|Patriots bringing Brian Daboll back to coaching staff||01.14.13 at 12:00 pm ET|
FOXBORO — In a move similar to bringing back Josh McDaniels during last year’s playoff run as an offensive coaching assistant, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick announced Monday that Brian Daboll is in the process of rejoining the coaching staff. Belichick said Daboll’s role hasn’t been specified yet.
“[It's] similar to what Josh did last year but without any specific responsibility at this time,” Belichick said in announcing the move during Monday’s conference call with reporters. “As soon as we get that worked out, he’ll be part of our coaching staff going forward.”
Daboll was first with the Patriots in the early 2000s, serving as a defensive coaching assistant in 2000. He then worked with McDaniels and coached the wide receivers from 2002-06.
“It’s great to have Brian back,” McDaniels said. “He’s a very good football coach, very knowledgeable and can help us a will certainly help us in a lot of different ways. Certainly having another set of eyes with experience and has a lot of understanding of our system and how we go about doing things, I think, is only a positive for us and can help our football team going forward. I look forward to doing that with Brian.
“Last year when I came back, really anything they asked me to do, I was excited to do. You know, anything you can do to help at this time of year is useful, whether that’s drawing practice cards or sitting in a meeting and having a few ideas on a certain situation in the game plan or anything like that during the course of a week. Everything is so important; every detail is very critical at this time of year and having another football coach on your staff to help is nothing but helpful for us.”
Daboll left New England and joined the staff of head coach Eric Mangini with the Jets and served as quarterbacks coach in 2007-08.
After leaving the Jets, Daboll became the Browns offensive coordinator from 2009-10. He had the same job with the Dolphins (2011) and the Chiefs this past season.
Belichick is very familiar with him, as he served as a graduate assistant for Nick Saban at Michigan State from 1998-99.
|Dolphins OT Jonathan Martin: Patriots ‘will probably do some damage in the playoffs’||12.30.12 at 11:53 pm ET|
FOXBORO — For some of the Dolphins players, it’s getting a little old watching the Patriots dance their way into the playoffs each year, while they sit on the outside looking in.
The Patriots earned the No. 2 overall seed in the AFC with a 28-0 drubbing of the Dolphins in Foxboro on Sunday and a Texans loss to the Colts, which means a first-round bye is upcoming. The next time the Patriots take the field, they will play host to either the Texans, Ravens or Colts on the weekend of Jan. 12-13.
The Dolphins head back to South Florida empty-handed, with a 7-9 overall record and a shutout in the final regular-season game of 2012.
Wide receiver Brian Hartline, when asked how badly he wants a winning record, seemed to sum up the season after Sunday’s beating perfectly.
“Winning record? I want to be in the playoffs. I don’t care what it takes,” he said.
For the Patriots, the road to the Super Bowl becomes a little less busy with a free Wild Card weekend. With the additional week to prepare for one of three teams, they can take time to heal injuries and get some rest.
Rookie Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin said he wouldn’t be surprised to see the Patriots make some headway into the playoffs.
“You know, they are a good team,” he said. “That’s the reason they got a first-round bye and will probably do some damage in the playoffs. … They are a talented unit and they were just doing a good job of making plays [today].”
|Setting the scene: Patriots-Dolphins||at 1:00 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Bitter cold and blustery conditions are expected for Sunday’s regular season finale between the Patriots and Dolphins at Gillette Stadium.
The forecast called for temperatures in the mid-20s with a wind chill of 12 degrees for the 4:25 p.m. kickoff. The game was originally scheduled for 1 p.m. but was moved back by the NFL last week when it became clear that the Patriots would be playing for a possible playoff bye.
The Colts are hosting the Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium in the return of head coach Chuck Pagano to the sidelines. The Colts have never lost at home to Houston. If the Colts win in the 1 p.m. game, the Patriots can clinch a first-round bye with a win over the Dolphins. The Patriots can clinch a No. 1 seed if the Colts beat the Texans and the Chiefs upset the Broncos in Denver, a game that will be played simultaneously with the Patriots-Dolphins contest.
The Patriots may have the services of tight end Rob Gronkowski for the first time since Nov. 18, as reports surfaced Saturday that Gronk was on schedule to return. However, CSNNE.com’s Tom Curran reported Sunday morning that the Patriots were having serious second thoughts and the decision to activate him for the season finale had not been finalized.
The final decision won’t likely be known for sure until inactives are released at 2:55 p.m., 90 minutes before kickoff.
The Patriots will have the services of defensive end Jermaine Cunningham for the first time since New England’s Thanksgiving night massacre of the Jets. Cunningham was suspended the following Monday for four games for violation of the NFL PED policy. The Patriots officially activated Cunningham to the 53-man roster Saturday, waiving defensive lineman and former second-round pick Ron Brace to make room.
The Patriots also signed wide receiver Kamar Aiken and defensive back Malcolm Williams off the practice squad and they will be eligible to play in the regular season finale if active.
Some nuggets for today:
The Patriots need just one first down to set a new NFL record as they come into the game with 416 first downs on the season, 139 by rushing, 241 by passing and 36 by penalty. They enter the game sharing the mark with the 2011 New Orleans Saints. Patriots opponents have just 324. Read the rest of this entry »
|Dont’a Hightower and Chandler Jones are passing the mental test of the NFL||12.28.12 at 10:09 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Patriots defensive rookies Dont’a Hightower and Chandler Jones are no strangers to December football.
But when they played for Alabama and Syracuse last season, the season was winding down, with usually just a single game in December.
But now, a year later, after more than 90 practices and 15 games, the Patriots are just beginning to gear up for what they hope will be a long run in the second season. Both said Friday they’re ready for the challenge, physically and mentally.
“I feel good,” Hightower declared. “Up to this point, I’ve been able to take care of my body and I do all the things I need to get this far into the season. Overall, I feel pretty good.
“Obviously, that’s going to be the case, different type of playing styles in the NFL than from college. But, I’ve had older guys tell me to take care of my body, what to do, some of the tricks, getting massages, more ice tub, more treatment on small nicks and things like that. I feel pretty good as far as my health and body goes.”
Hightower said the mental grind of the NFL classroom is where he feels it the most.
“It would be more mentally than physically,” he said. “Of course, everybody is physically gifted to be able to get to this point and blessed. But mentally, if you [have to] come in and get treatment, get massages and watch extra film and try to stay on top of things like that, the mental aspect is definitely the hardest and heaviest part of trying to transform yourself into an NFL player.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Patriots running the ball down Miami’s throat called ‘disrespectful’ by Dolphins||12.07.12 at 2:21 pm ET|
Here comes another story about the Patriots “disrespecting” their opponents, only with a twist.
This complaint from the other team didn’t even come in a blowout and had nothing to do with the Patriots running up the score. It had to do with the Patriots running out the clock.
With the Patriots up just seven points and the outcome still very much in doubt, Tom Brady marched the Patriots down the field 77 yards toward the game-clinching field goal, putting them up, 23-13, with just 70 seconds left in the game.
But the star of the drive wasn’t Brady but rather running back Stevan Ridley, who ran the ball 10 times of the 16 plays on the drive. He ran for 46 yards and essentially shoved the ball right down Miami’s throat. That didn’t sit well with Miami defensive tackle Tony McDaniel.
“It really [ticked] me off,” McDaniel told Palm Beach Post reporter Brian Biggane. “It was disrespectful to us to run the same play over and over and be successful. Normally, when somebody’s driving down the field you just think, ‘Well, they just had a good run there,’ but you run the same play over and over, as a competitor that [ticks] me off.”
Another Dolphins defensive lineman, Randy Starks, also used the “D” word but thought it was silly to think the Patriots would do something other than what worked for them.
“It is disrespectful, but you’ve got to stop it,” Starks said. “We never stopped it, so I’d keep running the same play, too.”
Starks and McDaniel might want to pay closer attention to the film, because while Ridley did run it 10 times, the Patriots were nice enough to vary the runs.
Ridley ran four times off left guard, twice up the middle, twice off right end, once off right tackle and once off left tackle. Shane Vereen ran once of left guard.
Maybe the Dolphins were shocked with the ease the Patriots ran the ball in the second half, considering they attempted just seven runs for 11 yards in the first half.
|Donte’ Stallworth on return to Patriots: ‘I have a lot of love for this organization’||12.05.12 at 11:42 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Call it foreshadowing.
Donte’ Stallworth was actually in Miami with friends on Sunday afternoon and decided to take in the Patriots-Dolphins game.
“I was actually there,” said Stallworth Wednesday. “I went, since I live in Miami, and I hadn’t been to any games in a while. I had some friends that were going. I usually like to watch games on television, you can see it better. But I decided to go since I hadn’t been to any games. Plus it was the Patriots playing, and I’ve got friends on both teams.”
As word spread that Julian Edelman injured his foot during the game, he figured he might get a call to return to New England for third time.
Stallworth got on a plane and flew up to New England on Monday, the same day the decision was made to place Edelman on season-ending injured reserve with a broken foot. was released in training camp, making this his third stint with the Patriots, after spending an entire season in New England in 2007.
“I think [the Patriots] knew what kind of shape I was in,” Stallworth said. “I made sure that I had been training hard throughout the whole season, just in case.”
But what was the specific appeal of coming back to New England?
“I have a lot of love for this organization, and just everything about the New England Patriots,” he said on Wednesday. “I have a lot of friends on this team. So, yeah, to say I was excited is probably an accurate assessment.
“We had a quarterback able to get us the ball and be able to work on our routes and stuff, full speed.”
Stallworth thought he had a good shot of making this team originally out of training camp before being cut on Aug. 27.
“Honestly, I mean, I was disappointed, but I’ve been in this league long enough to understand how it works,” Stallworth said. “It’s just like after a game. When you lose a game and you’re upset about it that night, but you come to the next game prepared. And that’s what I did, although, it took me a little more than a night. It took a few days. But after that I just tried to get back to where I live in Miami and get back with my trainer, and just continue to work and hope for an opportunity.”
And he’s back working for an opportunity with Bill Belichick once again.
“One of his favorite motto’s is just, ‘Do your job.’ And If I do my job, then I don’t have anything else to worry about after that,” Stallworth said.
|Setting the scene: Patriots-Dolphins||12.02.12 at 10:39 am ET|
Rain and temperatures in the mid-70s are expected for the 1 p.m. kickoff as the Patriots look to clinch their 10th AFC East title in 12 seasons with a win over the Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium.
The Patriots head into the game with three players already ruled out, as Rob Gronkowski (forearm), Chandler Jones (ankle) and Logan Mankins (ankle) will all miss the game.
Julian Edelman did practice this week after suffering a concussion in the team’s last game, 11 days ago on Thanksgiving night. But he was limited and was officially questionable for the game. Edelman was one of 15 players listed as questionable on the team’s official injury report as of Friday afternoon.
The Dolphins, by contrast, are relatively healthy, listing only nine players on their entire report, with eight probable and one questionable.
Much has been made of the fact this week – and rightfully so – that the Patriots have been become automatic in the second half of seasons under Bill Belichick.
They are 19-0 in the second half of seasons, dating to their last loss, Jan. 3, 2010, which marked the 2009 season finale. That was the game in which Wes Welker blew out his knee in Houston and the Patriots lost a double-digit lead and fell to the Texans, 34-27.
They are also an NFL-best 41-5 in the month of December since 2001, a record that includes seven perfect Decembers. Belichick is 43-7 in December with the Patriots, the best record in the month for one coach with one team in NFL history. George Seifert (49ers) is second at 27-6.
A win today would also ensure New England its 12th consecutive winning season. Only San Francisco (1983-98) and Dallas (1970-85) with 16 straight winning campaigns have better in NFL history.
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