NBC Sports NFL analyst Rodney Harrison checked in with Middays with MFB on Tuesday to discuss the Patriots’ offensive issues. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Tom Brady appeared on edge after Sunday’s 30-7 victory over the Vikings. Although he did not reveal precisely what made him upset, there has been speculation that he’s frustrated with the offense.

“I don’t know what’s going on with Tom,” Harrison said. “From Tom’s perspective, he hasn’t played like Tom Brady the first couple of weeks of the season. He’s frustrated. Anytime you have a certain expectation of yourself you want to be able to reach it. I think Tom, I think he sees some opportunities that he left out on the field, and it’s one of those things where he’s never satisfied. That’s the thing that makes him great.

“So, I wouldn’t worry about Tom. Tom is very competitive. He’ll work hard, he’ll watch a lot of tape, he’ll get back to where we’re used to seeing Tom, and he’ll be fine.”

Added Harrison: “Just because he has a name — Peyton Manning, all these quarterbacks, they go through struggles. They go through times where their confidence level might not be where it was before. We’re human, we all go through certain situations. But I wouldn’t get too worried about Tom. You look at his history, you look at everything, his work ethic, everything he brings on a daily basis. Tom will work himself out of it.

“It’s two games, they’re 1-1, they know what they did wrong in Miami. That was a game they could have easily won. They come back, they improve in some areas against Minnesota, and that’s what Bill [Belichick] always talks about, he talks about one game at a time. And I don’t think you get too high, too low if you’re the Patriots. You understand the areas in which you need to get better — both as a team and as well as an individual.

“And I think that’s something that, I don’t worry about Brady. There’s other areas I might concern myself with. But when it comes to Tom Brady, I know his work ethic, I know his focus level, and I know he’ll be fine. He hasn’t looked the way we all expect him to look. But it’s two games. And it’s something that the rust eventually wears off, he’s going to gain more confidence in his players and maybe in himself, and he’ll be fine.”

The Patriots continue to struggle to bring in wide receivers who have been able to pick up the offense and form a connection with their quarterback. Brady seems more reliant on veterans like Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski and less trusting in the other players.

“I don’t think it’s a problem. I think it’s common sense,” Harrison said. “If you don’t have a certain chemistry, if you don’t have a comfort level with the wide receiver or a tight end, you’re not going to go to him. I think it’s their job to get open. It’s their job to make sure that they’re running the right routes at the precise yardage. And it’s their job to make Tom throw them the ball.

“Tom’s going to continue to go to Edelman, he’s going to continue to go to guys that he’s very comfortable with. It’s only the second week of the season. It takes time when you bring new guys in, chemistry time and them getting familiar with the offense. I wouldn’t necessarily worry about it. But those young guys should work extra hard to try to get familiar with Tom and his ways.”

Sunday’s win came against a Vikings team that was without suspended running back Adrian Peterson. Harrison said that can’t be overlooked.

“You have to look at that,” Harrison said. “Coach [Mike] Zimmer came out and said it had nothing to do with Adrian Peterson, and that was a bunch of crap. How could you say something like that? You lose your best player and he’s not on the field, it’s just like the Patriots losing Tom Brady and Bill Belichick saying it had nothing to do with Tom. That’s crazy. When you lose your best player, it affects the offense. Especially when you have a quarterback who’s a veteran that’s not very good. Let’s face it, [Matt] Cassel‘s not a very good quarterback. He’s OK, he’s done some good things in this league, he’s made himself a good living, but he’s nothing that guys are losing sleep over before the game.

“At the same time, you don’t have to worry about the run, so you can focus on the pass, you can line guys up and you can change defenses where you’re more prone to intercept or watch for the pass. It’s one of those things, when you lose an Adrian Peterson, that physical presence in the run game and his ability to draw that extra defender in the box, then it opens up so many opportunities for Matt Cassel down the field. And they didn’t have that.”

Harrison had no interest in discussing Peterson’s off-field issues or any other NFL disciplinary problems.

“I have no thoughts about any of those dudes and what they’ve done,” Harrison said. “I talked about that last week, I’m not dealing with it. If you want to talk football, we can talk football. But that’s not my concern. My concern is watching these teams, analyzing these teams and talking football. That’s where I’m at.”

After being pressed on the matter, Harrison briefly elaborated on his frustration and confusion with the issue.

“As the commissioner, as the National Football League, you do have a responsibility and an obligation to punish players. You do,” he said. “And they got it wrong against Ray Rice, I think everybody could agree with that. And then this Adrian Peterson situation comes out and it just devastates the entire country. I don’t know what the commissioner should do at this point in time. I don’t know all the evidence. I don’t know. I’m just — I don’t know. And that’s kind of where I’m at. I’m not going into that situation. I’m not going into that situation with Greg Hardy and I’m not going into the situation anymore with Ray Rice. If you want to talk football, I’ll talk football. If not, I’ll talk to you guys later.”

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

WEEI_FantasyFootball_2014_hdr

Depending on your perspective, it’s a great waiver wire week. There are tons of options that can really make a fantasy impact, especially in the running game. Of course, the reason there are so many options is because we had so many tough injuries last week. I certainly can understand if some of you are in a bit of a mood. You’re not alone.

As I mentioned last week, the players listed below are good pickups in just about any league, and there are plenty of options here. That being said, if you play in deeper leagues, with 12 or more teams, I will be posting my expanded waiver wire over at Rotobahn later Tuesday. It will be loaded with options for you big leaguers, and it’s all free. You don’t even need to register. One thing I recommend doing is to follow Rotobahn on Twitter. We’ll keep you up to date on all of our content whether it’s here at WEEI or at Rotobahn.

The ownership percentage is listed for each player. The rate of ownership is based on Yahoo! leagues, which tend to be smaller and more representative of the 10-team leagues most of us play in. Obviously, these numbers are mostly for perspective. What really matters is which players are available in your league, and you’ll need to do the legwork on that.

QUARTERBACKS

Kirk Cousins, Washington — 8 percent availability

He’s a nice pickup and he will get at least a handful of starts while Robert Griffin III gets healthy. If Cousins plays to his potential while Griffin is out, he could end up being the quarterback of the future in Washington. Cousins is an add in all leagues as a strong QB2.

Josh McCown, Buccaneers — 29 percent availability

He’s been in control the first two weeks, and as his weapons continue to mature, his numbers should continue to be solid. McCown is an underrated passer. He’s efficient and accurate. You can get by with him at quarterback even in smaller leagues.

Blake Bortles, Jaguars — 4 percent availability

He could be a nice addition, but it’s hard to tell when the Jaguars will make the move to the younger quarterback. If and when Bortles gets the gig, he brings a lot of skills to the table. He’ll get you points with his arm and with his feet as well. If you are searching for fantasy upside at the position, Bortles could be the move.

RUNNING BACKS

Lamar Miller, Dolphins — 77 percent availability

His ownership rate is high, but make sure he’s taken in your league, because he’ll be getting tons of volume while Knowshon Moreno sits out with an elbow injury. No more splitting time for Miller.

Terrance West, Browns — 66 percent availability

He has a chance to take the starting gig for good if he can put a few more good games together while Ben Tate sits out with a sprained knee. West is a developing player, but he’s producing as he’s developing. As he continues to gain experience in the zone scheme they run in Cleveland, he will continue to get better for fantasy purposes. Roster him in all leagues if you still can.

Knile Davis, Chiefs — 18 percent availability

You want him if you can get him. Davis, as I’ve been saying since before last year’s draft, is a serious talent and is capable of posting major fantasy numbers. He’s a must for Jamaal Charles owners, but if you didn’t handcuff him, you’ll have to fight to get him. Davis has RB1 upside in every game he starts. Check out my original scouting report on Davis if you are not familiar with his skill set. Charles could be out a few weeks with a high ankle sprain.

Bobby Rainey, Buccaneers — 21 percent availability

I doubt you need me to tell you that Rainey is worth adding after Sunday’s big game. How he and Doug Martin mesh going forward is tough to figure, but you’d be nuts to own Martin and not go after Rainey. Heck, you’re nuts if you don’t go after Rainey, period. He’s a must-be-owned-in-all-leagues player now.

Donald Brown, Chargers — 8 percent availability

While some folks might be under the impression that Danny Woodhead will get more touches now that Ryan Mathews is injured (MCL out 4-5 weeks), the guy to add actually is Donald Brown, who should slide almost directly into the role that Mathews leaves behind. Woodhead will get a little extra, but Brown will have more weekly value, especially in standard scoring.

Khiry Robinson, Saints — 19 percent availability

Mark Ingram went down, as we suspected he might. It’s too bad, as Ingram was running very well, but you want to dump Ingram for Robinson if you can. The younger back should get about half the action over the next month or more, and that’s worth plenty when you are talking about the Saints offense. He can start for you in all leagues.

Chris Ivory, Jets — 54 percent availability

He can be a nice short-term add in non-PPR leagues. Ivory is healthy and he’ll get about 15 carries a game for as long as his health holds up. He’s also the primary red zone option.

Darren McFadden, Raiders — 36 percent availability

If you miss out on some of the other options, you still can help yourself in the near term with McFadden, who appears on track to start in place of Maurice Jones-Drew (hand surgery) for a second straight week. On the downside, it’s possible that Jones-Drew makes a quicker-than-expected return, and he has a tough matchup with the Patriots this week.

Jerick McKinnon, Vikings — 12 percent availability

Yes, I know Matt Asiata got the lion’s share of work. The thing is, the big back is unspecial. He’s a plodder who can do some good things, but his potential falls well short of McKinnon’s. The rookie actually could make Vikings fans forget about Adrian Peterson. Well, maybe not forget, but you know what I mean. He could bring excitement to the backfield along with Cordarrelle Patterson and Teddy Bridgewater. McKinnon should be the most valuable back to own long term in a Peterson-free backfield. I’d act immediately if he’s available in your league. Stash him and wait. If you are not familiar with McKinnon, check out my pre-draft scouting report on the Georgia Southern product.

Bishop Sankey, Titans — 71 percent availability

Keep an eye on Sankey. He may get dumped by an impatient GM this week and he’s still the best option in the Titans backfield over the next 14 weeks. Pick him up, stash him, and get ready to play him in a few weeks. Sankey has an NFL skill set. Check out my pre-draft take on the former Washington star if you don’t know him well.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Steve Smith, Ravens — 66 percent availability

The old man has looked outstanding so far and it’s obvious that Joe Flacco has plenty of faith in him. Ride Smith while he’s healthy and productive. He’s got even more value in PPR scoring.

Markus Wheaton, Steelers — 67 percent availability

He’s looking more and more locked in as the second option in the Pittsburgh passing attack. He can be your weekly WR3 if you are in need.

Brian Quick, Rams — 16 percent availability

He’s always had the talent and now he’s getting the playing time. I doubt he even looks back at this point. Roster Quick as a solid WR4 who can play for you when needed. If the Rams get settled at the quarterback position, Quick could become a weekly starter for fantasy GMs.

Justin Hunter, Titans — 69 percent availability

Yes, he’s only posted 89 yards through two weeks, but he’s getting the playing time and it’s only a matter of time before the big plays start rolling in. I’d add Hunter this week if he gets dumped by an impatient owner. He’s a very nice WR4 who could develop into a weekly starter.

Kenny Stills, Saints — 20 percent availability

He was involved in his first game back and just missed a touchdown. I’d add Still now in preemptive fashion because the big plays should be coming soon. He’s a WR4 with plenty of upside as one of Drew Brees‘ big-play weapons.

Mohamed Sanu, Bengals — 9 percent availability

He was one of my sleepers last week and he came through. With A.J. Green‘s turf toe and with Marvin Jones still out, Sanu and his all-around playmaking ability gave some fantasy intrigue in all leagues. His value may prove to be fleeting, but it’s real for now.

Robert Woods, Bills — 5 percent availability

He’s playing ahead of Mike Williams and I expect him to start producing now that C.J. Spiller and Sammy Watkins both are making big plays. Woods is the glue guy who will make teams pay for doubling Watkins. Get him now while he’s cheap.

Andrew Hawkins, Browns — 32 percent availability

Hawkins will never last with the volume Cleveland is giving him, but he can help you while he’s healthy. Hawkins could be a nice bye week replacement from Week 5 on. He gets his bye next week in Week 4. He’s currently the top option in the Cleveland passing attack and he’ll be No. 2 when Jordan Cameron gets healthy.

James Jones, Raiders — 22 percent availability

If Rod Streater’s injured hip is going to keep him out, Jones becomes a more primary weapon, and he’s already shown some chemistry with rookie QB Derek Carr.

Jerricho Cotchery, Panthers — 9 percent availability

He’s as solid as receivers come and his quarterback already is showing trust in him. Cotchery can help you as a WR4 in PR leagues.

TIGHT ENDS

Travis Kelce, Chiefs — 37 percent availability

We saw some of his breakout ability last week and we can only assume that Kansas City will continue to find ways to keep him involved. Kelce has the most fantasy upside of all the tight ends who are commonly on the wire. Add him while you can in all formats.

Delanie Walker, Titans — 65 percent availability

I missed the boat on Walker. The guy has fit right into Ken Whisenhunt‘s offense and he’s been highly productive. He can help you in the near term at tight end if you are looking for answers.

Larry Donnell, Giants — 22 percent availability

Wow. This guy hasn’t just looked good, he’s looked like a polished veteran so far. He was a UDFA out of Grambling State back in 2012 and he’s obviously made a whole lot of progress since then. He could be the most dependable part of the Giants offense right now, which isn’t saying much, but he’s the primary red zone weapon for Eli Manning unless something changes.

Niles Paul, Washington — 6 percent availability

He looked good and he’s a nice player if he’s getting enough snaps. Paul can be a nice insurance policy for Jordan Reed owners. Just ask Paul, and start the guy who starts this weekend.

Blog Author: 
Peter Davidson

During his weekly Monday morning appearance on Dennis & Callahan, Tom Brady declined to offer his opinion on the NFL controversies involving domestic abuse. Despite the fact that the Patriots played a Vikings team Sunday that was missing Adrian Peterson due to the running back’s indictment on child abuse charges, Brady refused to get caught up in the debate.

“I try to stay in my lane. All of those things, none of it’s really my business or my control,” Brady said. “I’ve just been focusing on the games and what I can do better. The things that are taking place on other teams or league-wide decisions, those are a different pay grade than me.”

Pressed to offer an opinion, Brady said: “I certainly have a lot of personal feelings toward all those things, but it’s just, there’s nothing I can do. If I make a comment about it, there’s nothing I can do to make a difference. The owners of the league, the commissioner of the league, the teams themselves, the players that are involved, they’re the ones that are speaking on it. It’s not really my responsibility to speak out about those things, because there’s a lot of other people doing the talking.

“I really don’t want to be involved in any of those things. I try to live and make the best decisions possible on and off the field and represent our organization and represent my family as best I can. Those things are happening. I just don’t want my name mentioned in any of those situations that are happening.”

Brady has since come under criticism for not at least making a comment denouncing the behavior of Peterson, Ray Rice, Greg Hardy and Ray McDonald.

What do you think about Brady’s obligation to comment publicly on the matter?

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.
Blog Author: 
WEEI
Stevan Ridley

Stevan Ridley

Every week, we list the Patriots’€™ “offensive touches,”€ a running tally of which one of the offensive skill position players is getting the most looks. Like our weekly look at targets, it can occasionally be an inexact stat, but it remains a good barometer of how confident the coaches (and quarterback) are when it comes to the skill position players at their disposal. Here’€™s a breakdown of the 2014 New England offense after two games:

RB Stevan Ridley: 35 (33 carries, 2 catches), 1 negative run
RB Shane Vereen: 19 (13 carries, 6 catches)
WR Julian Edelman: 15 (3 carries, 12 catches)
TE Rob Gronkowski: 8 (8 catches)
RB Brandon Bolden: 7 (6 carries, 1 catch), 1 negative run
WR Kenbrell Thompkins: 5 (5 catches)
WR Danny Amendola: 3 (3 catches)
TE Tim Wright: 3 (3 catches)
QB Tom Brady: 2 (2 carries), 5 sacks
FB James Develin: 2 (2 catches)
WR Aaron Dobson: 1 (1 catch)
TE Michael Hoomanawanui 1 (1 catch)

Notes: The Patriots had two negative plays from scrimmage on Sunday — one sack of Brady and a negative run from Bolden. On the season, New England has run 140 plays from scrimmage, and seven of them have gone for negative yardage. (They have not had a kneel-down.) ‘€¦ Against the Vikings, the Patriots ran 60 plays, one of them in no-huddle (1.7 percent). In addition, 10 of their 60 snaps (17 percent) were in shotgun formation. On the season, the Patriots have run 10 plays out of no-huddle (7 percent) and 47 snaps in shotgun (34 percent). By way of comparison, over the course of the 2013 regular season, the Patriots were in shotgun for 42 percent of their offensive snaps and they ran no-huddle on 11 percent of their snaps.

By way of comparison, here’€™s a look at the Patriots offensive breakdown through the first two games of the 2013 season.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Targets have been compiled by the NFL since the start of the 2009 season, and while it remains a vaguely imperfect stat — a badly thrown ball from a quarterback can often go against the record of the receiver as opposed to the quarterback — it remains a good indication of the confidence level a passer might have in his pass catcher. Here’€™s a look at the target breakdown after two regular-season games this year.

WR Julian Edelman: 12 catches on 15 targets
TE Rob Gronkowski: 8 catches on 17 targets
RB Shane Vereen: 6 catches on 10 targets
WR Kenbrell Thompkins: 5 catches on 10 targets
WR Danny Amendola: 3 catches on 6 targets
TE Tim Wright: 3 catches on 4 targets
RB Stevan Ridley: 2 catches on 2 targets
FB James Develin: 2 catches on 2 targets
RB Brandon Bolden: 1 catch on 3 targets
WR Aaron Dobson: 1 catch on 2 targets
TE Michael Hoomananwanui: 1 catch on 1 target
WR Brandon LaFell: 0 catches on 6 targets

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Tom Brady and Julian Edelman have forged an excellent chemistry this season. (Getty Images)

Tom Brady and Julian Edelman have forged an excellent chemistry this season. (Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Julian Edelman knows there are more than enough rocks to go around.

After two weeks, the receiver leads the Patriots with 12 catches for 176 yards and a touchdown. He’s responsible for 27 percent of Tom Brady‘s completed passes through two games, and has established an impressive Welkerian-style chemistry with the quarterback — going back to the preseason, he’s caught 22 of the 25 passes thrown in his direction this year.

But he knows that the time is going to come when there’s going to be greater distribution in the passing game.

“€œI’€™m not the quarterback, so I’€™m sure — it’€™s only two games, there’€™s a lot of season left — there’€™s going to be games where other guys are going to get more rocks than me,” he said Monday, a day after he had six catches in a 30-7 win over the Vikings in Minnesota. “But, I’€™m just going to continue to try to get better and do my job.”

It’s hard to be any better than Edelman was in the first half against the Vikings, particularly on the scoring drive that gave the Patriots a 17-7 lead in the second quarter. First, quarterback Tom Brady found Edelman down the sideline for a 44-yard pickup, which tied his longest gain of the year. Then, he followed that up with a 9-yard touchdown reception on a play where Brady stood in the pocket, took a big hit and still managed to loft the ball perfectly toward Edelman, who gathered it in for his first score of the year.

‘€œThe quarterback putting us in the best play, and Tom did that as he has time in and time out,’€™’€™ Edelman said Monday when asked to describe the play. ‘€œIt’€™s just going out and executing a play, running a route, making a catch, the line doing their job, the running back doing their job, Tom taking a hit and making a throw.

“€œYou expect nothing less from a guy like him. He’€™s tough as nails, he’€™s our leader, and he’€™ll give up his body to do that.”

“Tom was able to get to really the best play against that look and made a good throw just as he got hit, because they did have an extra rusher,” said Patriots coach Bill Belichick when he was quizzed about the play. “It was an all-out blitz so he was able to release the ball just before he got it, made a great throw and Julian took advantage of the defender’€™s leverage and kind of froze him at the top of the route and then created that couple yards of separation for the catch.

“A combination of a lot of things, but it was certainly a very good play by Tom to recognize it and get into the right play. It was a good route by Julian, good throw and a good job by the whole offensive line.”

Edelman has a chance to build on his performance this week as the Patriots welcome a woeful Raiders team to town. Oakland is 0-2, and struggling on both sides of the ball. However, Edelman was quick to credit the Raiders as a “savvy veteran group” who has a lot of new faces they “haven’t seen” — the last time New England faced Oakland was 2011.

“€œThe Raiders are the second-oldest team in the league; they’€™ve got a lot of veteran players,”€ Edelman said. “We haven’€™t seen a lot of their scheme because we don’€™t see them very often.

“They may be coming in 0-2, but they’€™re going to be hungry and we always seem to get a team’€™s best. We’€™re expecting a tough game from a savvy veteran group and we’€™re going to have to prepare hard.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Patriots coach Bill Belichick joined Dale & Holley to discuss the Patriots’ 30-7 win over the Vikings. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley on demand page.

Stevan Ridley has a team-high 122 rushing yards through two games.</p>
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We check in with former Patriot and current ESPN analyst Tedy Bruschi for his take on a week of bad news in the NFL, and his thoughts on the Patriots rebound win over the Minnesota Vikings.

[0:00:04] ... this time we talked with former patriots linebacker current ESPN NFL analyst. Tedy Bruschi proudly presented by Joey Kramer -- -- Smith's rocket and -- and coffee. And by shots. Spend Shaw's star market -- we ...
[0:00:44] ... live show and just as we got off the the news about Adrian Peterson. Came out and. Just after the week that we had already gone through and some of the discussions that we had I ...
[0:03:18] ... hard time welcoming him. In to my locker room and -- but Adrian Peterson. Let them Minnesota Vikings and he gets reinstated and he's probably with the team right now I mean Tuesday's that they often I don't know how ...
[0:04:27] ... out the door with me now now that you bring him back Adrian Peterson you're saying overweight due process. When I can get wins we've been read the report and knows what he did to a ...






We check in with Big Vince after the Patriots secured their first win of the season over the Minnesota Vikings.