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Bill Belichick and Patriots ‘haven’t decided yet’ how to replace Jerod Mayo, Stevan Ridley

10.14.14 at 3:57 pm ET
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Bill Belichick. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — In a compressed week, Wednesday becomes Saturday. And with a game Thursday night against their AFC East rivals from New York, the Patriots could announce roster moves to fill the void created by injuries to Jerod Mayo and Stevan Ridley, both of whom are expected to miss the rest of the season with lower leg injuries.

That is, of course, if the Patriots decide they need to put both on season-ending injured reserve to create roster space for a move like running back Jonas Gray from the practice squad. Belichick acknowledged he’s spoken with player personnel director Nick Caserio about their roster options.

“I think that’€™s something that we’€™re just going to have to evaluate here in the next day or two,” Belichick said Tuesday. “I’€™ve talked with Nick Caserio and our coaching staff and Nick’€™s staff and we’€™ll just have to try to figure it all out here. It’€™s a real short week. So, we’€™ll just have to take all those things into consideration and try to figure out what we’€™re going to do ‘€“ if we would make one and who it would be and so forth. We haven’€™t decided that yet. We’€™ll see how it goes here.”

While Deontae Skinner figures to move up on depth chart and get more playing time to help with the loss of Mayo, the running back situation could be different. Brandon Bolden figures to get more carries but there is the chance for someone like Jonas Gray to be promoted from the practice squad. If that’s the case, then the Patriots need to make the move by Wednesday.

“We tell the practice squad, all those players every week, that they’€™re one sprained ankle or one day away from being active,” Belichick said. “We’€™ve made those moves as late as the day before the game ‘€“ Saturdays on a Sunday game and things like that. Those players prepare every week to be ready to play both on offense or defense and in the kicking game. As you know, we’€™ve done that before. That’€™s the same for them every week.

“There’€™s no difference for them this week or from any other week. They’€™re on the roster, on the practice squad, they’€™re potentially on the roster for the game. So, they prepare for the game as if they are on the roster. If that happens, it happens. If it doesn’€™t, then we go to next week.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Calvin Pryor, Deontae Skinner, Jerod Mayo

Mike Petraglia, Ryan Hannable preview Patriots-Jets on Thursday night football

10.14.14 at 2:19 pm ET
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FOXBORO —’s Mike Petraglia and Ryan Hannable preview the Thursday night football match up between the 4-2 New England Patriots and the 1-5 New York Jets. The two discuss how the Patriots will make up for the season-ending losses of starting linebacker Jerod Mayo and running back Stevan Ridley to leg injuries and the mood around Gillette Stadium on a very short work week.

Read More: Mike Petraglia, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Ryan Hannable

Tom Brady ready for Rex Ryan to throw everything at him: ‘He tests every part of your game’

10.14.14 at 1:51 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Tom Brady isn’t looking at the 1-5 record the Jets bring to Gillette Stadium this Thursday night. He’ll be too busy focusing on their coach and what he throws at him.

“He tests every part of your game,” Brady said Tuesday of Rex Ryan. “I do have a lot of respect for that from a coach’s standpoint. He challenges you. And then when he feels he has you on something, he sticks with it. We’ve had our fair share of good games. He’s had his fair share of good games so it makes for a great matchup. They’re a great rivalry. We’ve had a lot of meaningful games with them ever since I got here. It’s always been fun playing the Jets. This week will be no different.

“This defense tests a lot of things. They really put a lot of pressure on you in a lot of ways, the front, coverages, scheme, they kind of do it all. There’s a lot to prepare for and to do it on three days is a lot. But they’re dealing with the same stuff. We’ve had a good couple of days. We need a couple good more days and then let it rip Thursday night.”

Brady isn’t one of those to rip the NFL for the short week that many players around the league have complained about since turning Thursday night football into a weekly event.

“I think it’s great to get the opportunity to go out there and do something I love to do,” Brady said. “I don’t care if it’s Thursday, Monday or Sunday or Tuesday. Whatever day they tell me to play, I’ll be ready to go.

“I think I’ll be as prepared as I can possibly be. It all comes together. It always does.”

Brady also emphasized Tuesday that his turnaround of the last two weeks will have no direct carryover one Thursday’s game begins.

“Really, whatever has happened in the past two weeks make no difference going into this week because this is a totally different entity,” Brady said. “It’s a different team, scheme, matchup, game plan, blitz package. Everything is different this week. Coach said we have to fill that tank back up and put everything we can into it and let it go.”

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Read More: New England Patriots, New York Jets, Rex Ryan, Tom Brady

Tom Brady not spotted at start of Patriots practice

10.14.14 at 1:42 pm ET
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FOXBORO — After being questionable for last Sunday’s game with an ankle injury, Tom Brady was missing from the start of Patriots practice Tuesday afternoon on the game field at Gillette Stadium prior to the Patriots’ Thursday night matchup with the Jets. The practice appeared to be a walkthrough.

Also missing from the start of practice were: Stevan Ridley, Jerod Mayo, Nate Ebner, Dan Connolly, Cameron Fleming and Bryan Stork. It should be noted the media was only present for the first few minutes of practice, so we’ll have to wait for the practice report later this afternoon to know for sure if those players ever made it out there.

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Read More: Bryan Stork, Cameron Fleming, Dan Connolly, Tom Brady

Report: Bill Leavy will work as referee for Thursday’s Patriots-Jets game

10.14.14 at 1:33 pm ET
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Bill Leavy will work as the referee for Thursday's game. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Bill Leavy will work as the referee for Thursday’s game. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Bill Leavy will work as the referee for Thursday’€™s game between the Patriots and Jets, according to

Leavy, who became infamous with football fans in the Greater Seattle area after his performance in Super Bowl XL (which he later apologized for), has worked in the league as an official since 1995, and was promoted to referee in 2001. He has worked several New England games over the years, including a 2012 contest against the Bills at Gillette Stadium, as well as the divisional playoff loss to the Jets in the 2010 postseason.

This is the first game involving the Patriots that Leavy has worked since the 2012 AFC title game at Gillette Stadium, a game that New England lost, 28-13.

Here’€™s a look at who has worked as referees for New England’€™s games to this point in the season:

Sept. 7 at Miami: Walt Anderson
Sept. 14 at Minnesota: Tony Corrente
Sept. 21 vs. Oakland: Pete Morelli
Sept. 29 at Kansas City: John Parry
Oct. 5 vs. Cincinnati: Jerome Boger
Oct. 12 at Buffalo: Walt Coleman
Oct. 16 vs. Jets: Bill Leavy

For more on Leavy’€™s work as an official, check out his page at Pro Football Reference. And for the complete rundown of referee assignments for the week, check out Football Zebras.

Read More: Bill Leavy,

In Focus: Charting Offensive Opportunities For Patriots Skill Position Players

10.14.14 at 12:46 pm ET
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Every week, we list the Patriots’€™ “offensive touches,”€ a running tally of which one of the offensive skill position players is getting the most looks. Like our weekly look at targets, it can occasionally be an inexact stat, but it remains a good barometer of how confident the coaches (and quarterback) are when it comes to the skill position players at their disposal. Here’€™s a breakdown of the 2014 New England offense after six games:

RB Stevan Ridley: 98 (94 carries, 4 catches), 8 negative runs
RB Shane Vereen: 61 (42 carries, 19 catches) 1 negative catch, 1 negative run
WR Julian Edelman: 45 (5 carries, 40 catches)
TE Rob Gronkowski: 26 (26 catches)
RB Brandon Bolden: 16 (15 carries, 1 catch), 2 negative runs
WR Brandon LaFell: 15 (15 catches)
QB Tom Brady: 13 (13 carries), 12 sacks, 5 kneeldowns
TE Tim Wright: 10 (10 catches)
WR Kenbrell Thompkins: 6 (6 catches)
RB James White: 6 (3 catches, 3 carries)
FB James Develin: 5 (1 carry, 4 catches)
WR Danny Amendola: 4 (4 catches)
QB Jimmy Garoppolo: 3 (3 carries) 1 sack, 3 kneeldowns
WR Aaron Dobson: 3 (3 catches)
TE Michael Hoomanawanui: 2 (2 catches)
WR Brian Tyms: 1 (1 catch)

Notes: Not including two kneeldowns at the end of the game, the Patriots had six negative plays from scrimmage on Sunday — two sacks of Brady, two negative runs from Ridley and one negative run each from Bolden and Vereen. … On the season, New England has run 408 plays from scrimmage, and 25 of them have gone for negative yardage, not including kneeldowns. …  Against the Bills, the Patriots ran 66 plays, with one of them in no-huddle. … In addition, 26 of their 66 snaps (39 percent) were in shotgun formation. … On the season, the Patriots have run 25 of their 408 plays out of no-huddle (6 percent) and 124 snaps in shotgun (37 percent). By way of comparison, over the course of the 2013 regular season, the Patriots were in shotgun for 42 percent of their offensive snaps and they ran no-huddle on 11 percent of their snaps.

By way of comparison, here’s a look at the Patriots’ offensive breakdown through six games last season.

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Rodney Harrison on MFB: ‘Geno Smith, he stinks, Michael Vick doesn’t want to play’

10.14.14 at 12:36 pm ET
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NBC Sports NFL analyst Rodney Harrison made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Tuesday to discuss the Patriots’ injury issues and the upcoming game against the Jets. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Harrison said he expects Thursday’s game will be a tough one despite the Jets coming in with a 1-5 record and struggling badly on offense.

“I think it will be competitive,” Harrison said. “The Jets, they have such a hatred for the Patriots. Rex Ryan, he’s had success against Tom Brady, he knows what to expect. And I think he will have this team ready. And this team, they’re 1-5, they’re not very good. Geno Smith, he stinks, Michael Vick doesn’t want to play, they haven’t practiced well. This team has lost a lot of players, young guys in the secondary. Tom can really eat up this defense.

“But just knowing Rex, and just knowing how much he dislikes the Patriots, I think this game will be a lot more competitive than what people think.”

Added Harrison of the Jets: “They’re going to have to win on defense, because they’re offense is nothing.”

Smith, the second-year quarterback, has struggled on the field and made some questionable comments off it, which leads Harrison to question his approach.

“When they talked about drafting him, I never viewed him as a top first- or second-round pick. I thought maybe he was a guy that could probably go between Rounds 3 and 5. I just wasn’t really impressed with him,” Harrison said.

“Sometimes when you’re a young quarterback and you’re struggling, sometimes it’s best just to be quiet and not say too much in the media, just come off as a very humble guy, just trying to learn the system. But he continues to talk, he continues to put his foot in his mouth.

“What he needs to do is stop turning the ball over, bottom line. Every game this year he’s turned the ball over, and they just don’t have a chance if he continues to turn the ball over.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Geno Smith, Jerod Mayo, Michael Vick
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