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Tim Hasselbeck on D&C: Patriots offensive line was ‘worn out’ against Dolphins 09.08.14 at 10:00 am ET
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Former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst Tim Hasselbeck joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday to discuss the Patriots’ loss to the Dolphins. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Patriots offensive line had trouble throughout the second half against the Dolphins defensive front. Hasselbeck said Miami’s hits on Tom Brady in the second half changed the complexion of the entire game.

“You look at hits on Brady in the first half, to hits on Brady in the second half, it was a different game. It goes to show you that Tom didn’t have a chance in the second half. Whether it was Jared Odrick beating [Dan] Connolly, whether it was Cameron Wake on a tight end and a back, whether it was Cameron Wake on Sebastian Vollmer. I’ve got three plays where you’re either dealing with a sack-fumble or a hit on the quarterback where [Brady] doesn’t have three seconds to get rid of the football. When you look at it in that regard, there has to be something with that offensive line, which by the way has been a concern for them throughout training camp in terms of the combination that they were going to play with. I think they were worn out. … They got tired.”

Some wondered whether the Patriots should have used more creativity to get the ball out of Brady’s hands quicker. Hasselbeck said the Patriots did an effective job of that in the first 30 minutes.

“In the first half, as I’m taking notes on stuff, I was impressed with the creativity of some of that stuff — how they were using [Julian] Edelman, and how they were doing things where, like the jet sweep a great example. To get that from them you start to say, ‘OK, I like the creativity of it.’ ”

The trade of offensive lineman Logan Mankins for tight end Tim Wright has been a source of controversy since it occurred, and many blame the deal for the line’s struggles on Sunday. Hasselbeck said the trade was not the cause of the issues.

“Logan wasn’t going to be blocking Cameron Wake. Cameron Wake gave them fits. Dan Connolly is blocking his man, and he gets beat by his man. Is the outcome of the game is different? I don’t think there’s any shot the outcome of the game is any different.”

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Read More: Cameron Wake, Dan Connolly, Logan Mankins, ray rice
Mike Petraglia on return of Tom Brady to Patriots practice and offensive line by committee 09.05.14 at 1:47 pm ET
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FOXBORO —’s Mike Petraglia discusses Tom Brady‘s return to Patriots practice Friday and the potential of an offensive line by committee to replace Logan Mankins.

Read More: Logan Mankins, Miami Dolphins, Mike Petraglia, New England Patriots
Adam Schefter on MFB: Patriots face challenge with new Dolphins OC at 12:53 pm ET
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Adam Schefter

Adam Schefter

ESPN’s Adam Schefter checked in with Middays with MFB on Friday to preview Sunday’s regular-season opener between the Patriots and Dolphins along with other NFL news. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Schefter said the Dolphins could have an advantage in the sense that they have a new offensive coordinator in Bill Lazor, while there are no secrets about what the Patriots will do.

“The Miami Dolphins know, to a certain extent, what they’re going to be getting from the New England Patriots on offense and defense,” Schefter said. “They can mix things up, they can change the schemes, they can attack it a certain way. Do the Patriots know as well what they’ll be getting from [Lazor]? And they answer’s no, they just don’t. But than again, the Patriots have Tom Brady at quarterback and the Dolphins have Ryan Tannehill. And we’ll see how that works out.

“I just think to me those are always more challenging openers for a certain team and organization to get ready for, the ones where you’re going against a team that gets a new offensive coordinator and has a new offensive system in place.”

Schefter agreed that the Patriots defense appears to be an improvement over last season, although he’s not sure which players will step up, especially on the pass rush.

“I picked the Patriots as one my defenses in my two fantasy leagues, so I believe in them,” Schefter said. “But I will say that you wonder where all the pass rush is going to be coming from. And yes, they’ve upgraded the talent, the corners, the personnel, they get back injured players — all those things figure to be correct. But just tell me who’s getting double-digit sacks on this team besides maybe Chandler Jones. Is it going to be Rob Ninkovich? Is going to be to somebody else? Where is all the pass rush coming from? I think they’ll find a way to manufacture it, but do we know that right now?”

Added Schefter: “Again, I don’t have any doubt that they’ll be able to manufacture and scheme up certain things, Matt Patricia does a great job with that, but the fact of the matter is there aren’t many proven pass-rushers on this team. When you look at dominant defenses, they usually have dominant pass-rushers. … I just want to know where it’s coming from. And we’ll find out on Sunday.”

Touching on the Logan Mankins trade, Schefter said there does not appear to be one single reason but a variety of them behind moving the popular offensive lineman.

“I think there were a lot of factors that went into that deal,” Schefter said. “I think the Patriots will tell you bottom line is it was in the best interest of their team. It came together very quickly and unexpectedly. But I would say that the combination of things — I don’t think it was any one thing as much as the fact that they’ve been very good moving on from guys a year too early rather than a year too late. We’ve seen them do it with Lawyer Milloy and Richard Seymour and now Logan Mankins.

“And you’re talking about one of the grittier players that’s played in that franchise’s history. He’s been an All-Pro guard, he’s played with torn ligaments in his knee all year, he’s a tough guy, he’s good. But he’s also, what, 32? And they saved, what, 6 1/2, 7 million dollars in cash? And I don’t believe it was a financially driven decision. But do I believe that was a part of it? Yes. Do I believe part of it was trading and adding a tight end who they believe in? Yes. Getting a fourth-round pick? Yes. Giving some of these either young guys, the Josh Klines of the world, an opportunity? Yes. All of these things together, and when you factor them all in, it just made sense for them to do that.”

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Read More: adam schefter, chandler jones, Logan Mankins, Tom Brady
Bill Belichick hints at offensive line rotation to fill shoes of Logan Mankins at 10:49 am ET
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Could Josh Kline be the replacement for the departed Logan Mankins? (Getty Images)

Could Josh Kline be the replacement for the departed Logan Mankins? (Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Ever since Logan Mankins was dealt away to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, there’s been constant speculation as to who might replace the six-time Pro Bowl starting left guard.

Well, Bill Belichick hinted Friday that it might take more than one person to fill that void.

“We know how we’re going to play the game. Like anything else we do, we always have contingency plans if something happens to somebody. I think we have a lot of good players at that position on the offensive line. We’ll see how we end up playing them but we could end up playing more than five.”

Josh Kline, who started at left guard last Dec. 22 in Baltimore, was given the job in the preseason finale. He was bull-rushed twice against the Giants and allowed a sack. But against the Ravens last December, he kept Tom Brady clean and the Patriots offense rolled to an easy win.

There’s also been speculation that Marcus Cannon, Jordan Devey or even Sebastian Vollmer could get looks along the interior line at some point. The projected starters along the line right now figure to be Nate Solder at left tackle, Ryan Wendell at center, Dan Connolly at right guard and Sebastian Vollmer at right tackle.

With Cannon, Kline and Devey available, one can easily see why Belichick sees an O-line rotation in New England’s future.

“We have five linemen so we’ll plan the way we think will give us the best chance to win,” Belichick said Friday.

Read More: Jordan Devey, Josh Kline, Logan Mankins, Marcus Cannon
Julian Edelman on MFB: ‘We’re thinking about Miami, the team that we have now’ 09.02.14 at 11:24 am ET
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Patriots receiver Julian Edelman stopped by for a visit with the Middays with MFB crew on Tuesday to preview Sunday’s regular-season opener against the Dolphins in Miami. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Patriots made two big moves since Thursday’s final preseason game, trading offensive lineman Logan Mankins and backup quarterback Ryan Mallett, leaving rookie Jimmy Garoppolo to serve as Tom Brady‘s backup.

“With the whole Mankins situation that happened last week, like I said last week, I love the guy as a teammate, but as Tom said, we’re moving on,” Edelman said. “We’re thinking about Miami, the team that we have now. It is a business. A lot of these kind of crazy things go down.

“As far as Jimmy Garoppolo, his job is to back up Tom Brady. He has to worry about what he has to do, I have to worry about what I have to do, because if that if that situation were ever to come … you prepare for what you have to do as an individual to make everything comfortable for anyone who comes in. That’s along with a tackle, another receiver, the kicker, whatever. Injuries are a part of the game. Whenever something like that goes down, you’ve just got to be prepared to kind of do your job.”

Rob Gronkowski also made news when he announced Monday that he’s ready to play Sunday.

“That’s Gronk being Gronk, maybe. That’s his situation,” Edelman said. “I didn’t even see the clippings or anything. … He’s been in there practicing, working hard. But like we keep on preaching around here, you kind of worry about what you have to do. If he plays, that’s awesome, because that’s a huge weapon, probably the best tight end in the National Football League, in my opinion. But if he doesn’t, you have to worry about what you have to do, and go out and do your job.”

The Dolphins made a move to improve their defensive backfield in the offseason, signing controversial veteran Cortland Finnegan, someone Edelman expects to see a lot of on Sunday. Edelman called the oft-fined Finnegan “a feisty, instinctive vet player who’s played a lot of games in this league.”

“He’s a competitor,” Edelman said. “He’s played a lot of games, like I said. He’s been known to maybe get in there and compete in the full length of the play, but we all do here.”

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Read More: Cortland Finnegan, Jimmy Garoppolo, Julian Edelman, Logan Mankins
Tom Brady on D&C: ‘I dealt with whatever feelings I had last week, but I’ve moved on’ regarding trade of Logan Mankins at 7:45 am ET
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Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning as the Patriots prepare for Sunday’s regular-season opener against the Dolphins in Miami. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Patriots finished a 2-2 preseason with Thursday’s 16-13 loss to the Giants. Since then, the team traded stalwart offensive lineman Logan Mankins and backup quarterback Ryan Mallett. According to a report, Brady was very upset upon learning that Mankins was sent to the Buccaneers for tight end Tim Wright and a 2015 draft pick.

“I haven’t really spoken to anybody about it,” Brady said. “I have my own personal feelings that obviously are very personal to me. Whatever those are, I just want our team to be the best it can be for this year. I love Logan, Logan was a great friend of mine. Nobody stood for Patriot football more than him. But he’s moved on. I hope he’s happy. We’ll keep in touch.

“We’ve got a game to win. I can’t really think too much about what happened in the past. Like I said, yeah, I dealt with whatever feelings I had last week, but I’ve moved on. I’ve got to move on, because that’s what this team expects me to do. With Miami coming in, the only thought on my mind is how I can be the best quarterback against them and how I can can try to go out there and lead my teammates and be a great example and be a great motivator and bring the enthusiasm and energy for the team. Because without that then we have less opportunity to win. And you guys know me, I like winning.”

Brady has been through this before, losing close friends in the final days and weeks before the season begins, but he said the business aspect of football is no easier to handle as a seasoned veteran.

“Absolutely not,” he said. “I’m a very person-to-person type of person. I am a very emotional person. I don’t think those things have ever gotten easier for me. And I don’t think they ever will. But you’ve got to come to grips with it also, and learn to deal with things in a mature way.

“We as players, the business side of things, we’re there to play, we aren’t there to run businesses. We’re there to enjoy the camaraderie with our teammates, enjoy the playing experience with our teammates. We play for one another, and you deal with whatever comes up and then you move forward. I think that’s part of the sport. Being that it’s happened, I know it’s going to happen next year, too, I know it’s going to happen the year after that, the year after that — for as long as you continue playing here you’re going to be dealing with this.

“But now we’ve got a chance to move forward, to move forward with the start of the year. And you’ve got to bring the best attitude you can when it matters to the most, which is now.”

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Read More: Logan Mankins, Ryan Mallett, Tim Wright, Tom Brady
Bill Belichick: Tim Wright played ‘pretty well’ in Patriots debut 08.29.14 at 3:53 pm ET
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One day after his Patriots’ debut, Bill Belichick said tight end Tim Wright “handled the situation [Thursday] pretty well” for someone who had two days of practice with his new team.

Wright, who had four catches for 43 yards in the preseason finale, was acquired from the Bucs earlier in the week in exchange for offensive lineman Logan Mankins.

“I think the big thing for him and for the rest of the team, for us, is just that chance we had to get him to actually play in our system,” Belichick said of the Rutgers product. “Even though it was an abbreviated way of doing it, it’€™s a lot better than next week being the first time that all those things happen. So that was good.

“I think he learned a lot. We saw some things that for him ‘€“ in other words, what are going to be the biggest differences? What are things that are going to be things that are pretty similar, pretty familiar, not really a problem? What are going to be some things that are going to be a little bit more of a learning curve for him? And a lot of that really crystalized [Thursday[ night that he can feedback for us and we can see in working with him that he’€™s pretty far along on these things and maybe not as far along on maybe something else, so I think that was the benefit last night for that particular player.”

After the game, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo called Wright a “very intelligent player.” Belichick acknowledged Friday that Wright was able to do well when it came to absorbing a lot of information in a relatively short time.

“I mean, it certainly wasn’€™t perfect,” Belichick said. “But he picked all that up pretty quickly, and when he got into the game, didn’€™t forget it.

“Sometimes it’€™s one thing to sit in the meeting and go over it and feel like yeah, you’€™ve got it, and OK, you hear this you’€™re going to do that. It’€™s another thing to actually go out there and do it at full speed in a game situation. He handled quite a bit of information in a short amount of time pretty well, so that was good. Now this week, obviously, he’€™ll be starting at the beginning like everybody else will in terms of our game plan and preparations for Miami, so we’€™ll just take it day by day and see how it goes. But I thought he handled a lot of information pretty well.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Jimmy Garoppolo, Logan Mankins, Tim Wright
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