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Mike Petraglia, Chris Price explain how Patriots will deal with Megatron, Lions

11.19.14 at 4:34 pm ET
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FOXBORO —’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss how the 8-2 New England Patriots will handle Calvin “Megatron” Johnson and the 7-3 Detroit Lions.

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Tom Brady trying to be as good as Aaron Rodgers – throwing back shoulder passes

11.19.14 at 2:59 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Like any football fan, Tom Brady likes watching Aaron Rodgers throw a football. Turns out, he’s been taking notes, too.

One of Brady’s most productive throws during his six-game winning streak is the back shoulder pass to wide receiver Brandon LaFell. He completed two of them on Sunday night alone, part of LaFell’s three catches on four targets for 62 yards. One of them came on a key third-down conversion to keep a touchdown drive alive.

Brady was asked about the level of trust it takes to let go of the ball before a receiver is turned around on back-shoulder throws.

“We’€™ve been working pretty hard at it for a while, Brandon and I,” Brady said. “I think it’€™s a big trust thing. You’€™ve got to trust that when the ball is in the air that they’€™re not going to make the play on it. And when you’€™re in those one-on-one situations, as a quarterback, you can only really control it until it leaves your hand. Even though the outcome may not be good, sometimes you may make the right decision. But as a quarterback, when you’€™re decisive and you trust that someone is going to make a positive play, it’€™s much easier to just let it rip. He’€™s really allowed me to do that. He’€™s been such a fun player and a fun teammate to have. He’€™s my locker mate, so we’€™ve got a great relationship. It’€™s been a lot of fun.”

It’s the kind of relationship Brady will see up close and personal next week when the Patriots travel to Green Bay.

“It’€™s all those things that amount to a good passing game. When you see certain quarterbacks play with certain receivers, like I see Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson ‘€“ they are probably the best at it,” Brady said. “It’€™s the timing of when to throw, how hard to throw. It’€™s when to look. If you look too early, if you slow down as a receiver, it’€™s a low percentage play. If you throw it too hard or too high, it’€™s a low percentage throw.

“It’€™s just a big trust throw, and both people really have to be on the same page. We’€™ll just keep working at it. Those are big plays. You have to throw to the perimeter of the field. And it’€™s 25 yards down the field and [when] you make plays like that where you can gain a quarter of the field in one throw, it’€™s a big momentum play. That probably got me most excited. But we need more of those. Hopefully we can make a few of those this week.”

When the Patriots signed the 6-foot-3 LaFell in March as a free agent, Brady was pumped up because he was getting a big receiver that could go up and fight for the ball on that play.

“That’€™s the advantage of having a big player like that, too, where you’€™re physically bigger than the opposing player that you’€™re going against, and you can use your body and your size to protect the ball,” Brady said. “I think that’€™s one of Brandon’€™s great strengths. For those to come up, it’€™s not a big surprise. He’€™s a big guy. When guys get tangled up with Brandon, they usually get the brunt of it.

“The closer you are to him, sometimes I don’€™t think that’€™s the best thing because he’€™s such a big presence, and he’€™s got really long arms and he’€™s got big hands to be able to make those types of plays. Those are good plays for us to make. Like I said, we’€™re going to need to keep making them, and as the season keeps going on and the games get bigger, we need to have those plays in our back pocket and know that we have confidence that we can go out there and hit them.”
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Read More: aaron rodgers, Brandon LaFell, detroit lions, Green Bay Packers

Protection Pattern: Tom Brady relishing more time to throw

11.19.14 at 1:44 pm ET
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More time in the pocket has benefited Tom Brady of late. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

More time in the pocket has benefited Tom Brady of late. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — There is no denying Tom Brady and the Patriots offense were a different team in the second half than in the first half in Sunday’s 42-20 win over the Colts.

In the first half, Brady went a pedestrian 10-for-19 passing for 84 yards with two interceptions, including one with less than two minutes remaining — arguably one of the worst throws he’s made in his 15 seasons, as the throw hung in the air for a lifetime before Colts safety Mike Adams picked it off.

The Colts scored a touchdown a few plays later and the Patriots got the ball back with 55 seconds remaining, but Bill Belichick didn’t mess around and kneeled out the clock sending the Patriots to the locker room with just a 14-10 lead — perhaps sending a message to Brady and the offense.

“I always need to do a better job,” said Brady. “Obviously we were there at halftime, I didn’t play as well as I am capable of. I have to do a lot better job. It always starts with me and that is where my focus is. Hopefully I can put together four quarters of good stuff this week.”

The second half was a completely different story as the offense scored touchdowns on four of its five possessions and the only one they didn’t score was the last possession of the game when they were running out the clock late in the fourth quarter. While the ground game was exceptional (Jonas Gray’s 201 yards rushing, four touchdowns), but Brady was a major reason as well. He was 9-for-11 passing for 173 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. (One of the incompletions was a Julian Edelman drop over the middle.)

So, what changed in the second half? Brady had more time to throw.

The quarterback looked much more comfortable in the pocket in the second half, as he was given more time to throw. By our calculations, in the second half Brady averaged 2.61 seconds from snap to release, compared to 2.20 second in the first half — almost half a second difference.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Bryan Stork, Dan Connolly, Patriots offense

Sealver Siliga present at Patriots walkthrough, 21-day window begins

11.19.14 at 1:26 pm ET
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Sealver Siliga

Sealver Siliga

FOXBORO — Defensive lineman Sealver Siliga was present at the start of Patriots practice Wednesday, the first time he has practiced since being put on short-term injured reserve on Sept. 27. Siliga suffered a foot injury in the Patriots’ Week 3 win over the Raiders.

Now that Siliga has practiced, the Patriots have 21 days to activate him to the active roster, or shut him down for the rest of the season. If he were to be activated, the Patriots would need to make room on the 53-man roster for him. As it stands now he does not count against their 53. Siliga is eligible to play Sunday, but as mentioned a roster spot would need to be created.

Cameron Fleming and Chandler Jones were also not spotted at the walkthrough held inside the Dana-Farber Fieldhouse.

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Through 10 games, how do 2014 Patriots stack up statistically against previous three seasons?

11.19.14 at 11:49 am ET
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Here’s a statistical look at what the Patriots have done through the first 10 games of the season on both sides of the ball, and here’s how it measure up to the previous three seasons in the same stretch.

2014: 685
2013: 700
2012: 741
2011: 668

2014 (Brady and Garoppolo): 2,741 (60.6 percent, 25 TDs, 5 INTs, 103.3 passer rating)
2013: 2,552 (58.7 percent, 14 TDs, 7 INTs, 83.6 passer rating)
2012 (Brady and Mallett): 2,993 (65 percent, 21 TDs, 3 INTs, 102.2 passer rating)
2011: 3,266 (65 percent, 25 TDs, 10 INTs, 102.5 passer rating)

2014: 1,155 yards (295 carries, 3.9 yards per carry, 7 rushing TDs)
2013: 1,269 yards (292 carries, 4.3 yards per carry, 11 rushing TDs)
2012: 1,429 yards (330 carries, 4.3 yards per carry, 16 rushing TDs)
2011: 1,110 yards (262 carries, 4.2 yards per carry, 7 rushing TDs)

TOTAL POINTS (scoring breakdown per quarter)
2014: 323 (58-125-68-72)
2013: 254 (44-84-36-90)
2012: 358 (82-98-86-89 — 3 points in OT)
2011: 293 (51-77-68-97)

2014: 233-for-364 (64 percent), 2,649 yards, 24 TDs, 5 INTs, 102 passer rating
2013: 223-for-380 (59 percent), 2,552 yards, 14 TDs, 7 INTs, 83.6 passer rating
2012: 256-for-393 (65 percent), 2,976 yards, 21 TDs, 3 INTs, 102.5 passer rating
2011: 253-for-387 (65 percent), 3,266 yards, 25 TDs, 10 INTs, 102.5 passer rating

2014: 109.9
2013: 125.7
2012: 99
2011: 104.7

2014: 241.9
2013: 229.2
2012: 289.7
2011: 299.5

2014: 22
2013: 19.9
2012: 22.5
2011: 20.3

Bill Parcells on D&H: ‘I wasn’t quite open-minded enough’ during time with Patriots

11.19.14 at 10:56 am ET
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Former Patriots coach Bill Parcells joined Dale & Holley on Tuesday afternoon to discuss his new book detailing his career in the league. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

In the book, “Parcells: A Football Life,” the former coach delves into experiences he had throughout his time in the NFL. The hosts asked Parcells if it was a difficult task to reveal so much information.

Said Parcells: “Quite frankly, when you decide that you’€™re going to do something of this nature, you have to be willing to, I think at least, understand that they’€™re going to be some things that are not very favorable that are going to be said. Quite frankly, there’€™s some things that I’ve done in my lifetime that I wish I had the opportunity to do over again. And there are some things I didn’t do that I wish I had the opportunity to do. But that’€™s the way life is.”

Parcells detailed his relationship with Patriots owner Robert Kraft. At the end of Parcells’€™ tenure in New England, there was strain between the two, but they’ve tried to patch things up.

“It’€™s very difficult, particularly I think the thing that precipitated some of the things, was the first year-and-a-half or so that I was there, there was a tremendous number of different agendas with the people that were in the organization. Nobody really was on the same page. We had a general manager at the time that wasn’t qualified to be one. He had no background in football. And it was a very difficult situation. And then of course when a new owner comes in, I didn’t really know what to expect and I was a bit jaded from first-year experience. I would say I had my guard up a little bit too much and I wasn’t quite open-minded enough. But since that time, Bob and I, we had a few differences, but it’€™s worked out — everything’€™s fine. The Patriots are in great hands, and they’ve done great, great things. That’€™s a place that I do feel some sentiment about because it was my first pro job as an assistant coach back in 1980. They gave me the opportunity. So I’€™ll always be grateful for that.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Bill Parcells, Curtis Martin, Robert Kraft

Bill Belichick says Lions will give Patriots ‘a lot of things to deal with’

11.19.14 at 10:28 am ET
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Bill Belichick and the Patriots won for the first time in franchise history at Lucas Oil Stadium Sunday night. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick and the Patriots won for the first time in franchise history at Lucas Oil Stadium Sunday night. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Ndamukong Suh. Calvin Johnson. Reggie Bush. Golden Tate. Matthew Stafford.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has a lot on his plate to get ready for in dealing with the Lions this week.

“It’s been really impressive to watch the Lions this week,” Belichick said Wednesday. “They’re really a good football team and do a good job in all three phases of the game. They’re good in the kicking game, really explosive on offense, have great skill players and I think they’re statistical accomplishments on defense really speak for themselves. They’re at the top of the league in everything, points, yards (allowed), run defense, time of possession, turnovers, red area, third down, pass defense, you name it.”

Indeed, the Lions enter game as the top defensive team in the NFL in points allowed (15.6), total defense (290.3 yards/game) and rushing defense (68.8 yards per game). They are second in third down defense, allowing just a conversion rate of 35.2 percent.

“Very dominant and disruptive there so we’re going to need to play a good complimentary game all the way across the board,” Belichick said. “There’s no real weak points. There’s a lot of things we’re going to have to deal with. It’s a team obviously we don’t obviously know very well so we’re going to have to really work hard this week to get on top of them, get familiar with them. They present a lot of problems. They’ve been in a lot of close games, in a lot of tough situations. I think they’re mentally tough, resilient team. They’ve shown that. That’ll be a big challenge for us to match that toughness and competitiveness, too. It’s a good football team coming in here.”

And to surprise of no one who has seen the 7-3 Lions play for the last several years, it starts with Pro Bowl nose tackle Ndamukong Suh.

“He’s pretty dominant,” Belichick said. “He can do it all and his effort, the plays he makes from behind in chase, on screen plays, hustling downfield, backside plays in addition to all of his point-of-attack and pass rushes, disruptive plays. The guy gets double-teamed a lot and is still productive.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, detroit lions, Ndamukong Suh, New England Patriots
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