|10.09.14 at 4:31 pm ET|
FOXBORO — An ankle issue kept Brandon Browner from participating in practice on Thursday as the Patriots continued their preparations for the Bills in Buffalo on Sunday. Browner was activated from the suspended list on Monday and added to the 53-man roster.
Also missing Thursday was defensive lineman Dominique Easley, who suffered a shoulder injury on Sunday. Rookie center Bryan Stork, who entered the starting lineup on Sept. 29 against the Chiefs, was another addition to the injury report on Thursday, as he was limited with a head ailment. It’s not apparent if he suffered the injury in practice or during the game on Sunday night against the Bengals, though he was not on the injury report on Wednesday.
The Patriots practiced in full pads on Thursday on the upper grass fields.
Defensive back Nate Ebner (finger) and offensive lineman Cameron Fleming (finger) were the other two Patriots players to miss practice Thursday. Ebner and Fleming haven’t practiced since suffering their injuries against the Chiefs.
After leaving Sunday’s game with a rib injury, safety Devin McCourty was again limited. And after being inactive Sunday, Dont’a Hightower practiced, but also was limited.
Did not participate
DB Brandon Browner (ankle)
DL Dominique Easley (shoulder/knee)
DB Nate Ebner (finger)
OL Cameron Fleming (finger)
|10.09.14 at 4:17 pm ET|
On Thursday, Spikes gave the Boston Herald his interpretation as to why.
Spikes was placed on injured reserve in January and didn’t play in either playoff game. Spikes had a knee injury for the second half of 2013 but it did not require surgery and he believes he could have played in the playoffs with it. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported that his suspension came from Belichick growing tired and annoyed with him showing up late to a team meeting. All of this led to the conclusion in Spikes’ mind that the IR designation was clearly a suspension.
“Absolutely, absolutely, but you know what I’m saying, I ain’t going to go — what’s done is done,” Spikes told the Herald. “We can’t change it. It is what it is. Everything happens for a reason. Whatever, man, I’m here with the Bills now. I’m happy. I’m loving the game. I’m loving my teammates, the entire organization, the city, your fans. It’s all great, man. It just reminds me of when I was in Gainesville with the Bills Mafia and the Gator Nation. It’s kind of the same, honestly.”
Spikes was placed on injured reserve Jan. 6, three days after he didn’t report for meetings at Gillette Stadium due to a snowstorm. Spikes admitted to not showing up, but he said that wasn’t the sole reason for being placed on injured reserve during the playoffs.
“I did miss that one day, but that wasn’t it,” Spikes said. “It was a handful of things that went on that was behind closed doors. But whatever, man. Like I said, it’s over with. I’m over it. Hopefully, they’re over it. Life goes on.”
Spikes told the Herald that he has “forgiven” Bill Belichick and would shake his hand if he gets the chance Sunday after the Bills and Patriots clash in Buffalo.
|10.09.14 at 4:13 pm ET|
FOXBORO — When Stevan Ridley looks across the line of scrimmage on Sunday, he’ll see a familiar face.
Linebacker Brandon Spikes, who was a teammate of Ridley’s for the last three seasons before he departed for Buffalo as a free agent this past offseason, will be facing his old mates for the first time as a member of the Bills. And Spikes, considered one of the best run-stoppers in the league, will likely have his singular focus on his old pal Ridley.
“I talked to him on the phone last week, he’s going to be excited,” Ridley said of Spikes. “It’s going to be a little bit different. I’ve seen him before and I know how he plays and what he does, but that’s not going to take anything away from him. For me, I just have to go in there and play my game.
“It’s going to be fun, just to go against somebody that you know, somebody that you’ve been with for the last three of four years and have a relationship with. It’s kind of cool.”
Sunday will mark a supreme test for Ridley and the rest of the New England running game, as the Blls enter the contest as the second-best run defense in the league, having yielded an average of just 71 rushing yards per game. Coming off a Sunday night performance against the Bengals where they finished with 224 rushing yards (minus the end-of-game kneeldowns), Ridley and the rest of the backs know that Buffalo presents a supreme challenge on the ground.
“They’re not lacking at any position,” he said. “From the line to the linebackers, they’re versatile, they’ve got some guys that will come downhill, they play aggressive, their secondary is solid. They have a solid defense, I think the numbers show that, and that’s what the stats prove. They’re playing some good football.”
Ridley, who has 84 carries for 317 yards and two touchdowns through the first five games, said that despite some early-season struggles up front, he never lost faith in the work of the offensive line.
“It’s funny — a lot of outsiders are saying that we’re starting to develop an identity and all this, but we’ve always built the offense around the o-line,” he said. “I believe in my teammates 100 percent, how we’ve gotten it done over the years. That’s not to say that we can’t go through a few growing pains or we might have to make some adjustments. No, not at all. As a whole, we’re moving in the right direction. There’s a lot of work to be done, a lot of challenges. I think last week was a step in the right direction. We just have to stay positive and keep working hard.”
|10.09.14 at 3:39 pm ET|
WEEI.com Patriots writer Chris Price previews the Week 6 matchup between the Patriots and Bills. Find out the keys to the game as well as Chris’ prediction.
|10.09.14 at 12:21 pm ET|
Cornerback Brandon Browner, defensive tackle Dominique Easley (knee/shoulder), safety Nate Ebner (finger) and offensive lineman Cameron Fleming (finger) were not present for the start of Patriots practice on Thursday, according to reports.
Browner, set to come off a four-game suspension, was absent for undisclosed reasons. The injury report is released at 4 p.m., which should shed some light on the situation. For what it’s worth, after practice on Wednesday, Browner was spotted with his teammates in the locker room, and did not appear to be hobbled in any fashion.
The Patriots continue preparing for this Sunday’s game against the Bills, set for Sunday at 1 in Buffalo.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|10.08.14 at 7:06 pm ET|
FOXBORO — As big of a win as Sunday’s 43-17 rout of the Bengals was, the Patriots have already put that behind them as they prepare for Sunday’s AFC East matchup against the Bills in Buffalo.
“Coach talked this morning — as great as last week was, that’s over and we’ve got to start putting it in this week, and we’ve done that the last couple days,” Tom Brady said.
As it stands now, the Patriots and Bills are tied for first place in the AFC East — both at 3-2 and the Bills coming off an emotional overtime win in Detroit last Sunday. The players are aware of the importance of the game and how what they did last Sunday night doesn’t matter now.
“You can’t get our head too big from the win. It was a big win, but you have to come back down to earth now and get ready for a division game on Sunday,” wide receiver Aaron Dobson said.
The Patriots know first-hand the nature of the NFL and how things can change from week-to-week. Just a week ago they were coming off of a blowout loss on Monday Night Football in Kansas City and needed to put that behind them to focus on Cincinnati. This week they are on the other end of the spectrum, but need to do the same in focusing on their next opponent.
“It’s week-to-week in this business,” cornerback Kyle Arrington said. “This past Monday we had a sour taste in our mouth and had to forget about it and move onto Cincinnati. As emotional and as big of a win it was Sunday night, we have to move on and forget about that as well. We have a big challenge ahead of us in Buffalo.”
|10.08.14 at 6:23 pm ET|
FOXBORO — One of the more interesting developments as it relates to the Buffalo offense over the course of the first five games is the fact that the Bills aren’t moving as fast as they were last season.
Using situation-neutral pace — a formula via Football Outsiders that eliminates second-half plays when one team is far ahead or behind to get a truer idea of the offense’s intentions when it comes to offensive pace — the Bills have slowed their frantic pace from the previous season.
Last year, the Bills ran one play every 24.9 seconds, the third fastest of any team since 1997, trailing only the 2013 Eagles and the 2011 Patriots. But through five games in 2014, Buffalo is averaging one play every 27.3 seconds, which is 15th in the league.
There could be a variety of reasons behind the slowdown — situation, personnel, scheme — but as it stands right now, Bills coach Doug Marrone said the decision has “gone well,” and noted that they started making a move in that direction at the end of the 2013 season.
“We have the ability to go fast and slow,” Marrone said. “We just look at it from game-to-game and situations and when we want to speed it up and when we want to slow it down. We’re doing what we have to do to try to win.”
But on Wednesday, Buffalo running back C.J. Spiller, who leads the Bills with 62 carries for 215 yards, sounded like a man who wouldn’t mind it if the team hit the gas pedal again sometime soon.
“It’s definitely been different,” Spiller said of the change of offensive pace from 2013 to 2014. “Obviously, we want to get back to what we want to do, speeding it up and getting our tempo. Obviously we also want to make sure that everyone is on the same page and executing at a high level, so hopefully, we will get back to that point. But who knows?”
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