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Patriots put running back Shane Vereen on IR, re-sign tight end Matthew Mulligan

09.10.13 at 4:37 pm ET
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The Patriots announced Tuesday they have placed running back Shane Vereen on injured reserve with a designation to return, meaning he’s eligible to return to practice after Week 7 and play after Week 9. Vereen suffered a wrist injury in Sunday’s season opener against the Bills.

The team also re-signed tight end Matthew Mulligan to replace Vereen on the 53-man roster. In addition, the Patriots re-signed defensive lineman A.J. Francis to the practice squad and released wide receiver Quentin Sims from the practice squad.

Mulligan, 28, was signed by the Patriots on Sept. 3, and released on Sept. 5. The 6-foot-4, 267-pounder is a veteran of four NFL seasons with the Jets (2009-11) and the St. Louis Rams (2012). He went to training camp this past summer with Green Bay after signing with the Packers in April but was released on Aug. 31. Mulligan has played in 50 NFL games with 20 starts and has 14 receptions for 144 yards and one touchdown.

Francis, 23, was claimed by the Patriots off waivers from Miami on Sept 1, and was released on Sept. 7. He was originally signed by the Miami Dolphins as a rookie free agent out of Maryland on May 3, 2013. The 6-foot, 316-pounder was released by Miami on Aug. 31. He was a four-year letterman at Maryland and recorded 149 total tackles, 9½ sacks and three blocked kicks.

Sims, 23, originally joined the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Tennessee-Martin on July 19. The 6-foot-3, 202-pounder was released on Aug. 31, and signed to the practice squad on Sept. 2. He played two seasons at Georgia Tech (2009-10) before transferring to Tennessee-Martin in 2011. Sims had 86 receptions for 1,092 yards and 16 touchdowns last season.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: A.J. Francis, Matthew Mulligan, Quentin Sims, Shane Vereen

Mike Petraglia and Chris Price preview Patriots-Jets Thursday night

09.10.13 at 2:23 pm ET
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Read More: New England Patriots, New York Jets, nfl,

Fantasy Football: Week 2 waiver wire

09.10.13 at 1:38 pm ET
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Did anybody else have a crazy Week 1? It’€™s amazing how all the best-laid plans of fantasy GMs can get shot to heck with just 60 minutes of real football. Well, fear not. We’€™ve got you covered with some quality pickups. Jim Hackett and I will be back later this week with the Mohegan Sun Fantasy Football Podcast where we’€™ll break down some of the madness and try to give you some peace of mind.

The players listed below are free agent targets who make sense in typical 10-team fantasy leagues. If you play in a deeper format, don’€™t fret. Just head over to Rotobahn.com later Tuesday and check out my expanded waiver wire with targets for leagues of any size. You’€™ll see me referencing player availability in this space. I obtained my player data from Yahoo.com.

QUARTERBACKS 

Sam Bradford, Rams

For the same reasons I wanted you to draft him, I think he makes a good free agent pickup at quarterback. He’€™s a solid player, but it’€™s the weapons at his disposal that make him so viable in fantasy. He’€™s only owned in 48 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

Terrelle Pryor, Raiders

As I said at Rotobahn toward the end of the summer, Pryor has solid athleticism and playmaking ability. There is little doubt that you can start him in larger formats. Where I get concerned is with his durability. Pryor leaves himself open for big hits. He doesn’€™t protect himself as well as a guy like Cam Newton. Still, for now, Pryor should be owned in all leagues. His upside merits that much for sure. Pryor is unowned in 89 percent of leagues, and that is amazing.

Jay Cutler, Bears

The Bears looked very good against a tough Bengals defense, and things will be even better most weeks. Cutler is finally getting some protection from his offensive line and he has a QB guru for a head coach in Marc Trestman. Things are definitely looking up in Chicago. Cutler can be a very solid QB2 in 10-team formats and is only owned in 50 percent of leagues.

Carson Palmer, Cardinals

He’€™s available in 41 percent of Yahoo! leagues, so he may be there if you want him. He’€™s got three outstanding receivers and one of them will get a first-ballot trip to Canton. Palmer can help you for as long as he stays healthy.

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Read More: Ben Tate, Carson Palmer, Fantasy Football, Jay Cutler

Rex Ryan: Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola are ‘Wes Welker clones’

09.10.13 at 1:27 pm ET
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Rex Ryan has a great sense of humor. That’s one reason he broke out in laughter Tuesday when some suggested that Tom Brady had some “struggles” adjusting to his new group of receivers in the Patriots passing game.

“Well I don’€™t know that I would classify Tom Brady struggling,” Ryan said. “I’€™d have to see that to believe it. I don’€™t think he has ever struggled. So, to me, what I saw was a team that could really run the football, and I think in the past they have run the ball, but not with the conviction that I saw in the first week against a pretty darn good front.”

Of course, a big part of Brady’s success was going to Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola early and often. But Ryan also saw a lot more of Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen and LeGarrette Blount carrying the ball.

“That’€™s something that obviously looks like New England is going to run the ball more than they’€™ve done in the past,” Ryan said. “I saw where two receivers, [regarding] your comments that it was a bad game [for receivers], I saw two receivers had over 100 yards. So, [laughing] Oh my goodness. But again, you’€™ve got a couple of Wes Welker clones over there in Edelman and Amendola. It’€™s difficult, no question.”

Brady was 29-of-52 for 288 yards and two touchdowns and one interception against Mike Pettine‘s defense. Pettine spent the previous four years as Rex Ryan’s defensive coordinator.

“Mike does a good job at things like that,” Ryan said. “Obviously [it was a] very competitive game. It looked like they were ahead of them, but we’€™ve seen Brady do that time and time again, where you get that lead and then all of the sudden here he comes and boom, he marches them down the field. That’€™s Brady being Brady.

“We know New England. New England is very multiple as far as their offense, and defense for that matter, in terms of what they do game plan wise. They may show something one week and then next week be completely different. They are very multiple, and so you may get four wides, you may get whatever that maybe you haven’€™t seen. But we have gone against each other enough to know that that’€™s a possibility. But yeah, you will look at the Bill game and you will go back and look at games that you’€™ve had against them, and you’€™ll look at other things as well. I think we know each other well. The personnel is different. There has been a lot of talk about their personnel being different, but we’€™ve got seven new starters on defense and five new starters on offense and two backups to some of those starters on defense. That’€™s probably new personnel.”
 
Ryan’s Jets, like the Patriots, are making significant modifications to their practice schedule, going very light this week and stressing walkthroughs instead of heavy practices.

“Very similar. We’€™ll have walkthroughs every day and then we will have a little practice,” Ryan said. “Ours is about timing and things. We’€™ll have a little bit more than that, but not much. You just got through playing a game, and it’€™s about keeping your players fresh. Obviously they have to mentally be focused. It’€™s a new opponent, so I think that’€™s the big thing. So, we’€™re very similar.

Read More: New England Patriots, New York Jets, nfl, Rex Ryan

Rex Ryan on his Jets: ‘Way better football team than people give it credit for’

09.10.13 at 12:55 pm ET
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Power rankings are a popular thing in sports these days, especially in the NFL.

Rex Ryan is more than aware that they exist. Coming into the season in some power rankings, the Jets were listed as dead last – 32nd out of 32 teams, even worse than the Jacksonville Jaguars.

But after a 3-1 preseason and a less-than-riveting 18-17 win over Tampa Bay in the season opener on Sunday, Ryan thinks his team is starting to trend on the upswing.

Ryan was asked Tuesday during a conference call if he has thought about writing a book about his days in New York sometime in the future.

“I’€™m not worried about. I’€™m not worried about that,” Ryan said. “I think there is a lot more left here to go. As I said, when all this came down, I said, ‘€˜Hey I’€™m taking this like it’€™s my first year.’€™ That’€™s where it is. That’€™s where my energy is, that’€™s where my focus is. It might not be outwardly in the media or whatever, but it is certainly the same in the building, and that’€™s where it is. The great thing is we get to prove it. We’€™ll go on the field, and I think this team is a way better football team than people give it credit for. I think we were 32nd in the power rankings, and I’€™m sure we’€™re 31st this week. So, we’€™ll see.”

For the record, WEEI.com’s Joe Zarbano had the Jets 30th to start the season. They impressed Zarbano so much, they moved up to No. 27 this week.

“We have way more positive momentum that people give us credit for,” Ryan added. “We were 3-1 in the preseason. I think that’s good. It beats the alternative. Inside our building, it’s been nothing but positive. We’ve had probably as good offseason as anybody in the league when it comes to the amount of players here for voluntary work, the type of work they’re doing, our mini-camps and then our training camp. We had great competition at several positions. We have a close football team. I think I know what the general consensus is out there but it’s not even close. We’ve had nothing but positive vibes throughout our locker room.”

Ryan said there’s no one in the Jets locker room who has been negative on themselves or the team.

“It’s beautiful,” Ryan beamed. “Not one person has been in this locker room saying it. We’re excited about how we did. If you watched us in any of our preseason games, the way we competed. Even that third preseason game [with] some guys that weren’t making the team. They wanted to play like Jets and they’re playing their tails off and I think that’s what you can expect from this team.”

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Read More: New England Patriots, New York Jets, nfl, Rex Ryan

WEEI NFL Power Rankings, Week 2: Niners have hold on No. 1 heading into showdown with Seahawks

09.10.13 at 11:56 am ET
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The 2013 season is underway, and naturally the overreactions from the first week of games are prevalent across the league. Four playoff teams from last season lost to non-playoff teams in Week 1. Some of these upsets had serious implications in this week’s WEEI NFL Power Rankings. For example, the Bengals dropped out of the top 10 to No. 12, and the Redskins fell all the way to No. 17.

The top five teams remained the same as last week, however there was some movement in the group. The Broncos jumped to No. 2 after a record-breaking night, and the Falcons dropped to No. 4 after falling to the Saints. The Patriots (6) and Texans (7) remain on the cusp waiting for one of the top five teams to falter.

Week 2 is all about the divisional showdowns. The most intriguing game to watch is the top-ranked 49ers at the third-ranked Seahawks, as the bitter rivals clash for the first time this year. Stay tuned to see how that game and the rest of the Week 2 matchups affect the rankings.

1. (1) 49ers (1-0) — The Niners are a flat-out scary, well-balanced team. They pressure the quarterback and can beat you in many different ways offensively. Is it too early to say the addition of Anquan Boldin is the offseason move of the year? 

2. (4) Broncos (1-0) — If the Broncos can muster a relatively productive run game, their offense will be unstoppable. The amount of weapons Peyton Manning has at his disposal should be illegal. The one area of weakness for Denver is its pass rush. However, that can’t be too much of a concern with an offense that will average over 30 points per game.

3. (2) Seahawks (1-0) — The offensive line must do a better job protecting Russell Wilson if the Seahawks want to accomplish their goal of winning the division and playing at home throughout the playoffs. The team standing in their way, the 49ers, thrives at pressuring the quarterback. Seattle has a major test in Week 2.

4. (3) Falcons (0-1) — Matt Ryan may have many weapons, but his line has to protect him better if the Falcons offense is going to be successful.

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Read More: NFL Power Rankings, Peyton Manning, Rex Ryan, Tom Brady

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,
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