|12.15.09 at 9:41 am ET|
The top four teams remain in the same position from last week in this edition of the WEEI NFL Power Rankings. The Saints prevailed in another close game, the Colts clinched home field throughout the playoffs, the Vikings destroyed the Bengals, and the Chargers continued to streak.
The newest edition to the top five is the Eagles. Donovan McNabb and Philadelphia’s dynamic offense hurdle two spots and stand tall at No. 5.
The biggest loser of the week is the Giants. The G-Men came out flat against the Eagles in a game that could have put them in prime position to make the playoffs. Now the Giants are on the outside looking in and drop all the way to No. 17.
Down South, the Dolphins continue to climb in the rankings. After a great win against the Jaguars, Miami jumps four spots and now is at No. 13.
1. (Last week, 1) 13-0 The Saints make the big plays in crunch time. Even though they’ve had a tough time defeating the Redskins and a Matt Ryan-less Falcons team, the Saints find a way to win. Look back at 2007, the Patriots were the same way.
2. (2) 13-0 With the Colts’ 13th win of the season, they clinched home field advantage in the AFC and broke the Patriots’ regular-season consecutive win streak record, a record that seemed to be untouchable at the time. Twenty-two straight wins for the Colts and counting. It seems like they are on a collision course to face the Saints in the Super Bowl.
3. (3) 11-2 A statement win for the Vikings. The Bengals are one of the best teams in the AFC, and the Vikings crushed them by 20 points. This defense is one of the best in the league. Read the rest of this entry »
|12.14.09 at 6:28 pm ET|
Patriots coach Bill Belichick made his weekly appearance on WEEI’s “Big Show” earlier on Monday. Here are some of the highlights of that Q&A. To listen to the entire interview, click here.
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|12.14.09 at 3:08 pm ET|
Thanks to the Patriots’ PR staff, here’s the complete transcript of Bill Belichick’s Q&A with the media today at Gillette Stadium:
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|12.14.09 at 10:58 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to talk about Sunday’s win over the Panthers and criticism of receiver Randy Moss. Following is a transcript. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Do you agree with the Panthers defensive backs [in their criticism of Moss]?
Everyone takes kind of liberty to say what they want to say in a situation like yesterday. I’ve seen plenty of plays made on Chris Gamble, too, over the course of the season. When they play Randy, they want to show everyone what they can do. I guess they came out of the game pretty confident. Randy’s one of the best players in the history of the NFL. When it doesn’t go perfect out there, everyone always wants to jump on Randy. But it’s all of us, and we’ve got to do a better job, and I’m real proud of the way we won, and the way we made some pretty great plays there in the third quarter, and in the fourth quarter we made some big kicks on special teams and some big stops on defense. There’s a lot to be encouraged about. One down and three to go.
Can you share the tone and tenor of those conversations [with Moss on the sideline]?
He’s one of the favorite guys I’ve ever played with. He’s one my good friends on the team. I’m always trying to keep everyone motivated and into it, whether it’s the receivers or offensive linemen. When we don’t make good plays. when I throw interceptions or there’s dropped passes or there’s a fumble, I’m always trying to go over and pump the other guy up, and just let him know it’s easy to get down on yourself but it’s always important to go back out there and keep battling, too. We did that definitely at times yesterday. And Randy’s definitely done that over the course of his career. He’s had to, because it just doesn’t always go right. We didn’t certainly play our best game on offense, but we won, and that, to me, is what’s important.
Do you have to get more from Randy, and do you think you will get more from Randy these last three weeks and into the playoffs?
We’ve gotten a lot from him all year, he’s one of the top receivers in the league right now. He’s up there in yards and catches and touchdown. Every game plan that the defense comes up with is trying to stop Randy Moss. They all say, “OK, well, we’ve got to stop Randy Moss.” So, it’s not like they don’t have respect for him, when the game plan’s built around stopping him.
You only threw in his direction once in the second half. Was that a function of the defense?
Yeah, mostly that’s a function of the defense. When he gets single coverage, he usually gets the ball. He’s a dynamic player for us. We need all of our best players to play our best. That’s what it comes down to. In these critical games, we need everybody to play their best. We’ve had 13 games, we’re at 8-5, a game ahead in our division, and certainly the three most important games to go. I love having Randy out there, I love having him on this team, with Wes, and the third receiver, whoever it may be at the time, and the way we ran the ball better yesterday. There’s definitely some positives we take out of it. We all want to go out there and do our best every week, but that’s just not always the case in the NFL. We’ll just come back and rebound and try to do it better next week.
|12.14.09 at 2:29 am ET|
FOXBORO — In the first half of Sunday’s game against the Panthers, the sight of Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss sitting all by himself on the bench was a jarring one.
While the rest of the offensive skill position players were on one bench along the New England sideline huddling with coaches, Moss was by himself on the other bench, sitting mostly alone. Occasionally, a teammate would come by, appearing to check on him — usually, it was quarterback Tom Brady — but most of the day, the receiver was by himself.
In the end, it was a forgettable day for the wide receiver, who ended up with one catch for 16 yards in the Patriots 20-10 win over Carolina at Gillette Stadium. The first pass attempt thrown his way — which came late in the first quarter — was dropped. On the next play from scrimmage, a pass for Moss was picked off by Carolina’s Chris Gamble. And Moss fumbled on his next attempt, drawing boos from the sellout crowd.
Moss did not speak with reporters after the game, one of the worst of his two-plus seasons in New England. (He had one catch in four previous games with New England, most recently a 13-0 win over the Bills in Buffalo in last year’s regular-season finale.) One of the four players who were sent home by coach Bill Belichick for showing up late to an 8 a.m. meeting, Moss is the only player of the foursome who hasn’t talked since the incident took place. (The last time he addressed the media was in the wake of a Nov. 30 loss to the Saints in New Orleans.)
However, after the game, Carolina cornerback Chris Gamble told The Boston Globe that the Panthers knew Moss would “shut it down.”
“He’d just give up a lot; slow down; he’s not going deep; not trying to run a route. You can tell (by) his body language,” the paper quoted him as saying. “I know everyone who plays against him, they can sense that. Once you get into him in the beginning of the game, he shuts it down a little bit.”
Moss has had an up-and-down season — after a masterful performance against the Colts on Nov. 15 where he caught nine passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns (his second consecutive 100-plus yard game), he’s had a bad run — he has a total of 11 catches for 183 yards and two touchdowns in the last four games combined.
“He was frustrated in himself and the situation, and it’s just something you’ve got to fight through,” Brady said of Moss, who is second on the team with 1,074 receiving yards. “He keeps fighting through it, and you have those days where it’s not all great, but you keep lining up and you keep going up. You’ve just got to keep fighting.
“If you’re a quarterback, you throw picks, you throw bad balls. If you’re a receiver, you drop balls. If you’re a running back, you fumble balls,” Brady added. “You know, it’s just part of the process and it’s about making the next one a good one and not making the next one another bad one because you’re a little bit down in the dumps.”
The Patriots certainly cannot afford to have Moss shut it down — with three games left in the regular-season, the AFC East is still in doubt, and a locked-in Moss would give a boost to an occasionally inconsistent offense that has struggled at times.
“It’s important for everybody to do their best and play well this time of year,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said when asked about Moss’ performance. “It’s important for the entire football team. It’s important for the coaches to coach well and the players to play well. This is what we work all year for and here we are. We’re in the middle of December, we have three games left and they’re all important. We need everybody.”
|12.14.09 at 1:59 am ET|
FOXBORO — Shawn Springs was inactive for four straight games, but following the loss to the Dolphins, the 34-year-old cornerback knew he would get back on the field against the Panthers because he practiced with New England’s first-team all week.
Springs maintained his patience during those weeks when he was a healthy scratch, and was ready to play when called upon.
“It’s out of my control all you got to do is when your number is called is go out there and play,” Springs said.
During his four-week hiatus, Springs told the media that he looked at the positives of his situation.
“It’s all in how you look at things. For example, if y’all are reporters and get paid to do a job and they told you could relax and watch it on TV some people might be excited about it. I don’t know.” Springs said.
Springs used the generic, “Just do my job” answer on a couple of occasions. (When asked if he felt there could be a little more communication between Bill Belichick and the players, he responded, “I just do my job.” Responding to another question if he was wondering when he would play again, Springs answered, “Nope. I just come in here, get my book and do my job, I don’t wonder [about] nothing.”
|12.13.09 at 7:31 pm ET|
FOXBORO – Courtesy of the Patriots PR staff, here is the transcript of Sunday’s post-game comments from Wes Welker.
Q: Another 100-yard game for you, another big day, especially considering the weather the way it was.
WW: Yeah, I don’t think the weather played too much of a factor. We were out there just playing our offense, we were running the ball pretty well and then doing some play action off of that and making some third down conversations when we need[ed] to, especially down the stretch. Read the rest of this entry »
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