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Patriots make round of cuts that includes Niko Koutouvides, Mike Zupancic

08.26.13 at 1:03 pm ET
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The Patriots announced a series of roster moves Monday, one day before they must have their roster down to 75 as mandated by the league.

The team re-signed rookie cornerback Stephon Morris, who had been released Aug. 1, and rookie defensive lineman Scott Vallone, who was cut last Monday.

The Patriots released first-year wide receiver Kamar Aiken, rookie cornerback Brandon Jones, nine-year veteran linebacker Niko Koutouvides, second-year cornerback LeQuan Lewis and rookie long-snapper Mike Zupancic.

The Patriots also placed rookie defense lineman Cory Grissom and second-year tackle Markus Zusevics on injured reserve, and placed first-year defensive lineman Armond Armstead and rookie wide receiver Mark Harrison on the reserve/non-football injury list.

Following the moves, the Patriots roster stands at 78.

Read More: Niko Koutouvides,

Patriots reminding fans about new NFL bag policy again for Thursday vs. Giants

08.26.13 at 12:53 pm ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” Gillette Stadium officials were generally very pleased with the cooperation they received from Patriots fans on Aug. 16 when the new NFL bag policy came to Foxboro.

The team is reminding fans again this week to make sure they follow all of the guidelines that will be enforced by the NFL and Gillette Stadium security this Thursday night when the Patriots conclude their preseason against the Giants. Stadium officials indicated Monday that there were only a few cases of fans getting off the commuter rail at Gillette Stadium with backpacks that were not allowed inside.

All bags must be clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and no larger than 12’€x 6’€ x 12’€.

During the offseason, the NFL Committee on Stadium Security unanimously recommended the implementation of an NFL Stadium Bag Policy that limits the size and type of bags that may be brought into all stadiums for NFL games.

The Patriots have communicated directly with season ticket holders on the implementation process and have distributed complimentary bags to each account holder. In addition, clear plastic freezer bags will be distributed to all vehicles that arrive at Gillette Stadium for the first couple of games. In the parking lots, there will be eight different locations where fans can purchase NFL compliant clear plastic bags as well.

Fans arriving for Patriots games at Gillette Stadium gates, plaza areas, or other areas where fans queue for entry into the stadium must have bags that are in compliance with the new policy. Bags that are not in compliance will not be stored and must be returned to the patron’€™s vehicle. A description of the style and size of the bags that will be allowed is described below:

  • Bags that are clear (see through) plastic, vinyl or PVC and do not exceed 12’€ x 6’€ x 12.’€
  • One-gallon clear (see through) plastic freezer bag or similar.
  • Small clutch bags, not to exceed 7’€ x 4’€ x 2’€ (approximately the size of a hand), with or without a handle or strap, may be carried into the stadium along with one of the clear bag options.
  • Prohibited items include, but are not limited to: non see-through purses larger than a clutch bag, coolers, briefcases, backpacks, fanny packs, cinch bags, luggage of any kind, seat cushions, computer bags and camera bags or any bag larger than the permissible size.

    The policy was announced by the NFL in June and implemented for the first time at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio on Aug. 4.

  • Read More: 2013 training camp, New England Patriots, New York Giants, nfl

    Jerod Mayo on M&M: ‘We’re moving on’ from debacle in Detroit

    08.26.13 at 11:54 am ET
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    Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo and offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer checked in with Mut & Merloni as part of WEEI’s Patriots Monday and talked about the team’s disappointing preseason performance against the Lions on Thursday, a 40-9 rout.

    “We go into every game expecting to win, wanting to go out there and execute the game plan. Obviously, we didn’t do it last week,” Mayo said. “But we’re moving on. We have to continue to get the Patriots better, practice hard and get ready for the Giants.”

    Said Vollmer: “It doesn’t matter if it’s practice, preseason, regular season, playoffs, it doesn’t matter. Your always supposed to do your job. If you don’t do it, it’s not a good thing. You’d better improve, learn from it, watch film and move on and do better.”

    The Patriots offense was the biggest culprit, with the offensive line struggling and the team turning over the ball on four of its first five possessions.

    “You never want that to happen. You’re striving for the perfect game. You never want Tom [Brady] to get hit and all that,” Vollmer said. “But you know, you can go two ways from this. You can go in the tank and think you’re not a good player or whatever it is, didn’t have a good night, or you learn from it. You watch the film — the other teams see that, too — you’d better get to work and just become better. Whatever the mistake was, physical or mental, it doesn’t really matter. You just fix it.”

    The Patriots had looked solid in their first two preseason games before the woeful performance Thursday, which gave coach Bill Belichick plenty of things to critique.

    “After the game, everyone’s dreading the next day when you have to come in and watch a film like that, a performance like that,” Mayo said. “We try to go out there each and every week not only to win the game, but to win handily just so we don’t have to go through those speeches.

    “A game like that, you have to learn from it,” Mayo continued. “You have to learn from it. Because if you don’t, it was for nothing. And that’s not the way we want to play.”

    Cutdown day is Tuesday, when all NFL teams must trim their rosters to 75. Mayo said he’s not looking forward to finding out who gets waived.

    “It’s tough. Throughout the preseason and throughout training camp, you become a family,” Mayo said. “Everyone’s putting in work, everyone’s out there sweating and bleeding together, the camaraderie’s there. And then you know when the cut time comes that it’s going to be a tough couple of days for guys. It’s like you’re losing a family member. But at the same time, we know what it is. Like you’ve said, I’ve been around it quite a few years now.

    “It is tough. But at the same time, we have to move forward and play with the guys that are here.”

    To hear the interviews, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

    Read More: Jerod Mayo, Sebastian Vollmer,

    Tom Brady on D&C: ‘The margin of error is always slim in the NFL’

    08.26.13 at 8:38 am ET
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    Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning, a few days after the team’s first preseason loss, a 40-9 shellacking at the hands of the Lions on Thursday.

    Some have speculated that the loss is good for New England, as it gives Bill Belichick more ammunition to keep players from getting overconfident.

    “He does a good job with that, whomever we play,” Brady said. “Even when we played Philly, when we played Tampa, there were things we did very well, and there’s things that we didn’t do very well, and there’s things against Detroit I would say mostly we didn’t do well. And those are the things he, coach Belichick, constantly tries to coach off of.

    “So, the margin of error is always slim in the NFL, as we know. When you don’t play good football on the road against teams that have superstar-quality players at a lot of positions, that’s the way it goes. And it doesn’t take much. And it doesn’t take much in a half to get down like we got down. Things just happen quickly.”

    Added Brady: “The more emphasis coach Beliichick puts on getting it right in practice and getting it right whenever we’re asked to do it, the more likely our chances are of getting it right in a game. He’s always so big on practice. He wants us to come out this week and really have a great week. And that sets the tone for everything. So, that’s what we’re going to try to do.”

    The Jets had a rough weekend, as Mark Sanchez was hurt and rookie Geno Smith struggled in Saturday’s preseason game vs. the Giants, leading to criticism of coach Rex Ryan. Combine that with injuries to the Bills’ top two quarterbacks (EJ Manuel and Kevin Kolb) and the AFC East is a division in flux.

    “I saw some of their game the other night,” Brady said of the Jets. “They’ve made some significant changes to their team on defense; they got rid of a lot of players, they drafted Geno Smith. Buffalo’s made a bunch of changes, a bunch of coaching changes, drafted a quarterback. And Miami — our division, no one knows how it’s going to play out. We’re trying to get better like every one of those teams. We get both those teams [Bills and Jets] right out of the box, so we’ll see where we’re at here pretty shortly.”

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Read More: Bill Belichick, Tom Brady,

    In Focus: Charting offensive opportunities in preseason for Patriots skill position players

    08.25.13 at 3:50 pm ET
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    Every week over the course of the regular season, we’€™ll present a list of the Patriots’€™ ‘€œoffensive touches,’€ a running tally of which one of the offensive skill position players is getting the most looks. Like our look at targets, it can occasionally be an inexact stat, but it remains a good barometer of how confident the coaches (and quarterback) are when it comes to the skill position players at their disposal. Three weeks into the 2013 preseason, here’€™s a breakdown of the New England offense when it comes to offensive opportunities:

    RB LeGarrette Blount: 25 (24 carries, 1 catch)
    RB Stevan Ridley: 22 (22 carries, 0 catches)
    RB Shane Vereen: 18 (11 carries, 7 catches)
    WR Kenbrell Thompkins: 13 (0 carries, 13 catches)
    RB Brandon Bolden: 13 (11 carries, 2 catches)
    WR Julian Edelman: 13 (0 carries, 13 catches)
    QB Tim Tebow: 10 (10 carries, 0 catches) 3 sacks and 2 kneeldowns
    WR Aaron Dobson: 8 (0 carries, 8 catches)
    WR Danny Amendola: 7 (0 carries, 7 catches)
    TE Zach Sudfeld: 6 (0 carries, 6 catches)
    FB James Develin: 5 (3 carries, 2 catches)
    WR Josh Boyce: 5 (0 carries, 5 catches)
    RB Leon Washington: 4 (2 carries, 2 catches)
    TE Daniel Fells: 3 (0 carries, 3 catches)
    QB Ryan Mallett: 2 (2 carries, 0 receptions)
    WR Kamar Aiken: 2 (0 carries, 2 catches)
    TE Michael Hoomanawanui: 2 (0 carries, 2 catches)
    RB George Winn: 1 (1 carry, 0 receptions)
    WR Quentin Sims: 1 (0 carries, 1 catch)
    QB Tom Brady: 1 (1 carry, 0 catches) 2 sacks and 1 kneeldown

    Read More: offensive opportunities,

    Pressure Points: Which Patriots defenders have done best job getting after QB in preseason?

    08.25.13 at 3:08 pm ET
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    Through three preseason games, the Patriots have 12 quarterback hits and 8 sacks as a team. Based on gamebooks, here’€™s a quick look at some pass-rush numbers for the Patriots to this point in the 2013 preseason:

    Quarterback hits
    Chandler Jones 3
    Brandon Spikes 2
    Rob Ninkovch 2
    Justin Francis 1
    Joe Vellano 1
    Marcus Benard 1
    Tommy Kelly 1
    Marcus Forston 1

    Sacks
    Spikes 2 (11 yards)
    Kelly 1.5 (9.5 yards)
    Ninkovich 1.5 (9.5 yards)
    Benard 1 (7 yards)
    Vellano 1 (7 yards)
    Jones 1 (4 yards)

    Read More: pressure points,

    Tracking opportunities in Patriots preseason passing game

    08.25.13 at 2:58 pm ET
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    Targets have been compiled by the NFL since the start of the 2009 season, and while it remains a vaguely imperfect stat ‘€” a badly thrown ball from a quarterback can often go against the record of the receiver as opposed to the quarterback ‘€” it remains a good indication of the confidence level a passer might have in his pass catcher. Here’€™s a look at the target breakdown for the New England passing game through the first three games of the 2013 preseason:

    WR Kenbrell Thompkins: 13 catches on 21 targets
    WR Aaron Dobson: 8 catches on 21 targets
    WR Julian Edelman: 10 catches on 12 targets
    RB Shane Vereen: 7 catches on 11 targets
    WR Danny Amendola: 7 catches on 8 targets
    TE Zach Sudfeld: 6 catches on 9 targets
    WR Josh Boyce: 5 catches on 10 targets
    TE Daniel Fells: 3 catches on 3 targets
    TE Michael Hoomanawanui: 2 catch on 5 targets
    RB Brandon Bolden: 2 catch on 4 targets
    WR Kamar Aiken: 2 catches on 3 targets
    FB James Develin: 2 catches on 3 targets
    RB Leon Washington: 2 catches on 2 targets
    RB LeGarrette Blount: 1 catch on 3 targets
    WR Quentin Sims: 1 catch on 2 targets
    RB Stevan Ridley: 0 catches on 1 target
    WR Johnathan Haggerty: 0 catches on 2 targets
    TE Evan Landi: 0 catches on 1 target
    TE Jake Ballard: 0 catches on 1 target

    Read More: targets,
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