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CB Brandon Browner among missing at start of Patriots practice

10.09.14 at 12:21 pm ET
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Brandon Browner

Brandon Browner

Cornerback Brandon Browner, defensive tackle Dominique Easley (knee/shoulder), safety Nate Ebner (finger) and offensive lineman Cameron Fleming (finger) were not present for the start of Patriots practice on Thursday, according to reports.

Browner, set to come off a four-game suspension, was absent for undisclosed reasons. The injury report is released at 4 p.m., which should shed some light on the situation. For what it’s worth, after practice on Wednesday, Browner was spotted with his teammates in the locker room, and did not appear to be hobbled in any fashion.

The Patriots continue preparing for this Sunday’s game against the Bills, set for Sunday at 1 in Buffalo.

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Read More: Brandon Browner, Cameron Fleming, Dominique Easley, Nate Ebner

Tom Brady, Patriots focused on Bills: ‘As great as last week was, that’s over’

10.08.14 at 7:06 pm ET
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FOXBORO — As big of a win as Sunday’€™s 43-17 rout of the Bengals was, the Patriots have already put that behind them as they prepare for Sunday’€™s AFC East matchup against the Bills in Buffalo.

“Coach talked this morning — as great as last week was, that’€™s over and we’€™ve got to start putting it in this week, and we’€™ve done that the last couple days,”€ Tom Brady said.

As it stands now, the Patriots and Bills are tied for first place in the AFC East — both at 3-2 and the Bills coming off an emotional overtime win in Detroit last Sunday. The players are aware of the importance of the game and how what they did last Sunday night doesn’€™t matter now.

“You can’€™t get our head too big from the win. It was a big win, but you have to come back down to earth now and get ready for a division game on Sunday,”€ wide receiver Aaron Dobson said.

The Patriots know first-hand the nature of the NFL and how things can change from week-to-week. Just a week ago they were coming off of a blowout loss on Monday Night Football in Kansas City and needed to put that behind them to focus on Cincinnati. This week they are on the other end of the spectrum, but need to do the same in focusing on their next opponent.

“€œIt’€™s week-to-week in this business,”€ cornerback Kyle Arrington said. “This past Monday we had a sour taste in our mouth and had to forget about it and move onto Cincinnati. As emotional and as big of a win it was Sunday night, we have to move on and forget about that as well. We have a big challenge ahead of us in Buffalo.”

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Read More: Aaron Dobson, Buffalo Bills, Kyle Arrington, Tom Brady

Bills offense has eased off gas pedal in 2014

10.08.14 at 6:23 pm ET
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C.J. Spiller and the Bills have slowed the pace a bit this year when compared to 2013. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

C.J. Spiller and the Bills have slowed the pace a bit this year when compared to 2013. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — One of the more interesting developments as it relates to the Buffalo offense over the course of the first five games is the fact that the Bills aren’t moving as fast as they were last season.

Using situation-neutral pace — a formula via Football Outsiders that eliminates second-half plays when one team is far ahead or behind to get a truer idea of the offense’€™s intentions when it comes to offensive pace — the Bills have slowed their frantic pace from the previous season.

Last year, the Bills ran one play every 24.9 seconds, the third fastest of any team since 1997, trailing only the 2013 Eagles and the 2011 Patriots. But through five games in 2014, Buffalo is averaging one play every 27.3 seconds, which is 15th in the league.

There could be a variety of reasons behind the slowdown — situation, personnel, scheme — but as it stands right now, Bills coach Doug Marrone said the decision has “gone well,” and noted that they started making a move in that direction at the end of the 2013 season.

“We have the ability to go fast and slow,” Marrone said. “We just look at it from game-to-game and situations and when we want to speed it up and when we want to slow it down. We’€™re doing what we have to do to try to win.”

But on Wednesday, Buffalo running back C.J. Spiller, who leads the Bills with 62 carries for 215 yards, sounded like a man who wouldn’t mind it if the team hit the gas pedal again sometime soon.

“It’€™s definitely been different,” Spiller said of the change of offensive pace from 2013 to 2014. “Obviously, we want to get back to what we want to do, speeding it up and getting our tempo. Obviously we also want to make sure that everyone is on the same page and executing at a high level, so hopefully, we will get back to that point. But who knows?”

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Tim Wright: ‘I’m starting to get more involved in the offense now’

10.08.14 at 6:15 pm ET
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Tim Wright. (Mike Petraglia/

Tim Wright had his best game of the year Sunday night catching five passes for 85 yards and a touchdown. (Mike Petraglia/

FOXBORO — Tight end Tim Wright has only been a member of the Patriots for a little over a month, but he’€™s starting to make his presence felt.

Wright — who along with a 2015 fourth-round pick was traded to the Patriots for Logan Mankins before the season — has played in all five games so far this season and had a breakout game in Sunday’€™s win over the Bengals when he caught five passes on five targets for 85 yards and a touchdown.

“€œI’€™m coming along. I have a far way to go,”€ Wright said. “The coaches are doing a great job each week — all the game plans they are implementing — getting me up to speed and putting me in a position to succeed.”

The second-year player out of Rutgers was a receiver in college, but switched over to tight end last year in Tampa. Although he’€™s still getting used to the position — especially in New England’€™s offense — he’€™s seeing different looks from opposing defenses as he’s getting familiar with the offense.

“It’€™s been a mix, but it’€™s still early,” said Wright. “€œI’€™m starting to get more involved in the offense now, so as the weeks go on we’€™ll see what see the kind of identity the defenses are matching up against me, but right now it’€™s been a mix.”

The offense had a lot of success in Sunday’€™s win with multiple tight ends on the field with Rob Gronkowski and Wright complementing each other — as well as Michael Hoomanawanui. Both Gronkowski and Wright were on the field for Wright’€™s 17-yard touchdown catch on the second drive of the game and Gronkowski was also on the field for his four other catches on the night.

Wright has seen his playing time increase — as according to Pro Football Focus — Wright played 21 snaps in Week 1, but just 13 combined in Week’€™s 2 and 3. That has picked up the last two weeks as he played 16 snaps against Kansas City and then 19 last Sunday against Cincinnati.

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Cameron Fleming, Nate Ebner miss Wednesday’s practice; Dominique Easley, Devin McCourty limited

10.08.14 at 4:23 pm ET
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Dominique Easley

Dominique Easley

FOXBORO — Defensive back Nate Ebner (finger) and offensive lineman Cameron Fleming (finger) were the only two Patriots players to miss practice Wednesday — the pair didn’t practice at all last week before missing last Sunday’s game with the Bengals.

After leaving the game with injuries, both safety Devin McCourty (rib) and Dominique Easley (shoulder/knee) practiced, but were limited. And after being inactive Sunday Dont’a Hightower practiced, but also was limited.

The Patriots held a walk-through on the grass fields behind Gillette Stadium in preparation for Sunday’s matchup in Buffalo against the Bills.

Did not participate

DB Nate Ebner (finger)
OL Cameron Fleming (finger)

Limited Participation

LB Jamie Collins (thigh)
DL Dominique Easley (shoulder/knee)
LB Dont’a Hightower (knee)
DE Chandler Jones (shoulder)
S Devin McCourty (rib)
WR Matthew Slater (shoulder)

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Read More: Devin McCourty, Dominique Easley, Dont'a Hightower, Nate Ebner

Mike Petraglia, Chris Price look ahead to Patriots, Bills and Brandon Spikes

10.08.14 at 3:57 pm ET
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FOXBORO —’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price preview the AFC East matchup between a pair of 3-2 teams in the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills this Sunday in Western New York. The Patriots are coming off a 43-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, a game in which they brought a high level of emotion and intensity while the Bills are entering the contest having beaten the Detroit Lions on a last-second 52-yard field goal from Dan Carpenter. The game is also a reunion of sorts between Bill Belichick and his old defensive line coach Pepper Johnson and Bills linebacker Brandon Spikes.

Read More: Brandon Spikes, Buffalo Bills, Chris Price, Mike Petraglia

Tom Brady: ‘We’re going to have to try to duplicate’ energy of last week

10.08.14 at 3:48 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The question this week is pretty simple for the Patriots. Can they bring with them to Buffalo the intense energy they showed in Sunday night’s win over the Bengals?

The last time they were in a tough road environment, they were pancaked 41-14 by the Chiefs. The Patriots fell behind early, 17-0, and never recovered. The execution has to be there from the start on Sunday in Buffalo, and Brady knows that starts with him.

“It’€™s going to come down to execution,” Brady said. “You always have to bring your energy and your enthusiasm. I talked a little bit after the game about putting it all in for just that one moment each week that you have a chance to go out there and play, so it’€™s going to ultimately fall back on whether we can throw, catch, run, block, tackle, all of those things that football is really all about. Certainly having the most energy we can. Enthusiasm for what we’€™re doing doesn’€™t hurt. I think it’€™s a great benefit, and I think that’€™s, obviously, it was a great part of last week’€™s win, but we’€™re going to have to try to duplicate that.

“I think offensive football is everybody. It’€™s the quarterback, it’€™s all the positions, and certainly that’€™s the one I focus on because that’€™s what my job is, and nobody can do that for me, so I’€™m going to try to do that as best as I possibly can.”

Brady said that Bill Belichick informed the team Wednesday that with the Bills under new ownership Sunday (The Pegula family was approved on Wednesday by NFL owners), the Bills will be out to impress their new bosses.

“It’€™s a great environment up there,” Brady said. “It’€™s always a tough place to play, so we’€™ve had a lot of tough games up there over the years. I’€™m sure this one will be. You know, they’€™re playing great. There will be a lot of energy. Coach said that I guess the new ownership happens this week, so they’€™ll be pretty fired up. It’€™ll be a great challenge for us certainly to go on the road in a tough place to play, try to go out there and get a tough win.”

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