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Patriots release Maneri

09.27.10 at 7:03 pm ET
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The Patriots announced Monday evening they have released offensive tackle Steve Maneri. Here’s the full text of the statement from the team:

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. ‘€“ The New England Patriots released rookie T Steve Maneri today.

Maneri, 6-6, 290 pounds, was claimed and awarded to New England off waivers from Houston on Sept. 5, 2010. He originally signed with Houston as a rookie free agent on May 7, 2010 out of Temple. Maneri was inactive for the first three games of the season for the Patriots.

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Bits from Belichick, 9/27

09.27.10 at 5:41 pm ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” Patriots coach Bill Belichick just wrapped up his Monday afternoon press conference, and touched on a number of topics, including the benefits of using a no-huddle offense, the personnel changes the team made for last Sunday’€™s game against the Bills and the death of Pro Football Hall of Famer George Blanda. Here are some of the highlights:

On using a no-huddle in the second half ‘€” was that to push the tempo?
‘€œNo, I thought we had a pretty good tempo the whole game. It was a little different look for the second half, something we did but didn’€™t do it a lot of in the first half, and didn’€™t do it consecutively. A little different look. But I thought our tempo was good the whole game. I think there were a number of plays where, I’€™d say for the majority of time, we had plenty of time at the line of scrimmage and didn’€™t make any adjustments. The tempo was better definitely than what it was the previous week in New York.’€

On the benefits of running the no-huddle:
‘€œThey don’€™t substitute, but we don’€™t substitute either, so. Whoever is out there is out there, and that’€™s the matchup. I think it just ‘€˜uptempos’€™ the offense a little bit, and can give the quarterback more time at the line if he wants to audible, I guess. Just a little different style of play.’€

Were the changes to starting lineup performance-related?
‘€œWhat the starting lineup usually is the reflection of is what the personnel matchups are on that particular play. You can put up whoever you want on the first play and you’€™ll probably get a different combination of people based on what that is and who the matchups are. You saw that the whole game. Whatever that first play is, whoever matches up on him, if you want to call them the starters, then they’€™re the starters.’€
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Read More: Bill Belichick, Darius Butler, George Blanda,

Vince Wilfork on D&H: ‘A positive step’

09.27.10 at 1:37 pm ET
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Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork joined the Dale & Holley show on Monday. He believes that situational game planning and a solid week of practice was the key in the Patriots edging the Bills 38-30, especially in the final minutes.

“We knew, at some point in that game, what was going to happen if they needed to get eight points, or to get a touchdown to win, we knew exactly what they were going to revert to,” Wilfork said. “All week we did a good job, everybody, we did a good job of knowing what situation we were in, everybody was aware. I think we started off, we came out in the second half and tried to finish.

“It’s a positive step. I’m not saying everything is perfect, but it’s a positive step.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. To listen, visit the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

On the win, and where the team goes from here:

We had a good week of practice, we thought our game plan going into this game was good, and we felt comfortable with it. No one said it was going to be easy, it’s a division game, I don’t care what the records are, it doesn’t mean anything, especially when it’s division. And we are rivals, and that’s what we do. Buffalo came out and played a real good game, stayed with their game plan.

We have to keep building on it. If we can keep doing that, and being aware of situations and how a team wants to play us and wants to attack us when certain situations occur, we’ll be in good shape. We’ll be in good shape. I’m very proud of the team, how we rallied and we kept our poise. We stayed even keel.

On his relationship with Brandon Meriweather:

He’ll argue with me, and I’ll let him get it out. Once he calms down and cools off he’ll come back and say, “You’re right, I see what you’re saying.” Brandon, he learns. That’s one thing. You tell him something, and he might not agree with it at first, but until he sees the big picture, he understands what’s going on. That’s all you can ask for. You have to learn. You can’t make the same mistakes over and over and over and just keep doing them without learning. He’s good with that, he takes it in stride and just goes about his business.

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Read More: Brandon Meriweather, Vince Wilfork,

Brandon Meriweather on D&H: Defense ‘stepped up’ when needed

09.27.10 at 12:49 pm ET
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In Sunday’s 38-30 win over the Bills, Brandon Meriweather recorded a game-clinching interception. It was his first of the season and 10th of his career, and it made him the 31st Patriot to tally 10 or more career interceptions. When he joined the Dale & Holley show on Monday, Meriweather expressed relief in making the play. “It’s nice to get your first one out of the way,” he said. “It’s nice to get it off your chest, now you can relax.”

He said the interception was a combination of a poor throw and solid coverage, saying, “To get an NFL quarterback to make a bad throw, it has to be good coverage.”

Following are the highlights of the interview. To listen, visit the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

On the touchdown he surrendered to C.J. Spiller:

I was out there covering him, and I saw him do a screen drop so I tried to go over the top of the block and cover the screen so I could make a one-on-one tackle. I didn’t realize there was a lot more space out there than I realized, so I pretty much gave him an alley to the outside. … If he would’ve done exactly what I thought, it would have been a great play. But sometimes you lose some.

On why the Patriots have had so much success against the Bills:

Great coaching. I think our coaches do a good job. Bill [Belichick] and the rest of the coaches get us ready for situational football, like what happened at the end of the game, and what happened at the end of the half. We go over situations like that all the time, and I think that was the difference in the game.

On if their success against the Bills makes them take them lightly:

No. First of all, it’s a division game. If you have to psyche yourself up for a division game, you don’t have to be playing in that game. And then it’s Buffalo, our rivals, a rivalry game. Every little thing should amp you up to play that game, you don’t have to amp yourself up.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Brandon Meriweather, Tom Brady, Vince Wilfork

Tom Brady on D&C: Crowd was ‘awesome’ vs. Bills

09.27.10 at 11:40 am ET
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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show on Monday, a day after a stellar performance against the Bills in which he completed 21-of-27 passes for 252 yards and three touchdowns to lead his team to a 38-30 victory. While most of the football world found the game to be too close, Brady agreed with the common philosophy of a win being a win regardless of the score or opponent.

Following is a transcript of the interview, in which Brady also discusses the defensive struggles, replacing Kevin Faulk, the home crowd, and more. To listen to the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Is a win just a win, even though the fan base doesn’t always agree?

We knew what we were preparing for. When you look on the other side of the ball, you realize the kind of talented players the other team has. Anybody can make those plays to win games on a weekly basis. As you watch yesterday, and the Cowboys are 0-2 and Houston’s 2-0, and that game’s not very close [a Dallas win]. You really never know, you really never know.

I don’t think you go into any of these games thinking, “Oh, man, this is going to be a breeze.” I think there’s things that you say, “OK, well, there’s maybe a little margin for error when you play certain teams.” But, at the same time, if you don’t play well, you’re going to lose the game. It doesn’t matter who’s guarding you, if you drop back and you can’t hit a pass. It could be Deion Sanders out there covering him, or it could be John Dennis out there covering, it’s not going to matter.

At some point, you’ve got to go out there and make the plays that need to be made. At times we did that yesterday, and with our offense I think there were times where we didn’t really do that. I think that was evidenced by just the ups and downs a little bit about what we were doing.

How much influence does the game from the week before have on preparing for the next opponent?

I said yesterday after the game, these games end, and then really you just watch the film and then you move on. I’m telling you, you can’t sit here and think, “Man, I wish we won by two touchdowns last week.” It just doesn’t matter. The reality is, now the clock’s starting on Miami. All the preparation that we put into Buffalo, and their schemes, certainly is good because you’ve got another three days of practice as well as another 60 plays of experience for players who need some experience.

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Read More: Danny Woodhead, Rnady Moss, Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady

Boomer Esiason on D&C: Pats have ‘major problems’

09.27.10 at 9:06 am ET
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CBS Sports NFL analyst Boomer Esiason checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning for his weekly conversation. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Esiason said that despite Sunday’s win over the Bills, the Patriots clearly have issues that need to be addressed. “They have major problems on defense,” Esiason said, focusing on the lack of a pass rush. “It is alarming. I think Bill Belichick realizes that.”

Esiason said this puts additional pressure on Tom Brady to outscore the other team. “He’s going to have to put up 35 points a week to win, because this defense has been so soft,” Esiason said, adding: “If he has an off game, like he did in the second half last week [against the Jets], they’re going to lose. And they’re going to lose because that defense is not going to stop anybody. … He doesn’t have that kind of support around him [like teams with solid defenses]. Without that kind of support, he’s going to have to be on every single game.”

Esiason said Belichick might not talk about it with the media, but he’s clearly aware of the seriousness of the situation. Said Esiason: “The big problem here is going to be defense moving forward. I think Belichick knows this. His Super Bowl titles, whether with the Giants when he was the defensive coordinator or with the Patriots, defense was always the signature of his team, and right now you can’t say that.”

Esiason agreed with the assessment that the Patriots will start relying more on their tight ends with running back Kevin Faulk out for the season. “You’re already starting to see it,” he said. “This [Aaron] Hernandez kid is pretty special.”

Looking around the division, Esiason was impressed with the Jets following Sunday night’s win over Miami. “To me, the Jets clearly are the best 2-1 team in this division and look like they’re getting ready to take off a nice little run here,” Esiason said, crediting the team’s quarterback as key. “Mark Sanchez last night, I’m like, ‘OK, this is the kid that they traded up to get.’ He is so far away within the last two weeks from where he was Week 1 against the Ravens game, it’s mind-numbing how good he has gotten.”

As for the Jets’ off-field antics, Esiason called the team’s behavior “juvenile” and “frat house-like,” and he assigned some blame to coach Rex Ryan for setting a bad example. Said Esiason: “This has gotten out of hand.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, boomer esiason, Rex Ryan, Tom Brady

Tom Brady on D&C: Crowd was ‘awesome’

09.27.10 at 7:56 am ET
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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show on Monday to talk about Sunday’s win over the Bills. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. Check this blog later in the morning for a transcript.

Brady said despite public sentiment that the game was closer than it should have been, he doesn’t have time for that talk, as the team needs to move on to focus on next week’s game against the Dolphins. “These games end, and then really you just watch the film and then you move on,” he said. “I’m telling you, you can’t sit here and think, ‘Man, I wish we won by two touchdowns last week.’ It just doesn’t matter. The reality is, now the clock’s starting on Miami.”

While the Patriots surrendered 30 points to the Bills, Brady said the defense will be OK as it gets more experience. “The thing out the defense is they’ve got a lot of talented players,” he said. “They’re all first- and second-round picks over there. ‘€¦ I’ve got a lot of confidence in those guys.” Added Brady: The defense is opportunistic. They made a couple of big plays at the end which we really needed.”

Brady said it will be a team effort to soften the blow of Kevin Faulk‘s season-ending injury, as no one player can duplicate what Faulk did for the Patriots. “Nobody replaces Kevin Faulk,” Brady said. “Kevin’s one of the best players to put on a uniform for our team.”

Brady raved about new running back Danny Woodhead for picking up the offense quickly and making a couple of big plays, including a 22-yard touchdown in the second quarter and a key 15-yard pickup later in the fourth quarter. “He did a hell of job coming in there, and to make those players that he did, those were huge plays in the game,” Brady said.

Brady was asked about the Gillette Stadium crowd, following his comments two weeks ago about the lack of passion in the stands. “I certainly wasn’t trying to call people out. I guess I just made kind of an offhanded comment based on the first game,” Brady said. “I tell you what, yesterday it was awesome. It really was.”

Read More: Danny Woodhead, Kevin Faulk, Tom Brady,
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