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Audio: Chris Price, Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders talk Patriots

02.01.13 at 1:18 am ET
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In the latest edition of the It Is What It Is Cast, Chris Price and Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders break down the 2012 Patriots, including a look at some key statistics about the New England team, and also discuss some possible personnel moves going forward, with a focus on Wes Welker and Aqib Talib. Chris and Aaron conclude the conversation talking about different items around the NFL, including the impact of Chip Kelly in Philly with the Eagles and Super Bowl XLVII. To listen or download, click here.

Linebacker Dane Fletcher signs one-year deal with Patriots

01.31.13 at 3:33 pm ET
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Patriots linebacker Dane Fletcher has resigned with the Patriots, inking a one-year deal to remain with the team.

The 26-year-old Montana State product, who was an rookie free agent, has done a very nice job providing depth at the inside/middle linebacker spot the last two seasons, as well as working as an occasional special teamer. The 6-foot-2, 245-pounder, who was slated to become a restricted free agent,  has 55 tackles (36 solo), with two sacks and a pair of passes defensed in 23 career games with New England.

He spent the entire 2012 season on the shelf after suffering a torn left ACL in New England’s preseason opener.

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Rob Gronkowski on M&M: ‘It wasn’t the way I wanted to go out’

01.31.13 at 11:45 am ET
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Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski broke his silence on Thursday when he checked in with Mut & Merloni and provided an update on his broken left forearm.

“The arm’s doing all right. Just casted it up,” he said. “Got a lot of time to heal now. So, there’s no hurry, no rush. Just taking it week by week and day by day, and just getting it stronger every day. So, I’m improving every week. It’s the offseason now, so, no time to rush it. Get it 100 percent before camp starts.”

Gronkowski broke his arm for the second time early in the playoff game against the Texans when he used the arm to brace himself while falling after an incomplete pass.

“Right when I landed obviously I was in huge pain,” he said. “I knew there was something wrong right when I hit. I just wasn’t sure what it was. Because sometimes you get a stinger, sometimes you get a charley horse and they go away after two minutes — they just hurt real bad, real quick for like two minutes. So, I was just hoping it was that — like a quick stinger, hitting your joint in your elbow or something where it just numbs your arm real quick. I was just hoping it was one of those. But the pain wasn’t going away, obviously, and obviously it broke.

“It wasn’t the way I wanted to go out. Definitely it wasn’t. It is what it was. That’s what happened.”

Despite it being the second time the arm broke this season, Gronkowski said he doesn’t feel that he came back too soon.

“I couldn’t really tell you if it was healed or not. It felt good,” he said. “Just going into the playoff game I felt ready, I felt confident about it. Like I said, it was just a freak accident. It didn’t go the way I planned. It broke in a different spot. It just happened. Obviously I wasn’t planning on that.”

Gronkowski originally broke the arm in the final minutes of a 59-24 rout of the Colts on Nov. 18, while blocking on an extra point. He said there was no injury prior to that play, and he doesn’t regret being on the field late in a blowout win.

“It happened on the extra point,” he confirmed. “I mean, it’s football. You’ve got to be out there. It’s a team game. You’ve got to be out there for your team. it doesn’t matter when it happened. It can happen at any time. It’s just a freak accident. Just got to get it 100 percent now.”

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Ravens DB Ed Reed: ‘I could definitely play for coach Belichick’

01.31.13 at 8:35 am ET
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Patriots coach Bill Belichick has frequently discussed his appreciation for Ravens safety Ed Reed. On Wednesday, the soon-to-be unrestricted free agent made it clear he would consider giving Belichick a close-up look at his skills.

“Yeah, I could definitely play for coach Belichick,” Reed said, in response to a question about the possibility of playing in New England. “He is a great coach. I’m sure he can help me to expand my football knowledge even more as a player and as a coach. So, if I’m ever able to be around him, just like I was at the Pro Bowl, it’s huge.”

Reed’s respect for Belichick extends to his choice of clothing.

“It’€™s the reason why I wear my sweater cut off a little bit,” Reed said. “He’€™s the first guy I saw like, ‘That’€™s cool.’ You know, that’€™s cool. He cuts those sweater sleeves, and he’€™ll be comfortable. So there’€™s a reason why. Most people will tell you around the facility that’€™s how I look. It’€™s just a blessing to even have met, to know coach Belichick.”

All that said, the 34-year-old made it clear his preference would be to remain with the Ravens.

“I always said when I came into the league and got drafted that I didn’€™t want to be one of those guys jumping from team to team,” Reed said. “If it was up to me, I would be right in Baltimore. If it happens to be somewhere else, I can play football on the moon. I have a lot of respect for Baltimore as a city, so certain teams would probably have to be weeded out.”

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Rob Gronkowski, speaking publicly for first time since surgery, to appear on Mut & Merloni

01.31.13 at 8:27 am ET
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Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will speak publicly for the first time since undergoing surgery for a broken bone in his left forearm — suffered in the Patriots’ final regular-season game — appearing on the Mut & Merloni show on Thursday at 11 a.m.

Gronkowski, who managed to appear in just two games after initially breaking the forearm, has been in attendance at the Super Bowl festivities  in New Orleans this week. (See Twitter photo taken by Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald below.)

Former Rams RB Marshall Faulk: ‘I’ll never be over being cheated out of the Super Bowl’ by Patriots

01.30.13 at 11:53 am ET
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Former Rams running back Marshall Faulk, now an NFL Network analyst, said he hasn’t made his peace with the way the Rams lost to the Patriots in the 2002 Super Bowl.

“Am I over the loss? Yeah, I’m over the loss. But I’ll never be over being cheated out of the Super Bowl,” Faulk told CSNNE’s Tom E. Curran on Tuesday. “That’s a different story. I can understand losing a Super Bowl, that’s fine. … But how things happened and what took place. Obviously, the commissioner gets to handle things how he wants to handle them but if they wanted us to shut up about what happened, show us the tapes. Don’t burn ’em.”

Faulk was referring to tapes the Patriots allegedly made of the Rams’ coaches’ defensive signals before the 2002 Super Bowl, although none of those tapes were ever found and commissioner Roger Goodell said in 2008 that he had no evidence of the Patriots taping the Rams’ pregame walkthrough.

Still, Faulk said he doesn’t believe the game could have gone the way it did if the Patriots didn’t have prior knowledge of the Rams’ plans.

“I understand Bill [Belichick] is a great coach,” said Faulk. “But No. 13 [Kurt Warner] will tell you. Mike Martz will tell you. We had some plays in the red zone that we hadn’t ran. I think we got to fourth down — we ran three plays that we hadn’t ran, that Mike drew up for that game — Bill’s a hell of a coach … we hadn’t ran them the whole year [and the Patriots were ready for them].”

“Bill has done a great job,” Faulk continued. “I love [Robert] Kraft and what he’s done. They almost drafted me. I remember [Kraft’s] vision for that organization. I respect everything about that organization. But am I bitter about how that went? Am I bitter about how the league handled them taping people? If Bountygate was that bad and Sean [Payton] got suspended for a whole year? If we want to talk about some unfair assessment of how we’re assessing things? Man.

“If you lost a game and your brother cheated you, you’ll remember that.”

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Reports: No surgery needed for Chandler Jones

01.30.13 at 11:22 am ET
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Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones will not need surgery on either of his ankles, according to multiple reports. Jones, who suffered an injury to his right ankle in a Nov. 18 win over the Colts, hurt his left ankle in the divisional playoff win over the Texans on Jan. 13. After the season ended, Jones told the media he was going to meet with the team’s medical personnel later that day to see if surgery would be needed.

The rookie started strong — after his first eight games, the Syracuse product was leading the team with six sacks (including two in a loss to the Seahawks) and 11 quarterback hits. He also had three forced fumbles (including one in the first quarter of his first game as a professional), and was named AFC Rookie of the Month and NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month for September. But over the last eight regular-season games — whether it was injury, scheme or the rookie wall — Jones appeared to slow. In the final eight games, he had no sacks, no forced fumbles and one quarterback hit.

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