|Peter King on M&M: Matt Schaub to blame for collapse of Texans that cost Gary Kubiak his job||12.06.13 at 1:01 pm ET|
Sports Illustrated’s Peter King made his weekly Friday appearance on Mut & Merloni, minutes after the story broke that the Texans had fired coach Gary Kubiak.
“I think the Texans were seriously considering firing Kubiak after the first Jacksonville loss, but the problem was the schedule that was coming up — they’ve got the Patriots and then the Jaguars in a short week,” King said, adding: “I’ve felt strongly he was going to get fired for the last two weeks. Obviously he had an opportunity to save himself, but clearly he couldn’t save himself. And that’s what today is all about. You can’t lose to the Jaguars twice in 11 days and lose 11 games in a row and keep your job. It’s ridiculous. I don’t care what injuries they had. The fact is, this is a team that vastly underachieved this year.”
Added King: “The ownership felt like it’s time, we’ve given this guy more than enough time. And they have.”
King placed the majority of the blame for Houston’s collapse on quarterback Matt Schaub.
“You saw in Houston this year how much one single player can influence your franchise. And that one single player — throwing pick-sixes three weeks in a row — was Matt Schaub,” King said. “Matt Schaub imploded. And as nice a guy he is and as much as he’s done for that franchise, he is the guy that got this team on their death spiral.”
The Texans are loaded with talent, making this an appealing job, especially with them in line for a very high draft pick.
“If you have J.J. Watt coming back, you’ve got Brian Cushing coming back from injury … you’ve got the basis of a very good defense,” King said. “And you’ve got Andre Johnson. It looks like they’ll probably lose Ben Tate, whose a good running back, but they’ve got plenty — plenty — of talent on that team to contend in 2014. If you add [Louisville quarterback Teddy] Bridgewater to that team, they’re going to be very, very good.”
|Josh Gordon on facing Aqib Talib: I’m definitely going to make more plays||12.05.13 at 9:12 pm ET|
Josh Gordon said that when it comes to facing Aqib Talib this week, he’s going to come out on top in the battle with the Patriots cornerback.
“I’m pretty sure he’ll make some plays, but I’m definitely going to make more plays,” Gordon told reporters who asked about Talib, who is expected to match up with the Cleveland receiver this Sunday when the Browns face the Patriots at Gillette Stadium.
“NFL cornerback is a hard position to play, and [Talib is] doing a great job right now for that defense,” added Gordon, who has 64 catches for 1,249 yards and seven touchdowns this season. “He’s a real physical, scrappy player. But I’m going to come out there and do the same, go out there and make plays myself and try to make sure that nobody can stop me.”
This is the second consecutive week Gordon has said he was going to do some damage to an opposing secondary. Last week, he told reporters he was going to exploit Jacksonville’s cornerbacks, and he ended up coming away with 261 receiving yards against the Jags.
Regardless of who he’ll be facing, Gordon said Thursday he’s excited for his first crack at the Patriots.
“[I'm] definitely looking forward to that challenge,” he said. “I’ve never played this team. I hold this team in high regard for their past, their coaching staff and the guys they have on their team and what they’ve done. They might double team me they might not. If they do give me that look we’re prepared for it, for the double team, we’ve been practicing for it but if they don’t and they single me up we plan to exploit it.”
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|Aqib Talib thinks Josh Gordon belongs in same company as Calvin Johnson||12.04.13 at 2:40 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Browns may be 4-8 with a weekly quarterback crisis, but they have a record-setting receiver who has accomplished something in the last two weeks that’s never been seen in the NFL — ever.
Josh Gordon broke his own week-old Browns record with 261 receiving yards on 10 catches last week in a 32-28 home loss to the Jaguars. He set the previous record a week earlier against Pittsburgh with 237 yards receiving. Gordon is the only player in NFL history to top 200 yards in back-to-back games. His 498 yards in consecutive games and 623 yards in his last three games are both NFL records, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
With such gaudy numbers, Gordon — in his second season out of Baylor — is quickly being mentioned in the same company as Detroit’s Calvin Johnson and Houston’s Andre Johnson. Patriots corner Aqib Talib — who figures to draw him in some coverage this week — can see the justification for those comparisons.
“He reminds you of those names, the Calvin Johnsons, the Andre Johnsons, just bigger guys with little guys’ speed and quickness. He can turn an 8-yard curl into a touchdown in a heartbeat. Definitely a challenge.”
Gordon, who stands 6-foot-4 and is listed at 225 pounds, is second in the NFL in receiving yards (1,249) this year. Only Calvin Johnson (1,299) has more.
“You get a guy who’s 235 pounds who runs like he’s 35 pounds,” Talib said, adding 10 pounds to his frame. “That’s definitely a challenge.”
As for who will be getting him the ball, the Browns haven’t made up their mind yet. Jason Campbell, Brandon Weeden, Caleb Hanie and Alex Tanney are all technically in the mix.
How is Gordon doing it with practically a new QB every week?
“Preparation, I guess,” Gordon said in a conference call Wednesday. “Just preparation and perseverance through the rough season and some tough losses we had on the offensive side. Just really pushing through and trying to stay determined to have a good season.
“It’s definitely not normal. I don’t think there are too many wide receivers who have to deal with that in a single season. It’s kind of rough. We’re still dealing with it now. We’re not really sure as to what we’re going to do, where we’re going to go, but I know coach [Rob Chudzinski] will make the right decision and it seems as though they’ve tried to thus far. But, it is pretty rough to get a good rhythm with one quarterback when there have been so many changes. It’s definitely something you can’t get used to.”
|Patriots cornerbacks rise to occasion in win over Broncos||11.25.13 at 3:47 am ET|
FOXBORO – Going into Sunday night’s game against Peyton Manning and the explosive Denver offense, much of the talk was about if the Patriots would be able to stop the Broncos passing attack with a depleted defense, especially in the secondary.
The Patriots already were without four starters on defense, and cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Alfonso Dennard were banged up. Talib returned last week against Carolina after missing a month with a hip injury but didn’t look the same as he did earlier in the year, and Dennard had minor surgery on his meniscus just over a week ago, forcing him to miss the Carolina game. Both players were listed as questionable and were game-time decisions, but they did play and were part of a secondary that played a major role in the Patriots’ 34-31 overtime win.
The Broncos entered Sunday averaging an NFL-best 350.4 passing yards per game, but that didn’t mean anything to the Patriots, as they limited Manning to 150 yards on 19-of-36 passing with two touchdown passes and forced a crucial interception in the second half. It was Manning’s fewest passing yards as a member of the Broncos.
“They’re a tough offense to play against. It’s hard to hold them down yardage wise, hold them down point-wise, but I thought we hung in there and battled,” coach Bill Belichick said. “I thought our corners, they deserve a ton of credit. Talib, [Kyle] Arrington, Alfonso, they’re all, nobody is 100 percent in that locker room, they’re all banged up, they fought through it, just wanted to go out there and complete. Devin [McCourty], Duron [Harmon], then we have Marquice [Cole] at the end, jumped in there, Logan Ryan. Those guys, they just went out there and competed against a great group of receivers.”
The corners had challenging matchups, as Arrington lined up across from Wes Welker in the slot and Talib shadowed Demaryius Thomas the entire night. Arrington held Welker to just four catches for 31 yards, while Thomas finished with four receptions for 41 yards and a touchdown but didn’t make his first catch until the fourth quarter.
“We just tried to go out and make plays,” Talib said. “We tried to take it one play at a time, man. We take it from practice to the game, just one play at a time. [If you] mess up, just forget about it, on to the next play. That’s just how we try to play.”
|Patriots Friday injury report: Michael Hoomanawanui out, Steve Gregory, Alfonzo Dennard, Aqib Talib all questionable||11.22.13 at 4:25 pm ET|
FOXBORO — For the third day in a row, the Patriots had the same series of players on the injury report, as tight end Michael Hoomanawanui was absent. Hoomanawanui was the only player ruled out for Sunday night after suffering a knee injury on Monday night.
Four defensive backs were limited and all four – Aqib Talib (hip), Alfonzo Dennard (knee), Kyle Arrington (groin) and safety Steve Gregory (finger) – are listed as questionable, indicating a 50-50 chance of playing.
The Dennard news comes as a mild surprise since it was reported by the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport that he would miss Sunday’s game after a minor procedure last weekend on his knee.
Here is Friday’s complete report:
Did Not Practice
TE Michael Hoomanawanui (knee) OUT
WR Danny Amendola (groin) PROBABLE
CB Kyle Arrington (groin) QUESTIONABLE
CB Alfonzo Dennard (knee) QUESTIONABLE
S Steve Gregory (finger) QUESTIONABLE
TE Rob Gronkowski (back/forearm/hamstring) PROBABLE
LB Brandon Spikes (knee) PROBABLE
CB Aqib Talib (hip) QUESTIONABLE
RB Leon Washington (ankle) QUESTIONABLE
QB Tom Brady (right shoulder) PROBABLE
WR Matthew Slater (wrist) PROBABLE
RB Shane Vereen (wrist) PROBABLE
For more on the Patriots and Broncos, visit weei.com/patriots.
|Aqib Talib: No grudges with Steve Smith; hip is ‘all right’||11.20.13 at 2:41 pm ET|
FOXBORO — As far as Aqib Talib is concerned, there are no grudges with Steve Smith.
The Patriots corner and Panthers receiver engaged in a few dustups on Monday night when the two teams met in Carolina. After the game, Smith got in a verbal jab on Talib, who didn’t finish the game because of a hip injury, telling the New England defensive back to “Ice up, son. Ice up.”
Talib said he didn’t have anything to add.
“Course not, man. I’m done with Steve for the year, man,” he said with a grin. “Great game — great competitor, man. I always enjoy going against Steve.
“It’s never personal man,. It’s never personal,” added Talib when pressed about how things went down. “I’m sure, if I see Steve, it’ll be, ‘Hey, what’s up? How you doing?’ It’s never personal. Him and the other guy from St. Louis? That was personal. I mean, he didn’t say he was going to punch me in my face after the game. He just told me to go get in the tub. Kinda thoughtful.”
Talib indicated that the hip was OK.
“It’s all right. It’s all right. It tightened up on me a little bit toward the end of the game. It’s fine though,” he said. “We’ll see, man. I’m day to day. I’m out there working like everybody else. Just taking it one day at a time.”
Talib is part of a banged up secondary, a group that includes safety Steve Gregory (thumb) and Alfonzo Dennard (knee).
“It’s football. It’s football,” he said. “Everybody out there is banged up.”
Talib and the rest of the Patriots’ pass defense have a sizable challenge this week against Peyton Manning and a Broncos offense that is first in the league in total offense, passing offense and points per game.
“Ah, man — we thought we had some weapons to go up against last week. It’s to the next level this week,” he said. “They have weapons at almost every position. We have to put in the work — put the time in.
“[Manning is] great at reading them defenses, so, you have to do a great job at trying to disguise or whatever your plan is. You have to have a great plan with Peyton, as opposed to other quarterbacks.”
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|Patriots practice Wednesday: Michael Hoomanawanui missing, Steve Gregory returns, Aqib Talib, Alfonzo Dennard present||at 12:22 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Despite continuing injuries on the defensive side, the Patriots had only one absence Wednesday as they began on-field preparations for Sunday night’s game against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium.
Tight end Michael Hoomanawanui was the only player not spotted during the media portion of practice as the team worked out in sweats and shells on the upper grass fields outside Gillette.
Safety Steve Gregory returned to practice after missing the last two weeks with an injury that required a procedure to stabilize the thumb. Gregory was injured in the second half of the game against the Steelers and did not return.
Aqib Talib was at practice after missing the last several defensive snaps Monday with an aggravation of his hip injury that forced him to miss the previous three games.
Alfonzo Dennard was on the field despite a reported knee procedure that is expected to keep him out a couple of weeks. Dennard was moving very cautiously and is not expected to be ready to play this Sunday night.
The team will practice again on Thursday and Friday.
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