|Bill Belichick on Albert Haynesworth: ‘He’s day-to-day’||08.19.11 at 4:39 pm ET|
Patriots coach Bill Belichick described defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth as “day-to-day” in a conference call with reporters on Friday afternoon. Haynesworth, who has practiced twice with his teammates since he was first acquired in a trade from Washington on July 28, has been kept out of practice since Aug. 3, and has not played in either of New England’s two preseason games. However, Belichick also assured the media that Haynesworth is at Gillette Stadium with the rest of his teammates.
Haynesworth, who is reportedly dealing with a knee issue, has “put in a lot of extra time and a lot of extra effort” since he arrived, according to Belichick.
“I think Albert has been great since he’s been here,’ Belichick told WEEI last week. ‘He’s worked hard. He’s done more than really what we’ve asked him to do. He’s put in a lot of extra time and a lot of extra effort to get back on the field, to study, to catch up on things from a playbook standpoint that’s he a little behind on.”
|Postgame notes from the Patriots win over Tampa Bay||08.19.11 at 2:52 am ET|
Thanks to the Patriots’ PR staff, here are some quick notes in the wake of New England’s 31-14 win over Tampa Bay Thursday night:
‘¢The Patriots are 2-0 to start the preseason for the second straight year following the 31-14 win against Tampa Bay.
‘¢The Patriots win was just their second in nine preseason games against the Buccaneers. The Patriots are now 2-7 against the Buccaneers in the preseason. The Patriots are 5-2 against Tampa Bay in the regular season.
‘¢The Patriots starting units made their preseason debut after most of the starting units did not play in the first preseason game vs. Jacksonville.
‘¢QB Tom Brady made his 2011 preseason debut and led the Patriots on three scoring drives in his first three series, including a 16-yard touchdown pass to TE Aaron Hernandez and an 8-yard touchdown pass to WR Chad Ochocinco to culminate the first two drives.
‘¢Brady played the entire first half and helped the Patriots take a 28-0 lead. He finished the game 11-of-19 for 118 yards with two touchdown passes.
‘¢Newly acquired WR Chad Ochocino made his Patriots debut and was in the starting lineup in a three wide receiver set. His first reception as a Patriot was an 8-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady in the first quarter.
|Snap Judgments: Patriots roll over Tampa Bay, 31-14||08.18.11 at 10:49 pm ET|
The Patriots beat the Bucs, 31-14, Thursday night in Tampa. New England started fast ‘ when it was the starters against the starters, it was no contest, as the Patriots took a 28-0 halftime lead and never looked back on the way to their second preseason win in as many games. Here’s a quick look at what happened.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE PATRIOTS
‘¢The starting New England offense had virtually no problems on the night, coming away with a 28-0 halftime lead. Thanks in large part to the work of quarterback Tom Brady (who finished 11-for-19 for 118 yards and two touchdowns ‘ one to Aaron Hernandez and one to Chad Ochocinco), the Patriots’ starters moved up and down the field without impunity for much of the first half. While there were some early struggles getting on the same page with Ochocinco (who could be seen getting an earful from coach Bill Belichick on the sidelines early on), Ochocinco ended up with two catches for 14 yards in his New England preseason debut.
‘¢The Patriots’ pass rush: New England was able to get some sustained pressure on Tampa quarterbacks Josh Freeman and Josh Johnson throughout the first half. The Patriots flashed a variety of looks at defensive tackle in their four-man front, but outside, it was a lot of Andre Carter. The former 49er and Redskin looked to have a high motor while he was in there, leading a serious charge that had the Bucs’ quarterbacks on the run for much of the first half. In addition, Jerod Mayo was immense, coming away with two sacks, five tackles and three quarterback hits.
‘¢The New England running game: Using a combination of Danny Woodhead, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Stevan Ridley and Sammy Morris, the Patriots were able to chew up serious chunks of yards on the ground all night. The highlight came early when Woodhead ripped off a 29-yard gain on the ground where he made some big yardage on a busted play. Woodhead went right, saw the play get blown up, and darted back left, seeing an opening and taking the ball all the way down to the Tampa 22, setting up the Patriots first touchdown of the night.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE PATRIOTS
‘¢If you’re looking for a downer, it might be on special teams, specifically punt returns and coverage. Without Julian Edelman and Taylor Price, the Patriots ended up going with Jeremy Ross and Buddy Farnham on punt returns, neither of whom exactly seized the opportunity presented to them. As for the rest of the special teams unit, Sergio Brown was flagged for a horse collar tackle on punt coverage, while Woodhead was just crushed by Tampa’s Devin Holland on punt coverage midway through the fourth quarter.
‘¢The injury to safety Bret Lockett makes a difficult situation at safety even tougher. Lockett was carted off the field in the second quarter with what was either a thigh or groin injury, and New England now has three healthy safeties ‘ Brandon Meriweather, Patrick Chung and Brown. As was the case in the preseason opener against the Jags, Farnham was on the field playing safety at the end of the game.
|Patriots reportedly set to work out another wide receiver||08.18.11 at 4:44 pm ET|
Fresh off the news that the Patriots had T.J. Houshmandzadeh in for a workout last week, it was reported Thursday that wide receiver Mark Clayton will work out for the Patriots on Friday, according to Aaron Wilson of Scout.com.
Clayton, 29, is a former first-round pick of the Ravens out of from Oklahoma who was traded to the Rams last year. In his career, he has 257 catches and 3,422 yards and 14 touchdowns. Wilson quotes a league source as saying Clayton has made a sound recovery from tearing his patellar tendon in his right knee last year and is on the verge of being ready to play again.
|Veteran center Dan Koppen offers his take on the state of the Patriots’ offensive line||08.18.11 at 1:01 pm ET|
FOXBORO ‘ You want an assessment of the Patriots’ offensive line? Go to the most important cog in the machine, center Dan Koppen.
While Matt Light has him beat when it comes to seniority ‘ by roughly two seasons ‘ no lineman is more respected by his peers than the Boston College product. A fixture in the middle since he took over for an injured Damien Woody at center early in his rookie season back of 2003, Koppen has been every bit as durable as any other center in the league: Since the start of the 2003 season, the Patriots have played 128 regular-season games, and Koppen has started 119 of them.
With Koppen as the fulcrum of the o-line, the New England offense has finished in the top 10 in total offense seven times in his eight NFL seasons. The 6-foot-2, 296-pounder earned his first career Pro Bowl selection in 2007 and was named to the AP All-Pro Second Team, becoming the third center in Patriots history to earn all-star honors. And in 2008, Koppen started every game at center as part of an offensive line that supported the best rushing season for the Patriots in more than 20 years in terms of rushing yards, rushing touchdowns and average yards per carry.
The current group was honored on Tuesday with the presentation of the Madden Protectors Award, an award that ‘recognizes the accomplishments of the highest performing offensive line unit and their best-in-class ability to provide consistent, powerful protection,’ according to the press release. The Patriots were selected based on a combination of analysis by John Madden and fan voting.
Since 2003, Koppen has been able to count on seeing many of them same guys to his left. On that side, it’s been Light (left tackle) and Logan Mankins (left guard) on fairly constant basis since 2005, save for Mankins’ holdout last season over his contract situation. Both recently signed new deals.
‘It’s great to have those guys back,’ Koppen said. ‘The type of player Logan and Matt are, what they’ve done for this team they’re such good guys, and to have them in the locker room and have them as good friends. It’s really good to see them come back.’
Comparatively, the right side is fairly young: Sebastian Vollmer (right tackle) settled into his spot as a full-time starter at the beginning of the 2010 season. Meanwhile, Dan Connolly (right guard) has flip-flopped over the course of his brief career, moving from one guard spot to another when Mankins was out last season and also providing backup for former starting right guard Stephen Neal, who retired at the end of last season.
‘Those are guys that really have progressed,’ Koppen said. ‘Connolly is one of those guys who have come in our system and has really made strides. He’s got a lot of playing time last year and played well for us. And Sea Bass is just one of those guys where he just comes out and works every day. With his size and ability, he’s tough to beat.’
As for Koppen, he’s entering his ninth season in the NFL, and has learned a few things about getting through training camp.
‘Camp is camp ‘ [it’s all about] coming out here and starting over and trying to get better and get comfortable with the guys around and come together as a group,’ he said. ‘Put your head down and go. Just do what the coaches ask and do it as hard as you can. if you mess up, learn from it and come back and do it better the next play.’
Koppen says the new practice schedule ‘ less hitting, no two-a-days ‘ is a ‘double-edged sword’ for players.
‘You might have less two-a-days,’ he said, ‘but that one practice you’re out here for, it’s a doozy, so you have to have your mind right and be ready to go the whole way through. It’s a long practice, so you have to be mentally ready, mentally into it.’
|Via Twitter, Vince Wilfork addresses allegations of his involvement in Miami scandal||08.17.11 at 9:36 pm ET|
Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork, who was named prominently in a Yahoo! Sports report about improprieties in the football program at the University of Miami, issued a statement Wednesday via his Twitter feed. Wilfork wrote: I am aware of the report that has claims that involve me while at the U. While the NCAA and the U conduct their investigations [my wife] and I believe that it is not appropriate for us to comment. Thanks for your continued support and confidence in me.
The report alleges that Wilfork accepted $50,000 while he was a player at the University of Miami in order to sign with Axcess Sports, a player agency started by Nevin Shapiro and Michael Huyghue. A separate page of the report details the benefits to Wilfork while he was at Miami. Shapiro is in jail for his role in a $930 million Ponzi scheme. Huyghue, who is now the commissioner of the UFL denied the claims made by Shapiro.
|Patriots cut loose offensive lineman Mark LeVoir||08.17.11 at 5:07 pm ET|
The Patriots announced Wednesday they have released veteran offensive lineman Mark LeVoir. LeVoir, 29, was claimed off waivers by the Patriots from the St. Louis Rams on Sept. 1, 2008. Originally signed by the Chicago Bears as a rookie free agent in 2006 out of Notre Dame, the 6-foot-7, 310-pound tackle played in 32 games including two starts over three seasons in New England. He played in six games and was inactive for 10 in 2010, including the divisional playoff game vs. the New York Jets (1/16/11).