|Slater active for the first time||09.27.09 at 12:32 pm ET|
FOXBOROUGH – In a feel-good story, WR Matthew Slater is active today for the first time in the regular season after suffering a grotesque-looking injury to his right elbow in the final preseason game against the Giants.
One of the most personable players in the locker room, Slater is a returner and plays in coverage on special teams and adds back-end depth to the receiving corps with Wes Welker inactive.
|Falcons inactives vs. Patriots 9/27||09.27.09 at 12:04 pm ET|
FOXBOROUGH- The following Atlanta Falcons players are inactive for today’s game: quarter back John Parker Wilson, corner back Tye Hill, safety William Moore, running back Jerious Norwood, linebacker Spencer Adkins, tackle Will Svitek, tackle Garrett Reynolds, defensive tackle Vance Walker.
|Patriots inactives vs. Falcons 9/27||09.27.09 at 11:43 am ET|
FOXBOROUGH – Wes Welker will miss his second straight game with a knee injury as he is among the eight Patriots inactives for today’s game against Atlanta. The others are Prescott Burgess, Darius Butler, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Jerod Mayo, Rich Ohrnberger, Kendall Simmons, and Jonathan Wilhite.
Randy Moss (back) is dressed and will play today.
The Wilhite inactive is a surprise since he was not on the injury report, meaning that the Patriots are likely to play veteran corner Shawn Springs more. Rookie Darius Butler is out with a thigh injury.
|Welcome to Gillette Stadium Pats-Falcons||09.27.09 at 10:28 am ET|
FOXBOROUGH – Just after 10 a.m. workers began to roll up the tarps that were protecting the Gillette Stadium field from the elements.
It’s a very mild morning, with game-time temperatures expected to be in the low 60s. But fans in attendance should certainly bring their ponchos as it’s going a wet one. Heavy rain showers are expected throughout the day.
This is Atlanta’s first trip to Gillette. The only remaining NFL team to not visit during the regular season after today will be the Carolina Panthers, who will be making the trip on Dec. 13. The Patriots hold an overwhelming advantage over teams making their first trip to Gillette since it opened in 2002.
New England is 25-4 all-time against opponents in such situations and haven’t lost since San Diego and LaDainian Tomlinson ran wild in a 41-17 romp over the Pats on Oct. 2, 2005. Since then, the Patriots have won their last nine against first-time visitors.
The Patriots are just 5-6 against the Falcons lifetime but have won the last two meetings, both at the Georgia Dome, in 2001 and 2005.
Fans will want to keep an early eye on inactives to see if receivers Randy Moss (back) and Wes Welker (knee) will be available. It would be very surprising, if not shocking, if both were unavailable.
Tom Brady is 24-4 against NFC opponents and the Patriots are 28-4 against the NFC since 2001. As a matter of fact, the Patriots haven’t lost to an NFC team since Week 2 of the 2005 season when they were beaten 27-17 at Carolina, a string of 15 straight wins.
The last time they lost at home to an NFC team was on Oct. 13, 2002 when Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers beat them, 28-10, in the first year of Gillette Stadium.
|Davis works out for Patriots||09.26.09 at 11:32 am ET|
A league source has confirmed to WEEI.com that the Patriots worked out former Tennessee wide receiver/return man Chris Davis on Friday. Davis is a 5-foot-10, 181-pound free agent out of Florida State who was a fourth-round pick of the Titans in 2007. The 25-year-old has three career touchdowns for the Titans in the last two years. In addition, he also returned 31 punts for 293 yards his rookie year, and last season, he returned four kicks for 119 yards.
The news was initially reported by the National Football Post, who also reported that the Patriots worked out several other free agents this week, including former Carolina kick returner Larry Beavers, as well as wideouts Anthony Armstrong, Courtney Taylor and William Franklin, as well as former Oakland defensive tackle Terdell Sands.
|How the Pats defend ‘Tony the Technician’||09.25.09 at 7:49 pm ET|
FOXBORO — To a Patriots defense in transition, Tony Gonzalez presents the ultimate challenge: He is a tight end who is big, strong and smart.
But the kicker is he doesn’t play like a tight end.
“He can pretty much do it all,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said. “He’s really a receiver. He’s a tight end, but he’s not really a tight end; he’s a receiver — great ball skills, hands. He’s got that ability — like a basketball player — to position the defender out and use his size to box out the defender. I think the quarterbacks, obviously, that he’s played with know that and they put the ball in a place where he can only get it and he can pin the defender behind him and he can go up and take the ball.
“He’s got a great patience in the passing game. He sets up routes, runs a lot of double moves. But he’s got quickness out of his break. He’s got good speed, exceptional hands. He’s obviously a smart football player. He knows how to run routes and get open and set them up.”
And he’s been doing all of that for a long time. He is in his 13th season — an eternity in the NFL. He is one of the most reliable tight ends in the history of the game.
Since the Kansas City Chiefs traded up with the Houston Oilers in the 1997 draft to select him 13th overall, Gonzalez has missed exactly two games in his career, one in 1999 and another in 2006. He has yearly averages of 76 catches, 911 yards and six touchdowns over his 12 seasons prior to his initial campaign this season with the Atlanta Falcons. Read the rest of this entry »
|Report: Pats work out WRs||09.25.09 at 6:44 pm ET|
According to this report at the National Football Post, the Patriots have worked out several free agent wide receivers over the last few days, including former Tennessee wide receiver Chris Davis. In addition, it was reported that New England tried out former Carolina kick returner Larry Beavers, as well as wideouts Anthony Armstrong, Courtney Taylor and William Franklin, and former Oakland defensive tackle Terdell Sands.
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