|10.22.10 at 5:00 pm ET|
Patriots Injury Report for Friday
Did Not Participate
S Jarrad Page (calf) OUT
RB Fred Taylor (toe) OUT
|10.22.10 at 12:55 pm ET|
Sports Illustrated columnist and NBC Sports reporter Peter King made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Friday to talk about the major stories around the NFL. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
King said he does not expect that the game will change much despite the emphasis on penalizing hits to the head.
“I think that the launching part of it is what’s going to get players in trouble in the coming weeks,” he said. “And I do believe that the NFL will suspend a player or two or three in the coming weeks just to send the message that they are going to stay on point and they are going to be serious about making sure that players abide by the rules, particularly when it comes to hitting people in the helmet.”
Added King: “The bottom line in this is this is an attempt by the league to make sure that they delay the next Darryl Stingley, Dennis Byrd, Mike Utley as long as possible. Something’s going to happen. ‘¦ I think that part of what the NFL did is sort of further insurance to a ‘not on my watch’ thing ‘ ‘We don’t want another Darryl Stingley happening.’ ”
Talking about the James Harrison situation, King said Steelers coach Mike Tomlin gave the linebacker Wednesday off for fear of what he might say to the media, and the player never was going to forgo all his money and retire because he was fined. “I think Tomlin was basically trying to protect him from himself,” King said. “And I think the second reason is that they knew that James Harrison was going to be in no shape to be around his teammates that day. That was Tomlin’s decision more than it was Harrison’s.”
The Colts placed tight end Dallas Clark on injured reserve Friday, the latest blow to a team stung by injuries. “The Colts are in trouble,” King said. “And I think the biggest problem, obviously, is Dallas Clark. As much as Peyton Manning loves throwing the ball to Reggie Wayne, his personal security blanket is Dallas Clark. That is going to be a very difficult one to overcome. ‘¦ I really wonder how much the Colts can take. That is a very, very serious blow for the Indianapolis Colts.”
Looking at the Patriots-Chargers game, King said it’s difficult to predict what to expect as a number of San Diego players have missed practice this week due to injuries and their status for Sunday is unclear. “As long as [Philip] Rivers is there, you’re always going to have a chance, but I just wonder about his quality of weapons and the health of his weapons Sunday,” he said. “That’s why I picked the Patriots to win the game.”
Added King: “I always give an edge to the desperate team. And the Chargers clearly would be the desperate team in this game. But it’s like, no [Dustin] Pedroia, no [Kevin] Youkilis. The Chargers are a wounded animal right now.”
Touching on the Brett Favre controversy, King said: “I still find it hard to believe he that he gets suspended. I wouldn’t be surprised if he got fined for tarnishing the shield, if this is true. ‘¦ I still believe at the end of the day it’s his elbow that will knock him out of the game if anything does, and not this investigation by [Roger] Goodell.”
|10.22.10 at 12:26 pm ET|
BB: We’ve had kind of a little bit of an unusual ‘ not really unusual ‘ but a little bit unusual situation the last couple weeks with the extra day. We had the long week with the Miami game and then a little longer week last week with the Ravens game starting on Tuesday. Now we’re kind of into a regular week here. It’s a three-day week, but it just seems a little rushed because we’ve been used to that extra day. It’s been a good week of preparation, but I think we’ve just got to get back into the normal three-day routine instead of the four-day routine that we’ve been in the last couple weeks. The Cincinnati game was another one like that. These guys are good. They give you a lot to prepare for, a lot to work on. But I think the players have worked hard this week. We’ll try to clean things up today and make sure we’ve got everything as right as we can have it and get out there and it will be ready to play a good football game on Sunday. I have a lot of respect for the Chargers. They’ve got a lot of talent. They’re well-coached. They’re tough. They’ve got good, physical guys. I think AJ [Smith] has done a good job putting the team together with Norv [Turner]. They’re definitely a big challenge.
Q: With the flight leaving Friday instead of Saturday, do you have to make an earlier decision on the inactives?
BB: No. Anybody that we would want to bring, we’d bring. We can bring them out there and make them inactive. Guys that don’t travel, I mean, obviously [will be inactive]. We can make some decisions on some guys. We have a couple guys who won’t travel, so that will be an easy decision. The other guys, if there is a question about them, we’ll take them and make a decision on Saturday or Sunday.
|10.22.10 at 11:47 am ET|
FOXBORO ‘ As was the case on Thursday, running back Fred Taylor and safety Jarrad Page were the only two players missing from the start of Patriots practice, a session held on the upper fields behind Gillette Stadium in sweats and shells. Taylor has been hobbled by a toe injury, while Page appeared to suffer a calf injury in last week’s win over the Ravens. Their absence likely means the two will not be playing Sunday when New England faces San Diego.
|10.22.10 at 11:28 am ET|
ESPN’s Adam Schefter joined the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning, and he began the discussion by analyzing some of the players the Patriots will be glad San Diego has let go in recent years. Though he did “applaud” general manager AJ Smith for doing a “great job corralling talent,” Schefter also was quick to highlight “some of the talent of former Chargers elsewhere in the league.
“Drew Brees at quarterback. LaDainian Tomlinson and Michael Turner at running back,” began Schefter. “Drew Brees is one of the three best quarterbacks in the league, LaDanian Tomlinson, I don’t know where you put him, but one of the great running backs in history and he looks like he did back in the day. Michael Turner is one of the top backs in the league.
“Wes Welker, who the Chargers cut in 2004, a lot of people don’t realize that,” continued Schefter, before listing other names including Chris Chambers, Antonio Cromartie and Jamal Williams. “Some are making big impacts, some not quite as big, but all in some way are impact performers, yes.”
Following are more highlights from the interview, including Schefter’s rankings of the top quarterbacks, how many suspensions he expects for illegal hits this weekend, and the latest surrounding the Brett Favre controversy. ” To listen, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
|10.22.10 at 10:32 am ET|
Patriots offensive lineman Stephen Neal made his weekly Patriots Friday appearance on Dale & Holley to talk about the team’s game against the Chargers on Sunday in San Diego. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
The Chargers have been a different team in San Diego as compared to when they play on the road.
“It’s kind of strange how you have the home team, and they get out there, and they get after it, fast-starting team,” Neal said. “And then you get the road team, and they just haven’t played as well on the road. Unfortunately, we’ve got to play them at [their] home this week. You’ve just to execute against them and hopefully do all the right stuff, and hopefully you’ll come out and get in front of them and play from ahead and do pretty well.”
Neal said he has not yet watched the league’s instructional video on avoiding hits to the head. As an offensive lineman, he’s less likely to be involved in such plays. “I’m not exactly sure how that rule is,” he said. “I’ve never tried to hit someone in their helmet, because you hit someone in their helmet, you’re probably going to get a concussion, too. I just try to go and make the block as best you can.”
Neal indicated that he empathizes with players who are trying to be physical but are being penalized for their overaggressiveness. “It’s a rough sport,” he said. “I guess [league officials] are trying to do whatever they can for the safety of the players. I can understand that.”
|10.22.10 at 9:12 am ET|
Great win last week by the Pats. HUGE disaster potential this week in San Diego. New England is going to need its defense to continue the improvement it showed last Sunday, and the offense has to put points on the board. This San Diego team is scary. Especially if Antonio Gates is able to play.
Here’s a bunch of stuff to help you break these two teams down:
* – New England has scored five miscellaneous touchdowns in 2010 (two kickoff returns, two interception returns, return of a blocked field goal). That’s tied with Arizona for the most in the league. San Diego has ALLOWED six miscellaneous touchdowns (two kickoff returns, two fumble returns, a punt return, return of a blocked punt), easily the most in the league.
Out of 37 miscellaneous touchdowns in the league this season, the Patriots or Chargers have been involved in 11 of them (30 percent).
* – San Diego has lost nine fumbles this season already, the most in the NFL. However, New England’s defense has forced fumbles on just 0.8 percent of opponent offensive touches, the lowest percentage in the league. They have recovered just one fumble by an opponent all season (tied for last).
* – Moss fallout? New England’s wide receivers averaged just 3.44 yards after the catch last weekend against Baltimore, their lowest average in the last 18 games and just the second time since at least 2003 that they’ve averaged less than 3.50 YAC despite 15 or more catches.
* – Over the last two games, the Patriots are 4-for-4 on passes to their tight end caught behind the line of scrimmage. So what, you ask? Well, they had attempted only one such pass in their last 25 previous games. More evidence of an offense evolving beyond Randy Moss?
* – The Chargers are throwing deeper passes to their wideouts than any team in the NFL this season. Their average reception has come 13.7 yards downfield. That’s on pace to be the highest mark since at least 2003. New England’s wide receivers have made their catches an average of 5.3 yards downfield, the shortest passes in the league and on pace to be the first sub-6.00 mark in the NFL since at least 2003.
* – The Patriots have rolled up 18 or more first downs in 21 consecutive games, the longest current streak in the league. And look who is second:
21 – Patriots
16 – Chargers
6 – Colts
The 21-game streak is three games shy of the longest in the league since 1991, set by the Saints last season.
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