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Following the flags: Tracking Patriots penalties for 2014 season 10.07.14 at 6:08 pm ET
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Through five games, the Patriots have been flagged for 45 penalties (tied for third-most in the league) for a total of 466 yards (most in the NFL). To this point in the season, here’€™s a breakdown of the calls that have gone against the Patriots this year, not including penalties that were declined or offset:
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In Focus: Charting Offensive Opportunities For Patriots Skill Position Players 10.07.14 at 5:05 pm ET
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Every week, we list the Patriots’€™€™ “€œoffensive 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 five games:

RB Stevan Ridley: 87 (84 carries, 3 catches), 6 negative runs
RB Shane Vereen: 56 (37 carries, 18 catches) 1 negative catch
WR Julian Edelman: 35 (4 carries, 31 catches)
TE Rob Gronkowski: 19 (19 catches)
WR Brandon LaFell: 11 (11 catches)
RB Brandon Bolden: 10 (9 carries, 1 catch), 1 negative run
QB Tom Brady: 9 (9 carries), 10 sacks, 3 kneeldowns
TE Tim Wright: 8 (8 catches)
WR Kenbrell Thompkins: 6 (6 catches)
RB James White: 6 (3 catches, 3 carries)
WR Danny Amendola: 4 (4 catches)
QB Jimmy Garoppolo: 3 (3 carries) 1 sack, 3 kneeldowns
FB James Develin: 3 (3 catches)
WR Aaron Dobson: 2 (2 catches)
TE Michael Hoomanawanui: 1 (1 catch)

Notes: Not including three kneeldowns at the end of the game, the Patriots had three negative plays from scrimmage on Monday –€” one sack of Brady and two negative runs from Ridley. … On the season, New England has run 342 plays from scrimmage, and 19 of them have gone for negative yardage, not including kneeldowns. …  Against the Bengals, the Patriots ran 82 plays, a season-high, with five of them in no-huddle (6 percent). … In addition, 30 of their 82 snaps (37 percent) were in shotgun formation. … On the season, the Patriots have run 24 of their 342 plays out of no-huddle (7 percent) and 124 snaps in shotgun (36 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. … Two notes on the running backs. One, Ridley (84 carries) is only one of three running backs this year who has least 75 carries without a fumble. Le’Veon Bell (87) and Frank Gore (77) are the other two. And two: Vereen is one of eight backs at the moment who can boast of at least 17 catches and 35 carries over the first five weeks of the season, a group that includes Chicago’s Matt Forte (82 carries, 36 catches), Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell (87 carries, 24 catches) and Buffalo’s Fred Jackson (43 carries, 26 catches).

By way of comparison, here’s similar breakdown of the Patriots offense through the first five games of the 2013 season.

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Pressure Points: Which Patriots have done best job getting after QB 10.07.14 at 8:45 am ET
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Chandler Jones

Chandler Jones

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 10. Based on the official NFL game books and PFF, here’€™€™s a look at the pass-rush numbers for the Patriots after five games for the 2014 regular season:

Sacks (via gamebooks)
DE Chandler Jones: 2.5 (11 yards)
LB Dont’€™€™a Hightower: 2 (22 yards)
DL Chris Jones: 1.5 (12 yards)
DE Rob Ninkovich: 1 (10 yards)
LB Jerod Mayo: 1 (9 yards)
DL Joe Vellano: 1 (4 yards)
DB Kyle Arrington: 1 (0 yards)

Quarterback Hits (via gamebooks)
DE Chandler Jones: 5
LB Dont’€™€™a Hightower: 4
DE Rob Ninkovich: 3
LB Jerod Mayo: 2
DL Chris Jones: 1
DL Joe Vellano: 1
LB Jamie Collins: 1

Quarterback Hurries (via PFF)
DE Chandler Jones: 9
LB/DE Rob Ninkovich: 6
LB Jerod Mayo: 5
LB Dont’€™€™a Hightower: 5
DL Vince Wilfork: 4
DL Sealver Siliga: 2
DL Joe Vellano: 2
DL Chris Jones: 2
DL Dominique Easley: 1
DL Casey Walker: 1
LB Jamie Collins: 1
CB Alfonzo Dennard: 1

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Tracking opportunities in Patriots passing game 10.07.14 at 7:30 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 five regular-season games this year.

WR Julian Edelman: 31 catches on 44 targets
TE Rob Gronkowski: 19 catches on 37 targets
RB Shane Vereen: 18 catches on 24 targets
WR Brandon LaFell: 11 catches on 28 targets
TE Tim Wright: 9 catches on 10 targets
WR Kenbrell Thompkins: 6 catches on 11 targets
WR Danny Amendola: 4 catches on 8 targets
RB James White: 3 catches on 3 targets
FB James Develin: 3 catches on 3 targets
RB Stevan Ridley: 3 catches on 4 targets
WR Aaron Dobson: 2 catches on 3 targets
RB Brandon Bolden: 1 catch on 3 targets
TE Michael Hoomananwanui: 1 catch on 1 target

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Patriots announce DE Michael Buchanan will go on IR, clearing way for CB Brandon Browner and WR Brian Tyms 10.06.14 at 5:02 pm ET
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Michael Buchanan

Michael Buchanan

The Patriots announced Monday that they have added cornerback Brandon Browner and wide receiver Brian Tyms to the 53-man roster. To make room, they have released defensive lineman Joe Vellano and placed defensive end Michael Buchanan on injured reserve. Here’s a portion of the release issued by the team on the moves.

The New England Patriots announced that the roster exemptions for cornerback Brandon Browner and wide receiver Brian Tyms have been lifted.

In addition, the Patriots announced that have released defensive lineman Joe Vellano and placed defensive end Michael Buchanan on injured reserve.

Vellano, 25, originally joined the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Maryland in 2013. The 6-foot-2, 300-pounder played in 21 games with eight starts for the Patriots and registered 54 total tackles and three sacks. He played in five games in 2014 and had six total tackles and one sack.

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Patriots will reportedly waive DL Joe Vellano 10.06.14 at 4:36 pm ET
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Joe Vellano

Joe Vellano

As a way to clear roster space for wide receiver Brian Tyms and cornerback Brandon Browner, the Patriots have waived defensive lineman Joe Vellano, according to Shalise Manza-Young of the Boston Globe.

The 25-year-old Vellano, a 6-foot-2, 300-pounder out of Maryland, filled in admirably as a defensive lineman last year when New England saw Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly go down, had six tackles and a sack this season.

Last season, Vellano played in all 16 games as an undrafted rookie, starting eight contests while recording 54 tackles and two sacks.

If he makes it through waivers, he could be resigned to New England’s practice squad.

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Cincinnati DL Devon Still offers ‘big thanks’ to Patriots for video tribute to his daughter 10.06.14 at 2:56 pm ET
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The Patriots paid tribute to the daughter of Cincinnati defensive lineman Devon Still — who is battling cancer — during Sunday night’s game at Gillette Stadium. Still expressed his appreciation after the contest, and followed that up with an Instagram message on Monday.


This really caught me off guard yesterday. Big thanks to the Patriots organization and the cheerleaders for showing amazing support. We may not have won the game last night but putting a smile on my daughters face as she watched this definitely helps her to win her battle! #MoreThabFootball #PrayForLeah

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