|12.10.14 at 4:24 pm ET|
FOXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price preview Sunday’s rematch between the 10-3 Patriots and the 7-6 Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins outscored the Patriots 23-0 in the second half in a Week 1 showdown in South Florida as the Dolphins came away with a 33-20 win. With a win Sunday in the rematch Sunday at Gillette Stadium, the Patriots would clinch their sixth straight AFC East title, joining the Los Angeles Rams (7, 1973-79), Pittsburgh Steelers (6, 1974-79) and Minnesota Vikings (6, 1973-78) as the only teams with straight six division titles since the 1970 merger.
|12.10.14 at 4:14 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Tom Brady has the chance to make some history on Sunday.
And while Bill Belichick indicated Tuesday that he’s not going to spend more than “15 seconds” discussing the matter with the team, it still would mean something special to the Patriots quarterback to join Terry Bradshaw and Fran Tarkenton to lead their teams to six straight division titles since the merger.
“Coach hasn’t mentioned that,” Brady said Wednesday, the day when Belichick usually lays out the theme of the week. “Normally he has. You’re playing for a division championship, so it’s a very important game. We’ve worked really hard to get to this point. The guys have put a lot of work in over the whole offseason and to put ourselves in this position has been a lot of fun, but we’ve got to go out there and capitalize. This is a tough team to do it against. They’ve got some goals that they have, too, and I think that’s what makes for a great game is when both teams are determined to win, and only one team can win.”
The reason Belichick hasn’t mentioned it to Brady or the team is presumably because the goals are much, much bigger. But as Brady mentioned, there’s also the matter of the rest of the season. Belichick and Brady want to build momentum toward the end of the season, with a division title simply being a byproduct.
“Well, it’s a long season, and we’ve still got three games left,” Brady said. “There is a lot of football to be played. There are a lot of things to be decided. The only thing that matters is this week. That’s the only thing we can control. We’re going to go out there and try to control it the best we can, try to go out there and play the way that we’re capable of and see if we can have a great day of execution and certainly better than we’ve had the last two weeks.”
The division may be taken for granted many around the league and by Patriots fans. But to Brady, a division hat and t-shirt day never gets old.
“Absolutely not. I think we’re trying to win every time we take the field,” Brady said. “Winning never gets old, I know that. That feeling that we had the other night was a great feeling, and that’s what motivates you to win because you know the opposite side of that. We’ve got to do the things that help us win as opposed to do the things that make us lose games. It should be a fun week.
Belichick gave the Patriots Monday and Tuesday off after Sunday’s win in San Diego. This is done usually with the words, ‘see you on Wednesday.’ In theory, it means you a couple days off. But to Brady it’s really not complete reality.
“It’s just that time of the year,” Brady said. “I don’t think there are any off days ‘ maybe in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, but not necessarily in a quarterback’s preparation. I do a lot of work, and I enjoy it, so that’s the easy part. I get to do something I love to do.”
So when asked at the start of the press conference if he were over jet lag from San Diego, the answer was easy.
“Yeah, this is a big week, so you’ve got to get over it quick,” Brady said.
|12.10.14 at 2:49 pm ET|
FOXBORO — It was a long 10 weeks for Patriots defensive tackle Sealver Siliga, but he finally was able to return to action Sunday and the wait became worth it.
Siliga was placed on short-term injured reserve designated for return after suffering a foot injury in Week 3 against the Raiders, but was activated to the 53-man roster on Saturday and played in the game on Sunday. He played 25-of-57 (44 percent) of the snaps according to the NFL gamebook in his first action in over two months.
“I did feel comfortable,” said Siliga. “I went out there and just fed off of everyone else. Try to do my job how Bill [Belichick] teaches it every week since I’ve been here. I didn’t try and do too much, just what was asked of me.”
The 24-year-old finished with three tackles and half a sack in the game, being a bit surprised with how much he played.
“I was [surprised],” Siliga said. “I was ready for whatever they were going to throw at me and I was prepared all week just in case that did happen.”
“It was great, especially the last few weeks just sitting at home watching everybody play,” he added. “It looked like everyone was having so much fun and I was just glad to be apart of it.”
Having only one spot on the short-term injured reserve list, Siliga was grateful the Patriots have that designation to him.
“I was blessed that they trusted me enough to put card on me,” he said. “I appreciate everything the Patriots do for me.”
|12.10.14 at 1:56 pm ET|
Gronkowski (421,318) leads all tight ends, with Denver’s Julius Thomas (312,698) more than 100,000 votes behind, and Gostkowski is tops among kickers with 158,555 votes. Meanwhile, Matthew Slater is second among all special teamers with 83,496 votes, trailing only Cleveland’s Johnson Bademosi (123,858). And quarterback Tom Brady (627,135 votes) is third in voting at quarterback, trailing Denver’s Peyton Manning (753,689) and Green Bay‘s Aaron Rodgers (711,972).
Balloting will conclude on December 15. and the Pro Bowl players will be announced on December 23. Players will later be assigned to teams through the Pro Bowl Draft during the week leading up to the game, which will be played on Sunday, January 25, 2015 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona, site of Super Bowl XLIX.
|12.10.14 at 1:56 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots held practice outside in the rain and cold on the lower grass fields of Gillette Stadium on Wednesday in advance of Sunday’s game against the Dolphins. LeGarrette Blount and Dominique Easley were the only players absent.
Blount reportedly had a court date in Pittsburgh this morning, and is likely the reasoning for his absence. Easley has been dealing with a knee injury all season, but has only missed one game (Buffalo).
Chandler Jones (hip) looked like a full participant, running and cutting on the wet grass, which is a good sign for his potential return Sunday. Linebacker Chris Jones (ankle) returned to practice after not practicing since suffering the injury during a practice right before Thanksgiving.
For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.
|12.10.14 at 1:20 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Bill Belichick isn’t spending much time talking about a sixth straight AFC East title because he knows getting the cart ahead of the horse isn’t such a good idea, especially with a team that wore them down in Week 1. The Patriots were up 17-7 and 20-10 at the half in Miami before getting outscored 23-0 in the final 30 minutes of a 33-20 loss at Sun Life Stadium.
“It seems like it’s been a long time since we’ve played the Dolphins because it has been,” Belichick said Wednesday. “[There has been] a lot of football since then, but [I am] really impressed with watching Miami. Once again, they’re really a solid football team. I think Coach [Joe] Philbin has done a great job with that team in all three areas.
“They lead the league in a lot of categories, especially the hidden yardage category of the kicking game, penalties, turnovers, all those things that in the end really make a difference. They do a great job and have a lot of explosive players, a lot of guys that can really cause you a lot of problems, and do cause a lot of problems. Obviously we weren’t very competitive down there in the first game, so hopefully we can put together a good week and do a better job of coaching and have a more competitive performance than we did in the opener. [It’s] a big challenge for us this week; good football team coming in here. We have our work cut out for us.”
One player the Patriots will have their eyes on is Jarvis Landry, a receiver that’s provided a nice compliment to Mike Wallace and giving the Patriots a choice to make when deciding how to use Darrelle Revis this weekend. Landry, 22, has 63 catches on 82 targets for 573 yards and five touchdowns.
“Yeah, he’s their leading receiver in terms of targets,” Belichick said of the rookie out of LSU who has played in all 13 games. “[He has] done a good job for them in the return game. Tough kid, runs hard, breaks tackles, good playing strength. He’s done a good job; he’s good.”
|12.10.14 at 12:11 pm ET|
There has been a lot of talk of Brandon Browner’s hit on Ladarius Green in Sunday’s game in which Browner was flagged for a 15-yard personal foul. Some people argue it was the right call to be flagged, while others say it was a clean hit.
NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino weighed in on the play in his appearance on the NFL Network for his weekly segment.
“I think the first problem [was that] we announced helmet-to-helmet and this is not a helmet-to-helmet hit,” Blandino said. “That’s incorrect. When you watch the play, Browner actually does a good job trying to lead with the shoulder and get his head to the side. You can see his head is to the side and he does lead with the shoulder. The rule does protect the receiver who is trying to catch a pass; it does protect him from hits with the shoulder and the forearm to the head and neck area. When you watch this replay coming up, you can see there is some initial contact to the facemask. … That’s really where the foul is. This is close. It’s a forcible hit. Is the contact, is that force to the head, or is it to the body? It is a very close play. But it’s not a helmet-to-helmet hit and I think that’s what confused a lot of people.”
Blandino also added plays like the Browner hit may be reviewable in the future, which is something Browner advocated for after the game.
“I would anticipate at some point this may be reviewable,” Blandino said. “It was discussed last year and I think it will be on the agenda because, like you said, at full speed, it’s tough to make those calls. But when you’re able to slow it down, you can discern between contact to the head and contact to the shoulder.”
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