|09.03.14 at 12:54 pm ET|
FOXBORO — While there’s some question as to how Darrelle Revis will be deployed in the season opener against the Dolphins — whether he’ll be manning up against a single receiver or working a particular side — one Miami receiver is excited about the prospect of going head-to-head with the Patriots cornerback.
“If he does follow me, it will be an exciting matchup,” Wallace told reporters. “I’ll have fun. Go after it all day long.
“He’s a good player. He’s a really smart, crafty guy,” Wallace said of Revis. “He’s going to be in the right spots. You have to move him off his spots because he’s a guy that’s not going to be fooled with all the movement, jerking around at the line. You’ve got to get going, get to your spots and be fast out of your break.”
Wallace doesn’t sound like the type of player who is going to get drawn into a potential war of words with Revis.
“Me personally, I don’t really have a mental battle with anybody,” he said. “I’m just out there trying to play football. I don’t get into too much back and forth, this or that. For me, mentally, it’s about myself and being in the spots I need to be in, and doing what I’m coached to do. I’m not really worried about one guy.”
Patriots coach Bill Belichick extolled the virtues of Revis on Wednesday. Speaking with Miami reporters on a conference call, he called Revis “very professional” and praised his work ethic.
“Darrelle has done a good job since he’s been here,” Belichick said. “Very professional, smart player, works hard, durable, dependable. He’s really done everything we’ve asked him to do and really tried to do it well. Very professional. I think if any of our players want to see why he’s had such a successful career, all they have to do is watch him prepare off the field and work. He really does a good job there.”
In last year’s game against Miami, the Patriots utilized Aqib Talib on tight end Charles Clay. While Belichick wouldn’t get into specifics on a potential Revis-Clay or Revis-Wallace matchup, he did expand on the pros and cons of using a defensive back on a single receiver.
“The pros and cons of it: the pros are that you have a matchup or maybe more than one matchup that you want,” he said. “The drawbacks are that it forces other people to adjust and you have guys playing multiple positions, and especially if you don’t know where the receivers are going to be, somebody has to make some adjustments there.
“It’s easy for a guy to follow the guy he’s following, but then depending on what personnel groups and formations they use and what defenses you’re in, what type of calls you’re running, then there could be some communication and adjustments there. You just have to weigh those factors out and figure out what you’re comfortable with as a team and how you like the matchups or don’t like [the matchups], how you want to change them and so forth.”
|09.03.14 at 12:33 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The great unknown. Nothing describes the anxiety many teams, including those of championship caliber, face heading into the first game of the new season.
With the Patriots, they have a new star cornerback, a new starting left guard (still TBD) and a new offensive line coach. But it’s not so much the unknown of your own players but the unknown of the opposition that provides the biggest challenge when game planning at this time of year.
Preseason film is very basic and not chock full of exotic looks so coaches have to take their best guesses as to what a team like the Dolphins will do once the game begins.
“I’d say there are just more unknowns,” Belichick said. “I think each year has its own the opener has its own set of unanswered questions, unknowns. We know a little bit more about our team each week. We’ve been with them, but once we get to the regular season, opening day and the succeeding games, we’ll continue to learn. I’m not really sure what we have. I’m not sure anybody knows what they have.
“I don’t know what they have. We’ll see how it goes. I’m sure there will be some matchups that we’ll be alright with. I’m sure there will be other matchups that we won’t be alright with. We’ll see how that plays out in succeeding weeks and if there’s a pattern or not a pattern or whatever. There are always a lot of unknowns on opening day. This year is no exception.”
The Dolphins are featuring a new offensive coordinator in Bill Lazor, the quarterbacks coach of the Chip Kelly-led Philadelphia Eagles in 2013. Lazor is installing a version of the hurry-up offense that featured the fastest snap-to-snap offense in the NFL. [WEEI.com’s Chris Price gave a detailed look at what to expect from Lazor.]
“If they don’t substitute, it’s going to be hard for us to substitute,” Belichick said Wednesday. “But, I don’t know who they’re going to have in the game. They use different personnel groups. Whoever they have in the game, if they go quicker with that group, then they go quicker with that group. I’m sure we’ll have to leave our group on the field. It would be hard to sub in those situations.
“If they change, we change to match them. We’ve done both ‘ we have, we haven’t. I don’t know. It would depend on, again, what groups they use and what the situations are and so forth. Look, if you want to substitute a player to get a matchup then the advantage is, you’ve substituted to get that matchup. If you don’t substitute, then you take the matchups that you have and have more continuity possibly. There’re tradeoffs no matter which way you do it.”
|09.03.14 at 12:25 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Only cornerback Brandon Browner and wide receiver Brian Tyms (both of whom are serving four-game suspensions) were missing from the start of Patriots practice on Wednesday, a session held on the back fields behind Gillette Stadium in full pads.
The Patriots, who are prepping for their season opener Sunday against the Dolphins in Miami, had three new practice squadders on the practice field, one of which was former Dolphins running back Marcus Thigpen.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|09.03.14 at 10:42 am ET|
FOXBORO — Even for the closest of friends, there’s a time to put friendship aside and take care of business.
That was the message from Patriots quarterback Tom Brady Wednesday at his press conference when he was asked about the four-game suspension of close friend Wes Welker for violation of the NFL drug policy.
“I don’t have a lot of thoughts or comments on that,” Brady said. “That’s Wes’ situation and their team. Obviously I have plenty to worry about with this week and this team. As a friend you always hope for the best, but it’s not friend time, it’s opponent time, and I’m focused on the Dolphins.”
Brady and Welker were spotted together in May at the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, Ky. It was at the Kentucky Derby where, according to Pro Football Talk, Welker took an illegal substance containing ecstasy and amphetamines and was later tagged positive by an NFL-mandated drug test.
Brady was asked Wednesday if he saw Welker taking any such substances.
“I have no comment on that,” Brady said with a heavy laugh.
|09.03.14 at 10:01 am ET|
There has been some speculation around Foxboro that the Patriots this year didn’t want to endure the week-to-week drama around the health of their star tight end that circulated in 2013. There was even the talk that the Patriots were sending a message to Gronk to make sure he was ready to go.
Well, Belichick made it clear publicly Wednesday, he’s never, ever had any doubt that Gronkowski would do everything in his power to be ready for Sept. 7 in Miami.
“Gronk always works hard,” Belichick said. “I don’t think that’s really ever been an issue since he’s been here. He works hard in the weight room, works hard in the film room and the meetings and works hard on the field. I don’t think you could ever question Rob’s work ethic. I never have. I think it’s always one of the best on the team.”
Belichick hinted that, barring any setbacks this week with Gronk’s surgically repaired right knee, Gronkowski will be good to go for the opener after Gronkowski himself declared himself ready on Monday despite not playing a single snap in the preseason.
“I think we’re going to see a lot of guys in the league, we’ll have other guys on our team that will probably fall into that category too, didn’t play a lot in the preseason but that will play Sunday. I’m sure every team has guys in that category,” Belichick said.
|09.03.14 at 9:40 am ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots have named their captains for the 2014 season, and for the first time they include offensive lineman Dan Connolly — an eight-year veteran, with six of those seasons coming with the Patriots.
“It’s very flattering for my teammates, and I try to represent them the best I can in whatever fashion the team asks me to do things and wants me to convey messages to the coach,” Brady said Wednesday during his weekly briefing at Gillette Stadium.
“We’ve got a great group of young men who have really committed themselves to being the best teammate they can be. I hope I do a great job. I work hard at it. We’ve got a lot of other great captains, guys that I’ve always been able to rely on and depend on. It’s a big responsibility, so I accept it.”
The news was first reported by ESPN’s Field Yates.
‘ Field Yates (@FieldYates) September 3, 2014
“Dan has had a real good year,” Bill Belichick said Wednesday. “He’s had a real good spring. Good training camp. He’s been out there everyday. He’s been been a versatile guy as he’s always [been]. He’s ready to play all three spots and contribute in the kicking game. He’s a sharp guy and works hard. He had a good offseason and was able to train throughout the bulk of the offseason. He’s done a solid job for us at a number of positions.”
For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.
|09.02.14 at 11:05 pm ET|
Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker issued a statement Tuesday night regarding the news that he faces a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on PEDs.
“I’m as shocked as everyone at today’s news,” the former Patriot wrote in an e-mail to The Denver Post. “I want to make one thing abundantly clear: I would NEVER knowingly take a substance to gain a competitive advantage in any way. Anyone who has ever played a down with me, lifted a weight with me, even eaten a meal with me, knows that I focus purely on what I put in my body and on the hard work I put in year round to perform at the highest levels year-in and year-out. I want any youth football players and all sports fans to know, there are NO shortcuts to success, and nothing but hard work and studying, leads to success.”
Welker also commented on the NFL’s drug policy.
“I have never been concerned with the leagues performance enhancing or drug abuse policies because under no scenario would they ever apply to me, but I now know, that [the drug-policy procedures] are clearly flawed, and I will do everything in my power to ensure they are corrected, so other individuals and teams aren’t negatively affected so rashly like this. I have worked my whole life to be the best that I can be, and I have encountered many obstacles over my career, and THIS WILL BE NO DIFFERENT! Thank you for the outpouring of support, and I want Bronco nation to know, that no one and no thing will get in the way of our goal as a team, to bring Mr. Bowlen the trophy he and this great region deserve.”
In a related note, Welker’s suspension was made official Tuesday evening — the receiver will begin serving his ban this week when the Broncos open the regular season.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
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