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Vic Carruci on The Big Show: “The Pats come out with at least one touchdown return”

10.23.10 at 9:51 am ET
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NFL.com analyst Vic Carruci stopped by The Big Show to discuss the lack of star NFC teams, the new policy on illegal hits, and Rodney Harrison‘€™s comments. Sunday’€™s slates of games seem to be dominated by the discussion of possible fines and suspensions for illegal hits: ‘€œHow many parents took a look of what happened last week and maybe looked at junior and said ‘€˜You know what, I don’€™t know if I want him playing this game.’€™ And that’€™s going to be hurtful to the league down the line.’€

Following are some highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, visit The Big Show audio on demand page here.

On San Diego Chargers: What is a locker room like that going to be like?

It seems to me the biggest thing that won’€™t’€™ show up in those offensive and defensive numbers is their special teams. Those are an utter joke. Those are laughably bad. That’€™s embarrassingly bad .To have a special teams that literally can’€™t cover ever at any time. And I think of this game, coming up. This should be right in their bailiwick. I’€™m thinking the Pats come out of this game with at least one touchdown return.

Dallas Cowboys: If Dallas loses, those people will not only be pissed off about their team but they won’€™t care about the Super Bowl being played in their town:

I think there’€™s a middle ground for those folks. The interesting thing about the Cowboys is the statistical anomaly where they are third in offense overall, fourth in defense, and tenth against the run. They have found weird ways to lose. They have lost all their games by seven or fewer points. They are talented but they are third in the league in penalties, and that’€™s the stat that jumps out at you there. Here’€™s the other thing; five games left, starting with the Giants, within their division. I would not be shocked in the least if we’€™re having a whole different conversation about Dallas in a few weeks.

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Read More: Concussions, Dallas Cowboys, NFL Policy, Rodney Harrison

Jonathan Kraft on The Big Show: ‘I absolutely support Brandon Meriweather’

10.22.10 at 9:35 pm ET
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Patriots President Jonathan Kraft joined The Big Show to talk NFL concussion policy, Brandon Meriweather‘€™s fine, and Saturday’€™s UNH/UMASS game at Gillette Stadium.

Following are some highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, visit The Big Show Audio-on-Demand page here.

What do you make of the new policies about hitting defenseless players?

Here’€™s what I do know, and here’€™s what I see is that our athletes are just superhuman in a lot of respects so the game … has gotten so much faster with guys who are so much stronger. And it’€™s just evolution. And I think we have a rule that forbids not only helmet-to-helmet contact but launching into the head or neck area of a defenseless receiver or a defenseless person on the field. It can also be on a turnover; a defensive player going into what have you, an offensive player from the side or from behind. So you are not supposed to do that. That has been in our rulebooks but I’€™m not sure it’€™s gotten’€¦; the game has evolved and as a point of emphasis it hasn’€™t been focused on the way it should be. And after a weekend we had this past weekend, I think like the league office said, ‘€˜It doesn’€™t look like people are taking the letter of the law seriously. We’€™re going to make a big statement.’

Clearly [Patriots linebacker Brandon Meriweather] Brandon’€™s hit was way outside the bounds of that rule. Brandon’€™s on our team, I absolutely support him as a member of the Patriots. And I think unlike some of the other players involved, Brandon stepped up, apologized, acknowledged he did something wrong and said we’€™re moving on and didn’€™t contemplate retirement or anything else.

There seems to be a fine line. Unfortunately it is a pretty rough game isn’€™t it?

It’€™s an extremely rough game. And I think all the League is doing is putting a renewed spotlight and emphasis on the fact that blows to the head and neck of defenseless players who are in the act of receiving or bringing the ball under control aren’€™t going to be tolerated. And 15 yards, if that’€™s what you’€™re going to get on the field the ref, at his discretion, will have the right to eject you. But then beyond that, the financial penalties are going to be severe and you can get suspended. And you know what, the players will evolve and the game won’€™t change. The game will be better because the players will be healthier. With all the rule changes that have happened, this is a rule, it’€™s not something new that’€™s happening midseason. This is a rule that was on the books at the start of the year. It’€™s sort of like we took the wedge out of the kick return game. You were no longer allowed to have a wedge of more than two people. I think people thought that was going to hurt the return game. And I don’€™t have the exact statistics, but we might be having through the first six weeks of the season the most return yardage on kickoffs that we’€™ve had in over two decades. So I think teams adjust and I think players will adjust and it’€™s about making out game better. I get why guys who played decades ago who know what they did and how they did it have some kind of visceral reaction to it. But this is the right thing and my guess is the game will be better for it.

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Read More: Brandon Meriweather, Concussions, Jonathan Kraft, NFL Policy

Police say they won’t charge Seau

10.22.10 at 9:12 pm ET
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Prosecutors in San Diego tell the Associated Press that they won’t charge former Patriots linebacker Junior Seau after his live-in girlfriend alleged she was assaulted. The San Diego County district attorney’s office said Friday that it reached its decision after reviewing an investigation by police.

Seau, 41, was arrested early Monday on suspicion of domestic violence. Police said his 25-year-old girlfriend reported that she was assaulted during an argument. Seau quickly posted bail ‘€” however, shortly after that, his SUV plunged down a seaside cliff. Seau escaped serious injury.

The linebacker played for the Patriots from 2006 through 2009.

Read More: Junior Seau,

Nuggetpalooza’s Around the NFL – Week 7

10.22.10 at 6:24 pm ET
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Get ready for all of the NFL action with a boatload of stat nuggets and observations from around the league:

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NFL

* – Each team averaged just 1.32 turnovers last weekend, the lowest mark for a single week since Week 17 of the 2008 season.

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Bengals at Falcons

* – The Falcons have allowed two touchdowns in the first quarter in three of their last four games. Prior to that, they had not allowed multiple touchdowns in the first quarter in any of their last 36 games (2007).

* – Atlanta has put together 14 drives of 10 or more plays this season, and scored points on 13 of them (93 percent), the highest percentage in the league (minimum seven such drives). However, 10 of those scores have been field goals, leading to an average of 3.64 points per drive, which ranks 13th. Cincinnati has allowed just five such drives all season (ranked second).

* – Despite already having their bye week, the Bengals’ 12 false start penalties lead the league.

* – Cincinnati is 5-for-5 on fourth down this season.

* – Atlanta ranks second in covering kickoffs, allowing an average of 16.6 yards per return, after limiting Philadelphia to a 6.3 yard average on three returns last weekend. Offensively, Cincinnati ranks 30th, averaging just 18.4 yards per return.

* – 50 percent of the Bengals running plays have gone left, the highest percentage in the NFL.  It makes sense, as the Bengals have REALLY struggled when running up the middle, averaging a league-worst 1.89 yards per carry.

* – The Falcons allowed 11.2 yards per pass attempt last week against the Eagles, the highest average allowed by Atlanta in a game since 2006 (58 games).

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49ers at Panthers

* – The 49ers have been flagged for five intentional grounding penalties already this season. No other team has more than one.

* – The Panthers have been successful (gained four or more yards) on first down just 34 percent of the time, the lowest percentage in the league. The 49ers are now 12th at this on defense (45 percent) after holding Oakland to 33 percent (7-for-21) last Sunday.

* – San Francisco’s offense has been stuffed (lost yardage) on running plays just eight times this season, the fewest in the league. Meanwhile, Carolina’s defense has recorded 23 stuffs, the most in the league.

* – Carolina is averaging 2.45 yards per carry when running right, the lowest in the NFL.

* – The Panthers have had a league-high 5.3 percent of their pass attempts batted at the line of scrimmage.

* – Last Sunday, San Francisco’s defense recorded a QB knockdown or hurry on 48 percent of Oakland’s pass plays, the highest in the league.

* – An NFL-high 29 percent of Carolina’s passing yards have come on completions to their running backs in 2010.

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Redskins at Bears

* – Chicago has scored four touchdowns in the first quarter this year. They managed just three during all of last season.

* – The Bears have converted just 17 percent of their third down opportunities this season (ranked last) after their terrible 0-for-12 performance last week. It was the 14th time since 1994 that a team has had 12 or more third down opportunities without any successful conversions. Four of those have been by the Bears and two of those four have come this month.

* – Washington has been stuffed on 16.4 percent of their rushes this season, the highest percentage in the league, while the Bears defense has stuffed their opponents 15.9 percent of the time, also the highest percentage in the league.

* – Chicago rushers have averaged just 1.48 yards per carry following contact this season, the lowest such average in the NFL.

* – The Bears have attempted six passes to running backs more than 10 yards downfield this season and are 1-for-6 (with a touchdown). No other team hs attempted more than three such passes.

—————————————————————————————————————————– Read the rest of this entry »

Chargers Injury Report: Gates does not practice, is questionable

10.22.10 at 5:08 pm ET
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Chargers Injury Report for Friday
Did Not Participate

LB Larry English (foot) OUT
K Nate Kaeding (groin) OUT
WR Malcolm Floyd (hamstring) doubtful
WR Legedu Naanee (hamstring) doubtful
TE Antonio Gates (toe) questionable

Limited Participation
Kion Wilson (ankle) questionable

Full Participation
WR Buster Davis (ribs) probable
RB Ryan Mathews (ankle) probable

Read More: Chargers, injury report,

Patriots Injury Report for Friday

10.22.10 at 5:00 pm ET
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Patriots Injury Report for Friday
Did Not Participate

S Jarrad Page (calf) OUT
RB Fred Taylor (toe) OUT

Limited Participation
CB Kyle Arrington (groin) questionable
WR Julian Edelman (concussion) questionable

Full Participation
QB Tom Brady (right shoulder) probable
S James Sanders (hamstring) probable

Read More: injury report, Patriots,

Peter King on D&H: ‘Colts are in trouble’

10.22.10 at 12:55 pm ET
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Sports Illustrated columnist and NBC Sports reporter Peter King made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Friday to talk about the major stories around the NFL. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

King said he does not expect that the game will change much despite the emphasis on penalizing hits to the head.

“I think that the launching part of it is what’s going to get players in trouble in the coming weeks,” he said. “And I do believe that the NFL will suspend a player or two or three in the coming weeks just to send the message that they are going to stay on point and they are going to be serious about making sure that players abide by the rules, particularly when it comes to hitting people in the helmet.”

Added King: “The bottom line in this is this is an attempt by the league to make sure that they delay the next Darryl Stingley, Dennis Byrd, Mike Utley as long as possible. Something’s going to happen. ‘€¦ I think that part of what the NFL did is sort of further insurance to a ‘not on my watch’ thing ‘€” ‘We don’t want another Darryl Stingley happening.’ ”

Talking about the James Harrison situation, King said Steelers coach Mike Tomlin gave the linebacker Wednesday off for fear of what he might say to the media, and the player never was going to forgo all his money and retire because he was fined. “I think Tomlin was basically trying to protect him from himself,” King said. “And I think the second reason is that they knew that James Harrison was going to be in no shape to be around his teammates that day. That was Tomlin’s decision more than it was Harrison’s.”

The Colts placed tight end Dallas Clark on injured reserve Friday, the latest blow to a team stung by injuries. “The Colts are in trouble,” King said. “And I think the biggest problem, obviously, is Dallas Clark. As much as Peyton Manning loves throwing the ball to Reggie Wayne, his personal security blanket is Dallas Clark. That is going to be a very difficult one to overcome. ‘€¦ I really wonder how much the Colts can take. That is a very, very serious blow for the Indianapolis Colts.”

Looking at the Patriots-Chargers game, King said it’s difficult to predict what to expect as a number of San Diego players have missed practice this week due to injuries and their status for Sunday is unclear. “As long as [Philip] Rivers is there, you’re always going to have a chance, but I just wonder about his quality of weapons and the health of his weapons Sunday,” he said. “That’s why I picked the Patriots to win the game.”

Added King: “I always give an edge to the desperate team. And the Chargers clearly would be the desperate team in this game. But it’s like, no [Dustin] Pedroia, no [Kevin] Youkilis. The Chargers are a wounded animal right now.”

Touching on the Brett Favre controversy, King said: “I still find it hard to believe he that he gets suspended. I wouldn’t be surprised if he got fined for tarnishing the shield, if this is true. ‘€¦ I still believe at the end of the day it’s his elbow that will knock him out of the game if anything does, and not this investigation by [Roger] Goodell.”

Read More: Brett Favre, Darryl Stingley, James Harrison, Peter King
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