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Patriots lose preseason opener but set preseason TV record 08.08.14 at 9:40 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The Patriots’ preseason opening loss may not have been made-for-TV drama but in terms of the ratings, it was a big win.

The 23-6 loss against the Redskins drew 519,300 total viewers, according to Nielsen, marking a five percent increase in total viewers from last year’€™s preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles that drew 494,700 total viewers.

The game delivered a household rating of 13.8 and market share of 24. It was the most-watched Patriots preseason opener among men aged 25-54 since Nielsen switched to its current LPM (Local People Meter) measurement method in 2002. Overall, the Patriots-Redskins contest ranked among the top three most-watched opening preseason games since 2002.

WBZ Channel 4′€™s Patriots GameDay pregame show ranked second locally for Thursday programming with 226,200 total viewers (Patriots game ranked No. 1) and enjoyed a 49 percent rating increase from last year among men aged 25-54. Patriots 5th Quarter Preseason also enjoyed success on Thursday night, as it averaged 111,000 total viewers and drew an 88 percent ratings increase from last year among men aged 25-54.

The Patriots return to Foxboro this week to take on the Philadelphia Eagles in their preseason home opener on Thursday, Aug. 15, at 7:30 p.m. The game will be televised from Gillette Stadium on WBZ Channel 4, with Dan Roche and Christian Fauria again providing the call from the booth and Matt Chatham and Steve Burton reporting from the sidelines. WBZ Channel 4 will provide television coverage for the Patriots’€™ final two preseason games as well, with New England taking on Carolina at Gillette Stadium on Aug. 22 before traveling to New Jersey to face the New York Giants on Aug. 28.

Read More: 2014 training camp, New England Patriots, Washington Redskins,
Jimmy Garoppolo says he ‘did all right’ in his first NFL game at 12:54 am ET
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LANDOVER, Md. — He was one of the bright spots on an otherwise gloomy night for the Patriots.

Jimmy Garoppolo finished 9-for-13 with 157 yards, a 135.7 QB rating and a nice 26-yard touchdown pass to Brian Tyms that could’ve, would’ve been his second of the night to Tyms had it not been for a questionable incomplete call in the end zone in the third quarter.

Garoppolo’s thoughts about taking his first NFL snaps, even if they were in the preseason?

“€œTough. Losing like that is never fun, but it is a good experience for the first preseason game and I had fun out there,” he said. “I did all right. There is a lot of stuff to improve on. It is a process. For any rookie quarterback, there is a lot to learn from and we will go watch the tape tomorrow and fix those things.”

Garoppolo made several nice individual plays, including scrambling on a fourth-and-goal at the Washington 4. Garoppolo found Josh Boyce in the back of the end zone but his pass deflected off his hands as the Patriots turned it over on downs.

“I mean, it is definitely fast, faster than college, that is, for sure,” Garoppolo said. “So, it is something you just have to adapt to. You have to adapt quickly in this environment and we are doing a good job of that I think.”

The only time Garoppolo looked a bit nervous was when he rolled out on his very first snap. He went to his right and had Justin Jones wide open over the middle but threw it behind him for an incompletion.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2014 training camp, Brian Tyms, Jimmy Garoppolo, New England Patriots
Mike Petraglia breaks down an ugly night for Patriots in preseason opener at 12:34 am ET
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LANDOVER, Md. — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia breaks down what went wrong and some of the highlights as the Patriots fell to the Washington Redskins, 23-6, in the preseason opener for both teams.

Read More: 2014 training camp, Mike Petraglia, New England Patriots, Trags
First-half thoughts: Ryan Mallett beat up, Chris Jones (ankle) leaves injured 08.07.14 at 9:00 pm ET
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LANDOVER, Md. — Here are some of the highlights and lowlights from the first half at FedEx Field, as the Redskins hold a 13-0 lead.

It was not a good start for Nate Solder and the offensive line, especially Solder. He committed a hold that wiped out a first down pass from Ryan Mallett. Then he got beat once for a sack and allowed another pass rush that got a big hit on Mallett.

Mallett was again up and down. He completed sharp passes to Josh Boyce, Kenbrell Thompkins and Brandon LaFell. But he showed nervous feet in the pocket and rushed two throws for incompletions on third down. Mallett showed off his arm with eight seconds left when he let loose on a deep ball from his own 25. But it fell incomplete for Thompkins in double coverage. He finished the first half 5-of-12 for 55 yards.

Vince Wilfork played just the first series alongside Tommy Kelly and Chris Jones in a 3-4 look. He moved well but obviously the Patriots will monitor him closely as he gets back to full game conditioning. After Wilfork left, Joe Vellano, the man who filled in after Wilfork’s Achilles injury last year, got plenty of time over the ball. Will Smith, Zach Moore and Marcus Forston also saw significant time in the first half.

But the Patriots, who are already without the services of Sealver Siliga (left hand), lost Chris Jones with just over a minute left in the first half to an ankle injury. He had to be helped off the field and then walked very slowly to the Patriots locker room.

Rookie Roy Finch got a mulligan on a kickoff return when he ran up the middle and then sprinted to daylight on right sideline, only to lose the ball as he sped up and tried to juke his way past a defender. Washington recovered but Finch was saved by an Redskins offsides. Finch was back again and returned again and this time held on.

Both teams missed field goals in the first half, including Stephen Gostkowski, who had plenty of leg but dinged his 54-yarder halfway up the right upright midway through the second quarter.

Read More: 2014 training camp, Chris Jones, Nate Solder, New England Patriots
Patriots open preseason with 17 players not dressing at 7:21 pm ET
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LANDOVER, Md. — Tom Brady, Vince Wilfork, Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner were among the Patriots regulars to suit up Thursday night for the preseason opener against the Redskins at FedExField. But there 17 players not suiting up.

  • Receivers Aaron Dobson, Jeremy Gallon and Matthew Slater
  • Running backs Tyler Gaffney and Brandon Bolden
  • Tight ends Rob Gronkowski, Michael Hoomanawanui and D.J. Williams
  • Linebackers Ja’Gared Davis and Cameron Gordon
  • Defensive backs Alfonzo Dennard and Jemea Thomas
  • Offensive linemen Chris Martin, Bryan Stork
  • Defensive linemen Dominique Easley, Sealver Siliga and Jake Bequette

    Bill Belichick acknowledged on the team’s radio network pregame show that Brady, despite suiting up, would not play while Rob Gronkowski is getting closer to joining in team drills. The tight end has been limited to individual drills to this point of training camp.

  • Read More: 2014 training camp, New England Patriots, Washington Redskins,
    Setting the scene: Ryan Mallett starts as Patriots open preseason on road vs. Redskins at 4:46 pm ET
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    LANDOVER, Md. — Nearly seven months after the season came to an untimely end in Denver, the Patriots begin anew Thursday night on the other side of the country as they visit the nation’s capital for the preseason opener against the Redskins.

    The sun will still be out for the 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff with temperatures expected around 83 degrees, falling to only the mid-70s by the end of the contest.

    Ryan Mallett is expected to get the start, according to multiple reports, as Tom Brady sits. This should not come as a surprise as Bill Belichick indicated on Tuesday at Mallett would see “a lot of action” in the preseason. It is also not unusual for Tom Brady to sit out the first and last preseason games as he gets a bulk of his serious reps in practice.

    WEEI.com’s Chris Price has a detailed breakdown of what to expect and look for from Mallett in his preseason opener.

    Some of the other Patriots expected to get the night off are Rob Gronkowski, Brandon Bolden, Aaron Dobson, Jeremy Gallon, D.J. Williams, Michael Hoomanawanui and Dominique Easley.

    With the possibility of three tight ends sitting out, rookie Justin Jones will likely see the bulk of playing time at tight end. Some other notable rookies to keep an eye on during the game include running back James White, who saw some first-team action with Brady toward the end of joint practices, cornerback Malcolm Butler, who saw some snaps with the first team defensive secondary this week, running back and punt returner Roy Finch, who has looked quick in practice and second-year receiver Brian Tyms, a favorite target of Mallett during practice.

    Also, don’t be surprised if Vince Wilfork sits as well as the nose tackle is still building up to game competition, though he got a good number of reps with the first team this week in the joint practices in Richmond.

    Many of the defensive starters and Ryan Mallett took the field and began stretching and running at 4:45 p.m., with Mallett throwing passes and the linebackers running wind sprints from sideline to sideline.

    One highlight came when Darrelle Revis, expected to play just a limited amount, lined up at the 10, backpedaled and then turned and sprinted to catch a pass in full stride, with hands extended, at the 35.

    This is the first preseason meeting with the Redskins since 2009, and 21st overall. The Patriots have won the previous five and lead the preseason series, 13-7. The Redskins lead the overall regular season series, 6-3, losing to the Patriots here at FedExField on Dec. 11, 2011, 34-27.

    For the Redskins, the game marks the NFL head coaching debut of former Cincinnati offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, who said Wednesday that Robert Griffin III will get between eight and 10 starts as quarterback. However, he will likely not have two of his top receivers as Pierre Garcon (hamstring) and DeSean Jackson (ankle) were expected to sit. Gruden said Jackson was “cleated” in the final joint practice on Wednesday and tweaked his ankle.

    UPDATED (6:15 p.m): The Redskins announced 75 minutes before the game that Jackson, Garcon, corner Tracy Porter, safety Ryan Clark, tight end Mike Caussin, safety Phillip Thomas and offensive lineman Mike McGlynn are all not expected to play. Santana Moss starts for Garcon. Meanwhile, Andre Roberts, who worked out with Ryan Mallett and Larry Fitzgerald in Minnesota, starts for Jackson. Bacarri Rambo starts in place of Clark at safety.

    Teams are not required to officially submit scratches for preseason games and the Patriots did not make any such declaration prior to the game.

    Read More: 2014 training camp, New England Patriots, Tom Brady, Washington Redskins
    Danny Amendola ‘all good’ with Tom Brady calling receivers ‘pygmies’ 08.06.14 at 3:49 pm ET
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    RICHMOND, Va. — Don’t worry Patriots fans. Danny Amendola says his feelings weren’t hurt by Tom Brady making fun of his lack of height and the similar stature of fellow receiver Julian Edelman.

    After practice Tuesday, Tom Brady was asked if he appreciates throwing to 6-foot-3 Brandon LaFell.

    “Absolutely. I’ve got some of the little pygmies out there like Julian and Danny and it’€™s nice to have a little bigger guy out there from time to time who has a bigger catch radius,” Brady joked. “Hopefully Danny and Julian don’€™t get mad at me for saying that. They won’€™t. They know I’€™m joking.”

    Amendola confirmed Brady’s instinct after Wednesday’s walkthrough.

    “I did hear that,” Amendola said with a good-natured smile. “I don’t know. It’s all good. I don’t even know what [a pygmy] is.”

    That’s why we’re here. A Wikipedia search revealed the following:

    A pygmy is a member of an ethnic group whose average height is unusually short; many anthropologists define pygmy as a member of any group where adult men are on average less than 150 cm tall.

    For the record, Amendola (180 cm) and Edelman (178 cm) are well above the cutoff. So, how are Edelman, Amendola, LaFell and Thompkins all getting along?

    “We’re all boys, we’re all really good friends,” Amendola said. “We work well together and we’re just trying to get better every day.”

    Only time will tell if “The Pygmies” will join the ranks of “The Smurfs” and “The Fun Bunch” as other great diminutive receiving corps in NFL lore.

    Read More: 2014 training camp, Brandon LaFell, Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman
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