FOXBORO — Adam Vinatieri and Lonie Paxton were playoff heroes for the Patriots, posting clutch performances in the postseason on several occasions to lift New England to greatness.



Jets coach Rex Ryan was at it again on Thursday as he attempted to shower Peyton Manning with praise in advance of his team's showdown with the Colts Saturday night in Indianapolis. But in the process of crediting Manning preparatory skills, he slighted Tom Brady. 

 

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady had one of the best months of his career in December. Now, the NFL has recognized him for it.

 

For the fourth time in his career, Brady has earned AFC Offensive Player of the Month honors as he was named AFC Offensive Player of the Month for December on Thursday. Brady led the Patriots to a 4-0 record, including back-to-back 300-yard games, with 326 yards and four touchdowns in a 45-3 win vs. the Jets on Dec. 6 and a 369-yard effort with two touchdowns in snowy conditions in a 36-7 win at Chicago on Dec. 12.

 

FOXBORO -- Patriots starting right guard Dan Connolly shed his protective non-contact red jersey on Thursday as the Patriots continued full-contact practice in full pads in their bye week. 

 

Connolly missed the final two games of the season after suffering a concussion during the same Green Bay game in which he returned a kick-off a record 71 yards. Danny Woodhead and Dan Koppen remained in the non-contact red jerseys at practice on the lower practice field outside Gillette Stadium. 

 

FOXBORO --  Whether it's the Super Bowl XLII loss in Arizona or last year's home playoff loss to Baltimore, Patriots defensive captain Vince Wilfork on Thursday repeated the mantra of the 2010 Patriots - the past is the past. 

 

FOXBORO — The first real indication that 14-2 might be truly in the rearview came Wednesday morning with a film session that was more critical than anything Roger Ebert could have dreamed up.



FOXBORO — The Patriots announced Wednesday afternoon that left tackle Matt Light and wide receiver Wes Welker were named to the AFC Pro Bowl roster. It is the third Pro Bowl selection for Light (2006, 2007) and the third consecutive Pro Bowl selection for Welker (2008, 2009), and leaves the AFC roster with eight Patriots — Light and Welker join Tom Brady, Logan Mankins, Jerod Mayo, Devin McCourty, Brandon Meriweather and Vince Wilfork. For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

FOXBORO — The Patriots announced Wednesday that they have signed linebacker Marques Murrell. Murrell originally signed with the Patriots on March 10, and played in the season-opener vs. Cincinnati before being released on Sept. 13. He had one special teams tackle against the Bengals. Murrell, 6-foot-2, 250 pounds, spent three NFL seasons (2007-09) with the New York Jets. For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

FOXBORO — Tight end Aaron Hernandez, linebacker Jermaine Cunningham, defensive lineman/outside linebacker Eric Moore and defensive lineman Mike Wright were not at start of Patriots practice Wednesday afternoon. In addition, Danny Woodhead, Dan Connolly and Dan Koppen were all wearing red noncontact jerseys. And there was a player working with the linebackers who was wearing No. 53 — we anticipate an official announcement on the move shortly. For more Patriots information, check out weei.com/patriots.

It’s been said countless times that a football team is a reflection of its coach. And the true genius of your New England Patriots during the reign of Belichick the Conqueror has been the ability to turn lousy opponents into great ones.



JERRY THORNTON

BIO | ARCHIVE