|11.11.10 at 4:09 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Tom Brady returned to practice on Thursday but was limited due to a foot injury that kept the quarterback out of practice on Wednesday. Meanwhile, running back Fred Taylor was again limited in practice on Thursday after missing the last five games.
Patriots Injury Report for Thursday:
K Stephen Gostkowski (thigh) OUT
Did Not Participate
S Jarrad Page (calf)
DL Myron Pryor (back)
|11.11.10 at 2:49 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo said there’s only one thing that will fix what’s ailing the Patriots – a big road win. Tom Brady said coach Bill Belichick was tough on the team this week in film study, a point that Mayo supported on Thursday. But Mayo believes the best thing for the team in their effort to put the 34-14 loss in Cleveland behind them is a win in Pittsburgh against another 6-2 team.
“I think the best medicine for this team is to go on the road and have a big win against Pittsburgh,” Mayo said. “We’re kind of down this week but at the same time, Coach Belichick has done a good job picking up our spirits, telling us we’re a good team.”
Asked how hard it’s been to put last Sunday in the past, Mayo said he and the team have already moved on.
“I’m on the Steelers, ask me a Steelers question,” Mayo added. “That Browns game, I’m trying to get it out of my head.” The Patriots returned to the practice field on Thursday in preparation for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
|11.11.10 at 1:55 pm ET|
The five most important things you need to know about the Patriots today.
1. Tom Brady was back at practice. The quarterback was on the field with the rest of his teammates at the start of Thursday afternoon’s practice session, a day after he missed the Wednesday afternoon session with a reported foot injury. In the 10 minutes of access that the media has to practice, Brady did not appear to be limited in any way, going through stretches and a limited series of drills without a problem.
For what it’s worth, the measuring stick on how ready a play might be for Sunday usually comes on Thursday. If a player is on the field (and are listed as a full participant in practice when the injury report is released at 4 p.m.), chances are very good that they will play on Sunday. There’s still some time before Thursday’s injury report is released, but as of the practice session, it certainly appears Brady will play Sunday against the Steelers.
2. On a similar note, around Foxboro, the unspoken rule is that if you are injured and cannot play that week, you stay as far away from the media as possible. Players who have gone through this process in the past say it’s a little bit like being in limbo ‘ you are part of the team, but you aren’t seen or heard.
To that end, safety Pat Chung, who suffered a bruised knee a few weeks back against the Chargers, has assiduously avoided the media, even when it comes to talking about his beloved Oregon Ducks. But on Thursday morning, the second-year safety held court at his locker with reporters in a brief Q&A session. Never a man of many words, he talked about a variety of topics, including his own health, the Steelers, and what Brandon Meriwether and James Sanders looked like from the sidelines.
‘I’m going day-by-day, man. Day-by-day,’ he said when asked about his health. ‘I feel good. Thumbs up. Everything feels good. Going day-by-day.
‘I practiced yesterday,’ added Chung, who said he feels like he is improving. ‘The knee feels better. It’s getting better every day. We’re just going to go by that, I guess.’
On what he feels like the Patriots need to prepare for against the Steelers: ‘Everything. Physical. They’re physical. We know they’re tough. They have a good quarterback, receivers, and running back. They’re deadly. We have to bring our ‘A’ game, every week, like I always say.’
While Chung was sidelined, Meriwether and Sanders got the bulk of the playing time at the safety position. How did it feel watching them out there?
‘Of course it’s not easy, but it’s over now. It’s over. As those weeks went along, my knee got better. Everything is fine,’ he said. ‘We have good guys back there, regardless of who’s in the game or not. I watched them make plays. When they make plays, I’m smiling, so it’s all good.’
The session wrapped up with a reporter asking him if Oregon was going to win the national championship. Chung quickly smiled.
‘Oregon, all day man,’ he said. ‘Oregon all day.’
3. The Steelers were without Ben Roethlisberger for the first four games of the season, as the quarterback was serving a four-game suspension. (Veteran Charlie Batch helped lead Pittsburgh to a 3-1 mark in Roethlisberger’s absence.) He’s returned to play the last four games for Pittsburgh, and posted a 3-1 mark. What’s the biggest difference in the Steelers’ offense since he returned?
‘I wouldn’t say they’re doing too much differently,’ said linebacker Tully Banta-Cain when asked about the Pittsburgh offense since Roethlisberger’s return. ‘Ben, I think he, he has his own set of problems that he creates because he can get out if the pocket if the receiver is uncovered. He’s got a big arm, so he can throw the ball when they aren’t covered. He’s definitely a great creator at the position. He’s the biggest change of the things we’ve seen.’
‘He’s good. He’s good,’ said Chung. ‘He knows how to make plays. When the pocket breaks down, he knows how to make plays outside the pocket. He’s a very experienced guy. Good arm. Smart. Has good players around him. That makes a difference.’
Read the rest of this entry »
|11.11.10 at 1:25 pm ET|
Brady missed Wednesday’s practice and was listed on the injury report. In addition to his typical shoulder issue, Brady was listed as having a foot injury, which the Boston Globe later reported was sprain but not serious enough to keep him from Sunday’s game.
The only players not spotted at Thursday’s practice were safety Jarrad Page (calf) and defensive lineman Myron Pryor (back). For the second straight day, the team worked out in full pads on the upper fields behind Gillette Stadium.
|11.11.10 at 12:52 pm ET|
FOXBORO — NFL players are accustomed to battles on the field but the one they’re planning for off of it might be their toughest yet.
NFL Players Association boss DeMaurice Smith traveled to Foxboro Thursday to meet with Patriots player rep Matt Light and the team, listening to their concerns as the NFLPA continues to take steps to decertify the union in preparation for the possibility of a lockout by owners next season.
“I think it will be good,” Light said before Thursday’s practice for the Steelers Sunday night. “Anytime you have the leadership here and in place, they’re here to deliver a message and to let the guys know what they’re thinking and what we’re all thinking and what we need to plan for and what we need to do.
“That’s their job is to inform guys of the upcoming battle and what to expect. I think a lot of the guys have been waiting for this for a while.”
Smith was originally scheduled to meet with the Patriots in late September before being called to the funeral of Broncos wide receiver Kenny McKinley.
So far, 26 teams have voted to decertify, a routine step in the process to prepare the union for collective bargaining, which is ongoing between the NFL and the NFLPA.
But there is another pressing concern players want to address with their union leader – player safety and the need to include player input on a panel that hands out sometimes harsh fines for violent hits each week. To this point, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has had that voice and has incurred the criticism of players around the league for handing out fines for hits without first gathering input from former and current players.
“I think fairness is a concern,” Light said. “You have to make sure these things are fair, they’re measurable, that you can judge them and it’s not just one person’s opinion. You have to be able to measure these things up against something else. I think that’s the biggest concern and at the end of the day, players’ safety is another huge concern.
“It’s a fine line and I’m sure they’ll find a system that will work the best but one of the biggest problems and the problem I’ve always had with the system is they actually take the money out [of paycheck] before you actually have a chance appeal or go through an appeal process. That’s something we’ll have to address and something that should be tightened up.”
Safety Brandon Meriweather was fined $50,000 for his hit on Todd Heap in a win against the Ravens on Oct. 17 while Myron Pryor and Gary Guyton were docked $7,500 each for separate hits on Vikings quarterback Brett Favre. “I think it will be good,” Light said. “Anytime you have the leadership here and in place, they’re here to deliver a message and to let the guys know what they’re thinking and what we’re all thinking and what we need to plan for and what we need to do.”
|11.10.10 at 8:14 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Once upon a time – in a land far, far away – Michael Shayne Graham was simply known as “Money” Graham.
That was when he was nailing 28-of-32 field goals and all 47 extra points and his team – the Cincinnati Bengals – was capturing the 2005 AFC North with an 11-5 record. And on top of it all, he earned a Pro Bowl spot on the AFC squad in Hawaii.
It comes hardly as a shock that the then-Chad Johnson gave him that nickname when he drilled a 37-yard field goal on a chilly and windy December day at Paul Brown Stadium on the game’s final play to help the Bengals inch closer to a division title.
Chilly, windy and division titles all ring true in Foxboro, which is part of the reason the Patriots felt very much at ease signing him this week to fill the shoes of Stephen Gostkowski, who was placed on season-ending injured reserve Wednesday with a thigh injury.
“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,” said Graham, whose face and red hair will remind locals of a certain forward who used to play for the Celtics named Brian Scalabrine.
Graham has had his harrowing moments that can scar a player for a career. Arguably, his most forgettable moment wasn’t even his fault. It was a snowy Christmas Eve the next season in Denver when -with 46 seconds remaining in regulation – long snapper Brad St. Louis sailed the PAT through holder Kyle Larson‘s hands after the Bengals had seemingly tied the game on a dramatic touchdown, only to have the game and the playoffs slip through their hands. Graham had nailed 158 straight PATs before that aborted chance.
Then last year – as the Bengals won the AFC North again – he missed two very makable field goals of 28 and 35 yards in a 24-14 playoff loss to the Jets. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said Graham had “demons” he was dealing with and felt it best to let him go as a free agent.
“I’ve only got to play in two playoff games in my career, and one of those games was probably one of the worst games of my life but I don’t think it had anything to do with what kind of game it was,” Graham said. “It was just one of those days for me. I can’t wait to have that chance but at this point I’m looking forward to Pittsburgh, just getting my first game out there and getting my first field goal of the season and getting the confidence of my teammates and building my own confidence is what I’m looking forward to.” Read the rest of this entry »
|11.10.10 at 6:07 pm ET|
According to a report in the Boston Globe, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has a sprained foot but is not expected to miss Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh.
Brady missed practice for the first time this season on Wednesday, and is listed on the Patriots participation/injury report with a foot injury, along with the right shoulder injury that has been on each report this season.
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