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Vikings RB Adrian Peterson suspended for rest of 2014 season

11.18.14 at 9:51 am ET
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Adrian Peterson has been suspended for the rest of the 2014 season. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Adrian Peterson has been suspended for the rest of the 2014 season. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

The NFL announced Tuesday morning that Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has been suspended without pay for the rest of the 2014 season.

Peterson pleaded no contest Nov. 4 to misdemeanor reckless assault in Texas for injuries to his 4-year-old son he was disciplining. He had been on paid leave from the team since Sept. 17.

In a letter to Peterson, Commissioner Roger Goodell said, ‘€œThe timing of your potential reinstatement will be based on the results of the counseling and treatment program set forth in this decision. Under this two-step approach, the precise length of the suspension will depend on your actions. We are prepared to put in place a program that can help you to succeed, but no program can succeed without your genuine and continuing engagement. You must commit yourself to your counseling and rehabilitative effort, properly care for your children, and have no further violations of law or league policy.’€

The NFLPA immediately announced plans for an appeal, issuing a statement that read in part: “The decision by the NFL to suspend Adrian Peterson is another example of the credibility gap that exists between the agreements they make and the actions they take. Since Adrian’€™s legal matter was adjudicated, the NFL has ignored their obligations and attempted to impose a new and arbitrary disciplinary proceeding.”

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Following the flags: Tracking Patriots penalties for 2014 season

11.18.14 at 9:00 am ET
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Through 10 games, the Patriots have been flagged for 84 penalties (third-most in the league) for a total of 752 yards (most in the NFL). To this point in the season, here’€™s a breakdown of the calls that have gone against the Patriots, not including penalties that were declined or offset:
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Tom Brady on D&C: ‘There’s nothing [Rob Gronkowski] can’t do’

11.18.14 at 8:06 am ET
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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance with Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning and talked about Rob Gronkowski, last Sunday’s win over the Colts and looked ahead to this week’s game against the Lions. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Gronkowski has showed no signs of being slowed down after tearing his ACL last December. After getting back to 100 percent, the tight end has been on a tear of late — over his last six games he has caught 40 passes for 587 yards and six touchdowns.

“He surprises me all the time, just what his ability is,” Brady said. “He’s just got incredible ability to make catches, runs, the way he blocks, just as a teammate — there’s nothing he can’t do. It’s so fun to play with people like that. Gronk has been a guy I’ve loved playing with since I’ve been here, he’s just a phenomenal player, phenomenal athlete. He’s a tough matchup for everybody because he’s big, fast, athletic and he has a great attitude. It’s the whole package with him and the biggest issue that he’s had is staying on the field and that is hard for a lot of people, and I think he’s really worked hard to put himself in a position where he can be on the field, so it’s been great to see.”

Gronkowski hasn’t played a full season each of his last two seasons because of injury, so some have suggested the tight end be more cautious on the field when it comes to avoiding some hits. When asked about Gronkowski’s 26-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter where he dodged seemingly the entire Colts secondary, Brady said that wasn’t a play to avoid such hits, but did add there is a time when it is beneficial to avoid such hits.

“I think there is definitely times to play it safe and there is other times not to, and I don’t think that was one of those times,” Brady said. “The game was still a two-score game and we were trying to really put the nail in the coffin. You don’t want to go — and I’ve talked with other players over the years about — it’s great to try and gain extra yards and all those things, but it’s also to put yourself at the risk — like cutting back into seven guys on defense and taking a big hit to gain an extra yard and get knocked out of the game and knocked out of next weeks game, and maybe knocked out of the week after that. Those things don’t make sense to me.

“Part of being a smart football player is making smart decisions and you have to evaluate the situation and you have to try and make a smart one. We all try and do that on our particular plays, with our particular job and what we’re asked to do, but at the same time doing things that are in your … you can’t help the team if you’re not out there playing. In that particular situation Gronk made a great stiff-arm and cut back, really ran through the secondary, which was awesome. That is what he thought he needed to do and that is what he did. That was a great play and a great way to really end the game in a way.”

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Pressure Points: Which Patriots defenders have done best job getting after QB?

11.18.14 at 8:00 am ET
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Every week over the course of the 2014 season, we’€™ll provide a look at the Patriots pass rush numbers. Like all stats, the numbers have to be placed on context of game-situations and personnel. And while sacks can be overrated, when evaluated as part of a bigger picture that includes quarterback hits and quarterback pressures (the latter courtesy of Pro Football Focus), it should provide a good picture as to which defenders are consistently able to get after the quarterback. Currently, the Patriots are tied for 15th in the league in sacks with 23. Based on the official NFL game books and PFF, here’€™s a look at the pass-rush numbers for the Patriots after nine games for the 2014 regular season:

Sacks (via gamebooks)
DE Rob Ninkovich: 5 (29 yards)
DE Chandler Jones: 4.5 (28 yards)
LB Dont’€™a Hightower: 3.5 (25.5 yards)
LB Akeem Ayers: 2 (18 yards)
DL Chris Jones: 1.5 (12 yards)
LB Deontae Skinner: 1 (10 yards)
LB Jerod Mayo: 1 (9 yards)
DL Casey Walker: 1 (5 yards)
DL Joe Vellano: 1 (4 yards)
DB Kyle Arrington: 1 (0 yards)
DE Zach Moore: 0.5 (2.5 yards)
DL Dominique Easley: 0.5 (2 yards)
DL Vince Wilfork: 0.5 (2 yards)

Quarterback Hits (via gamebooks)
DE Rob Ninkovich: 10
DE Chandler Jones: 8
LB Dont’€™a Hightower: 7
DL Chris Jones: 3
LB Akeem Ayers: 2
LB Jerod Mayo: 2
LB Jamie Collins: 2
LB Jonathan Casillas: 1
DL Joe Vellano: 1
CB Brandon Browner: 1
LB Deontae Skinner: 1
DB Patrick Chung: 1
DL Casey Walker: 1
DL Vince Wilfork: 1
DL Dominique Easley: 1

Quarterback Hurries (via PFF)
DE Rob Ninkovich: 20
DE Chandler Jones: 15
LB Dont’€™a Hightower: 11
LB Akeem Ayers: 11
LB Jamie Collins: 10
DL Vince Wilfork: 9
DL Dominique Easley: 7
DL Chris Jones: 6
LB Jerod Mayo: 5
DL Casey Walker: 3
DE Zach Moore: 3
DL Sealver Siliga: 2
DL Joe Vellano: 2
CB Alfonzo Dennard: 1
S Patrick Chung: 1

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Target Practice: Tracking opportunities in Patriots passing game

11.18.14 at 6:00 am ET
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Targets have been compiled by the NFL since the start of the 2009 season, and while it remains a vaguely imperfect stat ‘€” a badly thrown ball from a quarterback can often go against the record of the receiver as opposed to the quarterback ‘€” it remains a good indication of the confidence level a passer might have in his pass catcher. Here’€™s a look at the target breakdown after 10 regular-season games this year.

WR Julian Edelman: 59 catches on 87 targets
TE Rob Gronkowski: 53 catches on 80 targets
WR Brandon LaFell: 39 catches on 67 targets
RB Shane Vereen: 36 catches on 54 targets
TE Tim Wright: 18 catches on 20 targets
WR Danny Amendola: 11 catches on 18 targets
WR Kenbrell Thompkins: 6 catches on 11 targets
FB James Develin: 6 catches on 7 targets
RB Stevan Ridley: 4 catches on 5 targets
RB James White: 3 catches on 3 targets
WR Aaron Dobson: 3 catches on 4 targets
RB Brandon Bolden: 2 catches on 4 targets
TE Michael Hoomananwanui: 2 catches on 3 targets
WR Brian Tyms: 1 catch on 4 targets
RB Jonas Gray: 0 catches on 1 target

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Tedy Bruschi on D&H: ‘[Rob] Gronkowski is the best tight end I’ve ever seen’

11.17.14 at 6:48 pm ET
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Tedy Bruschi tries to maintain some sense of journalistic detachment while watching football games as an NFL analyst for ESPN. But even though he’d picked the Colts to beat the Patriots on Sunday night, the former New England linebacker couldn’t help himself in the middle of the game.

“The Colts attempted to be tough. They attempted to come back and punch back, but the Patriots took out their heart and they left it by a TV camera,” Bruschi said, referencing Rob Gronkowski bulldozing Indianapolis safety Sergio Brown on a Jonas Gray rushing touchdown. “I picked the Colts to win, but was I high-fiving my kids when Gronk threw that kid on the TV camera? Absolutely. It was awesome to see, and just to see the toughness of [Julian] Edelman and the toughness of Gronkowski and just this team to respond the way it did was a great sign for this team.

“I don’t think anyone on the team had a problem with that [penalty],” added Bruschi. “It just took me back when I saw Gronk throw that kid into that TV camera. That made me fired up and that old Patriot in me came out.”

Bruschi suggested that teams have yet to find a successful formula for handling Gronkowski. Indeed, Bruschi suggested that the tight end is the best player he’s ever seen at the position. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Andrew Luck, Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, Tedy Bruschi

Patriots’ 244-yard rushing attack vs. Colts ‘a group effort’

11.17.14 at 5:56 pm ET
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Jonas Gray celebrates after one of his four touchdowns Sunday night against the Colts. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Jonas Gray celebrates after one of his four touchdowns Sunday night against the Colts. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — In Sunday night’s dominant win over the Colts, much of the attention was centered around running back Jonas Gray and his 199 yards and four touchdowns, but he would not have been able to pick up those yards if it weren’t for his blockers leading the way in front of him.

Used to pass-blocking for Tom Brady, left tackle Nate Solder said he and the rest of the offensive linemen sometimes enjoy games like Sunday where the team rushed for 244 yards on 45 carries.

“Yeah, when it’s working, yeah,” Solder said with a smile. “When it’s working you do like that, definitely.”

It was a complete team effort as everyone was involved in the blocking game. Rookie Cameron Fleming saw his first action since Week 4 and was used as an extra tight end on a number of occasions — this going along with fullback James Develin and tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Michael Hoomanawanui doing their usual solid work.

“Everyone has got their roles and when Cam [Fleming] came in, he did a really good job for us in that jumbo tight end look,” said Develin. “Then Hoo-man [Hoomanawanui] and Gronk, they consistently get the job done on the edge and our offense line blew open some huge holes. It was fun to watch those guys work.”

It was the second game this season the Patriots have had 200 or more yards rushing as they ran for 220 yards against the Bengals in Week 5. It was the 12th time the team has ran for over 200 yards under Bill Belichick and they are 12-0 in those games.

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Read More: Cameron Fleming, James Develin, Nate Solder,
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