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Adam Schefter on D&C: ‘I don’t believe’ Jets coach Rex Ryan alerted refs to Patriots’ push move

10.22.13 at 11:08 am ET
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ESPN’s Adam Schefter joined Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning to discuss the Patriots’ Week 7 loss to the Jets, as well as other news from around the NFL.

Sunday’s game ended in controversy, as the Patriots were called for breaking the NFL’s new “pushing rule” while Jets kicker Nick Folk attempted a 56-yard field goal to win the game in overtime.

The call against New England gave Folk the chance to attempt an easier 42-yard field goal, which he subsequently made, giving New York the 30-27 win.

Following the game, rumors spread that Jets coach Rex Ryan had tipped off the officials that the Patriots have used this push technique.

However, Schefter said that he doesn’t believe that was the case.

“Nope, I don’t believe that. I mean, I’m not going to tell you that that’s not the case, I don’t believe that,” Schefter said. There aren’t many people who know the rules better than Bill Belichick, and I think that he went through these drills in camp this summer, and taught these guys, at that point, certain things that you could do. I think there seemed to be some sort of discrepancy about what was in the rulebook and what was being called on the field.

“If you heard Belichick yesterday during the press conference, he excused the player, he put it on him that that’s what we taught during training camp, and that’s what I sense happened. That’s my read into it. … Let me say this, if Rob Ryan had indeed alerted Rex Ryan to that fact as you guys believe or sense, my guess is that Rex wouldn’t have saved it, he would have used it earlier.”

Tom Brady has gone through one of the roughest seasons of his career, as he has posted a 55.4 completion percentage with just eight touchdowns in seven games.

“I don’t know if [people] think [Brady’s] losing it. I mean, we’re talking about one of the greatest players who’s ever played the game, period,” Schefter said. “Now, he’s not as bad as people are saying, and he’s not as good as people are saying. But I will say this: What I have heard about him this season is that he has not been overly sharp, he has not made great decisions, he has not been Brady-like in delivering the ball. … He has been off.

“He has not been the same. It has not been the same and I don’t know why. … To me, there still are few quarterbacks in the league that I’d rather have, and I don’t think he’s losing it. I just think it’s one of those years where, again, you see the talent that surrounds people and how it affects them.”

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Pressure Points: Which New England defenders have done best job getting after QB this season?

10.22.13 at 9:56 am ET
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Every week over the course of the 2013 season, we’€™ll provide a look at the Patriots pass rush numbers. 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. Through seven games, the Patriots have 18 sacks (tied for 16th), 40 quarterback hits and 58 quarterback hurries. Based on the official NFL game books and PFF, here’€™s a quick look at some pass-rush numbers for the Patriots to this point in the 2013 season:

Quarterback sacks
DL Chandler Jones: 6.5 (45.5 yards)
DL Chris Jones: 3.5 (25 yards)
DL Tommy Kelly: 2.5 (14.5 yards)
DE Michael Buchanan: 2 (15 yards)
LB Jerod Mayo: 1.5 (5 yards)
DL Joe Vellano: 1 (13 yards)
DE Rob Ninkovich: 1 (5 yards)

Quarterback hits (per NFL game books)
DE Chandler Jones: 13
DL Tommy Kelly: 6
DE Rob Ninkovich: 6
DE Michael Buchanan: 5
DL Chris Jones: 4
DL Joe Vellano: 2
LB Jerod Mayo: 2
LB Dont’€™a Hightower: 2
DL Vince Wilfork: 1
DE Jake Bequette: 1

Quarterback hurries (per PFF)
DE Rob Ninkovich: 20
DE Chandler Jones: 18
DL Joe Vellano: 7
DL Tommy Kelly: 6
LB Dont’€™a Hightower: 5
DL Vince Wilfork: 3
DL Chris Jones: 3
LB Jamie Collins: 3
DE Michael Buchanan: 3
LB Jerod Mayo: 2
DE Jake Bequette: 1
LB Brandon Spikes: 1
CB Devin McCourty: 1

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Following the flags: Tracking Patriots penalties for 2013 season

10.22.13 at 9:00 am ET
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Through seven weeks, the Patriots have been flagged for 33 penalties (tied for 25th in the league) for a total of 342 yards (20th in the league. 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:
Team: three penalties (illegal shift, offensive holding, personal foul), 30 yards
OL Marcus Cannon: three penalties (three false starts), 11 yards
DT Chris White: two penalties (offensive holding, unsportsmanlike conduct), 25 yards
CB Kyle Arrington: two penalties (defensive pass interference, defensive holding), 25 yards
OL Logan Mankins: two penalties (two offensive holding), 20 yards
DL Chandler Jones: two penalties (roughing the passer, neutral zone infraction), 20 yards
S Duron Harmon: two penalties (offensive holding and illegal block above the waist’€“special teams), 18 yards
WR Julian Edelman: two penaltes (illegal shift, offensive holding), 15 yards
OL Dan Connolly: two penalties (two false starts), 10 yards
CB Aqib Talib: one penalty (defensive pass interference), 38 yards
S Steve Gregory: one penalty (defensive pass interference), 30 yards
CB Alfonzo Dennard: one penalty (unnecessary roughness), 15 yards
LB Dont’€™a Hightower: one penalty (facemask), 15 yards
LB Jerod Mayo: one penalty (unnecessary roughness), 15 yards
WR Aaron Dobson: one penalty (offensive pass interference) 10 yards
TE Michael Hoomanawanui: one penalty (false start), 5 yards
CB Marquice Cole: one penalty (12 men on the field), 5 yards
OL Nate Solder: one penalty (false start), 5 yards
QB Tom Brady: one penalty (delay of game), 5 yards
S Kanorris Davis: one penalty (illegal formation), 5 yards
OL Ryan Wendell: one penalty (offensive holding), 10 yards
LB Jamie Collins: one penalty (illegal block above the waist–special teams), 10 yards

Most penalized by position
Cornerback: 83 yards
Offensive line: 56 yards
Defensive line: 45 yards
Linebacker: 40 yards
Safety: 33 yards
Team: 30 yards
Wide receiver: 25 yards
Tight end: 5 yards
Quarterback: 5 yards

Most frequently called penalties
False start: Seven
Offensive holding: Seven
Defensive pass interference: Three
Unnecessary roughness: Two
Illegal shift: Two
Illegal block above the waist: Two
Roughing the passer: One
Neutral zone infraction: One
Twelve men on the field: One
Illegal formation: One
Facemask: One
Defensive holding: One
Delay of game: One
Offensive Pass Interference: One
Unsportsmanlike conduct: One
Personal foul: One

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Target Practice: Tracking opportunities in Patriots passing game

10.22.13 at 7:30 am ET
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Targets have been compiled by the NFL since the start of the 2009 season, and while it remains a vaguely imperfect stat ‘€” a badly thrown ball from a quarterback can often go against the record of the receiver as opposed to the quarterback ‘€” it remains a good indication of the confidence level a passer might have in his pass catcher. Here’€™s a look at the target breakdown for the New England passing game after the first seven games of the 2013 season:

WR Julian Edelman: 46 catches on 68 targets
WR Kenbrell Thompkins: 23 catches on 54 targets
WR Aaron Dobson: 22 catches on 51 targets
WR Danny Amendola: 16 catches on 27 targets
RB Brandon Bolden: 15 catches on 21 targets
TE Rob Gronkowski: 8 catches on 17 targets
TE Michael Hoomanawanui: 8 catches on 11 targets
RB Shane Vereen: 7 catches on 10 targets
RB Stevan Ridley: 6 catches on 6 targets
WR Austin Collie: 3 catches on 7 targets
FB James Develin: 2 catches on 2 targets
WR Josh Boyce: 1 catch on 6 targets
TE Matthew Mulligan: 1 catch on 1 target
TE Zach Sudfeld: 0 catches on 3 targets
RB LeGarrette Blount: 0 catches on 2 targets
RB Leon Washington: 0 catches on 1 target
TE/OL Nate Solder: 0 catches on 1 target

By position
Wide receiver: 111 catches on 213 targets
Running back/fullback: 30 catches on 42 targets
Tight end: 17 catches on 32 targets
Other: 0 catches on 1 target

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Patriots release defensive tackle Andre Neblett

10.21.13 at 7:45 pm ET
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The Patriots released defensive tackle Andre Neblett on Monday afternoon.

The 25-year-old Neblett was originally signed by the Patriots on Wednesday, Oct. 9, and released on Oct. 12 to make room on the 53-man roster for Marcus Forston. Neblett was then re-signed on Oct. 16 and appeared in Sunday’€™s game vs. the N.Y. Jets. He did not record any statistics.

He is a veteran of three NFL seasons with the Carolina Panthers after joining the team as a rookie free agent out of Temple in in 2010. The 6-foot, 310-pounder signed with Tampa Bay as an unrestricted free agent on May 6, 2013, but was released by the Buccaneers on Aug. 31. Neblett has played in 31 NFL games with seven starts during his three-plus seasons in the NFL and has registered 28 total tackles, three sacks and two fumble recoveries. Last season, he played in 11 games with two starts and recorded 11 tackles and a ½ sack.

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Tom Brady Confidence Index, Week 7: Initiate the Gronkowski Protocol

10.21.13 at 4:52 pm ET
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This preseason, we debuted the Tom Brady Confidence Index, a by-the-numbers look at the comfort level the quarterback had with the rest of the skill-position players when it came to the passing game. Because of the reaction we got, we decided to make it a semi-regular feature and expand it to include overall offensive touches (receptions and carries, with more weight to carries in clutch situations) and how comfortable the quarterback might appear to be with some of his teammates when it came to trusting them in certain situations.

As always, we rate each of the skill-position players and their relationship/comfort level with Brady on a scale of 0 (Taylor Price) to 100 (Wes Welker) on their body of work to this point in the season.

(Disclaimer: While most aspects of this blog deal in mathematical specifics as it relates to football, this entry is more of a tongue-in-cheek approach to Brady and how he relates to the rest of the New England offense. Bottom line? Don’€™t take the rating system too seriously.)

TIGHT END ROB GRONKOWSKI: 91 (last week: unranked)

Season stats: 8 catches, 17 targets, 114 yards

The tight end changes everything. Drawing double coverage for most of the afternoon, he was Brady’s security blanket from start to finish against the Jets. He threw to him early (he had 42 of the 80 yards on New England’s first scoring drive) and threw to him late (he was targeted four times on New England’s final drive in regulation that ended with a field goal). His snaps were managed — early reports indicate that he was on the field for just over half the game. But going forward, provided he stays healthy, expect the big tight end to carry a sizable portion of the passing game on his ample shoulders. It’s clear that even at less than 100 percent, he has the full faith of the quarterback.


Season stats: 46 catches, 68 targets, 455 yards, two touchdowns

Against the Jets, he had five catches on seven targets for 44 yards, including an impressive 19-yarder. Edelman, who has shown himself to be eminently dependable to this point in the season, likely saw some of his opportunities in the passing game hoovered up by the big tight end. (His seven targets tied for a season-low.) But as long as Danny Amendola struggles to stay on the field, expect the quarterback to lean on Edelman — he’s certainly done enough to warrant an extraordinary level of faith, at least through the first seven games. (He’s on pace for 105 catches this season, which would put him sixth on the franchise list for most receptions in a season.)

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Rob Ninkovich on M&M: ‘A lot of plays that we left out there’

10.21.13 at 12:41 pm ET
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Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich, one of the team’s new defensive captains following season-ending injuries to Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo, joined Mut & Merloni on Monday afternoon to talk about Sunday’s 30-27 overtime loss to the Jets.

“It’s a tough pill to swallow when you don’t come out and play the way that you need to play,” he said. “After watching the tape, there were a lot of plays that we left out there, myself included. I put myself in that category. I should have made a few more plays that could have changed the game.

“It’s just one of those things that we can’t go and have these Cincinnati, Jets away games like this. When we’re playing on the road, we’ve got to play tougher, we’ve got to play better.”

The game ended in controversy, as Pats rookie defensive lineman Chris Jones was called for a new obscure penalty for pushing a teammate into the line on a field goal attempt. The Jets missed, but penalty gave them a second chance that they converted for the win.

“The rules are the rules, and you’ve got to live with them,” Ninkovich said. “But at that specific time, there’s a lot of flags that weren’t thrown out there for things that were going on. For that to be the long, super-long field goal, for them to kind of alter the way the game was going with that call ‘€¦ Granted, the rules are rules, and you can’t go away from rules. But that’s the first one called ever this year, and I’m sure it’s happened before.

“To throw the flag on that one, it’s not a fun situation to be in, especially when they missed the field goal and the [Patriots] offense gets the ball there around the 50.”

Added Ninkovich: “I think that situations like that come up weekly around the league. I’m sure that we’ll learn from it and move on from it. It’s just an unfortunate ending to a game that we thought that we could finish out there. We shouldn’t even have been in that position to begin with. We could have done some things along the way to not even have that situation come up.”

To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at

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