|10.02.13 at 11:16 am ET|
FOXBORO — Stevan Ridley, Matthew Slater and Vince Wilfork were the only ones not present at the start of Patriots practice Wednesday morning, a session that was held in sweats and shells on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium.
While the absence of Slater and Wilfork was no surprise (Wilfork underwent Achilles surgery and is likely lost for the season, while Slater suffered a wrist injury and has been on the shelf for a couple of weeks), Ridley not being present is interesting. The running back didn’t appear to be suffering from any sort of injury issues in the wake of Sunday’s win over the Falcons.
Braxston Cave, Logan Ryan and Aaron Dobson were named the Practice Players of the Week, and were wearing black jerseys for the workout.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|10.02.13 at 9:36 am ET|
Light made headlines this summer for telling the Dayton Daily News that he ‘never believed in anything Hernandez stood for,’ following the former tight end’s arrest for murder.
Two weeks ago, Light backpedaled on his original statement, saying that he never made those comments to the reporter.
‘I really didn’t know [Hernandez], to be honest with you,’ Light said. ‘I played a couple of seasons and he wasn’t out there a lot. You focus on the guys you’re with. There were times, I hate to admit this, that I didn’t know who some of the guys in our secondary were.
‘It’s kind of crazy to think that there’s only 53 guys on the roster active and you don’t know some of those guys, but the truth is you don’t because you’re so locked in to what you do.’
The Patriots moved to 4-0 on Sunday with a 30-23 win over the Falcons at the Georgia Dome. The fast start is somewhat surprising considering a hampered offense that’s missing its top five receivers from last year, and without headline offseason acquisition Danny Amendola.
‘The team’s where the team wants to be right now,’ Light said. ‘Who wouldn’t want to be 4-0 a quarter of the way through the season, seeing a lot of growth out of some young players?’
The frustration of missing those top receivers boiled over in New England’s 13-10 Week 2 win over the Jets for Tom Brady, who constantly lashed out at his young wide receiving corps.
‘You’ve never been frustrated in life? I mean, come on, it should be no surprise that it’s going to take a little bit of a curve,” Light said. “Although I would say after Week 1 and 2 there were many people talking about how crazy it was to bring in these young receivers, when I think from the beginning, a lot of people within the organization said they had a lot of confidence in them. To think there were going to be zero frustrations with a young football team and you wouldn’t see any of that play out is just kind of silly — that’s how it works.’
|10.02.13 at 9:27 am ET|
The Patriots announced Wednesday morning they re-signed rookie safety Kanorris Davis to the practice squad. Davis was signed to the 53-man roster from the practice squad on Saturday, Sept. 28, and played on special teams in the victory over Atlanta on Sunday. He was released by the Patriots on Monday.
Davis, 23, originally joined the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Troy on May 3. The 5-foot-10, 207-pounder was released on Aug. 31 and was signed to the practice squad on Sept. 1. Davis played as a linebacker in college, where he helped Troy win the Sun Belt Conference Championship in 2011 and 2012.
|10.01.13 at 6:26 pm ET|
In an acknowledgment that he had surgery on his torn right Achilles on Tuesday, Vince Wilfork tweeted Tuesday afternoon that he will focus his efforts on getting himself back on the football field by being the best patient possible.
Wilfork reportedly tore his right Achilles tendon on Sunday night on the first defensive series of the game and was carted off the field.
Wilfork assured fans that his wife Bianca is watching him closely, taking care of him and forwarding all messages to him from fans. Bianca Wilfork later tweeted out a picture of Wilfork post-op with him showing the thumbs up gesture.
Wilfork wrote out his thoughts on an iPhone Tuesday, took a screen shot and tweeted the picture.
Here was the text of his message:
I just want to thank everyone for your support and encouragement. Bianca is making sure I see all the comments I will I could respond to everyone. But please know your words are heard. One thing I know is that I signed up to play football I don’t regret anything that has happened and there is no need to feel sorry about it. I’ve been blessed to have had only one surgery prior to today and that was in highschool … I know what signing up to play football means and I know the rewards and the risks. This is my job and I will switch positions for now and play the role of patient but that is only temporary. I have so much confidence in my team and I know that they will do great and I will be right besides them maybe not in uniform but in all other ways. Thanks again
Sunday was likely his last time in a Patriots uniform until next season, when he is in the fifth and final season of a contract worth $40 million.
Just trying to get my thoughts out pic.twitter.com/OIVGEbfpy6
— Vince Wilfork (@wilfork75) October 1, 2013
Thanking God for a successful surgery pic.twitter.com/matpmHlcgH
— bianca wilfork (@mrs75) October 1, 2013
|10.01.13 at 6:01 pm ET|
Four days after he was released, the Patriots brought back defensive back and special teams player Marquice Cole on Tuesday, signing him back to the active roster.
Cole, who was nursing a sore hamstring, was limited mainly to special teams in the first three games of the 2013 season. He played in just seven special teams snaps against Tampa Bay in his last game on Sept. 22.
Cole, 29, is a veteran of four NFL seasons with the New York Jets (2009-11) and the Patriots (2012). The 5-10, 195-pounder joined New England as a free agent on March 19, 2012, and was re-signed by the team on March 20, 2013. Cole was released by the Patriots on Sept. 1, and re-signed by the team one day later on Sept. 2.
He played in 14 games with one start last season and finished with 12 total tackles, one interception, three passes defensed and seven special teams tackles. Cole played in both postseason games and added four defensive tackles and four special teams tackles. He played in the first three games of the 2013 season mainly on special teams.
Cole originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with Oakland out of Northwestern in 2007. He spent the end of the 2007 season on the Tennessee practice squad and part of the 2008 season on the practice squad of New Orleans. Cole began the 2009 season on the practice squad of the New York Jets before joining the 53-man roster early in September. Cole has played in 51 NFL games with two starts and has registered 26 defensive tackles, three interceptions with one returned for a touchdown and 43 special teams tackles.
|10.01.13 at 5:54 pm ET|
FOXBORO — When you’ve played with one of the best defensive talents in the game, you know there’s no sense in trying to replace him with another player. Tom Brady admitted as much when he was asked about Vince Wilfork on Tuesday on Dennis and Callahan.
But Bill Belichick is smart enough to know that you don’t replace him – you adjust your game plan. Wilfork, who had Achilles surgery on Tuesday, is a one of kind player. He is not only a space eater in the trenches, he’s one of the quickest defensive linemen in the NFL.
He went into great detail Tuesday to explain how the Patriots, mostly through the draft, have looked for players who can play different roles – or in the case of Chandler Jones – learn different roles.
So with Wilfork out, what’s more important, changing philosophy or personnel? Let Professor Belichick explain:
“I think that’s an interesting question. From week to week, you face a lot of different challenges and a lot of different offenses in this league. Trying to find the right matchups, of course it’s easy when you have a player that’s really good at everything. It’s a little bit harder when you have to find somebody, work different combinations of players that maybe excel more in one phase of the game than others.
“But facing teams that are two-back, power running teams like the Baltimores of the world versus a team like Atlanta last week that we were in sub-defense, most of the entire game other than a handful of plays. Now we’re seeing teams like San Francisco last year, Buffalo this year, Philadelphia in preseason and I’m sure there will be a little more of that trend in the league that the running game is more of a sideline-to-sideline running game as opposed to the traditional what we’ve seen for years out of even two-back or two-tight end teams that double team, power block, pulling guards and stuff like that. Over the course of the season, you’re going to have to deal with all those things. As soon as your opponent sees you’re not very good at one thing, you can expect to see a whole lot more of that. That’s what they do if they have it. That’s kind of the challenge, is to have enough depth and variety in your defense to be able to match up to those different type of offensive systems and be able to compete with them.
“It’s like one week you’re going up against, like I said, a team that has four or five really good receivers, the next week you’re going up against a team that has a couple really good tight ends, another week you’re going up against a spread running team, another week you’re going up against a power running team, one week you’re going up against a running quarterback, another week you’re going up against a real accurate, pocket-type quarterback. You get receivers that are great downfield, deep receivers and you’ll get receivers that are underneath, quick, very good maneuverable guys. Those are all the challenges. Like I said, if you have one player that can kind of do pretty good in all those situations, that’s great. The guy is probably going to be one of the top draft picks and highest paid players in the league.
“After that, you’re trying to put everything else together from a scheme standpoint and from a player standpoint to match up to that week to week. That’s definitely a challenge. Trying to find the right players and the right overall composition of your team is challenging. Whereas, on the offensive side of the ball, you have control over the ball. You know who you hand it to, you know who you throw it to, you determine what kind of formations you want to get into, how many guys you want to put on the field that are receivers or tight ends, or where you want to put them, if you want to throw the ball quick or throw it deep or run behind double team blocks or option run. You control that. When you’re on the other side of the ball, you don’t control anything. You have to defend what they do and it’s a much different problem.”
|10.01.13 at 4:02 pm ET|
Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia said Tuesday that when it comes to replacing veteran defensive lineman Vince Wilfork, the team will rely on the “next man up” approach to pick up the slack.
“Certainly, he’s someone that we rely on heavily,” Patricia said on a conference call with the media Tuesday afternoon. “But like in all situations and cases, the situation is what it is and the next guy has got to step up and perform to the best of his ability and go out there and obviously execute whatever it is we’re asking him to execute.
“Certainly injuries are an unfortunate part of the game of football, but that is what it is, and we’re obviously going to expect whoever’s out on the field to perform to the highest level of their ability. But certainly Vince Wilfork is a phenomenal player for us and certainly someone who we rely on week in week out to really attack each opponent at a truly very professional level.”
The loss of Wilfork will be felt on and off the field. The Miami product, in his 10th season in the league, is one of the most well-respected players in the New England locker room. The 31-year-old All-Pro brings a certain level of work ethic, leadership and gravitas that few can match.
“Obviously, first and foremost, Vince is just a phenomenal player both on and off the field for us,” Patricia said. “Defensively — from his leadership to his ability to his work ethic, which is such an incredible example, all of which all of our guys look at and try to model themselves after. Certainly from that standpoint, he’s phenomenal as a professional and someone that takes his craft very seriously and works extremely hard to improve himself every day. It’s a great work ethic for everyone to see, whether you’re a younger player or an older player that’s maybe just gotten to our program to really take a look at and obviously see someone like Vince prepare himself week in week out.”
Here are some of the highlights from the rest of Patricia’s Q&A with the media:
Read the rest of this entry »
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