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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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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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RB Jonas Gray named AFC Offensive Player of Week

11.19.14 at 10:03 am ET
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Jonas Gray

Jonas Gray

Jonas Gray was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week, the league announced on Wednesday morning.

The Patriots running back rushed for 201 yards and four touchdowns in Sunday’s 42-20 win over the Colts. The 5-foot-9, 230-pound Gray is the third Patriots player to rush for 200 yards in a game, and is the first NFL player to score his first four career rushing touchdowns in one game since Herb Henderson of the Evansville Crimson Giants in 1921.

It is the fourth AFC Player of the Week honor for the Patriots in 2014. Chandler Jones was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in the win at Minnesota on Sept. 14, DL Chris Jones was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance in the win vs. the New York Jets on Oct. 16, and Julian Edelman was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance in the win vs. Denver on Nov. 2. In addition, QB Tom Brady was named AFC Offensive Player of the Month for October.

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Ex-Patriots Ty Law, Junior Seau among HOF semifinalists

11.19.14 at 9:43 am ET
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Ty Law earned his red Patriots HOF jacket this year. Is a yellow one from Canton next? (Mike Petraglia/

Ty Law earned his red Patriots HOF jacket this year. Is a yellow one from Canton next? (Mike Petraglia/

Former Patriots Ty Law and Junior Seau are among 26 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame‘s class of 2015, it was announced Tuesday.

Law played 10 seasons with the Patriots as one of the best corners in the NFL, finishing with 36 interceptions during his time in New England. The two-time All-Pro ended his career with briefs stopovers with the Chiefs, Jets and Broncos before retiring after the 2009 season.

Seau played 20 years in the NFL, including the better part of four seasons with the Patriots (2006-2009). The linebacker, who also starred for the Chargers and Dolphins, is among eight first-year candidates in the balloting.

Kurt Warner and Tony Dungy were also among the headliners who made the initial cut. Warner is among eight first-year candidates in the balloting, while Dungy is in his second year on the ballot.

Other semifinalists include receivers Marvin Harrison, Tim Brown and newcomers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt; running backs Jerome Bettis, Terrell Davis, Roger Craig and newcomer Edgerrin James; safeties John Lynch, Darren Woodson and Steve Atwater; defensive ends/linebackers Charles Haley and Kevin Greene; linebacker Karl Mecklenburg; offensive tackles Joe Jacoby, Mike Kenn and newcomer Orlando Pace; guard Will Shields; newcomer center Kevin Mawae; placekicker Morten Andersen; and coaches Don Coryell and Jimmy Johnson.

The list will be cut to 15 modern era finalists to be considered on Jan. 31, the day before the Super Bowl, in Phoenix. Inductions will be in August.

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In Focus: Charting offensive opportunities for Patriots’ skill position players

11.18.14 at 9:12 pm ET
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Jonas Gray has suddenly jumped into the top 3 when it comes to offensive opportunities. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Running back Jonas Gray has jumped into the top three when it comes to offensive opportunities with the Patriots this season. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Every week, we list the Patriots’€™ “offensive touches,”€ a running tally of which one of the offensive skill position players is getting the most looks. Like our weekly look at targets, it can occasionally be an inexact stat, but it remains a good barometer of how confident the coaches (and quarterback) are when it comes to the skill position players at their disposal. Here’€™s a breakdown of the 2014 New England offense after 10 games:

RB Shane Vereen: 106 (70 carries, 36 catches) 1 negative catch, 4 negative runs
RB Stevan Ridley: 98 (94 carries, 4 catches), 8 negative runs
RB Jonas Gray: 70 (70 carries)
WR Julian Edelman: 67 (8 carries, 59 catches)
TE Rob Gronkowski: 53 (53 catches)
WR Brandon LaFell: 39 (39 catches)
QB Tom Brady: 19 (19 carries), 14 sacks, 7 kneeldowns
TE Tim Wright: 19 (1 carry, 18 catches), 1 negative rush
RB Brandon Bolden: 17 (16 carries, 1 catch), 2 negative runs
RB James White: 12 (9 carries, 3 catches)
WR Danny Amendola: 11 (11 catches)
FB James Develin: 7 (1 carry, 6 catches)
WR Kenbrell Thompkins: 6 (6 catches)
QB Jimmy Garoppolo: 6 (6 carries) 2 sack, 6 kneeldowns
WR Aaron Dobson: 3 (3 catches)
TE Michael Hoomanawanui: 2 (2 catches)
WR Brian Tyms: 1 (1 catch)

Notes: With the scoring change that was announced on Tuesday, the Patriots had no negative plays from scrimmage on Sunday, the first time all season that happened. … On the season, New England has run 685 plays from scrimmage, and 33 of them have gone for negative yardage (5 percent), not including kneeldowns. …  Against the Colts, the Patriots ran 75 plays, with 18 of them in shotgun (24 percent). And while they hurried back to the line on a few occasions, the official game book lists them as not having a single play in no-huddle all evening. … On the season, the Patriots have run 53 of their 685 plays out of no-huddle (8 percent) and 206 snaps in shotgun (30 percent). … By way of comparison, over the course of the 2013 regular season, the Patriots were in shotgun for 42 percent of their offensive snaps and they ran no-huddle on 11 percent of their snaps. … One interesting wrinkle — rookie offensive tackle Cameron Fleming was used as an eligible receiver/tight end on 37 of the 75 snaps on the night, and added some bulk to a New England offensive line that did a terrific job pushing the Indy defensive front back all evening.

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Josh McDaniels says Patriots’ ‘two-dimensional’ approach makes Tom Brady ‘excellent’ on 3rd down, red zone

11.18.14 at 4:17 pm ET
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Tom Brady stepped up his game in the second half of Sunday's win over the Colts. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Tom Brady stepped up his game in the second half of Sunday’s win over the Colts. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The Patriots may have found the true key to maintaining success down the stretch, at least offensively.

The Patriots scored touchdowns in all five chances Sunday night in the red zone. The key, according to offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, was the genuine threat of either a pass or run.

As a matter of fact, the first five touchdowns the Patriots scored were the result of red zone execution. Instead of settling for field goals, which Tom Brady had mentioned in previous weeks as a problem, the Patriots were able to run it into the end zone four times behind the power attack of Jonas Gray.

Brady also converted a two-yard touchdown pass to tight end Tim Wright to cap an 80-yard drive that opened the second half scoring.

“In order to be good in the red zone, I think you have to maintain the ability to be balanced, two-dimensional down there,” McDaniels said in a conference call Tuesday. “If you ever get into the red zone and become all pass or all run, then generally a defense kind of either packs it in in the running game or tries to double cover certain people in the passing game, and there is obviously less space to throw it in, and there are usually more people near the line of scrimmage the lower you get in the red zone [and] the closer you get to the goal line.

“I thought that we were effective running the ball in the red zone the other night. A lot of people did a lot of good things. It’€™s tough when you get down there because there is not a lot of space, like I said, and you’€™ve got to get either receivers in there blocking tight, or your backs are going to have to break a tackle or run through an extra defender some times, and I thought that Jonas did a good job of doing that. We were fortunate to be able to run the ball in I believe four times the other night. Running the ball is not an easy thing, but I think the guys did a good job of trying to get a hat on those guys, and like I said, Jonas ran well.”

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Scoring change allows Patriots RB Jonas Gray to break 200-yard barrier

11.18.14 at 3:59 pm ET
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Jonas Gray

Jonas Gray

The NFL said Tuesday Patriots running back Jonas Gray is now credited with 37 carries for 201 rushing yards in Sunday’s game against the Colts, giving the youngster an extra two yards following a change in scoring.

It appears that the change came after a closer look at the scoring on a fourth-down run from Gray, one that ended with a two-yard loss. However, there was a penalty that was enforced on the play — the Colts were offsides, but the accepted penalty was a facemask on Indy linebacker Erik Walden.

With that negative run now having been nullified, Gray gets those two yards back, and finishes with zero negative rushes. He also now becomes the third running back in Patriots history to rush for 200-plus yard in a game, joining Tony Collins (212 yards on Sept. 18, 1983 against the Jets) and Jim Nance (208 rushing yards on Oct. 30, 1966 against the Raiders).

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