|Bill Belichick thinks his defense is going to have a challenge with Le’Veon Bell: ‘Oh my God’||10.19.16 at 11:12 am ET|
FOXBORO — It’s pretty clear that Bill Belichick thinks the world of Le’Veon Bell.
The fourth year back out of Michigan State is considered one of – if not the best – all around back in the National Football League.
After sitting out the first three games this season for a drug suspension, Bell has come back with a force, averaging 5.5 yards a carry in three games, amassing 263 yards. With 20 catches for 177 yards, he is also their second leading receiver behind Antonio Brown.
“Oh my God. Oh yeah, tremendous player,” Belichick raved Wednesday during his press conference. “Great hands, catch the ball, very quick, makes people miss. Strong, breaks tackles, excellent balance, tough, doesn’t run out of bounds, fights for extra yardage. Great player.”
As Belichick noted on Tuesday, the Patriots defense also has to be wary every time DeAngelo Williams is on the field. The 33-year-old running back is a remarkable study in career endurance. He has three of Pittsburgh’s four rushing touchdowns this season. Williams, who carried the load when Bell went down with a knee injury last season, has gone over 8,000 yards career rushing with a 4.8 yards per carry average.
“DeAngelo Williams, led the league the league in rushing the two weeks where he played earlier in the year when he got a lot of carries,” Belichick said. “He’s had a tremendous career. Really, one of the all-time great careers. Statisicially, he’s been tremendous.”
|Le’Veon Bell, DeAngelo Williams, Antonio Brown could still give Pats D headaches, even without Big Ben||10.18.16 at 10:26 pm ET|
Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia know full well that all is not lost in Pittsburgh just because Ben Roethlisberger is out this week following a procedure Monday to clean up torn meniscus in his knee.
The Steelers still have the likes of Le’Veon Bell, DeAngelo Williams and Antonio Brown.
Even if it’s just Landry Jones throwing the passes, those are still three of the best weapons in football.
Since coming back from his three-game suspension to start the season, Bell is averaging 5.5 yards a carry. Only Miami’s Jay Ajayi (5.7) and Buffalo’s LeSean McCoy (5.6) are doing better this year. Throw in the 3.7 average and 275 yards of Williams, who filled the bill nicely in the first three weeks and you have 538 yards in their feature running game. That would put them second in the NFL behind McCoy’s 587 yards.
“He’s not only a good runner but a good receiver,” Bill Belichick said. “He does a great job with the ball in his hands however they get it to him. Tackling will definitely be an issue for us. [He has] good balance, good vision and I’d say he’s a very determined runner. He does a good job of fighting for extra yards, keeping his balance, but just making it difficult, too, to get him down. But, you know, the Steelers have a lot of good skill players. He’s certainly one of them but the receivers do an excellent job of attacking all areas of the field.”
Brown is tied with Jarvis Landry for second in the NFL with 41 catches. His five touchdown catches are tied with Michael Crabtree for most in the NFL.
“They’ve got great vertical receivers with [Sammie] Coates and [Darrius] Heyward-Bey, [Markus] Wheaton as well as Brown, of course,” Belichick added. “They’re great catch-and-run players as well, like how Heyward-Bey scored on the reverse last week. There are a lot of threats there. Certainly Bell is a big one. Williams; we’ve got to be ready for all of these guys. They can all do a lot of damage.”
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|Pittsburgh RB DeAngelo Williams: ‘I’m glad’ Patriots have their problems||07.21.16 at 9:35 am ET|
Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams doesn’t care who is under center for the Patriots for the first four games of the season.
“I am glad they got problems. I don’t care,” Williams told TribLive when he was asked for his thoughts on what the Patriots are going to do during Tom Brady’s four-game ban. “Everybody has their problems, and I’m glad they have theirs.
“I don’t know why everybody thinks that affects us,” Williams added. “We don’t care. You think [Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger] wants to beat a [Tom] Brady-less team? That proves nothing to him.”
Williams has been an outspoken critic of New England for several years, with one school of thought saying that it goes back to the Patriots’ decision to pass on him in favor of Laurence Maroney in the 2006 draft.
For what it’s worth, Brady is expected to be back at quarterback when the Patriots travel to Pittsburgh to meet Williams and the Steelers on Oct. 23.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|5 things you have to know about Steelers||09.07.15 at 6:00 am ET|
Five things you have to know about the Steelers, who will face the Patriots in the regular-season opener Thursday in Foxboro:
1. Even without Le’Veon Bell or Martavis Bryant for the opener, they have one of the better young offenses in the league.
As has been the case for the last decade, the Pittsburgh offense will rise and fall on the right arm of Ben Roethlisberger (67 percent completion rate, an NFL-best 4,952 passing yards, 32 TDs, 9 INTs, 103.3 passer rating last year), but Roethlisberger has a young and talented nucleus around him. Seven of the 11 projected offensive starters are no older than 26 years of age. The good news for the Patriots is that they won’t have to worry about game-planning for Bell or Bryant, both of whom are out with suspensions, which should make their job on defense a little easier. At the same time, Roethlisberger still has plenty of talented offensive options he can lean on: The Steelers have left themselves a little short at running back without Bell in the opener, but expect DeAngelo Williams (62 carries, 219 yards with Carolina last year) to get the bulk of the carries against the Patriots, as well as some Dri Archer. (Roethlisberger has joked about going empty backfield until Bell comes back. Well, it was probably a joke.) Wide receiver Antonio Brown (129 catches, 1,698 yards, 13 touchdowns last year) and veteran tight end Heath Miller (66 catches, 761 yards, three touchdowns last year) will serve as the primary targets in the passing game, while rookie Sammie Coates (who tied with Archer for the team-lead in preseason catches with 10) could also be called upon while Bryant is on the sidelines. It’ll be interesting to see how the Patriots try and defend Brown; will they shadow him all game with Malcolm Butler and give him help over the top? Or will they keep Butler on the left side, as has been the case throughout the summer?
2. This is a whole new era on defense.
Every year over the last decade-plus when talking about the Steelers, Patriots coach Bill Belichick has opened with the same sort of thought on the Pittsburgh defense: they do what they do. That’s not a knock on the Steelers, as they have managed to trademark the black-and-blue approach that helped create one of the best defensive runs in recent NFL history. But they’ve been consistent in their style, approach and scheme, utilizing zone blitzes and their trademark physicality, daring you to beat them. Now, veteran defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau is gone, replaced by former linebackers coach Keith Butler. In addition, old warhorses like Troy Polamalu, Ike Taylor and Brett Keisel are all gone, having departed a defense that ranked in the bottom half of the league in nearly every major statistical category in 2014. While there won’t be wholesale philosophical changes, look for them to do a few things a little differently this time around. For one, the D is younger — the Steelers did infuse their defense with some youth in the offseason with a group that included first-round pick linebacker Bud Dupree and new cornerback Brandon Boykin, who arrived in trade from Philly. (They also took cornerback Senquez Golson in the second, but Golson is out for the year with a shoulder injury.) If you’re looking for positives, the Steelers’ defensive strength is probably inside linebackers Lawrence Timmons and Ryan Shazier (the former of whom has been limited with a toe issue as of late). There are still some familiar faces there, including James Harrison. But there’s no question that the days of the old-school defense of Pittsburgh are done.
|Fantasy Football: Week 17 starts, sits||12.27.13 at 10:38 am ET|
Welcome to the final installment of the 2013 starts and sits. Week 17 is always tricky, which is why the vast majority of fantasy leagues opt to use Week 16 as their bowl week. It’s tricky because you never know which teams are going to pull their starters early and which teams will play to win for 60 minutes. I’ll do my best to warn you off of a few options and to highlight some safer plays. We’ll be doing full Week 17 lineup rankings at Rotobahn, so feel free to head over if you require any additional clarity. I’ll also be back at WEEI at 11 a.m. Sunday for our final chat, so stop by if you have any lineup questions.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers vs. Browns
They play at 1 p.m., so the Steelers will go out there guns blazing to see if they can put some pressure on the teams ahead of them. They post big numbers when they get the offense going, so Roethlisberger is a solid option in any league this week against a Browns defense that’s been shaky lately.
Andrew Luck, Colts vs. Jaguars
He’s got a decent home matchup and it’s indoors, so we don’t need to worry about weather. The Colts have something to play for at this point, though they would need some help from the Patriots and Bengals. It’s an early game, so they won’t know their fate when they play. Luck is a viable starter in any home matchup. Start him if you need him.
Andy Dalton, Bengals vs. Ravens
The Bengals play early and they can put pressure on the Patriots in the race for the bye if they can win. You can count on the Bengals pushing as hard as they can for four quarters. Dalton is a solid play if you need a Week 17 quarterback. His offensive weaponry makes him dangerous on a weekly basis.
Kirk Cousins, Redskins at Giants
If you really need an option, Cousins should give you solid production, though this is not as good a matchup as he had last week. Washington’s temporary starter is a viable option in 12-team leagues with a hot No. 1 receiver and a stout running game to work off of. There is a chance of rain in the forecast, but nothing as epic as what we saw last week.
|Fantasy Football: Week 15 waiver wire||12.11.12 at 8:47 am ET|
As I mentioned last week, we are looking for upside and startable commodities vs. the depth players we were pushing throughout the bye weeks. The other thing to pay attention to are the key handcuffs to your lynchpin players. I will be updating last week’s handcuff article at Rotobahn for those looking to lock up their key insurance policies. I will be back next week for those who make the big game and we will be doing our 11a.m. Sunday morning chat this week for those who are looking for some lineup advice. Good luck to all this week!
Colin Kaepernick, 49ers
He’s not state of the art just yet, but Kaepernick is the future in San Francisco. He can be your present in Week 15 as the 49ers head to New England. Kaepernick can start for you in 12-team leagues if you need a player. His matchup at Seattle in Week 16 is a bit more problematic.
Russell Wilson, Seahawks
He has a nice matchup in Week 15 at Buffalo, so he is worth an add if you need a plug-and-play QB. Wilson is viable in 12-team leagues. His struggles last week were due to San Francicso’s running game dominating the contest, not the passing game’s failures.
Nick Foles, Eagles
We like this kid some and he showed significant improvement in Week 14 in a very solid matchup vs. the Bucs. Things get tougher this week against the Bengals, who are solid defensively, but we’d add Foles for his Week 16 matchup at home against the Redskins, who give up plenty of points via the pass. If you need to piece together your last few weeks, then Foles can help you.
|Report: Panthers re-sign DeAngelo Williams||07.27.11 at 2:18 pm ET|
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Panthers have retained running back DeAngelo Williams with a five-year, $43 million deal that includes $21 million guaranteed.
The Panthers chose Williams 27th overall in the 2006 draft, making him the third running back selected in that draft behind Reggie Bush (second overall) and Laurence Maroney (21st overall). Injuries have hindered Williams’ production over the last two seasons, though he rushed for 1,515 yards with 18 touchdowns in the 2008 season.
This is Carolina’s second big re-signing in as many days, as they gave defensive end Charles Johnson $76 million over six years on Tuesday.
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