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Patriots officially sign rookie DT Kelcy Quarles to practice squad, release TE Allen Reisner

09.06.14 at 10:27 am ET
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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — As expected the Patriots have signed rookie defensive lineman Kelcy Quarles to the practice squad and released tight end Allen Reisner from the practice squad.

The team formally made the announcement on Saturday after Reisner was not spotted at practice on Friday while Quarles, released from the 53-man roster on Wednesday, was spotted wearing No. 98 on Friday.

Quarles, 22, was claimed off waivers from the New York Giants on Aug. 31, 2014 and then released on Sept. 3, 2014. He was originally signed by the Giants as a rookie free agent out of South Carolina on May 12, 2014. The 6-foot-4, 294-pounder, was released by the Giants on Aug. 30, 2014.

Quarles played in 35 games with 28 starts during a three-year career at South Carolina, finishing with 105 total tackles and 13 sacks. Quarles attended Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy for one year prior to transferring to South Carolina.

Reisner, 25, was signed to the New England practice squad on Sept. 3, 2014. He has spent time with Minnesota (2011-12) and Jacksonville (2012-13) during his time in the NFL and has played in 15 games with seven starts, accumulating seven receptions for 58 yards. The 6-foot-3, 255-pounder, originally signed with Minnesota as a rookie free agent out of Iowa on July 27, 2011.

Reisner rotated between the practice squad and the 53-man roster in 2011 and 2012, playing in six games in 2011 and four games in 2012. Reisner was claimed off waivers by Jacksonville on Dec. 24, 2012, and spent the entire 2013 season with the Jaguars. He signed back with Minnesota on April 15, 2014, but was released by the Vikings on Aug. 30, 2014.

Read More: Allen Reisner, Kelcy Quarles, New England Patriots,

Tom Brady talks business of football with CNBC

09.05.14 at 8:10 pm ET
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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady spoke with CNBC on Friday and discussed a number of topics, including his endorsement deal with Under Armour, as well as what he would do as a parent if one of his sons asked him if he could play football — despite the risk of concussion. Here’s a portion of his Q&A.

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What does Tom Brady tell himself at start of season? ‘Tom, you’re not very good’

09.05.14 at 8:01 pm ET
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Thanks to our pals at the NFL Network, here’s a sneak peek of Tom Brady‘s interview with Andrea Kremer, which will be part of their pregame show Sunday morning:

On the self-talk going on in his head as he gets ready to start his 15th season: ‘€œ’€˜’God Tom, you’€™re not very good, you have to work harder at this; what are you doing, that was a bad play.’€™ I think that’€™s a lot of motivation for me is to always feel like I have to prove it to myself first. Every day in practice I’€™m trying to make the right throws, the right reads, the right footwork, the right emotional level because to sustain that for four or five months over the course of the season is a tough thing to do. But you have to do it; you have to find the balance. I wouldn’€™t say it’€™s an easy thing to do but if you want to play this position at a high level, you have to commit to those things.”

On how will he know when it’€™s time to walk away from playing football: “I think if I feel like I can’€™t play at the level that I expect [of] myself, then I’€™m not going to play anymore. I want to be a great asset to a team; I want to bring a lot of value to a team that I’€™m playing for.”

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10 things you have to know about Patriots-Dolphins

09.05.14 at 7:01 pm ET
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Darrelle Revis will be a player to watch Sunday when the Patriots meet the Dolphins. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Darrelle Revis will be a player to watch Sunday when the Patriots meet the Dolphins. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Here’€™s everything you need to know about Sunday’€™s season opener between the Patriots and Dolphins:

Our three favorite matchups on the afternoon:

1. Cornerback Darrelle Revis against wide receiver Mike Wallace: There’€™s always the possibility that Bill Belichick deploys Revis in the same way he used Aqib Talib last year against Charles Clay, but given Jamie Collins emergence as a versatile defender (much of which we covered here), it seems likely that Revis is the defender of choice to try and slow down Wallace. Revis was sort of kept under wraps for the 2014 preseason (not unlike Moss in 2007), playing just a game-and-a-half and finishing the fake football season with just 36 snaps, by our count. In year’s past, he’s always done a good job corralling Wallace, as he’s averaged four catches for 41 yards in games against Revis-led defenses. When you consider that Wallace has averaged six catches for 88 yards and a little less than a touchdown per game in his four previous games against New England, the impact of Revis on Wallace will limit what Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill can do in the passing game.

2. The exterior of the Patriots offensive line against Miami’s edge rushers: When it comes to keeping pressure off Tom Brady, there will be plenty of intrigue — even before the Logan Mankins trade, the New England offensive line was in a state of flux. While it will be interesting to see how Dan Connolly, Ryan Wendell and Josh Kline hold up (expect a lot of two-back sets with help from James Develin for protection), from this viewpoint, the real intrigue will be on the edges, where right tackle Sebastian Vollmer and left tackle Nate Solder will be looking to hold off left defensive end Cameron Wake (8.5 sacks last year) and right defensive end Olivier Vernon (11.5 sacks last year). Wake is one of the best pure pass rushers in the league — per Football Outsiders, he notched at least 20 hurries and 20 quarterback knockdowns for the fourth year in a row. It’s a strength-on-strength matchup, and one area where the return of Rob Gronkowski might be undersold. Gronkowski remains one of the better blocking tight ends in the league, and if he’s able to provide a stout presence helping one of the tackles on the edge, it’ll go a long way toward giving Brady enough time to deliver the football.

3. The interior of New England’s defensive line against the interior of Miami’s offensive line: This figures to be a winnable matchup for the Patriots, as the Dolphins are rolling five new offensive linemen out this season, and all five will be playing together for the first time on Sunday. (And if Revis performs the way many believe he will, it only compounds the issue when it comes to pass defense.) Miami’s tackle situation got significantly better with the addition of left tackle Branden Albert, but it figures to be particularly vulnerable along the interior, as center Mike Pouncey remains sidelined because of offseason hip surgery, while journeymen Daryn Colledge and Shelley Smith will start at left and right guard. The Patriots will look to test the interior of the Dolphins’€™ offensive line with a variety of looks — rookie Dominique Easley apparently made the trip to Florida, and if he’€™s healthy, could bring a dynamic presence for New England along the interior when lined up next to Vince Wilfork. In addition, there’€™s also the possibility of seeing defensive end/outside linebacker Chandler Jones moving to an interior spot on third down and other passing situations, as was the case on occasion last year.

4. Under the radar opponent who Patriots’ fans need to know: It seems almost foolish to include him here, but when you’re talking about the Miami offense, you think about Wallace, Tannehill, Clay and (to some extent) new running back Knowshon Moreno. But Brian Hartline remains one of the most consistent things about the Dolphins passing game. A fourth-round pick out of Ohio State who was one of only nine wide receivers to catch at least 70 passes for 1,000 yards in both 2012 and 2013, the 6-foot-2, 180-pounder will certainly be a handful for the New England secondary — in nine career games against the Patriots, he has 35 catches for 459 yards. However, don’t look for Hartline when Miami gets near end zone: according to Football Outsiders, only 3.9 percent of his career receptions are touchdowns (fifth lowest in NFL history among wide receivers with at least 250 receptions).

5. By the numbers: A few to get you ready: One, the Patriots have won five straight in September, and their 10-game winning streak on opening day is third-best in the history of the league. Two, as we detailed here, Belichick has 199 career wins as a head coach, and would become just the seventh coach in the history of the game to reach the 200-win level. And three, according to Football Outsiders, in 600 defensive snaps last season, no one broke a tackle on defensive back Logan Ryan.

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Tom Brady (calf), Rob Gronkowski (knee) officially questionable for Sunday season opener

09.05.14 at 4:47 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Tom Brady returned to practice Friday but the team listed him as limited with his calf injury and formally declared him questionable for Sunday’s season opener in Miami. Joining Brady as officially questionable are tight end Rob Gronkowski, returning from his ACL injury of last December, and defensive tackle Sealver Siliga, nursing a hand injury from the first week of the preseason.

A league source confirmed to WEEI that Brady traveled with the team on their charter and is expected to play Sunday, as Brady himself announced on Thursday night in a national radio interview with Westwood One Radio. The team tweeted a picture of Gronkowski leaving the stadium with his luggage on Friday, also packed for the trip to Miami, where he is expected to suit up for the first time since his ACL tear on Dec. 8 last year and play.

Under NFL injury policy, a declaration of “questionable” technically means that the team believes the player has a 50-50 chance of playing.

Despite practicing this week, defensive end Michael Buchanan and defensive lineman Chris Jones were ruled out with ankle issues.

For the Dolphins, they suffered a setback when starting outside linebacker Philip Wheeler was ruled out with a thumb injury. Wheeler was limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday. Wheeler joins center Mike Pouncey (hip), defensive end Terrence Fede (knee) and linebacker Jordan Tripp (chest) as those ruled out for Sunday. Left guard Billy Turner is doubtful with a foot injury.

The complete Patriots report is as follows:

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
QB Tom Brady (calf) QUESTIONABLE
TE Rob Gronkowski (knee) QUESTIONABLE
DT Sealver Siliga (hand) QUESTIONABLE
DT Chris Jones (ankle) OUT
DE Michael Buchanan (ankle) OUT

Read More: Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Philip Wheeler, Rob Gronkowski

Fantasy Football: Week 1 starts, sits

09.05.14 at 2:02 pm ET
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WEEI_FantasyFootball_2014_hdr

Well, it’€™s officially Week 1 and it’€™s time for our first batch of starts and sits. For our newer readers, I do my best to avoid the obvious choices. These are not rankings. Rather, they are takes on specific matchups that make players more or less desirable than they would normally be. Is there a player you want our take on that isn’€™t mentioned? No problem. For rankings on all the major players, go to Rotobahn and check out our full Week 1 lineup rankings.

This Sunday features the first regular-season airing of the Fantasy Football Hour with my co-host Jim Hackett. We’€™ll be discussing this article and other Week 1 roster options that will help you to submit your most potent weekly fantasy roster. Tune in to WEEI 93.7-FM at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday game days to check it out. If you’€™re not an early riser, go to WEEI.com and enjoy it on your own schedule. I’ll be back in this space on Tuesday with our first waiver wire of the year.

QUARTERBACKS

Start

Carson Palmer, Cardinals vs. Chargers

He’€™s got a nice home matchup, so it’€™s a good week to use him. He should be ready to roll in his second year as the starter in HC Bruce Arians’€™ offense. If Andre Ellington’s new foot injury proves serious, Palmer will be throwing most of the game.

Derek Carr, Raiders at Jets

He’€™s far from ideal, but if you are a Cam Newton owner (like me), looking for insurance, you could do worse than the strong-armed Carr vs. a battered Jets secondary.

Geno Smith, Jets vs. Raiders

It’€™s a great home matchup, so if you need a cheap option in a deep league, Smith can help.

Sit

Robert Griffin III, Washington at Texans

If you happen to have another strong option, then this is a week to consider benching Griffin, who will be running a new offense while facing JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney … and the chaos they create.

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Read More: Carson Palmer, Chris Johnson, Derek Carr, Eric Decker

Jerod Mayo on MFB: New-look Dolphins offense ‘will be a challenge for us’

09.05.14 at 1:54 pm ET
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Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Friday afternoon to discuss Sunday’s regular-season opener against the Dolphins. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Bill Lazor, who last year helped Chip Kelly install the Eagles’ uptempo offense as the team’s quarterbacks coach, is in his first season as Miami’s offensive coordinator.

“You really don’t know what they’re going to come out and do, so it’s going to be a lot of sideline adjustments, a lot of halftime adjustments,” Mayo said. “You have an idea a little bit, bit at the same time, I’m sure they haven’t shown a lot of the things they’re capable of doing during the preseason.

“It’s a division game, and it’s a big game for both teams. It will be a challenge for us.”

The weather forecast for Sunday in Miami calls for very hot temperatures with high humidity and a possible thunderstorm.

“Obviously it’s a challenge, but at the end of the day we have to go out there and play football,” Mayo said. “We work hard on our conditioning. We have a great staff in the weight room. When we get down we have to play football, stay hydrated, go out there and be able to play for four quarters.”

Added Mayo: “We’ve all played in warm conditions. Hopefully this will be no different for us. Hopefully we prepare well, we have a great game plan and guys are hydrated.”

The big NFL news over the past day was a report that the league and the NFLPA are said to be close on agreeing to a plan to start testing for HGH.

“People get paid way more than me to make those decision,” Mayo said. “Whatever the decision is, we’ve got to live with it and follow the rules.”

For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

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