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Sebastian Vollmer might be taking it ‘day-to-day’ but Bill Belichick ‘expects’ he’ll play

09.16.11 at 1:33 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Bill Belichick said Friday he expects starting right tackle Sebastian Vollmer to be available to play against the Chargers after missing Monday night’s season opener in Miami with a sore back. Belichick suggested that Vollmer, rookie Nate Solder and Matt Light would likely work in a rotating system of tackles as the team continues to find its way along an offensive line that lost its starting center on Monday.

“I would expect all three of those guys to play, Light, Solder and Vollmer,” Belichick said. “I’d think they all play.”

However, Vollmer is playing it cautiously.

“I’ll really have to see about that,” Vollmer said. “So far, I’m limited at practice and I do what I can and try to get better. When it feels right, it feels right.”

Vollmer dismissed concerns over his latest back issues after having similar problems when he was at the University of Houston.

“It feels good getting back out there and doing what I can,” Vollmer said. “I’m only looking forward so it’s day-to-day and we’ll see what happens.”

The team practiced in shorts and shells on the lower grass fields on Friday in preparation for Sunday’s home opener at Gillette at 4:15 p.m., with Vollmer, Solder and Light all at practice.

The news is not as clear on defensive lineman Mike Wright, who missed again Friday with a concussion suffered Monday in Miami. Belichick deferred to his medical staff when asked if last year’s concussion combined with another suffered by Wright on Monday was cause for concern.

“That’s all handled by our medical staff,” Belichick said. “They evaluate that. I’m sure they’ll do what’s in the players’ best interest the way they always do. That’s not really my field.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Matt Light, Nate Solder, New England Patriots

Patrick Chung on M&M: Improved defensive communication ‘just takes time’

09.16.11 at 12:01 pm ET
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Patriots safety Patrick Chung joined Mut & Merloni Friday morning as part of WEEI’s Patriots Friday to discuss New England’s home opener on Sunday with San Diego.

When asked about New England’s win over Miami Monday night, Chung said that the team has moved on.

“We had a lot of conditioning and working out, but that game’s over,” Chung said. “We have San Diego, we have another team coming in. They have some speed, some big guys, so we have to get ready for them. … They’re a good all-around team, so we have to come ready to play, they’ll be ready to play, so it’s going to be good.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

On covering Antonio Gates: “When you play him, he can make plays, he’s a playmaker. He’s big, fast, he uses hands, good body control, everything. Your technique has to be on point.”

On defense communicating better: “That just takes time. … As the season goes along, we’re having these meetings and learning the defense and they get confident in the book, along with me, then we’ll be good.”

On how difficult it is to see family during the season: “It’s definitely hard. My family’s on the other side of the country. They’re out here this weekend for my son’s birthday. So, now I get to see everybody, and it’s going to be a good weekend.”

Read More: Antonio Gates, Patrick Chung,

Remember Jon Morris? He’s now center of attention in Patriots HOF

09.16.11 at 10:37 am ET
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FOXBORO — Before getting ready for his induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame on Saturday, Jon Morris watched on Monday and empathized for fellow center Dan Koppen.

“I had a terrible feeling when I saw that,” Morris said on Thursday. “I saw Koppen go down, and it happened to me at about the same [time]. It’s his 10th year? It happened to me in my 10th year, the second game of the year and that was it. That was my last game with the Patriots. I hope that doesn’t happen to him.”

“It was a sinking feeling when I saw that because I’ve been there.”

His own sinking feeling happened on Sept. 22, 1974 in a road game against the Giants.

But still, it’s been quite the month for the 69-year-old product of Holy Cross, which honored him earlier this month by placing him on the school’s ring of honor.

“When you’re on a roll, I don’t know what happened all of a sudden. Holy Cross has this new thing called the “Ring of Fame” where they put players’ names up on on the board so I was honored to have my name on that but yeah, it’s been a great month. I don’t know what’s next.”

Morris is the first Patriots Hall of Fame inductee to be selected by the newly formed senior selection committee. Morris will be inducted, along with Drew Bledsoe, in a ceremony at 5 p.m. ET Saturday at the Hall at Patriot Place outside Gillette – a ceremony that is free and open to the public.

Morris played 11 seasons for the Patriots, appearing in 130 games from 1964-74. He earned seven consecutive All-Star appearances with six AFL-All Star games (1964 through 1969) and was an AFC Pro Bowl center in 1970.

Read More: Dan Koppen, Drew Bledsoe, Hall at Patriot Place, Holy Cross

Rob Ninkovich gets contract extension from Patriots

09.16.11 at 9:41 am ET
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Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich has signed a two-year, $4 million extension with New England. The 6-foot-2, 255-pound linebacker started 10 of 16 games last season, totaling 61 tackles, with four quarterback sacks and two interceptions. The 27-year-old, in his sixth season in the league, has become an integral part of the Patriots defense at the outside linebacker spot — he played 42 of the 77 defensive snaps in the regular-season opener Monday against the Dolphins.

The news was first reported by Brian McIntyre of Macs Football Blog.

Read More: Rob Ninkovich,

Devin McCourty on D&C: ‘Whatever message [Tom Brady] sends to the fans, I’m behind it 100 percent’

09.16.11 at 9:00 am ET
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Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Friday as he prepares for Sunday’s game against the Chargers. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Tom Brady started a controversy this week when he implied that Patriots fans should start drinking early Sunday in preparation for the 4:15 start, as he wants the fans to be loud and rowdy.

Said McCourty: “Whatever Tom says, whatever message he sends to the fans, I’m behind it 100 percent. ‘€¦ Whatever Tom says, I’m with it.”

The Chargers arrive with a potent offense, led by quarterback Philip Rivers.

“Out of all the quarterbacks we play, he’s definitely the top quarterback in this league,” McCourty said. “So, you have to be prepared for Philip, because he’s going to make every throw on the field, and he’s going to be accurate with that throw. So, you have to always be in great position if you want to even get close to making a play.”

McCourty likely will have the assignment of defending Vincent Jackson Sunday, six days after drawing a tough matchup against Dolphins receiver Brandon Marshall. “I’m kind of expecting that same battle,” McCourty said. “Week by week, it doesn’t get any easier.”

Veteran tight end Antonio Gates also will provide the Patriots with a challenge.

“He’s been getting open for years in this league,” McCourty said. “No matter how you break it down, he finds a way to get open against defenses. That will be the key, to just stay on him, stay tight to him no matter what. Because he finds a way to get open no matter if you double-team, single-team, he gets open.”

Read More: Antonio Gates, Brandon Marshall, Devin McCourty, Philip Rivers

Randy Moss on return to Gillette: ‘No, I’m done’

09.16.11 at 8:15 am ET
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There has been speculation lately that Randy Moss has been hoping for a return to the Patriots, despite his recent decision to retire. The controversial receiver has spoken fondly about his former coach and teammates since his departure from Foxboro a year ago.

Moss was back in the area Thursday, playing a round of golf at Bungay Brook Golf Club in Bellingham, when Dennis & Callahan producer Ian Meropol and WAAF morning show co-host Lyndon Byers caught up with him in the parking lot.

Meropol asked: “Any chance we’ll see you in Gillette, Randy?” Replied Moss: “No, I’m done.”

Added Moss: “I’m just here golfing, minding my business.”

To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Read More: Randy Moss,

Drew Bledsoe is ‘humbled’ to be entering the Patriots Hall of Fame

09.15.11 at 5:03 pm ET
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FOXBORO — After trying on his Patriots Hall of Fame jacket (46 XXL) for the first time, Drew Bledsoe took a trip down memory lane on Thursday, two days before he becomes the first Patriots’ Super Bowl-winning player to enter the franchise’s hall of fame.

He gave it up for Tom Brady‘s 517 yards, the Robert Kraft family and even the old Foxboro Stadium. He actually liked it! Bledsoe will be inducted into the Patriots hall of fame on Saturday at 5 p.m. at Gillette Stadium. It’s free and open to the public.

What are your favorite Bledsoe memories?

Here are his two:

“Coming back in in that AFC Championship game against the Steelers,” Bledsoe said of his relief appearance of the injured Tom Brady in the Jan. 2002 game that preceded their epic Super Bowl win over the Rams. “That was a poignant moment for me for a lot of reasons. The magnitude of the game, having not been able to play for quite a while and being able to get back on the field for that game. That one stands out.”

Then there’s the greatest Patriots’ passing game before last Monday night. It was Nov. 1994 when the Patriots found themselves trailing the Vikings, 20-3, and standing just 3-6 on the season. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Drew Bledsoe, Hall at Patriot Place, New England Patriots, nfl
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