FOXBOROUGH — Patriots safety Jabrill Peppers offered a mea culpa Friday for being caught on a hot mike by NFL Films after last Sunday’s game telling Giants running back Saquon Barkley “you lucky we [expletive]” following New York’s 10-7 win.
“First of all, I just want to apologize to my teammates and coaches for even having to answer questions about that,” Peppers said after Friday’s practice. “We have more important things to worry about than me being caught on a hot mike.
“But at the end of the day, we’re 2-9, we have a top-five pick in the draft that didn’t come via trade. We all know the standard, we all know what it’s supposed to look like, and it’s not that right now.
“No need to blame anyone but myself. It’s my seventh year in the league, I’m 28 years old. I know better. I was a little frustrated. I know I’m smiling [in the clip], but I was very, very angry. That’s one that I wanted. But at the end of the day, we’re not doing enough to get it done right now. And we all know that.”
The veteran defensive back took issue with the decision to air what he thought was a private conversation with an acquaintance such as Barkley.
“I don’t think it was right that they put that out, because a lot of things are said on that football field,” Peppers said. “I know there’s multiple people miked up game in and game out that they don’t put out. So I was kind of taken aback by that.
“But at the end of the day, I own everything I say, and I’m not running from it. This Sunday, we’ve got a chance to go out there, build momentum, and get this bad taste out of our mouths, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Peppers, who has been consistently accountable throughout a rough season, later reiterated his initial statement, adding half-jokingly that he didn’t give Barkley a chance to let him know he was wired for sound.
“I just want to apologize again, man, because I never want to be a distraction,” said Peppers, who is fourth on the team in tackles (62), adding one sack, one interception, and a fumble recovery. “We have enough games to worry about around here. I try and be the guy who goes out there and leads by example. Play hard down in and down out.
“But like I said, we all own that. I want to be a part of the solution. The guys in here, they know me. They know I speak my mind. I just got caught on a hot mike.”
Peppers also offered a defense of Patriots coach Bill Belichick, saying it’s a lack of execution that has the roster looking at a 2-9 record, not the coach.
“We’ve got one of the best coaches to ever coach, and he comes in week after week telling us what we have to do to win this game, who we have to stop, how we have to go about business,” he said.
“Time and time again, week after week, it comes up in the game exactly how he said it, and we don’t capitalize on our opportunities. It’s frustrating.”
Kicker Chad Ryland is reading the book “Atomic Habits” by James Clear, a New York Times bestseller that details ways to change your habits and get 1 percent better every day.
Ryland could use that sort of boost, especially in the wake of his game-ending miss against the Giants that cost the Patriots a shot at overtime. Ryland says he’s had a good week of practice, and remains confident if he’s called upon Sunday against the Chargers.
“Just trying to get 1 percent better every day,” Ryland said. “Continue to climb in the right direction.”
Ryland, who was retained at the end of training camp after a positional battle with Nick Folk, is well aware as to why the Patriots brought in practice squad kicker Matthew Wright.
“Every place I’ve been, there have been guys I’ve been in competition with,” said Ryland, who is 12 for 18 on field goal attempts this season. “I think that’s the NFL. Everyone is competing for a limited number of spots every day.”
Brown escapes punishment
Giants linebacker Cam Brown was not fined for the fourth-quarter hit on Demario Douglas last Sunday that knocked Douglas out of the game … Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster said the best sort of catches are the ones that come on fourth down. “I love that stuff,” he said. “There’s no better feeling than knowing that it’s fourth down, you’re on the field, and you can actually keep the drive going. Keep that momentum going. I love that.”