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Wes Welker on the bye week: ‘It’s not like it’s Spring Break’

10.19.11 at 12:37 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Wes Welker is heading back to Oklahoma for a few days during the bye week, but don’€™t expect him to cut loose when he gets there.

‘€œIt’€™s not like it’€™s Spring Break, like we’€™re in college or anything like that,’€ he said with a smile. ‘€œIt’€™s more of everybody understanding that you still have to work out and do some of those things.

‘€œYou’€™re not out there running routes and doing all those things you do on a daily basis, but (it’€™s about) making sure you’€™re getting a lot of reps and a lot of sleep and making sure you’€™re not staying out late and a lot of those things,’€ he added. ‘€œ(Just) really kind of taking advantage of your time.’€

Welker enters the bye week as the NFL’€™s leading receiver — he has been targeted 75 times and has 51 catches for 785 yards. He’€™s just off the pace to shatter the league records for most catches, but can still break the record for most receiving yards in a season. (At this rate, Welker will have 136 catches and 2,093 receiving yards. Marvin Harrison holds the single-season reception record with 143 in 2002, and Jerry Rice tops the single-season yardage mark at 1,848 in 1995.)

The receiver, in the final season of a five-year contract, said the bye comes at a good time.

‘€œI think the answer to that, no matter where you are in the season, would be yes. Just not only from a physical standpoint but a mental standpoint a lot of times. It’€™s kind if nice to get a few days to kind of relax and get away,’€ he said.

‘€œI think you kind of put it out of your mind for a few days. There’€™s just so much, every single day, of football, football, football, and so it’€™s kind of nice to get a few days and kind of relax and spend time with family and friends and get away from it for a few days.’€
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Read More: Bill Belichick, Dan Marino, Don Shula, Jerry Rice

A closer look at the eight players that the Patriots worked out Tuesday

10.18.11 at 4:52 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The Patriots Tweeted Tuesday afternoon that the following players were worked out by the team: wide receivers Britt Davis and Jarred Fayson; kicker Dave Rayner; long snapper Chris Massey; punters Robert Malone and Spencer Lanning; offensive linemen Phil Trautwein and Robert Brewster. Here’s a little bit on each player:

Davis: He’s  6-foot-3 wide receiver out of Northern Illinois who has played for the Jets and the Broncos. A 25-year-old, he played three games with Denver in 2010 and did not register a catch.

Fayson: A 24-year-old out of Illinois (he also played some collegiate ball at Florida), he’s a 6-foot, 215-pound wide receiver who has yet to register any stats at the professional level.

Rayner: A Michigan State product, he’s probably the most well-known of the group of players who the Patriots took a look at. Rayney has kicked for a laundry list of teams, including Indianapolis (2005), Green Bay (2006), Kansas City (2007), San Diego (2007), Miami (2008), Detroit (2008 and 2010), Cincinnati (2008 and 2010), Washington (2009) and Dallas (2011).

Massey: A nine-year veteran, the 32-year-old out of Marshall has served as the long snapper for St. Louis from 2002 until 2010. A 6-foot, 237-pounder, he latched on with the Panthers at the start of camp, but was waived on Aug. 30.

Malone: A Fresno State product, the 6-foot-2, 235-pounder entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2010. He was released before the start of camp, and ended up spending the bulk of the season with Tampa Bay, where he averaged 41.5 yards per punt.

Lanning: A South Carolina product, he got an invitation to camp this summer with the Bears.

Trautwein: A 6-foot-6, 308-pound tackle out of Florida, Trautwein was an undrafted free agent who debuted with the Rams in 2009. He also suited up for the Browns in 2009 before returning to St. Louis later that same year. For what it’s worth, Trautwein does appear to have some positional versatility, having played some tight end as a collegian.

Brewster: A 6-foot-4, 325-pounder out of Ball State, Brewster was a tackle as a collegian who can reportedly also play some guard. A two-time All-MAC selection, he spent the last two seasons in Dallas and played in one game with the Cowboys.

Read More: Britt Davis, Chris Massey, Dave Rayner, Jarred Fayson

Patriots announce re-signing of defensive back Phillip Adams

10.18.11 at 2:24 pm ET
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The  Patriots announced Tuesday that they have re-signed defensive back Phillip Adams. Adams, 5-foot-11, 192 pounds, was originally signed by the Patriots on Sept. 21 and was active but did not play in the games at Buffalo on Sept. 25 and at Oakland on Oct. 2 before being released on Oct. 8, signed again on Oct. 13 and released on Oct. 14. He was originally drafted in 2010 by San Francisco in the seventh round (224 overall) out of South Carolina State. Adams played in 15 games for the 49ers last season and finished with 13 total tackles and one pass defensed.

Read More: Phillip Adams,

Pressure Points: Which New England defenders have been the best job of getting after the quarterback through six games?

10.18.11 at 1:29 pm ET
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According to official NFL gamebooks, opposing quarterbacks have 235 dropbacks against the Patriots through six games this season, and have been hit by New England defenders a total of 27 times, to go along with ten sacks (23rd in the league). Here’€™s a breakdown of who has been getting to the quarterback for the Patriots through six games:

Quarterback hits:
Defensive end/linebacker Mark Anderson: Five
Linebacker Dane Fletcher: Four
Defensive end Andre Carter: Four
Defensive lineman Vince Wilfork: Three
Defensive lineman Myron Pryor: Three
Linebacker Rob Ninkovich: Three
Defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth: Two
Defensive lineman Shaun Ellis: One
Defensive lineman Gerard Warren: One
Safety Pat Chung: One
Linebacker Brandon Spikes: One

Anderson: 3.5
Ninkovich: 1.5
Chung: One
Carter: 2.5
Wilfork: 0.5
Pryor: 0.5
Mike Wright: 0.5

Read More: Albert Haynesworth, Andre Carter, Brandon Spikes, Dane Fletcher

Faulk, Brace and Deaderick all return to the practice field

10.18.11 at 1:18 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Kevin Faulk completed one step of his journey back to football on Tuesday, when the veteran running back returned to the practice field with his teammates for the first time this season.

Three of the players who started the season on the physically unable to perform list — Faulk and defensive linemen Brandon Deaderick and Ron Brace — were all on the field at the start of practice Tuesday afternoon at Gillette Stadium. Because they have started practicing, the Patriots now have up to three weeks to decide to put them on the active roster or injured reserve. Until then, they don’t count against the 53-man roster.

Faulk, who suffered a knee injury last September and was placed on season-ending injured reserve soon after that, said he got the word over the weekend that he would be allowed to start practicing on Tuesday with the rest of his teammates.

“Right now, my understanding is that I get to practice today. And that’s my mindset right now. I get to practice today, and tomorrow, we’ll see what happens,” said Faulk.

“My mindset, when we started I could have come back,” he said. “But that’s me. That’s just me being a competitor, me wanting to be out there with my teammates. I want to be out there with my team. Right now, I feel a lot better than I did back then. I think that’s just the process that you go through. (But) I’m just ready to go back out there. That’s all.”

As for Brace, he injured his elbow against Buffalo last December and had offseason surgery. Brace said today he is excited to finally get back on the field.

“I’m getting ready to get a little work in finally,” he told reporters. “I’m ready to get out there again and get some work in, finally.”

Patriots coach Bill Belichick hinted on Tuesday that roster moves could be looming. There are two spots available on the 53-man roster as the Patriots waived safety Ross Ventrone and cornerback Sterling Moore yesterday.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Brandon Deaderick, Kevin Faulk, Ron Brace

Fantasy Football: Week 7 Waiver Wire

10.18.11 at 8:45 am ET
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Here are the big names on the week seven waiver wire. As usual, we’€™ll be adding players all day at, and we’€™ll have more options for those of you who play in deeper leagues. We also have forums for those of you with specific questions, so please feel free to check us out and to submit a question. We will get back to you within 24 hours and usually the same day.

Christian Ponder, QB, Vikings

We liked what we saw in limited action. Ponder came in cold and looked the part. He made some solid reads and bought time with his feet. Minnesota is not a great place for a young QB, but he does have support on the ground in the form of Adrain Peterson. The offense looked completely different with Ponder versus Donovan McNabb at the helm. We think they will make the switch this week, but if they do go back to McNabb, it won’€™t last long. Ponder is a guy to grab in long term formats and large seasonal leagues. He is a pickup option only in very large formats.

Blaine Gabbert, QB, Jaguars

Yes, Blaine Gabbert! His early number may not look great, but take them in proper context. He’€™s faced really tough defenses and he is a very young player with no typical rookie offseason. He also has meager weapons in comparison to Cam Newton and Andy Dalton. We’€™re pretty impressed with what we’€™ve seen so far. His schedule lightens up after this week.  He could be your bye week option for week 8, 9 or 11.

DeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys

He is going to get his shot and if you own Felix Jones, you should already have him. DeMarco has eye-popping talent, so get him in all formats. He’€™s an aggressive runner who could post big numbers for the Cowboys and he’€™ll be active in the passing game too. Tashard Choice will also be a factor, but we expect Murray to separate himself and to get the bulk of the action.

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WEEI NFL Power Rankings: Week 7

10.18.11 at 6:16 am ET
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Just one undefeated team remains after six weeks of football. As expected, the Packers (1) rolled all over the Rams and cruised to 6-0. The Ravens (2) and Patriots (3) also continued their winning ways and jump one spot each to round off the top 3. The Lions (7) suffered their first loss of the season to the upstart 49ers in a gritty and exciting game. The 49ers (6) are buying what Jim Harbaugh is selling and they’ve now rattled off four straight wins as they head into their bye week.

Desperate teams like the Jets, Eagles (19), and Falcons (13) all managed to squeeze out wins and stay alive in the playoff race. The Jets stay put at No. 11 but could jump higher next week if they can beat the 4-1 Chargers (4).

There’s been a lot of commotion at the quarterback position across the NFL. The Broncos (26) are set to go with Tebow, the Redskins (20) have yet to name a starter for Week 7, the Seahawks (24) are uncertain if Tarvaris Jackson will be available, and the Raiders (12) suffered a big blow losing Jason Campbell.

At the bottom, misery loves company. The three remaining winless teams, the Rams (30), Dolphins (31), and Colts (32) are getting comfortable in their spots. All three teams are reaching new levels of terribleness.

What to watch for in Week 7:

The Falcons travel to Detroit to face the Lions in a game that could have playoff implications down the road.

In the hunt to win the AFC South, with the Manning-less Colts a non-factor, the Texans and Titans will square off in a huge divisional game.

Byes: Bills, Bengals, Patriots, Giants, Eagles, 49ers

1. (1) Packers (6-0) ‘€” Packers players should be prepared to fend off whispers of a possible perfect season because they’ll get louder and louder each week. The defending Super Bowl champs are over-matching their opponents and 7-0 looks inevitable with the Vikings next. With the way Aaron Rodgers is playing, undefeated certainly seems like a very real possibility.

2. (3) Ravens (5-1) ‘€” Baltimore has outscored its opponents by 77 points. The Ravens defense has been good all year and once again showed how tough and physical they can be against any offensive weapon the opposing team might throw at them. Arian Foster was shut down by a run defense that has been superb this season. On the other hand, Ray Rice has been lethal in the run and pass game.

3. (4) Patriots (5-1) ‘€” The improvement from the Patriots defense over the past couple of weeks has to be encouraging for Bill Belichick heading into the bye week. The pass rush is progressing and they’re getting off the field on third-down. This defense came up huge against the Cowboys and finally picked up the offense. Tom Brady and crew turned the ball over four times but the Pats D held Dallas to just six points on those turnovers. It’s a perfect time for a bye week for the Pats. Jerod Mayo, Albert Haynesworth and others can heal up and the defense can work on its problems before the team enters a tough stretch of games.

4. (2) Saints (4-2) ‘€” Tough day all around for the Saints. Not only did they lose to a divisional opponent, head coach Sean Payton tore his MCL after colliding with tight end Jimmy Graham. The injury will probably prevent the fiery Payton from coaching on the sidelines for a good period of time. All in all, the Saints should be able to overcome the tough defeat- thanks to the schedule. Two of the three winless teams in the NFL (Colts and the Rams) are next.

5. (6) Chargers (4-1) ‘€” The first-place Chargers sat back this past weekend and watched their biggest competition in the division lose its starting quarterback. The AFC West is theirs to lose. The Chargers now have to prove they can beat the good teams in the NFL. They’ll start by playing the Jets in New York this Sunday.

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Read More: aaron rodgers, Jim Harbaugh, NFL Power Rankings, Rex Ryan
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