|10.28.10 at 4:02 pm ET|
Patriots Injury Report for Thursday
Did Not Participate
S Jarrad Page (calf)
RB Fred Taylor (toe)
QB Tom Brady (right shoulder)
|10.28.10 at 2:31 pm ET|
FOXBORO — One of the major differences Deion Branch has noticed early on his second tenure with the Patriots is the make-up and behavior of the team in practice.
“These guys are much younger,” Branch said Thursday. “You have to think about I came in with Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, Willie McGinest, Ted Johnson, Ted Washington. Those guys are older, veteran guys, experienced guys. The guys we have now are young but have the same hunger, though. These young guys are very ambitious. They want to go out and make plays. The only difference is the experience and the age.”
While Vrabel was notorious for talking and shouting at players during practice, Branch says the younger guys now collectively have the former Patriots linebacker beat.
“There’s a whole lot more trash-talking with these guys,” Branch said with a hearty laugh. “It’s a lot more with the younger guys. It’s fun though, because they remind me of me. I did that just one year. I realized I saved a lot of energy not talking a lot of trash.
“It’s funny, though. You see the young guys. Spikes is one of them, he’s real funny. Who else? Meriweather. Brandon is a talker. But it’s exciting to see these young guys.”
Branch said while he’s still refreshing himself with the “Patriot Way” on offense, he is happy to be helping the younger core of talent like Brandon Tate, Julian Edelman and Danny Woodhead with the system.
“It’s great, especially when the young guys are still asking me questions about certain things when I still learning certain things,” Branch said.
Branch admitted Thursday that he expects quite the carnival atmosphere on Sunday when the Vikings and Patriots square off at Gillette Stadium on Halloween. But it’s hardly something that’s front-and-center in his mind.
“I don’t know how that’s going to pan out,” Branch said. “Am I excited to see it? Nah, I just want to go out and do my job and hopefully, we’ll win this game.”
Branch also talked about holding the basketball for a stunt during a timeout of the Boston Celtics-Miami Heat season opener on Tuesday.
|10.28.10 at 2:25 pm ET|
FOXBORO ‘ Throughout the sweltering days of August, Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty underwent an education. Call it summer school.
The teacher? Randy Moss.
On more than one occasion this summer, Moss humbled McCourty, catching pass after pass from Tom Brady and Brian Hoyer. But on Thursday, McCourty credited those lessons he learned from Moss in camp as being a big reason he’s been able to play as much as he has as a rookie.
‘I learned a lot from Randy ‘ I’m not going to share it,’ McCourty said with smile. ‘But just getting a chance to go against a future Hall of Famer every day in practice I think was a reason I was prepared to start the season off being on the field. Just working against him every day is probably the biggest challenge I’ve ever had as a corner. That helped a great deal.
‘Just sometimes after a play he’d give little tips to all the corners, something that as a wide receiver he might not like or other receivers might not like,’ he added. ‘Things that can help you out when you’re out there playing corner.’
As a result of those summertime tutorials, the 5-foot-10, 193-pound rookie has started six games ‘ four at right corner and two games at left corner, and is fourth on the team in tackles with 29. He’s developed a reputation as a physical presence unafraid to mix it up with opposing receivers, and will likely spend a lot of time opposite Moss on Sunday.
‘I’m excited to go out there and get another chance to just play each week and get better,’ McCourty said of the chance to meet Moss. ‘It’ll be fun.’
Read the rest of this entry »
|10.28.10 at 1:27 pm ET|
FOXBORO — A good sign for the Patriots as safety Patrick Chung returned to practice on Thursday as he returns from an apparent minor knee injury in last Sunday’s win at San Diego. Chung suffered a bruised knee in the first half of Sunday’s game and did not return.
Running back Fred Taylor (toe), safety Jarrad Page (calf) and defensive lineman Mike Wright (unknown cause) were the only players missing at the open portion of Patriots practice. The team’s second practice in preparation for the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday was held outdoors on the upper practice fields in full pads.
|10.27.10 at 9:36 pm ET|
I think the head-to-head hits have become a major problem for the NFL. However, the real problem is not just the hits, but how the league officials define a head-to-head blow. Almost every play involves the head.
Against the Eagles, Atlanta cornerback Dunta Robinson led with his shoulder, but his head came into play from the impact and natural chin tuck that happens when you brace yourself for impact. Then, you have ball carriers that are bracing themselves with natural chin tucks and trying to avoid big hits. So you’re asking guys that are moving at high rates of speed to adjust their targets on constantly moving subjects.
Then, you have the running back that lowers his head for the extra yard. As a defender now, do you meet him with your chest ‘ so he can break your sternum ‘ or do you let him have the first down? Or, do you meet him at the yard marker with everything you have? I say meet him at the yard marker, because players have been trained since third grade to hit. It’s not a behavior for a lot of these guys now ‘ it’s instinctive for them to deny the progress of the ball carrier.
In no way am I condoning some the hits we have seen recently. In fact, a couple of them were very blatant hits. But at the same time, it’s important to remember that you are talking about a behavior that has been instilled in these players since the day they stepped onto the field as youngsters. The truth is the aggression and these hits have become instinct for a lot of these players! Safeties are taught to separate the receiver from the ball ‘¦ and if he catches it, make him pay for it so that they will be thinking about you next time they come across the middle.
Yes, there are players out there that could care less about seriously hurting someone, but for the most part, the majority of the guys don’t want have a player suffer a career-ending injury due to a hit they delivered. Now, we’re telling guys to deliver the blow with his shoulder. That goes against everything players were taught. The hit from Pittsburgh’s James Harrison on Cleveland’s Mohamed Massaquoi was borderline ‘ not because he hit him in the head, but because he left his feet to make the hit. His hit on Josh Cribbs was the one I thought he was going to draw the fine on. He launched himself like a missile and made obvious contact with the top of his helmet to the side of Cribbs helmet.
|10.27.10 at 7:38 pm ET|
The possible impact of Randy Moss on the Vikings has been discussed plenty in recent days, but no matter what he does on the field Sunday, he’s already had a chance to help the Vikings offense and defense prepare for their game with the Patriots. According to coach Brad Childress, Moss spent his off-day huddling with both offensive and defensive in hopes of getting them up to speed on New England.
‘He’s very articulate,’ Childress said of Moss. ‘He spent time with our coaches [Tuesday] and did a great job with both our offense and defensive coaches.’
Childress said he did ‘a good job’ when it comes to providing background on the Patriots.
‘You never know what you’re going to get and how they have to play him,’ Childress said. ‘He at least had some insightfulness on both sides.’
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady understands that the Vikings’ coaching staff will pump Moss for info, but said that sort of background from a former player can occasionally backfire.
‘Sure, he can probably tell them the plays,’ Brady said. ‘He knows the signals and stuff, but that’s why you have to change them. Hopefully he tells them one thing, then you fake it and they’re guessing and maybe they guess wrong. Who knows?’
In the same way Moss has provided the Vikings with some of New England’s tendencies, the Patriots’ defensive backs have an intimate knowledge of what Moss can and cannot do because they went against him in practice for three-plus seasons while the receiver was in New England
‘I mean, Randy, he’s a heck of deep threat, if not one of the best in the game or ever to do it,’ said cornerback Kyle Arrington. ‘So we’re aware of that and we’re going to let the front seven do their job and as a secondary we’re going to do our job.’
|10.27.10 at 4:14 pm ET|
Vikings Injury Report for Wednesday
Did Not Participate
QB Brett Favre (foot/ankle)
G Steve Hutchinson (quadriceps)
S Husain Abdullah (concussion)
CB Chris Cook (knee)
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