks down the impact that each player has on the team and comes to the conclusion that Gronkowski would be the most valuable -- that is, of coarse, assuming if he could make a 1-day recovery from his surgery today.

Obviously Gronkowski, Wilfork, and Mayo will not be making any miraculous recoveries, so the team must prepare without them. One way Devin McCourty plans to get ready for the Colts is by seeking the advice of his brother, Jason. Rich Garven wrote an article in the Worcester Telegram about Devin's hope to gain insight from his twin brother who plays for Tennesse Titans. Jason McCourty has played Andrew Luck and the Colts twice this season, which means that he may be able to identify certain tendencies of the team.

"Jason McCourty won't be playing against the Colts on Saturday, but if the Patriots win, he's likely to get another text from his brother," says Garven. "This time, it'll be a thank you rather than a call for help."

WEEI's Christopher Price explains why the 2014 Playoffs are very important for Aqib Talib. A successful Super Bowl run would be the completion to a career makeover for Talib and would most likely lead to a hefty payday in the offseason.

"For Talib, getting it done over the next month could mean a Super Bowl ring and a sizable payday, as well as claim as one of the best defensive backs in the game," claims Price. "For bot the player and the team, hitting on that trifecta would represent the ultimate payout for last offseason's one-year gamble."

Jeff Howe writes in this mornings edition of the Boston Herald that the Colts philosphy in the secondary could result in a big day for Tom Brady. Howe explains that the Colts concerbacks often allow receivers to get a free release, which Brady will make use of. He also notes that the Indy cornerbacks played outside leverage against Kansas City which creates opportunities over the middle of the field.

"Because Brady is so quick in identifying coverages, it would appear the Colts' defensive philosophy plays into his strengths," writes Howe. "That could mean big things for the Patriots offense this weekend."

Hopefully Howe is correct in this thinking, because Chris Gasper says that time is running out for Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. In an article in the Boston Globe, Gasper explains that the window for winning a fourth Super Bowl ring is closing and that the Patriots cannot afford another wasted opportunity.

One person who still believes the Patriots can do it is Mark Wahlberg. Wahlberg was a guest on ESPN's SportsNation yestereday where he shared his full confidence in his team.

Someone alert Tom Brady. Post it on the bulletin board. Vinnie Iyer says Brady is the worst quarterback remaining in the 2014 Playoffs. In an article published on Sporting News' website, Iyer ranked the eight starting quarterbacks playing this weekend. He judged the quarterbacks in five different categories and then tallied each player's final scores. Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, and Russell Wilson tied for first place according to Iyers scores. Brees, Newton, Rivers, and Kaepernick followed in that order, leaving only one. Tom Brady at the very last spot. The only one with 3 Super Bowl rings, 17 playoff wins, and 42 touchdowns is eighth best among eight quarterbacks.

CBS Boston's Michael Hurley wrote a reaction piece to Iyer's article. Theres a poll at the bottom of the post asking if Brady is the worst remaining quarterback in the playoffs.