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Patriots guard Stephen Neal on D&H: San Diego, Vikings, and Halloween

10.29.10 at 5:27 pm ET
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Patriots guard Stephen Neal stopped by The Dale and Holley Show this Friday to talk about returning to San Diego, facing the Vikings defense, and Halloween. The Patriots play the Vikings this week in Randy Moss‘€™ return to Gillette Stadium and he brings a fearsome defensive line with him: ‘€œWe’€™ve worked hard this week and hopefully we’€™ll be ready. You got to pack a big lunch and bring it to work that day, that’€™s for sure.’€

Following are some highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview visit The Dale and Holley Show audio-on-demand page here.

We dropped the ball last weekend: Didn’€™t you go to high school in San Diego? What was it like going back to your hometown?

I did. It was really nice. The best two high school teams, they play in that stadium. Unfortunately, we never got close. So to get to play in that stadium as a professional and in front of all my family’€¦I mean, I got probably about 60 family members down there.

How many tickets did you come up with?

I came up with 45 tickets and a whole bunch of other people were able to purchase some.

Did you have to cash in some favors? Did you twist some arms?

You know what I did. I think the thing that helped me out the most is that I’€™m one of the oldest guys on the team so I have a little bit more seniority than I used to six, seven years ago.

It sounds like the bully taking the lunch money away from the kids in school. Did you just go take the tickets away from Devin McCourty?

There are just a lot of guys who aren’€™t from the west coast. I put in the order and they had the amount. I think everybody got the tickets they were requesting. I think Chung beat me out, I think he might have had like fifty tickets or something. He’€™s from the L.A. area also so he had a big amount too.

Steve, you’€™ve got to stop playing the game for nothing. You’€™re playing the game for free if you’€™re up in those numbers:

I don’€™t know how much longer I’€™ll be able to have my family watch me compete. It’€™s something special, especially my hometown. It was neat to get back there so it was awesome.

It was a strange game: As a lineman, is it difficult to realize what’€™s going on behind you and that there is a live ball on the field?

We were watching the hockey game last night. You can tell by how the crowd reacts what’€™s kind of going on. It’€™s similar to football. You sit there and you hear the crowd gasp a little bit. When you’€™re at home or on the road it means two different things, either there’€™s going to be a sack or it’€™s a long ball; someone’€™s about to score a touchdown or something. It’€™s kind of weird, you hear a little lull in the crowd and I always look around. I try to find a referee. If they didn’€™t blow the whistle and looking at the ball or something, finish that play, try to get on it. I mean, that’€™s a possession that can be challenged. Just try to finish the play no matter what. That’€™s something we try to work on situational football in every situation. No matter what, if the ball’€™s laying on the ground, you pick that up because you never know what could’€™ve happened behind you or anything. Just secure that ball whenever you can. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: minnesota vikings, New England Patriots, Stephen Neal, The Dale and Holley Show

Brett Favre officially ‘questionable’ Sunday for Pats

10.29.10 at 5:16 pm ET
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Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre has been officially ruled questionable for Sunday’s game against the Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Favre suffered two breaks in his ankle during last Sunday night’s 28-24 loss at Green Bay. He returned to the field on Friday for the first time this week, doing away with the walking boot he had been wearing to protect his left ankle, opting instead to just wear protective tape over it.

Vikings injury Report for Friday:

Did Not Participate
S Jamarca Sanford (not injury related) Probable

Limited Participation
QB Brett Favre (foot/ankle) Questionable
T Chris DeGeare (ankle) Questionable
CB Lito Sheppard (hamstring) Questionable

Full Participation
DT Letroy Guion (hamstring) Probable
G Steve Hutchinson (quadriceps) Probable
C John Sullivan (calf) Probable
DT Pat Williams (quadriceps) Probable
S Husain Abdullah (concussion) Probable
CB Chris Cook (knee) Probable

Read More: Brett Favre, minnesota vikings, New England Patriots, nfl

Randy Moss was a bad, bad man… again

10.29.10 at 5:07 pm ET
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Minnesota Vikings star receiver Randy Moss will be $25,000 lighter when he takes the field at Gillette Stadium on Sunday after being fined by the NFL for not talking to the media.

Moss was notorious in New England for not talking during the week and not being available when reporters would approach him to speak. His only media availability would come immediately after a game. His most infamous moment of the season came when he addressed the media for 15 minutes in the wake of New England’s 38-24 win over Cincinnati on opening day.

He criticized the media for the way they portrayed his comments and feelings about the Patriots.

Read More: minnesota vikings, New England Patriots, nfl, Randy Moss

Pats Friday injury report: Pat Chung, Deion Branch questionable

10.29.10 at 5:04 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Despite making progress off the field to heal an injured toe, running back Fred Taylor will miss his fourth straight game on Sunday against Minnesota after he was ruled out for this weekend. Also missing the game will be safety Jarrad Page, who suffered an injured calf last Sunday in San Diego.

Patriots Injury Report for Friday:

Did Not Participate
S Jarrad Page (calf) OUT
RB Fred Taylor (toe) OUT

Limited Participation
WR Deion Branch (hamstring) Questionable
DT Mike Wright (knee) Questionable
S Patrick Chung (knee) Questionable
WR Matthew Slater (ankle) Questionable

Full Participation
QB Tom Brady (right shoulder) Probable

Read More: Deion Branch, New England Patriots, nfl, pat chung

OMG Wes Welker’s girlfriend is Snooki… for Halloween

10.29.10 at 3:09 pm ET
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FOXBORO — On the heels of his coach Bill Belichick announcing he would be “ghost” for Halloween on Sunday, Patriots star receiver Wes Welker went the Jersey Shore route, saying he would dress up as one of their characters.

“I do, I’ve got a little something,” Welker hinted. “I don’t think we really have a party to go to or anything like that. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to do it. I may be just walking around the streets of Boston in my outfit.

Will it be a Randy Moss mask to honor his former teammate he’ll be seeing on Sunday at Gillette?

“That’s too predicatble so I’m not going that route. It’s going to be a “Jersey Shore” character. I’m going that route.”

Snooki?

“No, that’s my girlfriend, that’s what she’s wearing.”

What about Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino?

“One of those,” was the only hint Welker would provide.

The Patriots welcome back Moss to Foxboro. Last year, thousands of fans wore Moss masks in the crowd, much to Moss’ delight when they were shown on the video board during the game against Jacksonville.

Read More: Jersey Shore, Mike Sorrentino, minnesota vikings, MTV

Around the NFL – Week 8

10.29.10 at 2:36 pm ET
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Here’s your weekly collection of statistical observations regarding each game and every team around the NFL:

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NFL:

* – If you thought that there were lots of points being scored last weekend, you were right. There was an average of 26.32 points per team last week, the second highest average since at least 1970:

27.18 – Week 7, 1983
26.32 – Week 7, 2010
26.29 – Week 6, 1987

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Dolphins at Bengals

* – The 22 points in the third quarter last week by the Bengals was the most in the NFL since 2003 and the most ever by the Bengals.

* – Over the last four weeks, the Bengals have allowed 13-of-14 conversions on third down and three yards or fewer (93 percent; ranked last). In that same span, Miami’s offense has converted just 46 percent of those tries (28th).

* – 63 percent of the Dolphins pass plays from inside their opponents’ 30-yard-line have been either incomplete, intercepted, or resulted in a sack. In other words, they’ve ended badly. That’s the highest percentage in the league.

* – Miami remains the only team without a touchdown pass of more than 21 air yards this season.

* – The Dolphins have been hit with the fewest penalties in the league (24). Shoot, the Raiders have more penalties than that on both their offense AND their defense. Miami is on pace for 64 penalties for the season, which is within shouting distance of New England’s post-1982 record of just 58 flags in 2008.

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Buccaneers at Cardinals

* – Tampa Bay has scored a touchdown in the first quarter in just one of their last 12 games. Which leads to…

* – The Bucs have trailed at the half in seven of their last eight wins, dating back to 2008.

* – Arizona is averaging 14.2 first downs per game, last in the league.

* – The Cardinals have more fumbles (19) than any team in the league and their 11 lost fumbles ranks second (San Diego, 12).

* – Tampa Bay has allowed only two first downs via penalty this season, fewest in the league. Arizona has ALLOWED a whopping 19 such first downs, tied with Detroit for the most.

* – The Bucs have allowed six touchdowns on passes of 21 or more air yards this season, tied for the most in the NFL. But Arizona has completed only three such passes (touchdown or not) all season (31st).

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Jaguars at Cowboys

* – Last Monday, Dallas became the first team in the last 46 NFL weeks (Week 11, 2007) to lose a game despite receiving five turnovers (or more). It was the first time since 2002 that Dallas has lost despite that many takeaways.

* – Jacksonville has allowed 14 or more points in their last 40 games, by far the longest current streak in the league:

40 – Jaguars
17 – Raiders
11 – Broncos

* – The Jags opponents have scored in the second quarter in their last 27 straight games.

* – Jacksonville has gone for it a league-high 13 times on fourth down this season, but Dallas’ opponents have tried on fourth down just twice, tied for the fewest in the NFL.

* – The Jaguars have allowed an NFL-high 28 pass plays of 20 or more yards. Can John Kitna exploit this? (He’s a man. He’s forty-ish.)

* – These two seem like strange bedfellows: Dallas’ rushers have been stuffed (lost yardage) only nine times, the fewest in the league. But only 41 percent of their rushing yardage has come following contact, ranked 27th. Sounds like there’s a fine line.

—————————————————————————————————————————– Read the rest of this entry »

Peter King on D&H: The Brett Favre situation, and Bill Belichick’s phenomenal season

10.29.10 at 1:54 pm ET
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Peter King of SI.com and NBC Sports joined the Dale & Holley Show on Friday to discuss the state of the NFL, including the league-changing impact of special teams this year, the struggles of the Cowboys, Saints and Broncos, as well as the looming contract situation with Peyton Manning and the Colts.

He also rebutted the suggestion that the Vikings have been looking for an opportunity to turn over the offense to Tavaris Jackson. King said that the only thing that might keep Brett Favre away from Monday’s game against the Patriots would be his health, and that “unequivocally,” Vikings coach Brad Childress is not looking for a chance to move away from Favre.

King also praised the coaching job being done by the Patriots in getting a number of young players — primarily rookies — to be effective contributors on both sides of the ball. He suggested that, to this point, Tom Brady and Manning would be his MVPs.

A transcript of the interview is below. To listen to it, click here.

On the league this week:

What’€™s interesting is that Randy Moss comes back to town for you guys and that’€™s hardly the story. ‘€¦ It just seems this week, as so many weeks have [been] in the past, it’€™s all Favre, all the time.

You’€™ve got something special you’€™re working on for Monday’€¦

I really don’€™t. I’€™m actually doing a story for the magazine for the story next week about special teams and their impact on the first half of this season. It just seems every week, there are two or three plays, I think special teams have been a huge impact. And it’€™s one of those things that you barely ever, ever think about in the offseason. When’€™s the last time someone called your show in May and said, ‘€˜I wonder who the Patriots gunner is going to be.’€™ Ask the San Diego Chargers if they care. They have lost four games this year, lost, because of special teams.

What’€™s your guess: will Favre play on Monday, and if not, is it because of health or because Brad Childress doesn’€™t want him as a quarterback?

My guess is yes, and the answer to the second question is absolutely not. I’€™ll tell you sort of what I know. Here’€™s exactly what’€™s going on. You can take what I’€™m about to say to the bank. Brad Childress has not made a decision yet about what he’€™s going to do. Starting here in a little while, when the Minnesota Vikings take the practice field in Eden Prairie, Minn., he is going to judge Brett Favre’€™s readiness based on about an hour and 15 minutes of practice today and then how he comes back from that tomorrow in the walk-through ‘€“ how nimble he is today and whether he’€™s OK in the walk-through. That, and only that, is what is going to be used to judge whether Brett Favre plays [Monday] against the Patriots.

There have been stories written overnight and a lot of things have been said publicly that I’€™ve heard. But I think I know what’€™s going on with this story well, and what’€™s going on is that if Favre looks good in practice, moves around and can basically prepare himself in the eyes of Brad Childress, he definitely will play on Monday. And if he can’€™t, he won’€™t. I have looked into this week whether Brad Childress would be using this as an excuse to transition away from Brett Favre and towards Tavaris Jackson, because he quite frankly is unhappy with a lot of the decisions that Favre have been making in games, and everybody knows that.

I have been told that the answer is absolutely, unequivocally not. This is going to be a decision based solely on how he looks in practice and whether he’€™s healthy enough to play.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Belichick, brad childress, Brett Favre, jennifer sterger
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