|Patriots acquire defensive tackle Ben Bass from Cowboys for cornerback Justin Green||08.12.14 at 7:16 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots have traded cornerback Justin Green to the Cowboys in exchange for defensive tackle Ben Bass.
Green was signed to the Patriots practice squad on Sept. 1, 2013 and appeared in two games last season. He was originally signed as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Illinois.
Bass made the Cowboys roster as an undrafted free agent out of Texas A&M in 2012, but has battled injuries for much of his tenure in Dallas. He appeared in two games as a rookie, but missed all of last season after being placed on season-ending injured reserve and hasn’t participated in training camp to this point this season with a hamstring injury.
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|Tom Brady on D&C: Ryan Mallett ‘just needs an opportunity’||08.11.14 at 12:37 pm ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady joined Dennis & Callahan Monday morning to discuss the preseason, Ryan Mallett‘s struggles and the state of the New England offense. To listen to the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
While Brady may not have participated in New England’s first preseason game against the Redskins Thursday, he stated that he did not find out about whether or not he would play until coach Bill Belichick told him right before gametime.
“I think Coach does a great job of just making sure everyone’s prepared and ready to go,” Brady said. “The preparation leading up to the game is so important. You can always learn a lot from those experiences in practices. … He just said before the game that he thought that we got a lot of good work in and we weren’t going to play. I always love playing in those games, because to play real football where you’re getting hit and you’ve got a clock in your head to throw the ball and all those preparations are important for me, so hopefully I make up for lost time this week.”
One of the biggest takeaways from New England’s 23-6 loss to the Washington was the lackluster performance of quarterback Ryan Mallett. Starting for the first time in his professional career, Mallett was 5-of-12 for 55 yards on 18 snaps. Despite his poor showing, Mallett is still considered to be one of the more promising backup quarterbacks in the league – a notion that Brady agreed with.
“Ryan just needs an opportunity,” Brady said. “He hasn’t had a chance over the last few years to get in there and show what he can do. I’ve always loved working with Ryan and he’s got a great ability to be able to step in there and do the job and I think everybody’s got a lot of confidence that he can do it, he just hasn’t had the chance. You can’t judge anybody based on one half of the first preseason game. I think you have to look at the total body of work and that’s how coaches have always evaluated it.”
|Patriots defense looks to find fix for third-down woes of last few years||07.23.14 at 12:24 pm ET|
FOXBORO — For the past few seasons there has been one consistent issue with the Patriots defense — getting off the field on third down.
According to Pro-Football-Reference.com, dating back to the 2010 season there hasn’t been one year in which the Patriots finished higher than 20th in the league in third-down defense. Last year the unit got off the field 42.7 percent of the time, 25th in the league, so on a little more than half of the third-down plays, opponents were successful. 2010 was the worst season of all, as New England allowed opponents a success rate of 47.1 percent, dead last among all 32 defenses in the league.
This is one of the areas in which the defense as a whole knows it needs to get better as preparation for the 2014 season begins with training camp opening on Thursday.
“We have to get off the field, that’s huge,” defensive end Rob Ninkovich said. “Some of the third-and-long situations we weren’t able to get off the field. I know third-and-long screens hurt us, too. Specifically that play and third and long as a whole, we need to do a better job. Obviously everything is working together, so coverage-rush, rush-coverage, everything works together. That’s just one area we definitely need to work on this year.”
A good amount of the conversions have come on screen plays, some even going for long yardage. Stopping the play comes from not just one specific group of players, but the entire defense.
“It’s just different things you can work on,” defensive back Devin McCourty said of how to stop the screen. “I think one of the greatest things here is we have coaches that find any and everything we can do to get better. I think one of the big things is getting to the ball. It’s a play you try and get the linemen up field and guys drop into coverage, so just effort and everything on that simple basis can help improve the screen game.”
|For Stanford double-major Cameron Fleming, learning Patriots playbook shouldn’t be difficult||06.13.14 at 11:10 am ET|
For rookies — all new players, really — learning the Patriots playbook is a bit of a challenge with the numerous schemes and many new concepts. But for rookie right tackle Cameron Fleming, the X’s and O’s will be nothing compared to what he went through during his four years in the classroom at Stanford.
Fleming double-majored in aeronautics and astronautics, so he is no stranger to foreign concepts and challenging his brain.
“He’s designed planes in class and stuff like that,” Stanford offensive line coach Mike Bloomgren said in a phone interview. “He knows that is what he wants to do after football, and so not only is he your typical Stanford kid, but he’s one that majored in that. He’s absolutely brilliant.”
Last year as a senior Fleming needed to schedule special meetings with Bloomgren to go over game plans, as Fleming was in class when the rest of the team had meetings. Over lunch each day the pair would go over what Fleming missed, becoming very close to one another over the course of the season.
Bloomgren coached in the NFL, serving as an offensive assistant with the Jets for four seasons before joining Stanford in 2011. With that NFL experience, he knows what the playbooks look like and installed a similar philosophy at Stanford with multiple plays being called in the huddle, many audibles, etc. He said it will be a seamless transition for Fleming to the pro game.
“Absolutely, especially in a system like ours and one like the New England system,” Bloomgren said. “The little that I know about it, it certainly requires you to be a thinking man. A guy that can go to a second play and have the quarterback come to the line and audible, do whatever he tells you to do, and Cameron is that guy. He’s a guy that can certainly adjust on the run, and that is nothing new for him to go to the line of scrimmage with two or three plays called in the huddle and he’s told which one to run.”
On the field Fleming is a monster. He stands 6-foot-5, 323 pounds. As a sophomore he started 11 games and protected Andrew Luck while the quarterback threw a school-record 37 touchdown passes. As a junior Fleming started 14 games at right tackle and was named All-Pac-12 honorable mention. As a senior he started all 14 games and took home numerous awards, including All-Pac-12 second team, Sporting News All-Pac-12 and Athlon Sports All-Pac-12 second team.
|Tiki Barber on MFB: Stevan Ridley ‘has every opportunity to be one of the greats’||06.12.14 at 3:11 pm ET|
Former Giants running back and current CBS Sports Radio host Tiki Barber joined Middays with MFB on Thursday to discuss the fumbling issues of Stevan Ridley and Jets rookie Calvin Pryor‘s comments about the Patriots. To listen to the interview, go the MFB audio on demand page.
Ridley has been one of the most productive running backs in the league over the last two seasons, rushing for 2,036 yards and 19 touchdowns in 30 games. However, Ridley has been plagued with fumbling issues, losing the ball eight times over the same 30-game stretch.
Barber stated that working on mechanics and strategy over the offseason will help Ridley solve the problem that put him in Bill Belichick‘s doghouse for most of last year.
“This is what worked for me: It was showing a concerted effort in the offseason to correct whatever the problem is, and his problem is unfortunately the same one that I had — an inconsistency of holding onto the ball,” Barber said, adding: “The way you get out of people’s doghouses is to show a concerted effort to fixing the problem and then executing it day in and day out when people aren’t watching.
“The only way that the fans and media are going to care and let this go is if when the games start happening, when preseasons starts happening, it doesn’t become an issue at all.”
Barber continued: “I’ve always said this about sports. It’s train, train, train … so that when you get into the moment, you don’t have to think about it and you can just trust. So for Stevan and for any guys that are having issues with ball security, it’s about mechanically changing your mind in the offseason when there’s no pressure to do it, because when you try to do it at the moment of game day … there’s no chance. You have to train yourself when there is no pressure, so that when there is pressure, you don’t think about it.”
|Broncos Super Bowl swag headed to Africa||06.02.14 at 1:47 pm ET|
It’s become a rite of passage for each team that ends up losing the Super Bowl — the championship swag it would have been sporting on the field after the game ends up getting sent to a part of the world that needs clothing. It happened with the Patriots on a couple of occasions (including the nearly perfect 2007 team). On Monday, it happened to the 2013 Broncos. (H/T @adampaulcooper, @WorldVision and @arrowheadpride).
‘ Christopher Price (@cpriceNFL) June 2, 2014
|Tom Brady talks Jimmy Garoppolo, future at Best Buddies charity event||05.31.14 at 1:42 am ET|
Tom Brady ditched his football helmet and cleats for a pair of sneakers and a baseball cap — at least for Friday night.
The Patriots quarterback was once again under center Friday night at Harvard Stadium for his annual Tom Brady Football Challenge, a charity event benefiting Best Buddies International.
“It’s special for me, it’s special for my family and all the buddies and their families,” Brady said. “Everyone’s really worked hard to put this on. … It’s a great weekend for us to … have an opportunity to do this and it’s also getting closer to football season, so it’s great.”
Best Buddies International is a nonprofit organization, founded by Anthony K. Shriver in 1989, that is dedicated to establishing opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Brady held court with the press during halftime, and while the three-minute media session was brief, the New England signal caller touched on a variety of topics, including the upcoming season, newly drafted quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and, of course, the charity organization that he has volunteered with for the past 13 years.
Garoppolo was taken by the Patriots out of Eastern Illinois with the 62nd pick of the draft earlier this month. It was the highest spot that the Patriots have drafted a quarterback since selecting Drew Bledsoe with the first pick in the 1993 draft.
“He’s a really nice kid,” Brady said. “He’s a great guy, and all the new guys have really come in and hopefully they can play a great role on our team.”
The Patriots kicked off their OTA schedule earlier this week, with Brady stating that his team will need time to truly start to mesh.
“We’ve got a long way to go,” Brady said. “It’s only been a couple of days. We’re a long ways from the season and we’re going to need all the practices that we can get.”
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