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Patriots place DL Sealver Siliga on short-term injured reserve, sign DL Casey Walker

09.27.14 at 1:09 pm ET
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The Patriots announced Saturday they have placed defensive lineman Sealver Siliga on injured reserve (foot) with a designation to return, which means he’s eligible to return against the Lions in Week 12. To fill his roster spot, they signed first-year defensive lineman Casey Walker off the Panthers practice squad.

Here’s a portion of the press release on the move:

Walker, 24, originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with Carolina out of Oklahoma on April 30, 2013. The 6-foot-1, 340-pounder appeared in 33 games with 22 starts at Oklahoma and compiled 49 tackles, one sack, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and two passes defensed. Walker spent part of the 2013 season on the Carolina practice squad and went to training camp with Carolina this past summer. He was released on Aug. 30 and signed to the Carolina practice squad on Aug. 31.

Siliga suffered a foot injury in the first half against Oakland last Sunday. He played in the first three games with two starts and registered eight total tackles.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Casey Walker, Sealver Siliga,

Sealver Siliga missing from start of Saturday practice

09.27.14 at 1:02 pm ET
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Sealver Siliga

Sealver Siliga

Defensive lineman Sealver Siliga was the only player not spotted at the start of Patriots practice on Saturday, according to reports.

Siliga, who is dealing with what the team is calling a foot injury, has missed practice all week since injuring his foot in last Sunday’s win over the Raiders. With the appearance of a new (unidentified) player at the start of Saturday’s practice and all 10 practice squad players present, it’s reasonable to wonder if Siliga has been placed on short-term injured reserve.

The Patriots continue preparing for Monday’s game against the Chiefs in Kansas City.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Sealver Siliga,

Bill Belichick praises work ethic, intelligence and versatility of Bryan Stork, Ryan Wendell

09.27.14 at 12:14 pm ET
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Ryan Wendell

Ryan Wendell

One of the things the Patriots have always valued in their offensive linemen is versatility, and this year is no different. New England has been able to run out several offensive linemen who have experience at multiple positions — that has allowed the coaching staff to do some mixing and matching while it tries to find the best combination for an offensive line that’s struggling over the course of the first three games.

The fact that Dan Connolly was limited at practice this week with what the team is calling a foo injury means that rookie Bryan Stork and veteran Ryan Wendell might be doing some shuffling. Stork, who stepped in at center in the late stages of last week’s win over the Raiders, arrives at the NFL level with a peerless resume, having played some guard before moving to the pivot, where he eventually won the Rimington Award last year as college football’s best center. A captain and three-year starter at Florida State, he was a part of last season’s national championship team.

“[He] played obviously in a good program down there, played for a real good coach ‘€“ [Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line] Coach [Rick] Trickett,” Belichick said Saturday. “He was strong; he was part of the Florida State workout the day we were there. He’€™s an athletic kid that runs fairly well. He’€™s a smart football player. He’€™s into football.

“He’€™s really a football guy; loves football, works really hard at football. He wants to be a football player and he’€™s dedicated himself to it; all those qualities that you love in any player but especially an offensive linemen. He’€™s got strength; he’€™s got a good frame for a center. He’€™s got good length and height. He played in a good program, he’€™s well coached, pretty good fundamental player. I thought he was as good as any center that we saw this year, the last couple years.”

A rookie center not only has the challenge of getting in sync with the rest of the line, but developing a relationship with the quarterback. But Belichick said Saturday that’s not the biggest challenge.

“I would say the passing game in general I think is the biggest change for the offensive line,” Belichick said when asked about rookie adjustments. “It’€™s more for the center than for the other positions relative to the amount of variables and the communication with the quarterback and then the cadence and actual timing and delivery of the snap and so forth.

“It’€™s not easy. It’€™s not easy to play offensive line in this league and it’€™s not easy to play center and it’€™s not easy to play center as a rookie.”
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Read More: Bill Belichick, Bryan Stork, ryan wendell,

Nate Solder: ‘I don’t think confidence has been a problem’ with offensive line

09.26.14 at 6:56 pm ET
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FOXBORO — It’s been a brutal week of criticism for everyone along the Patriots’ offensive line.

Even Tom Brady dropped very subtle hints this week that he needs more time to “make better decisions” and expressed concern that sometimes teams “flatten out” in their improvement and never get above a certain level.

But all of that has done nothing to shake the confidence of one those who has heard the most criticism since the Patriots escapted 16-9 Sunday against the Raiders. Nate Solder figures to once again be the starting left tackle, assigned to slowing down Tamba Hali or Justin Houston. Solder says neither he nor any of his offensive line teammates are in a confidence of crisis.

“I don’t think confidence has been a problem,” Solder insisted Friday after practice. “We’ve been building steadily the whole year and we’re going to continue to do that.

“We’re working hard to fix everything. At this point, it’s just a building process. Things hopefully improve but you never know until game day so we work hard every day to make it better.”

As for slowing Hali or Houston, Solder knows what he’s up against.

“Exceptional players, play really hard and make a lot of plays. Huge challenge for us,” Solder said.

Even with the struggles of the offensive line against the Dolphins and Raiders, Solder and Sebastian Vollmer appear to be fairly secure at the left and right tackle spots, respectively. It’s the interior line where the Patriots might decide to shake things up, especially with veteran center Ryan Wendell not appearing on the injury report.

After struggling through the first three games of the season, the Patriots offensive line is looking forward to showing that it can perform at a higher level when it takes the field Monday night in Kansas City.

If the Patriots decide to shake up the offensive line, such as starting rookie Bryan Stork at center, moving Dan Connolly to right guard or even swapping out left guard Marcus Cannon, they’ll be doing do in one of the most hostile environments in football – Arrowhead Stadium. But Solder, who played in the Big 12 at Colorado, says he’s not overly concerned.

“I imagine the crowd will get into it at some point but our main opponent is the Chiefs so that’s what we’re really focused on.”

Read More: Justin Houston, Kansas City Chiefs, Nate Solder, New England Patriots

Sealver Siliga (foot) misses practice again while Joe McKnight ruled out Monday

09.26.14 at 6:03 pm ET
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Sealver Siliga addresses reporters at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Sealver Siliga addresses reporters at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — Defensive lineman Sealver Siliga was again the only Patriots player missing from practice on Friday, as the team released its second formal participation report of the week, leading up to their game Monday night in Kansas City. Siliga injured his foot in the first half Sunday against the Raiders and did not return. The formal availability list doesn’t come out until Saturday, 48 hours before the game, but it would appear highly unlikely Siliga is available. The team signed defensive lineman Ben Bass to the practice squad on Friday for added roster depth.

There were no changes to the Patriots practice participation report Friday, as tight end Rob Gronkowski (knee) and linebacker Jamie Collins (thigh) remain on the list were officially limited once again.

The news of the day came on the Kansas City side, where running back Joe McKnight, who had six catches for 64 yards in the win over Miami, missed practice Friday and was ruled out for Monday night. McKnight saw action in Miami after Jamaal Charles missed the game with a high-ankle sprain. Charles practice again on a limited basis but would appear ready to return to action against the Patriots.

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid indicated Thursday that he believes the running back will be ready to play Monday night against the Patriots.

“Yeah, I think so,” Reid said Thursday when asked if Charles would practice this week and play on Monday. “He’s going to practice. We’ll see how he does.”

Additionally for the Chiefs, safety Eric Berry is nursing an ankle injury and did not practice for a second straight day.

Here’s the complete report:

Did not participate
DT Sealver Siliga (ankle)

Limited
DE Michael Buchanan (ankle)
LB Jamie Collins (thigh)
OL Dan Connolly (knee)
CB Alfonzo Dennard (shoulder)
TE Rob Gronkowski (knee)
S Don Jones (hamstring)

Read More: Jamaal Charles, Joe McKnight, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots

Patriots bring back DL Ben Bass, release OL Chris Martin from practice squad

09.26.14 at 5:45 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Ben Bass is back with the Patriots.

The Patriots announced Friday that they signed the 24-year-old defensive lineman to the practice squad while released offensive lineman Chris Martin from the practice squad to make room. Bass was at Patriots practice on Friday, wearing No. 93 while Martin was not spotted at practice.

Bass was initially acquired by the Patriots in a trade with the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for DB Justin Green on Aug. 15, 2014. The 6-foot-5, 295-pounder, was released by the Patriots on Aug. 26. He originally joined the Cowboys in 2012 as a rookie free agent out of Texas A&M on May 14, 2012, and spent most of the 2012 season on the Cowboys’€™ practice squad before being activated to the 53-man roster on Nov. 13, 2013.

Bass appeared in two games as a rookie before being placed on injured reserve on Dec. 1, 2012. He went to training camp with the Cowboys in 2013 but was placed on injured reserve prior to the start of the regular season.

Martin, 24, was originally signed by Houston as a rookie free agent out of Central Florida on May 16, 2014. The 6-foot-5, 305-pounder, was released by Houston on May 27 and signed by the Patriots on June 23, 2014. Martin was released on Aug. 30 and signed to the practice squad on Sept. 1.

Read More: Ben Bass, Chris Martin, New England Patriots,

Video: ‘4th & Goal’ previews Patriots-Chiefs

09.26.14 at 2:24 pm ET
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WEEI.com’s Patriots writer Chris Price previews the Week 4 Monday Night Football match-up between the Patriots and Chiefs. Find out the keys to the game as well as Chris’ score prediction.

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