It Is What It Is
Follow football writer Christopher Price at In addition, get the latest updates at
A Patriots Blog Mohegan Sun Blog Network

Wilfork, Lewis on D&H: Rams loss looked worse in person

08.30.10 at 1:53 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork and defensive lineman Damione Lewis joined the Dale & Holley show on Monday morning to talk about Thursday night’s disappointing loss to the Rams and what will need to be improved in the final preseason game against the Giants.

“You can’t be pissed off or nothing like that because we didn’t do what we’re supposed to do. At the same time, we looked at the film and corrected the mistakes,” Wilfork said. “Hopefully, we can go out Thursday against the Giants and put it together and move forward. It would be very encouraging if we can do that. We can’t take another step back this week and I don’t think that we will. I think we’re ready and we’re going to see what’s going to happen on Thursday.”

Lewis also touched on the possibility of the NFL expanding the regular season schedule from 16 games to 18 games.

“If we’re going to play 18 games then we should be paid to play 18 games,” Lewis said. “I don’t see how you can schedule us for 18 and then turn around and pay us for 16. … If they’re going make two preseason games regular season games then they’re not preseason games anymore, they’re regular season games. We get regular checks during the regular season.”

Below are the highlights of the conversations. To hear the interviews, visit the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Vince Wilfork:

Tom Brady said earlier that Bill Belichick jumped on you guys for Thursday’s performance. I would think on the defensive side of the ball, you probably deserved whatever he was saying.

I mean at this point, we’ve been through a bunch of practices, been in training camp for a while. Things we can do better, we need to do better. Things we put in from Day One, we need to know how to run it and go forward from there. You can’t be pissed off or nothing like that because we didn’t do what we’re supposed to do. At the same time, we looked at the film and corrected the mistakes. Hopefully, we can go out Thursday against the Giants and put it together and move forward. It would be very encouraging if we can do that. We can’t take another step back this week and I don’t think that we will. I think we’re ready and we’re going to see what’s going to happen on Thursday. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Belichick, Damione Lewis, Vince Wilfork,

Rodney: Patriots are ‘fed up’ with Jets’ trash talk

08.30.10 at 1:28 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison, speaking on a conference call this afternoon, said his old team is “fed up” with the amount of trash talk coming from the Jets, and the Patriots have their Week Two game against New York “circled” on their calendar.

“You better believe, the Patriots have that [game] circled with the Jets,” Harrison said. “They hate the Jets, but they hate them even more because they’ve been coming out saying, ‘This is our division.’”

Harrison, currently an analyst for NBC’s “Football Night in America,” said the words coming from Jets head coach Rex Ryan are the most surprising.

“It’s one thing if a player trash talks,” Harrison said. “But if a coach starts trash talking, guess what? He hasn’t made one tackle, he hasn’t caught the ball, he hasn’t scored one touchdown.”

Harrison believes the words from quarterback Tom Brady — who told WEEI’s “Dennis & Callahan” last week that he doesn’t watch “Hard Knocks” because he hates the Jets — are fairly indicative of the way the rest of the organization feels about the Jets.

“Tom Brady is an honest guy, but Tom never comes out and blatantly says how much he hates a particular team,” Harrison said. “So obviously they’re very tired, fed up with the trash talk.”

Read More: Rodney Harrison, training camp,

Belichick not fooling around

08.30.10 at 1:23 pm ET
By   |   Comments

FOXBORO — The tone from the outset of his briefing with reporters Monday morning spoke volumes about how much the sloppiness from last Thursday night still bothered Bill Belichick.

“Things that come up in these games, if you don’t get them fixed, they are going to come up again,” Belichick said without batting an eye. “There are certainly a lot of fundamental things that need to be addressed. Hand placement, footwork, leverage. All those type of things that we’ve said them before and we are still in the stage where you need to keep repeating them and make sure that everybody understands.”

For that reason – the coach said – everyone wearing red, white, blue and silver should be ready to play this Thursday. That means No. 12 and all those on the starting unit.

“Any situation can be a little bit different or a different person [can be] involved, that kind of thing,” Belichick said. “There’s always fundamental coaching going on, but certainly at this time of year, you don’t want to gloss over it. Sometimes later on you get into a short week or other circumstances during the year, [and] you don’t get to go through the film as thoroughly or sometimes not at all. In a lot of cases those corrections for the most part have been made.

“Those types of weeks, sometimes you’ll pull out a dozen players that are a little different, a little new. First time that situation has ever happened or something is unique about it, and you can go over it with them. During the season, a lot of times the things you go over at that point, you’ve already gone over multiple times. I think that’s really the case now.”

Like getting the defense off the field on third down. Like not taking unnecessary and undisciplined penalties as was the case with three roughing-the-passer calls last Thursday against the Rams. Like holding onto the ball more than 16 minutes for the game so that their defense doesn’t wear down like it did against St. Louis.

In other words, whether or not this Thursday’s game game counts or not is not the issue. How they play is.

The Patriots boss took a no-nonsense stand Monday in addressing whether or not he would play starters in the preseason finale against the Giants this Thursday night at New Meadowlands Stadium.

“I tell everybody to be ready to play every week,” Belichick said. “That’s what we do. Coaches control control playing time but players should be ready to play every week, regardless of the score, situation, field conditions or anything else. That’s their job, that’s their responsibility and that’s what it is every week and that’s not going to change.”

Belichick was speaking just hours after Tom Brady told Dennis and Callahan on Patriots Monday on WEEI that Belichick let the players ‘have it pretty good’ following a sloppy 36-35 preseason loss at home to the St. Louis Rams last Thursday.

Read More: Bill Belichick, New England Patriots, New Meadowlands Stadium, New York Giants

Brady on D&C: Belichick served humble pie

08.30.10 at 11:23 am ET
By   |   Comments
Tom Brady

Tom Brady

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance with the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning and talked about coach Bill Belichick’s reaction to Thursday’s 36-35 preseason loss to the Rams.

“He gave it to us pretty good on Friday after the game and then again yesterday,” Brady said. “There’s always a running joke with our team [about] the humble pie. He was serving it on Friday. It was just what we needed. We didn’t go out and play very well. Hopefully, we can learn from it and move on.”

Brady, who went to Saturday’s Ultimate Fighting Championship event at TD Garden on Saturday night with teammate Stephen Neal (a former collegiate wrestling champion), also talked about what he does in his free time.

Below are the highlights of the conversation. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Would it have made a difference to you if the Rams didn’t make the field goal at the end of the game on Thursday?

Well, I like winning so it definitely matters, not in the standings obviously, but I think everyone feels a little better when we win, regardless of preseason games or regular season games. I understand where coach is coming from. He gave it to us pretty good on Friday after the game and then again yesterday. There’s always a running joke with our team [about] the humble pie. He was serving it on Friday. It was just what we needed. We didn’t go out and play very well. Hopefully, we can learn from it and move on.

Does the whole team share the humble pie? What is the offense doing when Bill is going over things with the defense?

Well, he gives it to everybody, I don’t think it’s only a defensive thing. I think there are days when offensively we can certainly do a lot of things better, especially Thursday night when we had the ball for 14 minutes so we couldn’t do anything to stay on the field early on. I thought we picked some things up as the game went on but I think we have to be more consistent throughout the course of the game. You really don’t want to put yourself in too much of a hole in any of these games because you get behind, it’s pretty tough to come back. We have to do a better job of scoring points early and getting off to much better starts. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Belichick, Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady,

Nuggetpalooza’s Pats schedule preview: Chicago

08.30.10 at 10:39 am ET
By   |   Comments

nuggetpalooza-small4The Patriots play the Bears on Dec. 12 at 1 p.m. in Chicago.


What The Bears Did Well Last Season:


* – Good Starting Field Position: Chicago’s average starting field position was the 32.4 yard line last season, tied for the 2nd best in the NFL:

32.5 – Minnesota Vikings
32.4 – Chicago Bears
32.4 – New York Jets


* – Receivers Made the Catches: Bears’ receivers dropped only 20 balls last season, tied for the fewest in the NFL.  That comes out to a drop percentage of 5.6% of catchable balls, the 4th best mark in the league:

4.8% – Houston Texans
5.3% – New Orleans Saints
5.5% – Arizona Cardinals
5.6% – Chicago Bears


* – Long Kickoff Returns: Chicago ripped off 9 different kickoff returns for 40+ yards, the most in the NFL:

9 – Chicago Bears
7 – Baltimore Ravens
6 – Cleveland Browns


* – Fell On Their Fumbles: The Bears fumbled 26 times last year (10th most in the league) but they lost only 7 of them (27%), the 2nd lowest fumble loss percentage in the NFL.


* – No Return TDs Allowed: Chicago was the only team in the NFL that did not allow any returns for touchdowns last season (kick, interception, fumble, or blocked kick).  Pittsburgh and St. Louis allowed 8 each.


* – Good Coffin Corner Punting: Bears’ punters put 26 punts inside the 20 yard line last year versus just 2 touchbacks.  That 93% ratio was 2nd best in the league.


* – Converted Red Zone 3rd Downs: Chicago ranked 4th in the league by going 19-40 (47.5%) on 3rd down plays in the red zone in 2009.

What The Bears Did Poorly Last Season:


* – Couldn’t Cash In On Long Drives: The Bears scored on just 12 of 21 drives of 10 or more plays last season (57%), third worst in the NFL.


* – Couldn’t Stop Third and Long: Chicago allowed an NFL-high 29.5% conversion rate on 3rd and 10 or more yards to go last season.


* – Struggled To Run For First Downs: The Bears had only 71 rushing first downs last year, the 2nd fewest in the league:

69 – Indianapolis Colts
71 – Chicago Bears
72 – Washington Redskins


* – Couldn’t Limit Points In Opponent Goal-To-Go Situations: Bears’ opponents had 27 “goal to go” situations last season and scored touchdowns on 23 of them.  The 6.3 average points per GTG drive was 2nd highest in the league:

6.5 – Dallas Cowboys
6.3 – Chicago Bears
6.2 – Tennessee Titans


* – Struggled Defending Third Down In Red Zone: Chicago allowed their opponents to convert 50.0% of their third downs inside the red zone last season (16-32), tied with Atlanta for the worst percentage in the NFL.


* – Too Many Offensive Miscues In The Red Zone: The Bears reached the red zone 51 times in 2009 but came away empty on 12 of those trips (24%), the 4th highest percentage in the league.  Their quarterbacks tossed a league high 6 red zone interceptions to go along with four turnovers on downs, a fumble lost, and one instance where time expired.


Tomorrow’s preview:  The Baltimore Ravens, who the Patriots face on October 17.

Read More: Patriots schedule preview,

This Ventrone getting into the flow of things

08.30.10 at 1:26 am ET
By   |   Comments

FOXBORO — His brother is most famous for delivering one of the biggest hits in Super Bowl history while his teammate at Villanova might be one of the best college athletes in America.

But Ross Ventrone is out to make a name for himself as a rookie free agent defensive back/special teams player with the Patriots.

The first thing you notice about Ventrone is not that he’s even shorter than his 5-foot-10 brother Ray, who laid out Domenik Hixon of the Giants in Super Bowl XLII. It’s not his mild-mannered, overly pleasant personality. What is most noticeable about this native of Pittsburgh is … the free-flowing mane that trails behind him as he runs on the practice field.

New England is a team his brother, Ray, played on for parts of three seasons, including last year before moving onto the Browns.

Ross Ventrone was released earlier in camp before being brought back by the Patriots last week. Ventrone comes to New England after winning an NCAA Football Championship Subdivision championship last year with Villanova, the same alma mater of Ray. One of Ross’ teammates was star running back Matt Szczur, a fifth-round pick of the Chicago Cubs in the June MLB draft.

Ventrone was signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent on April 29 after playing and starting three years for Villanova, following his transfer from Pittsburgh. Ventrone was the leader of a secondary that was one of the best in the FCS in 2009.

Ventrone was in on 73 tackles, including 53 solos. He had 6.5 tackles for loss and three sacks and was in on 198 tackles in his three-year career with the Wildcats. Two years ago, Ventrone had a team-best four interceptions for the Wildcats.

Ventrone is someone who knows how to climb a hill. He began his college career as a walk-on at Pittsburgh. After being redshirted as a freshman in 2005, he worked on the scout team in 2006 before earning a scholarship to Villanova.

Now with the Patriots, Ventrone, like his brother, is making his mark on special teams. He played in the opener against the Saints before getting cut for Week 2. He was brought back last week and made a tackle on special teams against the Rams. Now, in the preseason finale against the Giants at the New Meadowlands Stadium on Thursday, he will try to leave his mark against the same team his brother did during Super Bowl XLII.

And, with a lot of luck, Ross, with long, flowing locks of hair, will make enough of a name for himself to make the team.

Read More: Matt Szczur, New England Patriots, Ray Ventrone, Ross Ventrone

Pats re-sign Johnson, release Simmons

08.29.10 at 5:50 pm ET
By   |   Comments
Terrence Johnson

Terrence Johnson

The Patriots announced Sunday they have re-signed defensive back Terrence Johnson and released offensive lineman Brian Simmons. Here’s the announcement from the team on the move:

The New England Patriots re-signed DB Terrence Johnson and released OL Brian Simmons today.

Johnson, 5-9, 190 pounds, was originally signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of California University of Pennsylvania on April 20, 2010. He was released by the Patriots on August 23, 2010.

Simmons, 6-4, 318 pounds, is a rookie free agent out of Oklahoma who was signed by the Patriots on August 15, 2010. He first entered the starting lineup for Oklahoma at left guard as a senior in 2009.

Read More: Brian Simmons, Patriots, Terrence Johnson, training camp
Latest on Twitter



Patriots Headlines
NFL Headlines
Tips & Feedback