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Patriots place WR/TE Dorin Dickerson on injured reserve

01.25.12 at 5:32 pm ET
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The Patriots announced Wednesday that wide receiver Dorin Dickerson has been placed on the practice squad/injured reserve list.

Dickerson, 23, was signed to the New England practice squad on Dec. 7. He is a second-year player who was originally drafted by the Houston Texans in the seventh round (227th overall) out of Pittsburgh in 2010. As a rookie, he played in seven games, mainly on special teams. Dickerson, 6-foot-2, 227 pounds, was released by Houston on Sept. 3 and was then signed to the Pittsburgh Steelers‘ practice squad on Sept. 12 before being released on Sept. 15.

During his college career, he played at wide receiver, linebacker and tight end.

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Super Bowl roundup: Eli Manning tells Giants to ‘handle your business’

01.25.12 at 3:08 pm ET
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Eli Manning is all business, and he’s making sure his team is, too. Manning, a team captain, made sure he got his message across during a team meeting on Tuesday.

“We got an excellent message from Eli. … It was very well needed,” Antrel Rolle told the New York Post.

Explained Manning: “Just a little bit how to prepare for this, handle your business with tickets, get that stuff done. Just the mindset of this week, we have to have great preparation, prepare this week like you’€™re playing the game this week, because once you get out to Indianapolis, you’ve got to take a bus ride to practice [and] your whole schedule gets thrown off.”

Manning obviously knows how to successfully prepare for a Super Bowl, and his message was heard by teammates.

‘€œIt’€™s great to hear someone speak with that kind of leadership,’€™’€™ Rolle said. ‘€œYou know Eli doesn’€™t say much, and when he says it, he means it and you know it’€™s coming from the heart. We’€™re going out there to take care of business. Everything else, that’€™s for the spectators, that’€™s for your family and your friends.”

‘™¦ As Patriots fans know, Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff was the goat of the AFC championship game. Sunday’s other game had its own goat: 49ers return man Kyle Williams, who muffed one punt and had another stripped, setting up two Giants scores (including the game-winning field goal).

Williams had eight punt returns on the day in while filling in for Ted Ginn Jr., and there have been reports that the Giants targeted him for big hits, knowing Williams has had problems with concussions. Devin Thomas, who picked up both of Williams’ fumbles, and linebacker Jacquian Williams, who caused the fumble in overtime, had interesting words after the game.

“He’€™s had a lot of concussions,” Thomas was quoted as saying. “We were just like, ‘We’€™ve got to put a hit on that guy.’€™ ‘€

Added Williams: ‘€œWe knew he had four concussions, so our biggest thing was to take him out of the game.’€

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Read More: David Tyree, Kyle Williams, Rooney Mara, Super Bowl

Tom Brady on the cover of this week’s ‘Sports Illustrated’

01.25.12 at 2:47 pm ET
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This week’s issue of Sports Illustrated — which is scheduled to be released Wednesday — has Patriots quarterback Tom Brady on the cover for the 15th time as part of a Super Bowl preview.

This marks the second time in a couple of months that Brady made the cover — he made it a couple of weeks ago as part of a regional edition that previewed the divisional round of the postseason.

The story on the Patriots inside the issue is penned by writer Damon Hack, and looks at the effect that the late Myra Kraft had on the franchise and how the team has rallied in her memory.

‘€œI told Mr. Kraft I was going to leave it all on the field for Myra,” said linebacker Brandon Spikes, who picked off Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco in the AFC championship game. “I personally wanted to come out and get that game for her [and] for him. I told him not to worry about a thing.’€

SI writer Jim Trotter also gives his pick for the game.

Read More: Brandon Spikes, Damon Hack, Jim Trotter, joe flacco

Super Bowl XLVI gets an animated preview, courtesy of NMA.tv

01.25.12 at 1:43 pm ET
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The folks at NMA.tv in Taiwan specialize in slightly surreal interpretations of the news, and so it’s no surprise that their preview of Super Bowl XLVI looks like some sort of acid-drenched cartoon that sprung from the mind of Hunter S. Thompson. Please to enjoy:

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Five takeaways from Bill Belichick’s Tuesday afternoon conference call

01.24.12 at 4:56 pm ET
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With the understanding that Rob Gronkowski‘€™s injury situation was already covered earlier in the day, here are five takeaways from Tuesday afternoon’€™s conference call with Patriots coach Bill Belichick:

1. The Patriots have given the players Tuesday and Wednesday off, with the instructions being that they should use those two days to take care of logistics and come back Thursday ready to work. New England will hold practices Thursday and Friday (Saturday’€™s schedule is still up in the air), and the Patriots will leave for Indy after a sendoff rally at Gillette Stadium on Sunday (more details on that will come later in the week).

Belichick talked about the sort of things they’€™ll have to focus on before leaving for Indianapolis.

‘€œI think there are a lot of things, but the logistics and all that, that’€™s part of it,” Belichick said. ‘€œThat’€™s something that we have to deal with on any away trip. This is an extended away trip so it has some elements of that, but there are additional things. But that’€™s part of it. The health of the team is always important. That’€™s what a team is: the healthy players that you can put out there on the field. That’€™s always something that we try to be mindful of and do everything we can to get it to the highest level. We can get started on our opponent and understanding what they do and what we need to do against them and how those things match up and what adjustments we can anticipate or we’€™ve seen them make. I’€™d say it’€™s all those things.’€

2. Super Bowl XLVI will mark another battle with Giants coach Tom Coughlin. The two were assistants together in New York, and have nothing but good things to say about each other.

‘€œI have a lot of respect for Tom. I think he’€™s definitely stood the test of time in a couple organizations: in Jacksonville and at the Giants,’€ Belichick said. ‘€œHe’€™s tough; his teams are disciplined. They play with great competitiveness and play smart. They’€™re a good situational football team. They force you to go out there and beat them. They do a lot of things well. That’€™s kind of the way Tom is: Tom is tough, he’€™s very detailed, he has a lot of experience, he’€™s an intense coach and I think that’€™s reflected in the way his teams play. He’€™s a good friend of mine that I’€™ve been with a long time as I’€™ve mentioned before.

‘€œWhen I was the secondary coach and Tom was the receivers coach at the Giants, we worked against each other daily and we also had great rapport off the field of helping each other out, talking about the different techniques and players of our upcoming opponents and suggestions of how to cover them or run routes, helping each other out on things like that as well as working with each other on the practice field. Of all the coaches I’€™ve worked with, it was as good as any.’€

3. Belichick also continued to lavish praise on veteran defensive lineman Vince Wilfork, who was immense in the Patriots 23-20 win over the Ravens in the AFC championship game.
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Read More: Bill Belichick, Bill O'Brien, David Tyree, Josh McDaniels

Eli Manning hailed as hero ahead of Super Bowl

01.24.12 at 11:10 am ET
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Although the Super Bowl is still 12 days away, some writers have already decided that Eli Manning is the greatest quarterback currently playing in the NFL. According to the numbers, Manning does not quite top the list. He finished the regular season 13th in completion percentage (61.0), fourth in total yards (4,933), fifth in yards-per-game (308.3), and sixth in touchdown passes (29), but those numbers did not tell the whole story for some New York-based columnists.

Steve Serby of the New York Post limited his praise of Manning to “The Greatest Quarterback in Giants History”. Serby compared Manning to former Giants quarterback Phil Simms, who Serby said deserves recognition for his leadership, toughness, longevity and his play in Super Bowl XXI. But Manning, now in his eighth pro season, has surpassed Simms in Serby’s book. He compares Manning and Simms’ numbers, and Manning is indeed better than Simms in almost every category.

But then Serby delves into the rhetoric and intangibles. Manning, Serby said, did not have to overcome the pressures of just being a first-overall draft pick. He is also had to fight his way out of the shadow of his father and brother, two of the most famous and revered NFL quarterbacks in history. Manning has never missed a game since taking over the starting job in November of 2004, Serby says. Manning’s devotion to film study is commendable and his leadership style is one that his teammates never hesitate to follow. For those reasons, Serby claims, Manning leaves the New York area confident headed into the Super Bowl.

“It was Peyton [Manning], remember, who predicted after Super Bowl XLII that Eli would win multiple Super Bowls,” Serby said. “He will be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy for the second time if he beats Tom Brady and the Pats again. And there isn’€™t a Giants fan who doesn’€™t think he can’€™t do it.”

Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News takes Serby’s praise a step farther. Lupica names Manning as the quarterback “playing better than anybody going into this Super Bowl.” Lupica acknowledges that Brady has the better numbers this year than Manning, but says Manning is better when it counts as he points to Manning’s NFL-record 15 fourth quarter touchdown passes as a stat that separates the two quarterbacks.

Lupica also argues that Manning’s path to the Super Bowl was tougher than Brady’s, since Manning had to beat the Packers and 49ers on the road while Brady only had to go through the Broncos and Ravens on home turf.

“Nobody better than him right now, not Brady or anybody else,” Lupica claims.  Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Super Bowl XLVI, Tom Brady

Report: Pats executive Jason Licht a finalist for Bears GM job

01.24.12 at 10:47 am ET
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Patriots director of pro scouting Jason Licht is one of two finalists for the vacant Chicago GM job, according to the Chicago Tribune. Licht and Chiefs director of college scouting Phil Emery are expected to get second interviews later this week.

In his 16th NFL season, Licht is in the second of two stints with the Patriots. He rejoined the New England personnel department in 2009 after previously spending four seasons (1999-2002) with the Patriots. In 2008, Licht served as a personnel executive for Arizona after spending five seasons with Philadelphia as vice president of player personnel (2006-07) and assistant director of player personnel (2003-05).

Licht first joined the Patriots personnel department in 1999 as a college scout, and in June 2001 he became the team’€™s national scout. The following year, he was promoted to assistant director of player personnel, a position he held through the 2002 season.

It’€™s interesting that both Licht and Emery have ties to the Patriots. Emery has worked for Scott Pioli in Kansas City as well as for former Patriots director of college scouting Thomas Dimitroff in Atlanta.

Read More: Jason Licht, Phil Emery, Scott Pioli, thomas dimitroff
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