|10.14.10 at 12:45 pm ET|
Former Ravens head coach and current Foxsports.com and NFL Network correspondent Brian Billick joined Dennis & Callahan this morning to discuss varying topics around the NFL, focusing largely on the Patriots and Ravens upcoming matchup, as well as the Randy Moss trade and how it shakes up the Patriot offense.
“I guarantee Tom Brady and Wes Welker‘s life just got a lot more difficult because they don’t have that vertical stretch,” Billick said. “Doesn’t mean that they can’t get it, that they can’t manufacture it, that they won’t have many other ways to move the ball.”
To hear the entire interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
If you were still coaching the Ravens, which is a bigger disadvantage for you: The Patriots coming off of a bye week? The Patriot offense evolving without Randy Moss, something no one has seen before? Or you have their undivided attention after the beat down in the playoffs last year?
Oh boy, choice D – all of the above. Yeah, you worry about the bye week in terms of obviously Bill Belichick, Tom Brady adapting themselves. The Ravens obviously a tall task for them. I’m going to be very interested in seeing the approach they take without a Randy Moss, you know. And, you know, that’s been done add him for an item in terms of good thing, bad thing; should they have gotten rid of him or not? Sitting with all those draft choices will look awful good in April, but right now to not have the vertical stretch that they had with a Randy Moss, Wes Welker’s life just got a whole lot more difficult.
Going back to the bye week, is the thing you want most as a head coach more time to prepare for an opponent? Taking the 10 to 12 days to prepare instead of the usual three to four?
Well you got to be careful how you use the bye week, because you can do too much. You’d like for it to be a little bit later, but it is when it is and you’ve got to get healthy. But a game plan can get stale; I’ve always believed that you’ve got to careful about how you want to introduce the next game plan. I mean the inclination is, ‘Hey, let’s put it in the week before. Let’s really double up and practice,’ kind of like you do for a Super Bowl. But that can be too much during the course of a season. You might steal an extra day, but you don’t want to do a whole lot, particularly with the players, beyond that.
|10.14.10 at 12:30 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Running back Fred Taylor was once again not at the open portion of Patriots practice on Thursday as the team continues to prepare for the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.
Taylor has not practiced the last several weeks since injuring his toe in the team’s last home game – against the Buffalo Bills on Sept. 26. The team practiced in shorts and shells on the upper practice fields outside Gillette.
Every other Patriots player was present and accounted for at the media portion of practice.
|10.13.10 at 11:42 pm ET|
Patriots offensive lineman Logan Mankins will report by Nov. 16, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. Mankins, a restricted free agent who has been sitting out since the start of spring practices because he’s upset about his contract situation, will report on recommendation from the National Football League Players Association, according to several sources. Mortensen says Mankins will report to the Patriots to earn an accrued season and secure unrestricted free agency in 2011.
|10.13.10 at 5:27 pm ET|
FOXBORO — What will Tom Brady do to exact revenge on the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday? What will his offense look like now without Randy Moss but with Deion Branch back on board? What does he think of the Ravens defense, even without perennial Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed? These questions and more were posed to Brady at his locker on Wednedsay. Here – thanks to Patriots P.R. – were his answers.
Q: What is it like with Randy Moss gone and now you have Deion Branch back?
TB: I think the roster’s always in transition with players getting injured and players moving. I think it’s something I’m used to. We put a good day of work in yesterday and I’m excited to see what we do this weekend. We have a great challenge. All of us who were in this locker room know the beating we took from these guys last year, so we don’t want that to repeat itself.
Q: Do you have a lasting memory from last year’s playoff game and is there a certain memory that sticks with you?
TB: We got manhandled by a damn good team. And everything we said we wanted to do, we didn’t do. Penalties, turnovers, we couldn’t convert on third down, couldn’t control the tempo of the game. I have a lot of respect for these guys. They play really hard. They’re very well coached. They have a very physical front, a very emotional team. They play with energy and enthusiasm for what they’re doing. I think you have to be able to match that. Once they get fired up, it’s tough to calm them down.
Q: How much of a motivator was the memory of that game through the offseason?
TB: There are a lot of reasons for motivation, and certainly, when the team gives it to you like they did, you’re always anxious to get out there and play them again. We’re fighting. We have a tough road, we’re 3-1. We’ve done some good things this year, but consistently for the course of 60 minutes, we haven’t played a full 60-minute game yet. That’s what it’s going to take against these guys this week. There’s no let up from this team. There’s not one area where there is a glaring weakness. They stop you. They score points. They are very good in the kicking game, obviously, their head coach has a kicking background, so we have to compete out there. I think the group of guys in this locker room is ready to do that. Read the rest of this entry »
|10.13.10 at 5:00 pm ET|
The Baltimore Ravens may be 4-1 and leading the AFC North but they are also very banged up as they enter Sunday’s showdown with the 3-1 Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Three players have already been ruled out of Sunday’s game with five others sitting out practice on Wednesday.
Ravens Injury Report for Wednesday:
T Jared Gaither (back)
LB Tavares Gooden (shoulder)
WR Donte Stallworth (foot)
Did Not Practice
LB Paul Kruger (knee)
RB Le’Ron McClain (shoulder/knee)
DT Haloti Ngata (knee)
RB Ray Rice (knee)
CB Josh Wilson (thigh)
LB Edgar Jones (thigh)
LB Jameel McClain (knee)
|10.13.10 at 4:39 pm ET|
FOXBORO — How much does Bill Belichick remember losses like the one to the Ravens in the playoffs last January? How does he think the Ravens are doing this year on defense, even without the injured Ed Reed? Just what do Ray Lewis and Patriots rookie cornerback Devin McCourty have in common? Those questions and more were asked Wednesday morning and here, thanks to the always outstanding work of the Patriots P.R. staff, were his answers.
BB: We’re definitely deep into the Ravens this week. As usual, [they’re] a real good football team. Coach [John] Harbaugh has done a real nice job with them. They’re strong in every area: good in the kicking game, good on defense, good on offense. They cause you a lot of problems and they execute very well. They’re a tough football team. They play hard. They make you earn everything. We’re just going to have to do a lot better job than we did against them last year in the playoff game to be competitive. So I hope we can do that on Sunday.
Q: When you were scouting Brandon Tate, he didn’t have a ton of receiver snaps. How much did you get to scout him as a receiver as opposed to just a returner?
BB: He played half the year down there in a pro offense. It was basically a pro offense at UNC, so it wasn’t – I think you could see him do some of the things we ask our players to do. And he [also] did a very good job returning it. It was half a season, but I think the games you saw were good competitive games. High level of competition and he was doing things more like an NFL receiver would do them than I would say a lot of other guys you would scout. So it wasn’t that bad, just unfortunately he got hurt.
Q: Can you describe the skill set of Haloti Ngata?
BB: [He’s] big, explosive, a good technique player, uses his hands well. He’s big and strong and explosive, but he’s also a good football player. He plays with good technique both in the running game and the passing game. He’s a pretty instinctive player and he’s a hard guy to handle. They use him in all situations [and] try to mismatch him in the running game and the passing game. He really can play across the board. You see him on the center, on the guard, on the tackle, so I think he can play pretty much any place and play well.
Q: How does his skill set complement a guy like Ray Lewis, if at all?
BB: Well, it’s great. I’m sure that Ray is glad to have him in front of him and I’m sure Ngata is glad to have Ray behind him. It’s hard when you’ve got to block a guy like that on the line of scrimmage and then you have to get another player like Lewis behind him. It’s like when Pittsburgh had ‘Mean Joe’ Green and Jack Lambert. The sooner you got to Lambert, the more you left Green. The more you hung on Green, the more you freed up Lambert. A little different scheme, but that was always the problem in playing the Steelers: how do you get both guys? You’re lucky if you can get one of them. Read the rest of this entry »
|10.13.10 at 4:24 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Running back Fred Taylor was the only player to miss Patriots practice on Wednesday at the team continued its preparations for the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
Patriots Injury Report for Wednesday:
Did Not Practice
RB Fred Taylor (toe)
QB Tom Brady (right shoulder)
CB Terrence Wheatley (foot)
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