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Former Steelers teammates were glad to see LeGarrette Blount released: ‘That’s a blessing for us’ 11.20.14 at 10:39 am ET
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Things didn't work out for LeGarrette Blount in Pittsburgh. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Things didn’t work out for LeGarrette Blount in Pittsburgh. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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.”

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Read More: Antonio Allen, LeGarrette Blount, Maurkice Pouncey, Pittsburgh Steelers
Bill Belichick says Ndamukong Suh ‘can do it all’ 11.20.14 at 6:00 am ET
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Ndamukong Suh is a big part of the Detroit defense. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Ndamukong Suh poses a huge challenge for the Patriots this week. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, detroit lions, Ndamukong Suh, Tom Brady
Jim Caldwell on Rob Gronkowski: ‘Very, very unusual gifts that he has’ 11.19.14 at 5:31 pm ET
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Lions head coach Jim Caldwell spoke of the challenges Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski will present come Sunday. (Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Lions head coach Jim Caldwell spoke of the challenges Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski will present come Sunday. (Leon Halip/Getty Images)

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.

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Read More: Jim Caldwell, Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady,
Cameron Fleming (ankle/finger) misses Patriots practice, Julian Edelman (thigh) limited 11.19.14 at 4:47 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Some new injuries have appeared on the injury report for the Patriots in advance of Sunday’s meeting with the Lions at Gillette Stadium. This comes following Wednesday’s practice, which was held indoors inside the Dana-Farber Fieldhouse and was a walkthrough.

Julian Edelman (thigh) popped up on the injury report for the first time this season, and was limited in the practice. Edelman landed awkwardly on his side during the first quarter of last Sunday’s game, and has taken a beating all season long, so it really seemed like a matter of time before his name appeared. The injury did not seem to phase Edelman as he missed just a few plays.

Offensive lineman Cameron Fleming (finger/ankle) missed the practice in its entirety. Fleming injured his ankle late in Sunday’s game and did not return, while he suffered the finger injury Week 4 in Kansas City — the injury has been on the injury report since that game. Last Sunday was Fleming’s first action since Week 4.

Finally, offensive lineman Marcus Cannon (hip) was limited. It was the first time he’s appeared on the injury report this season. Cannon saw limited action Sunday as a substitute offensive lineman.

Chandler Jones (hip) once again did not practice and Matthew Slater (shoulder) was removed from the injury report. Defensive lineman Sealver Siliga returned to practice for the first time since being placed on injured reserve designated for return after injuring his foot in Week 3. The Patriots have 21 days to decide whether or not to add him to the active roster or shut him down.

For the Lions, wide receiver Calvin Johnson (ankle), defensive lineman Nick Fairley (knee) and running back Joique Bell (ankle) did not practice.

Here is the full Patriots practice report:

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Read More: Cameron Fleming, chandler jones, Julian Edelman, Marcus Cannon
Protection Pattern: Tom Brady relishing more time to throw 11.19.14 at 1:44 pm ET
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More time in the pocket has benefited Tom Brady of late. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

More time in the pocket has benefited Tom Brady of late. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — There is no denying Tom Brady and the Patriots offense were a different team in the second half than in the first half in Sunday’s 42-20 win over the Colts.

In the first half, Brady went a pedestrian 10-for-19 passing for 84 yards with two interceptions, including one with less than two minutes remaining — arguably one of the worst throws he’s made in his 15 seasons, as the throw hung in the air for a lifetime before Colts safety Mike Adams picked it off.

The Colts scored a touchdown a few plays later and the Patriots got the ball back with 55 seconds remaining, but Bill Belichick didn’t mess around and kneeled out the clock sending the Patriots to the locker room with just a 14-10 lead — perhaps sending a message to Brady and the offense.

“I always need to do a better job,” said Brady. “Obviously we were there at halftime, I didn’t play as well as I am capable of. I have to do a lot better job. It always starts with me and that is where my focus is. Hopefully I can put together four quarters of good stuff this week.”

The second half was a completely different story as the offense scored touchdowns on four of its five possessions and the only one they didn’t score was the last possession of the game when they were running out the clock late in the fourth quarter. While the ground game was exceptional (Jonas Gray’s 201 yards rushing, four touchdowns), but Brady was a major reason as well. He was 9-for-11 passing for 173 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. (One of the incompletions was a Julian Edelman drop over the middle.)

So, what changed in the second half? Brady had more time to throw.

The quarterback looked much more comfortable in the pocket in the second half, as he was given more time to throw. By our calculations, in the second half Brady averaged 2.61 seconds from snap to release, compared to 2.20 second in the first half — almost half a second difference.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Bryan Stork, Dan Connolly, Patriots offense
Sealver Siliga present at Patriots walkthrough, 21-day window begins 11.19.14 at 1:26 pm ET
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Sealver Siliga

Sealver Siliga

FOXBORO — Defensive lineman Sealver Siliga was present at the start of Patriots practice Wednesday, the first time he has practiced since being put on short-term injured reserve on Sept. 27. Siliga suffered a foot injury in the Patriots’ Week 3 win over the Raiders.

Now that Siliga has practiced, the Patriots have 21 days to activate him to the active roster, or shut him down for the rest of the season. If he were to be activated, the Patriots would need to make room on the 53-man roster for him. As it stands now he does not count against their 53. Siliga is eligible to play Sunday, but as mentioned a roster spot would need to be created.

Cameron Fleming and Chandler Jones were also not spotted at the walkthrough held inside the Dana-Farber Fieldhouse.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Cameron Fleming, chandler jones, Sealver Siliga,
Bill Belichick: 3rd downs, red zone opportunities, turnovers all ‘critical’ parts of the game 11.18.14 at 3:01 pm ET
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Third downs, red zone opportunities and turnovers.

According to Bill Belichick, those are the three most important situations in a given game.

“I definitely put them up top, along with turnovers. You talk turnovers, third down and red area, those are big, big situations in the National Football League,” Belichick said on Tuesday’s conference call. “They’€™re critical. We spend a lot of time on all situations, but particularly those. We try to do a good job in preparing our team for what in general to expect in those situations in the red area and third down based on the yardage, the personnel, sometimes the formation and then we obviously do it specifically for each team. If there’€™s particular, which there always are, but whatever the tendencies are. Again, all the things that go into it, whether it’€™s their protections, their coverages, their coverage adjustments and other subtle things that are part of all that.”

The Patriots did an outstanding job in two-of-the-three Sunday night against the Colts, going 9-for-12 (75 percent) on third down and were 5-for-5 in the red zone, scoring touchdowns on all five of their red zone appearances. The Patriots did turn the ball over twice, losing the turnover battle in the process, but it was just the fourth game out of 10 this season where the team has committed a turnover.

For the year, the Patriots are best in the AFC in turnover differential at plus-11, and second in the NFL, only trailing the Packers who are plus-14. They’ve also been successful in the red zone over the course of the season, scoring touchdowns on 63.4 percent of their trips, ranking sixth in the NFL. They have scored 220 total points in the red zone, which leads the NFL.

Third downs haven’t been as good, but they’ve improved over the course of the last three games. Overall on the year, New England has converted 43.97 percent of its third downs (ninth in the league), but over the last three games that number has risen to 56 percent, and that tops the NFL in that span.

These are all three areas the Patriots have been working on since the summer, so it’s no surprise the team is at, or near the top in all three categories that are most important to Belichick.

“It’€™s something that we try to devote a lot of time to, starting right from the beginning,” said Belichick. “Right the start of, probably late in the second week in the offseason and then the second week of OTAs. We started on red area on the first day of training camp, so it’€™s a priority.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, New England Patriots,

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