|11.21.14 at 12:55 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Jonas Gray had a night no Patriots fan will ever forget. Now, they’ll always be reminded of it when they step in the team’s Hall of Fame and museum.
The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon announced Friday that its latest additions come Gray’s record-setting four touchdown game Sunday night in Indianapolis.
Gray had 201 yards on 37 carries and four rushing scores in New England’s 42-20 victory over the Colts on Sunday night football, scoring a TD in each quarter of the game.
Gray had 100 yards in the first half and 101 yards in the second half to become the first Patriots player to have 100 yards rushing in each half. He also became the third Patriots player to rush for 200 yards in a game and 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.
Gray’s performance earned him the NFL’s AFC Offensive Player of the Week award for Week 11. Fans visiting The Hall can now see Gray’s game-worn jersey and the ball he carried into the end zone for his record-setting fourth touchdown.
|11.21.14 at 12:47 pm ET|
ESPN’s Adam Schefter checked in for his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Friday to discuss his pick of the Patriots to lose, along with news from around the NFL. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
The red-hot Patriots take a six-game winning streak into Sunday’s game against the visiting Lions, but Schefter is on the record as predicting a Detroit upset.
“The Patriots over the last six, seven weeks have developed into the most consistent team certainly in the AFC, maybe in football — the most reliable team in the AFC, and maybe in football,” Schefter said. “I think they’re the surest thing we have going at this point in the season, on November 21st. Now, things can change on Sunday, and I expect the Lions to play a very strong game.”
Schefter explained that he has a friend in Denver who is a big bettor who tipped him off to a reason why the Lions could pull off the win.
“He always says that whenever the Vegas money, the line, whatever he’s got, is hovering around 90 percent of the money on one team, that’s always a sure sign that it’s going to go the other way. Like last night [the Raiders upsetting the Chiefs]. And this is one of those games where it’s hovering right around 90 percent for New England.
“Now, New England’s a better team, New England’s been the hottest team. It’s the reason I’m picking Detroit in this game. I’m the only one. … I picked them to win, which is crazy, and I’m sure they probably won’t. And again, New England is the best team. But I’m doing this on the basis of what my friend in Denver told me. He said. ‘I’m just telling you, everyone — everyone — is on New England. And whenever it gets like that, that’s where it gets a little dicey.’ ”
Concluded Schefter with a laugh: “So, based on that very scientific formula, I am picking the Detroit Lions to win the game.”
|11.21.14 at 11:56 am ET|
FOXBORO — Jonas Gray, fresh from his history-making effort on Sunday night, was not spotted at Patriots practice Friday morning as the team worked out in sweats and shells in the bitter and blustery conditions on the upper grass fields.
Gray was not on the injury report released by the team on Thursday. Gray’s absence comes a day after the team signed 27-year-old running back LeGarrette Blount off waivers from the Steelers.
Other active roster players also missing Friday were Dominique Easley (knee), Cameron Fleming (finger/ankle) and Chandler Jones (hip). Blount was again present, wearing his untraditional white No. 60 jersey.
“I’m sure he’ll have a regular number,” coach Bill Belichick said Friday morning when asked about a potential number for Sunday against the Lions. “Ask the equipment people about that. Maybe those jerseys got mixed up, I don’t know.”
Sealver Siliga was not in uniform again after being spotted at Wednesday’s practice. Siliga has not been taken off of the short-term designated for return list, so his 21-day clock has not yet been started.
The Patriots are getting ready for Sunday’s matchup against the Lions Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|11.21.14 at 10:17 am ET|
FOXBORO — Bill Belichick had a heart-to-heart talk with LeGarrette Blount this week.
The Patriots coach knows how ugly things ended in Pittsburgh this week, when he walked off the field before the end of the Steelers’ 27-24 win over the Titans in Tennessee. But Belichick also knows how much Blount liked his situation in New England and thinks having an extra running back like Blount could help the Patriots down the stretch.
“That’ll be up to him, just like everybody else,” Belichick said when asked Friday about the chance he’ll get to play and show his value. “When he gets an opportunity, how much he can take advantage of it, how much he can be productive, what he can do with those opportunities will determine how many more there are. It’s totally up to him. He knows that. We’ve talked about that. He knows that’s the way it is and I think he’s excited about it.”
The Patriots tried to re-sign the 27-year-old Blount in the offseason when he became a free agent but Blount decided to sign a two-year, $3.85 million deal with the Steelers.
“Well, you know we tried to sign LeGarrette in the offseason. That didn’t work out, which is it’s the NFL, the business part of the NFL. He was released [this week], he was available and we were able to work it out for him to come back here. Glad to have him back.”
He thought he would have a key role in the Steelers offense, along with Le’Veon Bell. Instead, he ran the ball just 65 times for an impressive 4.1 yards per carry average. He got just 21 touches in the last four games and didn’t have a single carry on Monday night in Tennessee.
“Pretty much everybody in the league has been playing at this time of year, with some exceptions,” Belichick said of Blount’s game readiness. “I don’t know. We know the player, we have a history with him. I think that was the biggest part of it.”
After the Steelers released Blount on Tuesday, the power back signed a two-year deal worth up to $2.35 million, according to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. Blount will receive the prorated minimum this year and up to $1.6 million, with incentives in ’15. Blount carried the ball 153 times for 772 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013, his only season in New England. Belichick said the 16-game sample in the system definitely factored in to his return.
|11.21.14 at 9:49 am ET|
NBC Sports NFL analyst Rodney Harrison joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday to discuss the Patriots’ game Sunday against the Lions as well as other news around the NFL. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Against the Colts this past Sunday, the Patriots had a run-heavy game plan that featured tailback Jonas Gray. With a strong Detroit defense looming, a different strategy might have to be employed for New England to win.
Said Harrison: “This a pretty good defense overall. I don’t care about the rankings and all of that other stuff, but they’re a lot better. This is a different Detroit Lions team, they’re more disciplined, they play together. Ndamukong Suh, he’s having a big year. Their secondary guys, they’ve improved. I think you still have to somewhat try to maintain a level of balance. You’re probably not going to be able to run in the A-gaps and up in between where Ndamukong Suh is at. But at the same time, I think you have to run some screen plays, you have to keep this team off balance, you have to be able to take some shots down the field. They still have to cover your guys and they still have to defend the run.”
Detroit’s defense has been a strength this season, but the offense led by quarterback Matthew Stafford has not been as good as expected. The unit has only scored more than 24 points once this season, and that came all the way back in Week 1.
“They’ve had tight end issues, all of their tight ends have been hurt,” said Harrison. “Reggie Bush, he’s been hurt. They really haven’t been able to develop that chemistry and rapport with an offense. It’s good that you have a lot of talented guys, but if they’re injured, if they’re in and out of the lineups, it’s hard to really develop that chemistry. And I think that’s what you see what’s happening with their team. Calvin Johnson, he’s had so many injuries. And Darrelle Revis talks about how great of a player he is, but you could see Calvin Johnson starting to slow down a little bit. Those injuries have taken a toll. … But they still have the ability to make a lot of plays. Matthew Stafford, I think he’s gotten better. I wouldn’t say he’s great but he’s still capable of beating you in the forth quarter if the game is close.”
As good as Stafford has been in his young career, the final two months of the regular season have not been kind to him. He has a 9-24 record in 33 November and December starts and has 56 touchdown passes to 49 interceptions. Tom Brady, on the other hand, has thrived in these months.
Said Harrison: “It’s obvious — Tom Brady is one of the best quarterbacks of all time. Maybe one of the top three quarterbacks of all time. You’re dealing with Matthew Stafford, a guy that’s gone through a lot of ups and downs. He’s always had some great weapons, but he’s just not a great quarterback on Tom’s level. I mean, that’s what it comes down to. You can call out the stats all you want, numbers and all of those different things, but Matthew Stafford, he can’t even be classified in a class with Tom Brady because Tom Brady is so great.”
|11.21.14 at 9:14 am ET|
Welcome to the Week 12 starts and sits! In most fantasy leagues, there are only two regular-season weeks remaining, and that means you probably have a whole lot to play for this week. Hopefully this column gives you a few nuggets that can help you, but if you are looking for more takes on more players, I suggest you consult my full lineup rankings at Rotobahn.
Don’t forget to tune in Sunday morning for another episode of the Fantasy Football Hour with my co-host Jim Hackett. If you have last-minute lineup concerns, you should check out my Sunday chat. It takes place right here at WEEI.com and it runs from 11 a.m. to noon every Sunday.
If you want to keep track of all my fantasy football content, both here and at Rotobahn, follow me on Twitter. I send out links to all fresh content.
Wilson has a tendency to run more in big games and tough situations. This game certainly qualifies. With Marshawn Lynch nursing a sore back, Wilson might keep the rock a bit more than normal when given the option. He should be good for 20-plus points.
Mark Sanchez, Eagles vs. Titans
He’s been solid for fantasy purposes and that should continue this week at home vs. a Titans defense that doesn’t scare anyone right now. The only fear I have is that the Eagles run so well that they don’t need to pass much. Sanchez should be serviceable this week. Use him if you need him.
Josh McCown, Buccaneers at Bears
He’s looked very much in control the last few weeks, and with the way Mike Evans is exploding, you have to like McCown’s chances of producing against his old team in his old stomping grounds. The veteran passer should produce QB1 stats this week.
While I think the football world is coming down on Griffin a bit harshly, I also want no part of him on the road in San Francisco. The Niners are too disciplined and they stay home well on defense. They are not prone to giving up big rushing yards to quarterbacks or plays over the top. This is a week to sit Griffin if you have other options.
|11.21.14 at 8:35 am ET|
Join Chris Price of WEEI.com to break down all things Patriots and the NFL, Friday at noon. Price will help you get ready for the Pats‘ Sunday showdown in Foxboro with the Lions, while looking at the landscape of the league heading into the regular season’s final stretch. Get your questions in now …