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Patriots’ 2014 regular-season schedule unveiled

04.23.14 at 7:47 pm ET
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Here’s a look at the Patriots 2014 regular-season schedule:

Week 1: at Dolphins — Sept. 7, 1 p.m.
Week 2: at Vikings — Sept. 14, 1 p.m.
Week 3: vs. Raiders — Sept. 21, 1 p.m.
Week 4: at Chiefs — Sept. 29, 8:30 p.m.
Week 5: vs. Bengals — Oct. 5, 8:30 p.m.
Week 6: at Bills — Oct. 12, 1 p.m.
Week 7: vs. Jets — Oct. 16, 8:25 p.m.
Week 8: vs. Bears — Oct. 26, 1 p.m.
Week 9: vs. Broncos Nov. 2, 4:25 p.m.
Week 10: Bye week
Week 11: at Colts — Nov. 16, 8:30 p.m.
Week 12: vs. Lions — Nov. 23, 1 p.m.
Week 13: at Packers — Nov. 30, 4:25 p.m.
Week 14: at Chargers — Dec. 7, 8:30 p.m.
Week 15: vs. Dolphins — Dec. 14, 1 p.m.
Week 16: at Jets — Dec. 21, 1 p.m.
Week 17: vs. Bills — Dec. 28, 1 p.m.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Report: Patriots exercise fifth-year option on left tackle Nate Solder

04.23.14 at 7:24 pm ET
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The Patriots exercised the fifth-year option on left tackle Nate Solder on Wednesday, according to Jason LaCanfora of CBS Sports.

The option is worth the average value of the third through the 25th-highest cap numbers for offensive linemen in 2014. According to our friend Miguel Benzan of Patscap.com, that would put Solder’€™€™s option at about $7.3 million for the 2015 season. Considering the market for free agent left tackles this offseason (five free agent tackles received guaranteed deals in excess of $10 million) and Solder’s level of play since he arrived in the league three years ago, it seems like a sound financial move for New England.

Teams have until May 3 to exercise the fifth-year option on the first-round picks of the 2011 draft class, and Solder is one of several members of the class to have their option already picked up — it’s a group that includes Houston’s J.J. Watt, Arizona’s Patrick Peterson, New York’s Muhammad Wilkerson and San Diego’s Corey Liuget.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

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NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Towson RB Terrance West

04.23.14 at 3:05 pm ET
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WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2014 NFL draft. Here is one is a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’€™s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

TERRANCE WEST

Position: Running back

School: Towson

Height: 5-foot-9

Weight: 225 pounds

Achievements: Set NCAA FCS single-season rushing yards record (2,509 yards), single-season rushing touchdown record (41 touchdowns) in 2013, 2011 CAA Offensive Rookie of the Year, 2011 Jerry Rice Award

What he brings: At Towson, West was a dominating player who obliterated defenses with his tough, compact frame and solid speed. West showed decent hands in his time in the CAA as well. The 23-year-old isn’t afraid to take contact, but scouts are concerned he takes too much contact at times. His pass protection is sub-par and he has a tendency to hold the ball high. Scouts also are concerned that West is from a league with inferior talent and will struggle in the NFL. West is viewed as a workhorse type of back who will wear down defenses.

Where the Patriots could get him: Round 3

Notes: In 2013, West ran for 2,509 yards and 41 touchdowns to bring his career totals to 4,854 yards and 84 touchdowns, both Towson records. After seeing 194 and 195 carries in 2011 and 2012, respectively, West saw his carries go up to 413 in 2013. … At the NFL combine, West ran a 4.54 40-yard dash, benching 225 pounds 16 times and recording 33 1/2 inches on the vertical jump.

Related articles:

Pro Player Insiders: Towson Running Back Terrance West: NFL Draft Gem

USA Today: Terrance West a sleeper to watch at NFL Scouting Combine

Video: Here are West’€™s 2013 highlights with Towson.

Read More: 2014 NFL Draft, 2014 Potential Patriots, Terrance West,

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Missouri OLB Michael Sam

04.23.14 at 9:35 am ET
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WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2014 NFL draft. Here is one is a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’€™s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

MICHAEL SAM

Position: Outside linebacker

School: Missouri

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 261 pounds

Achievements: 2013 consensus All-American, 2013 SEC co-Defensive Player of the Year, 2013 first-team All-SEC

What he brings: Sam, a defensive end in college, is seen more as an outside linebacker at the NFL level. His tenacious effort and underrated strength are a product of his hard work in the weight room. Sam is considered a high-character player by those who played with him and coached him. Many analysts predict the undersized 24-year-old will struggle in the role due to his lack of experience in coverage, average speed and a lack of pass-rushing moves.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 4-6

Notes: Sam recorded 10.5 sacks and two pass deflections in the regular season for Missouri. During the AT&T Cotton Bowl against Oklahoma State, Sam recorded three tackles and a sack in the victory. … In an interview with ESPN that aired on Feb. 9, 2014, Sam announced that he was gay and that he had come out to his teammates during the summer of 2013. Because of the announcement, Sam has received an extensive amount of media attention, which some experts believe could affect where he is drafted.

Related articles:

Kansas City Star: Senior Bowl losers: Transition to linebacker tough for Missouri’s Michael Sam

Fox Sports: Former scout: Michael Sam will get drafted after pro day showing

New York Times: Before coming out, a hard time growing up

Video: Here are Sam’€™s 2013 highlights against South Carolina.

Read More: 2014 NFL Draft, 2014 Potential Patriots, Michael Sam,

NFL announces 2014 regular-season schedule will be unveiled Wednesday night

04.23.14 at 12:21 am ET
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The NFL announced Tuesday that the 2014 regular-season schedule will be unveiled Wednesday at 8 p.m. While we don’t know the dates and the times, we do know the opponents:

Home: Jets, Dolphins, Bills, Bengals, Broncos, Bears, Lions, Raiders
Road: Jets, Dolphins, Bills, Chiefs, Chargers, Colts, Packers, Vikings

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Boise State DE Demarcus Lawrence

04.22.14 at 5:14 pm ET
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WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2014 NFL draft. Here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’€™s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

DEMARCUS LAWRENCE

Position: Defensive end

School: Boise State

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 251 pounds

Achievements: 2013, 2012 first-team All-Mountain West, 2011 first-team JC Gridwire, 2011 second-team NJCAA All-American

What he brings: Lawrence is a versatile player who has demonstrated a good initial reaction off the snap with natural pass-rush ability. He needs to become stronger and play with more power to succeed at the next level.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 1-2

Notes: During his final season with the Broncos, Lawrence recorded 20.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks — the most in the Mountain West. … He was suspended three times during his time at Boise State — twice during the 2012 season (including for the Las Vegas Bowl) and one game of the 2013 season for unspecified violations of team rules. … Before committing to Boise State, Lawrence earned second-team NJCAA All-America honors at Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kan.

Related articles:

USA Today: Lots of teams looking at Demarcus Lawrence

Idaho Statesman: How Lawrence performed at the NFL scouting combine

Video: Here is a video highlighting Lawrence’s time with Boise State.

Read More: 2014 NFL Draft, 2014 Potential Patriots, Demarcus Lawrence,

Why Matthew Slater feels ‘there’s a lot to be excited about’ with Darrelle Revis, 2014 Patriots

04.22.14 at 4:01 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Matthew Slater is a natural-born optimist.

Every time the Patriots special teams captain speaks, you can hear it in his voice. So, it should come as no surprise that Slater is like all the other Patriots players who are reacting to the addition of cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner and the chances for the 2014 Patriots.

“I’ve gotten a few chances to visit with Revis,” Slater said Tuesday, taking a break from his workout at Gillette. “Obviously, competing against him over the years, got a chance to meet him and spend some time with him in Hawaii this year. Really a good guy, does everything the right way, plays the game the right way, and you respect that about a guy, no matter who he plays for. If he plays the game hard and plays the game the right way, you respect it and he’s definitely one of those guys.

“I don’t really follow a whole lot of football in the offseason. I heard it and that would be great if he came [to the Patriots] I thought. Obviously, when you get a player like that, you’re excited about the opportunity to play with them. You know what he brings to the table. They’re 31 other teams out there that are trying to get done what they need to get done. And we’ve got to try to focus on us and improve.”

Slater and Revis spent time together in Hawaii this past January, when Slater participated in his third straight Pro Bowl. His father, Jackie Slater, was a seven-time Pro-Bowler. With 10 Pro Bowl nods between them, the Slaters are the second most nominated family in NFL history. (Archie, Eli and Peyton Manning have 18).

Revis is just one of a handful of new additions that will be on hand this spring and summer when the Patriots get back on the field to begin practicing for real. In addition to Revis and Browner, there’s wide receiver Brandon LaFell and all the draft picks and rookie free agents who will be descending upon Foxboro. This week marks the true beginning for NFL teams, as players are permitted back at their club’s facilities for offseason weight lifting and training.

“There’s a lot to be excited about,” Slater said. ‘There’s some extremely talented players that we’ve added to the roster along with some extremely talented players that we’ve had here for a while. All that is on paper. It really doesn’t mean anything right now. We haven’t even had one practice together. We have a long ways to go.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Archie Manning, Darrelle Revis, Eli Manning, Jackie Slater
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