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Patriots make a flurry of moves official

11.10.10 at 12:14 pm ET
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The Patriots have announced a flurry of moves, signing kicker Shayne Graham, long snapper Matt Katula and cornerback Thad Turner, moving kicker Stephen Gostkowski to season-ending injured reserve and releasing long snapper Jake Ingram.

Here’€™s the full statement from the team on the moves:

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. ‘€“The New England Patriots announced today they have signed K Shayne Graham and LS Matt Katula. In addition, the Patriots announced that they have placed K Stephen Gostkowski on injured reserve with a thigh injury, released LS Jake Ingram and signed CB That Turner to the practice squad.
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Read More: Jake Ingram, Matt Katula, Shayne Graham, Stephen Gostkowski

Patriots place Stephen Gostkowski on IR

11.10.10 at 11:26 am ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” The Patriots have announced via their Twitter feed that they have placed kicker Stephen Gostkowski on season-ending injured reserve with a thigh injury. Gostkowski, a fourth-round pick of the Patriots in 2006, was injured last Sunday against the Browns.

To take his place, New England will sign free agent kicker Shayne Graham. Before this season, Graham, 32, kicked for Buffalo, Carolina and Cincinnati. He was 23-for-28 with the Bengals in 2009, and was most recently in New York, spending two days with the Giants when kicker Lawrence Tynes had an ankle injury.

“Anytime a team loses a player, it’s hard for a team to go through,” Graham said. “No one wants to see a player go down with injury, no matter how long the time is, especially a player the caliber of Stephen.

“He’s a great player and he’s done such a good job for this team. My goal is to come in here and perform at my best and perform well for the team and help us win games and help the team make all the goals they set for themselves.”

Following his release by the Bengals after their playoff loss to the Jets last January, Graham was picked up by Baltimore and then signed by the New York Giants, where he subbed for the injured Tynes for one game.

“I think the fact that I haven’t been on a team every game this year makes me a little hungry and makes me look forward to getting my career going on again and doing what I can to help this team win,” Graham said. “There’s always going to be speed bumps and you can control what you can control. My job is to play and I don’t make the decision as far as roster, so when things work out the way they do, you take the bumps as they come and control what you can control.”

“It’s definitely big shoes to fill but I feel that I’m going to be able to play my best and hopefully the team won’t skip a beat and hopefully the team won’t miss a beat.”

Read More: Shayne Graham, Stephen Gostkowski,

Brian Billick on D&C: Patriots’ offensive balance crucial vs. Steelers

11.10.10 at 10:00 am ET
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Fox Sports NFL analyst Brian Billick joined the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning to talk about news from around the league. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Asked about the Patriots’ loss to the Browns, Billick said, “I don’t know that I really believe in the term ‘trap game,’ ” but he pointed to the team’s focus on preparation as the key. Said Billick: “Certainly, the New England Patriots didn’t come into this game going, ‘Oh, we don’t need to prepare for the Cleveland Browns, they’re not going to beat us.’ But was there that steely-eyed, focused determination during the week that you normally have when you have an opponent that you really feel like can contest what’s going on? So, I think that tends to be more the case.”

Looking at Sunday’s game vs. the Steelers and their dominating defense ‘€” especially vs. the run ‘€” Billick said it’s crucial that the Patriots attempt to have a balanced attack. “You have to, even if it’s ineffective, try to maintain a certain amount of balance,” he said. “If you let [Steelers defensive coordinator] Dick LeBeau, and you throw up the white flag on one side or the other saying, ‘We’re not even going to try to pass,’ or, ‘We’re not even going to try to run,’ Dick LeBeau will absolutely slice you up.”

Billick said Jason Garrett, hired by Jerry Jones as interim Cowboys coach this week, faces a difficult challenge. “This is about a tough a situation as I can remember, coming into,” he said. “It’s going to test Jason Garrett, and Jerry Jones, at the end of these eight games, is going to know: ‘Do I have a head coach here or not?’ “

Read More: Brian Billick, Dick LeBeau, Jason Garrett, Jerry Jones

Brother of Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez suspended in coaching flap

11.09.10 at 7:44 pm ET
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According to The Associated Press (via ESPN.com), D.J. Hernandez, the brother of Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, received a one-game suspension as the coach of Southington (Conn.) High School after admitting to using an opponent’s play list that he found during a game in October. Southington’s principal, Martin Semmel, said that Hernandez admitted to him using an arm band of coded plays that had been lost by a player from Manchester High School. Southington went on to beat Manchester, 28-14.

Hernandez is a former quarterback and wide receiver at the University of Connecticut. The brother of the Pats tight end is in his first year at Southington, which he has led to a 7-1 record. Semmel said that Southington has no plans to dismiss the coach.

“Coach Hernandez holds himself accountable for his actions and accepts his consequence,” Semmel said. “The Administration has complete confidence in Coach Hernandez and his ability to lead our football program now and in the future.”

Read More: chris hernandez, d.j. hernandez, southington high school,

Five things from Tuesday: Shayne Graham and Matt Katula on the way, while Jake Ingram says farewell

11.09.10 at 4:30 pm ET
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The five most important things we learned from the Patriots on a surprisingly busy Tuesday:

1. The Patriots appear to have their fill-in kicker with Stephen Gostkowski on the shelf.

There was no locker room access ‘€” Tuesday is the players’€™ day off around the league ‘€” but as is usually the case, there was a conference call with coach Bill Belichick and director of player personnel Nick Caserio. There was a lot of talk about the Steelers, as well as the situation involving Stephen Gostkowski and what to look for when the Patriots are scouting kickers.

Belichick indicated that they had no news on Gostkowski’€™s health at this time, but multiple reports indicated the Patriots were close to signing Shayne Graham to at least fill the void while Gostkowski is on the shelf. Graham had a workout last month with the Patriots, so it wasn’€™t a surprise to see. It’€™s expected he’€™ll kick on Sunday against the Steelers in Pittsburgh.

One of the things that might have been working in Graham’€™s favor is his knowledge of Heinz Field ‘€” a former Bengal (he was with Cincinnati from 2003 to 2009), he’€™s spent a lot of time kicking in Pittsburgh, considered one of the toughest places to kick in the league because of sometimes uneven turf.

‘€œI think really in the end you just do what you feel is best for the club. There are going to be conditions that we face every week whether it’€™s here, Pittsburgh, whatever stadium that we play in,’€ Caserio said. ‘€œYou go with the player that you feel is best for the club based on a number of different experiences: your experience with the player, if you’€™ve had any, coaches’€™ experience with the player, how the player’€™s performed, etc. In the end you try to do what’€™s best for your football team regardless of the stadium you’€™re playing in that particular week.’€

2. Tuesday also marked the end of Jake Ingram’€™s time in a Patriots uniform, as his agent confirmed the news he had been released by New England. The long snapper out of Hawaii was a sixth-round pick of New England in 2009, the man sent to replace the legendary Lonie Paxton. While Ingram sailed through his rookie year without incident, he struggled this season, bouncing a pair of snaps on punts last month against the Chargers and delivering a messy snap last week in the loss to the Browns.

Earlier this week, Belichick was asked about Ingram’€™s struggles against the Browns.

‘€œWell, I think this is one of those games where we can probably list every player that was active and talk about some type of inconsistencies ‘€” (even) coaches for that matter,’€ said Belichick. ‘€œIt wasn’€™t one of our better performances by a long shot. We all had a hand in it, so I think you can say that about everybody ‘€“ there [are] some plays that they’€™d like to have back or weren’€™t as good as we’€™re used to seeing.’€

3. Meet the new guy. Matt Katula will be the one who takes Ingram’€™s place. A 28-year-old out of Wisconsin, Katula was the long snapper the last four years with the Ravens. (Long snapper or no, at 6-feet-6 and 272 pounds, he is one of the biggest players on the team.) He was cut in training camp ‘€” two years into a five-year deal ‘€” because of chronic tendinitis in his snapping elbow. When Katula was cut loose, Ravens coach John Harbaugh was effusive in his praise for the Wisconsin product.

‘€œMatt’€™s a very good snapper. There’€™s no question he can do it in this league,’€ Harbaugh said. ‘€œThere’€™s a couple things I think he’€™s still working on, he’€™s cleaning up a little bit from last year. We had a younger guy that looked good, and that’€™s sometimes the nature of the business. But talking to Matt this morning, he understood, and I’€™m very confident he’€™ll be snapping for somebody this year.’€
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Read More: Adam Vinatieri, Bill Belichick, Dick LeBeau, Jake Ingram

Matt Katula signed, Jake Ingram released

11.09.10 at 3:44 pm ET
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League sources have told WEEI.com that the Patriots have signed long snapper Matt Katula to a two-year contract.

The 28-year-old Katula has played his entire career with the Baltimore Ravens. He was released by the Ravens in August after five years in Baltimore.

It has also been confirmed that Jake Ingram has been released. Imgram has struggled mightily in 2010, with two poor snaps vs. the Chargers and another last Sunday at Cleveland. Bill Belichick was asked earlier in the week about the Ingram’s problems against the Browns.

‘€œWell, I think this is one of those games where we can probably list every player that was active and talk about some type of inconsistencies ‘€“ (even) coaches for that matter,” said Belichick. “It wasn’€™t one of our better performances by a long shot. We all had a hand in it, so I think you can say that about everybody ‘€“ there [are] some plays that they’€™d like to have back or weren’€™t as good as we’€™re used to seeing.’€

Reports: Patriots to sign Graham

11.09.10 at 12:53 pm ET
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The Patriots are set to sign kicker Shayne Graham, according to multiple media reports. Graham is a 32-year-old who has kicked for Buffalo, Carolina, Cincinnati, Baltimore and the New York Giants. He was 23-for-28 with the Bengals in 2009, and was most recently in New York, spending two days with the Giants when kicker Lawrence Tynes had an ankle injury. New England kicker Stephen Gostkowski was injured last Sunday against the Browns.

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