|11.19.14 at 10:28 am ET|
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has a lot on his plate to get ready for in dealing with the Lions this week.
“It’s been really impressive to watch the Lions this week,” Belichick said Wednesday. “They’re really a good football team and do a good job in all three phases of the game. They’re good in the kicking game, really explosive on offense, have great skill players and I think they’re statistical accomplishments on defense really speak for themselves. They’re at the top of the league in everything, points, yards (allowed), run defense, time of possession, turnovers, red area, third down, pass defense, you name it.”
Indeed, the Lions enter game as the top defensive team in the NFL in points allowed (15.6), total defense (290.3 yards/game) and rushing defense (68.8 yards per game). They are second in third down defense, allowing just a conversion rate of 35.2 percent.
“Very dominant and disruptive there so we’re going to need to play a good complimentary game all the way across the board,” Belichick said. “There’s no real weak points. There’s a lot of things we’re going to have to deal with. It’s a team obviously we don’t obviously know very well so we’re going to have to really work hard this week to get on top of them, get familiar with them. They present a lot of problems. They’ve been in a lot of close games, in a lot of tough situations. I think they’re mentally tough, resilient team. They’ve shown that. That’ll be a big challenge for us to match that toughness and competitiveness, too. It’s a good football team coming in here.”
“He’s pretty dominant,” Belichick said. “He can do it all and his effort, the plays he makes from behind in chase, on screen plays, hustling downfield, backside plays in addition to all of his point-of-attack and pass rushes, disruptive plays. The guy gets double-teamed a lot and is still productive.
|11.19.14 at 10:03 am ET|
Jonas Gray was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week, the league announced on Wednesday morning.
The Patriots running back rushed for 201 yards and four touchdowns in Sunday’s 42-20 win over the Colts. The 5-foot-9, 230-pound Gray is the third Patriots player to rush for 200 yards in a game, and is the first NFL player to score his first four career rushing touchdowns in one game since Herb Henderson of the Evansville Crimson Giants in 1921.
It is the fourth AFC Player of the Week honor for the Patriots in 2014. Chandler Jones was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in the win at Minnesota on Sept. 14, DL Chris Jones was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance in the win vs. the New York Jets on Oct. 16, and Julian Edelman was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance in the win vs. Denver on Nov. 2. In addition, QB Tom Brady was named AFC Offensive Player of the Month for October.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|11.19.14 at 9:43 am ET|
Law played 10 seasons with the Patriots as one of the best corners in the NFL, finishing with 36 interceptions during his time in New England. The two-time All-Pro ended his career with briefs stopovers with the Chiefs, Jets and Broncos before retiring after the 2009 season.
Seau played 20 years in the NFL, including the better part of four seasons with the Patriots (2006-2009). The linebacker, who also starred for the Chargers and Dolphins, is among eight first-year candidates in the balloting.
Other semifinalists include receivers Marvin Harrison, Tim Brown and newcomers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt; running backs Jerome Bettis, Terrell Davis, Roger Craig and newcomer Edgerrin James; safeties John Lynch, Darren Woodson and Steve Atwater; defensive ends/linebackers Charles Haley and Kevin Greene; linebacker Karl Mecklenburg; offensive tackles Joe Jacoby, Mike Kenn and newcomer Orlando Pace; guard Will Shields; newcomer center Kevin Mawae; placekicker Morten Andersen; and coaches Don Coryell and Jimmy Johnson.
The list will be cut to 15 modern era finalists to be considered on Jan. 31, the day before the Super Bowl, in Phoenix. Inductions will be in August.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|11.18.14 at 9:12 pm ET|
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 10 games:
RB Shane Vereen: 106 (70 carries, 36 catches) 1 negative catch, 4 negative runs
RB Stevan Ridley: 98 (94 carries, 4 catches), 8 negative runs
RB Jonas Gray: 70 (70 carries)
WR Julian Edelman: 67 (8 carries, 59 catches)
TE Rob Gronkowski: 53 (53 catches)
WR Brandon LaFell: 39 (39 catches)
QB Tom Brady: 19 (19 carries), 14 sacks, 7 kneeldowns
TE Tim Wright: 19 (1 carry, 18 catches), 1 negative rush
RB Brandon Bolden: 17 (16 carries, 1 catch), 2 negative runs
RB James White: 12 (9 carries, 3 catches)
WR Danny Amendola: 11 (11 catches)
FB James Develin: 7 (1 carry, 6 catches)
WR Kenbrell Thompkins: 6 (6 catches)
QB Jimmy Garoppolo: 6 (6 carries) 2 sack, 6 kneeldowns
WR Aaron Dobson: 3 (3 catches)
TE Michael Hoomanawanui: 2 (2 catches)
WR Brian Tyms: 1 (1 catch)
Notes: With the scoring change that was announced on Tuesday, the Patriots had no negative plays from scrimmage on Sunday, the first time all season that happened. … On the season, New England has run 685 plays from scrimmage, and 33 of them have gone for negative yardage (5 percent), not including kneeldowns. … Against the Colts, the Patriots ran 75 plays, with 18 of them in shotgun (24 percent). And while they hurried back to the line on a few occasions, the official game book lists them as not having a single play in no-huddle all evening. … On the season, the Patriots have run 53 of their 685 plays out of no-huddle (8 percent) and 206 snaps in shotgun (30 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. … One interesting wrinkle — rookie offensive tackle Cameron Fleming was used as an eligible receiver/tight end on 37 of the 75 snaps on the night, and added some bulk to a New England offensive line that did a terrific job pushing the Indy defensive front back all evening.
|11.18.14 at 4:17 pm ET|
The Patriots may have found the true key to maintaining success down the stretch, at least offensively.
The Patriots scored touchdowns in all five chances Sunday night in the red zone. The key, according to offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, was the genuine threat of either a pass or run.
As a matter of fact, the first five touchdowns the Patriots scored were the result of red zone execution. Instead of settling for field goals, which Tom Brady had mentioned in previous weeks as a problem, the Patriots were able to run it into the end zone four times behind the power attack of Jonas Gray.
Brady also converted a two-yard touchdown pass to tight end Tim Wright to cap an 80-yard drive that opened the second half scoring.
“In order to be good in the red zone, I think you have to maintain the ability to be balanced, two-dimensional down there,” McDaniels said in a conference call Tuesday. “If you ever get into the red zone and become all pass or all run, then generally a defense kind of either packs it in in the running game or tries to double cover certain people in the passing game, and there is obviously less space to throw it in, and there are usually more people near the line of scrimmage the lower you get in the red zone [and] the closer you get to the goal line.
“I thought that we were effective running the ball in the red zone the other night. A lot of people did a lot of good things. It’s tough when you get down there because there is not a lot of space, like I said, and you’ve got to get either receivers in there blocking tight, or your backs are going to have to break a tackle or run through an extra defender some times, and I thought that Jonas did a good job of doing that. We were fortunate to be able to run the ball in I believe four times the other night. Running the ball is not an easy thing, but I think the guys did a good job of trying to get a hat on those guys, and like I said, Jonas ran well.”
|11.18.14 at 3:59 pm ET|
The NFL said Tuesday Patriots running back Jonas Gray is now credited with 37 carries for 201 rushing yards in Sunday’s game against the Colts, giving the youngster an extra two yards following a change in scoring.
It appears that the change came after a closer look at the scoring on a fourth-down run from Gray, one that ended with a two-yard loss. However, there was a penalty that was enforced on the play — the Colts were offsides, but the accepted penalty was a facemask on Indy linebacker Erik Walden.
With that negative run now having been nullified, Gray gets those two yards back, and finishes with zero negative rushes. He also now becomes the third running back in Patriots history to rush for 200-plus yard in a game, joining Tony Collins (212 yards on Sept. 18, 1983 against the Jets) and Jim Nance (208 rushing yards on Oct. 30, 1966 against the Raiders).
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|11.18.14 at 3:45 pm ET|
The Steelers announced Tuesday they have released former Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount.
The move comes in the wake of Blount not receiving a single carry in Monday’s 27-24 win over the Titans. Blount had been an “internal problem for at least a month,” according to a report from Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
‘We believe the decision to release LeGarrette is in the best interest of the organization and wish him the best of luck,’ Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin said in a statement issued by the team.
Blount joined the Steelers as a free agent on March 28 after playing a single season in New England. He played in each of the team’s 11 games in 2014, rushing for 266 yards on 65 carries with two touchdowns and added six catches for 36 yards.
The 27-year-old Blount is expected to receive interest from several teams around the league, including the Colts, who lost starting running Ahmad Bradshaw to an ankle injury this past weekend in a loss to the Patriots. As for a possible reunion with New England, it would likely be a longshot, at least at this stage of the season, as the Patriots have four active running backs on the roster, a group that includes Jonas Gray, who rushed for 201 yards against Indy last weekend.
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