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Belichick: Play of Haynesworth against the Cowboys was ‘encouraging’

10.17.11 at 6:18 pm ET
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Patriots coach Bill Belichick said the performance of defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth Sunday against the Cowboys was ‘€œencouraging’€ given the fact that he’€™s missed playing time because of a back problem he suffered earlier in the season.

Haynesworth was on the sideline for Weeks Three and Four with a back problem. He returned to action last week against the Jets and according to Pro Football Focus, he played 21 snaps in the victory over New York. And on Sunday, he was on the field for 27 snaps in the win over the Cowboys, mostly working in third-down defensive packages.

‘€œI think missed time is a little bit of a hurdle for anybody,’€ Belichick said of Haynesworth, who had a quarterback hit in the win over Dallas. ‘€œI think Albert has been — the more he’€™s practiced, the more regularly he’€™s practiced and played, the better he’€™s been. I thought he had several good plays yesterday. It was encouraging.’€

Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio echoed Belichick.

‘€œI think the more Albert has practiced and been able to work on some of the techniques and some of the things that we’€™re doing in practice, then that starts to carry over into the game,’€ Caserio said of Haynesworth, who was obtained from the Redskins for a fifth-round draft choice in 2013. ‘€œIt’€™s a good start. [We] still have a long way to go here, but certainly it’€™s encouraging with some of the things that he has done.’€

Read More: Albert Haynesworth, Bill Belichick, Nick Caserio,

Following the flags: Breaking down the Patriots penalties through six games

10.17.11 at 5:45 pm ET
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In their first six games of the season, the Patriots have been flagged for 39 penalties and 353 yards. Here’€™s a breakdown of the calls that have gone against New England, not including penalties that were declined or offset:

Most penalized players, listed by total flags and with total yardage lost:
OL Nate Solder: four penalties (three holding and illegal use of hands), 40 yards
TE Rob Gronkowski: three penalties (holding, false start, facemask), 29 yards
Team: three penalties (12 men on the field, offensive holding, illegal substitution), 20 yards
S Sergio Brown: two penalties (both defensive pass interference), 51 yards
OL Matt Light: two penalties (both holding), 20 yards
LB Dane Fletcher: two penalties (offensive holding, illegal block above the waist), 17 yards
OL Logan Mankins: two penalties (offensive holding and false start), 15 yards
OL Brian Waters: two penalties (holding, offensive holding), 15 yards
TE Dan Gronkowski: two penalties (both false starts), 10 yards
CB Leigh Bodden: two penalties (both defensive holding), 10 yards
WR Wes Welker: two penalties (illegal motion, false start), 10 yards
WR Chad Ochocinco: two penalties (illegal formation, false start), 9 yards
S Pat Chung: one penalty (unncessary roughness), 15 yards
DL Andre Carter: one penalty (roughing the passer), 15 yards
LB Rob Ninkovich: one penalty (roughing the passer), 15 yards
DL Kyle Love: one penalty (roughing the passer), 15 yards
OL Dan Connolly: one penalty (offensive holding), 10 yards
S James Ihedigbo: one penalty (illegal block above the waist), 10 yards
CB Devin McCourty: one penalty (illegal block above the waist), 10 yards
TE Aaron Hernandez: one penalty (false start), 5 yards
WR Deion Branch: two penalties (both false starts), 10 yards
DL Vince Wilfork: one penalty (unsportsmanlike conduct), 2 yards

Most penalized by position:
Offensive line: 11 penalties for 100 yards
Safety: four penalties for 76 yards
Tight end: six penalties for 44 yards
Defensive line: three penalties for 32 yards
Linebacker: three penalties for 32 yards
Wide receiver: six penalties for 29 yards
Cornerback: three penalties for 20 yards
Team: three penalties for 20 yards

Most frequently called penalties on the Patriots:
Offensive holding: 12
False start: nine
Roughing the passer: three
Illegal block above the waist: three
Defensive holding: two
Defensive pass interference: two
Facemask: one
Illegal substitution: one
Illegal formation: one
Illegal use of hands: one
Unsportsmanlike conduct: one
Unecessary roughness: one
Illegal motion: one
Twelve men in the huddle: one

Read More: Patriots, penalties,

Bill Belichick kind of defends Chad Ochocinco on Big Show

10.17.11 at 5:28 pm ET
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Patriots coach Bill Belichick fielded multiple questions regarding Chad Ochocinco in his weekly appearance with Glenn Ordway and Michael Holley on The Big Show Monday. The Pats sent two picks to the Bengals in the offseason in exchange for the receiver, but have gotten little statistical production from the veteran. Through six games, Ochocinco is fifth on the team with nine receptions and 136 receiving yards. He has yet to score a touchdown this season.

“What we’re expecting to do is to win. It’s to go out there and move the ball and score points. I feel like we’re doing a pretty good job of that, so if we can produce offensively as a team, and everybody’s doing their job, which involves a lot of different things, then that’s good. If we’re not, then we’re going to try to do it better. We’re going to try to do it better anyway. ‘€¦ It’s how we function as a team.

“If guys are doing their job, they’re going to play more, they’re going to get more opportunities, they’re going to be on the field. If they’re not, then somebody else will probably be doing it instead of them.”

Ochocinco was on the field for only seven offensive snaps Sunday and did not have a catch.

“Some of that is game-plan related,” Belichick said. “It’s not the number of snaps, it’s the amount of production with the opportunities. Obviously, players that only get so many opportunities are going to have few opportunities to have the production of other players. The important thing is when they do get those opportunities, that they make the most of them in whatever their job, whatever their assignment is on that particular play. That’s really how I look at it.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Chad Ochocinco,

Patriots release Ventrone and Moore

10.17.11 at 5:09 pm ET
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The Patriots announced Monday that the team has released defensive back Sterling Moore and safety Ross Ventrone.

Moore, 5-foot-10, 205 pounds, was signed from the practice squad to the 53-man roster on Oct. 15 and played in the win against Dallas. He originally was signed by the Oakland Raiders as a rookie free agent out of Southern Methodist on July 28. He was released by the Raiders after training camp and spent the first few weeks on the Oakland practice squad before being released on Sept. 26. Moore was signed to the Patriots’€™ practice squad on Oct. 5.

Ventrone, 5-foot-8, 190 pounds, has spent time on both the practice squad and 53-man roster this season, playing in three games. He was originally signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Villanova on April 29, 2010. He was waived by the Patriots on Sept. 4, 2010 and then signed to the practice squad on Oct. 19, 2010 where he finished the season.

Read More: Ross Ventrone, Sterling Moore,

Andre Carter on M&M: ‘This is a steppingstone’ for Patriots defense

10.17.11 at 1:22 pm ET
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Patriots defensive end Andre Carter checked in with the Mut & Merloni show Monday morning, one day after recording two sacks in the 20-16 victory over the Cowboys.

“Numbers are one thing, but I just think in general just continue to be successful, especially in those situations that you witnessed yesterday,” Carter said. “That was just another steppingstone as far as our development, as far as becoming a good defense. There was definitely that one particular series where they had that long drive, but besides everything else, we got ourselves a turnover and provided some field position. We held our ground and did our part. That in itself shows what our potential can be if we continue to play that way.”

Carter said it’s taking time for the new players — himself included — to get comfortable in the Patriots defense.

“The scheme, especially this 4-3 scheme, it is a little bit different. I’m still trying to find a way to understand it,” he said. “But I think one thing, like any other defense, communication is always the key. Communication on where guys need to be at any given play or any given time. During the beginning of the season, it has been inconsistent. As a group, we’ve discussed, ‘OK, what do we need to do to get better. How do we continue to get better?’ It starts through practice. It starts through game study. So, we’ve talked about this. The coaches have always discussed each and every day what we need to do to, how we can be a good team, just to evolve, being the defense that you have seen, as you know, last night.

“There’s still little things that we can always clean up each and every week. Not every game’s going to be perfect. But overall, we can just kind of shake our heads and say this is a steppingstone.”

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Boomer Esiason on D&C: Sunday ‘may have been [Patriots’] best win of the year’

10.17.11 at 10:30 am ET
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CBS Sports NFL analyst Boomer Esiason made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to evaluate the Patriots’ 20-16 win over the Cowboys Sunday.

The New England offense was mediocre at best Sunday, as quarterback Tom Brady recorded his lowest passer rating of the season at 82.3, throwing for 289 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. The offense also fumbled the ball once and had to settle for field goals twice. Still, Esiason said he thought the game was a good sign for the Patriots entering their Week 7 bye.

“I will tell you that that may have been their best win of the year simply because they were playing against a very good team in Dallas,” Esiason said. “They were playing against a team that has a plethora of offensive stars and has DeMarcus Ware as their pass rusher. That was a solid win for a team on their own field where they probably felt like they weren’t playing their best football.”

Esiason said one of the keys to the game was better play from the defense, who held Dallas to just six points off of four turnovers and limited the Cowboys to 16 points overall.

“It is a team game,” Esaison said. “The Patriots defense has been maligned. Thirty-second ranked. We all get it. We all know it. We see it. Yesterday was probably their best game as a defense, I thought. Getting the turnovers and keeping the Dallas Cowboys out of the end zone. That’s ultimately what the Patriots have always been about. Bend, bend, bend, make a turnover here or there, and then force the other team to a field goal because we know our quarterback is going to come down and score a touchdown.”

Following are more highlights of the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

On the perceived lack of trust between Cowboys coach Jason Garrett and quarterback Tony Romo: “What the Cowboys are going through right now is kind of a weird situation between their head coach and their quarterback. I think the head coach feels like he’s putting the quarterback in bad situations early in the season. Then the quarterback has just been getting ripped left and right after they lose these games late in games. So yesterday when the game is in the balance, they have to make plays on offense, Jason Garrett basically takes the ball out of Tony Romo’s hands and plays into the hands of the New England Patriots.

“It’s weird how these teams go through emotional states and how they look at each other and coaches manage situations. If we were talking about Tony Romo’s interception late in the game or Tony Romo’s inability to find [wide receiver] Dez Bryant late in the game, then I would tell you that the shackles are off and Jason Garrett feels confident about his quarterback. But with the way the game ended in the case of the Dallas Cowboys, you can’t help but obviously see there that there’s no confidence there in Tony Romo and they were just trying to keep him out of making a major mistake there late in the game.”

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Read More: boomer esiason, Jim Harbaugh, Jim Schwartz, Tom Brady

Andre Carter gives Patriots D something to jump about

10.17.11 at 10:15 am ET
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FOXBORO — The Patriots defense has been much maligned all season for its inability to stop opposing offenses from marching up and down the field, and specifically for its inability to get to the opposing quarterback.

Defensive end Andre Carter was brought to New England in the offseason to do just that — get to the quarterback.

Playing a lot of right defensive end on Sunday, Carter kept the pressure on and it finally paid off in two quarterback sacks, with one potentially saving the Patriots four points, the difference in New England’s 20-16 win over the Cowboys.

With the Cowboys looking like they had finally rediscovered their offense on their first possession of the third quarter, Tony Romo had his team first-and-goal at the Patriots 7, with New England clinging to a 13-10 lead.

Following an incompletion, it was second-and-goal and Carter lined up opposite Cowboys right tackle Tyron Smith. Romo dropped back and Carter blew past Smith and made a beeline for Romo. Carter didn’t miss and dumped him for an 11-yard loss. Carter got up and performed his version of the sack dance — the “Quincy Jump,” named for his son.

“Yeah, a high long jump,” Carter said with his trademark bellowing laugh. “I don’€™t know what it was, it just kind of sprouted up. That’€™s my son, the ‘Quincy Jump.’ I don’€™t know how it happened, it just kind of happened, one of those things. Sacks are hard to come by, especially now that the league has changed so much. So the more you can get, the better.’€ Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Andre Carter, Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, nfl
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