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Danny Woodhead on M&M: ‘I was ready to go’ after big hit vs. Bucs

08.29.11 at 11:43 am ET
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Running back Danny Woodhead joined the Mut & Merloni show Monday morning as part of WEEI’s Patriots Monday. Woodhead was drilled in Game 2 of the preseason but said there was never a question about being ready for Saturday’s game vs. the Lions.

“That was not even a little bit of a worry going into the game,” he said. “I was ready to go. I was obviously out there, so that wasn’t of any concern for me.”

Woodhead was hit while covering on special teams late in the Buccaneers game. Asked if he had any concerns about being in a vulnerable position so late in a preseason game, Woodhead said no.

“It’s a football game,” he said. “You’ve got to play every minute that you’re in. The biggest thing that we go by is we’ve got to play 60 minutes no matter what it is. I was out there and maybe I got hit. It’s football. That’s what we signed up to play.”

After the play, Woodhead appeared to be woozy as he was helped off by fellow Patriots, but Woodhead insists it looked worse than it was.

“I’ve got a lot of great teammates,” he said. “I think that’s probably what it was. They were probably just concerned because they saw me get hit. I’ve got a lot of great teammates that care about me. I think that’s probably the reason. They saw me get hit pretty big.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

On Saturday’s 34-10 loss to the Lions: “They came and they ended up beating us. That’s really all that you say is that they beat us. We’ve got to get back to work and try to get better every day.”

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Deion Branch on M&M: ‘Just a lot of negative plays’ against Lions

08.29.11 at 11:18 am ET
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Wide receiver Deion Branch spoke with Mut & Merloni Monday morning as part of WEEI’s Patriots Monday.

Branch attributed Saturday’€™s loss to the Lions to ‘€œjust a lot negative plays, a lot of flags.’€

‘€œWe had a game plan, we wanted to go out and execute our game plan,’€ Branch said. ‘€œUnfortunately, there were some mishaps, a bunch of negative plays on the football field that didn’€™t allow us to out and execute our game plan completely.’€

Added Branch: ‘€œAs an offense, you can’€™t be successful in long-yardage situations.’€

Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

On where the team goes after the loss: ‘€œThere are going to be a lot of good things coming out this once we watch the film.’€

On his lack of preseason receptions: ‘€œI don’€™t have any issues with what’€™s going on right now. I understand exactly what we’€™re doing, and hey, I’€™m going to roll with it.’€

On wanting to play Thursday against the Giants: ‘€œThe way we played [against the Lions], we didn’€™t display our type of football. The only way you can do that is to actually get on the practice field, and gear up and get to the next game.’€

On the lockout making the preseason more important: “We only have one more week together before we kick this thing off for real. … Back in the past, you’€™d have two practices and an extra week or so, and also the minicamps and the offseason programs’€“ all the things that we didn’€™t have this year.’€

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Transcript of Tom Brady on D&C: Patriots ‘don’t make excuses for losing games’

08.29.11 at 10:20 am ET
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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had his weekly phone conversation with Dennis & Callahan Monday morning, on the heels of Saturday’s 34-10 preseason loss to the Lions. Brady said the Patriots would not downplay the disappointing performance.

“You don’€™t make excuses for losing games,” Brady said. “We’€™ve never done that around here. Look, when you lose, you get outplayed. We had a bad night, we had a bad day, and I think in some ways we all create expectations through winning: ‘Man, we had one bad play in the game. Man, why did I make a bad play?’ Ultimately, we have to do a better job overcoming bad plays so that we can make better plays moving forward.”

Brady also said his goal as a quarterback is to always make the best play available, even if that doesn’t always lead to success.

“There’€™s no excuse for not going out there and playing well in the game, because no matter what play is called, you can still do what’€™s best for the play,” Brady said. “It may not be a successful play, but maybe the best thing is to throw the ball away, or take a sack of the quarterback, or throw the ball only where your offensive player can catch it. … That’€™s more what you’€™re evaluated on, that’€™s how we evaluate ourselves more-so than the points on the scoreboard.”

Following is a transcript of the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Can a loss like Detroit’€™s have the same kind of effect that the Cleveland loss did last year?

Who knows at this point? You hate losing any time you take the field in competition. I’€™m sure there’€™s a lot to be learned, a lot to be understood by our entire team of the things that we need to do on a consistent basis so we can win games. We’€™re getting back to work today, we had yesterday off, and I think everyone’€™s excited to go in there and see what the issues were and see the positives that we can take from the game so we can move on and hopefully play better this week.

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Patriots announce media schedule for next couple of days

08.28.11 at 7:14 pm ET
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According to the Patriots, power outages throughout the area contributed to the cancellation of coach Bill Belichick‘s conference call with reporters on Sunday afternoon. The team arrived home safely after a bit of an adventurous plane flight home (check some of the post-flight Tweets from players here and here) early Sunday, but were given the day off on Sunday. In addition, the Patriots announced that Belichick would hold a press conference at Gillette on Monday at 3:30 p.m., followed by media access to the locker room at 4:45 p.m.

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Tom Brady still not feeling the pressure, even after ugly loss

08.28.11 at 1:02 am ET
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The stat sheet was as ugly as the game was brutal for Tom Brady.

He was banged up and around the entire time he was out on the field during a 34-10 walloping at the hands of the Lions Saturday night at Ford Field in Detroit.

Brady was hit six times, hurried four times, sacked once and intercepted once. Several times through the game, TV cameras caught Brady on the sideline talking with receivers Wes Welker and Chad Ochocinco.

“Well it wasn’t our best game, obviously,” Brady said. “From the first series on, we just could never really get into a rhythm. It was a bad night all around. We don’t make excuses for it, it just wasn’t a good night. We didn’t play the way we need to play, missed open receivers and careless interception there. You’re not going to win games if you play like that. There’s only one way to get back, get out to practice and get back to work and try to improve the things we didn’t do very well and hopefully play better next week.”

As for all those hits and hurries, Brady wasn’t about to throw his offensive line under the bus, or Danny Woodhead – for that matter – either for failing to pick up a blitzer or rusher.

“I think we were trying to get the ball down the field a little bit so you’re going to hold it,” Brady said. “They have a good pass rush. We held up out there for a decent amount of time. I have to do a better job of making quicker decisions and getting rid of the football and getting it to the guys who can do something with it.”

Is this the ultimate teaching lesson for Brady, Belichick and the Pats?

“I don’t necessarily think losing games and playing poorly ever helps,” Brady said. “I think we have to understand like every week, when you play well there are things you need to do better and when you lose, there are things you need to do better.”

In the end, Brady attempted philosophical perspective when looking at a very ugly preseason loss.

“You don’t want to ride the wave of emotions of, ‘Oh, you’re great and we suck, and we’re great we suck.’ We’re confident as a team. We just have to go play better,” Brady said. “That’s up to each of us individually and coach always says, ‘do your job.’ and he means it. When I’m the starting quarterback, and he says do your job, I have to do it very well. That what he expects of me and what I expect of myself. We’re going to go out there [Thursday] and try to do a lot better job.”

He’ll get one more preseason shot this Thursday against the Giants to get ready to do his job, starting Sept. 12 in Miami.

Read More: detroit lions, New England Patriots, nfl, Tom Brady

Snap Judgments: Lions 34, Patriots 10

08.27.11 at 11:09 pm ET
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A forgettable night of football for the Patriots, as they were dominated in all three phases of the game on the way to a 34-10 loss to the Lions in Detroit.

New England, which suffered its first preseason loss in 2011, saw Tom Brady go 12-for-22 for 145 yards in two-plus quarters of action, finishing with one touchdown and one interception. Meanwhile, Danny Woodhead ran for a team-high 28 yards on four carries, while Wes Welker had three catches for 71 yards and a touchdown.

On the other side of the ball, the Lions offense had few issues all night: Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford was 12-for-14 for 200 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, receivers Nate Burleson (two catches, 46 yards, one touchdown), Jerome Harrison (three catches, 51 yards), Aaron Brown (four catches, 48 yards, one touchdown) and Tony Scheffler (three catches, 38 yards, one touchdown) all had big first halves as the Lions moved the ball with relative ease up and down the field against the Patriots’€™ defense.

Early on, the game looked an awful lot like the last time these two teams met last Thanksgiving, a mean, physical contest that had lots of hitting after the whistle. In that one, Detroit was able to generate a lot of pressure early and take a lead, but the Patriots were able to claw their way back and take home a win. But on Saturday, there was no comeback for New England, as the Patriots fell into a 17-3 hole and never recovered.


Julian Edelman was probably the biggest positive in this game for the Patriots. The wide receiver and return man posted a 26-yard punt return that set up the Patriots first touchdown, a 44-yard scoring strike from Brady to Welker. In addition, he had one kick return, and played into the second half at the receiver position and came away with two catches for 12 yards before leaving the game late in the third quarter. (According to those who were there, Edelman was having his hand or finger looked at on the sidelines.)

Welker also had a good night, gathering in the lone touchdown pass from Brady, a 44-yarder down the seam in the second quarter on a sweet play-action fake. He left the game shortly after making the tackle on Detroit’€™s Ricardo Silva, who picked off Brady in the first half. On the play, Welker dipped his head and tackled Ricardo Silva, bring him to the turf at the Patriots 46. Welker walked off the field by himself before getting examined by Patriots trainers and medical staff.


The Patriots were simply not prepared for the level of energy that the Lions had. In the days leading up to the contest, several Detroit players pointed to this game as a measuring stick, and that level of intensity showed. There were some questionable hits, to be sure, but it was clear from the jump that the Lions had the proper attitude when it came to this contest, and that showed on the scoreboard. (The Patriots got a brief jolt on the sidelines when Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’€™Brien called the entire offense together late in the first half with New England trailing 17-3 and aired them out in an expletive-filled rant.)

The New England offensive line was overwhelmed throughout the first two quarters by Detroit’€™s defensive front. Detroit defensive linemen Cliff Avril and Ndamukong Suh ran wild throughout the first half, doing to the Patriots what the New England defensive front did to Tampa Bay last week. Making things tougher was the loss of starting right guard Dan Connolly, who went down with what appeared to be a foot injury in the first half. The Patriots had to turn to backup Rich Ohrnberger, who was abused by Suh.

The Patriots secondary had a sluggish night, with Devin McCourty making a few nice plays ‘€” including a breakup of a Nate Burleson reception ‘€” but other that that, it was a long evening. Kyle Arrington had a sack (after Andre Carter attracted the bulk of the attention from the o-line) and an interception, but was picked on by the Lions on a number of pass plays. The secondary appeared confused and out of place on a number of occasions, including a first-half touchdown pass from Detroit where Jerod Mayo was seen barking at his teammates as soon as the play was done.

Halftime analysis: Lions 27, Patriots 10

08.27.11 at 9:39 pm ET
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Detroit leads the Patriots 27-10 after two quarters of play at Ford Field. Here are a couple of quick notes:

It was a rough two quarters of football for the Patriots, who looked like they were overwhelmed early by the Lions’ energy in all three phases of the game. Detroit jumped out to a 10-0 lead (a lead that should have been 14-0 if wide receiver Nate Burleson hadn’t dropped a pass in the end zone), and save for two drives where the Patriots’ Stephen Gostkowski connected for a 33-yard field goal and Tom Brady hit Wes Welker on a 44-yard touchdown pass, it was almost all Lions.

Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford started 12-for-14 for 200 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, receivers Burleson (two catches, 46 yards, one touchdown), Jerome Harrison (two catches, 51 yards), Aaron Brown (four catches, 48 yards, one touchdown) and Tony Scheffler (three catches, 38 yards, one touchdown) all had big first halves as the Lions moved the ball with relative ease up and down the field against the Patriots’ defense.

On the other side of the ball, Ndamukong Suh and Cliff Avril (two sacks) set up shop in New England’s backfield at the expense of the Patriots’ offensive line, harassing Brady throughout the first half and generally making life miserable for the Patriots’ offense. (So much so that Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien called the entire offense together late in the first half with New England trailing 17-3 and and aired them out in an expletive-filled rant.) Brady was 11-for-20 for 142 yards, with one touchdown and one interception, while Welker had three catches for 71 yards and a touchdown, while BenJarvus Green-Ellis had four carries for 28 yards. Right guard Dan Connolly was injured early in the first half and replaced by Rich Ohrnberger.

The game had many of the same earmarks of the contest that took place between the two teams last Thanksgiving ‘€” Detroit jumped out to an early lead in that one and controlled the pace through much of the first half. In that one (as was the case this evening), it was a physical, nasty affair with lots of hitting after the whistle, including a nasty shot by Suh.

There were some good things: Julian Edelman‘s nifty 26-yard punt return late in the second quarter set up the 44-yard scoring strike. And the pass play from Brady to Welker came as the result of a perfectly executed play-action fake to Green-Ellis that burned the Detroit secondary. And there were a couple of questionable calls, including a facemask on Logan Mankins that came on a sequence where Suh gave him a shot that wasn’t noticed by the officials. But all in all, a forgettable first half of football for New England.

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