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Myron Pryor only one missing from Patriots practice

01.12.11 at 4:06 pm ET
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The Patriots had just one player miss practice on Wednesday ‘€” defensive lineman Myron Pryor ‘€” while six players were limited, including Aaron Hernandez, Deion Branch and Sebastian Vollmer. Check out the full report below:

Did Not Participate
DE Myron Pryor (back)

Limited Participation in Practice
LB Tully Banta-Cain (groin)
WR Deion Branch (knee)
DE Jermaine Cunningham (calf)
TE Aaron Hernandez (hip)
DE Eric Moore (hamstring)
T Sebastian Vollmer (shin)

Full Participation in Practice
CB Kyle Arrington (elbow)
QB Tom Brady (right shoulder, foot)

Read More: injury report, Patriots, playoffs,

Tom Brady named top offensive player by Sporting News

01.12.11 at 3:01 pm ET
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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was named the NFL Offensive Player of the Year by the Sporting News on Wednesday afternoon. Brady started all 16 games, completing 65.9 percent of his passes and throwing for 3,900 yards. Despite enduring midseason change to both his backfield (where Laurence Maroney was dropped early in the year) and in his receiving corps (which replaced Randy Moss with Deion Branch in October), Brady led the NFL with 36 touchdown passes while tossing just four interceptions, and his 111.0 quarterback rating was also tops in the league.

Here is what the magazine had to say about naming Brady the award winner:

“Tom Brady did more this year than grow his hair long. This was his finest season’€”and that’€™s saying something for a man in possession of three Super Bowl rings and one league MVP award. He led a team in transition to a league-best 14-2 record, doing so while overhauling the offense midseason, after the trade of big-play receiver Randy Moss. Brady threw 36 touchdowns passes and a mere four interceptions, and his current streak of 335 attempts without a pick is a league record.”

For more from the Sporting News, including a roundup of quarterbacks from other teams on what stands out about Brady’s performance, click here.

Read More: offensive player of the year, sporting news, Tom Brady,

Jets lose right tackle Damien Woody for playoffs

01.12.11 at 2:45 pm ET
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. ‘€” Jets coach Rex Ryan said on Wednesday that his team would be without right tackle Damien Woody for the remainder of the postseason due to an injury to his Achilles tendon. Woody was placed on injured reserve for a ruptured Achilles tendon, and will undergo surgery today, Ryan said.

The 33-year-old Woody, who played at Boston College and then was taken in the first round by the Patriots, with whom he spent his first five years in the NFL, missed the final three games of the regular season for the Jets with what was described as a sprained right knee. But he returned to the field for the Jets in their 17-16 victory over the Colts. However, near the end of that game, he suffered the injury that will end his season.

Read More: Damien Woody, New York Jets, playoffs,

Bill Belichick doesn’t ‘think much about’ that day when he left the Jets

01.12.11 at 2:24 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The date was Jan. 4, 2000. Bill Belichick stood at the podium in Hempstead, NY and announced one day after being appointed to replace Bill Parcells as head coach of the New York Jets that he didn’t feel ready or fit to lead the Jets in 2000.

On Wednesday, amidst all of the furor over the comments of Rex Ryan, Shaun Ellis and Antonio Cromartie – Belichick was reminded that it was 11 years ago last week that he stepped aside with the now-infamous note that he wrote on a piece of paper. “I resign as HC of the NYJ.”

How did he react? With a wry smile before answering, “I don’t think about it much.”

A refresher for a moment. In the days after Super Bowl XXXI in Jan. 1997, Belichick (and most of the Patriots assistant coaches) went with Parcells to the Jets. Belichick’s official title was assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for the Jets from 1997 to 1999. When Parcells stepped down in 1999, he had already arranged with team officials to have Belichick succeed him.

However, when Belichick was introduced as head coach to the media’€”the day after his hiring was publicized’€”he turned it into a resignation announcement that caught everyone by surprise since it was expected to be an introductory news conference. After handing in the loose leaf paper, he offered up a 30-minute speech explaining his resignation to the media.

Weeks later, he was introduced as the new Patriots head coach, as Robert Kraft finally succeeded in hiring him away from Parcells and the Jets after failed attempts in the past. Parcells and the Jets claimed that Belichick was still under contract to the Jets, and demanded compensation from the Patriots. NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue agreed, and the Patriots gave the Jets a first-round draft pick in 2000 in exchange for the right to hire Belichick.

Eleven years later, the Patriots have three Super Bowl titles, four AFC championships and the best record in the NFL. The Jets have zero Super Bowl appearances and have appeared in the AFC championship just one, losing last year in Indianapolis.

Read More: Bill Belichick, New England Patriots, New York Jets, NFL commissioner

TV Azteca reporter Ines Sainz picks Jets

01.12.11 at 2:03 pm ET
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TV Azteca’s Ines Sainz, the reporter who was sexually harassed by Jets players at a practice early this season, said she is picking the Jets to beat the Patriots.

Speaking to Steppin’ Out, an entertainment magazine that covers the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area, Sainz said of the Jets: “They are like a star in the movies. They win games you truly believe they are going to lose.”

She said she has confidence that the team’s young quarterback can get New York past the rest of the AFC. “I truly believe they have the best chance to win the Super Bowl,” she said. “I think Mark Sanchez will do it!”

Speaking about the incident in September when Jets players made comments and whistled while Sainz was waiting to interview Sanchez, Sainz said she was surprised at how much publicity it received.

“I never thought my story would get so much attention,” she said. “Suddenly, you get too much attention.”

Read More: Ines Sainz, Mark Sanchez, playoffs,

Chris Mortensen on D&H: Trash talk ‘does kind of diminish the respect we should have for Rex [Ryan]‘

01.12.11 at 1:29 pm ET
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ESPN NFL insider Chris Mortensen joined the Dale & Holley show Wednesday to talk about the Patriots-Jets playoff matchup and the confident chatter coming from the Jets camp, specifically from coach Rex Ryan and cornerback Antonio Cromartie. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Asked if he had ever seen a coach and players more willing to speak their minds than this edition of the Jets, Mortensen said, “No. Never. ‘€¦ Right now, you’ve got so many stories going on, it’s hard to, like, OK, let me roll my sleeves and spend a lot of time wondering if there’s a discussion that’s going on behind the scenes saying, ‘Let’s really chatter, yap it up this week,’ in a way just to re-energize the team after the butt-whupping they took the last time they were in New England. Because if they take another one, you know, whatever. What’s the difference? I’ve never seen anything like it. I really haven’t.

“Listen, when your coach is out there doing it ‘€” and Rex really does have a lot of respect for Bill Belichick. And who wouldn’t? And it appears Belichick respects Rex. But when your head coach does it, it just basically tells the rest of the team, have at it. Now, Cromartie’s never won any awards for being the brightest bulb, so, I don’t know. I wouldn’t want to stir up that hornet’s nest there in New England. Not me. But I think there must be something just trying to get these guys to a different level of energy that maybe they throughout was lacking last time.”

Mortensen agreed that Ryan’s comments overshadow his performance as a coach. “I think it does,” he said. “But you know, that’s Rex’s personality. If you knew his dad [former NFL coach Buddy Ryan], he’s not totally like his dad. You know, his dad spoke his peace, always did. So, it’s kind of like in the family blood, the family genes. But in a way it does kind of diminish the respect we should have for Rex as a coach.”

Asked his opinion of Ryan, Mortensen had plenty of good things to say. “Pretty good coach. Media figure, gets A-pluses,” he said. “There’s a lot of things about Rex I like. ‘€¦ Fun guy to be around, talks football, friendly. I mean, like a genuinely good guy. And as a coach, he’s kind of signed his ‘€” this is what he does. He’s going to talk. He’s going to say what’s on his mind.

“I think in a way it’s kind of like when he speaks something either he’s trying to take the heat off his team or he’s trying to basically have that whole thing, which is, If we’re going to talk the talk, we’re going to walk the walk.”

Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is dealing with a shoulder injury, although it’s unclear exactly what the injury is or its severity. “He’s having surgery after the season, so he’s hurt,” Mortensen said. “I’ve heard different things on what the injury is.”

Mortensen said D’Brickashaw Ferguson and the rest of the Jets offensive line did a great job protecting Sanchez against the Colts, and that will again be a key Sunday. “If they hit Sanchez and and he lands on that shoulder, is he out of there? Now we’re playing with Mark Brunell or Kellen Clemens,” Mortensen said. “They did a great job of protecting him [against the Colts]. And Mark just played fair, as you know, it wasn’t great. That’s why I have a hard time seeing the Jets having chance of winning this game.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: antonio cromartie, Bill Belichick, Chris Mortensen, Mark Sanchez

Bill Belichick isn’t about to give ammo back to Antonio Cromartie and the Jets

01.12.11 at 1:23 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Bill Belichick has seen plenty in his days in the NFL. Great teams, great players, great games and not-so great comments from the opponents. So, when he refused to trash-talk with Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie, no one was surprised.

Belichick did not not give the Jets any ammunition Wednesday morning when asked to respond to the inflammatory remarks of defensive back Cromartie and defensive lineman Shaun Ellis. On Tuesday, Ellis said Tom Brady taunted the Jets sideline after a score while Cromartie said that Brady was “an ass—-” and followed up by adding, “[Expletive] him.”

“That’s all out of our control,” Belichick said tersely. “Our job is to get ready to play.”

It was almost as if Belichick was getting his revenge through not saying a word. Passive aggressiveness at its very best.

Belichick did admit that he felt there was a line that could be crossed when taking a shot at an opposing player like the Jets did with Brady on Tuesday.

“I’m sure there is,” Belichick said. “I don’t know what it is. My mind is on the New York Jets on Sunday at 4:30. That’s what in my mind right now.”

Will all of this smack talk fire up his players?

“I don’t know,” Belichick admitted. “You have to ask those players.”

While he was not drawn into any verbal volleys, Belichick did offer unequivocal support for the subject of the Jets’ ire.

“Tom just strives for perfection,” Belichick said. “There’s always room for every player to improve. And that’s what he does.”

In the end, Belichick realizes that the comments of Cromartie and Ellis won’t decide Sunday’s showdown at Gillette. Planning and execution will.

“We’ve improved every week. We played a lot of football games this year,” Belichick said. “Hopefully, we can learn from experiences in those games and put it to use in this one.”

Read More: antonio cromartie, Bill Belichick, New England Patriots, New York Jets
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