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Patriots notebook

Jaworski hits on injury time

Brady was hurt in pair of plays

TOM BRADY Odd delivery TOM BRADY Odd delivery
Email|Print| Text size + By Mike Reiss
Globe Staff / January 24, 2008

When did quarterback Tom Brady suffer the mild high sprain to his right ankle?

ESPN "Monday Night Football" analyst Ron Jaworski reviewed the AFC Championship game from various camera angles available only to teams, and he believes the injury occurred on two plays.

Jaworski pinpointed a play with 2:18 remaining in the first quarter, in which Brady overshot receiver Randy Moss along the right sideline, as when Brady's ankle began bothering him.

"When I went back and looked at it from the sideline angle, the end zone angle, the TV angle, and some angles that NFL Films cameras had, I thought at the top of the drop[back] - it was a five-step drop - he rolled over his ankle a bit," Jaworski said last night.

"It looked to me that he tweaked his ankle a bit; the delivery was very awkward. When he followed through, he brought his right leg around and didn't want to transfer weight on it. Then on one of the NFL Films cameras, you could see him looking back at the spot, almost as if he was asking, 'What did I hit?' His cleat got caught."

Jaworski watched the ensuing plays and felt Brady was attempting to avoid putting pressure on that leg.

An early third-quarter play in which Brady was sacked by Chargers defensive end Luis Castillo also stood out to Jaworski.

"As he was in the pile, he was hit a little higher on that same ankle," Jaworski said. "So on the first one, he rolled the ankle on the plant, and on this one, a body rolled over it on the pile and he got up a little gingerly."

Former Chargers quarterback Dan Fouts touched on why the right foot is important to any righthanded quarterback.

"That's where it all starts," said Fouts, a broadcaster for ABC. "If you're coming from under center, that is your break, so when you get to the end of your drop[back], you push off it to accelerate forward off it."

On Monday, Brady described the injury as "nothing serious" in his weekly interview with WEEI and said there is no question he will play in Super Bowl XLII.

Running commentary

The run-blocking of tight end Benjamin Watson was one of the overlooked aspects of the Patriots' victory in the AFC Championship game. Coach Bill Belichick lauded Watson's work, as did fellow tight end Kyle Brady.

"Some of our successful plays were going directly over him; we were sending him in motion and running right over his side," Kyle Brady said.

One of Watson's best blocks came on a first-quarter end-around that Randy Moss took for 14 yards. Watson plowed into outside linebacker Shaun Phillips to open a lane for Moss.

Watson also was part of a successful three-tight end package, along with Brady and Stephen Spach, that was a catalyst for the Patriots' running success in the second half.

Opening shots

In an interview on HBO's "Inside the NFL," Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora put a spotlight on his upcoming matchup with Patriots left tackle Matt Light by accusing him of "hitting after the delay" and doing "a couple of things that he shouldn't have done" in the teams' first meeting Dec. 29.

"Now we are really going to go at it this time," Umenyiora said, adding that a couple of nasty words were exchanged.

Back to work

The Patriots return to Gillette Stadium today for their first practice as part of preparations for the Super Bowl . . . San Diego center Nick Hardwick continued his verbal assault against Patriots defensive lineman Richard Seymour yesterday, telling XX Sports Radio 1090 in San Diego that he felt Seymour head-butted a Chargers coach shortly before kickoff. After the game, Hardwick accused Seymour of dirty tactics, which Seymour denied, saying the proof was on the videotape of the game that teams receive . . . The referee assigned to work the Super Bowl, Mike Carey, also worked the Patriots-Giants regular-season finale.

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