|Patriots add ‘blessed’ Leon Washington to their arsenal||03.14.13 at 6:46 pm ET|
Soon after tweeting “negotiations!!!” while in a meeting with the Patriots, kick returner and running back Leon Washington went a step further by tweeting out a picture of himself in a Patriots hat, indicating that he had agreed to terms with New England. At the bottom of the picture, he tweeted, “#blessed Lets Go #Pats.”
About an hour later, the Patriots made it official, signing the veteran return specialist.
Washington, who turns 31 on Aug. 29, is a veteran of seven NFL seasons with the New York Jets (2006-09) and the Seattle Seahawks (2010-12). The 5-foot-8, 203 pounder, originally entered the NFL as a fourth-round (117th pick overall) draft choice by the Jets out of Florida State in 2006. He was traded by the Jets to the Seahawks on April 24, 2010 for a 2010 fifth-round draft choice. Washington was released by Seattle on March 12, 2013.
Washington shares the NFL record with Josh Cribbs (Cleveland) with eight career kickoff returns for touchdowns. He also tied an NFL record when he returned two kicks for a touchdown in a game against San Diego in 2010. Washington earned Pro Bowl honors in 2008 and 2012 and All-Pro honors in 2007, 2008 and 2010.
Washington has played in 103 NFL games with 14 starts and has registered 473 rushing attempts for 2,213 yards and 16 touchdowns, and 146 receptions for 1,127 yards and two touchdowns. He has also returned 168 punts for 1,668 yards and 244 kickoffs for 6,315 yards and eight touchdowns.
Indeed, ESPN’s Adam Schefter was the first to report that the Pro Bowler signed a one-year deal to play with the Patriots, who did not reveal terms or length of the contract.
Leon Washington and Patriots reached agreement on a one-year deal.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 14, 2013
Washington is the leading candidate to replace Wes Welker on punt returns and could also provide insurance in the running game, should the Patriots not retain free agent running back Danny Woodhead.
For more, visit the Patriots team page at weei.com/patriots.
|Peter King on M&M: Trading Darrelle Revis would be ‘more Jets idiocy’||01.25.13 at 2:05 pm ET|
Sports Illustrated football writer Peter King spoke with Mut & Merloni Friday about the legacies of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, the “idiocy” of a potential Darrelle Revis trade, and Terry Francona‘s book.
King, a lifelong Red Sox fan, said he’d gone to a New York bookstore where Francona was signing copies of the book with the intention of meeting the manager and thanking him for everything he’d done for the team. When he found there would be a 75-minute wait, though, he decided against it.
“I just started to think to myself, this is behind enemy lines and you’ve got an hour-and-15- minute wait in the dead of winter to get Terry Francona’s signature on his book,” King said. “I thought that spoke volumes about Red Sox fans and about their feelings about Terry Francona.”
King also sided with Francona on the issue of Red Sox management trying to bring in players who would draw ratings, regardless of how they fit with the team.
“I’ve been a sportswriter since 1980, and if people’s ratings are down, people always start talking about, let’s get [Tim] Tebow, let’s get that guy, let’s market to the women, let’s do this,” King said. “The bottom line in all of this is the only thing that gets people to watch your games and gets people to sit in the stands is winning. If you want to have great ratings in April, go get Mr. America. but as soon as you go 6-12 and it’s May 1, people say, ‘I have other things to do tonight, I’m not going to watch a game.’ The only way to appeal to a fan base is to win, and then they won’t care if you’ve got 11 schnauzers out there.”
On the topic of the upcoming Super Bowl, King said he thinks the most interesting storyline is the comparison between the styles of Joe Flacco and Colin Kaepernick.
“Even though they play a lot of no-huddle now in Baltimore, Joe Flacco is not running around very much,” King said. “He’s not the mobile guy. And Colin Kaepernick, he can do anything. He can sit there in the pocket and study you and beat you with a great arm. … Everybody’s talking about his running. Can you see this guy throw, what an incredible arm he has? So I think if you underestimate his arm he’ll kill you throwing it, and everybody’s seen that he can beat you running it, too.”
|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.
|Steve Gregory: Turnovers blitz ‘really set the momentum for the game’||11.23.12 at 2:39 am ET|
EAST RUTHERFORD — Mark it down, Steve Gregory AFC defensive player of the week.
If Darius Butler earned his for two picks and a fumble recovery, then Gregory is almost certainly going to get the nod for what he turned in Thursday night during a 49-19 win over the Jets.
When the game was actually still in doubt, he intercepted Mark Sanchez over the middle as he was spying the Jets’ quarterback. That pick ended New York’s second drive of the game deep in Patriots territory and set the tone for five turnovers forced by the Patriots defense.
“It’s growing every week,” Gregory said of the secondary’s confidence level. “We go to work every day in practice to get better and we study up on film. We’re really trying to dial in and focus on getting better as a unit and we saw some of those results tonight.”
Then, he recovered a fumble on a Shonn Greene failed attempt to pick up a yard on fourth-and-1. The next play resulted in Tom Brady finding Shane Vereen for 83 yards and a touchdown, giving New England a 14-0 lead.
Moments later, Sanchez ran into the backside of his offensive lineman and fumbled. Guess who was there to pick it up and scamper 32 yards for the score?
“It was a good one for me today,” Gregory said in a tone that could describe a morsel off the Thanksgiving dinner table. “Some of that stuff is just the ball popping out and being in the right place at the right time, so you know it was a team effort. The guys did a great job up front getting pressure on the quarterback and we were just really crisp tonight.”
The 21-point barrage ended when Devin McCourty popped Joe McKnight, with Julian Edelman catching the ball out of midair and going 22 yards for the score. Three touchdowns in 52 seconds. Game over.
“That was a lot of points in a short period of time. I thought that really set the momentum for the game,” Gregory said. “It really turned things into a lopsided feel there. They’re a good football team, but I think we’re a little better this year. We’re excited about what we did today.”
EAST RUTHERFORD — Shane Vereen – with a big assist from Wes Welker – broke free for a huge touchdown on Thursday night, the touchdown that sparked the 21-point binge in 52 seconds for the Patriots. And it began innocently enough. Tom Brady threw to him on a wheel route out of the backfield, spotting him open on the left sideline.
The key to the play was Wes Welker coming over and chipping linebacker Bart Scott just long enough to spring him down the sideline. Scott was shown on TV huffing and puffing, trying in vain to catch him.
“He had a wheel route and they carried Wes and [Brandon Lloyd] on the outside,” Brady explained. “They [Jets defense] just carried them up the field and there was a lot of space. Once I threw it to him, he’s so fast. He can outrun those guys. He caught it up the sideline and it was nice seeing the back of his jersey running all the way down the field. He opened it up and it was a great play.”
“I was a little surprised,” he said. “I thought the cornerback was on me, but the receivers ran (the coverage) off and I was able to finish the play. As soon as I turned, the ball was on me.”
As for starting a 21-point outburst?
“I’ve never seen it before personally. But, that’s what happens when you play hard,” Vereen said.
EAST RUTHERFORD — WEEI.com’s Chris Price breaks down the Patriots’ 49-19 rout of the Jets on Thanksgiving night at MetLife Stadium. With the win, Price says the AFC East is all but in the possession of the Patriots.
|Setting the scene from MetLife Stadium: Patriots-Jets||11.22.12 at 4:34 pm ET|
EAST RUTHERFORD — The forecast calls for clear skies and temperatures in the mid-40s for the 8:20 p.m. kickoff between the 7-3 Patriots and the 4-6 Jets at MetLife Stadium.
The Patriots will be without Rob Gronkowski (broken left forearm), Logan Mankins (calf/hip) and Chandler Jones (right ankle) when they take on their arch-rival in the AFC East.
With Gronkowski missing his first game, tonight could mark the return of Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez to the lineup after a three-game absence with a recurrence of his right ankle sprain. Ironically, Hernandez last played against the Jets on Oct. 21 at Gillette Stadium.
The Patriots are aiming for their fifth straight win. They are a combined 18-0 in the second half of the season, dating back to Jan. 3, 2010, when they lost, 34-27, at Houston.
The Patriots could essentially end the slim playoff hopes of the Jets with a win, as they would sweep the season series. Each team has 14 season sweeps in the long history of the rivalry, but New York hasn’t turned the trick since 2000. This is the 108th meeting between the teams, including the playoffs. The Patriots lead the series, 54-52-1, including 2-1 in the postseason.
Tom Brady is 2-0 in his two previous appearances on Thanksgiving, beating the Lions both times, including 45-24 two years ago at Ford Field. The Patriots played their first Thanksgiving game 28 years ago to the day, losing to the Cowboys, 20-17. They lost in Detroit, 34-9, in Bill Belichick‘s first season in New England in 2000.
Just four hours before the game, the team announced the activation of offensive lineman Markus Zusevics for depth, while releasing wide receiver Greg Salas.
The Jets also made several moves prior to the game, signing CB Donnie Fletcher, CB Darrin Walls and WR Jordan White from the practice squad to the active roster.
White (WR/6-0/215/Western Michigan/Cleveland, OH) was a seventh-round selection of the Jets in the 2012 NFL Draft. He was signed to the team’s practice squad (09/02/12) after being waived following training camp (08/27/12). White was waived from the practice squad on Sept. 28 before re-signing with the Jets on Oct. 2. In four years at Western Michigan, he started 32-of-43 games he played and produced 306 receptions for 4,187 yards and 32 touchdowns. White will wear number 17.
Fletcher (CB/6-1/195/Boston College/Cleveland, OH) entered the NFL after signing with the Jets as an undrafted free agent on May 4. He joined the Jets practice squad Sept. 1 after being waived following training camp on Aug. 31. New York signed Fletcher to the active roster from the practice squad on Sept. 22 for their game at Miami. He was waived Sept. 24 later re-signed to the Jets practice squad the next day. Fletcher will wear number 34.
Walls (CB/6-0/190/Notre Dame/Pittsburgh, PA) entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with Atlanta July 27, 2011 and recorded one interception and two passes defensed in five games as a rookie. He was waived by the Falcons during the preseason Aug. 27 and later signed to the Jets practice squad Sept. 12. Walls will wear number 27.
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