Chiefs GM and former Patriots vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli, in an appearance on The Big Show, said that criticism of the draft and player personnel record of Patriots coach Bill Belichick was "ridiculous." While some of Belichick's player moves have come under scrutiny in the years since Pioli left New England for the Chiefs after the 2008 season, the architect of the Chiefs -- who spent 16 years working with Belichick in the NFL -- said that Belichick remains the best coach in the NFL and that the Patriots front office continues to assemble strong groups.

FOXBORO -- Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was fined $7,500 Friday by the NFL for his unsportsmanlike spike following his second touchdown grab in Sunday night's win over the Jets. 

Gronkowski caught a five-yard pass from Tom Brady in the end zone on 3rd-and-3. He was tackled by Donald Strickland and then immediately got up, showed off the football for several seconds before spiking it in the immediate vicinity of the Jets defensive back. Gronkowski was called for unsportsmanlike conduct and the Patriots were assessed a 15-yard penalty on the ensuing kickoff. 

FOXBORO -- Linebacker Jeff Tarpinian missed practice Friday with an undisclosed illness. He was among four players who missed Patriots in sweats and shells on the upper grass fields at Gillette. There were no other changes as the Patriots once again listed 14 as limited. Here is Friday's complete rundown:

Did Not Practice
LB Dane Fletcher (thumb)
CB Devin McCourty (shoulder)
LB Brandon Spikes (knee)
LB Jeff Tarpinian (illness)

Limited Participation
CB Kyle Arrington (foot)

FOXBORO -- Jeff Tarpinian became the third Patriots linebacker to miss practice this week as he was not spotted at the beginning of practice in sweats and shells on the upper grass fields at Gillette Stadium. Tarpinian was not among the 17 players listed on the Patriots injury report on Thursday. 

Also missing Friday were linebackers Dane Fletcher (thumb) and Brandon Spikes (knee) and cornerback Devin McCourty (shoulder). Those three players have missed practice all week in Foxboro, as the team readies for the Chiefs on Monday at Gillette Stadium.

NFL Network analyst Michael Lombardi made his weekly Friday appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show to talk about news from around the league.

The Broncos knocked off the Jets Thursday night in Denver, with Tim Tebow running for the winning touchdown in the final minute. Mark Sanchez has taken the most heat for the Jets' offensive failures, but Lombardi said he's not the only problem.

FOXBORO -- If the Patriots are going to lean on the no-huddle offense Monday night against the Chiefs as much as they have over the course of the first nine games of the season, they’ll meet a Kansas City defense that has almost no experience when it comes to facing a no-huddle this season.



FOXBORO -- The Patriots had three players out and 14 players listed as "limited" on Thursday's injury report. Here's the complete breakdown:

Did Not Practice
LB Dane Fletcher (thumb)
CB Devin McCourty (shoulder)
LB Brandon Spikes (knee)

Limited Participation
CB Kyle Arrington (foot)
S Patrick Chung (foot)
C Dan Connolly (groin)
DE Shaun Ellis (rib)
RB Kevin Faulk (knee)
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis (toe)
LB Gary Guyton (shoulder)

FOXBORO -- Devin McCourty, Brandon Spikes and Dane Fletcher were missing from Patriots practice for a second straight day as the team practiced in sweats and shells inside the Dana Farber Field House on Thursday afternoon. 

McCourty injured his right shoulder when Sterling Moore collided with him while both were attempting to make a play on Plaxico Burress in the second quarter Sunday night. Spikes injured his right knee during the Nov. 6 loss to the Giants and hasn't practiced since while Dane Fletcher has missed the last three games with a thumb injury. 

FOXBORO -- Safety Ross Ventrone is back on the Patriots, signed to the team's practice squad on Thursday in advance of the team's game against the Chiefs this Monday night at Gillette. Ventrone has been released eight times since signing with the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Villanova in April 2010.  

His signing to the practice squad marks his 21st transaction with the Patriots. To make room, the team released defensive back Josh Victorian. 

Tom Brady, Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski and Logan Mankins are positional leaders in early AFC Pro Bowl voting results.

Brady tops all AFC players with 537,780 votes, second only to Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers (589,801) among all NFL players. Welker is second to Detriot's Calvin Johnson among NFL receivers, and Welker's 430,945 votes stand fifth among NFL players. Gronkowski leads all NFL tight ends with 334,909 votes.

Fan balloting for the Pro Bowl runs through December 19.