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Fantasy Football: Week 7 waiver wire

10.16.12 at 9:06 am ET
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Welcome to the Week 7 waiver wire. I know a lot of you are facing tough choices this week and we have significant bye losses with the Falcons, Dolphins, Broncos, Chiefs, Eagles and Chargers all taking the week off. It’€™s rough to be in a must-win situation while being compromised with bye issues. We’€™re here to help. And, if you don’€™t see the player or players you have questions about listed here, please feel free to join us at Rotobahn later today where we will get even more comprehensive with our full free agent rankings.

QUARTERBACKS

Christian Ponder, Vikings

He’€™s still out there and we like him a lot. He’€™s got the smarts and some serious weaponry. You’€™ve all heard of Adrian Peterson, and WR Percy Harvin is perhaps the league MVP right now. This is all good for Ponder and he’€™s got a developing red zone monster in TE Kyle Rudolph. This guy can be your starter in a big league if you are hurting and he makes a very solid QB2 in all leagues.

Brandon Weeden, Browns

Our guy is coming around nicely and it might be time to snatch him up in medium-sized leagues. He was already viable in large formats. The thing we like most is that Weeden is doing it with different guys every week and he did it without the support of Trent Richardson for much of last week. The former minor league baseball player is a gamer and his 5.03 career ERA is no longer a problem. Weeden is a solid backup option for fantasy GMs.

Jake Locker, Titans

He’€™ll sit out another week and some people may end up cutting him, especially in smaller leagues. Locker, with Kenny Britt getting near full health, has a lot of upside down the stretch and we’€™d pick him up in most formats if he is available.

Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins

We are impressed with Tannehill for sure. Who knows what he is capable of if they get him some real offensive talent to work with. For now, we like him as a QB2 in all 12-team leagues and even in some smaller leagues if you have the bench space.

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Read More: Brandon Weeden, Christian Ponder, Jake Locker, Ryan Tannehill

Matt Patricia: Lack of execution led to downfall of defense against Seattle

10.15.12 at 4:45 pm ET
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When it came to Sunday’€™s game-winning touchdown pass from Seattle rookie quarterback Russell Wilson to wide receiver Sidney Rice, Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia blamed a lack of execution across the board that led to the defensive breakdown.

‘€œI think the particular play that you’€™re talking about, obviously we’€™ve got to execute better and coach better the call that we were in,’€ Patricia said on a conference call with the media on Monday afternoon. ‘€œ[The] defense is called to try to stop any particular play that they can throw at us or run at us, and we’€™ve just got to go out and execute and perform it at a higher level.

‘€œI can’€™t really say that an extra defender or an extra player here or there would have helped us, but we’€™ve got to obviously do a better job overall from coaching and playing to just handling the situation and the play better.’€

The Patriots have up a bunch of big plays Sunday: Seattle had six pass plays of 20 yards or more and four pass plays of 40-plus yards. There were three completions, including the 46-yard touchdown pass to Rice, as well as a 40-yard pass interference penalty in the fourth quarter on safety Patrick Chung.

Asked about the big plays being the result of technique or mental issues, Patricia said it was a little bit of both.

‘€œI think you’€™re probably going to look at both when you go back and take a look at it,’€ he said. ‘€œ’€˜What could we have done from an awareness standpoint that was better?’€™ and ‘€˜What could we have done from a technique standpoint that was better?’€™ So you need to improve on both because it just wasn’€™t good enough.’€

Here are a few more highlights from Patricia’€™s Q&A with the media:
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Read More: matt patricia,

Bill Belichick talks mental toughness and breakdowns in Seattle

10.15.12 at 4:08 pm ET
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Patriots coach Bill Belichick acknowledged Monday that part of his team’€™s recent inability to hold onto late leads is due in part to a lack of mental toughness.

‘€œSure, I think that’€™s part of it,’€ the head coach said on a conference call with reporters. ‘€œThere are a lot of different adjectives you can use to describe it, but in the end, it comes down to situational awareness, reaching down in the end of the game, in terms of performance, overall execution. But when you get down to the end of the fourth quarter, the whole game really now hinges on just a handful of plays ‘€¦ maybe just one play ‘€¦ that determine the outcome of the game.

‘€œMental toughness, I think, is part of it,’€ he added. ‘€œAwareness is part of it, basic execution is part of it, conditioning is part of it, scheming and actual technique of the play, the way the play is set up, all those things are part of it. It’€™s an area, like I said, that I think we need to do a better job of all the way around ‘€“ it’€™s not any one person or any one thing or even any one play, but collectively all the units I previously mentioned were all involved and we just have to work harder to get it to a higher level.’€

Here are some other highlights of Belichick’€™s Q&A with the media:

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Read More: Bill Belichick,

Josh McDaniels on red zone woes: ‘We can do better, and we have to’

10.15.12 at 1:30 pm ET
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As ugly as the passing yardage allowed was in the final box score from Sunday, the stat that sticks out like a sore thumb to Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was further down.

The Patriots were just 1-for-6 in the red zone. They were inside the 20 offensively six times and came away with just one touchdown, a 1-yard fade route from Tom Brady to Aaron Hernandez.

After the TD, the Patriots missed on their final five chances in the game, including the botched play just before halftime that ended with the Patriots going for a touchdown with six seconds remaining, only to have Brady throw the ball to no one in the back of the end zone for an intentional grounding call and the end of the half.

“Each possession is different,” McDaniels said Monday during a conference call. “Anytime you go down there and you end up with any negative type play, it can really hurt your opportunity to have success at the end of the drive, in terms of scoring touchdowns. We were down there six times and didn’t score enough. That’s obviously an area that we can do better in, have to do better in and get better in quickly.”

In the second half, the Patriots took their first drive and marched the ball down to the Seattle 17 but had to settle for a Stephen Gostkowski field goal. The second shot ended with Brady getting the Pats down to the Seattle 6 before trying to force a pass for Wes Welker. Earl Thomas picked off the pass, taking away the chance for any points that would have — as it turned out — sealed the game.

On the final chance — on their next possession — the Patriots got the ball down to the Seattle 17 before settling for another field goal.

“If we get the opportunity six chances down there to score touchdowns and only come away with one, certainly that’s not good enough,” McDaniels said. “There were a lot of different situations. Each drive was a different scenario there. We had a few third-and-shorts we didn’t convert on. We ended up with the [end of half] drive and were hoping for seven or three there and didn’t get it.

“But overall, I think your execution down there is certainly at a premium and whatever you’re calling is really at a premium. You have to do everything right down there because you really have no margin for error. We can do better, and we have to.”

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Read More: Aaron Hernandez, Josh McDaniels, New England Patriots, nfl

Inside the numbers: Patriots chase history with woeful pass defense

10.15.12 at 1:05 am ET
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The good news for the Patriots is that their pass defense a year ago fairly could be characterized as horrible — particularly at the start of the season — yet the team advanced to the Super Bowl. The bad news for the Patriots is that, to date, this year’s secondary appears to be worse, at least statistically.

A year ago, after all, there was some measure of bend-don’t-break operating in the Pats secondary at the start of the season. There were grounds for concern based on the staggering volume of yards that New England permitted last year, but ultimately, the Pats limited opponents to 10 passing touchdowns while picking off eight passes in the first six games to limit the damage, allowing the team to get off to a 5-1 start.

This year? There’s been a lot of breaking. The Patriots’ 24-23 loss to the Seahawks highlighted what seems like a considerable vulnerability, chiefly, an inability to defend adequately against downfield passes.

Consider: Russell Wilson entered Sunday having thrown five touchdowns while getting picked off six times. On Sunday, he threw for three touchdowns and wasn’t picked off. He also completed six passes of 20 or more yards — including the game-winning 46-yard bomb to Sidney Rice in the final two minutes — after not having completed more than three such passes in any of his first five games this year.

It would be one thing if getting shredded by the rookie was an aberration. But to date, the Patriots’ struggles to shut down the passing game appear to be an eye-opening trend that teams undoubtedly will try to continue to exploit going forward.

Here’s a look at the brutal start by the Patriots’ passing defense: Read the rest of this entry »

Wes Welker: ‘You have to be able to put it away’

10.14.12 at 9:05 pm ET
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What should’ve been entertaining talk about one of the great streaks of his career and another chance to poke fun at his head coach turned into Wes Welker trying to explain how the explosive Patriots offense suddenly went cold in a 24-23 shocking loss to the Seahawks in Seattle.

The Patriots put up over 300 yards of passing in just over two quarters of football. Welker, himself, had seven catches on eight targets in the first half from Tom Brady. He had 102 yards of receiving and a 46-yard touchdown pass under his belt as the Patriots went to the locker room with a 17-10 lead.

That lead grew to 23-10 on a pair of Stephen Gostkowski field goals but the Patriots certainly had the sense that they were leaving way too many points on the field.

There was the blown opportunity from the Seattle 24 with 40 seconds left in the first half that ended with Brady taking the first of his two intentional grounding calls in the game, as the Patriots got greedy and turned down the sure field goal and looked into the end zone. There were the two Brady interceptions in the second half, one coming in the red zone. And there was the second intentional grounding near midfield that forced the Patriots into third and long and eventually, a punt.

For a team that prides itself in being the very best offense in the game, they were an unacceptable 1-for-6 in the red zone, with an incompletion, an interception and three field goals to go along with Brady’s one-yard TD pass to Aaron Hernandez.

Now, the stat they’re going to hear all week and in their sleep is four points, the combined margin in New England’s three losses this season. With a chance to beat the Cardinals at home, Gostkowski hooks a 42-yard field goal wide left in the final seconds. Leading the Ravens, 30-21, in the fourth quarter, the Ravens find a way to score the final 10 points and beat New England at the gun on a disputed field goal.

And now Sunday, a rookie quarterback throws a pair of fourth-quarter TDs as Brady and the Patriots offense can’t convert key first downs and protect a 23-10 fourth-quarter lead.

“We talk about playing a good 60 minutes of football and we seem to come up a little bit short,” Welker said. “These close games like this, especially when you have the lead in the fourth quarter, you have to be able to put it away. We weren’t able to do that today.”

Welker finished with 10 catches and 138 yards, becoming the first Patriots receiver since Randy Moss in 2007 amass four straight games of 100 yards receiving. But instead of talking about that, Welker and the Patriots are wondering how and why they are 3-3.

“Right now, it’s really frustrating,” Welker said. “We just have to get back to work and really work on these things and make sure we’re pushing through and win the games in the end.”

Read More: New England Patriots, nfl, Randy Moss, Tom Brady

Who’s to blame for Patriots collapse in Seattle?

10.14.12 at 8:08 pm ET
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Who is most to blame for the Patriots' loss in Seattle?

  • Patriots secondary (47%, 433 Votes)
  • Tom Brady (27%, 247 Votes)
  • Patriots' play-calling/coaching (26%, 240 Votes)

Total Voters: 919

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Read More: New England Patriots, nfl, Seattle Seahawks, Tom Brady
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