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Dan Connolly, Bryan Stork back at practice for Patriots, Darrelle Revis among those not spotted

10.21.14 at 12:42 pm ET
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Offensive linemen Dan Connolly, Bryan Stork and Cameron Fleming were all present at the start of practice for the Patriots on Tuesday, while cornerback Darrelle Revis and defensive end Chandler Jones were not among those spotted at the workout, which was held in sweats and shells, according to reports.

Connolly and Stork have been dealing with head injuries the last couple of weeks, while Fleming has been on the shelf because of a finger problem. Special teamer Nate Ebner, who has also been missing with a finger injury for the last couple of weeks, was also spotted at practice.

On the other side, while Revis has had occasional hamstring issues over the course of the season, nothing has kept him from playing. It’s not known what Jones might be dealing with.

The Patriots will host the Bears Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Bryan Stork, Cameron Fleming, chandler jones, Dan Connolly

Fantasy Football: Week 8 waiver wire

10.21.14 at 11:28 am ET
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It’s an insanely target-rich environment this week on most league waiver wires. There is high-quality talent breaking out all over the place. This is a week to act and I’ve got you covered. Even in most big leagues there is quality talent available this week. Unless you play in a league where Bryce Brown was already rostered, you have some nice options. Players like Jerick McKinnon, Tre Mason and Odell Beckham Jr. simply have to be owned and they are available in a great many leagues based on Yahoo’s statistics.

As always, the ownership percentages are listed for each player. These rates of ownership are based on Yahoo! leagues, which tend to be smaller and more representative of the 10-team leagues most of us play in. Obviously, these numbers are mostly for perspective. What really matters is which players are available in your particular league, and you’ll need to do the legwork on that.

If you play in really big leagues, as I tend to do, you should head on over to Rotobahn this afternoon and check out my expanded waiver wire. The expanded edition gives you about twice as many options. To keep pace with all WEEI and Rotobahn fantasy football content, including Sunday chats and The Fantasy Football Hour with my good buddy Jim Hackett, follow me on Twitter.

QUARTERBACKS

Carson Palmer, Cardinals — 42 percent

He’s not a weekly QB1 — even in big leagues, but Palmer is a fine matchup option and he makes a very good QB2 in all formats. Rarely will he lay an egg in a solid matchup. His weapons are too good, and Bruce Arians’ offense is a great platform for a quarterback.

Joe Flacco, Ravens — 63 percent

He has a Week 11 bye, so be mindful of that. Apart from the bye, most of Flacco’s arrows are pointing decidedly up. I like the schedule for the most part, and Gary Kubiak‘s scheme seems to be taking hold at the right time. Flacco can help you in all leagues.

Robert Griffin III, Washington — 31 percent

Do you feel lucky, punk? Griffin’s stock is at an all-time low. I added him in a few leagues last week and I am glad I did. Once he gets back, probably in Week 10, he could be a weekly option as his weapons in Washington are quite strong. He’s the best QB stash out there right now.

Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins — 36 percent

He is past his bye week, so he can help you get through your starter’s bye no matter who that starter is. Tannehill is also playing better football as are his receivers — namely Mike Wallace and rookie Jarvis Landry. The Dolphins starter makes a nice QB2 if you need one.

Eli Manning, Giants — 60 percent

Manning is down the list a bit this week because the Giants are on their bye in Week 8. Still, he has some value after the bye because the Giants have some good remaining matchups and a developing star in Odell Beckham Jr. They also have a few solid tight ends now, and we like the direction that Reuben Randle is heading in as well. Manning can help you as a matchup play in all leagues.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Carson Palmer, Eli Manning, joe flacco, Odell Beckham Jr.

Josh McDaniels: Danny Amendola’s smarts were big part of late TD Thursday against Jets

10.20.14 at 8:31 pm ET
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On what turned out to be the play that produced the game-winning touchdown pass last Thursday against the Jets, one of the key moments came when wide receiver Danny Amendola recognized the fact that the play had started to break down and was able to scramble to get open. That helped quarterback Tom Brady find the receiver for the touchdown.

On Monday, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels praised Amendola for his ability to not only recognize what was going on, but lean on his experience with the “scramble drill” in an important moment.

“I think the big key for us is to try to always come back to the ball or come towards the quarterback — the direction that he’s scrambling — because throwing away from where the quarterback is going is always a difficult proposition,” McDaniels said. “So, we try to teach them to be friendly to the quarterback in terms of trying to give him an opportunity to make a throw that he can make. And then the guys that are deep, certainly if you’re deep and you go deeper you might get out of his range, so the deep guys may end up coming a little bit shorter.

“In this case, Danny was the short guy. And again, you have two choices, you could either kind of try to get away from your guy going towards the direction the quarterback is rolling to or running, or in the case of what Danny did, he turned and went in the other direction because he was a short receiver that ended up turning his route into a deeper play.”

For a receiver, it’s all about trying to do whatever he can to help out the quarterback.

“It’s not a perfect science,” acknowledged McDaniels. “But what we do try to tell them is, ‘Look, you can’t stand there and be covered, and you don’t want to run out of the quarterback’s potential window to throw you the ball.’ So, they want to stay active, they want to try to mirror the quarterback as best as we can and try to create some separation from the defender that’s closest to you. I thought Danny did a great job — we had a couple guys do a really good job on that play — and Danny ended up with the ball on it.”

Read More: Danny Amendola, Josh McDaniels,

Following the flags: Tracking Patriots’ penalties for 2014 season

10.20.14 at 7:04 pm ET
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Through seven games, the Patriots have been flagged for 63 penalties (most in the league heading into Monday Night Football) for a total of 590 yards (most in the NFL). To this point in the season, here’€™s a breakdown of the calls that have gone against the Patriots, not including penalties that were declined or offset:

Most penalized players, listed by total flags and with total yardage lost:
ST/DB Logan Ryan: 6 penalties (illegal block above the waist, 2 defensive pass interference, 2 defensive holding, illegal use of hands), 83 yards
WR Brandon LaFell: 5 penalties (offsides on free kick, 3 offensive pass interference, false start), 40 yards
OL Nate Solder: 5 penalties (offensive holding, illegal block above the waist, 3 false starts), 35 yards
OL Jordan Devey: 4 penalties (2 offensive holding, false star, unnecessary roughness), 40 yards
LB Dont’€™a Hightower: 3 penalties (roughing the passer, defensive offsides, unnecessary roughness), 35 yards
DL Chandler Jones: 2 penalties (2 roughing the passer), 30 yards
S/ST Duron Harmon: 2 penalties (face mask, illegal block above the waist), 21 yards
TE Rob Gronkowski: 2 penalties (false start, unsportsmanlike conduct), 20 yards
ST/DB Don Jones: 2 penalties (2 offensive holding), 20 yards
DL Dominique Easley 2 penalties (neutral zone infraction, unnecessary roughness), 20 yards
WR Aaron Dobson: 2 penalties (offensive pass interference, false start) 15 yards
OL Cameron Fleming: 2 penalties (false start, offensive holding), 15 yards
OL Bryan Stork: 2 penalties (false start, offensive holding), 15 yards
CB Darrelle Revis: 2 penalties (2 defensive holding), 10 yards
CB Brandon Browner: 2 penalties (2 defensive holding) 10 yards
CB Alfonzo Dennard: 2 penalties (2 defensive holding), 10 yards
CB Malcolm Butler: 1 penalties (defensive pass interference), 24 yards
WR Danny Amendola: 1 penalty (face mask), 15 yards
LB Jamie Collins: 1 penalty (unnecessary roughness), 15 yards
OL Ryan Wendell: 1 penalty (facemask), 15 yards
OL Dan Connolly: 1 penalty (chop block), 14 yards
TE Michael Hoomanawanui: 1 penalty (offensive holding), 10 yards
S/ST Tavon Wilson: 1 penalty (offensive holding) 10 yards
OL Marcus Cannon: 1 penalty (offensive holding), 10 yards
Team: 1 penalties (illegal substitution), 10 yards
QB Tom Brady: 1 penalty (intentional grounding), 10 yards
RB/ST Brandon Bolden: 1 penalty (offensive holding) 9 yards
DL Sealver Siliga: 1 penalty (illegal use of hands), 5 yards
S Patrick Chung: 1 penalty (defensive holding), 5 yards
OL Josh Kline: 1 penalty (false start), 5 yards
WR Julian Edelman: 1 penalty (false start), 5 yards
LS/ST Danny Aiken: 1 penalty (false start), 5 yards
TE Tim Wright: 1 penalty (false start) 5 yards

Most penalized by position
Offensive line: 17 penalties, 149 yards
Cornerback: 13 penalties, 137 yards
Wide receiver: 9 penalties, 75 yards
Special teams: 6 penalties, 49 yards
Defensive line: 5 penalties, 55 yards
Linebacker: 4 penalties, 50 yards
Tight end: 4 penalties, 35 yards
Safety: 2 penalty, 20 yards
Team: 2 penalties, 10 yards
Quarterback: 1 penalty, 10 yards

Most frequently called penalties
False start: 13
Offensive holding: 11
Defensive holding: 9
Unnecessary roughness: 4
Offensive pass interference: 4
Facemask: 3
Roughing the passer: 3
Defensive pass interference: 3
Illegal block above the waist: 3
Illegal use of hands: 2
Offsides on free kick: 1
Neutral zone infraction: 1
Defensive offsides: 1
Offsides on free kick: 1
Illegal substitution: 1
Unsportsmanlike conduct: 1
Intentional grounding: 1
Chop block: 1

Read More: penalties,

Pressure Points: Which Patriots defenders have done best job getting after QB?

10.20.14 at 6:36 pm ET
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Chandler Jones

Chandler Jones

Every week over the course of the 2014 season, we’€™ll provide a look at the Patriots pass rush numbers. Like all stats, the numbers have to be placed on context of game-situations and personnel. And while sacks can be overrated, when evaluated as part of a bigger picture that includes quarterback hits and quarterback pressures (the latter courtesy of Pro Football Focus), it should provide a good picture as to which defenders are consistently able to get after the quarterback. Currently, the Patriots are tied for 10th in the league in sacks with 18. Based on the official NFL game books and PFF, here’€™s a look at the pass-rush numbers for the Patriots after seven games for the 2014 regular season:

Sacks (via gamebooks)
DE Chandler Jones: 4.5 (28 yards), tied for 12th in the league
DE Rob Ninkovich: 4 (29 yards), tied for 14th in the league
LB Dont’€™a Hightower: 3 (23 yards)
DL Chris Jones: 1.5 (12 yards)
LB Deontae Skinner: 1 (10 yards)
LB Jerod Mayo: 1 (9 yards)
DL Casey Walker: 1 (5 yards)
DL Joe Vellano: 1 (4 yards)
DB Kyle Arrington: 1 (0 yards)

Quarterback Hits (via gamebooks)
DE Chandler Jones: 8
DE Rob Ninkovich: 7
LB Dont’€™a Hightower: 5
DL Chris Jones: 3
LB Jerod Mayo: 2
LB Jamie Collins: 2
DL Joe Vellano: 1
LB Deontae Skinner: 1
DB Patrick Chung: 1
DL Casey Walker: 1

Quarterback Hurries (via PFF)
DE Chandler Jones: 14
LB/DE Rob Ninkovich: 14
DL Vince Wilfork: 7
LB Dont’€™a Hightower: 6
LB Jerod Mayo: 5
DL Chris Jones: 4
DL Casey Walker: 3
DE Zach Moore: 2
DL Sealver Siliga: 2
DL Joe Vellano: 2
DL Dominique Easley: 1
LB Jamie Collins: 1
CB Alfonzo Dennard: 1

Read More: pressure points,

Tedy Bruschi on D&H: Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady, and why some of Patriots’ struggles vs. Jets ‘what you’re going to get’

10.20.14 at 3:59 pm ET
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ESPN NFL analyst and former Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi, in his weekly appearance on WEEI’s Dale & Holley show, said that he had his children stay up to watch the first half of Sunday night’s Broncos game against the 49ers to watch quarterback Peyton Manning surpass Brett Favre for the most career passing touchdowns.

“Having played against Peyton, it was great to watch him accomplish something so historic,” said Bruschi. “I’ve seen a lot of those touchdown passes first-hand. He’s a great quarterback. It’s a record that he’ll hold for a long time.”

Though the former linebacker said that he would choose former teammate Tom Brady over Manning, Bruschi raved about Manning and the kind of unique challenges he used to present to opponents.

“That’s a close one. Sometimes I think about it myself: Who would I go with? Peyton or Tom?  The history I have with Tom, the experience we have, of course I’m going with my guy in Tom Brady, but I recognize the greatness of Peyton Manning and both of the players. They’re both special players. Actually different, I feel,” said Bruschi. “I think there’s a difference in their success because of how Peyton has switched teams and how Peyton has had to bring his system — I call it his system, because basically he’s developed it over the course of the years from Indianapolis to Denver. You can put on film from Indianapolis years ago and then see very similar things of what they’re doing in Denver. To be able to do that and bring what he does over to another organization and also make them very successful, that’s unique in itself. That’s something you have to recognize with him, also, with him doing it with different organizations.”

Bruschi offered an illuminating anecdote to explain some of the mind games in which Manning engaged. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Peyton Manning, Tedy Bruschi, Tom Brady,

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.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Julian Edelman, Percy Harvin, Tom Brady,
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