|11.15.12 at 1:54 pm ET|
John Parry will work as the referee for Sunday’s Patriots-Colts game, according to our friends at FootballZebras.com. Parry, who has worked as an NFL official since 2000, was the referee for last year’s Super Bowl XLVI between the Patriots and the Giants. According to Pro Football Reference, it marks the second New England game of the year for Parry — he worked the Patriots’ 52-28 win over the Bills in Buffalo on Sept. 30.
Parry is a financial advisor (with a snappy looking web page regarding that area of his work here.) Officiating is in his blood — his father, Dave Parry, was the former Supervisor of Officials for the Big 10, and worked as the side judge in Super Bowl XVII. For more on Parry’s work and tendencies as an official. check out his page at Pro Football Reference.
|11.15.12 at 11:37 am ET|
FOXBORO — The working assumption this season has been that any team taking on the Patriots will attack the secondary by all means necessary.
And for the most part, that’s been a pretty good idea. The Seahawks and Ravens won games because of it. The Jets and Bills should have.
But for interim head coach Bruce Arians and the Colts, looks can be deceiving. Especially when the personnel could change drastically with an impact player like Aqib Talib.
“Yeah, we played him [in] Tampa Bay two years ago,” Arians said of his 2010 experience as the Steelers offensive coordinator. “I know how talented he is and he’s got a good passion for the game and he’ll be a great addition I think to them.”
Whereas Bill Belichick said Arians has transplanted the Steelers offense to Indianapolis, the same could not be said for Arians and his thoughts on the corner since he has no idea how Belichick plans to use him in the Patriots scheme.
“There’s nothing that I could go show them that I know he is going to do in this defense,” Arians said. “I don’t even know where he’s going to line up. So it would be hard. I think we would just be asking our guys to over-study.
“You don’t know if Patrick [Patrick Chung] is going to play, you don’t know if Aqib is going to play, you just know the coverages and the things that they’ve been doing and then what they’ve done in the past. You try to get your guys ready to play and really concentrate on their own games as much as you do on the opponent’s games. That part of it, until you see who’s active and who’s inactive, you really can’t prepare.”
One player Arians has film of in a Patriots uniform is Devin McCourty, both as a corner and a safety. How much different do the Pats look with McCourty at safety as opposed to corner and how does that alter his preparation heading into the game?
“It really doesn’t,” Arians said. “There’s going to be a blue jersey with whatever number on it playing safety and there’s going to be one playing corner. He is an excellent athlete and when one of your top corners is playing safety you would think there would be a drop off at corner and I think Patrick Chung is an outstanding safety, so there’s a change there. I really couldn’t say either way. Like I said, we’ll get ready for their coverages and wherever they end up lined up and whoever is out there we’ll see at game time and then prepare to attack.”
As for 481 yards the Patriots allowed to the Bills last week? Arians was very tactical in his answer about the weaknesses New England has shown.
“I would throw the statistics out because they’ve got 23 turnovers,” he said. “And when you lead the league in turnover ratio by 16, you’re going to be in first place. They’ve always been a bend-don’t-break group and feasted on turnovers ever since I could remember. There were only a few years when they were totally dominant, but they’ve always been as well coached as anybody in this league. Interceptions, fumbles, kick returns, fake kicks, they’ve got it all and Coach Belichick does as good a job putting his players in position to be successful, offensively and defensively, as anybody that’s ever coached the game.”
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|11.15.12 at 11:16 am ET|
FOXBORO — With great talent comes even higher expectation.
And when you’re a 23-year-old quarterback gifted with a golden arm and tremendous athletic ability, the pressure of leading a team from the cellar to a playoff contender can be overwhelming.
But not for Andrew Luck.
Luck knew exactly what he was getting into when he left Stanford for the NFL and was drafted first overall by the Colts last April. Nine games into his rookie season, his stats (2,600 yards passing, 10 TDs, 9 INTs) are good – not great – but those numbers are not how his success story is being told. He has led his team to a 6-3 record, just two games behind the AFC leading Texans in the AFC South. With leading being the operative word.
Several coaches and players in Indianapolis were mildly amazed in mini-camp and training camp that a rookie who missed rookie OTAs to finish his degree at Stanford would be able to come in and call check-downs at the line of scrimmage. It earned him immediate credibility and respect in the offices and most importantly in the locker room, a locker room that still has names like Reggie Wayne, Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.
How does Luck see himself as a leader?
“That’s a good question,” Luck said. “I try and do the right thing, try and work hard, try and learn from other guys. If I have something to add or feel my opinion is pertinent, then make it known.
“It hasn’t been too bad because for one, our locker room’s great with a lot of veteran leadership and it’s a very comfortable locker room. I do try to defer them on things that I realize that I know nothing about and they do. I also realize as a quarterback you do assume some of the responsibilities by virtue of talking in the huddle and having the plays sort of run through you. I’m lucky to be part of a good locker room.”
Luck said his NFL learning curve has gone about as smoothly as he could’ve hoped.
“I knew that every day was going to be a new learning experience ‘ every game, every trip, every practice ‘ was going to be a new learning experience,” Luck said. “Some has gone well. Some has been sort of bumpy, if you will. But, I’m try to go get better every day and I think I’m continuing to improve and the team’s continuing to improve which is good.”
Here is the rest of this week’s Q and A with the Colts rookie quarterback, along with RGIII, a leader in the NFL offensive rookie of the year race.
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|11.14.12 at 9:54 pm ET|
Bill Belichick said Wednesday that the new-look Colts offense bears more than a passing resemblance to how Pittsburgh has operated the last few years. That’s no surprise, given the fact that Indy’s offensive coordinator Bruce Arians was with the Steelers from 2004 through last year, serving as Pittsburgh’s offensive coordinator from 2007 until 2011.
Belichick was asked how much of the Pittsburgh offense he sees in what the Colts do.
‘A lot. A lot. That’s their offense,’ Belichick said. ‘We played [Pittsburgh] when [Bruce] Arians was there, so we’re familiar with what he did. Those games, [we’re] familiar with how he attacked us. I’m sure you use those games as somewhat of a reference.’
According to Belichick, some of the carryover can be seen at the wide receiver position, where Arians has veteran Reggie Wayne doing many of them same things that Hines Ward did when he was with Pittsburgh.
‘They moved [Wayne] around a little in the past — but not much — and now he’s Hines Ward,’ Belichick said. ‘He’s in motion a lot, he’s blocking, he’s cracking, he’s lining up close to the formation, he’s in the slot. He’s doing a lot of things that Hines Ward did in Pittsburgh. It’s interesting to see him in that role, but he’s always been good at whatever he’s done. You see him working the middle of the field on middle reads, on option routes, that kind of thing or working on the perimeter. He’s good at all of it.’
Here are some other highlights of Belichick’s Wednesday afternoon Q&A:
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|11.14.12 at 3:39 pm ET|
In his first season with the Patriots, defensive end Chandler Jones has certainly distinguished himself as one of the finest defensive rookies in the league. But just past the midway point of the 2012 season, has he done enough to warrant consideration as Defensive Rookie of the Year? His numbers certainly suggest that he has a spot on the short list — here’s a look at the best of the field:
Chandler Jones: The 6-foot-5, 260-pounder leads the Patriots in quarterback hits with nine, and is tied with defensive end Rob Ninkovich for the team lead in sacks with six (for 33 yards). The Syracuse product, who was taken in the first round (21st overall), has been able to get good pressure on opposing quarterbacks over the course of the first nine games of the season, including a two-sack effort in an October loss to the Seahawks. However, Jones, who has started all nine games this year, has appeared to hit the rookie wall over the last couple of weeks — for whatever reason, it appeared the Patriots tried to give Jones a bit of an early blow last week, as Justin Francis saw some early snaps against the Bills in his place.
One more thing: If Jones wins the award, he’d be the second Patriot in five years to win — linebacker Jerod Mayo won it in 2008. Defensive back Mike Haynes won the award in 1976.
Bruce Irvin: Like Jones, the 6-foot-3, 245-pounder out of West Virginia has also impressed as a pass rusher over the first half of his rookie season, coming away with seven sacks. Taken in the first round (15th overall) by Seattle, Irvin’s sacks have come in bunches — he has three games where he had two sacks each in wins over the Jets, Packers and Panthers. (He became just the 14th player in NFL history to have at least 4.5 sacks in his first five games as a pro.) While the fact that he doesn’t play in a big market could hurt him with voters, he will be hard to ignore if/when he hits double-digits in sacks and the Seahawks hang around the NFC West race.
One more thing: Irvin has a great backstory, which was detailed here when he chatted with our pal D.J. Bean at the NFL combine last February.
Luke Kuechly: The former Boston College star has started all nine games, and has found a nice niche with the Panthers, blossoming into one of the lone bright spots in a difficult year for 2-7 Carolina. The 21-year-old has 87 tackles (50 solo) over the first nine games of the 2012 season playing both middle and weak-side linebacker, and has shown a knack for always being around the ball. The 6-foot-3, 235-pounder, who was taken ninth overall in the 2012 draft, is the youngest player on the Carolina roster, but has shown an ability beyond his years.
One more thing: If Kuechly wins, he would certainly fit a group of previous award winners who were athletic, aggressive young linebackers, including Mayo, Patrick Willis and Brian Cushing. He would also be the first Boston College player to win the honor.
Lavonte David: Like Kuechly, the 22-year-old linebacker out of Nebraska is a tackling machine. He’s started all nine games this season for Tampa Bay, and has 81 tackles (67 solo), including 30 in the last two weeks — 14 in a win over the Chargers and 16 in a win over the Raiders. Included in his tackle numbers are 12 tackles for a loss over the course of the season.
One more thing: Growing up in Florida, David was a high school teammate of defensive lineman Marcus Forston, who has been on and off the Patriots’ roster this season.
Bobby Wagner: Another member of the Seattle defense cracks our top 5, the 6-foot, 241-pound linebacker has 81 tackles (47 solo) and a pair of sacks over the first half of the 2012 season. Taken in the second round by the Seahawks (47th overall) out of Utah, the 22-year-old has started nine of the 10 games this season for Seattle, and has already evolved into a three-down linebacker for the Seahawks.
One more thing: No member of the Seattle defense has ever won DROY honors.
|11.14.12 at 2:33 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Tom Brady and the Patriots hit the practice field Wednesday with the knowledge that one of their former players will be lining up at one of the most important positions on the field on Sunday.
Colts interim coach Bruce Arians announced Wednesday that cornerback Darius Butler will again be making the switch from right to left corner, filling the spot vacated by the injured Vontae Davis, who is missing his third game with a knee injury.
Butler will certainly be coming in with some momentum as he intercepted Blaine Gabbert twice, returning one for a touchdown, while recovering a fumble. Those achievements earned him AFC defensive player of the week honors on Wednesday in the wake of the Colts’ 27-10 win over the Jaguars.
“I’m really pleased that we have him,” Arians said. “He’s a playmaker and had a great game. He’s obviously AFC defensive player of the week and builds great confidence for him going against the challenge he has this week in going up there.”
Butler, of course, is a name well known in New England, coming to the Patriots as a second-round pick in 2009. He played here two seasons before being cut in training camp before the 2011 season. He played last season with the Panthers before being waived this August. He was picked up by the Colts on Sept. 25 and has played four games so far.
The Patriots believed so much in him that not only did they spend a second-round pick on him, they gave him a four-year, $4.325 million deal, including roughly $2 million in guaranteed money. Butler is still technically on the Patriots’ books this season to the tune of $542,500 of dead money toward the cap.
All of which sets up quite the storyline this Sunday as he figures to draw Pats receiver Brandon Lloyd.
|11.13.12 at 7:22 pm ET|
The Patriots made a series of personnel moves on Tuesday, adding free agent offensive lineman Mitch Petrus, signing linebacker Jeff Tarpinian to the practice squad and releasing linebacker Jerrell Harris from the practice squad. Here’s a portion of the release from the Patriots on the series of moves:
Petrus, 25, is in his fourth NFL season. He played in six games for the New York Giants in 2012 before being released on Nov. 3. The 6-foot-3, 315-pounder, originally joined the Giants as a fifth-round draft pick (147th overall) out of Arkansas in 2010. Petrus has played in 23 NFL games with three starts at left guard in 2011.
Tarpinian, 25, was released by New England on Nov. 12. He made New England’s 53-man roster last season after joining the team as a rookie free agent out of Iowa. The 6-foot-3, 240-pounder played in seven games with one start in 2011 and finished with four defensive tackles and eight special teams tackles. He was placed on injured reserve with a head injury on Nov. 24, 2011. Tarpinian was released by the Patriots on Aug. 31 and signed to the practice squad on Sept. 1. He was signed to the 53-man roster from the practice squad on Oct. 20 and played in the last three games, mainly on special teams.
Harris, 23, joined the New England practice squad on Nov. 6. He originally signed with the Atlanta Falcons as a rookie free agent out of Alabama on April 30. The 6-foot-3, 242-pounder was released by Atlanta at the end of training camp before joining the practice squad of Jacksonville on Sept. 26. He was released from the Jaguars’ practice squad on Oct. 25.
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