|10.17.14 at 5:39 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The extra weekend of rest couldn’t be coming at a better time for Chris Jones and the Patriots defense. After all, they were on the field for nearly 41 of the 60 minutes Thursday night and had to defend 80 plays while the Patriots ran just 53. Usually, that’s a formula for disaster but the Patriots averted it when Jones blocked the 58-yard field goal attempt from Nick Folk at the final gun.
“We had something like  plays, obviously when a defense is on the field that long [it's bad],” Jones said. “A lot of it is on us. We just can’t do that and win a lot of games doing that. That’s going to wear you down at some point. That’s where the mental toughness kicks in because you’re going to physically be tired and you just have to mentally override that.”
The Jets were 9-of-16 on third down, converting many chances that extended drives and kept the Patriots defense on the field longer.
“As a defense, you don’t anybody do that well on third down,” Jones said. “That’s over 50 percent, which is really good for them but really bad for us. Whenever that happens that’s going to make for a really long day for us.”
The Jets were attacking Jones and the middle of the Patriots defensive front all night, gaining 226 yards on the ground and rushing for over five yards per carry. That was a point of emphasis, according to Jones, during Friday’s film review with coaches.
|10.17.14 at 4:47 pm ET|
Jets head coach Rex Ryan, in a conference call on Friday, said that he took no issue with umpire Carl Paganelli repositioning Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower on the game’s final play — a blocked 58-yard field goal attempt by Nick Folk — to avoid a penalty.
‘I think that’s the best officiating crew in the league, in my opinion,’ Ryan told reporters in a conference call. ‘I think [referee Bill] Leavy and his crew do as good a job as anybody in the league. This league’s about protecting the players, and that’s the way it should be. If something like that happens, you’re trying to protect the player before something has a chance to happen. Obviously, that’s a good thing for the league.
‘Now, would I like to see it snapped there and [long-snapper Tanner Purdum] take one for the team and us to have another chance at it? Of course. It’s to protect the players. The official’s not wrong doing what he did.’
|10.17.14 at 1:35 pm ET|
All right, Patriots fans, after Thursday night’s big win, your heads should be clear and ready to focus on your fantasy fortunes. I’ve got the Week 7 recommendations ready for you and there’s more to come. As always, I will be available this Sunday at 11 a.m. to take all your last-minute lineup questions. Get them in early!
If you have questions about any players not listed in this space, head over to my free site, Rotobahn, and dig into my full Week 7 lineup rankings. And don’t forget to tune in Sunday morning for another episode of the Fantasy Football Hour with my buddy Jim Hackett, who will be in a good mood after the Patriots’ third straight victory. 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.
Carson Palmer, Cardinals at Raiders
He’s back and we expect his arm strength to improve week to week. Palmer has a healthy offense around him and he has a nice matchup with Oakland. Start him if you need him in all formats.
Joe Flacco, Ravens vs. Falcons
He lit up Tampa last week and he could do the same thing to the Falcons when the Ravens visit Baltimore this weekend. The Ravens receivers are in a groove and so is Flacco. He’s a viable play in all leagues this week.
Matt Ryan, Falcons at Ravens
He’s not screaming “Start me” this week after light output in Week 6, but Ryan has enough weapons in addition to Julio Jones, who is a monster. He should have to throw the ball for most of the day to keep pace with the Ravens. Ryan is playable in all formats.
Blake Bortles, Jaguars vs. Browns
Need an option in a deep league? Bortles can help because he grinds out points with his arm and with his feet. The Browns should get a lead and force the Jaguars to throw and open up the offense. Bortles might throw a pick or two, but the numbers should be there in the end. A good play in big formats if you are in need.
|10.17.14 at 1:16 pm ET|
NFL’s VP of Officiating Dean Blandino joined NFL Network’s “NFL AM” Friday morning to discuss the much-discussed Jets field goal attempt at the end of last night’s game. Here’s a brief excerpt of what he said:
On the referee tapping Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower on the Jets field goal attempt:
“This is a standard officiating mechanic. We call it preventative officiating. Because it’s a player safety rule, we’re trying to avoid a situation before it happens so the umpires will get in there and move that player out of there. More often you see it when a player is in a three-point stance and he is down on the line of scrimmage and you’ll see the umpire tap the player to move him out of that because we have to be outside the framework of the center. So this is really no different than the line of scrimmage officials pointing out the line to the wideouts and it’s a standard mechanic. Not something that would be unusual by any means.”
On if it is on the player to know where he can and cannot be:
“If you watch the play, what [Dont'a] Hightower is actually going to do, he’s going up to the line to make a line call because then you’ll see the defensive line shift. Then he’s going to back out. So it is on the player to understand that but we will in certain situations warn players to prevent things from happening, especially when it’s a player safety issue and trying to prevent a potential injury situation. Ultimately it’s on the player but this is something that has been a mechanic ever since this rule has been in place and like I said, not unusual.”
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|10.17.14 at 1:09 pm ET|
ESPN’s Adam Schefter made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Friday to analyze Thursday’s Patriots-Jets game and discuss other NFL news. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
The heat is on Rex Ryan in New York, as the Jets are 1-6 after Thursday’s 27-25 loss. Although Schefter noted the Jets “played hard” Thursday and clearly have not quit on the season, he acknowledged, “Rex certainly is on the warmest of warm seats right now.”
“I think there’s a lot of people whose jobs are in jeopardy in New York right now. Whether it’s just Rex, whether it’s Rex and the GM, that’s something that they’re going to have to make a decision on here,” Schefter said, adding: “It’s rare that you see too many in-season changes, or changes before Thanksgiving. Once we get to Thanksgiving, to me, all bets are off. Because if you want to go hire a coach like Mike Holmgren or Mike Shanahan or somebody that’s on the street or on the sideline or in the college ranks, it gives you a chance to get a running head start in an above-board, legal, ethical kind of way.”
During his appearance on Middays with MFB on Thursday, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith claimed general manager John Idzik “sabotaged” Rex Ryan by giving him a weak roster. Schefter disagrees with that assessment.
“I don’t believe that John Idzik sabotaged Rex Ryan,” Schefter said. “I do believe that John Idzik’s approach is not the way that Rex Ryan would approach it. John Idzik had Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, the cornerback, in the building [in the offseason as a free agent]. Darrelle Revis was interested in playing for the New York Jets. John Idzik didn’t get the deal done on Rodgers-Cromartie — the Giants eventually signed him for a price that [Idzik] was unwilling to pay. He didn’t call Darrelle Revis, reach out, for whatever reason. John Idzik’s approach on this is very methodical and patient and conservative. And that’s just not the kind of guy that Rex is. Rex is, ‘Get me a corner. Let’s go get that cornerback right now. And if we have to pay more money, so be it.’ That’s what he wants to do.
“I don’t think that Idzik intentionally sabotaged the roster. His job is in jeopardy, too. So by sabotaging Rex he would be sabotaging himself, maybe. But it’s just the way that he does his business. He’s a very smart Ivy League guy with a financial background, where he ran the cap in Seattle and obviously looked over financial issues and is very careful with the way he spends his team’s money — which in many cases is good. Except when you’re 1-6 like the Jets are, people are screaming for blood and demanding answers, they want to know what’s going on, and right now he’s in the crosshairs of that.”
|10.17.14 at 11:33 am ET|
Former NFL referee Jim Daopoulos joined Middays with MFB on Friday morning to discuss the controversy surrounding the field goal attempt at the end of the Patriots-Jets game from Thursday night. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
The Jets attempted to kick a game-winning field goal on the final play of the game. However, Chris Jones blocked the try to seal the Patriots’ win. Before the kick, Dont’a Hightower was lined up in front of Jets long snapper Tanner Purdum, which would have been a five-yard penalty.
Before the snap, though, a referee alerted Hightower to move out of the area. That raised the ire of some in New York, but an NFL spokesman said Friday morning that it was “standard operating procedure.”
Said Daopoulos: “It’s what we call preventive officiating. It happens many times during a game. It can happen when situations are going on down field, you may talk to a defensive back and tell him to keep his hands off of the receiver. On the line of scrimmage, you may tell a player, ‘Hey, watch yourself, your hands are getting out too wide.’ We see too many flags nowadays, and this is just one of the ways that officials are working to keep the flags down. It was exactly right last night.
“Unfortunately, all of the officials don’t work like that, but it was the right call.”
While telling a player to move is one thing, some feel that the grabbing and nudging of Hightower went a little too far. Daopoulos said it’s within the referee’s right to do this.
“It’s exactly what you need to do,” Daopoulos said. “You give him a little slap on the backside and tell him to move himself over, get off the center’s nose, get into the gap. It’s not a big deal. You’re not going actually grab him and physically move him, just give him a little slap and say, ‘Hey, you’ve got to move.’
“Just kind of let him know that he’s out of position. And it’s not anything that’s illegal, it’s something that most officials do. The better officials do it all the time.”
|10.17.14 at 10:46 am ET|
In wake of running back Stevan Ridley being lost for the season, the Patriots needed to add depth at the running back position.
Prior to Thursday’s game, the Patriots signed Jonas Gray off the practice squad and he was active for the game over rookie running back James White — who had been on the 53-man roster since training camp broke but only has appeared in one game.
“I think Jonas has been solid for us all the way through preseason,” Bill Belichick said on a conference call Friday. “He’s done a good job in practice. He got an opportunity last night — not a lot of opportunities, but he had some blitz pickup opportunities, had a few carries. He works hard, he’s a tough kid. [He's a] bigger back obviously, more in the [Stevan] Ridley size range. He played for us in the kicking game as well. [We'll] keep going with that. This is an opportunity for him. Unfortunate the way it came out, but he’s worked hard. He deserves it. We’ll see what he can do with it.”
Thursday was Gray’s first ever NFL game and he finished with 12 yards on three carries.
By our count Gray played only 11 snaps, but that was second among running backs as Shane Vereen played 47 and Brandon Bolden had just one. Moving forward it seems likely Belichick will ride the hot hand each week — based on performance, as well as game planning against their opponent.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
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