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Report: Danny Amendola ‘almost certain’ to miss Jets game

09.10.13 at 11:44 am ET
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FOXBORO — Danny Amendola put it all on the line in the second half Sunday in a dramatic 23-21 win over the Bills. As it turns out, that performance may have come at a price.

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports that the wide receiver is ‘almost certain’ to miss Thursday’s game against the Jets with a groin injury.

Rapoport’s colleague Albert Breer adds that the severity of the injury is still being evaluated by the Patriots medical staff. Amendola appeared to tweak his groin late in the first half as he was running a crossing route in the end zone. He came out limping to the sideline and didn’t play the rest of the first half.

Amendola caught 10 passes Sunday for 104 yards, including seven in the second half and four on the game-winning drive that led to Stephen Gostkowski‘s 35-yard field goal with five seconds left.

Amendola was not spotted at Tuesday’s walkthrough on the upper grass fields outside Gillette, another sign that he is likely to not be ready for Thursday’s games against the Jets in Foxboro.

Before signing with the Patriots this season, Amendola had played in just in just 12 of his team’s 32 games over the last two seasons due to various injuries.

Read More: Danny Amendola, New England Patriots, New York Jets,

Stephen A. Smith on D&C: Patriots ‘going to take time to adjust’ this season

09.10.13 at 11:08 am ET
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ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith joined Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning to talk about the Patriots and Jets and their upcoming game on Thursday night at Gillette Stadium, as well as Tim Tebow‘s future in the NFL.

Smith said that he wouldn’t be surprised if it was a close game Thursday, especially due to the Patriots missing a number of experienced players on offense.

“Yeah. You guys had [Shane] Vereen and he goes out. [Stevan] Ridley had trouble handling the football. I don’t expect that to be something that continues, but at the same time, I look at the Patriots right now and you had so many things go on: [Aaron] Hernandez, you had obvious problems there, you have [Rob] Gronkowski, he’s injured, just guys being gone like [Brandon] Lloyd and [Danny] Woodhead. I think it’s going to take time to adjust,” Smith said. “It’s going to take time. … I anticipate the potential for a low-scoring game. So could I see a 17-14 game? Yes. Could I see a 20-13 game? Yes, I could see something like that.”

Smith said that Jets fans’ expectations would reach absurd levels if the team was able to beat the Patriots and go to 2-0 on the season.

“[Jets fans] were happy [after Sunday’s win], and they were completely oblivious and dismissive of how lucky they are that [Tampa Bay linebacker LavonteDavid pushed Geno Smith out of bounds, because there would have been no field goal,” Smith said. “It would have been over. It would have been throwing a Hail Mary pass from beyond the 50-yard line. … Their attitude was, ‘We won the game.’ … And that unfortunately has been the Jets’ Achilles’ heel as far as I’m concerned. You’ve got to really decipher how these things come about, because the Jets should not have won that game on Sunday. I don’t think that they’ll be as lucky this Thursday against New England, but anything is possible.

“I can tell you right now, if Geno Smith and the New York Jets walk into Foxboro and they beat New England on Thursday, these [fans] will be talking as if the Jets are destined for another trip to the AFC championship game.”

As for Tebow, Smith isn’t surprised he hasn’t found a new team since being released by the Patriots.

“If you can watch Tim Tebow and still believe that because of the ‘it’ factor and what you saw in Denver that this dude can be just as effective in the fourth quarter as Tom Brady, I think that there’s something wrong with you,” Smith said. “I think the part that gets ignored is that the kid is such a great kid that everybody is quick to say that and preface their statements by saying that and really are hesitant to point out the selfishness and the hardheadedness.

“The kid cannot throw the football. It is that simple. He has no business being an NFL quarterback. Does he accept that? No. Is he willing to play on an NFL team and just do whatever it is that he’s asked to do just to win in an NFL uniform and use that ‘it’ factor and intangibles to make a difference? No.”

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Read More: Geno Smith, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Stephen A. Smith

In Focus: Charting offensive opportunities for Patriots skill position players

09.10.13 at 10:53 am ET
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Every week over the course of the regular season, we’€™ll present a list of the Patriots’€™ ‘€œoffensive touches,’€ a running tally of which one of the offensive skill position players is getting the most looks. Like our weekly look at targets, it can occasionally be an inexact stat, but it remains a good barometer of how confident the coaches (and quarterback) are when it comes to the skill position players at their disposal. One week into the regular season, here’€™s a breakdown of the New England offense for 2012:

RB Shane Vereen: 21 (14 rushes, 7 catches)
WR Danny Amendola: 10 (0 rushes, 10 catches)
RB Stevan Ridley: 9 (9 rushes, 0 catches), 1 negative play
RB LeGarrette Blount: 7 (7 rushes, 0 catches), 1 negative play
WR Julian Edelman: 7 (0 rushes, 7 catches)
QB Tom Brady: 5 (5 rushes, 0 catches), 2 sacks, 3 kneeldowns
WR Kenbrell Thompkins: 4 (0 rushes, 4 catches)
TE Michael Hoomanawanui: 1 (0 rushes, 1 catch)

Other offensive notes: The Patriots ran 89 plays on offense, and had a total of seven negative plays from scrimmage. (By way of comparison, they also had seven negative plays in last year’€™s season opener.) One of Brady’€™s kneeldowns came shortly before Stephen Gostkowski‘€™s game-winning 35-yard field goal, as he was trying to maneuver into position for a better angle for the kicker. … The Patriots were in shotgun for 44 of their 89 snaps from scrimmage. In addition, they ran eight no-huddle plays on the afternoon. The 11 percent is a significant drop off from the 2012 regular season, where the Patriots were in no huddle for 25 percent of their snaps. … Nine of Amendola’€™s 10 catches on Sunday went for a first down. After one week, he’€™s tied with San Francisco’€™s Anquan Boldin for most receiving first downs in the league. Four of Vereen’€™s rushes went for a first down — he’€™s tied for sixth in the league in that department.

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Danny Amendola (groin), Shane Vereen (wrist) not spotted at walkthrough

09.10.13 at 10:37 am ET
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FOXBORO — For a second straight day, the Patriots did not hold practice but rather a walkthrough. Tuesday’s walkthrough was on the upper grass fields outside Gillette Stadium.

The only two notable players not spotted on their way to the walkthrough were Shane Vereen and Danny Amendola. Vereen tweeted four emoticons of “thumbs up” Monday evening, an apparent reference to successful surgery Monday on his broken wrist, injured on the first play of the game Sunday.

Amendola tweaked his groin late in the first half of Sunday’s win, only to come back in the second half and catch seven balls on eight targets for 64 yards, including four catches on the game-winning drive at the end of the game.

Vereen was absent on Monday while Amendola was listed as limited. The Patriots play the Jets Thursday night at Gillette Stadium in their official home opener.

Bill Belichick was asked why the team decided to have walkthroughs instead of practice.

“The decision was we did what we felt was best for the team to prepare for the game,” Belichick said. “We feel like this is the best way to do it.”

Asked if the injuries to Vereen, Amendola, Zach Sudfeld (hamstring), Rob Gronkowski (back) and Aaron Dobson (hamstring) played into the thinking, Belichick said, “Everything. It’s just what we feel is best.”

Read More: Danny Amendola, New England Patriots, New York Jets, nfl

Report: Pats sign A.J. Francis back to practice squad

09.10.13 at 10:03 am ET
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FOXBORO — A.J. Francis is back in New England.

The defensive tackle out of Maryland, who was cut from the active roster Saturday, was signed to the Patriots’€™ practice squad on Monday night, according to a report.

Francis was on the active roster before being cut on Saturday. The Patriots had eight players on the practice squad as of Monday so the team will have to cut a player to make room. The team has not officially announced the move as Bill Belichick said the team did not have any roster moves to announce at the end of his press conference on Tuesday morning.

Francis had four sacks and nine tackles for loss as a senior at Maryland. Joe Vellano, a teammate of Francis at Maryland, currently serves as a backup behind Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly on the active roster. Francis was initially signed by the Patriots off waivers from the Dolphins on Sept. 1. He practiced with the team last week before being waived.

Read More: A.J. Francis, Maryland Terrapins, New England Patriots, nfl

Following the flags: Tracking Patriots penalties for 2013 season

09.09.13 at 11:00 pm ET
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In their regular season opener, the Patriots were flagged for four penalties for 36 yards. Here’€™s a breakdown of the calls that went against the Patriots on Sunday, not including penalties that were declined or offset:

Most penalized players, listed by total flags and with total yardage lost:
CB Alfonzo Dennard: one penalty (unnecessary roughness), 15 yards
LB Jerod Mayo: one penalty (unnecessary roughness), 15 yards
OL Dan Connolly: one penalty (false start), 5 yards
OL Marcus Cannon: one penalty (false start), 1 yard

Most penalized by position
Cornerback: 15 yards
Linebacker: 15 yards
Offensive line: 6 yards

Most frequently called penalties
False start: Two
Unnecessary roughness: Two

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Geno Smith is no dummy

09.09.13 at 10:21 pm ET
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FOXBORO — When it comes to the Patriots, Geno Smith has done his homework.

A week after Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson displayed an alarming lack of knowledge about the New England secondary — saying Patrick Chung still played for the Patriots when he was with the Eagles — the Jets rookie quarterback proved Monday he knew the type of opponent he was up against this week.

Asked on a conference call by the New England media what stands out for him about the New England defense, the rookie out of West Virginia proceeded to rattle off 10 of the Patriots 11 starting defensive players, including minor tidbits along the way, like how linebacker Dont’€™a Hightower came out of Alabama and safety Steve Gregory was with the Chargers before signing with New England before the start of the 2012 season. (The only starter he didn’€™t mention was new defensive tackle Tommy Kelly.)

It seems like a relatively minor point, but when rookie quarterbacks routinely forget who was in which division (hello, Ryan Tannehill) and players like Johnson forget who suits up for that week’€™s opponent, it was a sign — no matter how small — that the youngster has an appreciate for the challenge that lies ahead.

Smith — who was taken 39th overall this past spring by the Jets — said the New England defense is more than just a collection of individuals.

‘€œThey’€™re a very well coached defense,’€ Smith said. ‘€œThey obviously present mismatches for anybody, so it’€™s going to be tough for us. We just have to continue to stay smart.’€
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Read More: EJ Manuel, Geno Smith, Mark Sanchez, matt patricia
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