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Adam Schefter on MFB: Patriots should be more focused on winning division than AFC’s top seed 10.31.14 at 12:52 pm ET
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Adam Schefter

Adam Schefter

ESPN’s Adam Schefter made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Friday in advance of Sunday’s Patriots-Broncos showdown. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Patriots began a challenging stretch of six games with an impressive win over the Bears this past Sunday. Schefter said he didn’t agree with those who predicted the Patriots will win only one or two games during this stretch, but he said Sunday’s game undoubtedly will be a huge challenge.

“It’s just hard for me to imagine a franchise that has operated and been run the way this one has struggling over a stretch of games like that, as difficult and as daunting as the task in front of them looked. And I still will stand behind that,” Schefter said. “I don’t know how they win some of these games, but they will. They’ll find ways to win some of them. Not all of them — I don’t think all of them. But they’ll find their way to win their fair share of them.

“And this one on Sunday may be the toughest of all. This is a very tough matchup. They Broncos, they’re loaded. You don’t need me to tell you that. They’re just a better team than the team last year that went to the Super Bowl and got blown out against Seattle. They’ve upgraded at defense, they’ve upgraded on offense. Emmanuel Sanders is just a better player than Eric Decker, more explosive. Julius Thomas seems to be playing at a higher level. Demaryius Thomas just gets better every year. Wes Welker, he’s Wes Welker, he’s solid and he’s steady. On defense they added DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib, T.J.Ward — all names who New England is very familiar with. They’re a tough out right now.”

If the Patriots lose this game, their chance of getting the top seed in the AFC for the playoffs would take a big hit. However, Schefter said the concern in New England should be on winning the division.

“Here’s what you have to be focused on if you’re New England: You just want to win as many games as you can and you want to find a way to win the East,” he said. “As unrealistic and as unimaginable as it sounds . . . I don’t think it’s out of the question that Buffalo or Miami, one of them, could make a run at New England, with the Patriots’ schedule being what it is. I still think that’s possible. And that is the most threatening dangerous obstacle to the Patriots, to me.

“As long as the Patriots can find a way to win the division, get to the postseason — you win the division, you get a home game. You get a home game, you should get a win. You should get a win, you should get rolling. You get rolling, anything can happen. That, to me, is the bigger deal in this whole situation.”

Added Schefter: “I’m just telling you: You’ve got to be careful of Buffalo, which is playing a lot better, and Miami, which is playing a lot better. Because if one of those teams catches the Patriots, then that’s the problem.”

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Tim Wright on MFB: Buccaneers WR Vincent Jackson ‘a great person, great player’ 10.27.14 at 1:35 pm ET
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Tim Wright

Tim Wright

Patriots tight end Tim Wright checked in with Middays with MFB on Monday, after catching seven passes for 61 yards and a touchdown in Sunday’s 51-23 victory over the Bears. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Patriots acquired Wright from the Buccaneers right before the start of the season. Now there is speculation that New England might inquire about another Bucs player: wide receiver Vincent Jackson.

“He’s a great player, I learned a lot while I was under him,” Wright said, adding: “Just details and route-running, things that the defensive backs look for. Different body controls — him being a bigger wideout, it was easy for me to see what he was talking about, and easy for me to go out there and try to implement those things that he was teaching me. … He’s a great person, great player, and I looked up to him while I was there.”

The Patriots were able to spread the ball around and have a lot of success against Chicago. Fellow tight end Rob Gronkowski also had a big day, with nine catches for 149 yards and three touchdowns.

“Our [position] coach Brian Daboll, he does a great job of instilling the mentality in the tight end room to go out there and just be the spark of the offense. Regardless of how things are going, when our number is called we’ve got to answer the bell. We just went in there, we really didn’t know we’re going to get this many catches [for] this guy, this many catches [for] that guy. But our offensive coordinator [Josh McDaniels], he definitely explained throughout the week and he displayed it to us that it’s going to be spacing and it’s going to be winning your man-to-man battle that’s going to definitely contribute to the win and contribute to our success on Sunday, and that’s what we did.”

Asked about the toughest part of adjusting to the Patriots offense, Wright said, “I would say just playing at a fast tempo mentally, going through the checks and all the nuances that Tom Brady goes through at the line, the checks and stuff like that. You’ve got to be on top of the game, you’ve got to be alert, just be locked in, just be focused.”

For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Rob Gronkowski, Tim Wright, Vincent Jackson,
Julian Edelman on MFB: ‘We’re building up for the backstretch’ by getting more players involved 10.27.14 at 12:04 pm ET
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Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Monday, one day after Sunday’s rout of the Bears. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

While Edelman was the standout through the first few weeks — without much support from the rest of receiving corps — Tom Brady has been spreading out the passes the last couple of weeks. Rob Gronkowski and Brandon LaFell combined to make 20 catches for 173 yards and four touchdowns Sunday.

“You’re getting production out of a lot of guys,” Edelman said. “[Jonas Gray] came up again and had a big game. Timmy [Wright] comes in and has his touchdown. Gronk, Shane [Vereen] having some big plays. The more you have a lot more guys doing things, we’re building up for the backstretch.”

Added Edelman: “[LaFell is] playing lights out. He’s making plays and scoring touchdowns. It’s great for the offense.”

Meanwhile, Edelman’s production has declined. He had just one reception Sunday. He said it isn’t a matter of defenses adjusting to him.

“I think it’s more just: One week it’s this guy, the next week it’s that guy,” he said. “Hopefully it comes back.”

Added Edelman: “The offense has been doing well. You don’t want to do anything differently to disrupt that. I’m sure I’ll be getting targets my way or something like that. It’s the flows of the game. You’re going to be hot sometimes, and sometimes you’re going to be playing a different role. As long as the team’s winning, that’s all it’s about.”

Next up for the Patriots is a game against the AFC-leading Broncos.

“I’ve played in a few of these now, so you’re kind of used to it,” Edelman said, adding: “It’s a conference game. There’s some meaning behind this game, because the winner can put themselves a foot forward in the standings. Its Denver, they’re a good team. They’ve obviously been on TV a bunch. You’ve got Peyton Manning. But I don’t necessarily play against Peyton Manning. I play against the defense.”

Sunday will feature a matchup of Edelman against former teammate Aqib Talib, now a member of the Broncos defensive secondary.

“It’s going to be fun, because I loved Talib when he was here,” Edelman said. “We got along real well. I thought he was a great teammate and I enjoyed playing with him. So it’s going to be fun. I also know T.J. Ward a little bit. We train in the offseason together. It will be fun to go out there and play against premier competition.”

For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Aqib Talib, Brandon LaFell, Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski
Tom Brady on D&C: Sunday’s rout of Bears ‘one of the most fun days we’ve ever had on the football field’ 10.27.14 at 8:00 am ET
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Coming off his best game of the season, Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to discuss Sunday’s rout of the Bears and preview next Sunday’s showdown against the Broncos. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Brady completed 30-of-35 passes for 354 yards and five touchdowns in Sunday’s 51-23 dismantling of the Bears.

“I think there’s always room for improvement,” he said. “But truthfully, the guys make it easy for the quarterback when all those guys play the way they did yesterday. It makes it easy for me — not to say playing the Bears defense is easy, because it’s not — but when the guys around you play the way they did, it makes it easy for the quarterback.

“I’m proud of the way those guys — all of them, Julian [Edelman] and Gronk [Rob Gronkowski] and Danny [Amendola] and the offensive line especially, Tim Wright played great, we got off to a great start in the run game. All those things, they all have a cumulative effect on the offense. You’re trying to move the ball down the field, score points, and when the guys around you are playing at the level they played at, for me, then I just read the defense and make the throw and those guys are making all the plays. It was a great day for us.”

The oft-injured Gronkowski appears to have returned to form, as he finished with nine receptions for 149 yards and three touchdowns.

“He was phenomenal,” Brady said. “He’s been such a great player for our offense and our team. I love playing with him. He brings such an energy to the team. He’s a great player. He certainly played as well as he’s ever played yesterday — three touchdowns through 2 1/2 quarters was pretty awesome. He’s making all the catches, making all the catch-and-runs. He’s just playing fearlessly. The guys really take a cue from him. He’s just a great player.

“When he plays like that — and like I said, [Brandon] LaFell plays like that, Julian’s been one of our most consistent players for the last two years, he’s just been phenomenal for us. Danny made a couple of plays, Tim Wright, the offensive line, the run game. When one guy’s doing well it just helps another guy do well and then helps another guy do well. You see some of the great offenses around the league week in and week out, it’s those types of performances that lead to team success.

“It’s been good, we’ve made some great improvements here from what we talked about over a month ago. But look, we’ve still got to get better. Our whole season’s in front of us. We’ve got to get back to work today and we’ve got obviously the biggest game of the year coming up.”

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Read More: Julian Edelman, Peyton Manning, Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady
Adam Schefter on MFB: ‘It wouldn’t surprise me’ if Darrelle Revis does not start vs. Bears 10.24.14 at 1:04 pm ET
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Adam Schefter

Adam Schefter

ESPN’s Adam Schefter made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Friday to preview the Patriots-Bears game and discuss other NFL news. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Darrelle Revis reportedly was sent home Tuesday after arriving late to practice. Coach Bill Belichick would not discuss the matter with the media, and it’s not known if Belichick plans to hold Revis out of the starting lineup Sunday against the Bears.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if he doesn’t start. That wouldn’t surprise me at all based on the way they’ve handled things in the past. I could see that happening,” Schefter said. “This is a game you obviously want him out there. Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Santonio Holmes, Martellus Bennett — [the Bears are] loaded in the air, and they’re more formidable on the road.”

The Patriots are heading into a challenging stretch of six games against some strong competition, and they’ll be doing it without some key players who are out with injuries.

“Let’s be honest, the Patriots’ issues have compounded a little,” Schefter said. “You lose [Jerod] Mayo, you lose Chandler Jones, Revis is late, whatever that means, we don’t know. You’ve got all these issues out there. Now you’ve got really, arguably, the toughest teams in the NFL all on deck. You could make an argument that the Broncos, Colts, Packers and Chargers are four of the top five teams in the NFL right now.”

Looking at league news, reports out of Seattle indicate there are some issues in the Seahawks locker room, with quarterback Russell Wilson apparently viewed as “not black enough” for some teammates’ liking.

“A locker room is a melting pot — different races, different backgrounds, different ideologies, different everything,” Schefter said. “Russell Wilson seems to, by all accounts, lead a very clean existence. That doesn’t match up with everybody in that locker room. So, so what? So what? …

“I look at it this way: Last weekend Russell Wilson became the first quarterback in NFL history that threw for over 300 yards and ran for over a hundred yards in one game. Last season, in his second season, he led the Seahawks to a Super Bowl title. And, oh, by the way, we don’t even talk about the fact that a black quarterback won the Super Bowl. I thought we moved past that. And now, to hear that, it sounds so ‘street’ to me. Like, just so immature. That’s how it sounds to me.

“And I will say this, I’m sure there are some people in that locker room — I know this — that have some issues with Russell Wilson — that I know. So what? So what? … They have some questions about his character — not lack of, but just the way he handles himself. You know what it is? The teacher’s pet, goody-goody, ‘Go ‘hawks’ kind of thing.”

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Read More: adam schefter, Darrelle Revis, Peyton Manning, Russell Wilson
Julian Edelman on MFB: ‘I definitely have to eliminate [dropped passes] immediately’ 10.20.14 at 11:45 am ET
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Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Monday, as the Patriots prepare for next Sunday’s game against the Bears. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Patriots played four games in 18 days and it appeared to take a toll as they struggled in Thursday’s two-point win over the lowly Jets.

“When you go out and it’s a short week like that it’s all mental, it’s all like walk-through stuff,” Edelman said. “It’s tough for both teams. As athletes we’re creatures of habit. You throw a wrench in a routine it’s a little different. But we both had to deal with it. We came out with a win, and now you do get to have a long weekend.”

The normally reliable Edelman had a couple of costly dropped passes in Thursday’s game. Although he’s having his second straight strong season, Edelman said he wants to prove himself to Tom Brady.

“I definitely have to go in there and I’ve got to show him in practice that I can go not drop easy balls, or try to run with the ball before I have it,” Edelman said. “I’m sure that he’ll come back, because that’s how he is. He’s going to throw to the open guy. It’s definitely a different situation [than in past years], but I definitely have to eliminate that immediately and go back to the drawing boards and catch more balls and work on it.”

After a slow start, the Patriots offense has picked it up, due in no small part to the play of Edelman. The 28-year-old has 44 receptions for 453 yards and a touchdown through seven games.

“Like we say every week, we just try to go out each and every week and get better,” Edelman said. “That’s what we’re trying to do. There’s a lot of situations that we have to get better at. But we consistently put in the work. Guys are going out there, they’re working hard, they’re making plays in practice and it’s translating into games. It’s going to help the team. As long as we can just keep it going, keep getting better, everyone contributing, everyone doing their job, that’s how it goes.”

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Read More: Julian Edelman, Percy Harvin, Tom Brady,
Tom Brady on D&C: Peyton Manning ‘just a spectacular player’ 10.20.14 at 8:38 am ET
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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance with Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning and talked about Peyton Manning as well as the reported infighting going on with the Pats‘ next opponent, the Bears. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

“It’s pretty incredible,” Brady said. “It’s hard to throw touchdown passes, and he’s done it in the last few years, I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s pretty incredible. It’s a great record. It’s incredibly hard to do. He’s been very durable. He’s been obviously consistent, beyond consistent. He’s just a spectacular player.”

Added Brady: “He’s really got great command, he’s really a field general. I think that’s probably the best description, I think that’s kind of the thing that comes to mind when you think about him. He’s got great command out there. He’s been a great player for a long time. He was great with the Colts, and obviously coming to Denver he’s had an incredible run there. It’s been incredible to watch. He makes throwing four touchdown passes look so easy, which of course, as we know, it’s not.”

While Manning has more touchdown passes, Brady leads in Super Bowl victories, with three to Manning’s one. Brady said he never imagined his career would have turned out the way it did.

“Look, Peyton’s had an incredible career,” Brady said. “I’ve been very fortunate. To think I would have the opportunity to do that when I was starting out is crazy. And I’m still part of a great team that has a great opportunity to achieve even more. You don’t think about these things when you’re a kid, certainly I never did. I think I’ve just been so fortunate over the years to be on a great team, great teammates, and throw great relationships and friends in. Certainly the winning, because I think that’s what sets our team apart from a lot of other teams, has been our ability to win on a consistent basis year in and year out, no matter what the circumstances or situations. So to be a part of an organization that that’s what we’ve been able to accomplish has been unbelievable. I’m a lucky guy. I’m a lucky guy, and still going.”

Added Brady: “I wouldn’t change anything that I’ve ever done. I certainly wouldn’t change my career with anybody. I’ve had the opportunity to play in five Super Bowls. To play for one organization, you can’t envision those things. And like I said, it’s still going. I think hopefully the best is yet to come. We’re trying to accomplish and get better, because really this season is the only one we have, is the only thing we can control. To be sitting here 5-2 feels pretty good, too. [We've] had a good thing going.”

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