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With cobwebs gone, Edelman ready to make impact

09.21.10 at 11:49 am ET
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FOXBORO — The mere thought of the question made Julian Edelman laugh a laugh like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’

But the question was a serious one. Did he feel like he was truly back in the flow of of things when he took his first big hit of the regular season during Sunday’s game at the Meadowlands?

Lance Laury of the Jets drilled Edelman at the Patriots 25 following a 15-yard punt return in the first quarter.

“I guess,” Edelman began. “Yeah… sure. You don’t really want to get hit like that, but it was good to get the cobwebs shaken off. I hadn’t been hit in a while and it was good.”

What was not good was, of course, the final result. The loss hurt much more than Laury’s hit in the opening 15 minutes. But still, Edelman repeated the mantra of all Patriots on Monday, look ahead to the Bills this Sunday at Gillette, not back on the Jets last Sunday.

“First thing we have to do is put that game behind,” Edelman said. “We have to have a short memory. That’s what we have to preach to our guys right now and that’s what we’re doing. We have to take from that film we just watched. Take all the bad things and learn from them, fix them and go out here next week and prepare for the Bills and get better.

“It’s always tough. It’s the Jets and it’s a division game. But, you have to move on and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Edelman caught two balls for just one yard, net on Sunday while returning two punts for 26 yards. He’s looking for much more beginning this Sunday at Gillette.

“It felt good to get out there and get that first game under my belt,” he said. “Now, I have to build off that and get the confidence going and watch that film. [I have to] do everything I can do to do my job to help contribute to the team.

“You know, I enjoy whatever they let me do. I’m going to do whatever the coaches tell me to do. I’m going to prepare myself, take in their coaching and do whatever I can to contribute to the team and get on the field.”

Read More: Buffalo Bills, Julian Edelman, Lance Laury, New England Patriots

Taylor to Pats young guns: ‘Time to grow up’

09.21.10 at 11:04 am ET
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[Click here to hear what Fred Taylor thinks of using youth as an excuse for losing.]

FOXBORO — Sometimes all that’s needed is a quick, simple reminder of what’s at stake in the National Football League.

Fred Taylor, a running back possibly headed for Canton – who turns 35 in late January – did just that for the Patriots youngsters on Monday at Gillette Stadium.

“It’s time to grow up,” Taylor said of questions about the growing pains of Patriots rookies and second-year players learning to deal with losses like Sunday’s 28-14 setback in the Meadowlands. “Growing pains. You either get it or you’re out of it. That’s the way this league works.”

Taylor, sounding like a soon-to-be coach in the league, said young players on both sides of the ball need to not only get the message early on but understand exactly what it means.

“I don’t want to say young defense or this or that,” he continued. “We’re all professional athletes right now playing professional football in the NFL. All of us are getting paid quite well do to our job so that’s the only thing I expect from the guys on the team. Personally, I always try to do my hardest, whether it’s to uplift the team, inspire guys around me, I always give it a 110 when I’m out there.”

Taylor provided another morsel when he spoke -via the media – to his young players about desire, determination and moving past a big disappointment like Sunday.

“They’re the team that earned it,” Taylor said of the Jets. “We were hungry, too. We went out there and played hard and had a great week of preparation. It didn’t work out but at the end of it all, you tilt your hat to them. But the beauty of it is, and this isn’t by any means a consolation, we have another opportunity down the road to play them.

Hear that Darius Butler, Devin McCourty, Jermaine Cunningham and Brandon Spikes? Listening Brandon Meriweather and Patrick Chung?

“But at this point, it’s full focus on Buffalo,” Taylor added. “The Jets will definitely will be in the back of our minds somewhere. If a guy says it isn’t, they would be lying to you. It’s just human nature, especially if you get beat up by somebody, you remember it. We’ll just come out this week, have a great week of practice, get ready for the Bills and try to do better this week.”

As for the limited impact of the Patriots running game, Taylor provided another example of what to say and how to deal with disappointment. Don’t criticize the game plan. Criticize the execution. That’s the way to win trust and support of the coaching staff that calls plays for you and the staff that brought you to New England.

“I think we just need, as a unit, myself, all the backs included, the offensive, I think we need to try our best to run it better,” he said. “Definitely not frustrated. That’s just what the game situation called for.”

The Patriots ran the ball just 20 times for 42 yards on Sunday, with Taylor getting just five touches for 11 yards.

“It was all game-planned and scripted, how we practiced throughout the week,” Taylor said. “We just have to do a better job of executing. Quite honestly, at the end of the day, you just have to give the Jets credit. As much as I hate to lose or any of us should, and as much as we probably understand the rivalry between that division matchup, you’ve got to give them credit. They came out and they played well.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Brandon Spikes, Buffalo Bills, Darius Butler

WEEI NFL Power Rankings: Week 3

09.21.10 at 8:05 am ET
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power-rankings575

The defending champs are looking down at all 32 teams once again as they pulled off another win and remain at No.1 in the WEEI NFL Power Rankings. Drew Brees and company continue to find ways to win, reminiscent of the Patriots championship teams who battled every week but prevailed at the end every time.

The Packers jump a spot and sit at No. 2 after a dominating performance over the Bills. The Colts, Steelers, and Texans round off the Top 5.

Tough decisions after that. The Ravens lost to the Bengals, but beat the Jets in Week 1, while the Patriots beat up on the Bengals but fell to the Jets. This just proves we shouldn’t over-react after two games. Baltimore remains on top of the next group followed by the Jets, Patriots and Bengals.

It’s been an interesting and exciting past couple weeks in the NFL. The Steelers are proving they don’t need  their Pro Bowl QB when they play defense like they have the past two games. Following a Week 1 loss, the Colts made a statement on Sunday Night Football by beating up on the Giants. We’ve got some major surprises early in the season with both the Tampa Bay Bucs and Kansas City Chiefs at 2-0, while teams like the Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings are 0-2.

And which head coach is first on the hot seat? Is it Wade Phillips, John Fox, Eric Mangini, or none of the above?

Lots to talk about in this week’s edition of the WEEI Power Rankings. Check em out:

New Orleans Saints1. (Last week, 1) 2-0-0 The Saints aren’t relying on one specific area. They’re getting production from all three phases of the game when they need it and find ways to win games. The loss of Reggie Bush (to what reports say is a broken bone in his leg) won’t help the Saints sputtering offense find their groove any quicker.

Green Bay Packers2. (3) 2-0-0 The Packers have play-makers on both sides of the ball. Aaron Rodgers continues to show he is an elite QB. Second-year linebacker Clay Matthews already has six sacks, 12 tackles, and one forced fumble in two games.

3. (4) 1-1-0 Did anyone really think the Colts would fall to 0-2 to start the season? Indy took a national stage Sunday night and showed the country that they will be one of the best teams in the NFL once again.

Pittsburgh Steelers 4. (7) 2-0-0 If the Steelers ‘D’ continues to play the way they have, it won’t matter who is under center. With Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch to start the season, the Steel Crew is 2-0 and just two games away from getting their Pro Bowl quarterback back from suspension.

Houston Texans5. (11) 2-0-0 In the opener, we saw what the Texans running game was capable of after Arian Foster rushed for over 230 yards and three touchdowns. This week, we saw Matt Schaub throw for 497 yards and three touchdowns.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: NFL Power Rankings,

Bill Belichick on Big Show: Looking back the Jets

09.20.10 at 8:24 pm ET
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Bill Belichick (AP)

Bill Belichick (AP)

Patriots coach Bill Belichick joined The Big Show to break down the loss to the Jets.

Here’s a transcription of his conversation.

[To hear the audio, visit The Big Show audio on demand page.]

How dismayed were you in that you played well in the first half but seemed to leave a lot of points out there on the field?

Well, I didn’t think it was a great first half, thought it was okay. Overall we just need to do a better job… We need to coach better, we need to play better, just need to execute things better. That’s really about all there is to it. It kind of transcends everything – all the first, second, third, fourth downs, offense, defense, special teams, you name it – we just need to do a better job, that’s all.

A lot of the players talked about fighting through adversity, and players talked about ‘we didn’t do a good job fighting through adversity.’ Do you believe that that was a bigger problem with the execution of what they were supposed to do in the game plan out there?

I don’t know, it might be related or it might be a little bit of each, I don’t know. But bottom line is we just have to play and perform better – coaches, players, all of us – we just have to do a better job, that’s all.

And did film reveal anything that might not be obvious to us yesterday?

Well, you see more little things when you go through the film. You just see more little details – some good, some that need to be improved and corrected – but I think you just get more of an appreciation for all the little things that happened than just the more obvious ones that stood out.

What happened on the third-and-one play in the third quarter that ended with a 39-yard gain?

Well, that was a short yardage play, and I think any time you’re in a short yardage situation you have certain guys who are assigned to stop the run and other guys who are responsible for the deep part of the field. You never want to give up a long pass or a run on that situation. But on that situation, secondary people, that’s what they’re responsible for. We just as a unit got caught out of position. [Mark] Sanchez rolled out and had some time outside the pocket. Again it just wasn’t played very well on our part and was a good play for them.

What happened to the delay of game on the field goal attempt?

Again, we just need to do a better job of executing the play. We didn’t get it done so we’ve just got to coach it better and play it better, and got to get it off before time goes off, simple as that. We just didn’t do it. We just have to coach better and play better. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Belichick,

Belichick on Big Show: Breaking down Buffalo

09.20.10 at 7:03 pm ET
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Bill Belichick joined The Big Show for his weekly visit and in Part II of their conversation, the coach talked about the Patriots matchup with Buffalo Sunday.

[To hear the complete interview, visit The Big Show audio on demand page]

Here are some highlights:

On Buffalo’s Ryan Fitzpatrick who was just named the starting quarterback

We’ve seen him in the past. Smart guy, good arm, athletic. Seems like his team has a lot of confidence in him. Seems like he handles his team well on the field.

On whether a team can get a spark from replacing its QB

Sometimes there’s something to be said for telling your team, this is who our starting quarterback is this week and take whatever doubt or conversations or opinions or whatever on your team, just take that out of it.

That can solidify things on your team. That can be a positive thing when you tell everyone, ‘This is our guy.’

Who are their playmakers on offense?

Lee Evans of course. He’s their home run hitter. They’ve got three good backs with [Fred] Jackson, [Marshawn] Lynch and [C.J.] Spiller. [Roscoe] Parrish is their returner, receiver, very elusive and hard to tackle. They’ve got a really good group of skill players.

What’s your scouting report on CJ Spiller?

Good returner, fast guy. Very good in space and open field. Decent power, not a real power runner, but he runs hard, breaks tackles and is a very athletic. Everybody has to be at the point of attack even if he starts one way he can come to the other side and turn nothing into something in a hurry.

On Buffalo coach Chan Gailey

His last year in Kansas City he ran a lot of the ‘Pistol’ offense with [Tyler] Thigpen. In the opening game last week against Miami, Buffalo ran that Pistol offense and kind of sprang that on Miami. So, he’s got some variations and variety with what he does offensively. He’ll throw some wrinkles at you.

On Buffalo’s special teams

They’re very good in the kicking game. They always have been. That will be a big point of emphasis for us this week. It is really week. Scott O’Brien does an excellent job preparing the players. We’ve had good production in the kicking game. Not perfect, but good. That will be a big emphasis this week.

On Stephen Gostkowski’s missed field goal

Every time we send that team out there it’s to score points. If we don’t score, no one’s happy. We have to do a better job of converting those scoring opportunities. It’s a team thing. Certainly a lot of that falls on his shoulders as the kicker, but it’s a team thing in terms of timing and protection and so forth.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Buffalo Bills, Stephen Gostkowski,

Patriots holding breath on Faulk

09.20.10 at 5:48 pm ET
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FOXBORO — These are tense times for the Patriots.

Not that losing 28-14 to the hated Jets on Sunday on the road was the end of their season. But losing the most versatile running back in franchise history would be another thing altogether.

Yes, Kevin Faulk is 34 but he is still the guy the team and Tom Brady look to on key third-down plays. And as much as this team has struggled with third down conversions at key points of games since Brady came back at the start of 2009, losing Faulk would be crushing.

So, while the team was reflecting on Sunday’s game film, Faulk was getting his knee checked out by the team’s medical staff and having tests run to see how he is doing.

“They’re doing some tests on Kevin and we’ll know more when they tell us,” Belichick said during his Monday afternoon briefing with reporters.

Faulk eventually walked off under his own power after being knocked out of bounds by Jets cornerback Drew Coleman in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game. Faulk remained on the ground for an extended period before heading to the bench and did not return to the game.

The team, and the rest of New England, is holding its breath just hoping that Faulk returns sooner rather than later.

Read More: Drew Coleman, Kevin Faulk, New England Patriots, New York Jets

Belichick: Let’s ‘see what they do about’ cheap shot

09.20.10 at 5:32 pm ET
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[Click here to listen to Belichick talk about Eric Smith's shot to Wes Welker's head in Sunday's game.]

FOXBORO — If you were watching Sunday’s game and saw Wes Welker literally get his bell rung on a cheap shot to the head by Jets safety Eric Smith in the first quarter, you weren’t alone.

Bill Belichick had a view of it, too. And CBS cameras caught the normally mild-mannered head caoch vehemently arguing with an official on the sidelines.

“I just asked them about the call and what they saw,” added Belichick, who stopped just short of asking the league for an additional penalty to be levied against Smith.

Belichick reacted Monday to the first-half head shot that forced the Patriots receiver from the game and wound up in him being sent to the sideline to have his head examined by the team’s medical staff.

“I think we both kind of saw the same thing,” Belichick said of his heated discussion with the side judge moments after the play. “They threw a flag on it. I don’t think that’s really what the league is looking for, are those kind of plays. I can’t imagine they are. See what they want to do about it.”

What makes this all the more alarming to the Patriots is that Jets coach Rex Ryan said in the days leading up to the game that a big part of their strategy in containing Welker was pure and simple, “We have to hit him,” Ryan said.

In the next couple of days, the Patriots will find out how hard the league and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will hit back.

“It’s their call, not mine,” Belichick said.

Read More: Eric Smith, New England Patriots, New York Jets, nfl
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