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Tom Brady injures ankle, questionable Sunday, Bryan Stork (head) questionable

10.10.14 at 5:07 pm ET
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Tom Brady is nursing an ankle injury that has made him questionable for Sunday in Buffalo. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Tom Brady is nursing an ankle injury that has made him questionable for Sunday in Buffalo. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Ankles have been a major issue this week in Foxboro. On Wednesday, Brandon Browner showed up on the injury report with an ankle injury and was limited. He didn’t practice at all the next two days and is questionable for Sunday’s game in Buffalo.

But on Friday, there was an even more concerning ankle problem and it involves quarterback Tom Brady. The Patriots signal caller showed up on the injury report as limited due to an ankle injury and is officially questionable for the game against the Bills. Brady apparently injured the ankle during Friday’s practice, which was only in sweats and shells. This is not the first time Brady has been questionable for a game. He was technically questionable for the season opener in Miami when he missed practice on the Thursday before with a calf injury.

The questionable designation indicates that the team believes there’s a 50-50 chance the player will be available to play.

Also missing Friday were rookie center Bryan Stork, defensive lineman Dominique Easley, Browner, Cameron Fleming and Nate Ebner. Ebner and Fleming have been ruled out for a second straight week and haven’t practiced since suffering their injuries against the Chiefs.

Did not participate

DB Brandon Browner (ankle) QUESTIONABLE
C Bryan Stork (head) QUESTIONABLE
DL Dominique Easley (shoulder/knee) QUESTIONABLE
DB Nate Ebner (finger) OUT
OL Cameron Fleming (finger) OUT

Limited Participation

QB Tom Brady (ankle) QUESTIONABLE
LB Jamie Collins (thigh) QUESTIONABLE
LB Dont’a Hightower (knee) QUESTIONABLE
DE Chandler Jones (shoulder) PROBABLE
S Devin McCourty (rib) PROBABLE
WR Matthew Slater (shoulder) QUESTIONABLE

Read More: Brandon Browner, Bryan Stork, Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots

Fantasy Football: Week 6 starts, sits

10.10.14 at 1:50 pm ET
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WEEI_FantasyFootball_2014_hdr

As we near the midpoint of the fantasy football regular season, we’re seeing things come into focus. Whether you’re a seasonal GM or a weekly player, you probably are starting to get a feel for how you want to play things. It’s been a strange year, but that’s the NFL. While Eddie Lacy and Jamaal Charles owners are feeling some much-needed relief, those who rely on Calvin Johnson, LeSean McCoy and Adrian Peterson are on the ledge — staring into the fantasy abyss. I have good news for those who drafted McCoy. He’€™ll get things going — probably this week. Those with Johnson probably are out of luck on Sunday but have long-term hope. If you drafted Peterson, you have my sympathy as well as my commiseration. He’€™s a sunk investment — a potential season-wrecker.

As always, I’ve attempted to avoid the obvious stuff. If you are looking for information on players not listed below, follow this link to my full lineup rankings at Rotobahn. If your guy’s not listed there, get on Twitter and give me what for.

For those in need of Sunday lineup advice, feel free to stop by our chat, which kicks off at 11 a.m. and runs through noon every week. And don’t forget to check out the Fantasy Football Hour every Sunday morning.

QUARTERBACKS

Start

Eli Manning, Giants at Eagles

He’s now rolling, and with a full complement of weapons we like his chances in this game, which looks like a bit of a shootout going in. Manning’s a projected QB1 in all formats this week.

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers at Browns

He’s got all the weapons he needs and the Browns have some injuries at cornerback. Big Ben is a good play in Week 6 regardless of your league’s size. He should get you QB1 stats.

Cam Newton, Panthers at Bengals

While Newton is not an elite start this week, as he often is, he is playable. There’s no reason to look to the waiver wire. He may begin to run more with a battered backfield behind him and a need to win games due to the team’s 3-2 start in a very competitive division. He’s my 12th-rated passer this week.

Brian Hoyer, Browns vs. Steelers

If you are hurting in a big format, Hoyer is an option. He’s not even in my top 20 this week, but he’s playable and that’s why I listed him — to illustrate the depth of the Week 6 quarterbacks. If you are in need, just consult the Rotobahn QB rankings for the best available option.

Sit

Kyle Orton, Bills vs. Patriots

I feel like the Patriots could take his best weapon away, and that’s a potential problem. Orton’s not loaded with upside as it is, so you hopefully have other options. Beware of Revis Island.

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Read More: Andre Williams, Ben Roethlisberger, Brian Hoyer, Cam Newton

Adam Schefter on MFB: ‘It probably ends when Tom Brady says it ends’ in New England

10.10.14 at 1:37 pm ET
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Adam Schefter

Adam Schefter

ESPN NFL analyst Adam Schefter joined Middays with MFB on Friday to talk about the Patriots and a potential trade of Tom Brady. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Schefter recently was involved in a discussion on an ESPN program about what Brady would be worth on the trade market, after he heard speculation about the quarterback’s future. Schefter noted that it was a hypothetical discussion, and that he has no knowledge of Brady being on the market.

“I happened to speak to a lot of different people about that topic last week because I was just curious about it,” Schefter said. “That’s not to say that New England ever would trade him, that he would agree to go. We were playing the hypothetical game, and if that were to happen after the season. I think that there was one — one executive who told me that he thought that New England would get back two [first-round picks].

Now, again, we debated that, and I spoke to some other people and they were like, “Two ones, no, no, no, no, no.’ He was in the minority, clearly. I think I spoke to about a half-dozen front-office/GM types in charge of those kind of things. After talking to them, the conclusion I reached was that if New England were to try to trade Tom Brady, which I don’t see happening, if he were to agree to go somewhere, which I don’t see happening, if all these things were to come together and somehow all this did happen — and he followed the same path that Joe Montana took one day for the Niners, going to Kansas City, or some of the other great players like that — I think New England would get back at least a one, and maybe something else like a four or a five, a conditional kind of pick.”

Schefter said he doesn’t know how Brady’s tenure will end in New England, but he hopes it’s ultimately up to Brady.

“You’re talking about such an extraordinary career, arguably the greatest football player of all time, somebody who is immersed in that city and its culture and everything,” Schefter said. “How does it end? It probably ends when Tom Brady says it ends.

“It’s a different kind of case. Could he be traded? Yeah, that can always happen. I don’t think it would surprise me. Could he be cut? It would surprise me, you cut Tom Brady, I don’t see that. At some point he’ll decide, ‘I’ve had enough.’ That would be my favorite for how this plays out. But there are a lot of different ways it could go.”

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Read More: adam schefter, Adrian Peterson, Colin Kaepernick, Jerry Angelo

Bill Belichick knows exactly what to expect from Jim Schwartz and his Bills D Sunday

10.10.14 at 12:53 pm ET
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Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are both preparing for a fierce pass rush in Buffalo. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are both preparing for a fierce pass rush in Buffalo. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Jim Schwartz has made a name for himself in the NFL.

He is regarded as one of the more aggressive defensive minds in football. That reputation began in Tennessee with the Titans in the early 2000s. His job there earned him a head coaching gig in Detroit, where he was in charge of one of the most dominating defensive fronts in football. Of course, before all of that, he was a Browns assistant for Bill Belichick in the early-to-mid 1990s.

Now, in his first year in Buffalo as Doug Marrone’s defensive coordinator, Schwartz is getting ready to unleash another fierce defensive front on the Patriots. Led by Mario Williams, the Bills have an explosive four-man front that can not only rush the passer but effective stop the run.

With Williams and Jerry Hughes on the edges, that leaves Marcell Dareus and and Kyle Williams in the middle. Belichick said Friday that when all four are playing, it’s an obvious effort to funnel all action to the middle of the line.

“Yeah, that’€™s totally what it is,” Belichick said. “It’€™s the same thing that we saw at Tennessee, same thing that we saw at Detroit with Jim, going back to [Kyle] Vanden Bosch. Change the names, but it’€™s the same type of scheme and players. Yeah, they definitely do that. They like to play the ends out wide. Now, they’€™ll pinch them in to keep you honest. They don’€™t do it every play.

“But yeah, they get the ends out there wide and pinch them into those tackles and they have three guys inside, whether it’€™s three linebackers or when they’€™re in nickel sometimes it’€™s two linebackers and a safety. They definitely try to funnel that. They’€™re a really hard team to get outside on. They don’€™t give up many outside plays. Jim never has. It’€™s just hard to get outside those guys. They’€™re wide plus they’€™re big and they’€™re athletic. That’€™s definitely the foundation of that defense ‘€“ set the edge with the ends and then like you said, force the ball inside. That’€™s definitely what they’€™re trying to do.”

Last week, Kyle Williams sat out last week’s win in Detroit with a knee injury. He was back on the field Wednesday on a limited basis and is expected to try to play.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Buffalo Bills, Jim Schwartz, Kyle Williams

Bryan Stork (head) joins Brandon Browner, Dominique Easley as missing at Patriots practice

10.10.14 at 12:18 pm ET
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Bryan Stork

Bryan Stork

FOXBORO — Rookie starting center Bryan Stork was not spotted at practice Friday, one day after he showed up on the injury report with a head ailment.

Stork was officially listed as limited Thursday with a head injury and his absence Friday leads to the speculation that Stork was injured during Thursday’s full pads practice. Stork made his NFL debut in Week 2 against the Vikings and was a sub again in Week 3 against the Raiders.

Stork made his first NFL start at center in Week 4 in Kansas City and started again last Sunday against Cincinnati, providing a stabilizing force in the middle of the still-developing offensive line.

Also missing Friday’s sweats and shells practice were cornerback Brandon Browner (ankle), defensive tackle Dominique Easley (knee/shoulder), safety Nate Ebner (finger) and offensive lineman Cameron Fleming (finger). Browner and Easley were missing their second straight practice while Ebner and Fleming missed the entire week for a second straight week.

The Patriots will have a walkthrough on Saturday before leaving for Western New York and Sunday’s 1 p.m. game against the Bills.

Read More: Brandon Browner, Bryan Stork, Buffalo Bills, Dominique Easley

Rodney Harrison on D&C: Patriots defense not ‘a very complicated system’ for Brandon Browner to learn

10.10.14 at 10:01 am ET
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NBC NFL analyst Rodney Harrison joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday to discuss the Patriots’ upcoming game against the Bills. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Cornerback Brandon Browner, who was suspended for the first four games of the season, was not activated for last Sunday’s contest against the Bengals. According to a report in the Boston Herald, Browner did not suit up Sunday because he is having trouble learning the defense in his first year with the team.

Harrison said the defensive schemes shouldn’t be that hard for Browner to learn.

“I don’t think it’s very difficult because it really hasn’t been such a complicated defensive scheme,” Harrison said. “I think [Bill] Belichick has tried to keep it relatively simple because he has so many players coming in and out of the system. The quickest way for you to lose on defense is blowing coverages. And we saw that early, three, four years ago — the blowing of the coverages, the miscommunication, the things of that sort.

“I’d don’t think it’s a very complicated system from what I’ve experienced, even when we were doing a lot of zone pressures, a lot of different defenses likes 46’s and stuff like that with Romeo Crennel.”

The report indicated that Browner has struggled in New England because the way the Patriots want their corners to play is different from what Browner was used to with the Seahawks. Belichick expects his corners to adjust according to pre-snap changes by the offense.

“That’€™s no different than any other team,” Harrison said of the Patriots. “Anytime you line up, and see exactly if, ‘If it’s cover-3, if this guy goes in motion, this is what I’m going to do.’ You always have to think ahead of time because there’s always different motions, different shifts, different formations that you have to adjust to. When I look at [the Patriots] on tape, I don’t see a complicated scheme, say, like Dick LeBeau‘s back seven, eight, nine years ago when you had Joey Porter and [James] Farrior and all of those guys. They had a lot of different moving parts.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Rodney Harrison, Tom Brady,

Bill Belichick says learning D isn’t ‘any issue at all’ for Brandon Browner

10.10.14 at 9:57 am ET
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Bill Belichick is always teaching and planning. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick is always teaching and planning. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Bill Belichick insisted Friday morning that Brandon Browner is not having any issues picking up the Patriots’ defensive system.

On Thursday the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe reported that the defensive back signed to a three-year, $16.8 million deal in March was held out of Sunday’s game against Cincinnati not because of physical issues but because Browner was having difficulties picking up the schemes of Belichick and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.

But on Friday morning, asked how Browner was coming along and progressing, Belichick said, “good.”

Pressed as to whether Browner was held out of Sunday night’s game because of difficulties in learning the system, Belichick said that’s not a problem and hasn’t been since Browner arrived in New England.

“I don’t think the learning part of it is any issue at all… hasn’t been since he’s been here,” Belichick said.

Browner missed practice Thursday due to what the team is calling an ankle injury. Browner and Brian Tyms were eligible to return against the Bengals after each served four-game suspensions. With Tyms, it appeared to be matter of numbers in the receiving corps. With Browner, the Herald said it was a matter of readiness.

Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, Browner’s former teammate, told the Herald in June that the Seahawks gave their corners just one responsibility. Sherman hinted that adding more responsibilities could make him less effective.

Browner may be in the same boat as Darrelle Revis – playing best when he is allowed to play his own game, as WEEI.com’s Chris Price wrote last week. Revis played primarily man coverage against Bengals superstar receiver A.J. Green and posting his best game in a Patriots uniform.

The other factor that figured in slowing Browner’s return to action is the healthy return of Alfonzo Dennard Sunday night after missing the previous three games with a shoulder injury.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Brandon Browner, matt patricia, New England Patriots
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