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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
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Marshall Faulk

Marshall Faulk

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.”

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Pats practice report-Monday 08.30.10 at 3:19 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The biggest news of the day was who was not on the practice field with the Patriots as they look to put last Thursday’s preseason embarrassment behind them and get ready for their final tune-up before the real games begin against Cincinnati on Sept. 12 at Gillette Stadium.

The team worked out in full pads and helmets on the hot, sunny day on the fields outside Gillette.

WR Julian Edelman and TE Aaron Hernandez both missed practice as did CB Tyrone Wheatley, CB Leigh Bodden, CB Bret Lockett, S Brandon McGowan, OG Logan Mankins, DL Brandon Deaderick, OL Nick Kaczur and DL Daryl Richard.

DT Ron Brace, DE Jermaine Cunningham, DL Myron Pryor, Hernandez and CB Kyle Arrington were on the field but did not practice during the open portion visible to reporters.

A pair of receivers, Matthew Slater and Darnell Jenkins returned to practice after missing time last week. Of those not participating Monday, Richard, Pryor, Wheatley, McGowan, Deaderick, and Brace were new absences.

Bodden’s absence raises eyebrows since he returned from a balky knee last week and played against the Rams.

Read More: Aaron Hernandez, Giants, Julian Edelman, Leigh Bodden Print  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
A roundup of our coverage from Thursday night at Gillette 08.27.10 at 9:33 am ET
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The Patriots locker room is never a really boisterous place, but it was exceptionally quiet in the wake of Thursday night’s 36-35 preseason loss to the Rams. That tone was likely set by coach Bill Belichick, who was clearly not the happiest guy in the world when he approached the podium after the game. (Cornerback Darius Butler was asked about Belichick’s postgame demeanor in the locker room. He smiled ruefully and said, “I’m not going to talk about that.”) Here’s a quick sampling of the Q&A he had with reporters:

Q: Laurence Maroney didn’t register any carries. Should we read anything into that?
BB: Yeah, we never had the ball.

Q: So would he have played more in the second half possibly if you had the ball?
BB: We never had the ball. We didn’t have any plays to run on offense.

Q: So your plan was to play him tonight if you had the ball?
BB: We would have played everybody.

Q: Is that why you kept Tom Brady in so long — to get him enough plays?
BB: We didn’t run any plays. We never had the ball. In a game of no defense, we played less.

Q: How disappointed are you in your defense?
BB: We didn’t do well on anything. We didn’t have a good night.

In the wake of the loss, WEEI.com has you covered. I’ve got the 10 Things We Learned Thursday Night, which includes the question that’s been hanging over the running back position all summer: What’s up with Laurence Maroney? (There’s also the complete postgame Q&A with New England’s latest folk hero and one of the few bright spots from Thutsday night’s game, Rob Gronkowski.)

Kirk Minihane hits on Stephen Gostkowski’s contract extension, as well as a look at the defensive performance against the Rams and rookie quarterback Sam Bradford. DJ Bean has three things that went right and three things that went wrong for the Patriots. And Mike Petraglia looks at Brandon Tate’s night, which started with a 97-yard kick return and ended with some good-natured ribbing from his teammates about being caught by a kicker.

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Patriots-Rams postgame notes at 4:12 am ET
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Thanks to the Patriots’ PR staff, here are a few quick postgame notes from tonight’s contest:

*QB Tom Brady started the game and played through the first series of the fourth quarter. He finished 18-of-22 (81.8 percent) for 273 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a passer rating of 158.0. In his regular season career, Brady has only had a better passer rating once – on Oct. 21, 2007 at Miami, when he posted the only perfect rating of his career (158.3).

*Brady completed a 65-yard touchdown pass to WR Randy Moss in the third quarter. Last season, Brady had three touchdown passes of 60 or more yards, including a season-long of 81 yards to WR Sam Aiken at Miami (12/6/09).

*Moss caught three passes for a team-high 74 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown pass. In 176 career regular season games, Moss has 16 touchdown catches of 60 or more yards and 22 receptions of 60 or more yards. Last season Moss had a 71-yard touchdown vs. Miami (11/8/09) and a 63-yard touchdown at Indianapolis (11/15/09).
Read the rest of this entry »

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Halftime analysis from Patriots-Rams 08.26.10 at 9:12 pm ET
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FOXBORO — It’s halftime here at Gillette Stadium, and the Rams lead the Patriots 20-14 after two quarters of play. Here are a few quick notes:

•As good as the New England offense looked through the first two preseason games, it struggled for most of the first half of this evening’s game against the Rams. The Patriots were unable to get anything going on the offensive end, and had just one first down after the first quarter-plus of action.

•New England got its offense on track with their final possession of the first half when a Tom Brady-to-Wes Welker connection with 3:26 left in the second quarter went for 39 yards and just the second first down of the evening for the Patriots. That was followed by a memorable play where Brady tripped and fell, but managed to get back up and find tight end Alge Crumpler, who caught the ball and he was falling down. It was initially ruled that Crumpler was out of bounds, but the Patriots challenged and the ruling was overturned, eventually going for 24 yards and another first down. The series ended a few plays later when Rob Gronkowski made a nice catch at the Rams’ seven, and proceeded to drag St. Louis linebacker James Laurinaitis the final five yards into the end zone to finish off the 14-yard touchdown pass and give New England it’s first offensive touchdown of the night with 1:55 remaining in the second quarter to make it 17-14.

•In all, Brady finished the first half 8-for-10 for 103 yards and a touchdown. Running back Sammy Morris had five rushes for 12 yards to lead the ground game. Meanwhile, Welker built on last week’s preseason debut (six snaps, two catches) with a solid first half. By our count, he was out there for 15 snaps and had two catches for 41 yards on 15 total snaps. Missing was Laurence Maroney, who did not play a single snap in the first half.

•The Patriots also had defensive issues throughout the first two quarters, as the Rams went on a 17-0 run midway through the half thanks in large part to the exceptional calm displayed by rookie quarterback Sam Bradford and first-year tight end Michael Hoomanawanui. Bradford went 15-for-21 for 189 yards and two touchdown passes in his first half in his first preseason start, while Hoomanawanui had four catches for 53 yards and two touchdowns. Ron Brace had a sack for New England, but it was a mostly forgettable first half for the Patriots’ defense.

•The best moment for the Patriots’ came on the opening kickoff when Brandon Tate took a 97-yarder all the way back for a touchdown an impressive play that was blocked almost flawlessly by the New England return unit. Tate was able to follow that up with a 43-yarder on the next return.

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We are at Gillette at 6:03 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Just rolled into the Gillette Stadium press box for tonight’s preseason game between the Patriots and Rams. A nice night here at the stadium — supposed to be clear and cool, with lows dropping into the low 60s, according to weather.com. Here are a couple of quick notes from seat No. 207 in the press box:

•As is usually the case for the third preseason game, the starters are expected to go deeper into the game than at any point during the preseason. That means a higher intensity than the first two preseason games. Here’s a list of what we think you should be looking for tonight.

•Good crowd here in the press box tonight, with not a lot of national media but a good representation of scouts from across the league. Representatives from Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Minnesota, Miami, New Orleans, the New York Jets, Oakland, Pittsburgh and Washington, as well as a scout from the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders.

•The cover of tonight’s game program features the 2010 offseason award winners: Jerod Mayo, Sebastian Vollmer, Matthew Slater, James Sanders, Jonathan Wilhite, Mike Wright, Kevin Faulk, Dan Connolly, Julian Edelman and George Bussey. And before the game, the Patriots will honor the Tufts University lacrosse team, the NCAA Division III national champions.

•On the other side of the ball, it’ll mark the first preseason start for quarterback Sam Bradford, the No. 1 pick in the draft. In addition, it’s something of a homecoming for St. Louis coach Steve Spagnuolo, a native of Whitinsville who graduated from Springfield and received his Master’s from UMass.

•Keep it here throughout the evening, as we’ll have updates, notes and analysis throughout the evening. After the game, we’ll also have the latest updates from the locker room.

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Why moving Holt to IR was in Patriots’ ‘best interest’ 08.16.10 at 10:29 am ET
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FOXBORO — He was brought in to add some veteran depth to a position that needed some several months ago. But with Wes Welker looking more and more healed with every practice and Julian Edelman looking more and more like a first-stringer, it appears the Patriots could play it safe with Torry Holt.

So, while surprising to a few, the decision to place Holt on season-ending injured reserve on Sunday with a reported knee injury doesn’t come as a shock and neither did the explanation from Patriots personnel director Nick Caserio on Monday morning.

“I think the decision with Torry, we just felt that was the best thing for the club at this point in time,” Caserio said. “Torry came in, he worked hard, he did everything we’ve asked him to do, a total professional. He’s been a really good player and had a really productive career but in the end, we have to make decisions that we feel are best for the club so that’s what we did.”

Asked if this injury had been lingering for a while for Holt, who missed some time practice time prior to the team’s preseason opener with New Orleans last Thursday, Caserio reiterated the Patriots wanted to play it safe.

“He may have missed a few days there at the end so we just went with the decision that we felt was best,” he said.

Holt signed a one-year deal on April 20 worth $1.7 million.

The team brought back receiver Buddy Farnham to take Holt’s place and also signed rookie offensive lineman Brian Simmons on Sunday to the roster.

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