ATLANTA — It is called the Patriots Way. Scoff if you will, roll your eyes if you must, but then, acknowledge the five Lombardi Trophies accumulated up in Foxborough, Mass. and admit no one does it better and there is something to the branding.
The way the Patriots operate under the stern direction of Bill Belichick is a way of winning. It is not a way of fun or great excitement or touchy-feely moments. The Patriots Way is real, though, time-tested and often brutally effective. On Sunday, the Rams will get their first indoctrination as to what this phenomenon is all about.
“They do it the right way, man,’’ Rams defensive lineman Michael Brockers said. “The Patriots never beat themselves, they don’t have a bunch of crazy penalties, they’re great in two-minute, they know situations and that’s what they’re all about. I think that’s what Belichick is all about. Understanding situations and being on top of everything that can happen.
Asked to define the Patriots Way, Brockers said “Just how well they work together. They’re very fundamentally sound. I think all the Patriots teams have been fundamentally sound, that’s what they believe in, and they don’t beat themselves.
“How you do things the right way, how you move during a game. The Patriots Way, I can see why they would it call it that because they’ve been doing it for so long.’’
So, how do the Rams combat, confront and overcome the Patriots Way?
“The biggest thing for us is to go out there and just play our game,’’ Brockers said. “I think a lot of people when they play the Patriots, they get, I don’t know, overzealous or something, just because it’s the Patriots. I think the biggest thing is you got to execute what you do.’’
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The Rams assembled here all week and dutifully took care of all their media obligations. The way they spoke about the Patriots made it clear they are not in awe of them, but they certainly understand what is in store for them in the Super Bowl.
“I got a lot of respect for the Patriots so my own version of that is the way they expect to do the right thing at all times,’’ guard Rodger Saffold said. “Not to make a bunch of mistakes, take care of the ball, be relentless on defense, that’s kind of what I think about that. But this is a crazy game, an imperfect game so things are gonna happen and so if we can limit the mistakes on or end we have a better chance to win.’’
Any chance this will all be intimidating to the Rams?
“Absolutely not, because those are still people on the other side of the ball,’’ Saffold said. “It comes down to when you got a guy across from you, who wants to win, who wants it more, you or him? For me it’s always gonna be me.’’