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Julian Edelman on MFB: ‘I definitely have to eliminate [dropped passes] immediately’

10.20.14 at 11:45 am ET
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Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Monday, as the Patriots prepare for next Sunday’s game against the Bears. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Patriots played four games in 18 days and it appeared to take a toll as they struggled in Thursday’s two-point win over the lowly Jets.

“When you go out and it’s a short week like that it’s all mental, it’s all like walk-through stuff,” Edelman said. “It’s tough for both teams. As athletes we’re creatures of habit. You throw a wrench in a routine it’s a little different. But we both had to deal with it. We came out with a win, and now you do get to have a long weekend.”

The normally reliable Edelman had a couple of costly dropped passes in Thursday’s game. Although he’s having his second straight strong season, Edelman said he wants to prove himself to Tom Brady.

“I definitely have to go in there and I’ve got to show him in practice that I can go not drop easy balls, or try to run with the ball before I have it,” Edelman said. “I’m sure that he’ll come back, because that’s how he is. He’s going to throw to the open guy. It’s definitely a different situation [than in past years], but I definitely have to eliminate that immediately and go back to the drawing boards and catch more balls and work on it.”

After a slow start, the Patriots offense has picked it up, due in no small part to the play of Edelman. The 28-year-old has 44 receptions for 453 yards and a touchdown through seven games.

“Like we say every week, we just try to go out each and every week and get better,” Edelman said. “That’s what we’re trying to do. There’s a lot of situations that we have to get better at. But we consistently put in the work. Guys are going out there, they’re working hard, they’re making plays in practice and it’s translating into games. It’s going to help the team. As long as we can just keep it going, keep getting better, everyone contributing, everyone doing their job, that’s how it goes.”

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Tim Hasselbeck on D&C: Tom Brady has had great career, but difficult to say Peyton Manning is ‘not the best of all time’

10.20.14 at 10:21 am ET
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ESPN NFL analyst Tim Hasselbeck joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday to discuss quarterback Peyton Manning‘€™s record-setting career and the Patriots’ upcoming game against the Bears. To hear to interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Manning broke the NFL touchdown passing record Sunday night in Denver against the 49ers. Despite the disparity in Super Bowl wins, Hasselbeck said he would rather have Manning’€™s career over three-time champion Tom Brady.

Said Hasselbeck: “I get it, Tom’€™s won more Super Bowls, and in many cases when people have this debate about who’€™s better, they say, ‘Well, more rings means you’re better,’ and it’€™s a team sport and those types of things. It’€™s true, but that being said, every quarterback is aware of the touchdown passes they throw, the yards they throw for, the records that they may hold and the company that puts them in. Just look at Peyton’€™s reaction to the touchdown pass last night that broke the record. He says all the right stuff, but clearly everyone was fully aware of where he was in terms of his place in history.

“And really, I think once you look at the touchdowns, the fact that he’€™s won a Super Bowl, you look at the longevity and if he plays next year, pretty good shot that breaks the yardage record, it’€™s very hard to argue that he’€™s not the best of all time because when you start to look at just strictly wins and losses, especially in the postseason, there’€™s so many other factors outside of just how the quarterback plays.”

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Many, including the hosts, point to the fact that Manning has fewer Super Bowl titles than his brother Eli. Although this is true, Hasselbeck still defended his assessment of Peyton’€™s career.

“Eli has two Super Bowls, Peyton has one,” Hasselbeck said. “It’€™s simple: who’€™s better? … There’€™s plenty of guys who have more Super Bowls than Peyton Manning. So who’€™s better, Kurt Warner or Peyton Manning? Kurt Warner has put up great seasons, Kurt Warner has taken two teams to a Super Bowl, won it with one team. Kurt Warner‘€™s done a lot of the things that Brady was able to achieve throughout his career — won MVPs, did all of that stuff. When you choose one guy over the other, it oftentimes comes across as you don’€™t think the other guy is good. Tom Brady is obviously awesome.”

Continued Hasselbeck: “For my money on it, the longevity of Manning, the way that he also changed the game, too. I think that’€™s part of the glasses I’€™m wearing when I look at Manning’€™s career. He changed football in a way that I’€™m not sure any other quarterback that I’ve ever watched has changed it based on how he operates at the line of scrimmage.”

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Tom Brady on D&C: Peyton Manning ‘just a spectacular player’

10.20.14 at 8:38 am ET
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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance with Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning and talked about Peyton Manning as well as the reported infighting going on with the Pats‘ next opponent, the Bears. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

“It’s pretty incredible,” Brady said. “It’s hard to throw touchdown passes, and he’s done it in the last few years, I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s pretty incredible. It’s a great record. It’s incredibly hard to do. He’s been very durable. He’s been obviously consistent, beyond consistent. He’s just a spectacular player.”

Added Brady: “He’s really got great command, he’s really a field general. I think that’s probably the best description, I think that’s kind of the thing that comes to mind when you think about him. He’s got great command out there. He’s been a great player for a long time. He was great with the Colts, and obviously coming to Denver he’s had an incredible run there. It’s been incredible to watch. He makes throwing four touchdown passes look so easy, which of course, as we know, it’s not.”

While Manning has more touchdown passes, Brady leads in Super Bowl victories, with three to Manning’s one. Brady said he never imagined his career would have turned out the way it did.

“Look, Peyton’s had an incredible career,” Brady said. “I’ve been very fortunate. To think I would have the opportunity to do that when I was starting out is crazy. And I’m still part of a great team that has a great opportunity to achieve even more. You don’t think about these things when you’re a kid, certainly I never did. I think I’ve just been so fortunate over the years to be on a great team, great teammates, and throw great relationships and friends in. Certainly the winning, because I think that’s what sets our team apart from a lot of other teams, has been our ability to win on a consistent basis year in and year out, no matter what the circumstances or situations. So to be a part of an organization that that’s what we’ve been able to accomplish has been unbelievable. I’m a lucky guy. I’m a lucky guy, and still going.”

Added Brady: “I wouldn’t change anything that I’ve ever done. I certainly wouldn’t change my career with anybody. I’ve had the opportunity to play in five Super Bowls. To play for one organization, you can’t envision those things. And like I said, it’s still going. I think hopefully the best is yet to come. We’re trying to accomplish and get better, because really this season is the only one we have, is the only thing we can control. To be sitting here 5-2 feels pretty good, too. [We've] had a good thing going.”

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Tom Brady congratulates Peyton Manning on breaking touchdown record

10.20.14 at 12:20 am ET
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Shortly after Peyton Manning broke Brett Favre‘s record for most career touchdowns Sunday night, a quick video from Patriots quarterback Tom Brady popped up on the Broncos website. A brief message from Brady offered congratulations to Manning on the occasion of his new record, which he set in a thrashing of the Niners.

“Congratulations, Peyton on your touchdown record, a great achievement,” offered Brady. “We’ll see you in a few weeks.”

The Patriots and Broncos meet Nov. 2 in Foxboro.

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Read More: Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady,

5 things you have to know about the Bears

10.19.14 at 11:57 pm ET
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Jay Cutler and the Bears have started the season 3-4. They'll try and improve to .500 when they visit Foxboro on Sunday. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Jay Cutler and the Bears have started the season 3-4. They’ll try to improve to .500 when they visit Foxboro on Sunday. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Here are five things you have to know about the Bears, who will travel to Foxboro on Sunday for a contest with the Patriots.

1. There’s some serious drama going on in Chicago

In the wake of Sunday’s home loss to the Dolphins — which dropped the Bears record to 3-4 on the season — there were reports of screaming and yelling in the Chicago locker room, with wide receiver Brandon Marshall reportedly at the center of the action. Marshall said after the game that “there should be a lot of frustration” because of the sluggish start, and took exception to a question about a reported confrontation between him and kicker Robbie Gould. “OK, were you in here?” Marshall asked, per ESPN Chicago. “Were you in this locker room? This is a team matter. That has nothing to do with you. There’s a lot of guys this means a lot to. We’re 3-4. We need to play better. That’s unacceptable. That’s unacceptable. Unacceptable; shouldn’t have lost today, shouldn’t be 3-4. [The] offense [has] got to play better. It’s as simple as that.”

2. They have one of the best multidimensional backs in the league in Matt Forte

The 29-year-old Forte is the driving element of the Chicago offense — after seven games, he leads the Bears in rushing (111 carries, 448 yards, three TDs) and receiving (52 catches, 436 yards, two TDs). The 6-foot-1, 221-pounder, who was a second-round pick out of Tulane in 2008, is the only back in the league who has at least 50 catches and 50 carries through the first seven games of the season, and is second in the league in combined yards from scrimmage with 884. (He trails only DeMarco Murray of the Cowboys with 1,072.) Currently, he’s in the midst of a stretch that includes at least 10 catches in two of his last three games, while he has carried the ball at least 12 times a game every game this season. (For what it’s worth, the Bears have some pretty good depth in the passing game, with four players each having topped 30 catches through seven games, including Forte, tight end Martellus Bennett with 41 and wide receivers Alshon Jeffery with 33 and Marshall with 31.)

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Read More: Bears, Brandon Marshall, Jay Cutler, Kyle Fuller

With Patriots looming, embattled Bears turn on each other following loss

10.19.14 at 5:35 pm ET
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The Patriots face the Bears next Sunday at Gillette Stadium, and if what happened following Chicago’s loss to the Dolphins is any indication, it could be an interesting afternoon in Foxboro. In the wake of the Bears’ latest defeat — a 27-14 loss to Miami — reports are that things got pretty heated in the locker room, particularly between wide receiver Brandon Marshall and his teammates.

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Brandon Browner has ground to make up after missing first 6 games

10.19.14 at 4:20 pm ET
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Brandon Browner

Brandon Browner

Patriots cornerback Brandon Browner made his season debut in last Thursday’€™s win over the Jets after missing the first six games — the first four because of a substance abuse suspension and the last two due to an ankle injury.

Browner started at corner opposite Darrelle Revis, but played 41 of a possible 87 defensive snaps, per Pro Football Focus. Playing roughly half the snaps may not be what many thought would happen going in, but following the game he admitted he needed to work on his conditioning and on Sunday Bill Belichick noted Browner has ground to make up on the rest of the league having missed the first six weeks of the season.

“€œWe’€™re almost at the halfway point. Teams have had a ton of practices, a lot of games, a lot of reps, a lot of meetings, a lot of corrections,”€ said Belichick on a conference call. “I’€™d say overall as a league, teams are doing things pretty well, certainly a lot better than they were at the beginning of September. So when you miss that time and everybody else is moving ahead and individually, if a particular player isn’€™t, he has to make that ground up. It’€™s doable but it’€™s still a gap.”

Browner was able to workout with the team and attend meetings at the facility during the first four weeks, but was not able to practice. Although he was able to take mental reps in meetings, there is a lot to be said for playing in actual games, which is something Browner is going through right now trying to get up to speed with the rest of the league.

“[Browner] practiced and did everything with the team all through the spring, all through the offseason program, all though the spring and all through training camp, including the Giants preseason game,” Belichick said. “Then, he wasn’€™t able to participate on the field with the team for those four weeks, but he was able to work out and be in meetings and keep up with the adjustments and game plan things that we put in from week-to-week.

“Now he’€™s had an opportunity to get back on the field and refine those skills — at game speed or practice slash game speed that are important. That’€™s really what it’€™s about for and [Brian] Tyms too, for that matter. No different than if a player coming back from an injury where again, he’€™s around the team. He’€™s able to keep up with the mental part of what’€™s going on in his area, his side of the ball, but he’€™s not able to actually go out there and participate and get his timing and technique work on the field.

“€œThat’€™s the part that takes time and reps to gain confidence and to achieve that high level of execution that we see in the league now at this point in the season.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Brandon Browner,
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