|Reports: Safety Adrian Wilson agrees to three-year deal with Patriots||03.15.13 at 7:52 pm ET|
According to multiple reports, the Patriots have signed free agent safety Adrian Wilson.
Mike Jurecki of XTRA Sports 910 AM in Phoenix, who was first to report the agreement, tweets that the deal is for three years.
Wilson, who was released last Friday by the Cardinals in a cap-related move, is a five-time Pro Bowler who spent the last 12 seasons in Arizona. The 33-year-old is a 6-foot-3, 230-pounder out of North Carolina State who has a rep around the league as a high-character guy and great locker-room influence.
“In every franchise, there is a select group of players whose contributions earn them iconic status and for us, Adrian Wilson will always be one of those players,” Cardinals President Michael Bidwill said in a statement issued by the team when Wilson was released.
“He joined us at a key time in our organization’s evolution and helped lead us into a new era. We will always be grateful for that and look forward to the day when he’s placed in the Ring of Honor at University of Phoenix Stadium alongside the other all-time great Cardinals.”
Wilson’s role started to shrink in 2011, and was pulled off the field as a nickel defensive back at several points late in 2012. Still in all, he played in 15 games last season (14 starts) with 54 tackles (39 of them solo), to go along with five passes defensed and an interception. For his career, he has 27 career picks (including five in 2009) and 87 career passes defensed, including 14 in 2011 and 13 in 2009.
#PATRIOTSNATION. I’LL TRY MY BEST TO TWEET. REALLY EXCITED ABOUT THIS OPPORTUNITY.GREAT FANS AND GREAT TEAM!!!!
— Adrian Wilson (@adrian_wilson24) March 16, 2013
|Former Rams RB Marshall Faulk: ‘I’ll never be over being cheated out of the Super Bowl’ by Patriots||01.30.13 at 11:53 am ET|
Former Rams running back Marshall Faulk, now an NFL Network analyst, said he hasn’t made his peace with the way the Rams lost to the Patriots in the 2002 Super Bowl.
“Am I over the loss? Yeah, I’m over the loss. But I’ll never be over being cheated out of the Super Bowl,” Faulk told CSNNE’s Tom E. Curran on Tuesday. “That’s a different story. I can understand losing a Super Bowl, that’s fine. … But how things happened and what took place. Obviously, the commissioner gets to handle things how he wants to handle them but if they wanted us to shut up about what happened, show us the tapes. Don’t burn ‘em.”
Faulk was referring to tapes the Patriots allegedly made of the Rams’ coaches’ defensive signals before the 2002 Super Bowl, although none of those tapes were ever found and commissioner Roger Goodell said in 2008 that he had no evidence of the Patriots taping the Rams’ pregame walkthrough.
Still, Faulk said he doesn’t believe the game could have gone the way it did if the Patriots didn’t have prior knowledge of the Rams’ plans.
“I understand Bill [Belichick] is a great coach,” said Faulk. “But No. 13 [Kurt Warner] will tell you. Mike Martz will tell you. We had some plays in the red zone that we hadn’t ran. I think we got to fourth down — we ran three plays that we hadn’t ran, that Mike drew up for that game — Bill’s a hell of a coach … we hadn’t ran them the whole year [and the Patriots were ready for them].”
“Bill has done a great job,” Faulk continued. “I love [Robert] Kraft and what he’s done. They almost drafted me. I remember [Kraft's] vision for that organization. I respect everything about that organization. But am I bitter about how that went? Am I bitter about how the league handled them taping people? If Bountygate was that bad and Sean [Payton] got suspended for a whole year? If we want to talk about some unfair assessment of how we’re assessing things? Man.
“If you lost a game and your brother cheated you, you’ll remember that.”
|WEEI NFL Power Rankings, playoff edition: Peyton Manning’s Broncos No. 1||01.02.13 at 9:40 am ET|
It’s finally here. The postseason kicks off this Saturday and there are many teams capable of raising the Vince Lombardi trophy in New Orleans. Of the 12 playoff teams, four were not in the postseason last year (Colts, Seahawks, Redskins, Vikings). Three of those teams will have rookie quarterbacks leading the offense. Football fans are in for an entertaining postseason.
Leading the way are the Broncos (1). With 11 straight wins and as the only team to have both a top-five offense and defense, Denver is poised for a deep run. The No. 1 seed in the NFC is at No. 4 in the Power Rankings. The Falcons will enjoy a week off before Matt Ryan attempts to win his first playoff game. The two other teams that will enjoy a first-round bye are the Niners (3) and Patriots (4).
Will wild card weekend produce a few upsets? The Seahawks (6) could deliver one on the road against the Redskins (10).
1. Broncos (13-3) — Peyton Manning has led the Broncos to 11 straight wins and guaranteed Denver home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. The veteran quarterback has done a tremendous job getting the offense in sync. The passing attack is one of the most dynamic in the league. The defense is ranked in the top five of the league as well.
2. 49ers (11-4-1) — One thing to watch is how Justin Smith deals with his triceps injury. The dominant D-lineman is a big reason why the 49ers defense is the best in the league. San Francisco will be facing some high-powered offenses in the postseason and will need Smith to wreak havoc up front like he usually does.
3. Patriots (12-4) — We shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves, but doesn’t it seem like the Patriots and Broncos are on a collision course for an AFC championship showdown? Grabbing a first-week bye puts the veteran Pats in a great position to return to the Super Bowl. A healthy Rob Gronkowski is key to this team’s success.
4. Falcons (13-3) — The No. 1 seed in the AFC has a lot of doubters. The Falcons have been in this position before and have failed. The difference now is Matt Ryan is playing better, the offensive is filled with explosive playmakers, and new coordinator Mike Nolan has the defense playing inspired football.
5. Packers (11-5) — No one wants to play the Packers in the playoffs, but Green Bay is vulnerable with a beat-up offensive line, shaky defense, and only one guaranteed game on the friendly confines of the frozen tundra.
|WEEI NFL Power Rankings, Week 13: Patriots move up to No. 4||11.27.12 at 9:39 am ET|
The bye weeks are over and now every team in the NFL has played the same number of games. If we’ve learned anything through the first three months of the current season, it’s that there are a lot of mediocre and below-average teams. There are six teams with a 4-7 record, five with a 6-5 record, and four with a 5-6 record. The Steelers (10) are practically begging to be dropped out of the top 10, but no one is worthy to rise into that elite group.
The Texans (1), Falcons (2) and Niners (3) have maintained stability at the top. At a combined 28-4-1, those three teams continue to roll. Inching closer and closer are the red-hot Patriots. They jump up one spot for the second straight week and sit at No. 4. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers get sacked out of the top five and drop to No. 8.
Week 13′s Monday night matchup should be a much more enjoyable game to watch than last night’s painful display of two equally uninspiring 3-8 teams — the Panthers (27) and Eagles (28). The Giants (7) take on RG3 and the Redskins (15) in an NFC East showdown.
1. (1) Texans (10-1) — Ten quarters of football in just five days. It’s amazing they have been able to endure and come out on top in both games. Super Bowl-caliber teams are resilient, and the Texans have proven they can overcome any deficit. Expect the Texans to bounce back defensively next week against the Titans.
2. (2) Falcons (10-1) — Week after week the Falcons continue to find ways to win, and doubters continue to question if Matt Ryan‘s team is capable of being successful in the playoffs. It’s a fair question due to the fact that Ryan is 0-3 in the postseason, but the Falcons still deserve to be considered one of the best in the NFL since they’ve found a way to win 10 of 11 times this year.
3. (3) 49ers (8-2-1) — No defense is as physical and dominant as the Niners. San Fran’s D proved its dominance once again against one of the hottest offenses in the league. Going into Sunday’s game, the Saints were clicking on all cylinders in the month of November. They were averaging 32 points per game and Drew Brees had a 72.5 completion percentage with a 125.5 QB rating. Against the Niners, the Saints offense was held to just 21 points (its second-lowest total of the year). Brees’ completion percentage dropped nearly 10 points and his QB rating dropped nearly 40 points.
4. (5) Patriots (8-3) — There is just one team in the NFL averaging over 30 points per game, and that’s the New England Patriots. Bill Belichick‘s team has stampeded over opposing defenses and has averaged 37 points per game. The last four games have been even more impressive. The Pats have put up 190 points. That’s more points than the Chiefs, Cardinals, Eagles and Jaguars have scored all season.
5. (6) Ravens (9-2) — What are they feeding their linebackers in Baltimore? First it was Terrell Suggs remarkably returning from his torn Achilles much earlier than expected. Now, Ray Lewis reportedly will return before the regular season ends after many thought the veteran linebacker’s career might be over due to his triceps injury.
6. (7) Broncos (8-3) —Peyton Manning helped the Broncos extend their winning streak to six games in Kansas City on Sunday. The Broncos offense sputtered a bit in it’s first game without Willis McGahee. Facing one of the worst run defenses in the game, Knowshon Moreno and Ronnie Hillman rushed for 94 yards. Going into the game, the Chiefs were allowing an average of more than 125 yards.
7. (9) Giants (7-4) — The Giants did exactly what they had to do coming off their bye week and two straight losses. If they can stay healthy, no team in the NFC will want to face them in the playoffs.
8. (4) Packers (7-4) — The Packers were forced to reshuffle their offensive line after starting tackle Brian Bulaga was lost for the season. Facing a strong Giants pass rush, Aaron Rodgers was sacked five times. The Packers have a major problem on their hands if the pass protection doesn’t improve.
|WEEI NFL Power Rankings, Week 11: Big-name quarterbacks go down, reshaping top 10||11.13.12 at 11:12 am ET|
Undefeated no more. The Falcons were grounded for the first time this season, and thus dropped to No. 2 in WEEI NFL Power Rankings. Rising up to take their No. 1 spot are the Texans. The Niners (3), Packers (4) and Bears (5) round off the top five for a second straight week. The top 10, meanwhile, saw three quarterbacks suffer injuries. Jay Cutler, Alex Smith and Ben Roethlisberger left their games and did not return. If any of these quarterbacks miss time it could greatly affect playoff seedings in both conferences.
Michael Vick also suffered a concussion, but his injury is less impactful since the Eagles’ chances of making the playoffs are slim to none. The Saints marched up three spots to No. 14 after knocking off the Falcons. The Bucs also jumped a few spots to No. 15.
As Week 11 rolls in, it’s pretty clear which teams are the pretenders and which teams are the contenders. However, the recent slew of quarterback injuries puts an interesting twist to the playoff race.
1. (2) Texans (8-1) — The Texans now have two impressive road wins against the Broncos and Bears. How a team performs against a solid opponent on the road is a true measure of how good it really is. The Texans went into Chicago, forced four turnovers, and proved to the league they are a force with whom to be reckoned.
2. (1) Falcons (8-1) — Sometimes a loss can help a team realize in what areas it needs to improve. “It’s going to make us a better football team,” Tony Gonzalez said to NFL.com. “I guarantee it.” With Gonzalez’ 16 years of experience, it’s tough to argue with the tight end.
3. (3) 49ers (6-2-1) — Alex Smith is doing much better, according to Jim Harbaugh, after suffering a concussion Sunday. The Niners will face the Bears on Monday night in what could be a battle for the No. 2 seed in the NFC. They’ll need Smith against one of the most relentless defenses in the league.
4. (4) Packers (6-3) — The offensive line will be shaken up as a result of the Packers placing starting right tackle Brian Bulaga on injured reserve. Guard T.J. Lang will be forced to move to tackle and Evan Dietrich-Smith will come off the bench and start at guard. The Packers are an extremely beaten up team with many key players nursing injuries.
5. (5) Bears (7-2) — The Bears were 7-3 last year when Jay Cutler went down with an injury. They finished their last six games of the season with a 1-5 record and missed the playoffs without their starting QB. Cutler won’t miss the rest of the season, but the Bears may lose some critical ground in the NFC while he is recovering from his concussion.
6. (6) Patriots (6-3) —It’s hard to see this Patriots team make the Super Bowl if the defense continues to play this poorly. There are too many good quarterbacks in the AFC who are capable of exposing the Pats D in the playoffs. One positive about this defense is that it is very opportunistic. New England leads the league in turnover ratio with a plus-16.
7. (8) Ravens (7-2) — Two of their next three games are against the Steelers. The Ravens are entering a crucial stretch in their season when they have a great opportunity to gain some separation in the AFC North with the injury to Ben Roethlisberger.
8. (9) Broncos (6-3) — Denver is clicking on all cylinders. Peyton Manning has been the story, but the team’s defense has contributed as well. Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil have contributed to 17 of the team’s league-leading 31 sacks.
9. (7) Steelers (6-3) — Any hope of winning the division went out the window when Ben Roethlisberger got injured on Monday night. The timing couldn’t have been more unfortunate for Steelers fans, as this team was just starting to get on a roll.
10. (10) Giants (6-4) — We’ve seen this before from the Giants at this point of the season, so you can’t count them out. However, Eli Manning and the offense have been horrendous. Manning hasn’t thrown a TD pass in his last 99 attempts.
|Von Miller: Broncos defense ‘didn’t execute’ against uptempo Patriots offense||10.07.12 at 10:41 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The last time Tom Brady and Peyton Manning met was on Nov. 21, 2010 — a game where the Patriots beat the Colts, 31-28. In that one, Brady threw for 186 yards and two touchdowns, while Manning racked up 396 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions.
On Sunday, Manning made his first trip back to Foxboro since that loss in 2010, this time with his new Broncos teammates. Each team entered Sunday’s contest with identical 2-2 records, but Manning’s Broncos weren’t as prepared as they had hoped for the up-tempo pace of the Patriots’ no-huddle. The Patriots went ahead early and did not relinquish the lead, winning 31-21 at Gillette Stadium.
After the game, Broncos linebacker Von Miller said that his defense was prepared from watching film all week long for the fast-paced offense Brady and the Patriots ran, but his defense just didn’t execute well enough to come out on top.
“They’re a good offense — we knew that coming into the game,” Miller said. “We were prepared for the type of offense we knew they were going to run. We didn’t execute — another week we didn’t execute — and we put ourselves in situations that we can’t get out of.”
Although Manning put up solid numbers (31-of-44, 345 yards and three touchdowns), most of the damage done by him was in the second half. The key for the Patriots was a mix of effective running and passing plays — something the Broncos couldn’t accomplish. Willis McGahee finished the day with 51 yards on 14 carries and a crucial fumble inside the Patriots’ 15-yard line with less than four minutes left to play.
Broncos head coach John Fox said after the game that the inability to stop New England’s fast-paced offense was a mixture of personnel, lack of communication and lining up in the wrong positions.
“It’s not new; they have been doing this for a long, long time,” Fox said. “They just have a good, solid group together doing it, so they communicate very well. And obviously [the Patriots] communicated better than we did.” Read the rest of this entry »
FOXBORO — It had all the makings of another Tom Brady/Peyton Manning classic down-to-the-wire finish, but any Broncos comeback was cut short on Sunday when Denver running back Willis McGahee turned the ball over in the Patriots’ red zone.
Late in the fourth quarter, McGahee carried to the 11-yard line, but was stripped by defensive end Rob Ninkovich. Jermaine Cunningham recovered, and several plays later the remaining seconds ticked away.
McGahee said after the game that he had two key plays on offense that could have changed the outcome of the game, most notably the fumble on the Broncos’ last offensive series.
“That probably changed the game for us when I fumbled that ball,” McGahee said. “[Ninkovich] made a good play. I had it high and tight, but he made a good play. Still, I’ve got to be better than that. I think that’s what changed the game for us. I’ll take all the credit for that, just changing the game.”
The Patriots had a 31-21 lead while the Broncos were on the threshold of the end zone, but a quick touchdown would have cut the lead to three with roughly 3:30 left to play — potentially enough time for Manning to lead a late scoring drive, even just into field goal position.
The Broncos fell to 2-3 on the season, while the Chargers (who lead the West division) are currently underway with the winless Saints. With the loss, the Broncos will have to play catch-up in the division, and McGahee will carry the burden of Sunday’s defeat.
“At the end of the day, [the fumble] changed the game, like I said,” McGahee said. “We were trying to score. It happens; I’ll put it on my shoulders. I think I can handle it.”
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