|01.03.11 at 7:10 pm ET|
Patriots defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick has been placed on the reserve/suspended list by the team, according to multiple media outlets. Deaderick, a seventh-round draft pick out of Alabama, was active for 10 games this season, including four starts, and had 17 tackles and two sacks. The news was first reported by Mike Reiss of ESPN.
|01.03.11 at 6:28 pm ET|
The Patriots announced Monday evening that they have placed defensive lineman Ron Brace on injured reserve with an elbow injury and have released defensive lineman Lorenzo Washington from the practice squad. Brace, 6-foot-3, 330 pounds, originally joined the Patriots as a second round draft pick out of Boston College in 2009. He played in 13 games with five starts in 2010 and finished the season with 28 total tackles. Washington, 6-foot-4 and 296 pounds, joined the New England practice squad on Nov. 3. He was originally signed by the Dallas Cowboys as a rookie free agent out of Alabama on April 25 and was waived by Dallas on July 29.
|01.03.11 at 1:06 pm ET|
Defensive lineman Vince Wilfork had his weekly conversation with the Dale & Holley show on Patriots Monday, one day after the Pats closed out the regular season with a 38-7 domination of the Dolphins. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
Wilfork was flagged for a personal foul during Sunday’s game but only had time for a brief explanation from the referee who made the call. “He said something about me hitting to the head,” Wilfork said. “I don’t know if I did or didn’t. I’ve seen a little clip of it and it didn’t seem like I did. I don’t know. I don’t know. The only thing I can continue to do is play ball.
“I don’t think it was anything dirty from my part. When I went in, I didn’t intend to hit him in the head. ‘¦ We know how everything is with protection of players. A rule is a rule. So, if I did hit him in his helmet, we’ll have to take it up with the league. It really didn’t bother me as much. But a penalty is a penalty at the same time.”
Asked when the Patriots turned the corner this season, Wilfork pointed to Nov. 7. “I think it was after the Cleveland game,” he said. “That whole week going into that game, we didn’t practice well. Every day was a mistake. There were things we were making mistakes on that we had been doing all year, ever since OTAs. That week was a crazy week for us.
“To go out there on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns ‘¦ they just basically did whatever they wanted to us. We knew exactly what they wanted to do, and it seemed like we didn’t respond. We didn’t respond at all. I think after that game, it was a gut-check time for us. We knew a lot of things that we did in that game, we wouldn’t have been able to win any game.
“I think from that week on, I think guys really buckled down. I think we started trusting one another, trusting the system. From a whole team standpoint, including the coaching staff, everybody pulled themselves closer to one goal. And that one goal was winning.”
|01.03.11 at 12:40 pm ET|
Bill Belichick just wrapped up a quick conference call with the media. He started his opening statement by saying, “After last night, we were 14-2. This morning, we’re 0-0,” while discussing a variety of topics. Here are a few quick highlights:
On how they’ll spend their next few days: “We’re going to spend these next few days working on things that we feel like we need to work on; regardless of who we play, there are certainly a lot of things we can improve on and do a better job with technique-wise and assignment-wise and our overall execution. We’ll do our preparation on the three teams that we can possibly play, but we won’t know which one that is until after this weekend’s games. Until we can specifically tailor those improvements and adjustments an corrections to a particular team, we’ll just have to do it on a generic basis to try and help ourselves get better for whoever that next opponent happens to be.”
On the special teams in general on Sunday, and specifically, the blocking on Julian Edelman’s punt return: “I thought overall, it was inconsistent. I thought we covered well, other than the last kickoff where we let them bounce outside to the 40-yard line. The return game was inconsistent, kickoff return, we only had one chance, but it wasn’t very good. Our punt return, we hit a big play there, but I didn’t think it was great blocking. It was OK ‘ Julian did a good job making a couple of guys miss, but we didn’t exactly have them all blocked, so … I think there’s still some room for improvement. Our field goal protection and all that operation was fair. Wasn’t anything great. There are still a lot of things we can work on.”
On Taylor Price’s first game action of the season: “I thought he did some good things. Just really his first chance to play since preseason. I thought he did some good things. He caught the ball inside, caught it in some traffic. I thought it could have been better, but I think he showed up and made some positive plays for us.”
On the performance of Brian Hoyer: “Some good things, some things he could have done better. … The first half was a much shorter time — he was only in for a handful of plays. The second half he had an opportunity to play more. But I’d say overall it’s true for the whole game. He did a lot of good things, he handled himself and the team well in a lot of situations. There’s a a couple of things he could definitely do better. I’m sure he’s aware of some of those. Others are more subtle, and we’ll point those out to him. No different than any other player, really.”
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|01.03.11 at 12:02 pm ET|
Defensive back Brandon Meriweather checked in for his weekly chat on the Dale & Holley show page Monday as part of WEEI’s Patriots Monday. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
Asked how he would spend the bye week before the Patriots’ playoff opener, Meriweather said: “Just trying to get better. It’s a time where you focus even harder now. You’ve got to take your game up a notch. You just try to focus on the little things and let your body heal.”
Despite the recent success of the Patriots defense and his selection to the Pro Bowl, Meriweather said the defensive unit continues to be overlooked. “We will never get the respect we deserve. And that’s just the truth,” he said. “You know it, I know it. We could have the best defense in NFL history, and we would never get the respect we deserve.”
Pressed as to why he feels that way, he responded: “Because this team is still offensive-friendly. It is. The team is always about the offense. That’s a good thing for us ‘ a great thing for us, actually. Because we don’t have any pressure.”
Meriweather said he learned of his Pro Bowl selection Tuesday afternoon from teammate and fellow Pro Bowler Jerod Mayo. “Mayo had called me and he was telling me. I actually thought he was playing [a joke],” Meriweather said. “He was like, ‘Did Bill [Belichick] call you? I was like, ‘Uh, no.’ And then I checked my phone and realized I did miss a phone call from Bill. … I called [Belichick] back and he told me. And I was happy. I can’t tell you how happy I was, but I was very, very happy.”
|01.03.11 at 11:54 am ET|
With Hoyer back in the game – for good – and the Patriots at the Dolphins 42, Tate ran a “GO” route and had told Hoyer if he sees him, make sure he gets the ball away. Tate would do the rest. On the second series of the second half for the Patriots, Hoyer decided to take Tate’s word at face value.
“We just went out there and I told him, ‘If you’ve got a chance, just throw it up there to me,’” Tate said. “So, he trusted me and he threw it up there for me and made the big play.’
That big play ended with Tate literally laying out for a beautiful pass that Hoyer put over Tate’s left shoulder and Tate diving to make sure he hit the ground in the end zone before the ball did. Tate said he gave the Patriots the ball to make sure Hoyer had a souvenir of his first NFL touchdown pass.
‘That was real good for Hoyer’s first one,” Tate said of the pass.
Even though Hoyer attended Michigan State and not Michigan, Tom Brady told WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan during his weekly appearance on Monday that Hoyer has the makings of a stud quarterback in the NFL.
Hoyer wasn’t even sure of his first pro TD pass until the men in stripes told him so.
‘I didn’t see it,” Hoyer said. “I just saw the ref put his hands up, and I heard the crowd cheer, so I figured it was a touchdown. I saw the ref put his hands up, that’s what I saw because I got hit. And I saw him put his hands up. I was just so elated, I just sprinted down. That was a play that Brandon and I talked about before, and we just kind of had a good feeling about it going into the game.
“He made a tremendous catch. You watch the replay afterwards, and he really went out and got it and made a great catch.’
That wasn’t Hoyer’s first action of the day, however. That came on the next-to-last offensive series of the first half for the Pats. That’s when Brady handed off to Sammy Morris for a one-yard run on third-and-1 to get the Patriots another series of downs at the Patriots 26. Bill Belichick called out Hoyer’s name on the sideline and wanted to see if the second-year player out of Michigan State was prepared to come in.
“That could easily happen in a game when a quarterback comes out and the other quarterback has to go in,” Belichick said. “That’s what he did.”
Hoyer handed off to Morris for another seven yards. Then he threw a pair of incomplete passes. Brady came back in and led the team down the field for a field goal. Hoyer was done until the third quarter.
Fun was not how Hoyer recalled the 2009 season finale, when he also went in, came out and went back in after the Patriots had blown a 14-point lead and was the quarterback when the Patriots left the field following a 34-27 loss. This time around – against Miami – Hoyer came in to stay with the Pats up, 31-0.
‘Just fun really,” Hoyer said. “We won the game. Last year in Houston, we didn’t win. Whenever you don’t win, that’s not very fun. Just to go out there and play and complete some passes, throw my first touchdown and move the offense a little bit…I thought when I was in there, we pounded the ball really well, ran the ball really well, so that helped on some of those play-actions.’
|01.03.11 at 10:38 am ET|
But he was certainly a presence during the week, making his voice known loud and clear to a rookie who would be making his NFL debut on Sunday.
“Probably Deion,” an appreciative Price said. “He’s a good guy. He stayed in my ear all week, saying you need to do this, need to do that. ‘Stay focused, stay focused, play-in and play out. Don’t let your mind get off each and every play.’ That’s what I tried to do today.”
He found out during the week from the coaching staff that he would be active and possibly on the field for the start of the game. True to their words, the Patriots – who sat Wes Welker and Deion Branch for the season finale – started Price along with Brandon Tate and Julian Edelman.
“I knew fairly early on,” Price said. “I started taking more reps with the ones, started getting more comforetable and get on the same page with teh quarterbacks. I knew fairly on.
“I was anxious early on in the week but I had to calm myself down and let the game come. I think that’s what I did and let the game come to me.”
Price was targeted once by Tom Brady in the first half but didn’t catch a ball. His first NFL catch came on the first play of New England’s second drive of the third quarter. Brian Hoyer found him for a 17-yard gain out to the Patriots 32.
“It felt good,” Price said of his debut. “I miss it, to get back on the field and start competing against somebody else other than your team. I’m glad to be back out there and wanted to show them what I could do and why I’m here. I had fun.
What did the Patriots see in Price that inspired them to spend a third-round pick on the Ohio University product?
In his senior season in 2009 with the Bobcats, the 23-year-old started all 14 games and set a career high with 56 catches for 784 yards, while carrying the ball 11 times for 103 yards. His 149 career receptions set an Ohio record, while his 2,019 receiving yards ranked second in school history. Price also caught 14 balls against Wyoming, a school record.
On Sunday he showed that burst of speed that Patriots fans have become familiar with in names like Wes Welker and Edelman.
“Real important,” Price said of getting the chance to show off his moves. “Obviously, they drafted me here for a reason. They thought I some ability to play and so, this was my day to go out show my ability to the team and show that I can play at this kind of level and I think I did that.
“If you go out there and relax, play ball the way you’ve always been playing, it’s still just football. Just go out there, play and react and just have fun and that’s what I did today.”
Price finished with two more catches for 41 yards and was targeted in the game four times – and the hope that his future is a bright one in New England.