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The Hot List: Struggles on South Beach

10.02.10 at 11:14 am ET
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There have been positive moments, but since 2001, when Tom Brady and the Patriots have taken their talents to South Beach more often than not they’€™ve come away with a memorable loss. With the Patriots headed for Miami for another Monday night clash with their AFC East rivals, this edition of The Hot List examines the five most indelible defeats New England has suffered in Miami since Brady and Bill Belichick took control of the Patriots.

5) Oct. 6, 2002 ‘€” Miami 26, Patriots 13: The back end of a humbling two-game stretch ‘€” which included a nasty loss to the Chargers in San Diego ‘€” that proved to the young and feisty Patriots they weren’€™t as good as they thought they were.

Prior to this game, four ex-Dolphins playing in New England (including linebacker Larry Izzo and quarterback Damon Huard) took pictures of themselves with their Super Bowl XXXVI rings on their middle fingers, which were extended for the camera. The picture showed up on the wall at the Dolphins’€™ practice facility, the players were fined, and wide receiver Oronde Gadsden said they used it to their ‘€œadvantage’€ after the win over New England.

4) Dec. 10, 2006 ‘€” Miami 21, Patriots 0: The four starting quarterbacks who beat the Patriots during the 2006 regular season? Jake Plummer, Peyton Manning, Chad Pennington and Joey Harrington.

Joey Harrington?

Yes, that Joey Harrington. Harrington was the starting quarterback for the Dolphins when the two teams met in December in Miami. In that one, New England was dominated by the trio of Harrington, Jason Taylor and Sammy Morris: Taylor had nine tackles and a sack, Morris rushed for 123 yards and Harrington guided a pair of second-half touchdown drives, while Miami punter Donnie Jones was able to pin the Patriots inside their own 5-yard line on three occasions. Meanwhile the Patriots had just 90 total passing yards and lost three fumbles. (Brady was 12-for-25 passing for 78 yards and a 55.1 passer rating.)

It would be the last regular-season loss the Patriots would suffer ‘€” their next defeat came in the infamous AFC Championship Game against the Colts in Indianapolis.

Joey Harrington?
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Matt Light talks Monday Night Football on The Big Show

10.01.10 at 5:28 pm ET
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Patriots tackle Matt Light joined The Big Show Friday to talk about the team’s preparation and outlook for the upcoming Monday Night game in Miami against the Dolphins.

Following are some highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, visit The Big Show audio on demand page. Click here for the interview.

Would you rather play a game in Miami early or late in the season?

It’€™s kinda funny; it always seemed at first that we were down there on the hottest day. And then we had this transition where they came up here for the first game and we were down there when it was cooler. For a 1 p.m. game early in the year it can be pretty hot. I can imagine by the time it kicks off Monday night we won’€™t have to deal with so much of the heat. I would prefer to play down there when it’€™s not quite as sticky.

Sitting through Sunday without football for a Monday night game:

It’€™s kind of brutal. I think every guy in the league would like to wake up on Sunday, get an early meal in, head to the stadium and get to play a game at one o’€™clock. You’€™re trying to get a little extra film study in and the day keeps dragging and dragging. You might have a meeting and everyone else has already played their game. It’€™s definitely an adjustment that you have got to account for.

Is [Miami defensive end] Jared Odrick a full go right now?

You always prepare for that. You can never know and you never prepare that way. The guys who have been around now for a couple years are definitely guys we’€™ve focused on for a while now on film. They are very active up front and they have some good interior guys. They can definitely get up the field. They have a pretty good playing style. Definitely a different style in which they play this year versus last year. They have a few new license plates to understand how they do things. Other than that though it’€™s Miami football.

On the playing environment in Miami:

I don’€™t think the footings ever been too much of an issue. It’€™s never been too much of an issue. Not for us, the really fleet footed and nimble; the very cat-like. I’€™m sure the guys out there making big plays for us, whether is the defensive backs or wide receivers at skill positions, I’€™m sure they have a little issue with some of that turf. The crowd noise can definitely be a factor though.

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Read More: Matt Light, Miami Dolphins, Patriots, The Big Show

Dolphins injury report for Friday

10.01.10 at 3:50 pm ET
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Miami Injury Report for Friday
Did Not Practice

G John Jerry (illness)
DE Jared Odrick (ankle)
LB Channing Crowder (groin)

Full Participation
T Jake Long (knee)

Read More: Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, nfl,

Taylor misses another practice

10.01.10 at 3:49 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Running back Fred Taylor missed his third straight practice on Friday with a toe injury as the Patriots continued preparations for the Miami Dolphins on Monday night in South Florida. The Patriots will practice again on Saturday before leaving on Sunday for the game against the Dolphins.

Patriots Injury Report for Friday
Did Not Practice

OL Nick Kaczur (back)
RB Fred Taylor (toe)
CB Terrence Wheatley (foot)

Full Participation
QB Tom Brady (right shoulder)

Read More: Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, nfl,

Peter King on D&H: Expect ‘some points’ on Monday night

10.01.10 at 1:26 pm ET
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Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, who is preparing to run a half-marathon after losing a Twitter bet to Chad Ochocinco over Terrell Owens, joined the Dale & Holley show on Friday afternoon. Asked about Monday night’s game, he said he expects “some points” from the Patriots and Dolphins due to New England’s defensive concerns.

“One of the things that would surprise almost anybody who’s watching football this year is how generous the Patriots defense has been,” King said.

“What really has surprised me is they’re basically averaging giving up 27 points a game. That’s eight points more than Cleveland, that’s 15 points more than Kansas City, that’s 11 points more than the Rams. The Patriots right now, and it’s shown with how Darius Butler got yanked, that [Bill] Belichick is going to be patient up to a point. But I think it’s showing right now that the one things the Patriots should have done this offseason and didn’t do is really address their pass rush situation.

“Who knows, it could get better. Maybe [Brandon] Spikes is the guy who they’ve been missing,” King said. “Maybe Tully Banta-Cain turns into this Patriot generation’s Mike Vrabel. Who knows? It’s still early. But this is a team that needs to get after the quarterback better and needs to cover better.”

Following are highlights from the interview, including King’s thoughts on Philadelphia’s quarterback controversy, Logan Mankins situation, and the future of Bill Parcells.

Do you think the Eagles are going to have an issue at quarterback?

I think there’s a very good chance that could happen. I think that’s a really prescient, good question to ask right now because all along and what Andy Reid has said to me, and said to everybody else, absolutely, positively, “Kevin Kolb is my quarterback of the future.” But, this is the same Andy Reid who said last February, “Donovan McNabb is my quarterback, stop making an issue of it.” And after he traded McNabb on Easter Sunday he said, “Hey, Kevin Kolb is my quarterback. It’s not even an issue, we’re not even going to have a contest.”

Now, I will tell you this, interesting little sidebar, when that happened, Michael Vick was not pleased. That’s the only time in the year-plus he’s been in Philadelphia that he felt a little bit wronged. You know, “Why isn’t there a competition? Why can’t I compete for the starting job? Why do we assume that Kevin Kolb is better than me?” But he shut his mouth, he didn’t say anything. And then after a while, in essence, what he did was he just started proving he should be the starting quarterback of this team. Now, he is.

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Read More: Bill Parcells, Brandon Spikes, Logan Mankins, Peter King

Meriweather: ‘My feelings have nothing to do with this team’

10.01.10 at 1:11 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Brandon Meriweather has been the lightning rod for the storm of criticism that has hit the Patriots defense this year.

Whether it was blown coverage in Week 2 in a 28-14 loss to the Jets, when Mark Sanchez went off in the second half or it was the D’s inability to put away the likes of Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bills last week, Meriweather has been pointed to as one of the reasons the team is giving up gobs of yards.

Meriweather has – for all intents and purposes – been yanked from his starting free safety job and now just plays in certain situations.

A player with pride, Meriweather – in his fourth year out of Miami – admitted Friday that he’s been forced to separate what he is feeling right now about being demoted from what is best for the team and how to get back into the good graces of Bill Belichick and the defensive staff.

“My feelings have nothing to do with this team,” Meriweather said. “Whether it’s pissing me off or it’s not, that has nothing to do with this team. The coaches are gonna make the best decisions for the team and I’m gonna go with it.”

A Pro Bowler in 2009, Meriweather’s situation is Exhibit A as to just how quickly you can fall out of good graces in the NFL.

Meriweather, who now shares his job with Patrick Chung, admitted he sees his mistakes on film.

“Everybody makes mistakes,” Meriweather said. “So I’d be wrong to say, ‘No, I don’t see reasons.’ And I’d be wrong if I say, ‘Yes, I do.’ Everybody wants to be on the field every play, that’s just me being a player but of course, I’ve made mistakes. As for me not being on the field every play, that’s up the coaches and I just stick by their decision and hope they make the right decision.”

Read More: Brandon Meriweather, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets

Belichick on Giants Ring: Simms, Tuna and LT

10.01.10 at 12:54 pm ET
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FOXBORO — How did Bill Belichick turn up the heat on his team? What’s the status of starting running back Fred Taylor and his toe injury? What does Belichick think of Lawrence Taylor and the New York Giants ‘Ring of Honor’ being unveiled this weekend? And what do Bill Belichick, Dan Henning and Boston College have in common? Those questions and more were posed to the Patriots head coach. Thanks to the outstanding Patriots media relations staff, here were his answers:

“We’€™re winding down the week here. It looks like we’€™ll be inside today and get ready for the nice weather in Florida.”

Q: Would you have been inside regardless?

BB: Probably not. Probably not.

Q: So was it because of this weather?

BB: Yeah, because of our great weather.

Q: How did it affect your practice yesterday?

BB: I think it’€™s a cumulative thing that you kind of take what you get here in the earlier part of the fall: the wind, the rain, the cooler temperatures, whatever it happens to be. Sooner or later, those days are going to come during the season and so we can kind of fall back on some of those experiences, whether it’€™s the kicking game or ball handling or whatever it happens to be. We don’€™t know what we’€™re going to get or when we’€™re going to get it, but I think sooner or later the practice opportunities in less than ideal conditions end up being experience that we can use when those conditions occur in games.

Q: Have you ever simulated the heat in practice the way you would with music? Have you ever made it hotter?

BB: If we were practicing inside, yeah, sure.

Q: So would that be a way to sort of help acclimate?

BB: The easiest way to get hotter is just to put on a couple sweatshirts. Really, that’€™s as good a way to raise body temperature as any. [It'€™s] a little more cost effective.

Q: Can you talk about the roster moves yesterday bringing back Thomas Clayton. Is that maybe a way to shore up that position with the uncertainty of Fred Taylor’€™s injury?

BB: Yeah, definitely. It gives us a little more depth at that position. Yes, absolutely. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Belichick, Bill Parcells, Dan Henning, Giants Ring of Honor
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