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Report: Aaron Dobson inactive last 2 games for ‘mouthing off’ to Josh McDaniels

10.01.14 at 9:23 pm ET
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There was some question as to why the Patriots only dressed three wide receivers (Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and Brandon LaFell) in Monday’s 41-14 loss to the Chiefs, but now we may know why.

According to Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe, Aaron Dobson was inactive for the last two games because he “mouthed off” to offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

Dobson was a healthy inactive for Week 1 against the Dolphins, but he did miss much of the preseason recovering from foot surgery. The 2013 second-round pick played Week 2 in Minnesota catching one pass for 13 yards on two targets and then was a healthy inactive each of the last two weeks.

As a rookie the 6-foot-3 receiver caught 37 passes for 519 yards and four touchdowns, playing in 12 games.

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DB Nate Ebner (finger), OL Cameron Fleming (finger) miss Wednesday practice

10.01.14 at 6:41 pm ET
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Nate Ebner

Nate Ebner

Defensive back Nate Ebner (finger) and offensive lineman Cameron Fleming (finger) were the only two Patriots held out of practice by the team on Wednesday because of injury.

In addition, the Patriots listed four as limited, a group that includes linebackers Dont’a Hightower (knee) and Jamie Collins (thigh), as well as defensive end Chandler Jones (shoulder).

The Patriots continue preparing for their date with the Bengals Sunday night at Gillette Stadium.

Did Not Participate
DB Nate Ebner (finger)
OL Cameron Fleming (finger)

Limited Participation
LB Jamie Collins (thigh)
CB Alfonzo Dennard (shoulder)
LB Dont’a Hightower (knee)
DE Chandler Jones (shoulder)

Full Participation
TE Rob Gronkowski (knee)

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Read More: Alfonzo Dennard, Cameron Fleming, chandler jones, Dont'a Hightower

Patriots searching for identity going into Sunday’s matchup with Cincinnati

10.01.14 at 6:06 pm ET
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FOXBORO — There is a sense of unknown with the Patriots following the first four weeks of the season.

Last year the team was as mentally tough of any team in the Bill Belichick era, coming from a 24-0 halftime deficit against the Broncos to win in overtime, scoring with five seconds left to beat the Saints, 30-27 and also scoring two touchdowns in the final 61 seconds to beat the Browns, 27-26.

This season, following one of the worst losses in the Belichick-Tom Brady tenure –€“ a 41-14 shellacking by the Chiefs on Monday Night Football — the Patriots go into this Sunday night’€™s game with the Bengals not really knowing how it will respond as they have yet to build an identity.

“We’€™ll find out,”€ said special teams captain Matthew Slater. “€œI feel confident we’€™ll be a resilient group and be able to bounce back, but time will tell. It’€™s easy to sit here and talk about it, but hopefully we’€™ll go out there and do something about it.”

For the most part this year’s team is the same as the one last year with a few exceptions — most notably Darrelle Revis on defense and rookies Bryan Stork and Cameron Fleming on the offense line, along with the departures of Aqib Talib and Logan Mankins.

Even with a couple of younger players being mixed in, there is still a veteran presence, which can only help at a time like this.

“Every guy in this locker room has been in a situation where they haven’€™t played well or been on a good team and coming off a bad loss,”€ safety Devin McCourty said. “I think as football players we go through that — maybe not yet in the NFL — but throughout their college or high school careers. Your character or confidence as a individual player isn’€™t changed by that. I think we have good leadership so those young guys can look to us as the older guys in the locker room and see some of us played bad and we’€™ll be ready to go.”

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Read More: Bengals, Devin McCourty, Matthew Slater,

Tom Brady: ‘I can definitely do a better job’

10.01.14 at 5:48 pm ET
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Tamba Hali was able to get to Tom Brady for a strip sack in the second half of Monday's 41-14 loss to the Chiefs. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Tamba Hali was able to get to Tom Brady for a strip sack in the second half of Monday’s 41-14 loss to the Chiefs. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Is Tom Brady‘s game slipping?

Suddenly, after a 2-2 start, the quality of play from the Patriots quarterback is up for serious discussion and debate. On Wednesday, Brady was asked how he views himself in light of a start that has him completing less than 60 percent of his pass attempts after four games.

Numbers don’t tell the whole story with Brady. But they provide some perspective on the offensive struggles he’s had in trying to find rhythm in the offense. In addition to the 59 percent completion rate, Brady has four touchdowns, two interceptions, nine sacks, five fumbles and three strip sacks in four games. His QB rating of 79 is 16 points below his career average and his completion percentage is down four points.

“I can definitely do a better job, so I think that’€™s what I’€™m trying to focus on,” Brady said. “We’€™re 2-2. It’€™s not really where we necessarily want to be, but it’€™s where we’€™re at. We’€™ve got a lot of football ahead. We’€™re going to try to do a lot better job; all of us are. I don’€™t think we should feel sorry for ourselves. We’€™ve always found a way to kind of grind our way through tough times.

“Losing on the road on a Monday night is always tough, but obviously we’€™re not doing good enough, so we’€™ve got to work harder. We’€™ve got to understand what we need to do better individually so it helps each other collectively. I’€™m going to try to do the best I can do.”

Brady was then asked straight up: There are a lot of people that are doubting you. Do you feel like you’€™re past your prime?

“I’€™m trying to do the best job I can do,” Brady said. “I’€™ll try to go out there and play better and play as best as I possibly can each week. Some weeks it looks better than others, some weeks it doesn’€™t, but you’€™ve got to believe in your process and what you’€™re doing. It’€™s served me well. I’€™m going to try to keep working hard on the things I’€™m not doing a good job of, and hopefully that helps our team score more points.”

With all the speculation about whether Brady is happy with his supporting cast, the quarterback was asked if he felt he has the protection and tools to succeed.

“We’€™ll see,” Brady said. “We’€™ll see here in a couple months where we’€™re at, but we’€™ve got a lot of football to play. We’€™re trying to find the things that we do well, and we’€™re trying to find the things that we don’€™t do well. Like I said, we’€™re 2-2. It’€™s not a great record. It could be worse, could be better. We could all probably play better. We probably could’€™ve played worse, too. We’€™ve just got to try to find ways to do a better job.”

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Read More: Cincinnati Bengals, New England Patriots, Tom Brady,

Nate Solder: Urgency is ‘extremely high, as high as it can get’

10.01.14 at 4:43 pm ET
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FOXBORO –  Nate Solder and the rest of the offensive line know now over a month since Logan Mankins was traded, it’€™s time to pick it up.

“€œExtremely high, as high as it can get,”€ Solder described the urgency of the offensive line and team going into Sunday’€™s game with Cincinnati. “€œMoving forward we have to improve. We have to get better, we have to play better.”

Through four games this season quarterback Tom Brady has been sacked nine times and hurried another 38 times in 147 drop backs, per Pro Football Focus. Brady hasn’€™t put up the numbers he has in the past, as his 59.1 completion percentage is 14th in the AFC with only E.J. Manuel and Jake Locker being worse. Part of the reason for his low numbers is the pressure he’€™s been under and feeling uncomfortable in the pocket.

The team changed things up last week with starting two rookies in center Bryan Stork and Cameron Fleming, who moved to right guard from right tackle for the first time in his entire football life, and deactivated guard Jordan Devey who had started the first three games of the year.

When asked how the unit was operating without their former captain in Mankins, Solder explained it’€™s a group effort.

“œWe all work together,” he said. “€œWe have a captain with Dan [Connolly] and we have several guys that have played a lot of ball so we’€™re moving forward.”€

He added: “€œWe keep moving forward. We have plenty of guys that can do it.”

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Read More: Logan Mankins, Nate Solder,

Mike Petraglia, Chris Price on issues with Patriots, preview of Bengals

10.01.14 at 3:18 pm ET
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FOXBORO —’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss the many issues and problems facing Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the Patriots as they prepare to take on the 3-0 Cincinnati Bengals Sunday night at Gillette Stadium.

Read More: Chris Price, Cincinnati Bengals, Mike Petraglia, New England Patriots

Tom Brady talks team payroll and his offensive failures: ‘I hope they’re correctable’

10.01.14 at 12:53 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Questions about the Patriots’ organizational depth and quality are now being directed at Tom Brady.

Brady was asked Wednesday during his 10-minute press conference if he thinks the issues with the struggling offense are correctable based on the talent around him.

“I hope they’re correctable,” Brady said. “That’s what we’re trying to do and that’s why we go out and practice. There’s always going to be mistakes in football. Every team is very competitive. They have very good players. They draft high. They have a lot of talent. They have the same money they can spend on their team as we can spend our ours. It’s a tough league and when you don’t play, and certainly you don’t play well on the road, and we go behind, those are things we’ve got to try to correct. We have to try to certainly do a better job of playing from ahead and try to get ahead and stay ahead.

“It’s a great opportunity for us this week to do that. This is a team that also likes to get ahead and stay ahead. They’ve done that in all their games this year. That’s why they’ve been pretty successful.”

Brady is referring to the fact that the Bengals, the opponent Sunday night, have taken big leads in each of their first three games to post a 3-0 record.

Brady was asked if he heard the comments made by ESPN analysts Trent Dilfer and Steve Young, claiming that the Patriots ($11.4 million under the cap) aren’t spending nearly enough to provide him with the offensive weapons and line that he needs for protection.

“Nope,” Brady said. “I don’t. I haven’t paid attention and I probably don’t pay attention much because I understand what’s going on. I know probably a lot more information than you guys have, a lot more information than they have. We’re just trying to focus on things we can do to get better. I said earlier today that it’s not like we’re going to come out and say all the things. We’re going to try to let our opponents figure out the things we’re not doing well, the things we are doing well. It’s a long year so we have a lot of football to play.

“We have a lot of high character guys in our locker room. We have a lot of mentally tough guys and that’s what it takes. This is not the time to fold the tents up and call it a season. We’re 2-2. We’re tied for the best record in our division, not that that’s a great feat by any stretch but we’ll see what we’re made of as we continue to fight through these tough weeks. Hopefully, it builds character and resiliency. The mistakes that we made last week, we have to try to figure out a way to improve on those things so that we can come out and play a great game this week because that’s what it’s going to take.”

Read More: Cincinnati Bengals, ESPN, New England Patriots, Steve Young
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