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Tom Brady (calf), Rob Gronkowski (knee) officially questionable for Sunday season opener

09.05.14 at 4:47 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Tom Brady returned to practice Friday but the team listed him as limited with his calf injury and formally declared him questionable for Sunday’s season opener in Miami. Joining Brady as officially questionable are tight end Rob Gronkowski, returning from his ACL injury of last December, and defensive tackle Sealver Siliga, nursing a hand injury from the first week of the preseason.

A league source confirmed to WEEI that Brady traveled with the team on their charter and is expected to play Sunday, as Brady himself announced on Thursday night in a national radio interview with Westwood One Radio. The team tweeted a picture of Gronkowski leaving the stadium with his luggage on Friday, also packed for the trip to Miami, where he is expected to suit up for the first time since his ACL tear on Dec. 8 last year and play.

Under NFL injury policy, a declaration of “questionable” technically means that the team believes the player has a 50-50 chance of playing.

Despite practicing this week, defensive end Michael Buchanan and defensive lineman Chris Jones were ruled out with ankle issues.

For the Dolphins, they suffered a setback when starting outside linebacker Philip Wheeler was ruled out with a thumb injury. Wheeler was limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday. Wheeler joins center Mike Pouncey (hip), defensive end Terrence Fede (knee) and linebacker Jordan Tripp (chest) as those ruled out for Sunday. Left guard Billy Turner is doubtful with a foot injury.

The complete Patriots report is as follows:

QB Tom Brady (calf) QUESTIONABLE
TE Rob Gronkowski (knee) QUESTIONABLE
DT Sealver Siliga (hand) QUESTIONABLE
DT Chris Jones (ankle) OUT
DE Michael Buchanan (ankle) OUT

Read More: Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Philip Wheeler, Rob Gronkowski

Fantasy Football: Week 1 starts, sits

09.05.14 at 2:02 pm ET
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Well, it’€™s officially Week 1 and it’€™s time for our first batch of starts and sits. For our newer readers, I do my best to avoid the obvious choices. These are not rankings. Rather, they are takes on specific matchups that make players more or less desirable than they would normally be. Is there a player you want our take on that isn’€™t mentioned? No problem. For rankings on all the major players, go to Rotobahn and check out our full Week 1 lineup rankings.

This Sunday features the first regular-season airing of the Fantasy Football Hour with my co-host Jim Hackett. We’€™ll be discussing this article and other Week 1 roster options that will help you to submit your most potent weekly fantasy roster. Tune in to WEEI 93.7-FM at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday game days to check it out. If you’€™re not an early riser, go to and enjoy it on your own schedule. I’ll be back in this space on Tuesday with our first waiver wire of the year.



Carson Palmer, Cardinals vs. Chargers

He’€™s got a nice home matchup, so it’€™s a good week to use him. He should be ready to roll in his second year as the starter in HC Bruce Arians’€™ offense. If Andre Ellington’s new foot injury proves serious, Palmer will be throwing most of the game.

Derek Carr, Raiders at Jets

He’€™s far from ideal, but if you are a Cam Newton owner (like me), looking for insurance, you could do worse than the strong-armed Carr vs. a battered Jets secondary.

Geno Smith, Jets vs. Raiders

It’€™s a great home matchup, so if you need a cheap option in a deep league, Smith can help.


Robert Griffin III, Washington at Texans

If you happen to have another strong option, then this is a week to consider benching Griffin, who will be running a new offense while facing JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney … and the chaos they create.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Carson Palmer, Chris Johnson, Derek Carr, Eric Decker

Jerod Mayo on MFB: New-look Dolphins offense ‘will be a challenge for us’

09.05.14 at 1:54 pm ET
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Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Friday afternoon to discuss Sunday’s regular-season opener against the Dolphins. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Bill Lazor, who last year helped Chip Kelly install the Eagles’ uptempo offense as the team’s quarterbacks coach, is in his first season as Miami’s offensive coordinator.

“You really don’t know what they’re going to come out and do, so it’s going to be a lot of sideline adjustments, a lot of halftime adjustments,” Mayo said. “You have an idea a little bit, bit at the same time, I’m sure they haven’t shown a lot of the things they’re capable of doing during the preseason.

“It’s a division game, and it’s a big game for both teams. It will be a challenge for us.”

The weather forecast for Sunday in Miami calls for very hot temperatures with high humidity and a possible thunderstorm.

“Obviously it’s a challenge, but at the end of the day we have to go out there and play football,” Mayo said. “We work hard on our conditioning. We have a great staff in the weight room. When we get down we have to play football, stay hydrated, go out there and be able to play for four quarters.”

Added Mayo: “We’ve all played in warm conditions. Hopefully this will be no different for us. Hopefully we prepare well, we have a great game plan and guys are hydrated.”

The big NFL news over the past day was a report that the league and the NFLPA are said to be close on agreeing to a plan to start testing for HGH.

“People get paid way more than me to make those decision,” Mayo said. “Whatever the decision is, we’ve got to live with it and follow the rules.”

For more Patriots news, visit the team page at

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Mike Petraglia on return of Tom Brady to Patriots practice and offensive line by committee

09.05.14 at 1:47 pm ET
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FOXBORO —’s Mike Petraglia discusses Tom Brady‘s return to Patriots practice Friday and the potential of an offensive line by committee to replace Logan Mankins.

Read More: Logan Mankins, Miami Dolphins, Mike Petraglia, New England Patriots

Adam Schefter on MFB: Patriots face challenge with new Dolphins OC

09.05.14 at 12:53 pm ET
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Adam Schefter

Adam Schefter

ESPN’s Adam Schefter checked in with Middays with MFB on Friday to preview Sunday’s regular-season opener between the Patriots and Dolphins along with other NFL news. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Schefter said the Dolphins could have an advantage in the sense that they have a new offensive coordinator in Bill Lazor, while there are no secrets about what the Patriots will do.

“The Miami Dolphins know, to a certain extent, what they’re going to be getting from the New England Patriots on offense and defense,” Schefter said. “They can mix things up, they can change the schemes, they can attack it a certain way. Do the Patriots know as well what they’ll be getting from [Lazor]? And they answer’s no, they just don’t. But than again, the Patriots have Tom Brady at quarterback and the Dolphins have Ryan Tannehill. And we’ll see how that works out.

“I just think to me those are always more challenging openers for a certain team and organization to get ready for, the ones where you’re going against a team that gets a new offensive coordinator and has a new offensive system in place.”

Schefter agreed that the Patriots defense appears to be an improvement over last season, although he’s not sure which players will step up, especially on the pass rush.

“I picked the Patriots as one my defenses in my two fantasy leagues, so I believe in them,” Schefter said. “But I will say that you wonder where all the pass rush is going to be coming from. And yes, they’ve upgraded the talent, the corners, the personnel, they get back injured players — all those things figure to be correct. But just tell me who’s getting double-digit sacks on this team besides maybe Chandler Jones. Is it going to be Rob Ninkovich? Is going to be to somebody else? Where is all the pass rush coming from? I think they’ll find a way to manufacture it, but do we know that right now?”

Added Schefter: “Again, I don’t have any doubt that they’ll be able to manufacture and scheme up certain things, Matt Patricia does a great job with that, but the fact of the matter is there aren’t many proven pass-rushers on this team. When you look at dominant defenses, they usually have dominant pass-rushers. … I just want to know where it’s coming from. And we’ll find out on Sunday.”

Touching on the Logan Mankins trade, Schefter said there does not appear to be one single reason but a variety of them behind moving the popular offensive lineman.

“I think there were a lot of factors that went into that deal,” Schefter said. “I think the Patriots will tell you bottom line is it was in the best interest of their team. It came together very quickly and unexpectedly. But I would say that the combination of things — I don’t think it was any one thing as much as the fact that they’ve been very good moving on from guys a year too early rather than a year too late. We’ve seen them do it with Lawyer Milloy and Richard Seymour and now Logan Mankins.

“And you’re talking about one of the grittier players that’s played in that franchise’s history. He’s been an All-Pro guard, he’s played with torn ligaments in his knee all year, he’s a tough guy, he’s good. But he’s also, what, 32? And they saved, what, 6 1/2, 7 million dollars in cash? And I don’t believe it was a financially driven decision. But do I believe that was a part of it? Yes. Do I believe part of it was trading and adding a tight end who they believe in? Yes. Getting a fourth-round pick? Yes. Giving some of these either young guys, the Josh Klines of the world, an opportunity? Yes. All of these things together, and when you factor them all in, it just made sense for them to do that.”

For more Patriots news, visit the team page at

Read More: adam schefter, chandler jones, Logan Mankins, Tom Brady

Bill Belichick declares that his Patriots are ‘as ready as we’re going to be’ for Miami heat

09.05.14 at 12:16 pm ET
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Bill Belichick is always teaching and planning when thinking of roster building. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick is always teaching and planning when thinking of roster building. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — When the schedule came out in the spring, the first thought many Patriots fans had when they looked at the season opener in Miami was how their team would handle the heat of South Florida in early September.

Bill Belichick said Friday he doesn’t share those concerns after a productive training camp that yielded a team he believes is in shape to start the 2014 season.

“I think anytime you play a road game, you have to prepare for whatever those conditions are, if they’re different from yours. We’ve had our hot days here. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. I really don’t. We’ve been out here in training camp, practicing in July and August. We’re as ready as we’re going to be. We had the same situation [in 2011] when we went down there. Some guys weren’t on the the team, obviously. But there are plenty of guys on the team. Whatever it is, it is.”

In 2011, a season that culminated with a trip to Indianapolis and the Super Bowl, the Patriots beat the Dolphins, 38-24, in a shootout to open the season. Despite the game being played on a Monday night, the Dolphins lost two players (Vontae Davis and Sean Smith) over the course of the game to dehydration and cramping.

This game will be played at 1 p.m., with temperatures expected in the upper 80s and a chance for scattered thunderstorms.

“I’d say that’s the least of our concerns,” Belichick said confidently of conditioning issues. “Our concerns are the Miami Dolphins. That’s what we need to be concerned about, and that’s what we are concerned about. How bright the sun is, that’s pretty far down the list.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Sean Smith

Tom Brady returns to Patriots practice

09.05.14 at 11:39 am ET
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Tom Brady and the Patriots have apparently gotten over any sort of early-season issues they've had with playing the Dolphins in Miami. (Getty Images)

Tom Brady and the Patriots have apparently gotten over any sort of early-season issues they’ve had with playing the Dolphins in Miami. (Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Sporting jogging pants and his red quarterback jersey, Tom Brady returned to Patriots practice on Friday after missing Thursday’s practice altogether with a calf injury.

Only the stretching portion of practice was open to the media, and during that portion Brady was spotted jogging with the rest of his teammates with no noticeable or significant limp, while going through full stretching. Brady told Westwood One Radio Thursday night during a national interview that the calf injury was not significant and he would be ready to go Sunday. Friday’s appearance on the practice field would seem to verify that opinion.

In addition to Brady, all players on the 53-man roster were present and accounted for in the shorts and shells practice on the upper grass fields behind Gillette Stadium.

The only player not on hand Friday was practice squad tight end Allen Reisner. There was an addition as a player wearing No. 98 was on hand. Defensive lineman Kelcy Quarles, released from the 53-man roster on Wednesday, tweeted Thursday that he was excited to be back with the Patriots.

It’s expected that, if Reisner was cut, Quarles will take his place on the practice squad.

Following Friday’s practice, the team leaves for South Florida and Sunday’s season opener against the Dolphins.

Read More: Kelcy Quarles, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Tom Brady
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