Tom Brady is staying mum on his status for the AFC championship game after suffering a right hand injury earlier in the week.
Brady said a bit contentiously only ”We’ll see” on Friday when asked whether he would play in Sunday’s conference title game against Jacksonville.
The quarterback wore red gloves and responded to several other questions about how much he practiced or how he sustained the injury by saying ”I’m not talking about that.”
Brady is listed as questionable for Sunday after being a limited participant in practice Friday. He was also limited on Wednesday. He sat out practice Thursday Adolphus Washington Jersey , but wore a glove on his injured hand during the stretching period open to reporters. He usually only wears a glove on his non-throwing hand.
One thing Brady was clear about was the test he expects from a Jaguars unit ranked second in the NFL in total and scoring defense.
”It’s a very unique challenge,” Brady said. ”I think their front three, their linebackers, are very instinctive and very fast. And great cover guys in the secondary. Ball-hawking defense. They strip it off you, they sack you. … So they’re a good defense.”
Brady appeared on the Patriots’ weekly injury report several times during the latter half of this season with injuries to both his Achilles tendon and his left shoulder. The four-time Super Bowl MVP has never missed a playoff start during his 18-year career.
”Tom always tends to show up in big games. This is a big game,” receiver Danny Amendola said. ”(He’s) super tough. The toughest. He’s a warrior, he’s a competitor and there’s really only one reason why he’s here, and that’s to play football. ”
Jacksonville is preparing like Brady will be in the huddle as usual Sunday. Jaguars defensive tackle Marcell Dareus said typical methods of rattling a quarterback don’t apply when it comes to him.
”You can hit Brady, but hitting him isn’t what’s going to get to him. It’s constantly being that gnat in his face. He just hates that gnat just always around,” said Dareus, who might be more familiar than any Jacksonville player with Brady, having spent six-plus seasons with the Bills.
”You sack him he’s going to get up and just keep rolling. He’s that competitive spirit, like Coby Fleener Jersey , `OK, you got me. Now I’m fixing to go throw this touchdown the next play. Forty yards. You happy about that sack? But there you go.’ That’s just his mentality. I like it. I love playing against the guy. He’s phenomenal to watch.”
If for some reason Brady can’t go – no, the Earth won’t stop rotating on its axis and New England still would show up to play – the Patriots would look to backup Brian Hoyer. His last playoff start was the antithesis of a Brady performance. For Houston in its 2015 AFC wild-card matchup with Kansas City, Hoyer completed 15 of 34 passes for 136 yards, with no touchdowns and five turnovers (four interceptions) in a 30-0 loss.
Hoyer, a former Patriot, was acquired in midseason when the Patriots traded Jimmy Garoppolo to San Francisco.
”I’m always preparing to play because the truth of reality is you never know when your name’s gonna be called,” he said Thursday.
The Patriots haven’t called any QB’s name in the postseason other than Brady’s since the 1990s.
Including the playoffs, the Jaguars scored eight defensive touchdowns this season, three more than any other team. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey had four interceptions during the regular season and also had one in the wild-card win over Buffalo.
He also fully expects to see Brady on the field Sunday.
”He’s going to be out there, he’s going to play, he’s going to play to his best of ability and do what he does,” Ramsey said.
A position-by-position look at the matchups in the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers:
CENTER: Kevon Looney vs. Tristan Thompson. An afterthought much of the season Dorian O'Daniel Jersey , Thompson rejoined the Cleveland rotation in the playoffs and has provided the Cavaliers with 6.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. Warriors coach Steve Kerr went with Looney against Houston but could go a number of ways in this series, with JaVale McGee, Zaza Pachulia and Jordan Bell among his options. And of course, the Warriors are at their best when they go with none of the above, using Draymond Green as the center in a small-ball lineup. Edge: Warriors.
POWER FORWARD: Draymond Green vs. Kevin Love or Jeff Green. The Cavaliers are hoping Love can return after the All-Star missed Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals because of a concussion. Jeff Green started in his place and scored 19 points in the victory in Boston. Neither player can match the all-around production the Warriors get from Draymond Green, with his defense, rebounding and passing. All he has to do is keep his emotions in check. Edge: Warriors.
SMALL FORWARD: Kevin Durant vs. LeBron James. Durant was last year’s NBA Finals MVP, is the No. 3 scorer by average among players who have played at least 10 finals games (32.9 points), and still might be the second-best forward in this series. That’s how good James remains at 33, as he proved while averaging 34 points, 9.2 rebounds and 8.8 assists in the Eastern Conference playoffs. In his eighth straight NBA Finals, he probably needs to produce numbers like that in every game to give the Cavaliers any chance. Edge: Cavaliers.
SHOOTING GUARD: Klay Thompson vs. J.R. Smith. The Warriors might not even be here without Thompson’s clutch performance in Game 6 of the West finals against Houston. He can heat up in a hurry from the outside, and as an added benefit no longer has to spend so much energy defending Kyrie Irving as he did so often in the last two NBA Finals. Smith can also heat up Jonathan Stewart Jersey , but can also be prone to prolonged bad streaks and losses of concentration, and the Warriors feast on those. Edge: Warriors.
POINT GUARD: Stephen Curry vs. George Hill. Injured to start the postseason, Curry showed just how explosive he and the Warriors remain with some big third quarters in the West finals. There were questions as he struggled earlier in that series if he still wasn’t fully healthy, but he sure looked good enough at the end. Hill is a steady veteran and the most productive of the four players the Cavaliers acquired at the trade deadline, but like a lot of Cavaliers will be at a speed disadvantage in this series. Edge: Warriors.
RESERVES: Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Nick Young, McGee, Bell, David West, Pachulia, Quinn Cook and Patrick McCaw vs. Kyle Korver, Jeff Green Mike Evans Jersey , Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., Rodney Hood, Jose Calderon and Cedi Osman. Iguodala’s health looms as the biggest question entering the series after he was sidelined for much of the West finals with a bone bruise in his leg. The 2015 NBA Finals MVP leads the defensive effort against James and is part of the Warriors’ best lineup. Korver’s shooting is a key off the Cleveland bench, but Clarkson, Nance and Hood have never become regularly reliable after being acquired in February. Edge: Warriors.
COACHES: Steve Kerr vs. Tyronn Lue. This was a challenging season for both. Lue stepped away from his team for a while for health reasons, as Kerr had to do during the last two seasons. Kerr acknowledged the struggles of keeping his team motivated this season, even letting the players coach themselves in timeouts during one game. Both coaches pushed the right buttons when their teams were pushed to the brink in earlier rounds, but Kerr just has more of them at his disposal. Edge: Warriors.
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