FOXBORO — Shane Vereen (shoulder) and Jamie Collins (thigh) were among six Patriots players listed as questionable Friday on the final injury report before the home opener against the Raiders Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

In a press conference that ran just shy of 45 minutes, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged Friday afternoon that “over the past several weeks, we have seen all too much of the NFL doing wrong, [and] that starts with me.”

In his first public statements in over a week, Goodell addressed many of the questions that have arisen in the wake of several high-profile domestic violence cases involving the NFL, as well as the league’s handling of those situations. In the case of the Ray Rice incident, Goodell said they mishandled that case, adding that the “same mistakes can never be repeated.”

Goodell said he has not considered resigning at any point during this, adding, “I’m focused on doing my job.” He was asked about the possibility of giving up some of his power when it came to disciplinary cases, and said that “everything was on the table.”

He added that as far as he knows, he has the support of the league’s owners.

“I believe I have the support of the owners,” he said. “That has been clear to me.”

More updates to come.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

FOXBORO — Brandon LaFell admits he’s still not quite on the same page with Tom Brady but he’s getting there. With all the talk this week about the trust factor between Brady and the receiving corps, LaFell was asked Friday his feelings on where his rapport stands with the quarterback.

Brandon LaFell hauls in a touchdown against the Eagles in preseason action. (Getty Images)

Brandon LaFell hauls in a touchdown against the Eagles in preseason action. (Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Brandon LaFell admits he’s still not quite on the same page with Tom Brady but he’s getting there. With all the talk this week about the trust factor between Brady and the receiving corps, LaFell was asked Friday his feelings on where his rapport stands with the quarterback.

LaFell caught six passes for 59 yards in the preseason, including a 25-yard TD from Jimmy Garoppolo. But he has yet to catch a pass from Brady in the first two games that count. He was targeted six times in the opener and didn’t catch a ball. Last week, he didn’t even get targeted. Is he having trouble getting on the same page?

“I think the guys that have been here, they’ve got a better understanding of where Tom wants them to be,” LaFell said. “More so than me. But I think I’m getting there, the more and more reps I get in practice, I think I’m getting there. I’m not where I wanna be yet, but I think I’m getting there.”

LaFell says he’s working on that chemistry at at every possible free moment around the complex.

“His locker right next to mine. In the morning before practice, during practice,” LaFell added. “When the defense on the field, when we on the other field running routes and doing things like that. So we talk a lot.”

Who starts the conversations?

“Tom. If he sees me standing around I’m not doing anything, if there’s a special teams period I’m not involved in. ‘Hey, LaFell. Let’s go. Let’s go to the other field.’ Run whatever routes they got me running that week. He pulls me aside every time he sees me standing not doing anything.

“On the field, he is the coach. When we line up on Sundays [we] listen to the coaches all week, but on Sundays, it’s what 12′s saying in the huddle, that’s what goes.”

The other issue LaFell is facing is competition from Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson, a competition that ramped up last week when Dobson returned and Thompkins was a healthy scratch. All three are downfield threats. But it’s pretty clear that all three are not likely to be active at once, barring injury.

“It’s definitely like that man,” LaFell said of the competition. “Me, AD, KT, we out there at the “X” position. We go out there everyday and compete. But at the same time we push each other to get better.

As for wanting to get more touches after not even being targeted last week, LaFell admitted he’s hungry for that first catch.

“Like any other receiver, man, I would like to get the ball every snap if I can,” LaFell said. “But within this offense, we just go out there and we just do whatever the defense gives us. Defense comes out there and allows us to run the ball, we gonna run it down they throat. If they get back there and try to stuff the box, we gonna throw the ball.”

LaFell said he feels as if he’s been getting open in his routes but understands why Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman have been getting the majority of the targets (32 combined in first two games).

“Yeah I think I’ve been getting open,” LaFell said. “At the same time when I’m getting open, other guys like Jules and Gronk they’ve been open too so you can’t complain when you not getting the ball when other guys are open
and getting the ball.”

LaFell has always used his size and strength to get open off the line of scrimmage but there’s an art to it.

“It’s a lot that goes into that,” he said. “You can get open right off the line of scrimmage but you got a 20 yard route so it don’t make no sense to get open that quick. It’s just going out there and playing within the offense. Doing your job on every play. Getting open, making sure you’re at the spot Tom wants you to be, and make sure you have enough
spacing on the field.

Have the new rules helped?

“The new rules, man, they call it when they wanna call it,” he said with a beaming smile. “Cornerbacks are gonna still go out there and grab and hold. We still gonna push off and get physical. The new rules are the rules, but you still gotta get open.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo, who missed Thursday practice as he became a father for the third time, made his weekly appearance with Middays with MFB on Friday to preview Sunday’s home opener against the Raiders.

The Raiders come in at 0-2, but Mayo said the Patriots aren’t overlooking them.

Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo, who missed Thursday practice as he became a father for the third time, made his weekly appearance with Middays with MFB on Friday to preview Sunday’s home opener against the Raiders.

The Raiders come in at 0-2, but Mayo said the Patriots aren’t overlooking them.

“This is the third game of the season. Some teams are 0-2, but it really doesn’t describe how a team is,” Mayo said. “This is a veteran-led team. They have a of older guys, a lot guys who know how to play football in this league and have won a lot of games. So we’re not overlooking Oakland at all. Obviously we’re excited to open up here at Gillette. Hopefully it’s a good game.”

Derek Carr is the only rookie quarterback starting this season, and the second-round pick from Fresno State has shown some promise.

Said Mayo: “He has a huge arm. He’s also very mobile. He’ll get outside the pocket. A lot of people don’t talk too much about his athleticism, but this guy can run. He can make all the throws. And he seems like he’s a smart guy. They’re obviously not trying to do too much with him, being a rookie, but at the same time, he can make all the throws and make all the plays. It will be a challenge for us up front trying to get pressure on him as well, and in the back covering these receivers.”

Fellow linebacker Dont’a Hightower is off to a strong start this season.

“Ever since I came into the league, he’s always been a student of the game. He’s always studying,” Mayo said.”I think it starts in the classroom. This guy’s asking questions, asking questions, asking the right questions. And it’s translating over to the field. He’s a very big, athletic guy that can run, and he can do a lot of different things for us. He’s a versatile player. Whatever the coaches ask him to do, he’s willing to do, and he’s been helping us these first couple of weeks.”

The Patriots defense dominated the Vikings on Sunday after allowing a touchdown on the first series, helping New England to a 30-7 victory.

“Obviously the score says it all. We were excited about that. We were able to get after him early in the game. I think it’s all about winning first down, getting those long-yardage situations — second-and-10, third-and-8 — and then letting those guys pin their ears back and get after the quarterback. It was exciting to see last week. We’re on to Oakland now, and we have to continue to build on that.”

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar
Adam Schefter joins MFB to talk about the latest with Roger Goodell and how he is going to handle his upcoming press conference.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter joined Middays with MFB on Friday to talk about commissioner Roger Goodell, who is scheduled to break his silence and address the media in a press conference Friday afternoon. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Adam Schefter

Adam Schefter

ESPN’s Adam Schefter joined Middays with MFB on Friday to talk about commissioner Roger Goodell, who is scheduled to break his silence and address the media in a press conference Friday afternoon. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

“This is essentially him coming out to defend the league, to admit wrongdoing, because I think everybody would agree that the league just got this wrong along the way,” Schefter said. “There are so many layers to this and so many levels to it that the league just messed up. And they’re going to have to own it. And we’ve heard the owners say, ‘Oh, we want to make it right, we want to get it right.’ And I’m sure you’re going to hear Roger Goodell utter a similar message. But I would think and hope that you would expect more from Roger Goodell. He’s the leader of the NFL. He’s making $44 million a year. He’s the most important man arguably in all of sports. Somebody with that power, with that responsibility, should have an incredible message to deliver today. We’ll see what that is.”

Schefter said he isn’t sure what Goodell will be allowed to say based on the legality of the situation, but he’s hopeful the commissioner is forthcoming.

“I think Roger Goodell has to be as transparent as possible. Period,” Schefter said. “Now, there may be certain legal limits as to what he can say about Robert Mueller’s investigation or whatever it may be. But I think it’s in everyone’s best interests for Roger Goodell to be as transparent and as honest as possible.”

Regarding the possibility that Goodell punishes himself for the league’s mishandling of the recent issues, Schefter said that’s unlikely.

“I think there’s a disconnect between the public perception of Roger Goodell and the ownership’s feelings on Roger Goodell,” Schefter said. “I think the public, by and large, disapproves of the job he’s done, has lost respect for his leadership skills and abilities, questions his credibility, and has less faith in him than it’s ever had. I think we all could agree with that, that’s the universal public feeling — not universal, the majority of the public.

“I think ownership still believes that Roger Goodell has done a great job. He procured a tremendous CBA for the owners. He’s got television contracts that are lucrative beyond words. He got labor peace. He brought stability and profitability to the NFL. And so the owners, by and large, are very happy with Roger Goodell. Now, I think, and I’ve spoken to some who are curious to see what Robert Mueller’s investigation turns up. And should it turn up that he lied, which is going to be difficult to prove, I think, but should it somehow be proven, then he’s going to be out of office.

“But it’s one thing to say that he’s going to be out of office and it’s going to be proven that way, and it’s another thing to actually go do it. I am skeptical that they’ll be able to find that evidence or prove it, that he blatantly lied. Now, in the bylaws of the NFL constitution it talks about having the best interests of the league at heart and reflecting positively, and I think we all could debate whether or not that’s happened over the last few months.

“But I don’t see Roger Goodell saying, ‘And because we missed the Ray Rice decision I’m going to find me four game checks,’ or, ‘suspend me for two weeks,’ or whatever it may be, because ownership believes in him.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. For Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

On if the league has been manipulating information to the media: “It has not been the league’s finest time. As a reporter, I can only speak to me. … And I can say that during the time I’ve covered the NFL for over 25 years, there are few if any incidents that I can ever remember where you look at the league and you say, ‘What is the league doing there? What is the league thinking there? Why are doing this this way?’ To me, the league always had an answer for everything.

“This is the one time you looked at the decisions that the league made and you said, ‘What are they doing?’ Like, Greg Hardy was convicted and he’s appealing it to court, and I know there’s a due process, but you’re letting this guy on the field? And I know the Panthers made that decision, but you’re allowing them to do that? I don’t get that. And the Ray Rice thing in hindsight — in hindsight, when everybody stepped back and took a look at it and evaluated it — how did you come to two games? How did that happen?

“And again, it’s very easy for all of us to second-guess it now. We’re doing that. We’re doing that, because the league deserves it. But they’ve misfired on a number of elements here. A number of elements. The Adrian Peterson situation — deactivated, activated, on the commissioner-exempt list. What is that? That’s from the strongest, best sports league in the world?”

On Goodell’s legacy: “I think it’s a case where this is always going to follow Roger. He could go on to become the greatest commissioner the NFL has ever seen, but people will say, ‘Remember back in 2014 when he didn’t get the Rice thing right and then the league tried to explain it away and went soft on domestic violence? And to me, that’s the biggest fault here all along. And again, it’s easy for all of us to say now, when we’re seeing a cultural shift, which is a great thing, and increased awareness, which is a great thing.

“But the league, when you go back and look, under Roger Goodell, and under Paul Tagliabue, has taken a typically soft stance on domestic violence. It just has. There have been any number of players who have been arrested, charged with domestic violence, very few — very few — got more than a one- or two-game suspension. The thing is, we never saw the video of those. If we had seen the video of one of those incidents, I can assure you that the outrage would have been a lot greater than it has been.

“But it came to be accepted where the NFL had given out these penalties, nobody questioned the league, nobody criticized the league, the league followed the judicial system — and while we’re at it, by the way, on a side note, what was the prosecutor thinking? We’re all over the NFL; how about our legal system and the prosecutor in New Jersey. They saw this videotape. They saw this videotape. Where are they on this? So with their lead, the NFL followed them, and they’re both wrong. They’re both wrong. OK? And we’ve directed our fury at the NFL, and that’s fine. But it should be equal. Rip the NFL all you want, and rip the prosecutor. I mean, that’s a joke. That’s a joke.”

On if Ray Rice will get interest from a team if and when he returns to the NFL: “I think that with Ray Rice it would surprise me to see him play this year. It would really surprise me. I just think that right now he’s toxic. But next year? … It’s not like teams are going to be clamoring over Ray Rice, but would there be a team next year who loses a couple of running backs in camp and looks down its roster, needs a running back, surveying the options and you see that Ray Rice is out there. You know what? With the right team, the right coaching staff, the right owners, you say, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know what? Let’s go give this guy a shot.’ ”

On Raiders coach Dennis Allen’s job being in jeopardy: “I think everybody could agree that Dennis Allen right now is in trouble, that if it doesn’t turn around — and nobody thinks in Oakland it will — that trouble is not going away. So, would it surprise me if he was the first head coach fired? Absolutely not. But I say that, in this league, things, they change quick sometimes. But I wouldn’t feel comfortable if I were him.”

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

Bill Belichick, the teacher and coach, is now armed with a tablet on the sidelines. (Getty Images)FOXBORO -- Just imagine Bill Belichick with an ice pick.



MIKE PETRAGLIA

BIO | ARCHIVE