FOXBORO — Dominique Easley was not at Patriots practice on the lower field at Gillette Stadium Wednesday in advance of Sunday’s game against the Jets. Easley was placed on injured reserve officially by the team on Wednesday afternoon.

Dominique Easley

Dominique Easley

FOXBORO — Dominique Easley was not at Patriots practice on the lower field at Gillette Stadium Wednesday in advance of Sunday’s game against the Jets. Easley was placed on injured reserve officially by the team on Wednesday afternoon.

Tight end Steve Maneri, who was with the team in training camp, was seen in the locker room before practice and present at the session. He was officially signed to the active roster and he will take Easley’s place on the active 53-man roster.

Quarterback Garrett Gilbert was also present at the session, as he was signed to the practice squad on Wednesday. Gilbert takes Casey Walker’s place on the practice squad, who was signed by the Ravens on Tuesday.

Practice squad player, offensive lineman Caylin Hauptmann was not at practice.

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

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable


FOXBORO — He understands the records are what they are heading into Sunday’s Week 16 showdown, but Tom Brady doesn’t want to see the Patriots biting their nails heading into the final minute if they can help it. Brady recalls, of course, the 27-25 escape against the Jets on Oct. 16 at Gillette Stadium, when Chris Jones saved the day with a blocked field goal at the end.

He also recalls last year at MetLife Stadium when the Patriots raced out to a 21-10 halftime lead, only to allow the Jets back in the game and lose in overtime when Jones was called for an illegal play at the line of scrimmage on a field goal attempt.

This year, Brady is hoping for something a little different. More like the “Butt Fumble” game of Thanksgiving 2012 when the Patriots feasted on Rex Ryan‘s Jets, 49-19.

Brady is taking no comfort in New York’s 3-11 record or the fact they’ve lost by two touchdowns in five of their 11 losses.

“I don’t know why those scores go the way they do against other teams,” Brady said. “Against us, they always seem to be close. You just don’t want to go down there and have a bunch of poor execution like we’ve done in the past. I think we really have to focus on our execution and try to go out there and play good for once. I think that’s kind of what we’ve been talking about, playing our style of football for 60 minutes and see what that looks like because we haven’t done a great job against the Jets doing that.

“It’s a great rivalry. We’ve always had some pretty interesting games against them. A lot of them come down to the wire, especially recently. They’ve got a real good defense. They’re good up front, do a great job against the run. We’re going to have to go out and play really well. I know the records are what they are but we don’t look at it like that. I think it’s a good challenge for us. We lost going to the Meadowlands last year. So, we’re anticipating getting their best game.”

The Patriots, of course, are 11-3 and looking for the top seed in the AFC, which they will get with a win over the Jets and a Denver loss in Cincinnati Monday night. But the Patriots QB knows the offense needs to get back to getting off to fast starts, a trademark during their seven-game win streak.

“It’s frustrating for all of us when we’re not scoring the type of points we’re capable of doing,” Brady said of the struggles against the Dolphins in the first half last Sunday. “I just have to focus on what I’ve got to do better, and I can certainly do better in that area, making better decisions, better throws. We’re going to need it this week against this team because they challenge you in a lot of ways. They’ve got a multitude of things that they do. They’ve always done that. They really test your communication. Certainly, execution is something that we look at all the past games we’ve played against them and think, ‘God, our execution just wasn’t very sharp.’ We have to be very sharp this week.”

Will part of the offensive game plan and execution include another great scamper against Jets Sunday at MetLife, like his 17-yarder against Miami in the second half last Sunday?

“I don’t know if I’d characterize it as a great scamper,” Brady said. “I think if those opportunities present themselves then I’m going to try to take advantage. Maybe there’s a little more awareness now than there has been in the past. Once you make a couple of them, you kind of get a feel for it. If that’s what we need to do, then that’s what we need to do. If they’re not going to account for that, then that’s kind of an easy play to make.

“You just have to have to have awareness and be able to do it. It’s a mental thing, it’s a physical thing. Mentally, hopefully I’m ahead of where I’ve been in the past. However, we need to convert third downs and stay on the field and score points, is going to be something I’m trying to do to help us win.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

FOXBORO — The Patriots will place rookie defensive lineman Dominique Easley on season-ending injured reserve, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.

UPDATE 2:30 p.m.: The Patriots officially placed Easley on injured reserve Wednesday afternoon.

FOXBORO — The Patriots will place rookie defensive lineman Dominique Easley on season-ending injured reserve, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.

Easley, who was a first-round pick of New England thus past spring, was limited over the course of the spring and summer because of knee issues. The 22-year-old — who was taken 29th overall out of Florida — had nine tackles and a sack in eight games with the Patriots this season.

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

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Rex Ryan knows his team is 3-11 on the season. He also knows his team is a heavy underdog this Sunday in what could be his final game as Jets coach before the New York faithful.

Rex Ryan knows his team is 3-11 on the season. He also knows his team is a heavy underdog this Sunday in what could be his final game as Jets coach before the New York faithful.

But for all that has been written and said about the discord and dysfunction around the Jets in another season to forget, the Jets coach insisted Wednesday in a conference call with the Patriots’ media that he loves his team and their effort.

“Anything that is swirling around inside our team, I’m proud of this team,” Ryan said. “We’ve got nothing [in terms of controversy]. Some guys’ reports are probably as far off as any I’ve ever seen. This team is tight. Our record is the only thing that stinks. We’ve got a great group of guys that care, that prepare, practice hard and it’s just obviously unfortunate that our record is what it is but it has nothing to do with the type of character in this room.”

Asked what he thinks of his place in the Patriots-Jets rivalry, should this indeed be his last game coaching the Jets, Ryan begged off, preferring instead to focus on the game at hand.

“I have no idea. We all know what’s getting ready to happen in this game. We know that both teams give their maximum effort against each other,” Ryan said. “I don’t think each team particularly likes each other but it’s on. Regardless of what the record is, we could be playing for first place, or whatever, but it’s the same effort always. It’s usually a close game and it’s usually a physical game.

“I never have to worry about them, regardless of who we play. We’re professionals and we get a chance to play a game, and it’s a game we love and we’re going to play it to the best of our abilities.”

Another subject was the effect Ryan’s former star pupil Darrelle Revis has had in transforming the Patriots’ defense into a championship caliber unit.

“Well, I think their whole defense has changed quite a bit since the last time we played them,” Ryan added. “They’ve brought in a couple of big guys. Chandler Jones [hurt against Jets], a tremendous player. But the coverages and recognizing a lot of different coverages that haven’t really played in the past that they’re playing now.

“There’s a couple of different ways to play man coverage but they’re starting to do some different things in the man. It’s kind of hard to explain but we recognize it. They’re doing a good job of it, obviously.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Needing a blocked field goal from Chris Jones late in their last meeting, Bill Belichick notes the Patriots will need to be better than they have been, (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Needing a blocked field goal from Chris Jones late in their last meeting, Bill Belichick notes the Patriots will need to be better than they have been Sunday against the Jets. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Even though the Jets are 3-11, and losers of three of their last four games with their coach likely to be fired, don’t tell that to Bill Belichick, as he notes they have been in a number of close games and playing competitively.

“It seems like quite a while since we played the Jets,” said Belichick. “The Jets are playing well. They’€™re a very competitive football team. They’€™re in every game. They’€™ve been in a lot of tight games, it seems like every game comes down to the last possession, kind of like it did with us, like a lot of our games with them have in the last, four of the last five times we’€™ve played them.”

Three of the last four games the Jets have played have been decided by seven points or less, and when it comes to games against the Patriots, the last three games have been decided by three points or less, including Oct. 16’s game in New England where the Patriots snuck past the Jets, 27-25 on Thursday night football.

Even further, four of the last five Patriots-Jets games have been decided by three points or less, with two of those games going to overtime.

With the last meeting between the two teams occurring almost two months ago, Belichick notes a lot has changed between the two teams. It’s worth noting the game was on a Thursday night and the Patriots were coming off losing running back Stevan Ridley and linebacker Jerod Mayo for the season just three days prior against the Bills.

“We’€™ll see how it goes against the Jets,” Belichick said. “I don’€™t know. We played other teams and different matchups and all that. The Jets are pretty healthy. They had one change on their offensive line, but the rest of those guys have all started 14 games. They’€™ve had pretty good consistency at tight end. The running backs are very good. The quarterback is a good runner. So we’€™ll see whether we can improve against the Jets in the running game, that’€™s what we need to do.”

Even with the Jets’ record coming in, Belichick knows the importance of the final two regular-season games with the Patriots controlling their own destiny, as if they win out they would be the AFC’s No. 1 seed. With how close the Jets generally keep games against New England, and it likely being Rex Ryan‘s last home game and last game coaching against the Patriots as Jets head coach, Belichick knows the team will need to play better that it has in past meetings.

“This will be a big week for us,” said Belichick. “I think we need to play better than we did the last time we played them. I just don’€™t think that will be good enough. [It] barely was good enough last time, I don’€™t think it will be good enough this time.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

With the Patriots in the chase for the No. 1 seed in the AFC — they can clinch the top seed if they beat the Jets and the Bengals beat the Broncos in Cincinnati this week — here’s a look at how they’ve fared when it comes to playoff seeding in the Bill Belichick era, and what’s happened that postseason.

2000: No playoffs.
2001: No. 2 seed, win Super Bowl XXXVI.
2002: No playoffs.
2003: No. 1 seed, win Super Bowl XXXVIII.
2004: No. 2 seed, win Super Bowl XXXIX.
2005: No. 4 seed, lose divisional playoff in Denver.
2006: No. 4 seed, lost AFC title game in Indy.
2007: No. 1 seed, lose Super Bowl XLII.
2008: No playoffs.
2009: No. 3 seed, lose wild card game at home against Baltimore.
2010: No. 1 seed, lose divisional playoff at home against New York.
2011: No. 1 seed, lose Super Bowl XLIV.
2012: No. 2 seed, lose AFC title game at home against Baltimore.
2013: No. 2 seed, lose AFC title game in Denver.

Overall, the Patriots have had the No. 1 seed on four occasions — they’ve won the Super Bowl once, lost a divisional playoff and come up just short in two Super Bowls. They’ve also had the No. 2 seed four times, and have won two Super Bowls (2001, 2004) and lost two AFC title games (2012, 2013).

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

ESPN NFL analyst Damien Woody joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday to discuss the Patriots’ upcoming game with the rival Jets. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.