We check in with SI's Peter King for the latest on the Adrian Peterson case, as well as analysis on the Patriots latest win and the rest of the NFL.

[0:00:21] ... they like to make commissioner Roger Goodell. Has effectively suspended running back Adrian Peterson for at least the rest of the regular season at least a minimum of six games. There will be a quick appeal ...
[0:01:31] ... say or even if an appeals officer neutral appeals officer war say. Adrian Peterson OK you're reinstate the complete this weekend. Imagine your rights era vikings. And you have to decide. Do I want to activate ...
[0:02:39] ... doesn't teams would line up. To get a shot at free agent Adrian Peterson. What a great question Michael I think right now that when I look at Adrian Peterson. You know first of all it would have to be a team. Can seek. And he. And as for the sake can ...
[0:03:53] ... be interest it. But before we have any. Sort. He you know Adrian Peterson freeagent. He still has a valid contract with the vikings they've been very circumspect about what they're gonna do but Peterson. And I don't know why have waffled on this lot that. I do you think it's Pearson will play against them by just. Peter on two occasions the commissioner's office asked Adrian Peterson's camp presumably Rusty Hardin part of that camp. For documentation. To try to do their due diligence on both occasions they were turned down they've been invited Adrian Peterson in. To talk to the commissioner and lay out his side of the story and but the commissioner deduce that he was ...

Dale and Michael do an in-depth interview with one of the people that saved NFL football in New England. Bill Parcells, co-author of Parcells: A Football Life.
Former Patriot, Rodney Harrison, currently of NBC Sports, joined the show to talk about Gronk throwing Sergio Brown out of the club, Reggie Wayne's terrible day, Adrian Peterson vs. the NFL, and the lack of a deep threat in the Patriots offense.

The Patriots may have found the true key to maintaining success down the stretch, at least offensively.

The Patriots scored touchdowns in all five chances Sunday night in the red zone. The key, according to offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, was the genuine threat of either a pass or run.

Tom Brady stepped up his game in the second half of Sunday's win over the Colts. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Tom Brady stepped up his game in the second half of Sunday’s win over the Colts. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The Patriots may have found the true key to maintaining success down the stretch, at least offensively.

The Patriots scored touchdowns in all five chances Sunday night in the red zone. The key, according to offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, was the genuine threat of either a pass or run.

As a matter of fact, the first five touchdowns the Patriots scored were the result of red zone execution. Instead of settling for field goals, which Tom Brady had mentioned in previous weeks as a problem, the Patriots were able to run it into the end zone four times behind the power attack of Jonas Gray.

Brady also converted a two-yard touchdown pass to tight end Tim Wright to cap an 80-yard drive that opened the second half scoring.

“In order to be good in the red zone, I think you have to maintain the ability to be balanced, two-dimensional down there,” McDaniels said in a conference call Tuesday. “If you ever get into the red zone and become all pass or all run, then generally a defense kind of either packs it in in the running game or tries to double cover certain people in the passing game, and there is obviously less space to throw it in, and there are usually more people near the line of scrimmage the lower you get in the red zone [and] the closer you get to the goal line.

“I thought that we were effective running the ball in the red zone the other night. A lot of people did a lot of good things. It’€™s tough when you get down there because there is not a lot of space, like I said, and you’€™ve got to get either receivers in there blocking tight, or your backs are going to have to break a tackle or run through an extra defender some times, and I thought that Jonas did a good job of doing that. We were fortunate to be able to run the ball in I believe four times the other night. Running the ball is not an easy thing, but I think the guys did a good job of trying to get a hat on those guys, and like I said, Jonas ran well.”

There’s a reason teams prefer running it into the end zone: space. It’s much harder to pass for a score, especially when you’re inside the 10. When you can run, and run effectively, teams actually have to consider you might just line up and give it to the back three times in a row.

“When you throw it down there, there is never much space,” McDaniels said. “The coverage is going to be tight. There are going to be people in the vicinity that you’€™re trying to throw it in. I thought Tim Wright made a good catch but Tommy [Brady] made a great throw on the one touchdown pass that we were down in there ‘€“ I think it was at the two-yard line.

“In relative terms to how you get ready and prepare each week, some of that is based on your strengths, and then you certainly have to take into account what the team does defensively because some teams choose to cover a lot more, some teams choose to pressure a lot more, some teams play zone coverage, some teams play man coverage. There are a lot of different varieties of things that could go into your plan each week, and we just try to get our players in the right position to do something that they do well.”

With the threat of a run, Brady was much more effective on third down passing, with the notable exception of his ugly interception at the end of the first half on 3rd-and-1 from his own 17. Brady was 6-for-8 on third down Sunday night for six first downs, one touchdown and the one interception. Jonas Gray ran the ball on the other four chances as New England was 9-for-12 on third down.

“That’€™s a tough down every week as we get ready and prepare because defenses do a lot of different things and try to do a lot of different things to disrupt the passer in that situation,” McDaniels said. “I think one of the key areas for us was that we were able to keep it in third down-and-four or less most of the time. I think nine of the 12 third downs we had were third-and-four or less. When you have less distance to go, usually you have a better opportunity to do the things you want to do.

“I thought Tom was excellent on third down the other night. He did a good job, first and foremost, of getting our protections distributed properly. And then there was a lot of man coverage the other night. He made a lot of good throws, a lot of tight throws. He was aggressive and made some really big plays for us. That’€™s a focus for us each week, and it’€™s an area that you always want to try to continue to improve in, regardless of how well you think you’€™re playing on third down. Each week is a new challenge.

“Each defense does a lot of different things on third down, and it stresses your preparation each week with the team. So, credit the players and the way they went out there and executed. They were prepared very well last week. They worked really hard and it paid off, and hopefully we can do that again this week. It’€™s going to be a huge challenge because these guys are really good on third down.

Here are some other takeaways from McDaniels on Tuesday:

Q: What do you see from this Lions defense, both personnel-wise and schematically?

JM: They present a lot of challenges for us, obviously. They have an aggressive front that does a great job of disrupting plays ‘€“ it’€™s run and pass. They penetrate, get into the backfield. They’€™ll stunt, move and blitz quite a bit and give you a reason to have concern about those types of things as well. They make a lot of tackles for loss, which puts them in ideal third-down situations. They’€™ve created a lot of third-and-longs that they’€™ve done a good job of getting off the field. I want to say they’€™re first or second in the league on third down after this weekend, so they do a good job of playing their scheme. They’€™re very sound fundamentally. [They have a] fast linebacker corps that it’€™s hard to outrun these guys. They do a good job in coverage of closing on the ball in some of their zone defenses. And then their secondary hasn’€™t given up big plays all year. It’€™s a group that’€™s going to force you to be patient, force you to execute, but it’€™s also difficult to do that for long stretches against this group because they are so disruptive and create so many negative plays. It’€™ll be a big challenge for us.

Q: Cameron Fleming got a pretty good chunk of plays on Sunday night ‘€“ I think around 40 snaps. How important was it for him to be conditioned and ready to go for that game, and was that the plan going in to play him as much as you did?

JM: It’€™s definitely important for all of our guys to be ready to go in terms of their conditioning levels, and I think they do a good job of maintaining their conditioning during the course of the season, whether on their own or as a group out there on the practice field. Cam obviously was ready to handle that load. We have a lot of guys who have a lot of different roles. Some weeks, they play more than others. Some weeks, the design may be for them to play more than others. And then there are certainly some games where, depending on how the game goes, it may turn into a different style of game. We had a certain number of things that he was ready to do and perform for us, and it just so happened that the game ended up going in that direction a little bit more, and Cam was ready and answered the challenge for us.

Q: Is Ndamukong Suh in the same class as J.J. Watt in terms of how he can impact a game? How do you prepare for him?

JM: He’€™s an extremely disruptive player in any alignment that they put him in. He is a great football player. [He] plays the run well, creates a lot of problems in pass protection, penetrates, can handle double teams, can beat single blocks, stunts and moves with the other defensive linemen very well. They don’€™t just play him in the exact same spot the entire game, so it’€™s not like you always know exactly where he’€™s going to be. I mean, we have an idea, but he moves enough and is versatile enough to play outside some. He plays inside most of the time, but you can’€™t necessarily set your watch to where he’€™s going to be. And he plays with incredible effort, strength, power, leverage, speed, quickness. Every superlative you could put on him, that’€™s what this guy brings to the defense. Obviously, he deserves a lot of attention, and at the same time, they’€™ve got a really good front around him. They’€™ve got fast linebackers that are very disruptive and make a lot tackles for loss, and a lot of that is because people spend so much time on trying to neutralize him. You’€™ve got to try to strike a balance of doing what you do best and at the same time try to minimize his impact on the game because when he makes a big impact it’€™s usually a real negative play.

Q: Has he done a better job in corralling his emotions?

JM: I see a guy who loves football and plays hard and makes a lot of big plays. I don’€™t know any of the other stuff. I just know that what he does on the football field and what we’€™re watching and preparing for is one of the most difficult guys we’€™re going to deal with all year.

Q: Of late, you’€™ve done a very good job of putting points on the board right away. Can you talk about the importance of that and setting a tone?

JM: You prepare hard all week for the opponent and you try to put together the things you feel the best about going into the game each week and try to do those right off the bat as much as you can to give yourself an opportunity to get the lead. I think establishing the lead in any game has been a critical statistic in our league for a long time, and playing from ahead is an important factor in any game. Our focus is on trying to go out there ‘€¦ And it’€™s not the same set of plays, it’€™s not the same set of defenses we’€™re going to see each week. We know we’€™re going to get some things we haven’€™t prepared for early in the game, so we just try to allow our guys to go out there and do some things they feel comfortable doing and let them play fast and be aggressive. Like I said, any credit that we deserve goes right to the players because they’€™re the ones out there that have to react to some different things. Our guys have done a good job of being prepared each week and going out there and studying hard, and they’€™ve made a lot of good plays early in the game. We’€™ve actually talked about trying to do a better job of executing that in both halves, and it was good to see us be able to go out there in the third quarter as well and go out there and try to start fast, too, because sometimes that gets lost in the shuffle, but if we go out there and start the second half that way, too, that can be really beneficial to us as we go forward in the second half of the season.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Jonas Gray

Jonas Gray

The NFL said Tuesday Patriots running back Jonas Gray is now credited with 37 carries for 201 rushing yards in Sunday’s game against the Colts, giving the youngster an extra two yards following a change in scoring.

It appears that the change came after a closer look at the scoring on a fourth-down run from Gray, one that ended with a two-yard loss. However, there was a penalty that was enforced on the play — the Colts were offsides, but the accepted penalty was a facemask on Indy linebacker Erik Walden.

With that negative run now having been nullified, Gray gets those two yards back, and finishes with zero negative rushes. He also now becomes the third running back in Patriots history to rush for 200-plus yard in a game, joining Tony Collins (212 yards on Sept. 18, 1983 against the Jets) and Jim Nance (208 rushing yards on Oct. 30, 1966 against the Raiders).

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

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
LeGarrette Blount had 772 rushing yards with the Patriots in 2013. (Getty Images)

LeGarrette Blount had 772 rushing yards with the Patriots in 2013. (Getty Images)

The Steelers announced Tuesday they have released former Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount.

The move comes in the wake of Blount not receiving a single carry in Monday’s 27-24 win over the Titans. Blount had been an “internal problem for at least a month,” according to a report from Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

‘€œWe believe the decision to release LeGarrette is in the best interest of the organization and wish him the best of luck,’€ Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin said in a statement issued by the team.

Blount joined the Steelers as a free agent on March 28 after playing a single season in New England. He played in each of the team’€™s 11 games in 2014, rushing for 266 yards on 65 carries with two touchdowns and added six catches for 36 yards.

The 27-year-old Blount is expected to receive interest from several teams around the league, including the Colts, who lost starting running Ahmad Bradshaw to an ankle injury this past weekend in a loss to the Patriots. As for a possible reunion with New England, it would likely be a longshot, at least at this stage of the season, as the Patriots have four active running backs on the roster, a group that includes Jonas Gray, who rushed for 201 yards against Indy last weekend.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Third downs, red zone opportunities and turnovers.

According to Bill Belichick, those are the three most important situations in a given game.

“I definitely put them up top, along with turnovers. You talk turnovers, third down and red area, those are big, big situations in the National Football League,” Belichick said on Tuesday’s conference call. “They’€™re critical. We spend a lot of time on all situations, but particularly those. We try to do a good job in preparing our team for what in general to expect in those situations in the red area and third down based on the yardage, the personnel, sometimes the formation and then we obviously do it specifically for each team. If there’€™s particular, which there always are, but whatever the tendencies are. Again, all the things that go into it, whether it’€™s their protections, their coverages, their coverage adjustments and other subtle things that are part of all that.”

The Patriots did an outstanding job in two-of-the-three Sunday night against the Colts, going 9-for-12 (75 percent) on third down and were 5-for-5 in the red zone, scoring touchdowns on all five of their red zone appearances. The Patriots did turn the ball over twice, losing the turnover battle in the process, but it was just the fourth game out of 10 this season where the team has committed a turnover.

For the year, the Patriots are best in the AFC in turnover differential at plus-11, and second in the NFL, only trailing the Packers who are plus-14. They’ve also been successful in the red zone over the course of the season, scoring touchdowns on 63.4 percent of their trips, ranking sixth in the NFL. They have scored 220 total points in the red zone, which leads the NFL.

Third downs haven’t been as good, but they’ve improved over the course of the last three games. Overall on the year, New England has converted 43.97 percent of its third downs (ninth in the league), but over the last three games that number has risen to 56 percent, and that tops the NFL in that span.

These are all three areas the Patriots have been working on since the summer, so it’s no surprise the team is at, or near the top in all three categories that are most important to Belichick.

“It’€™s something that we try to devote a lot of time to, starting right from the beginning,” said Belichick. “Right the start of, probably late in the second week in the offseason and then the second week of OTAs. We started on red area on the first day of training camp, so it’€™s a priority.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

NBC Sports NFL analyst Rodney Harrison made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Tuesday to discuss the Patriots-Colts game and Adrian Peterson‘s suspension.