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Adam Schefter on MFB: Kansas City on Monday night ‘a tough spot for the Patriots to step into’ 09.25.14 at 1:11 pm ET
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Adam Schefter

Adam Schefter

ESPN’s Adam Schefter checked in with Middays with MFB on Thursday to discuss the Patriots and NFL news. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Patriots have not looked impressive over the first three weeks, but Schefter cautioned pessimistic fans not to get too worried this early in the season.

“I’ll take a 2-1 start every time, with the criticism and questions, because teams evolve as the season goes on. There are peaks and valleys, fits where they go through where teams look better than they had,” he said. “They have not looked particularly strong. I think they’ve looked a little slow on the offensive side of the football so far. They just have not looked like the efficient machine that they’ve been in other years. Now, that’s not to say that they won’t become that starting Monday night in Kansas City, which is a tough place to play. But they just haven’t looked in rhythm. Maybe it stems from the protection that [Tom] Brady has gotten up front. Maybe it stems from a lack of speed and dynamic playmakers on offense. They’ve got good players. [Rob Gronkowski] doesn’t look all the way back to me right now. He looks like he’s laboring just a little bit. That’s just my sense of things.”

Added Schefter: “The offense through the first three games has lacked some of the explosion that we’ve seen in other years. Like I said, it used to operate like a machine. And it might get back to that point starting Monday. It just hasn’t looked as rhythmic and as routine and as easy for the offense as it has in other years. Maybe that starts up front. Maybe they’re holding back something. I don’t know. I don’t have the answer to that. I wish I did.”

The Patriots have a big challenge next on the schedule, as they play the Chiefs in a Monday night game at Arrowhead Stadium. While the Chiefs are 1-2 and have had issues on the offensive line, they get a big home-field advantage.

“On Monday night, at home, against New England, that place is going to be very loud. Very loud,” Schefter said. “It’s a tough place to play. It’s one of my favorite places in the NFL to watch a game. It’s always been just a great atmosphere, and it will electric on Monday night, and it will be a tough spot for the Patriots to step into.”

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Rodney Harrison on MFB: Tom Brady ‘doesn’t trust that offensive line’ 09.23.14 at 12:41 pm ET
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NBC Sports analyst Rodney Harrison made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Tuesday to talk about the Patriots’ rocky start to the season. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Patriots improved to 2-1 with Sunday’s 16-9 victory over the Raiders, but the offense continues to struggle, as evidenced by the single touchdown against a low-ranked Raiders defense. The finger has been pointed at the offensive line as the main culprit.

“It’s a big concern, because I’m sitting there with coach [Tony] Dungy and we’re watching them, and they’re just getting their butt kicked,” Harrison said. “The tackles, the guards, they’re just getting their butts kicked and getting pushed around. They just look so big and stiff, no knee bends, anything. It just looked bad. And Tom [Brady], you could just tell, Tom never felt comfortable, he doesn’t feel comfortable, he doesn’t trust that offensive line.

“They really need to either get that run game going, they need to do something. If it was one guy, like coach Dungy pointed out, then you can shift and you can use the running back and you can run some screens, stuff like that. But unfortunately it’s not just one guy, it’s a multitude of guys. This is a big concern for me, because if Tom gets hurt they’re in trouble.”

Richie Incognito, let go by the Dolphins in the offseason after being suspended for his role in the Jonathan Martin bullying scandal, remains a free agent. The talented but troubled offensive lineman reportedly is talking with the Eagles this week.

“He can play, man. He can play,” Harrison said. “[Bill] Belichick, he’s one of those guys that can bring certain people in — Corey Dillon and Randy Moss and myself — and people said, ‘Hey, these guys are troublemakers and they’re not good people.’ You can bring him in — he’s the one guy I think in the league that can get a guy to come in and fit in.

“A lot of people deserve second chances. Richie, he seems like he paid his dues. We all make mistakes in life. I think he can still play. I think you get a guy like that, you can get him for cheap, he’s hungry. Why not bring him in? If he doesn’t work out, cut him. It’s not like his salary will be guaranteed anyway.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Darrelle Revis, Jerry Rice, Randy Moss
Poll: Should Patriots bring in Richie Incognito? 09.23.14 at 11:59 am ET
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With the Patriots offensive line struggling, there is speculation that the team might consider bringing in former Dolphins lineman Richie Incognito, who remains a free agent.

Incognito was suspended last season for his role in the Jonathan Martin bullying scandal, and the Dolphins cut ties with him after the season. He also has a long history of off-field issues. However, he is considered a talented player who is popular among his teammates.

(Read Chris Price’s analysis of the situation here.)

Should the Patriots bring in Richie Incognito?

  • Yes, he's paid his penalty and the Patriots desperately need help (79%, 1,005 Votes)
  • No, the Patriots should avoid a player with his history (21%, 279 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,280

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Chandler Jones on MFB: ‘Definitely could have done better, but a win is a win’ 09.22.14 at 1:10 pm ET
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Chandler Jones

Chandler Jones

Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones, part of a defense that has allowed just 16 points combined in the last two games, made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Monday to recap Sunday’s win. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Jones and his teammates kept the Raiders out of the end zone in a 16-9 victory, but he said there are plenty of things the team needs to work on.

“I feel like we also have room for improvement, always room for improvement,” Jones said. “We definitely could have done better, but a win is a win, and we’ve got to keep moving forward. That’s our thing is to keep moving forward.”

Jones was complimentary of Raiders quarterback Derek Carr last week, and he said Carr was quick to offer thanks — among many comments he made during Sunday’s contest.

“I spoke to Derek Carr during the game, actually,” Jones said. “He was one of the quarterbacks that actually spoke the most — most of any quarterback I’ve ever played against. … Not trash, not trash at all. Stuff like [saying hello]. Or, ‘You’re not going to catch me. It was strange.”

Added Jones: “I had said in an interview before the game, I don’t see Derek Carr as being a rookie quarterback — which I don’t, he’s a very good player. I guess he’s one of those guys who reads articles about him, because early in the game he came up to me and said ‘Hey, Chandler, I really like what you said about me.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, thanks.’

“He’s a really good quarterback. He’s a very good quarterback. We didn’t get a chance to get him, because that’s credit to him. He has very good awareness in the pocket. There were a few times when I would have got another quarterback or someone that stood back there. He got away from me a few times, which is credit to him. He has very good scrambling abilities. He’s a young quarterback; I still don’t see him as a rookie quarterback. He’s a good player.”

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Read More: chandler jones, Derek Carr, Jerod Mayo, Vince Wilfork
Julian Edelman on MFB: Patriots offense ‘just not clicking’ 09.22.14 at 12:07 pm ET
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Julian Edelman, who continues to be the only Patriots wide receiver to have any consistent production this season, joined the Middays with MFB crew for his weekly Monday appearance, one day after a 16-9 victory over the Raiders. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Patriots offense has yet to find a groove this season, and the issues cropped up again Sunday as New England scored only one touchdown.

“It’s an overall offensive thing right now. We’re just not clicking,” Edelman said. “We haven’t played one of our best games yet. It’s early in the year. We’re 2-1, so you’ve got to look at that. We’re taking care of the ball. We just have to improve our third down and red area offense a little better and play those situations out better. I’m sure we’ll be going back this week, we’re going to analyze the film today, take from the bad and build from the good and just try to improve. That’s what you do. If you can improve every day in this game, in this league, that’s when your team starts getting good.”

Although the Patriots have won two games in a row, most of the talk has been negative due to the manner in which the offense has played. Edelman said he understands the reaction.

“There’s a lot of expectations out here, especially with the history that we’ve had,” he said. “But that’s all noise. We just have to continue to try to get better, day in and day out. If we get five plays better next game, then you get 10 plays better the next game, then you start to get into a little something, that’s when you start developing your stride. That’s what we’re going to try to do. We’re going to go out here and we’re going to practice hard. We have an extra day of practice, we have a big game coming up against Kansas City on Monday night, so as long as we just try to improve, everyone just do their job, we’ll be all right.”

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Read More: Julian Edelman, Wes Welker,
Tom Brady on D&C: ‘It’s a collective problem by our entire offense’ 09.22.14 at 7:43 am ET
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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to talk about Sunday’s surprisingly close 16-9 victory over the lowly Raiders. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Although they won, the Patriots continued to struggle offensively, putting up just 16 points at home against an unimpressive Raiders team.

“It’s great that we won the game. Obviously, offensively we’re just not doing as good a job as we’re capable of doing. We left a lot of points out there yesterday and made it a close game there. We just have some issues we’re going to have to try to fix here, and we’re going to have to try to fix them fast, because it only gets tougher from here.

“We’ve got a smart team, we’ve got a tough team, we’re physical, we’ve just got to execute better. I think we’ve done a good job with not turning the ball over, which has helped. We talk about that every week. But too many penalties, too many missed opportunities to score, it’s just not what our expectations are. We’re going to go back to work and see if we can do better.”

Some people have pointed the finger at the offensive line, which is without longtime coach Dante Scarnecchia, who retired after last season.

“For us to think about a bunch of hypothetical situations, it doesn’t serve us well,” Brady said. “That’s really for you guys, all the listeners and the fans. All those things that make for great sports talk aren’t necessarily what are in the minds of our team. Whether Dante’s here or not here, whether a player’s here or not there, it doesn’t matter, because we’re faced with what we’re faced with.

“I’ve got a lot of confidence in the offensive line, I’ve got a lot of confidence in coach [Dave DeGuglielmo] and what he’s doing. This goes back to us players, and us players doing a better job. I don’t think it has anything to do with the people who aren’t on the field. The people who affect the wins and losses in the game are the players, and we’ve got to go out there and throw the ball, catch the ball, run with the ball, block, tackle — all the things that it takes to win the game. I’m not going to sit here and say that it has anything to do with anything other than that, because that’s where I feel the responsibility always lies.”

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Read More: Brandon LaFell, Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, Logan Mankins
Jerod Mayo on MFB: ‘We’re not overlooking Oakland at all’ 09.19.14 at 2:19 pm ET
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Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo, who missed Thursday practice as he became a father for the third time, made his weekly appearance with Middays with MFB on Friday to preview Sunday’s home opener against the Raiders.

The Raiders come in at 0-2, but Mayo said the Patriots aren’t overlooking them.

“This is the third game of the season. Some teams are 0-2, but it really doesn’t describe how a team is,” Mayo said. “This is a veteran-led team. They have a of older guys, a lot guys who know how to play football in this league and have won a lot of games. So we’re not overlooking Oakland at all. Obviously we’re excited to open up here at Gillette. Hopefully it’s a good game.”

Derek Carr is the only rookie quarterback starting this season, and the second-round pick from Fresno State has shown some promise.

Said Mayo: “He has a huge arm. He’s also very mobile. He’ll get outside the pocket. A lot of people don’t talk too much about his athleticism, but this guy can run. He can make all the throws. And he seems like he’s a smart guy. They’re obviously not trying to do too much with him, being a rookie, but at the same time, he can make all the throws and make all the plays. It will be a challenge for us up front trying to get pressure on him as well, and in the back covering these receivers.”

Fellow linebacker Dont’a Hightower is off to a strong start this season.

“Ever since I came into the league, he’s always been a student of the game. He’s always studying,” Mayo said.”I think it starts in the classroom. This guy’s asking questions, asking questions, asking the right questions. And it’s translating over to the field. He’s a very big, athletic guy that can run, and he can do a lot of different things for us. He’s a versatile player. Whatever the coaches ask him to do, he’s willing to do, and he’s been helping us these first couple of weeks.”

The Patriots defense dominated the Vikings on Sunday after allowing a touchdown on the first series, helping New England to a 30-7 victory.

“Obviously the score says it all. We were excited about that. We were able to get after him early in the game. I think it’s all about winning first down, getting those long-yardage situations — second-and-10, third-and-8 — and then letting those guys pin their ears back and get after the quarterback. It was exciting to see last week. We’re on to Oakland now, and we have to continue to build on that.”

Read More: Derek Carr, Dont'a Hightower, Jerod Mayo,
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