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O’Brien acknowledges incident with Moss before trade

10.19.10 at 1:57 pm ET
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Patriots assistant coach Bill O’Brien acknowledged Tuesday that he and Randy Moss were involved in an incident shortly before Moss was dealt to Minnesota earlier this month.

Speaking on a conference call with reporters, O’Brien — who is listed on the company masthead as the quarterbacks coach, but has served as the de facto offensive coordinator for much of the last two seasons — said something did happen after the Patriots-Dolphins game, a contest where Moss finished with no catches for the only time in his three-plus years. ESPN initially reported that a “heated exchange” took place at halftime between O’Brien and Moss.

But O’Brien added that clashes of that type between players and coaches aren’t anything out of the ordinary when it comes to life in the NFL.

“That was three weeks ago,” O’Brien said. “I’ve been coaching for upwards of 20 years. That’s what we do. We coach, and the players have input into what we’re coaching. Things like that are going to happen. Randy and I had a great relationship. I really enjoyed coaching him. Obviously, he moved on to Minnesota, and we’re moving on to San Diego, but I wish him the best. With coaching, something like that happens. That’s coaching football. It’s a tough sport, and that’s the way it is.”

Read More: Bill O'Brien, Randy Moss,

Belichick won’t speculate on possible Meriweather punishment

10.19.10 at 1:25 pm ET
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In a Tuesday afternoon conference call, Patriots coach Bill Belichick wouldn’t speculate about what the future holds for safety Brandon Meriweather, who could face a fine or suspension for his hit on Baltimore’s Todd Heap over the weekend.

“I leave anything from the NFL to the NFL,” Belichick said. “I haven’t heard anything I would want to comment on officially. Media speculation [par for the course]. That’s what people talk about. Whatever the league decides to do, they decide to do. Whatever their comments are, they can make their statements.”

On a weekend with a bunch of nasty hits, Meriweather’s hit on Heap stood out, and sparked a response from NFL executive vice president of football operations Ray Anderson, who told ESPN Radio Tuesday morning that the hit was “flagrant” and “egregious.”

“That in our view is something that was fragrant, that was egregious,” said Anderson. “Effective immediately, that’s going to be looked at at a very aggressive level, which would include suspension without pay. … What I would tell you is that if there are flagrant and egregious violations of our current rules, we will be enforcing, effective immediately, discipline at a higher level.”

“Every situation is different, every play is different, it doesn’t really matter what I think,” Belichick said. “Whatever the rules are, that’s what they are. We’ve seen lots of different ones come and go. We’ve seen the same rules interpreted differently. We have to understand how the games are being officiated. ‘What’s a block in the back, what isn’t a block in the back?’ You hope the official calls consistently week-to-week and that’s an issue too because there’s a lot of shades of gray.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Brandon Meriweather, Todd Heap,

Source: Patriots will add Ventrone to p-squad

10.19.10 at 1:08 pm ET
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The Patriots are set to add Ross Ventrone to the practice squad, according to a league source. Ventrone was with New England in camp before being cut once, returning, then cut again shortly before the start of the season. He is a 5-foot-8, 190-pound defensive back who had 42 tackles and four interceptions over the course of his college career with Villanova. A defensive back and special teamer, he could provide some depth at the safety position if the the Patriots do lose Brandon Meriweather to suspension.

Read More: Brandon Meriweather, Ross Ventrone,

Poll: Is it fair to suspend Brandon Meriweather?

10.19.10 at 12:12 pm ET
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Do you think it is fair if the NFL decides to suspend Brandon Meriweather?

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WEEI NFL Power Rankings: Week 7

10.19.10 at 12:02 pm ET
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power-rankings575

The Pittsburgh Steelers claim the throne in this week’s edition of the WEEI NFL Power Rankings. Led by Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers finally can improve their pass game and complement a defense that is allowing just 12 points per game. Moving on up into the top five are Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. After a thrilling overtime win at home against the Ravens, the Patriots proved they can win against the NFL’s best.

Making a big leap to No. 7 are the Philadelphia Eagles. Despite a looming quarterback controversy, the Eagles showed how dynamic their offense can be with either Kevin Kolb or Michael Vick behind center.

Falling out of the top 10 are the Green Bay Packers (No. 11) and Chicago Bears (No. 13). Injuries are piling up over at Lambeau Field and the Bears’ offensive line struggles continue to be a major problem.

Week 7 will feature some exciting NFC matchups that promise to cause some major ripple effects in the rankings. The Vikings are at Green Bay and the Giants are at Dallas.

Pittsburgh Steelers 1. (Last week, 3) 4-1 The Steelers are one of the most complete teams in the NFL right now. Ben Roethlisberger showed some rust in his return but also made some outstanding throws. Now, Pittsburgh has a passing offense to go along with their great run game and defense.

New York Jets2. (2) 5-1 The Jets will go into their bye week after rattling off a very impressive five-game winning streak. Cornerback Darrelle Revis obviously isn’t healthy and could benefit greatly from the time off. One of the main keys to New York’s success through six games has been the play of a rejuvenated LaDainian Tomlinson. The 31-year-old running back leads a Jets running attack that ranks second in the NFL.

New England Patriots 3. (6) 4-1 The Patriots defense was very impressive down the stretch in the fourth quarter and overtime. New England’s D was able to stop the Ravens on their final five drives. Bill Belichick said it was the best game his outside linebackers have played all year. Their win over the Ravens should definitely be a confidence booster going forward.

4. (1) 4-2 The Ravens just finished a tough stretch of games where they played New York, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and New England, all on the road. Now the Ravens can enjoy some games at home and should be able to bounce back from their loss to the Patriots. After the game, Ray Lewis was already looking forward to the next game when they take on the Bills at home saying, “It’s going to be rough on Buffalo.”

5. (5) 4-2 Plagued with injuries, it seems the Colts can overcome anything as long as they have No. 18 under center. Peyton Manning has been playing outstanding as usual. Indy is also able to rush the passer and is able to force mistakes with Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis on the ends.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: NFL Power Rankings,

NFL exec Anderson: Meriweather’s hit ‘egregious,’ ‘flagrant’

10.19.10 at 11:24 am ET
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Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather's hit on Ravens tight end Todd Heap was called 'egregious' by NFL exec Ray Anderson. (AP)

Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather's hit on Ravens tight end Todd Heap was called 'egregious' by NFL exec Ray Anderson. (AP)

NFL executive vice president of football operations Ray Anderson, in an appearance on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike Show, said that the hit by Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather on Baltimore tight end Todd Heap on Sunday was “flagrant” and “egregious,” and that the NFL would consider suspensions for such hits going forward.

“That in our view is something that was fragrant, that was egregious,” said Anderson. “Effective immediately, that’s going to be looked at at a very aggressive level, which would include suspension without pay. … What I would tell you is that if there are flagrant and egregious violations of our current rules, we will be enforcing, effective immediately, discipline at a higher level.”

Anderson said that the NFL will not be instituting any new rules about helmet-to-helmet hits or other shots taken at “defenseless players.” Instead, he said, there will be more rigorous enforcement of Rule 12, Section 2, Article 8 of the NFL Rule Book (for the complete rule, click here), with clarification of officials’ authority to eject players immediately for hits to the head of a defenseless player (including “launching” at a receiver in the act of catching a ball) and with the league issuing punishments “up to and including suspension for a game or multiple games.”

While Anderson made clear that players will be held to a “strict liability” standard for hits to the neck and head of defenseless players going forward, and that hits such as the one delivered by Meriweather against Heap would be subject to immediate discipline, he did not discuss what kind of punishment Meriweather will receive.

Read More: Brandon Meriweather, ray anderson, Todd Heap,

Deion Branch talks to ESPN’s ‘First Take’ about his return to Patriots

10.19.10 at 1:27 am ET
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Deion Branch spent a good chunk of the day Monday talking to folks about his return to the Patriots, his nine-catch outing against the Ravens and what it all means. Check out the video of him chatting with ESPN’s “First Take” here:

Read More: Deion Branch,
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