|09.14.11 at 9:49 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning to analyze Monday’s 38-24 victory over the Dolphins.
Asked if he was going to downplay his 517-yard passing performance, Brady said: “Well, yeah. That was obviously a huge win for us. To start the year like that, from a team standpoint, was great. Miami’s always a tough place for us to play, and we’ve had some pretty miserable performances down there over the years. Due to the Dolphins defense, due to the different conditions, it’s always a tough place to play. For us to come out of there with the win, and to play pretty well on offense. Honestly, there are plenty of things that we can do better and we’ll need to do better, but to get that win under our belt was great for us.”
Following is a transcript of the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Was there even just a little bit of surprise that it clicked as well as it did in the hurry-up? After all, it was just Week 1.
That’s the thing about it, it is Week 1. One thing we talked about before the game was fighting through the adversities of the game. I think we have very high expectations for our offense. When we have negative plays, in some ways it’s demoralizing because we don’t think we should make negative plays. So, one thing that I thought we did a good job of was we kind of fought through those adversities when things didn’t go well, when we had three-and-outs. Or when they had scored and we responded to their score on two different occasions. I thought we showed a little bit of mental toughness, playing in a pretty hostile environment with the crowd noise, on “Monday Night Football” with all the different distractions. I thought as a veteran team, we played through some of those. That was another positive to take away from the night.
|09.14.11 at 12:52 am ET|
Former Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi ripped wide receiver Chad Ochocinco on Tuesday, telling Ochocinco to ‘drop the awe factor’ and get in the playbook if he wants to make a contribution to the team.
One day after Ochocinco caught one pass in the regular-season opener for the Patriots against the Dolphins in Miami ‘ a game where quarterback Tom Brady and the Patriots racked up 517 passing yards in a 38-24 win — Ochocinco tweeted: Just waking up after a late arrival, I’ve never seen a machine operate like that n person,to see video game numbers put up n person was WOW.
That drew a stern rebuke from Bruschi. Speaking on WEEI’s ‘Big Show,’ he hammered Ochocinco, telling him to ‘get with the program.’
‘Drop the awe factor, OK, Ocho? Chad, drop the awe factor,’ Bruschi said. ‘You’re not a fan, all right. You’re not someone who’s on another team or watching TV. You’re not an analyst. You’re a part of it. They want you to be a part of it. So get with the program because obviously you’re not getting it and you’re tweeting because you’re saying, ‘It’s amazing to see’? It’s amazing to see because you don’t understand it. You still don’t understand it and it’s amazing to you because you can’t get it.
‘Stop tweeting and get in your playbook,’ Bruschi added. ‘Wake up! If you’re just waking up now — I don’t know when this was, six minutes ago? — get out your bed and get to the stadium and watch some film if you still think it’s amazing. If you’re in it and you know what you’re doing and you execute out there you don’t think it’s amazing. You know why? Because it’s what you’re supposed to do.’
For the complete audio of the interview, click here.
|09.13.11 at 10:42 pm ET|
The Patriots’ offense kept its foot on the pedal all night Monday against the Dolphins, going with a no-huddle much of the night in hopes of keeping the Miami defense on its heels. While it wasn’t always a pure uptempo style — New England was walking to the line as a group on more than one occasion — the Patriots approach had its desired affect, as the Dolphins appeared cooked on more than one occasion in the second half of Monday’s game.
‘We try to play at a crisp, fast tempo every day. Every week is a new week (and), the tempo changes sometimes from drive-to-drive. But as a whole we want to play fast. We don’t want to play slow,’ said New England offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien.
‘So, it’s important for me to get the play in quickly and for Tom [Brady] to get the play communicated quickly, and for us to be at the line of scrimmage and ready to go. That’s part of the philosophy of our offense.’
While Miami players and coaches said after the game they anticipated the increased tempo from the Patriots, on Monday, there was more than one occasion where the Dolphins appeared unprepared when New England went no-huddle.
‘For us, going fast ‘ I’m sure that we feel like whether they’re lined up or not, we’re going to run our play,’ O’Brien said. ‘You’d have to ask them if it prevented them from walking around.’
One of the reasons the Patriots were able to keep the pressure on because they appeared to rotate pretty heavily as well at several key positions, including defensive line and offensive line. While many key Dolphins’ defenders were cramping up late in the game, New England players talked after the game about how they were able to stay fresh throughout the night.
‘It helped great,’ said defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth when asked about the rotational work. ‘I felt like I was still in the first half when I was out there rushing, so … like I said, we have defensive tackles here that can play and start at any other team. We have a great rotation here.’
‘That played a huge factor,’ said defensive tackle Vince Wilfork. ‘Having a lot of bodies and being able to move on and off the field and being able to rest some guys helped us.’
Of course, you want to pick and choose when you ramp up the pressure on an opponent. Patriots coach Bill Belichick said you have to be ‘cognizant’ of where your team is before you decide to go after the team on the other side of the ball.
‘Sure, you want to try to attack your opponent’s weaknesses and they’re trying to attack yours,’ Belichick said, ‘but part of that is doing what you can do, and making sure that the most important thing is to be able to go out there and execute what you want to get done.
‘If you can’t do it, then it can be the greatest idea in the world, but if you can’t really go out there and do it, then it’s not going to help you.’
|09.13.11 at 9:23 pm ET|
Less than 24 hours after their season-opening win over the Dolphins in Miami, the Patriots braintrust stated unequivocally Tuesday afternoon that they have already moved on, shifting their focus from the Dolphins to this week’s opponent, the San Diego Chargers.
The Patriots arrived back at Gillette at 5 a.m. on Tuesday and sent the players home for the day. Subsequently, they hadn’t yet had a chance to look at the game film. But that’s not stopping them, as they’re already on a short week to prepare for Philip Rivers and the Chargers, who will come into Gillette on Sunday afternoon.
‘It’s a quick turnaround — we’re on to San Diego,’ said Patriots coach Bill Belichick. ‘I haven’t had a chance to look at Miami, we’re just trying to get started on San Diego, so we’ll get to [the Miami film] tomorrow — later tonight or tomorrow morning, we’ll see how it goes.
‘Of course it’s good go down there, playing on the road with all the conditions we had to deal with, and come away with the win. It’s great to be 1-0, but we have to put that behind us and turn our attention to the Chargers.’
Read the rest of this entry »
|09.13.11 at 11:55 am ET|
Patriots running back Danny Woodhead joined Mut & Merloni Tuesday morning to discuss the Patriots season-opening win over the Dolphins Monday night. The New England offense put up a franchise-record 622 yards against Miami in a 38-24 victory that featured very little in the way of defense. While it was an impressive showing for the Patriots’ offense, Woodhead said that getting the victory is the only thing New England focuses on.
“As far as stats, the over-600 yards, when you ask the guys on the team, the offense, I don’t think that’s the biggest concern,” Woodhead said. “The win is the only stat this team cares about and I think that’s the great part about this team.”
Woodhead had a solid game of his own, rushing 14 times for 69 yards. The diminutive running back said that his size does give him an advantage in some situations.
“Leverage is definitely a key in football,” Woodhead said. “I don’t really have to get lower to get leverage (laughs).”
Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
On how New England prepared to run the no-huddle offense: “When you talking about preparation, that’s the number one thing throughout the league. Knowing your opponent, knowing the people that you may be going up against, in my case maybe linebacks. So preparation is just a huge ordeal. When it comes to game time, we just go in and do whatever the coaches may ask us to do. Our job is to the best that we can as players and the coaches just put us in great situations.
Our strength coaches did an unbelievable job of getting us in great shape. When you’re at the end of a training camp practice and you don’t wanna run, but you are running, that stuff pays off. I think more than anything, the players making sure they do work hard during conditioning I think really pays off so you are ready for whatever may come.”
On New England’s offensive line: “We got a great group. Everyone understands whenever your number be called to be ready. I think that’s the approach that everyone on the team takes. That was the case last night, I think, the thing is everyone trusts everybody to do their job and that’s the biggest thing; we’re not second-guessing any guys.”
|09.13.11 at 8:25 am ET|
An exciting Week 1 is in the books.
We saw offensive juggernauts all over the NFL. The Packers, Saints, Patriots, Ravens, Texans and Bills (yes, Bills) all had outstanding performances from their offenses. We also saw a lot of upsets across the league. Many division winners in 2010 suffered opening week losses. The 20th-ranked Chiefs were crushed by the Bills (19), the Steelers (6) were thrashed by the Ravens (3), and the Manning-less Colts (24) were pounded by the Texans (11). It was a tough start for the NFC South particularly, as the Saints (5), Falcons (10), Bucs (15) and Panthers (30) all fell short.
There was some dramatic movement in this week’s edition of the WEEI NFL Power Rankings. Most notably, the Colts fell all the way down to No. 24. The Bills (19) made a giant leap and find themselves in the top 20. Finally, the city of Cleveland continues to suffer as the Browns are the newest occupants of the much dreaded No. 32 slot.
1. (1) Packers (1-0) ‘ Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense will roll through defenses all year. It’s scary how much talent Rodgers has around him. That was an impressive opening performance from the defending champs and we’ll be seeing numbers like that from this team all year.
2. (3) Patriots (1-0) ‘ I feel sorry for defensive coordinators and coaches who have to game-plan against Tom Brady and the Pats offense. How do you stop all the weapons in Brady’s arsenal? Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski are matchup nightmares. The Dolphins were a solid defense against the pass last year. They ranked eighth in the NFL. The Patriots made them look ridiculous. One obvious area of concern has to be the loss of Dan Koppen and the lack of depth on the offensive line. Koppen has played in 120 games since 2003 and hasn’t missed one since 2007.
3. (5) Eagles (1-0) ‘ The Eagles showed off their impressive offense in the win against the Rams. LeSean McCoy averaged eight yards per carry while Michael Vick made big plays through the air and on the ground. The troubling part of the loss was Vick took some major hits from the Rams defense.
4. (8) Ravens (12-4) ‘ It’s only Week 1, but the Ravens’ victory over Steelers is the biggest win for this franchise in a long time. Not only did they beat their division rival, they embarrassed them. Ed Reed, Ray Lewis and Haloti Ngata led the way contributing to seven forced turnovers. This wasn’t just a win, it was a moral-boosting victory that will give the Ravens plenty of confidence going forward.
5. (4) Saints (0-1) ‘ The voluntary offseason workouts seemed to help Drew Brees and the Saints offense, as they looked to be in midseason form on Thursday night. The defense was a totally different story. The Saints had no answer for the Packers’ high-powered offense. It was an all-around poor effort as the defensive line struggled to pressure Rodgers and the secondary often appeared lost.
6. (7) Jets (1-0) ‘ Not sure if we should call the Jets resilient for coming back, or lucky that Tony Romo pulled a Tony Romo. It’s probably a little bit of both. Great teams make big plays in key moments and the Jets got just that. Joe McKnight and the special teams unit came up huge with a punt block and touchdown late in the fourth quarter. On the other hand, Mark Sanchez was careless with the ball. Rex Ryan‘s squad will never win a Super Bowl until Sanchez can consistently protect the football.
|09.13.11 at 8:11 am ET|
Here are some players that are available in typical leagues. If any of these players are available in your leagues and you have need at the position, they are recommended pick ups. If you play in a deeper format, please feel free to join us at Rotobahn.com throughout the day as we add more and more targets for deeper leagues and long term formats.
Cam Newton, QB, Panthers
Here’s what we said about Newton in our rookie rankings….
‘A great dynasty pick for the risk-takers. We love this guy and in time, we think he’s going to be a fantasy monster. He could be a fantasy option as soon as this season. Once he is settled in and gets a relationship with the offense and his receivers, look out. Like we said, there is risk when you look at some of his decisions off the field, but we think his competitive nature wins the day. The bottom line is that he has otherworldly physical ability. He has exceptional feet. He has an exceptional arm and he is very physically strong for a QB. Upside personified.’
If you need a QB, and he is available, get this guy. If you have a way to clear a roster spot, get this guy. If you have anything short of an elite QB, find a cut so you can get this guy.
I’ve already read more than a few columns that are warning folks not to get too excited. Don’t listen to these people. Get excited. The kind of upside exhibited by Newton on Sunday is as rare as it is valuable. For those who listened to us and waited on QBs in your draft–Cam could be your reward. Yes, Green Bay could expose the kid in ways Arizona could not. Green Bay does that to a lot of people. Guess what, he won’t have to play them twice. And, once the Panthers clear the Bears off of their schedule in week four, we see no reason Cam can’t be your weekly starter.
For the same reasons we’ve told you to keep your head on a swivel with Tebow, and for the same reason we told you in keeper leagues to draft Vick last August, you need to move for Newton if he is available. Quarterbacks who give you consistent high-end ‘foot points’ are fantasy monsters or at least have the potential to be.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Bills
If he can keep playing this way, he is going to force some people to redefine their terms, and that includes us. The Ivy Leaguer has a lot of heart. That we knew. But he also has a nice array of weapons and he uses his smarts to find the path of least resistance. He is looking like a nice pickup if you need some help. He looked a lot more comfortable than last year and used all of his receivers. He’s got a tough schedule, but he is a guy you could play match-ups with.