|12.29.10 at 2:47 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Tom Brady was on hand for Wednesday’s long form walk-through indoors at the Dana Farber Field House as the team began preparations for the Miami Dolphins in the regular season finale this Sunday at Gillette Stadium. Brady had been given the last two Wednesdays off for rest and – last week – to deal with the flu.
Offensive lineman Dan Connolly (concussion) led the list of players not participating. Also absent were linebacker Tully Banta-Cain and defensive linemen Ron Brace and Mike Wright. The team worked out in sweats and shells. Connolly missed Sunday’s game in Buffalo after suffering a head injury during the Sunday night win over Green Bay on Dec. 19.
Wright has been dealing with the effects of a concussion since Nov. 7 while Brace returned on Sunday – also dealing with post-concussion symptoms.
|12.29.10 at 2:03 pm ET|
It turns out boisterous Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs did have a fond place in his heart for Tom Brady after all – or at least his teammates got through to him. One week after he told Yahoo’s Michael Silver that he voted for Philip Rivers, Peyton Manning and Ryan Fitzpatrick – and not Brady – on his player’s Pro Bowl ballot, Suggs admitted the Ravens linebacker corps convinced him voting Brady was the right thing to do.
‘Let’s go ahead and let the cat out of the bag: We did vote for him,’ Suggs told the Baltimore Sun Wednesday. ‘We’ve got quarrels and our beefs but you got to respect play. It was kind of decided as a unit who we vote for. We did vote for him.’
Suggs poked fun at Brady’s wife Gisele Bundchen the last time the two teams played and Brady responded by pointing to how vocal the Ravens are for having beaten the Patriots just once in the last 10 years. The Patriots beat the Ravens in overtime, 23-20, on Oct. 17 at Gillette Stadium.
But Suggs – also selected to the AFC Pro Bowl roster - did add, ‘One of us is not going to get to play in the game. I hope he has a good time in the Pro Bowl, and hopefully everything goes according to plan, I’ll be watching him from Dallas.’
He couldn’t miss out on the chance to lay out one more hit on Brady. The two could very well be facing each other on Jan. 23 at Gillette Stadium to see who goes to Dallas and who gets fun in the sun of Hawaii.
|12.29.10 at 1:00 pm ET|
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.
|12.29.10 at 12:52 pm ET|
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.
|12.29.10 at 11:44 am ET|
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.
|12.29.10 at 8:59 am ET|
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.
|12.29.10 at 8:17 am ET|
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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