|Inactive analysis||09.20.09 at 12:21 pm ET|
The Patriots will be without their best inside linebacker and second best receiver this afternoon, as Jerod Mayo (knee) and Wes Welker (knee) are both listed as inactive for today’s Pats-Jets game. In addition, offensive linemen Rich Ohrnberger, Dan Connolly and Kendall Simmons are out, as well as cornerback Terrence Wheatley, wide receiver/kick returner Matthew Slater tight end Michael Matthews.
The two big ones are Mayo and Welker. The loss of Mayo wasn’t unexpected, but it will force New England — when it goes to a 4-3 scheme — to likely use second-year linebacker Gary Guyton in the middle. The Bills had a lot of success with screen passes when Guyton was in the game last week — wouldn’t be surprised to see the same thing this week with the Jets. When it comes to Welker, this likely means Julian Edelman will see time as New England’s slot receiver, and it will also force veteran Joey Galloway to step his game up if the Patriots are to replicate their output in the passing game last week against the Bills.
As for the rest, Wheatley wasn’t expected to start this week against the Jets, but his presence does provide some depth at the cornerback spot. (Rookie Darius Butler will see more time than he did in the season opener last week as a result.) Slater will miss his second straight regular-season game — in the opener, Laurence Maroney returned kicks in place of Slater, and will likely be called upon to do the same this week. No surprises along the inactives along the offensive line (Simmons, Ohrnberger and Connolly), but it will leave them a little thin. And no Matthews leads me to believe he still hasn’t been able to pick up as much of the system as the coaching staff would have liked.
|Jets inactives||09.20.09 at 11:48 am ET|
The Jets inactives for this afternoon are as follows: quarterback Kevin O’Connell (third QB), quarterback Erik Ainge, linebacker Ryan Fowler, offensive lineman Matt Slauson, defensive end Mike DeVito, defensive lineman Ropati Pitoitua, tight end Matthew Mulligan and defensive lineman Howard Green.
|Pats inactives||09.20.09 at 11:46 am ET|
The Patriots inactives for this afternoon are offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger, tight end Michael Matthews, offensive lineman Kendall Simmons and wide receiver Wes Welker. They join the four other players who have already been listed as out — linebacker Jerod Mayo, wide receiver Matthew Slater, cornerback Terrence Wheatley and offensive lineman Dan Connolly.
|Pats downgrade three players to “out”||09.19.09 at 7:50 pm ET|
The Patriots have just announced that offensive lineman Dan Connolly, wide receiver Matthew Slater and cornerback Terrence Wheatley have all been downgraded to “out” for Sunday’s game against the Jets.
|Eight Pats among preliminary nominees for Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2010||09.19.09 at 7:49 pm ET|
Seven former Patriots players and one former executive — including tight ends Russ Francis and Ben Coates, wide receivers Irving Fryar and Stanley Morgan — are among the list of 131 players, coaches and contributors who make up the preliminary list of modern-era nominees for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2010.
Other notable nominees announced Saturday include all-time leading receiver Jerry Rice and all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith.
On the offensive side of the ball, Coates and Francis top the list of tight ends, while Fryar and Morgan are among the best of the bunch at the wide receiver spot. In addition, quarterback Rich Gannon — who was drafted by New England but went on to achieve his greatest success in Oakland — was also nominated.
On defense, former Patriots cornerback Ray Clayborn also received a nomination, as well as current WEEI contributor Fred Smerlas, who starred as a nose tackle Boston College before going on to a professional career highlighted by stops in Buffalo and New England.
Nominated in the “contributors” category is former Patriots executive Francis “Bucko” Kilroy.
The preliminary list will be winnowed to 25 modern-era semifinalists by Hall of Fame selectors will be announced on November 27. Those semifinalists list will be reduced by a mail ballot to 15 modern-era finalists that will be announced on January 7.
From that point, the actual voting will be conducted at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee’s annual meeting, which will be held on Saturday, February 6, 2010 in South Florida the day before Super Bowl XLIV. The election results will be announced immediately afterwards.
|Ben Watson on D&C, 9/18||09.19.09 at 4:39 pm ET|
Ben Watson spoke to Dino and Gerry this morning about Monday night’s game and the upcoming game against the New York Jets.
Good morning Ben, how are you?
Good morning, how you guys doing?
Explain something to me, when Patriot opponents open their mouths and yap, the Patriots, to a man, publicly, downplay the importance of those incendiary words. After the game we come to find out that they did fuel the fire of the New England Patriots competitive spirit, which is it?
Well, it sounds like you know the formula, huh? Honestly, it doesn’t really matter what they say. We have to prepare and we’re not trying to get caught up in a war of words and all that stuff. We just want to prepare the best we can to beat our opponent. After the game, of course, some of the stuff from before may come out but we do our best and the coaches do a good job of just telling us ‘these guys can say what they want that’s their prerogative, our prerogative is to prepare to play a good football game.’ Read the rest of this entry »
|Pats look to keep their signals straight||09.19.09 at 4:20 pm ET|
FOXBOROUGH – The Patriots are about to find out just how much their young defense has grown up.
They are entering the always hostile Meadowlands to take on another young and talented group — the offense of the New York Jets.
Gone is Brett Farve, replaced by rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez. Gone is veteran possession receiver Laveranues Coles, while second-year tight end Dustin Keller figures to see a much heavier receiving load in 2009.
“He’s a good receiver, a tough guy to stop. I think we’ve seen that all through preseason, definitely last week in Houston,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said of Keller.
Indeed, last week in Houston, the second-year tight end out of Purdue caught four balls for a team-leading 94 yards, an average of 23.5 yards per grab.
“[He’s] a very productive player, big guy, runs well, catches the ball well, has a good feel for the passing game. It looks like the quarterbacks have a lot of confidence in him, the ones this year and even last year with [Brett] Favre so, he’s earned their trust and confidence and they look for him. Whatever he’s doing on the practice field, I’m sure it’s something they feel good about. He’s made a lot of big plays in the games.” Read the rest of this entry »
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