|Randy Moss: ‘There is a special place in my heart for the New England Patriots’||11.20.14 at 8:46 pm ET|
The former Patriots wide receiver is in town to do some TV work for Fox in advance of Sunday’s Patriots-Lions game. Between his work, Moss sat down with Patriots.com reporter Jackie Brittain for an interview for Patriots.com.
Moss talked about a variety of topics, including how he became a member of the Patriots. Moss was traded to the Patriots from the Raiders before Day 2 of the 2007 NFL draft for a fourth-round pick in that draft.
“I’ve said this story time and time again, but I just want people to understand that I am very grateful,” Moss told Brittain. “When I came from Oakland, I was in a dark place. I was in a dark place because I was there for two years, I got traded from the Vikings and things weren’t going well in California. I was away from home, my career wasn’t going the way I wanted it to go.
“I remember I was in Houston, Texas, doing the draft and I got a call from Bill Belichick and I thought it was one of my friends playing. I was like, ‘Who is this?’ and he was like, ‘This is Bill Belichick.’ I was like, ‘Man, get real, who is this?’ Coach told me that if I am up here by 10 o’clock next morning, blah, blah, blah, then the trade would go through. Man, I started scrambling.
“When I came up here and became a Patriot I was very thankful, I was very grateful. Mrs. Myra Kraft played a role in it. When she passed away I had to pay my respects to the home, to the family, and when I go see Mr. Kraft he doesn’t call me Randy Moss, he calls me Randy Moss Kraft. They welcomed me into the family and like I said, still to this day it’s just love and anytime you come here you feel the love from the Kraft family.”
|Dominique Easley (knee) misses Patriots practice||11.20.14 at 4:42 pm ET|
The Patriots practiced outside in the cold on the grass fields behind Gillette Stadium on Thursday in advance of Sunday’s game with the Lions. Chandler Jones (hip), Dominique Easley (knee) and Cameron Fleming (finger/ankle) all missed the session.
Jones hasn’t practiced since suffering the hip injury in Week 7, while Fleming didn’t practice Wednesday after leaving late in last Sunday’s game against the Colts with an ankle injury. It was Fleming’s first action since suffering a finger injury Week 4 against Kansas City, which he is still said to be dealing with. Easley missed the practice after being limited on Wednesday. It is worth noting that Wednesday’s practice was a walkthrough and Thursday’s was held in full pads.
Offensive lineman Ryan Wendell (knee) was removed from the injury report.
On a side note, Sealver Siliga was spotted at Wednesday’s walkthrough, but his 21-day window of coming off short-term injured reserve has not started yet.
For the Lions, running back Joique Bell was limited in practice after not practicing at all on Wednesday. Wide receiver Calvin Johnson and defensive lineman Nick Fairley once again did not practice.
Here is the complete Patriots practice report:
Did not practice
DL Dominique Easley (knee)
OL Cameron Fleming (finger/ankle)
DE Chandler Jones (hip)
OL Marcus Cannon (hip)
S Nate Ebner (finger)
WR Julian Edelman (thigh)
QB Tom Brady (ankle)
|Heath Evans on MFB: Lions’ defensive line ‘gets away with a lot of stupid football’||11.20.14 at 3:52 pm ET|
NFL Network analyst and former Patriots fullback Heath Evans joined Middays with MFB Thursday to talk about the upcoming Patriots game against the Lions, the signing of LeGarrette Blount and other Patriots matters. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
The Patriots will be taking on the Lions Sunday at Gillette Stadium with the Lions entering with a 7-3 record and having one of the best defenses in the NFL, allowing a league-low 15.6 points per game. They are led by their front-four, but Evans says they are not a smart group and can be beat.
“The truth is this defensive front gets away with a lot of stupid football because I don’t think there are a lot of great offensive minds that take advantage of dumb defensive line play,” Evans said. “We praise [Ndamukong] Suh for all these different things, but if you compare Suh to J.J. Watt, there’s no comparison in the way that these guys — in the head game — play defensive line. We still see Suh get taken advantage of on scheme plays and really [Kyle Van Noy], I think he’s had a really good year for a younger player that hasn’t played a lot of football, but there’s still a lot of mistakes and I always think it comes back to offensive coaches saying, ‘Hey, yeah they do this well, this well, and this well. They stink and this, this and this, and we’re going to take full advantage of that.’ Do I expect a 45-point showing on this defense, no, but would I be surprised at all if they put up 30? I mean, no, not at all.”
LeGarrette Blount was signed by the Patriots on Thursday after being released by the Steelers Tuesday — the day after walking off the field in the middle of Monday’s game against the Titans because he was upset about playing time.
With Jonas Gray’s monster game last Sunday, some have wondered if Blount will take Gray’s place as the lead back, but Evans doesn’t believe that will be the case, and if Blount causes any issues Bill Belichick will have no problem cutting him.
“I don’t think he’s going to be the guy,” said Evans. “I think they know what he is capable of and I think they also know the knuckle-head that exists in the guy. I think LeGarrette knows well enough the Patriot way doesn’t put up with any of that nonsense, so Pittsburgh shows to deal with it a certain way and they cut him and released him. Obviously you hear the chatter coming out of the locker room and it must have been more significant than the stuff we’ve heard about. You don’t get away with that stuff in New England. However the contract is worded, he messes up once Bill can kick him out the door and not pay him another dime. It doesn’t hurt them financially and you just move on. Players come to New England knowing what to expect — even if they haven’t played there before — but, the truth is LeGarrette has been in house. He knows the rules. He knows the code of conduct that is expected and I assume he will get here and do what he is told to do.”
Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.
|Sealver Siliga, Cameron Fleming missing at start of Patriots practice; LeGarrette Blount present||11.20.14 at 12:05 pm ET|
According to multiple reports, Sealver Siliga, Dominique Easley, Cameron Fleming and Chandler Jones were absent at the start of Patriots practice Thursday afternoon. Newly signed running back LeGarrette Blount was present and wore No. 60 (very-much temporary).
Easley (knee), Fleming (finger/ankle) and Jones (hip) all did not practice on Wednesday, while Siliga was spotted at Wednesday’s practice, he in fact has not been taken off of the short-term designated for return list, so his 21-day clock has not yet been started.
The Patriots are getting ready for Sunday’s matchup against the Lions Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|Former Steelers teammates were glad to see LeGarrette Blount released: ‘That’s a blessing for us’||11.20.14 at 10:39 am ET|
After walking off the field in the middle of Monday night’s game against the Titans, Steelers running back LeGarrette Blount was released the next day.
It didn’t take long before he was scooped by another team, as the Patriots reportedly signed him on Thursday. This comes after Blount played a part in the Patriots getting to the AFC Championship game last year.
The Steelers weren’t exactly upset with Blount being released.
“You know what, man, we have a good team,” center and team captain Maurkice Pouncey said via the Pittsburgh Post Gazette on Tuesday. “If you don’t want to be here, don’t be here. At the end of the day, you have your decision to make as a man, and he made it.”
“We’re fine,” Pouncey added. “We have our starting running back. It’s probably a good thing that it happened. At the end of the day, if it was a cancer, he ended up leaving on his own. That’s a blessing for us. At the end of the day, we’re good. We don’t need him.”
Blount had just 65 carries for 266 yards and two touchdowns this season with the Steelers, as Le’Veon Bell has turned into the lead back with Blount seeing very limited action. Bell has 195 carries for 951 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, while adding two receiving.
“We’re grown men and we need to act like grown men,” defensive end Cam Heyward said. “If you’re not on the field, that shouldn’t be a problem. If you’re not on the field, you have to make other contributions. We’re a team. If you don’t want to be a part of the team, don’t be a part of the team. We’re trying to win, and that’s not going to be acceptable.”
|Bill Belichick says Ndamukong Suh ‘can do it all’||11.20.14 at 6:00 am ET|
As is the case leading up to most games, Bill Belichick has always been one to praise the opposition so that the Patriots are never looking past their opponent for that coming week. But when Belichick talks about Lions defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh, he isn’t kidding, Suh is the real deal.
The second overall pick in the 2010 draft certainly has made his presence felt in the NFL — winning the AP NFL Rookie of the Year, as well as being a three-time Pro Bowl selection and a three-time, first-team All-Pro.
“He’s pretty dominant,” said Belichick. “He can do it all, and his effort, the plays he makes from behind in chase, like on screen plays and hustling downfield, backside plays, in addition to all his point of attack and pass rushes and disruptive plays. The guy gets double teamed, [but] he’s still productive. He’s really good.
“They move him around and make it a little bit difficult to know exactly where he’s going to be. You have a pretty good idea, but they do enough other things with their front to give him opportunities to make plays and he takes advantage of them. He’s really good. That’s a very good front they have. He’s the marquee guy, but they have a lot of good players on that front. They roll them all through, they all play, they rotate frequently and they’re fresh and they’re active — very disruptive.”
So far this season Suh has 28 tackles and 4.5 sacks, with all of his sacks coming in Lions wins.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been protected much better of late, as he’s been sacked just three times in the last four games with the offensive line getting more familiar with one another by the day. This week will present a huge test as led by Suh, the Lions have 26 sacks this season — 10th in the league.
|Jim Caldwell on Rob Gronkowski: ‘Very, very unusual gifts that he has’||11.19.14 at 5:31 pm ET|
Christmas is more than a month away, but Lions head coach Jim Caldwell is already talking about gifts.
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has been on a tear the past six games with 40 catches for 587 yards and six touchdowns. Over that span Gronkowski has been able to showcase his pass catching abilities, as well being able to run after the catch — no bigger example than his 26-yard touchdown catch late in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win over the Colts.
“He’s obviously a great talent, just an incredible run, particularly when you look at the one he had against Indianapolis,” Caldwell said on a conference call Wednesday. “He can catch the ball, and not only is he a fine pass catcher, but he can also run with it after he gets it. Very, very unusual gifts that he has.”
Gronkowski isn’t the only player Caldwell and the Lions are worried about, as he also spoke on quarterback Tom Brady.
“Obviously, he’s been doing some great things like he always does,” he said. “They are a very surgical sort of a procedure, where he’s throwing the ball accurately, getting it to all of his playmakers and putting points on the board.”
Sunday’s game will feature the Patriots offense, which is averaging 45.3 points in its last three games, against a Lions defense who comes in allowing an NFL-low 15.6 points per game. Caldwell, in his first season with Detroit, knows it will be a challenge.