FOXBORO — Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones didn’t practice at all since his Week 7 hip injury against the Jets, until this week when Jones has practiced both Wednesday and Thursday, on a limited basis.

Chandler Jones

Chandler Jones

FOXBORO — Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones didn’t practice at all since his Week 7 hip injury against the Jets, until this week when Jones has practiced both Wednesday and Thursday, on a limited basis.

Coach Bill Belichick didn’t give any insight on his recovery process or a timetable for a return, just that it’s a day-by-day thing.

“We just take it day-by-day-by-day-by-day,” Belichick said. “I know you guys don’€™t want to hear that, but that’€™s what it is. I’€™m not going to sit here and make something up. Each day we go out there and the player does what he can do and we evaluate it.”

Added Belichick: “There’€™s no leapfrog where you jump like four or five steps in the process. Each day, what the medical department says, he goes out there and does a little bit more than he did the day before and feels good and there’€™s no setbacks then we bump it up to the next level. If he doesn’€™t, then we stay the same or maybe back it down for a day and try again. … That’€™s just normal rehab for every player. I mean, the rehab is different but the process is really the same.”

In seven games this season Jones has 4.5 sacks. There have been varying reports on the just how long Jones will be out. When he was first injured, the Boston Globe reported he would be out about a month, but the Boston Herald later added there was concern he would miss the entire rest of the season.

While it’s highly unlikely Jones plays this week, or even next week in San Diego, him practicing is a very encouraging sign for him to make a return at some point this regular-season.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Special teams player Don Jones was offocially released by the Patriots on Friday. (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Special teams player Don Jones was officially released by the Patriots on Friday. (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — In a surprising move, the Patriots released core special teams player Don Jones officially on Friday. They did not make a corresponding move.

Jones has played in nine of the 11 games so far this season and has seven special teams tackles on the year. Bill Belichick agreed Jones has made contributions, but in typical Belichick fashion he said the move was, “what was best for the football team.”

“We did what we felt like was best for the football team,” said Belichick. “I don’t disagree with anything you said, I think he has that production, but in the end we are going to do what is best for the team.”

Belichick confirmed if Jones does clear waivers he has practice squad eligibility and there is a chance he could return to New England, but there are other factors that come into play as well.

“He’s practice squad eligible, he is one of the exceptions,” he said. “That would be a possibility and there are other players that are in consideration based on our team and what other players are available. We’ve made a couple of practice squad transactions, we’ve made them over the course of the year, so again we’ll try and manage it the best that we can. I would say there is a lot of things that go into that — part of it is what we have, part of it is guys who are available, part of it is what players are available. It’s all part of it. It will probably going to be constantly in some type of transition throughout the course of the year like it usually is.”

With an open spot on the 53-man roster, a position to keep an eye on long-snapper. Danny Aiken suffered a concussion in last Sunday’s game against the Lions and the team added long-snapper Charley Hughlett to the practice squad on Wednesday. If Aiken cannot go Sunday, it is very likely Hughlett would be added to the roster, with Jones now creating an open spot. They do not have a backup long-snapper on the active roster as Rob Ninkovich would serve as the emergency player.

The coach spoke of the value each player on the roster has and that can change from week-to-week, which sometimes creates a revolving door with the 52nd and 53rd players on the roster.

“I just told you what the decision is based on, it’s what it’s based on,” said Belichick. “Every player has value. Some players have more than others. We have to decide which have the most value for the team at that particular point in time or that point in the season. That’s what we’ll do. The player definitely has value. There’s a lot of players on our team that do have value, they cannot all be on the team. We have to pick the ones that we think have the most value for the team at that point in time and it changes over the course of the year just like it does for other teams.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

WEEI_FantasyFootball_2014_hdr

Welcome to the Week 13 starts and sits! I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving, and I really hope that none of you started Tony Romo. It’s money time for a lot of us, and I have some suggestions below as I always do. Full Week 13 lineup rankings have been posted at Rotobahn. So, if you want my take on players not listed here, check them out.

Don’t forget to tune in Sunday morning for another episode of the Fantasy Football Hour with my co-host Jim Hackett. If you have last-minute lineup concerns, you should check out my Sunday chat. It takes place right here at WEEI.com and it runs from 11 a.m. to noon every Sunday.

If you want to keep track of all my fantasy football content, both here and at Rotobahn, follow me on Twitter. I send out links to all fresh content.

QUARTERBACK

Start

Eli Manning, Giants at Jaguars

This is not a hard call. The Giants may be out of it, but they still are trying to get their new offense perfected, and the addition of Odell Beckham Jr. has breathed some life into things. I expect starting-caliber numbers from Manning in Week 13.

Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins at Jets

I still have some trust issues with Tannehill, but he has a lot going for him in this game. The Jets defense may not be awful, but you clearly throw to beat them. That will help Tannehill, as will his improved cast of receivers, led by rookie Jarvis Landry, who has given him the go-to option he’s lacked since taking over the job back in 2012. The Jets also will be susceptible to deep threat Mike Wallace, as they have issues on the back end. I see fantasy success for Tannehill on Monday night.

Zach Mettenberger, Titans at Texans

He’s not an option to consider for most of you. Having said that, if you need help in a deep format, Mettenberger has proven worthy of consideration. He’s an interesting case in that his college skill talent was better than his NFL skill talent. The rookie played at LSU and his outside weapons were Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. He also had Jeremy Hill and Alfred Blue in his backfield. Not bad, right? The plus in this is that Mettenberger has a natural inclination to trust his receivers, and that’s probably rooted in playing with Beckham and Landry — who both make ridiculous catches with stunning regularity. The point of my long-winded explanation is that Mettenberger has a weapon in Justin Hunter, and the key to unlocking him is trust, because he’s a receiver who is never really covered due to his size advantage and leaping ability. This is a quarterback-receiver relationship that could go either way over the long haul, but if things click, they could click in a major way. This is a connection to watch over the rest of 2014, and Mettenberger is a player to consider in 14-team leagues.

Sit

Brian Hoyer, Browns at Bills

Be careful with Hoyer this week. He’s a viable option in 12-team leagues, but Buffalo is a tough place to play right now, and the Bills are going to be fired up after recent events. Hoyer is not likely to have a big game and would be a must-bench without the return of Josh Gordon. Hoyer’s schedule improves significantly going forward, but this is a week to use another option if you can.

RUNNING BACK

Start

Jeremy Hill, Bengals at Buccaneers

We have a bit of a LSU theme going today, and Hill fits right into it. He’s looked very good since Gio Bernard went down, and he has established himself as a force with Bernard active, as we saw last week. Both of these backs have lead-back ability, but this is going to be a time share. It’s also going to be one of the most talented backfields in the NFL. Hill is a solid RB2 play in all leagues this week at Tampa.

Tre Mason, Rams vs. Raiders

I wonder if the Rams learned their lesson last week? In Week 11, the Rams rode Mason to an unexpected win over the Broncos. Last week, they used the rookie as the lead back again, but they went away from the run with the game on the line and the offense on the doorstep. The result was a game-ending interception. A handoff to Mason probably wins the game and certainly would have preserved the chance for a game-tying field goal. The conspiracy theorist inside me wondered if the Rams’ 2015 draft position had anything to do with the call. Of course, with OC Brian Schottenheimer (ex-Jets OC) calling the plays, it might have been perceived as the best chance to win. This is a B-movie I have watched many times before. My gut says that they go back to Mason in a big way this week. Keep him active as an RB2.

Dan Herron, Colts vs. Washington

Last week I told you to stash “Boom” Herron because he’s a good back and because we had doubts about just how much the Colts would use Trent Richardson in the wake of Ahmad Bradshaw‘s season-ending injury. Well, Herron is at worst in a time share, and he potentially is the lead back if he continues to play well. In PPR formats Herron is worth playing right now, and he’s viable in 12-team standard leagues, too. I see him catching five-plus passes this week against Washington.

Sit

Jonas Gray, Patriots at Packers

As much as I would like to say that last week’s benching was just a one-week thing, the acquisition of LeGarrette Blount says that Gray is at best a role player going forward. Keep him on benches for now.

WIDE RECEIVER

Start

Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers vs. Bengals

Some folks are a bit down on him, but I think you should stick with Jackson this week for a few reasons. First, he is healthier than he’s been all year. Second, teams are starting to clamp down on rookie Mike Evans and that will make Jackson that much more dangerous. He’s easily a WR3 in small leagues this week against the Bengals.

DeSean Jackson, Washington at Colts

It’s been a while since he did anything positive, and I am sure there are some folks who are thinking about benching Jackson. I’d re-think that. Jackson had some of his better games when Robert Griffin wasn’t at the helm, and with Colt McCoy starting this week, I like Jackson’s chances of stepping up and posting good numbers — perhaps even WR1 numbers. He’s a good start in all formats.

Martavis Bryant, Steelers vs. Saints

Bryant is a fringe starter in smaller formats, but he should be locked in if you play in a 12-team league. This is because of Bryant’s upside and red zone prowess. Ben Roethlisberger looks for him when they get close to the end zone, and that’s a good time to be a target. Keep the impressive rookie active.

Sit

Eric Decker, Jets vs. Dolphins

You might consider him in large formats, but the Jets offense is scary unpredictable right now, and with Geno Smith back at the helm, a meltdown certainly is possible. Keeping Decker’s near lost season away from your big game is sound strategy.

TIGHT END

Start

Kyle Rudolph, Vikings vs. Panthers

He got things going last week and was involved as a receiver. I expect the trend to continue this week, and Rudolph is a nice option in all leagues if you need a tight end. If he takes the next step in Week 13, he could be back to lock-starter status by Week 14.

Tim Wright, Patriots at Packers

This is a very interesting player for fantasy purposes in that Wright’s pattern as a Patriot is to be very good or completely nonexistent. The thing is, he’s been trending toward the prior as of late. In fact, since he posted a fantasy bagel in Week 4, he’s had five good games to only two disappearing acts. To me, this makes Wright a pretty good fantasy option in 12-team leagues and above this week. The Patriots will need every scrap of offense they can find, and they will be using the A-team in the red zone. I think Wright is on that team at this point, so use him if you have a need. I am also very interested to see how much Wright’s role grows going forward. Along with Blount, he is one of the players who could take them over the top offensively because of his ability to create mismatches.

Travis Kelce, Chiefs vs. Broncos

Starter Anthony Fasano is nursing a sore knee that could keep him out of action this week. Even if Fasano plays, he could be on a snap count. This makes Kelce more appealing than normal and a viable fantasy play in all formats, especially 12-team leagues and above.

Sit

Jordan Reed, Washington at Colts

I simply do not trust him to finish the game right now. I like Reed’s talent a lot, but between the concussions and the hamstring woes, I am avoiding him at this crucial stage of the season.

Blog Author: 
Peter Davidson

The Patriots have waived safety Don Jones, according to the NFL transaction wire.  He was a key contributor to special teams this season and there is no word of a corresponding move. It is unknown why Jones was waived.

The second-year player has been active for nine of the 11 games this season. The move was first reported by ESPN’s Field Yates.

The Patriots have waived safety Don Jones, according to the NFL transaction wire.  He was a key contributor to special teams this season and there is no word of a corresponding move. It is unknown why Jones was waived.

The second-year player has been active for nine of the 11 games this season. The move was first reported by ESPN’s Field Yates.

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

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Even with the Thanksgiving holiday, the Patriots practiced Thursday morning at Gillette Stadium in advance of Sunday’s game against the Packers.

Chris White

Chris White

Even with the Thanksgiving holiday, the Patriots practiced Thursday morning at Gillette Stadium in advance of Sunday’s game against the Packers. The practice report was virtually the same as Wednesday’s, with the exception of linebacker Chris White being added with an ankle injury. He was limited. White is a core special teams player.

Chandler Jones (hip) was limited for a second straight day, which was good news since Wednesday was his first sighting since suffering the injury during Week 7 against the Jets.

Here is the complete practice report:

Limited participation

LS Danny Aiken (concussion)
OL Marcus Cannon (hip)
OL Dan Connolly (ankle)
DL Dominique Easley (knee)
DB Nate Ebner (finger)
OL Cameron Fleming (finger/ankle)
DE Chandler Jones (hip)
WR Brandon LaFell (shoulder)
RB Shane Vereen (ankle)
LB Chris White (ankle)

Full participation

QB Tom Brady (ankle)
WR Julian Edelman (thigh)

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Aaron Rodgers has thrown for 2,957 yards, completed 67 percent of his passes, and has 30 touchdown passes and just three picks this season. (Casey Hayward/Getty Images)

Aaron Rodgers knows he will need to be at his best this Sunday taking on the Patriots. (Casey Hayward/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Jay Cutler, Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, Matthew Stafford.

Those are the four quarterbacks the Patriots secondary, led by Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, has been able to contain in each of the last four games, all Patriots wins. This week they may face their toughest test yet — Aaron Rodgers on his home turf of Lambeau Field.

Rodgers is completing 67 percent of his passes, averaging 284.8 passing yards per game and has 18 touchdowns and no picks in five home games this years, but Rodgers knows keeping that pace will be tough facing Revis and Browner.

“They’€™re a talented duo there,” Rodgers said on a conference call Wednesday. “They both have different skill sets that they use to their advantage. I played against Browner in college and he was a dominant player and then for whatever reason he went up to Canada and came back. He’€™s been a dominant player since he’€™s been back. He’€™s a lockdown defender, uses his size and length really well. Darrelle has been one of the best corners probably since he got into the league. With the years under his belt, it just gives the experience. There’€™s nothing that probably surprises him. He’€™s done a great job of being patient and reading routes. He’€™s got great ball skills. Everything he does is exceptional.”

The two teams come into the game as the two Super Bowl favorites, and both playing their best football of the season. The Packers have won seven of their last eight games, while the Patriots have won seven in a row after a 2-2 start.

Rodgers says he isn’t look at this game any differently and is just concentrating on putting the Packers in the best position come the postseason.

“We don’€™t get up and down more for any other matchup,” Rodgers said. “This is an uncommon opponent, this AFC team. This time of year, you want to win all your games, especially the ones at home when you’€™re in a position to control your own fate here. We can keep on a roll and hopefully get a home playoff game. That’€™s what we’€™re thinking about.”

Over the Patriots’ seven-game win streak they have done a number of different things with their secondary, showing offenses different looks and schemes, depending on the skill set of the particular offense they’re facing that week. Rodgers knows he has to be ready for anything, but put executing themselves first before they worry about anything else.

“The league is about adjustments,” said Rodgers. “You have to be able to make adjustments within a game and at halftime. When you get out there you have to be able to react and trust the things you worked on in practice and [have] done throughout the year. We’€™re going to run our offense and be ready for anything they do and just adjust accordingly once we get out there to some of the stuff they’€™re doing. They’€™re going to have a great plan coming in, they always do. [We’€™re] going to have to try to execute better than they can stop us.”

 

 

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

FOXBORO — The good news for the Patriots was the entire team took part in Wednesday’s walkthrough inside the Dana Farber Fieldhouse — the bad news was they had nine players limited.