The Bengals offense will need to be high-powered to beat the Patriots in Week 6 and one player who will have a chance to make an impact in the game is former Patriots wide receiver Brandon LaFell. Currently the Bengals’ No. 2 receiver on the depth chart, LaFell scored his first two touchdowns for Cincinnati last Sunday in Dallas. He’ll look to continue scoring against his former team in the stadium he used to call home.
“We just didn’t listen to (anybody) outside the locker room,” Brandon LaFell said this week, looking back on his time in New England, and specifically reflecting on the game the Patriots lost to the Chiefs that sparked Bill Belichick’s now famous, “we’re on to Cincinnati” quotation.
“Whoever was going to fix it were the guys in the locker room. Just like I said after (the Dallas game), if it’s going to get fixed it’s going to take all 53 guys in this locker room to fix it,” LaFell said “It wasn’t going to take the media. It wasn’t going to take family members outside. We believed in each other and we knew what type of team we had. We just knew we couldn’t go out there and make those silly mistakes like we did the previous week in Kansas City.”
LaFell will now try to do what he did with the Patriots in 2014 and prove that the Bengals’ loss in Dallas was a fluke and not indicative of where the team’s 2016 season is headed.
Tom Brady expressed optimism this week regarding his former teammate, who played a pivotal role in the Patriots’ 2014 Super Bowl win.
“He’s a great teammate,” Brady said in a conference call with the Cincinnati media. “He made a huge contribution to our team. Selfless … He brought a good attitude every day. We spent a lot of time together. That’s why we developed a great relationship. We lockered next to each other the whole time he was here. I enjoyed being around him. It’s tough to see him go.”
Beyond the LaFell-Patriots connection, let’s take a look at the other Bengals-Patriots connections.
Ohio area connections:
- New England DB Nate Ebner went to Ohio State and grew up in Dublin, Ohio.
- Patriots OL Joe Thuney is originally from Centerville, Ohio (Alter High School).
- New England cornerbacks coach Josh Boyer is originally from Heath, Ohio. He was a four-year starter at Muskingum College and later served as a graduate assistant at University of Dayton in 2001.
- Patriots offensive coordinator/quarterbacks Josh McDaniels, director of player personnel Nick Caserio, assistant quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski and director of pro personnel Dave Ziegler all played college football together at John Carroll University, located in University Heights, Ohio.
- Patriots TE Greg Scruggs is from Cincinnati (St. Xavier High School) and played at Louisville.
Massachusetts area connections:
- Bengals secondary coach Kevin Coyle played at the University of Massachusetts, and coached at Holy Cross from 1984-90.
- Bengals strength and conditioning coach Chip Morton is from Hamden, Connecticut.
Former Patriots who are Bengals:
- Bengals WR Brandon LaFell played for the Patriots from 2014-15. In the Super Bowl XLIX win against Seattle (2/1/15), LaFell recorded four receptions for 29 yards and one touchdown.
Former Bengals who are Patriots:
- Patriots FB James Develin played on the Bengals’ practice squad from 2010-11.
Former NFL teammates:
- Bengals LB Karlos Dansby played with Patriots DL Alan Branch and G Jonathan Cooper at the Arizona Cardinals. Dansby also played with New England LB Jonathan Freeny on the Dolphins and played for the team when Patriots tight ends coach Brian Daboll was the offensive coordinator in Miami.
- Cincinnati CB Adam Jones played with New England WR Danny Amendola and TE Martellus Bennett at the Dallas Cowboys.
- Bengals K Mike Nugent played for the Jets when Patriots tight ends coach Brian Daboll was the quarterbacks coach in New York.
- Cincinnati G Eric Winston played for the Chiefs when Daboll was the offensive coordinator in Kansas City.
- Nugent also played with Patriots DL Alan Branch at the Arizona Cardinals.
- Bengals HB Giovani Bernard, C Russell Bodine and Patriots G Jonathan Cooper played together at North Carolina.
- Cincinnati G Christian Westerman and LB Vontaze Burfict were teammates with Patriots RB D.J. Foster at Arizona State.
- Bengals HB Rex Burkhead and New England DT Vincent Valentine were teammates at Nebraska.
- Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton and Patriots OL Marcus Cannon played together at Texas Christian.
- Bengals G Kevin Zeitler and WR Alex Erickson were teammates with Patriots RB James White at Wisconsin.
- Cincinnati LS Clark Harris played at Rutgers when Patriots DB Devin McCourty was a member of the Scarlet Knights.
- Bengals HB Ryan Hewitt played with Patriots OL Cameron Fleming and DB Jordan Richards at Stanford.
- Cincinnati S George Iloka and New England LB Shea McClellin were defensive teammates at Boise State.
- Bengals QB AJ McCarron and CB Dre Kirkpatrick played at Alabama with Patriots LB Don’t’a Hightower and were with the team when New England special teams coach Joe Judge was the football analyst/special teams assistant for the Crimson Tide.
- McCarron also played with Patriots DB Cyrus Jones at Alabama.
- Cincinnati TE Tyler Kroft played with Patriots DB Duron Harmon and CB Logan Ryan at Rutgers.
- Bengals TE C.J. Uzomah played with New England DB Jonathan Jones at Auburn.
- Cincinnati S Shawn Williams played with Patriots C David Andrews and WR Malcolm Mitchell at Georgia.
- Bengals HB Jeremy Hill and WR James Wright played with Patriots LB Barkevious Mingo at Louisiana State.