|Mark Anderson on the loss of Andre Carter: ‘A lot of people have to step up and try and fill his shoes’||12.20.11 at 6:16 pm ET|
FOXBORO — With Andre Carter going down, expect more responsibility to fall on the shoulders of defensive end Mark Anderson.
After Carter went down with a leg injury on Sunday against the Broncos, Anderson asserted himself nicely in his place, coming away with a pair of sacks in New England’s win over Denver. His biggest contribution was a strip-sack of Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow and a fumble recovery on the play, one of three turnovers the Patriots forced in the second quarter in the win over Denver.
And now, with Carter done for the season — he was officially placed on season-ending injured reserve on Tuesday — the Patriots hope that Carter will continue to head in the right direction.
“Andre is one of the leaders on the team, and we’re going to miss him. As a team, it’ll be a big (loss). A lot of people have to step up and try and fill his shoes,” Anderson said after a Tuesday walkthrough. “I’m going to do my best and try and do whatever I can do to help the team out. But like I said, he’s a big part of the team, and we’re going to miss him.”
Anderson was the second-best pass rusher on the team, trailing only Carter when it came to sacks (Carter had 10, while Anderson has nine) and quarterback hits (Carter had 22, Anderson has 11). Patriots coach Bill Belichick was noncommittal when asked Tuesday about replacing Carter.
“Whatever 11 guys we put out there will have to get the job done,” Belichick said. “Whatever (offensive packages) they put out there we have to be ready to defend them.”
In his first season in New England, the 6-foot-4, 255-pounder out of Alabama, said he’s “not sure” if he’ll get more snaps this season with Carter on the sidelines.
“Most likely, but we do different schemes and have different plans,” he said. “We just have to be ready. Whenever your number’s called and you have to be ready to go out there and make a play when it’s your time.”
“He’s had a pretty good year,” Belichick said of Anderson. “He’s been a pretty consistent player for us all year. He’s a good athlete. He works hard.”
Anderson, who played four-plus seasons in Chicago and part of a year in Houston before joining the Patriots this past offseason, does have some positional versatility that will allow him to play both in a 3-4 and a 4-3. He says that he’s ready for both if needed.
“(There’s) really not a big difference,” he said of the difference in his responsibilities in the 3-4 or the 4-3. “We still have to set the edge and we still have to have the ability to go out there and make plays. You still have to rush the quarterback. You still have to drop (into coverage). There are some different drops and some things like that, but overall, you just have to set the edge and make plays.
“I feel comfortable. I’m enjoying myself every time I’m on the field,” the 28-year-old added. “I have fun when I play. This is my sixth year in the league, and there’s nothing new. I’ve seen just about everything there is to see. Now, it’s just going out there and executing plays.”
|Rob Ninkovich on M&M: ‘When the game’s over, we’re still winning’||12.19.11 at 1:16 pm ET|
Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich joined the Mut & Merloni show Monday to recap Sunday’s 41-23 victory over the Broncos. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
The Patriots fell behind 16-7 and looked shaky early before altering their defensive game plan and turning things around in the second quarter.
“You go into each week preparing for what that team has done in the previous few weeks, Ninkovich said. “Every team’s going to come in and do something different to you. Denver, you’ve got to give them credit for coming in and having a good, solid game plan that we had to adjust to.”
Added Ninkovich: “The first couple of drives, we didn’t have everything all together as far as our communication and all that stuff. We had to settle down a little bit and all come together and just say, hey, we can’t let this go on or else it’s not going to be a good game for us. We just had to stop the run, and those turnovers were huge for us.”
Even when the Patriots looked overmatched, Ninkovich said the team kept its cool.
“It’s the bend-but-don’t-break mentality,” he said. “There’s always frustration when there’s big runs being broken out. You’ve just got to be calm and collected and talk to each other and make sure that we’re all on the same page. You can’t panic. As the year has gone on, yeah, we’ve let up some yardage. But when the game’s over, we’re still winning, so that’s all that matters.”
Ninkovich learned first-hand how tough Tim Tebow is to tackle, as the quarterback escaped his grasp in the backfield and broke free for a touchdown in the opening period.
“He’s a big boy,” Ninkovich said. “You’ve got to give the kid credit. He’s a great football player. … That’s all on me. I need to just bring my feet in a little more under me, especially when they’re running that option. That’s a free hundred-mile-an-hour hit on him. I just have to be a little more physical on that one. I wrapped him up and I just didn’t bring him down. That’s all on me, that one right there.”
Added Ninkovich: “He’s an athlete. He’s a good football player. After that game, I have a lot more respect. He can get out of the pocket and do things with his feet.”
There was some bad news for the Patriots Sunday, as defensive lineman Andre Carter left with a leg injury that is reported to be season-ending.
“Andre, he’s been a great veteran for us. … He’s been through a lot of different things,” Ninkovich said. “He brought a lot of experience to our team and leadership. Whatever his injury is, I hope he can be back as soon as possible. With football, there’s always going to be injuries. You’ve just got to have another guy step in.”
|Mark Anderson and the Patriots don’t flinch after Andre Carter’s injury||12.18.11 at 10:14 pm ET|
The Patriots had every reason in the world to curl up in a ball and roll over after giving up nearly 170 yards on the ground in the first quarter and watching their best pass-rusher get carted off the field with what could be a season-ending knee injury.
But Mark Anderson — a fifth-round pick of the Bears in 2006 signed to a one-year deal by the Patriots in August — wouldn’t let Andre Carter or the Patriots down. Not on this day.
“Andre is a very vocal leader on our team and everybody looks up to him,” Anderson told reporters of Carter being carted off on the final play of the first quarter. “He’s been there before. Losing him was very critical and everybody stepped up.”
Anderson said he didn’t feel any added pressure.
“Not at all,” he said. “It’s something we work on in practice, we all get reps,” Anderson said. “Losing Andre is a big part of our defense, so hopefully it’s nothing serious. We were able to look past that and everybody stepped up to make plays.”
The 28-year-old defensive end, who has been overshadowed by Carter’s 10-sack season, is having a stellar season himself. He entered with seven sacks Sunday but now is just one behind his teammate after sacking Tim Tebow twice, stripping him of the ball and recovering it on one of those sacks. It was the second quarter and the Patriots had just taken a 17-16 lead. His recovery led to a Tom Brady 1-yard TD run on a keeper. The Patriots were up, 24-16 and on their way to an AFC East-clinching win.
“I don’t know what happened,” Anderson said. “One of their players must have pulled my helmet off or something. Once you’re in that pile, anything goes and I was just making sure that I secured the ball and got a turnover for the offense.”
Before that, the Patriots defense, even before Carter injured his left knee on the final play of the first quarter, was getting manhandled.
“It was just the beginning of the game. We still were getting the feel of the offense, what type of scheme they were coming with,” Anderson said. “We got things adjusted, and made a few plays, and were able to turn things around to get the offense back on the field.”
Indeed, Anderson, after meeting with defensive line coach Pepper Johnson and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, said the Patriots looked inspired.
“It was critical,” Anderson said. “We came into halftime, made some adjustments and were able to work those adjustments out and make plays, and cause some disruption against Tebow and the whole offense.”
As for handling Tebow twice, Anderson echoed the sentiments of head coach Bill Belichick, giving credit to his defensive line teammates.
“He’s a very talented player,” Anderson said. “He’s a strong, physical quarterback. He’s like part running back out there. We were able to get him a few times. Everybody contributed as a team and we got the victory.
“One thing you want to do is have everybody flying to the ball, getting hats to the ball when you’re playing against Tebow because he’s able to scramble.”
|Pressure Points: Which New England defenders have done the best job of getting after the quarterback through 13 games?||12.15.11 at 1:21 am ET|
According to official NFL gamebooks, opposing quarterbacks have 519 dropbacks against the Patriots through 13 games this season, and have been hit by New England defenders a total of 71 times, to go along with 29 sacks (tied for 17th in the league). Here’s a breakdown of who has been getting to the quarterback for the Patriots through 13 games:
Defensive end Andre Carter: 22
Defensive end/linebacker Mark Anderson: Nine
Linebacker Rob Ninkovich: Eight
Defensive lineman Vince Wilfork: Seven
Linebacker Dane Fletcher: Five
Linebacker Jerod Mayo: Four
Defensive lineman Kyle Love: Four
Defensive lineman Myron Pryor: Three
Defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth: Two
Defensive lineman Gerard Warren: Two
Defensive lineman Shaun Ellis: One
Safety Pat Chung: One
Linebacker Brandon Spikes: One
Cornerback Phillip Adams: One
Defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick: One
Carter: 10 (70 yards)
Anderson: 7 (49 yards)
Ninkovich: 4.5 (20 yards)
Wilfork: 2.5 (17.5 yards)
Love: Two (11 yards)
Deaderick: One (3 yards)
Chung: One (3 yards)
Pryor: 0.5 (4.5 yards)
Mike Wright: 0.5 (4 yards)
|Andre Carter, Deion Branch on M&M: Tim Tebow wins games, that’s all that matters||12.12.11 at 12:42 pm ET|
Patriots defensive lineman Andre Carter and wide receiver Deion Branch stopped by for their weekly visits with Mut & Merloni at Gillette Stadium Monday. To hear the interviews, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Carter agreed that Sunday’s win over the Redskins was a mixed bag, as the Patriots did not play all that well.
Said Carter: “You put in the time and the effort to prepare for an opponent, and you know or anticipate what they’re trying to do. And then to come out and have the performance you did — like I said, we’re blessed, we’re a talented team, we work our butts off, but it has to carry on in the game. When you give up those big plays, it’s pretty much unnecessary. Not necessary, it’s just disappointing. It’s back to the drawing board again. We’ve got another tough opponent against us in Denver. They’re high and mighty right now, and they’re definitely a threat.”
Asked about the Tom Brady-Bill O’Brien confrontation, Branch said: “That stuff happens. We’re all on the same team. We’re all in it for the same goal. Guys just got a lot of emotions tied up into it. You see how fast it ended. The guys talked about it. I’m sure those two handled it like professionals.”
Carter was called for a penalty in the second quarter for hitting Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman below the knees. The call for roughing the passer negated a Patriots interception. Carter said, “I really don’t know what else to do,” in terms of how to hit a player.
“I went through my head countless times,” he said. “The league has changed so much. I understand, as far as the league trying to protect quarterbacks, or protect players in general. But at the same time, football is football. You’ve got to find a way to make a play that’s legal.”
Carter now needs to focus on hitting Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, who likes to run and is tough to bring down.
“He’s very aggressive, and that’s something that we have to keep in mind,” Carter said. “Especially coming into Denver. Everybody knows he loves to scramble. It’s back to the drawing board for this game plan. I’ve got to get my hamstrings ready.”
Branch is impressed with the Denver quarterback’s results.
“Great player, man,” he said. “This is what the game’s about. Everybody harps on what type of quarterback this guy is and what he can’t do. He’s 7-1. He’s 7-1 since he’s been starting, and that’s the only thing that’s important.”
Added Branch: “He deserves [the attention]. Now, we’ve just got to go in there and play our game. We can’t worry about ‘Tebow Week’ and all that other stuff.”
|Jerod Mayo knows Sunday’s performance ‘won’t be good enough any other week’||12.11.11 at 7:50 pm ET|
LANDOVER, Md. — In a game that saw the Patriots give up big play after big play to Rex Grossman, it was Jerod Mayo to the rescue with 20 seconds remaining to preserve the Patriots’ 34-27 win over the Redskins Sunday at FedExField.
He intercepted a bobble by Santana Moss on a throw from Grossman with the Redskins threatening inside the Patriots’ 10.
“Tracy [Tracy White] made a great play on the ball and kind of separated the man from the ball, and it just popped up and fell into my hands,” Mayo said.
Moss was upset following the game when asked about the offensive pass interference penalty the play before that negated the game-tying touchdown. Replays showed Mayo getting screened off on a corner route by Moss, who appeared to get his hands extended, with the side judge throwing the flag.
“I’ve been playing this game for a long time and I still find it hard to believe that it’s all right for somebody to mug us at five yards but we can’t get the guy off us, so they called pass interference on us,” Moss said. “How can I get open if a guy is going to put his hands on me, and if I put my hands back on him? You feel me? It’s just stuff that has been going on for years but we’re wrong if we do it, but if they do it, it’s OK.”
Back to the Patriots, was Mayo’s pick enough to erase what happened in the first 59 minutes, 40 seconds, when the Patriots couldn’t come up with a big defensive stop?
“A little bit, but at the same time we still want to put together a full game and, it was good enough today, but it probably won’t be good enough any other week,” Mayo said.
No one on the Patriots defense was targeted more than Devin McCourty in the first three quarters. And after giving up a 51-yard completion to Donte Stallworth in the first quarter, he knew the Redskins would be coming back his way all game. Read the rest of this entry »
|From Sean Taylor to the fans, Washington will always mean something special to Andre Carter||12.07.11 at 9:38 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Bring up his days in the nation’s capital, and Andre Carter – like he did on Wednesday – shines his sincere smile and has nothing but good things to say.
Even when the tragedy of a former teammate is broached.
Carter was in his second season of six-year, $30 million deal with the Redskins when 24-year-old Sean Taylor was gunned down in his Miami home and eventually died on Nov. 27, 2007. That season will always be with Carter, as the Patriots defensive end acknowledged Wednesday.
“Definitely, the 2007 season in regards to Sean Taylor and playing hard for him, that was by far one of the best moments,” Carter said. “We outplayed the Cowboys the last game of the season. We beat them by 21 points and Sean’s number was 21 so that was definitely a memorable experience that will always be cherished forever.”
Thanks to Carter and his teammates, the Redskins beat the Cowboys, 27-6, concluding a four-game winning streak that began after they lost to the Bills, 17-16, the game after Taylor’s death. That day, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams had no free safety on the opening snap, putting 10 men on the field to start the game in a tribute to Taylor.
“That was also special, too. It took a lot of guts to do that,” Carter said. “But hey, that’s one thing about Gregg Williams, he’s definitely hard-nosed and people think he’s misunderstood but he loved Sean Taylor the way we loved him and why not do one last play for him.”
That win over the Cowboys put the Redskins in the playoffs in 2007. They would lose in Seattle in the first round of the playoffs, the last time the Redskins have appeared in the postseason.
“Unfortunately, they haven’t been successful,” Carter said of Washington woes under the likes of head coaches Jim Zorn and Mike Shanahan. “But the fans, in general, have held on and definitely have faith in trying to turn that particular organization around. I’ve been glad and blessed to meet some of the greats, and actually was with some of the greats, especially Joe Gibbs. It’s just an amazing franchise. Hopefully, in due time, that organization will turn around because it was a great place to play in, holding 100,000-plus fans. It can get loud when things are really rolling.” Read the rest of this entry »
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