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Pats practice: Tom Brady misses, Myron Pryor back

11.23.10 at 1:39 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Tom Brady was not at the open portion of practice on Tuesday afternoon inside the Dana Farber Field House as the Patriots wrap-up preparations for the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving afternoon at Ford Field.

Also missing were right guard cornerback Jonathan Wilhite (hip), Stephen Neal (shoulder) and Mike Wright (neck). The team practiced in sweats and shells. The Patriots did get one player back at practice as defensive lineman Myron Pryor returned after missing the last two games with a bad back.

For the second straight week, practice squad safety Ross Ventrone was tabbed practice player of the week. He was joined in black jerseys this week by quarterback Brian Hoyer, linebacker Pierre Woods and wide receiver Taylor Price. For Woods, it was nice way to return to the roster, one week after leaving the grounds crew at the University of Michigan and re-joining the Patriots.

Read More: Brian Hoyer, detroit lions, Myron Pryor, New England Patriots

Tom Brady: ‘Football season hasn’t started yet’

11.23.10 at 12:07 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Tom Brady apparently believes in the old adage that football season doesn’t really begin until after Thanksgiving.

Despite coming off impressive back-to-back wins against Pittsburgh and Indianapolis, Brady said Tuesday that the Patriots have yet to come close to the team they hope to be in the final weeks of the 2010 season.

“Football season hasn’t even started yet, I keep telling you guys,” Brady said to the media horde surrounding his locker. “We’re not even half the team that hopefully we’ll be in the next five-to-six weeks.”

Brady and the Patriots are 8-2 and head to Detroit on Wednesday for their first appearance on Thanksgiving day since 2002, when they beat the Lions 20-12, thanks in large part to an interception return for a touchdown by Tedy Bruschi.

Read More: detroit lions, New England Patriots, nfl, Thanksgiving NFL

WEEI NFL Power Rankings: Week 12

11.23.10 at 8:21 am ET
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The AFC East is the cream of the crop once again in the WEEI NFL Power Rankings. The Patriots and Jets remain the top dogs for the second straight week. The division rivals are on a collision course to fight it out for first place when they face off in New England on Dec. 6.

For the first time this year, every team in the top five was victorious. In fact, eight of the top 10 teams came out of Week 11 with a win. Despite losing, the Colts (No. 9) and the Giants (10) stay put in their respective spots, keeping the top 10 intact.

Week 12 certainly will cause some major movement in the rankings. There are many marquee matchups ahead. The Packers (No. 7) will face the Falcons (3), the 7-3 Eagles (4) will face the 7-3 Bears (11), and the red-hot Chargers (12) will face the struggling Colts (9).

The Bengals plummet all the way to the No. 31 spot while the Panthers are getting comfortable at No. 32.

1. (1) 8-2 We’re seeing typical Patriots football from the 2010 Pats. They take away what the opposing team does well and find a way to win each week. Last week, they held the potent Rashard Mendenhall to just 50 yards on the ground. In the win over the Colts, they made Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis non-factors. On defense, they are making big plays when needed most. The Pats have a total of 18 takeaways.

2. (2) 8-2 In a league in which it is extremely difficult to win on the road, the Jets are 5-0 away from the Meadowlands. Surprisingly, the Jets offense has been the story of this team in 2010. The poise Mark Sanchez has shown in the past few weeks has been impressive. The second-year quarterback’s ability to win games in the closing minutes has to be something Jets fans are extremely pleased with.

3. (3) 8-2 Atlanta is in a three-way tie for the best record in the NFL. Offensively, it looks like the Falcons are getting into a good rhythm. They have an extremely balanced attack between the pass and run. Michael Turner rushed for 131 yards Sunday while Matt Ryan threw for 253 yards and two touchdowns.

4. (4) 7-3 That’s back-to-back division wins for the Eagles, who are in prime position to take the NFC East. Sunday night’s game showed that the offense isn’t the only unit on the team that can help win games. Philly’s D played great again. This is an extremely aggressive and opportunistic defense. On Sunday night the Eagles picked off Eli Manning three times and held him to a quarterback rating of 53.5.

5. (5) 7-3 The Ravens have learned getting Ray Rice the ball is one of the most important things they can do offensively. Rice had 65 yards on the ground and 66 receiving yards Sunday. On defense, the Ravens continue to hold their opponents to a low number of points. The Ravens allow an average of just 17.8-points per game.

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The Big Nickel: Patriots turning the page and Bill Belichick talks up Jim Schwartz

11.22.10 at 9:26 pm ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” The five most important things you need to know about the Patriots on Monday:

1. It’€™s all about turning the page quickly. On Monday, Bill Belichick and the Patriots all sounded the same theme ‘€” it would be nice to spend another 24 hours reliving a memorable win over the Colts, but time waits for no man, especially when you’€™re facing a short week of preparation for your next game.

‘€œIt would be nice to put the feet up and enjoy last night’€™s game and what we did, but we’€™re on to Detroit,’€ Belichick said. ‘€œIt’€™s a short week here ‘€” there’€™s a lot to do. We have to cram six days into three. I think the players came in with a good attitude [Monday] and really tried to get a lot done. Obviously we have a lot to do and we’€™ll try to keep grinding it out here the next couple of days. It was a big start for us today.’€

‘€œWe just have to kind of turn the corner real fast and turn our preparation to the Detroit Lions and get ready for them,’€ said running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis. ‘€œJust go home and accelerate everything, more than a regular week. Get on the film and everything a little bit tonight.’€

The short week means there’€™s a real premium on practice time. While the usual practice preparation runs from Wednesday to Friday most weeks, the primary workday will be Tuesday before flying out on Wednesday and playing on Thursday. That means the Patriots need to be on-point when you hit the practice field.

‘€œI just think being mentally into every practice and being able to dial it up,’€ said Matt Light when it comes to the challenges of playing on a short week. ‘€œPhysically it is what it is, and yeah, you’€™re going to be a little sore, and by the time the game starts, all that stuff kind of dissipates and you’€™re out there doing what you do. But I think mentally, during the week, you really have to focus in on the little things.’€

2. Jim Schwartz. There’€™s an extensive professional relationship between Belichick and Detroit coach Jim Schwartz, who was originally hired by Belichick as a researcher and scout in the early 1990s when Belichick was the head coach in Cleveland. Schwartz stuck with the Browns for three seasons under Belichick … despite the fact that Schwartz once inadvertently stole his turkey sandwich.

The story goes that the young Schwartz believed he was going to get fired one spring in Cleveland, and went into the meal room to see what was in the refrigerator. He saw a turkey sandwich, and ate it. Later on, Belichick came in, looking for his sandwich and wasn’€™t happy when he found out who ate it.

‘€œHe’€™s really special ‘€” I’€™ve had a lot of people work for me and he’€™s right up there at the top of the list in terms of things that he can do and what a positive impression he made at a relatively young age or young point in his career,’€ Beichick said of Schwartz, an economics grad from Georgetown. ‘€œJim’€™s one of the smartest guys I’€™ve ever worked with. He’€™s a guy who, to say multitask, wouldn’€™t even be fair. He’€™s the kind of person who if you gave him 20 things to do, he would be on top of all 20 of them and know exactly where he was on all of them.’€

In fact, Belichick was such a believer in Schwartz, he tried to hire him as the Patriots linebackers’€™ coach in 2000, but Titans coach Jeff Fisher blocked the move because he considered Schwartz his future defensive coordinator. Schwartz would indeed go on to serve as Fisher’€™s defensive coordinator in Tennessee from 2001 until 2008 when he left to become head coach in Detroit.
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Read More: BenJarvus Green Ellis, Bill Belichick, Darius Butler, Jeff Fisher

Five players, including Jahvid Best, do not practice for Lions on Monday

11.22.10 at 6:22 pm ET
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Five players did not participate in practice for the Lions on Monday, including running back Jahvid Best and quarterback Matthew Stafford. Here’s the complete injury report:

Did Not Participate
RB Jahvid Best (toe)
K Jason Hanson (right knee)
TE Tony Scheffler (ribs)
QB Matthew Stafford (right shoulder)
DT Corey Williams (shoulder)

Limited Participation
DE Cliff Avril (quadricep)
LB Isaiah Ekejiuba (knee)
G Dylan Gandy (calf)

Full Participation
QB Shaun Hill (quadricep)
LB DeAndre Hill (groin)

Read More: injury report, lions,

Mike Wright held out of practice for Patriots, while Tom Brady is limited

11.22.10 at 6:16 pm ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” Defensive lineman Mike Wright, who suffered a concussion on Sunday against the Colts, was the only player who did not practice Monday for the Patriots. In addition, quarterback Tom Brady was listed as having “limited participation” with a right shoulder/foot problem, one of six players who were limited. Here’s the complete injury report:

Did Not Participate
DL Mike Wright (neck/concussion)

Limited Participation
QB Tom Brady (right shoulder/foot)
G Stephen Neal (shoulder)
S Jarrad Page (calf)
NT Myron Pryor (back)
RB Fred Taylor (toe)
CB Jonathan Wilhite (hip)

Read More: injury report, Patriots,

Transcript of Tom Brady on D&C

11.22.10 at 4:46 pm ET
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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning as part of WEEI’s Patriots Monday. Although the team’s second-half performance was shaky at times, he still had this to say about Sunday’s 31-28 victory over the Colts: “I’ve been around long enough to know that a win is a win is a win.

“You come up and say, ‘Hey we played great, how did we lose that game?’ I’d rather say, ‘I’m glad we won, but let’s figure out how to do some things better,’ ” continued Brady. “It was a great game,  it was a classic game. They have such a good team, an such an explosive offense and explosive defense with those guys, their two defensive ends. We all in the locker room felt we were very excited we won.”

Brady recognized the difficult challenges this schedule has provided. “We’ve had a tough stretch here playing a bunch of really good teams,” he began, before quickly turning his eyes to the future. “But now we have a short week against a team [the Lions] that has probably a huge advantage on us playing on Thursday. It was a great win for us there’s no doubt about it, I certainly wish we had finished them off better like I think we’re capable, but you know we just have to do a better job of that.”

Following is a full transcript of the interview. To listen, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

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