The entire focus of this week should be on the Patriots hosting the Titans this Saturday night in a Divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium.
And in many regards, that's the case that Bill Belichick and his players have been making. But, there also remains the lingering topics from last week's ESPN The Magazine story supposedly detailing an "internal power struggle" in New England.
The Boston Globe *writes that Tom Brady very much disputed the story in his weekly interview with WEEI radio. The *Globe says that one guy who could answer many questions in the situation surrounding Brady and the trade of backup Jimmy Garoppolo is Don Yee, the agent for both passers. On Monday, the Globe notes that Belichick made it clear he “absolutely” intends to coach the Patriots next season. A day later, the Globe says Belichick emphasized he’s “all in” on preparations for the Titans. The Globe Patriots notebook declares that both Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia are also focused on Tennessee despite spending time last week interviewing for open head coaching jobs. The *Globe *also looks at former Patriots tight ends coach Brian Daboll helping Alabama win another national title.
The* Boston Herald* also has Brady denying key points of the ESPN story. Herald *columnist Steve Buckley writes that there is still no guarantee that Belichick will return to the Patriots in 2018. The *Herald also has Belichick’s focus on Tennessee. The Herald says Trey Flowers is excited to perform on the playoff stage. The *Herald *also has Patrick Chung’s positive response to Belichick’s pledge to return to New England.
The* Providence Journal *observes that the Patriots have long been the kings of avoiding distractions. Still, a *Pro Jo *columnist wonders of the Patriots “have lost their way?”
ESPNBoston.com says that watching pal Nick Saban win another national title last night kept Belichick up late. ESPNBoston.com passes along Brady saying there was no celebration by him after Garoppolo was traded to the 49ers. ESPNBoston.com also looks at how New England has often been able to thrive when distractions creep in. ESPNBoston.com also passes along a Brady social media post with the QB saying, “I am the storm.”
WEEI.com notes that after talking plenty about the ESPN story on Monday, Belichick is done with it. WEEI.com passes along a report out of Cleveland saying the Browns would have traded the No. 4 overall pick in the draft in a deal for Garoppolo. WEEI.com writes that the ESPN story may actually benefit the Patriots Super Bowl run. WEEI.com says the Patriots denials of the ESPN story are believable to a point.
NBC Sports Boston describes Brady’s interview with WEEI as the quarterback coming “out swinging.” NBC Sports Boston looks at the Patriots success in red zone defense and how that might be key against the Titans. NBC Sports Boston has even Titans players calling the ESPN story “media BS.”
NFL.com ranks the top potential Super Bowl LII matchups, with the Patriots being involved in two of the five possible battles. New England remains No. 1 in NFL.com’s power rankings.