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Patriots welcome back Buddy Farnham

12.29.10 at 1:00 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The Patriots confirmed Wednesday that they have signed former Brown University star receiver Buddy Farnham.

Farnham was named the 2009 Ivy League and New England Player of the Year last as a senior at Brown. He completed the 2009 season with 1,003 receiving yards and 74 receptions. Farnham finished college with 229 catches, sixth in the Ivy League history, while his 2,895 career yards are seventh in Ivy League history.

The native of Andover, Mass. was with the team in training camp and was one of the final cuts at the end of the preseason. He fills the spot vacated on the practice squad when cornerback Tony Carter was promoted to the active roster Dec. 18.

This is technically the third tour of duty with the Patriots, who signed Farnham as a rookie free agent out of Brown on May 3, 2010 and was released on Aug. 9 before being re-signed on Aug. 15. He was released on the final cutdown on Sept. 4.

Bill Belichick takes his foot off the pedal

12.29.10 at 12:52 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Bill Belichick takes everything in account when mapping out his schedule for the players and coaches for the upcoming week – including blizzards and getting stuck overnight in Rochester, NY.

As a result, Belichick opened his press conference on Wednesday by announcing a bit of a surprise as players would not go through their customary workout but rather a longer walk-through with no pads or contact inside the Dana Farber Field House.

“We’re moving onto Miami today,” Belchick said. “We’re going to go up in the bubble and just have kind of a longer walk-through here. We got off to a little bit of a short week, short start there on Monday.

Belichick said the pull back to just a walk-through wasn’t necessarily an effort to get some of his players healthy for the playoffs.

“No, it’s just our preparations for the Dolphins,” Belichick added.

Meanwhile, Belichick did not provide any clues as to how much Tom Brady and other starters on offense and defense would play this weekend in a game that will have no impact on their position for the upcoming playoffs.

“I think we just approach each for what it is, don’t really worry about the standings and the records and all that, just try to get ready and then go out and compete on Sunday,” Belichick said.

The Patriots head into the regular season finale with a 13-2 record, having clinched the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs and home field advantage throughout while the Dolphins – eliminated on Dec. 19 in a home loss to the Bills – are just trying to finish with a .500 record, entering the game with a 7-8 mark. The Patriots will try to finish with a perfect regular season home record for the second straight season.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, nfl

Bill Belichick: Pro Bowl is clearly ‘secondary’

12.29.10 at 11:44 am ET
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FOXBORO — All eyes are on the main prize at Gillette Stadium, not a Hawaiian vacation.

While Bill Belichick was happy for the six Patriots selected to the AFC Pro Bowl squad – announced on Tuesday night – he made it clear Wednesday that it’s hardly one of the main goals that are ahead of the team.

“I’m happy for those players,” Belichick said. “I think they’ve all had good seasons. I think we have a lot of other players on our team who have had good seasons. I appreciate what everybody does but I think we’re all here for the team goal. So, what ever other individual accolades, they’re nice but I think they’re secondary.”

Leading vote-getter Tom Brady and left guard Logan Mankins were selected to the Pro Bowl team on the offensive side and both were named starters. On the defense, nose tackle Vince Wilfork was selected as a starter, while linebacker Jerod Mayo and defensive backs Devin McCourty and Brandon Meriweather were taken as reserves for the game on Jan. 30 in Hawaii.

If the Patriots advance to the Super Bowl in Dallas, all six will be excused from their commitment to the game since the Pro Bowl is the week prior to the game for the second straight year.

Last year in Miami, the NFL experimented with moving the Pro Bowl to the Super Bowl site and holding it on Sunday night to kick off Super Bowl week but reverted to the more tropical venue this year.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Brandon Meriweather, Devin McCourty, Jerod Mayo

Report: Patriots sign Buddy Farnham to practice squad

12.29.10 at 8:59 am ET
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Former Brown University standout Buddy Farnham was signed to the Patriots practice squad, according to an ESPN report. Farnham, a product of Andover, Mass., was with the team in training camp and was one of the final cuts at the end of the preseason. He fills the spot vacated on the practice squad when cornerback Tony Carter was promoted to the active roster Dec. 18.

Read More: Buddy Farnham,

WEEI NFL Power Rankings: Week 17

12.29.10 at 8:17 am ET
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The regular season is wrapping up, and for the first time this year, the Patriots are alone with the best record in the NFL. Tom Brady and his mistake-free Patriots are riding a seven-game winning streak and reside in the No. 1 spot in the WEEI NFL Power Rankings for the seventh straight week.

The Ravens fly north to the No. 2 spot which was previously occupied by the Falcons (5). The Saints (3) come marching into the top five after a Monday night win in Atlanta. Joining them among the league’s elite are the Steelers (4). They’ll need a win against the Browns to clinch the AFC North and a first-round bye.

Week 17 promises to be exciting, with many of the games having playoff implications. The Packers (8) will play the Bears (6) for a chance to secure the final wild card spot in the NFC. Meanwhile, the Giants (12) will play the Redskins (25) and hope the Packers lose for their opportunity to reach the playoffs. The Sunday night game features the Rams (17) and Seahawks (26) fighting for the NFC West crown.

1. (1) 13-2 Home-field advantage is officially secured throughout the playoffs for the Patriots ‘€” giving them two weeks off from playing a meaningful game. The Pats will have the luxury of resting their starters Sunday if Bill Belichick chooses to do so. A well-rested, Belichick-coached, Brady-led Patriots team is a scary thing for any opponent that has to go into New England during the playoffs.

2. (4) 11-4 The Ravens are a Super Bowl contender for sure. They have veteran leadership on defense, have a great run game, and will go into the playoffs knowing they are the only team to beat a Brady-led Patriots team at Gillette Stadium during the postseason.

3. (7) 11-4 The defending Super Bowl champs will cruise into the playoffs with lots of momentum. The Saints have won seven of their last eight games and managed to give Matt Ryan just his second loss at home in three years. Drew Brees will have to protect the football better in the playoffs if the Saints want to have a real shot at reaching Dallas. Last year the veteran quarterback threw just 11 interceptions; he already has 21 in 2010.

4. (6) 11-4 The Steelers can clinch the AFC North and a first-round bye with a win against the Browns on Sunday. Don’t forget, Pittsburgh lost to Cleveland last year in December, preventing the Steelers from making the playoffs. You can be sure the Browns will be looking to beat their division rival again and knock them down a few seeds in the playoffs.

5. (2) 12-3 The NFC South title and the No. 1 seed in the conference can be wrapped up with a victory against the two-win Panthers on Sunday. The Falcons need to bounce back from their tough loss to the Saints. The reason why the Falcons have been so successful this year is because they protect the football and have a balanced offense. In Monday night’s loss they made a key turnover and had a lack of production from the run game.

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Read More: NFL Power Rankings,

Six Patriots named to AFC Pro Bowl squad

12.28.10 at 7:36 pm ET
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Six Patriots were named to the AFC Pro Bowl roster on Tuesday night, as quarterback Tom Brady, offensive lineman Logan Mankins and defensive lineman Vince Wilfork were named Pro Bowl starters, while inside linebacker Jerod Mayo, rookie cornerback Devin McCourty and safety Brandon Meriweather were got the nod as backups, the NFL announced Tuesday night.

The six is tied for fourth most in franchise history. It is the sixth Pro Bowl selection for Brady (2001, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2010), third for Mankins (2007, 2009 and 2010), third for Wilfork (2007, 2009 and 2010) and second for Meriweather (2009 and 2010). Meanwhile, Mayo and McCourty were named for the first time in their careers.

Read More: Brandon Meriweather, Devin McCourty, Jerod Mayo, Logan Mankins

Nick Caserio knows Patriots have bigger goals than Pro Bowl

12.28.10 at 4:14 pm ET
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The Patriots have been here before. A sensational season with a remarkable record and not a lot of Pro Bowlers on their roster.

With top vote-getter Tom Brady the only Pro Bowl certainty for the Patriots, Patriots personnel director Nick Caserio said that’s just fine by the organization and the players, despite their tremendous 13-2 season.

“I think it’€™s hard to reward every player that’€™s here,” Caserio said Tuesday. “The Pro Bowl, it is what it is. I think we all kind of know how that’€™s voted. It’€™s a fan vote. It’€™s a player vote. There are a number of things that go into it. I’€™d say that there are a number of players this year that have made a significant contribution to our team in some capacity. So I mean, that’€™s the most important thing and I think the players will probably tell you that as well.”

On the defensive side, nose tackle Vince Wilfork is expected to receive serious consideration. Other names to consider are receiver Wes Welker, tight end Rob Gronkowski – who leads all rookie tight ends with nine touchdowns – and guard Logan Mankins, even though he missed half of the season in a contract dispute.

Then there’s defensive captain Jerod Mayo, who has anchored the Patriots linebackers unit through inexperience and injury to become a force in the last half of the season.

“Jerod’€™s played very well for us,” coach Bill Belichick said hours before the teams were to be announced. “He’€™s done a very nice job as a captain, providing a lot of plays on the field and a lot of leadership and preparation off the field.

“I haven’€™t seen all the players play – just the ones we’€™ve played against ‘€“ and I’€™m familiar with them, but I know there are a lot of other outstanding players in the league. If I could vote for our own players, I’€™d vote for a lot of them, but, again, the people that see them all play’€¦ We’€™ll see how it all comes out. But, he’€™s certainly done a good job for us and he’€™s had a real good season.”

The AFC and NFC squads will be announced on the NFL Network during a special selection show tonight at 7 p.m. ET.

“It’€™s nice to be recognized league-wide, but the most important thing is the recognition they receive and the respect that they receive from the players that they are with on a day-to-day basis,” Caserio said. “That’€™s the most important thing. There have been a number of players who have made contributions at different points of the year, and in the end, that’€™s the most important thing.

“There are a lot of great players that play in this league and unfortunately, they don’€™t have the opportunity to go to the Pro Bowl, but a lot of that is sort of out of their control. I think our players’€¦you can ask them what they think, but I think it’€™s nice just when you get contributions from as many players and you can within your program, and you want them to do well and be successful.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Jerod Mayo, Logan Mankins, nfl
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