Also in this week’s Sports Illustrated: the Patriots’ no-name defense, a first-of-its kind study on football’s long-term effects on an entire NFL roster and comparing the BCS to Las VegasPosted: December 8, 2011
You’ve read about the 2011 Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year, Pat Summitt and Mike Krzyzewski, and found out that NFL players consider Eagles and Steelers fans to be the league’s toughest. Here’s what else readers can expect in the Dec. 12, 2011, issue of Sports Illustrated, on newsstands now.
PATRIOTS DEFENSE: THE NEW NO-NAMES – BEN REITER (@SI_BenReiter)
Bill Belichick has built a Patriots defense from spare parts, castoffs and converted receivers. It has bent—but not broken—as New England has run its record to 9–3. Will it be good enough against the league’s better offenses in the playoffs? Starting outside linebacker Rob Ninkovich makes no bones about what the defense tries to do (page 68): “We have to progress as a defense and get the offense the ball. That’s our job, to put the ball in their hands as many times as possible during the game, so they can do what they do best, and that’s score touchdowns.”
Belichick has turned to receivers Julian Edelman and Matthew Slater to lend assistance to a depleted secondary. He’s hopeful they can be as effective as his original two-way player, Troy Brown. Says Brown: “I would do anything to win. I just loved playing football in general. I was awful at first—we had about 10 receivers on the roster, and I got beat by all 10, all five tight ends, a couple of running backs. But it got better the more I did it. Guys like me can’t say, ‘Coach, I saw something and dropped off on that play, and that’s why I got beat.’ [Belichick] doesn’t want to hear that from any of his players, but especially from the low-profile guys.”