|10.03.14 at 12:36 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Bill Belichick wasn’t tipping his hand Friday on how much, or even if, returning suspended players Brandon Browner and Brian Tyms will play Sunday night when they’re eligible to return.
“We’ll make that decision in the next 48-plus hours,” Belichick said.
From what he’s seen in practice, does he think they look like they’re ready to go?
“They’ve worked hard,” Belichick said.
Could they handle the pace of a regular season NFL game?
“I think they’ve worked hard,” Belichick said. “Yeah, it’s just a question of them versus other guys. I think we have other guys to consider on that, too.”
“You could go out there and run laps around the field forever and do sit-ups, but until you put the other 21 guys out there on the field it’s different. You just can’t simulate football without 22 guys on the field. You just can’t do it. Being in condition is important, I’m certainly not minimizing that, but playing football is playing football. It’s not doing wind sprints. That’s part of conditioning, but it’s not part of playing football. Playing football is 21 other guys. So, you can’t simulate that unless you’re out there doing it. Guys that miss time, whether it’s a player coming back off an injury or the Tyms-Browner situation or whatever it is, there’s an element to football ‘ reactions, timing, execution ‘ that’s separate from conditioning.”
Both Browner and Tyms were given extra reps in preseason games to try and get them as ready as possible, knowing they would be missing the first four weeks of the season, in addition to missing practice time.
“Yeah, and I think they did that,” Belichick said of both working hard. “They both knew what their situation was. They knew what they were going to be dealing with and I think they both did that, all the way up to the last preseason game with the Giants. I think they got as far as they could go and then we had to put on the brakes for four weeks and now it’s time to start up again. So, we’ll just have to see where that comes to.”
With regard to Browner, the other guys could include rookie Malcolm Butler or second-year corner Logan Ryan, who struggled badly Monday night in Kansas City and was dressed down verbally on the sideline late in the first half and benched the rest of the game. Duron Harmon is another defensive back who might have to take a back seat to make room on the game day roster.
What might both players bring to the table that has been missing in their absence?
“They’re both good football players,” Belichick said. “They bring their strengths. The other players have their strengths. We’ll have to try to make the decision as to what we feel is best for this game and our situation.”
|10.03.14 at 12:02 pm ET|
FOXBORO — For a third straight day, Nate Ebner and Cameron Fleming were the only two players not spotted at the start of Patriots practice on Friday outside Gillette Stadium.
The two were also missing from Wednesday and Thursday practices, with each player suffering from what the team described in the injury report as a finger injury. With both missing all three days of practice, it’s likely neither would be available against Cincinnati Sunday night. The injury report (along with their chances for playing) will be released later Friday afternoon.
Also missing from the sweats and shells workout on the upper grass fields was practice squad offensive lineman Caylin Hauptmann.
Ebner, a core special teamer, has seen more and more time as a defensive back over the first four weeks of the season. Meanwhile, Fleming, a rookie offensive lineman out of Stanford, made his first NFL start last Monday against the Chiefs at right guard.
Also in attendance at practice Friday were Cris Collinsworth and Michele Tafoya of NBC “Sunday Night Football” broadcast crew. The game will kick off at 8:30 p.m. Sunday and be seen nationally on the network.
|10.03.14 at 10:51 am ET|
FOXBORO — In a move that hardly comes as a surprise, Patriots players have elected special teams captain Matthew Slater as their Players Association player rep to handle all matters between the union and the team.
The NFLPA made the announcement Friday morning on its Twitter page.
— NFLPA (@NFLPA) October 3, 2014
|10.03.14 at 10:11 am ET|
NBC Sports NFL analyst Rodney Harrison joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday to discuss the Patriots and their upcoming game against the Bengals. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
After the Patriots’ crushing 41-14 loss on Monday night against the Chiefs, coach Bill Belichick has looked toward the Bengals and not back at the Kansas City game. Harrison offered his take on what the mentality of the locker room is behind closed doors.
“Belichick is basically saying, ‘Guys, we played the worst game of the season. Obviously we can learn a lot from this. We can sit back and we can stay negative, but we’re going to move forward.’ ” Harrison said. “And I had a chance to talk to Darrelle Revis, and he basically preached the same thing to me yesterday when I talked to him. He said, ‘We’re moving forward. We have a great opportunity here. This is a really good team coming in. But this is a team we know we can beat. We just have to play better.’ ”
On Monday the Patriots fell behind in the first half 17-0 and then compounded their mistakes in the second half with multiple turnovers on offense. The defense had trouble stopping the KC ground attack led by Jamaal Charles. Harrison said many of the mistakes the Patriots made can be fixed.
“It’s a lot of fundamental stuff,” Harrison said. “They were close. You look at the score and you say, ‘No way, they just played awful.’ But they were close. … One thing that really disappointed me I saw on tape, I saw some lack of hustle. That’s fundamental things that come from within. That’s something that you can’t coach. You have to want to get to the play and make the play as a player. But some of these things, just missed tackles, blowing coverages, letting guys run through the secondary free, those types of things are very correctable.”
|10.03.14 at 9:59 am ET|
FOXBORO — Bill Belichick is denying that there’s any disciplinary issues going on with Aaron Dobson.
The Patriots wide receiver, according to a report from the Boston Globe’s Shalise Manza Young, was benched and made inactive for games against the Raiders and Chiefs because he “mouthed off” to Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
Belichick was asked if the decision to bench Dobson was related to football or discipline. Belichick, without hesitating, answered, “football.”
Later Belichick was asked if there was a confrontation between Dobson and McDaniels. The Patriots coach against answered immediately, “no.”
But in a very curious addition to his denial, Belichick promised Friday at his press conference that he would “have a comment on that later.”
Dobson was held back at the start of training camp as he came back from offseason foot surgery. He played in the final preseason game against the Giants but did not play in the season opener against the Dolphins, presumably because the team wanted to ease him back into regular season game action. But he made his debut against the Vikings in Week 2 and appeared healthy, catching one pass for 13 yards on two targets.
|10.03.14 at 8:59 am ET|
I’ll get to the starts and sits in a second, but I have to say that if the NFL wants to keep having Thursday night football, could they have both teams agree to play?
It’s now two weeks in a row that one team showed up and mopped the field with what looked like a JV unit. It seems like we keep getting low-quality football on Thursdays and it’s almost certainly related to the short week of preparation. And, in an era where player safety is supposedly of paramount concern, what’s the rationale for the short week? Not to mention that Jim Nantz and Phil Simms are about as compelling as another Derek Jeter retrospective. I never thought I would miss Mike Mayock.
So who do we want in our Week 5 lineups this weekend? Let’s endeavor to find out. As usual, I have avoided the exceedingly obvious choices. The most obvious selection below probably is Reggie Bush, who is included because his Week 5 situation is atypical. If the player or players that you want feedback on are not listed here, consult my full lineup rankings at Rotobahn. If you still have unanswered questions on Sunday, then head over to our chat, which starts at 11 a.m. every Sunday during fantasy football season. And, don’t forget to check out The Fantasy Football Hour. It airs each Sunday morning starting at 6:30 a.m., and you can listen to a tape of the show right here on WEEI.com if you are not an early riser.
To keep track of all our fantasy football content both here and at Rotobahn, follow us on Twitter.
He gets Odell Beckham, Jr. back this week, and they have righted the ship lately even without the highly regarded rookie. It’s a sweet home matchup with the Falcons, who can score the ball and who aid others in doing the same. Fire up all your Giants skill players.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers at Jaguars
He’s playing well, and this matchup is a slam dunk. Big Ben is a solid QB1 option with a cast of healthy targets led by scorching-hot receiver Antonio Brown.
Blake Bortles, Jaguars vs. Vikings
He should be playing from behind for much of the game, and we like the way he stays cool under pressure. This is crucial in Jacksonville, where quarterbacks face constant pressure. The good thing about Bortles is that he’s a rugged dude who gets you points with both his arm and his feet. If you need an option in a deep league, he can help you.
Andy Dalton, Bengals at Patriots
He’s playable in big formats, but I am not loving him on the road against a Patriots defense that projects to be fired up and ready to go. The Bengals are likely to be without Marvin Jones again after the tall receiver rolled his ankle in practice this week. Jones was supposed to return and bolster the Cincinnati receiving corps, but he’ll be limited if he can play. I see this game as a ground battle, so be careful with Dalton in smaller formats. You probably have better options.
|10.03.14 at 8:30 am ET|
WEEI.com Patriots writer Chris Price previews the Week 5 matchup between the Patriots and Bengals. Find out the keys to the game as well as Chris’ prediction.
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