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Ryan Mallett on his future: ‘You can’t control what you can’t control’

08.06.14 at 2:52 pm ET
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RICHMOND, Va. — Ryan Mallett knows the clock is ticking.

Bill Belichick announced Tuesday that his back-up quarterback will get a lot of playing time this preseason. Mike Mayock believes he is a starting quarterback in the NFL and has been “popping” in practice.

“I haven’t [heard the praise] but I’ve always felt that way about myself because I’m confident in myself. I appreciate his nice words but I’ve always felt that way,” Mallett said.

There are many who feel Mallett is at a key crossroads of his young career, entering the final year of his four-year rookie deal. Mallett is not one of them.

“I don’t [think about the future]. I live day to day, man. I’m happy where I’m at right now,” he insisted. “I’m having a blast. I’m on a great team. I’ve got a great organization around me. My teammates are awesome. That doesn’t cross my mind. I’m just doing whatever I can to help my team every day.

“€œYou can’€™t control what you can’€™t control. It’€™s the uncontrollable. You have to deal with it. I was dealt the hand I was dealt, so I’€™m playing cards.”

Now comes the fun part for Mallett. He actually gets a legitimate chance to show it in game competition. Mallett has played in just four regular season games in his three years behind Tom Brady. He’s attempted four passes. But Thursday night, after Brady comes out (likely after one or two series), Mallett gets to show that he can reach a consistent level of play that critics say he has yet to achieve.

“€œI’€™m very excited about the opportunity to be able to play a lot,”€ said Mallett, who has totaled just four pass attempts in the regular season over the last three years, coming in at the end of four games. “€œI haven’€™t really gotten too many chances during the regular season because I have a pretty good guy in front of me. Any time I get to play, I look forward to it.

“I’m just trying to get better every day. We’re out here working, especially against these guys. It’s good for us to see another team. Going against our defense, they see the same stuff a lot of times so they start cheating a little bit so it’s good to get out here against a different team and see where we’re at.”

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Read More: 2014 training camp, Arizona Cardinals, Larry Fitzgerald, New England Patriots

Reports: Sealver Siliga returns to Boston for tests on left hand, will miss time

08.06.14 at 2:07 pm ET
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RICHMOND, Va. — The news is not encouraging regarding one of the younger and more promising members of the Patriots’ defensive line.

Both the Boston Globe and ESPN Boston report that the team is concerned about the severity of the injury to the left hand of Sealver Siliga. The 24-year-old out of Utah injured the hand in Tuesday’s practice and left early. He returned to the practice field without his shoulder pads with about 15 minutes left in practice and did not participate at all on Wednesday.

Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston reports that Siliga returned to Boston to have further tests on the left hand while Ben Volin of the Boston Globe also confirmed the team’s concern about the injury.

Chris Jones took several snaps with the first team defensive line unit on Wednesday, playing with Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly in a 3-4 base.

The Patriots signed Siliga to their practice squad on Oct. 23, 2013. On Nov. 27, 2013, Siliga was added to the active roster and played the final five games and both playoff games. He recorded three sacks and 23 tackles in his five regular season games and was projected as one of the up and coming talents on the defensive front.

Read More: 2014 training camp, Chris Jones, New England Patriots, nfl

Snap to it: Looking at how much Tom Brady has played in preseason openers in last 5 years

08.06.14 at 1:47 pm ET
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Here’s a quick look at the number of snaps and final stats for quarterback Tom Brady in the Patriots’ first preseason game of the summer, dating back to 2009:

2013: 19 snaps against Philadelphia — 7-for-8, 65 yards, 1 TD
2012: 19 snaps against New Orleans — 4-for-7, 30 yards, 1 sack
2011: DNP against Jacksonville (Brady was not injured, but the opener came roughly two weeks after the end of the lockout. It what was likely a preventive measure to guard against starters being injured, most of the No. 1 offense and defense had the night off.)
2010: 17 snaps vs. New Orleans — 5-for-8, 67 yards
2009: 24 snaps vs. Philadelphia — 10-for-15, 100 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT

Read More: Tom Brady,

Jason Cole on MFB: Robert Kraft ‘laying the foundation’ to try to convince Darrelle Revis to stay long term

08.06.14 at 12:29 pm ET
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Bleacher Report NFL reporter Jason Cole joined Middays with MFB Wednesday to discuss Patriots corner Darrelle Revis and his contract. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Cole reported Tuesday that the Patriots have had initial discussions with Revis regarding a contract extension after an impressive showing early in training camp.

“They haven’t started negotiating, so let’s peel it back a little bit,” Cole said. “I will say that Robert Kraft is laying the foundation and the work for trying to convince Darrelle to stay here long term. He’s doing the thing that he’s best at, which is schmoozing people and making people feel like they should buy into the Patriot Way and all those kinds of things that Kraft is excellent at. But as far as terms of getting to the point of talking about dollars and cents, they haven’t gotten that far.”

Added Cole: “It’s more like, ‘We love how you’ve done this offseason and we love how you’ve done in camp. You would look great in a Patriot uniform for the rest of your career.’ All of those little things that you put into somebody’s mind that make them think that being a Patriot long term is in the best interest of themselves, not just of the Patriots as a team.

“That’s probably why Robert Kraft is the best businessman in the league. He’s really good at convincing people to do things his way and making them understand, at least from his viewpoint, that you’re actually good for them, too.”

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Read More: Darrelle Revis, Jason Cole, Robert Kraft,

Mike Petraglia wraps up Day 3 Patriots, Redskins practices, looks ahead to preseason opener

08.06.14 at 12:25 pm ET
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RICHMOND, Va. —’s Mike Petraglia wraps up Day 3 of joint practices Wednesday between the Patriots and Redskins in Richmond. Tom Brady, Ryan Mallett and Jimmy Garoppolo all got in their final reps in a light walkthrough while DeSean Jackson appeared to get tangled up with Darrelle Revis and left practice early. Petraglia details which rookies to be on the lookout for as the Patriots and Redskins open the preseason Thursday night at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.

Read More: 2014 training camp, Darrelle Revis, DeSean Jackson, Mike Petraglia

Fantasy Football: Top 50 running backs

08.06.14 at 12:22 pm ET
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With the exception of the Giants and Bills, teams have not played their first preseason games yet. Nevertheless, running backs already are going down. The losses of Kendall Hunter, Tyler Gaffney, Vick Ballard and David Wilson underscore the volatility of the position and the need to prepare and build depth on your fantasy roster. You can hope for health, if you believe in the power of positive thinking, but you also better be prepared for injuries, because you will almost assuredly have a few.

Last week we took a look at the quarterbacks and a week prior we broke down the receivers. You can link to those two articles below as well as our high-value targets piece from earlier this month.

Today we’€™ll get into the top 50 running backs and how they relate to each other in terms of value to give you a lay of the landscape. If you are looking for a deeper take on a particular player, go to Rotobahn’€™s Top 400.

I’€™ll also be posting my “32 Backfields” article in about 10 days, where I will break down the ground games of all 32 NFL teams. Keep checking and Rotobahn for daily content and tune in this Sunday at 7:30 a.m. on 93.7 FM to hear the first broadcast of WEEI’€™s Fantasy Football Hour with myself and Jim Hackett! If you’ve never heard us before, check us out Wednesday when this week’€™s podcast goes up. Jim and I will breakdown this article in depth and cover some other timely fantasy topics. I’ll be back in this space next week with an in-depth look at the tight ends.

Tier 1 (1-5)

LeSean McCoy, Eagles
Adrian Peterson, Vikings
Jamaal Charles, Chiefs
Eddie Lacy, Packers
Matt Forte, Bears

It’€™s almost impossible to go wrong here. These are the elite options and we project all of them to play in very good offenses with the exception of Charles, who will be running behind a retooled line for a team with a very shaky passing attack. We still expect his talent to win the day, but Charles will have to earn his numbers in 2014. These should be the first five players off the board in all drafts regardless of scoring format. If you have a shot to draft any of them in the six-hole or later, you should jump at the chance.

Tier 2 (6-9)

DeMarco Murray, Cowboys
Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks
Montee Ball, Broncos
Le’€™Veon Bell, Steelers

All four of these backs have two things going for them: talent and the support of a strong offense. They also are multidimensional players who get involved in the passing game. They all are projected as their team’€™s primary goal-line weapon. It’€™s also a young tier, with Lynch being the elder statesman at 28 years old. Lynch and Murray are more proven, as is Bell to some extent. Ball, while not being proven, has no legitimate competition on his roster and plays in an insanely high-octane offense. While some are smelling risk with Ball, just remember that you are buying the Broncos offense and goal-line opportunities and not Montee Ball in a vacuum. The one concern with Ball is his recent appendectomy. It’€™s something to watch, but he projects to be 100 percent for Week 1 at this point. Expect this entire tier to be off the board about halfway through Round 2 of 12-team drafts.

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Read More: 2014 Fantasy Football, Adrian Peterson, Arian Foster, Eddie Lacy

Wednesday practice report: DeSean Jackson leaves early after getting ‘cleated,’ Tom Brady, Ryan Mallett get in final reps

08.06.14 at 11:13 am ET
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RICHMOND, Va. — The Patriots and Redskins held their third and final joint practice session in only shorts and shells Wednesday morning in comfortable conditions, leading into Thursday’s preseason opener at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. The only significant news of the 90-minute walkthrough came in 11-on-11 drills when DeSean Jackson appeared to get tangled with a Patriots player off the line off scrimmage.

As he has been all week, Darrelle Revis was defending Jackson and appeared to make contact. Jackson left hobbling and did not return. Redskins coach Jay Gruden opened his post-practice press conference by announcing that Jackson was “cleated” and left with an ankle injury.

“DeSean got cleated today in a walkthrough and twisted his ankle just a hair,” Gruden said. “We’ll see how he does at rehab or treatment and all that. We’ll find out.”

Asked after practice about the contact with Jackson, Revis told reporters, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

The injury is not believe to be serious but it’s likely that the Redskins will be without two of their top receivers Thursday night as Pierre Garcon is nursing a hamstring issue.

The Patriots left immediately after practice, preparing to make the trip north to Landover, Md. for Thursday’s game.

Here are some other takeaways from Wednesday morning:

Tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Michael Hoomanawanui once again headlined the players absent at practice. Also missing were receiver Aaron Dobson, running back Brandon Bolden, defensive back Jemea Thomas, running back Tyler Gaffney, linebacker Cameron Gordon, tight end D.J. Williams, linebacker Ja’Gared Davis, offensive lineman Chris Martin, first-round pick defensive lineman Dominique Easley, receiver Jeremy Gallon and Sealver Siliga, who injured his left hand on Tuesday.

With Gronkowski, Hoomanawanui and D.J. Williams all missing practice Wednesday, expect to see a lot of rookie tight end Justin Jones out of East Carolina. To that end, Jones saw first team reps toward the end of Wednesday’s walkthrough.

Another rookie, running back James White, received significant time with the first team at the start of 11-on-11 as Tom Brady worked on offensive sets near midfield.

Another player to keep an eye on Thursday is receiver Brian Tyms, who has been getting a lot of work with Ryan Mallett and the second team. Tyms has been one of Mallett’s favorite targets this week and made a nice catch on a bullet pass in the back of the end zone in a goal line situation against the Redskins.

Defensive lineman Chris Jones, who played well during his chances last season, was playing alongside Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly as the Patriots continued to show a 3-4 front on Wednesday.

Read More: 2014 training camp, Darrelle Revis, DeSean Jackson, Jay Gruden
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