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.

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. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Last week prior to the Patriots-Colts matchup, Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne called this year’s Patriots secondary the “best complete” he’s faced from a Patriots team in his 14 years in the league. Harrison, a member of the Patriots from 2003-08, strongly disagreed that this year’s team was better than the secondary of the Super Bowl years.

“I thought he was crazy and I texted Ty Law and said I said, ‘Ty, he’s crazy,'” Harrison said. “He must’ve forgot what we did in ’03-04 and just flat out kicked their butts and it was one of those things — I don’t know if he was trying to take a shot at us or what he was to do, or maybe too many hits upside the head — he probably forgot what happened in ’03-04. But, to say that that secondary is better than our secondary — and at that point it doesn’t even matter. Just go out there and play.”

Wayne finished Sunday’s game with five catches for 91 yards. Harrison liked the Patriots’ game plan against him.

“What a great game plan by Matt Patricia (defensive coordinator) putting Darrelle Revis on him and Darrelle wasn’t even worried about Reggie Wayne going deep,” Harrison said. “I felt like Reggie Wayne, he works extremely hard, he’s trying to run routes, but because of age and injury he’s just no longer the same player than he once was. He had a great career and he’ll still continue to make plays and he will finish strong, but some things you just have to keep to yourself.”

The Colts came into the game 6-3 and looking to prove themselves as one of the elite teams in the AFC, but Harrison said he knew going in they weren’t up to the challenge.

“The Colts really disappointed me,” he said. “I just felt like this was a good game to gauge if they were ready to get to that next level of upper-echelon teams in the AFC and everyone was talking about their No. 1 offense and I just knew they had a lot of weaknesses on the defensive side of the ball, just like I told Tony Dungy. I just knew they weren’t ready. As good as your quarterback is, you have some weapons offensively — you need a total team effort consistently and they haven’t played consistent football on the defensive side of the field.”

In other news, Adrian Peterson was suspended for the rest of 2014, without pay on Tuesday. Harrison says the penalties the NFL has been handing down has been inconsistent.

“I have no idea, to be honest with you,” said Harrsion. “The only problem that I have, and I understand the NFL is trying to take a tough stance on domestic abuse, child abuse and all the other things that go along with that, but my only issue is the inconsistency when it comes to suspending guys. Whether it is Rice Rice, the kid from Dallas and now whether it’s Aldon Smith, it’s just inconsistent. I think they need to first to and figure out exactly whether it’s a panel — how they are going to go about being more consistent with the suspensions. Obviously the NFL, they are trying to make a statement to all the players and to the public and let them know they are serious about cleaning up the NFL.”

Harrison added he has an issue with commissioner Roger Goodell and the power structure in the league.

“I don’t like this type of power for one person because you just never know,” Harrison said. “The players are always skeptical of the commissioner because they feel like the owners have the commissioner in their back pocket and that is the reason why he is getting paid that much money. For the life of me, I didn’t know until maybe a few months ago that he was getting the type of money he was getting paid.

“A lot of the players have issues with the type of money he is getting paid because they are saying we’re the game. We are out there, we are busting our tails and you’re making more money. You’re making quarterback money and you haven’t thrown a single touchdown. I think a lot of players have issues, but at the same time your job is to go out there and play football. You can express your opinion to the NFL and who knows if they are listening. It is one of those things you have to try and trust and due process as difficult as it is.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

WEEI_FantasyFootball_2014_hdr

Welcome to the Week 12 waiver wire! Now that we’ve cleared the bye weeks for 30 of the league’s 32 teams, it’s time to think about depth and redundancy, especially in larger leagues. So, if you play in a large format, this is a day to check out my expanded waiver wire over at Rotobahn. It will be posted early this afternoon and I will highlight more key handcuff options. Check it out — it’s free.

As always, I do not list players with high rates of ownership. That said, Mike Evans is not owned in 12 percent of Yahoo! leagues. While that doesn’t merit an official listing here, it’s worthy of a mention. Make darn sure that he’s been taken in your league. The guy is a clear-cut WR1 right now. Amazingly, he was on our waiver wire just a few short weeks ago. If you listened to us on Evans and Odell Beckham Jr., you are sitting pretty right now.

As always, the ownership percentages are listed for each player. These rates of ownership are 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 particular league, and you’ll need to do the legwork on that.

To keep pace with all WEEI and Rotobahn fantasy football content, including Sunday chats and The Fantasy Football Hour with my co-host Jim Hackett, follow me on Twitter.

QUARTERBACKS

Mark Sanchez, Eagles — 53 percent

He’s paid the bills so far. It may not look pretty, but Sanchez is making plays and has a nice group of weapons to work with. His schedule is friendly with the exception of Seattle on Week 14. He can help you as a backup or spot starter. The former Jet has big-game potential on most weeks.

Eli Manning, Giants — 59 percent

Yes, I am recommending five-pick Eli. He’ll be dumped in a lot of leagues this week, and he can be a QB2 for you and even a matchup starter. The Giants have a very nice closing schedule for the passing game, and he throws to that Odell Beckham guy.

Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins — 60 percent

He makes a very solid QB2 in smaller formats and he’s available in enough leagues to list him here. The Dolphins are improving in the passing game with a deeper group of receivers than they have had in the past, led by Mike Wallace and rookie Jarvis Landry.

Joe Flacco, Ravens — 57 percent

The ageless Steve Smith has begun to show his mileage a bit and the Ravens have not been a picture of consistency as a passing attack, but they have some tasty matchups remaining on the schedule and that makes him a nice matchup play down the stretch if you need some options.

Brian Hoyer, Browns — 14 percent

The numbers might say, “Move along,” but I think Hoyer is worth a look with Josh Gordon returning this week. The Browns’ remaining schedule is far from scary, and they may be throwing more now that they have an elite receiver on the field.

RUNNING BACKS

Tre Mason, Rams — 51 percent

How he’s so under-owned is beyond me. I’m guessing that most of our readers already have Mason on their roster, but just in case you’re new or have been ignoring me, go get this guy. He is now the clear lead dog in St. Louis after handling 29 carries against the Broncos — totaling 113 yards. He helped the Rams possess the football and keep Peyton Manning off the field. Mason should be a very strong play over the next two weeks and should remain the starter going forward. He is a must-own player in all formats.

C.J. Anderson, Broncos — 65 percent

People have held off picking him up but he’s a lock to help you this week if you need a back with both Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman out for Week 12 and potentially longer. Go get Anderson and start him as an RB2 with nice upside as long as he is starting. If he plays well enough, he could hold the job down the stretch. He needs to be owned in all leagues.

Isaiah Crowell, Browns — 22 percent

He may have taken the job in Cleveland, but as we know, things do change fast with HC Mike Pettine’s running backs. The veteran, Ben Tate, clearly has fallen behind, and Crowell has been the guy making the most plays. If things hold to form, Crowell will handle most of the early downs with fellow rookie Terrance West playing most of the passing downs. Crowell should be owned in most leagues. He might end up having more long-term value than C.J. Anderson, but Anderson has the more productive short-term window.

Jerick McKinnon, Vikings — 67 percent

With the news of Adrian Peterson’s season-ending suspension, McKinnon has solid RB2 value going forward. Do not drop him, and go after him in all leagues if he is available. He has major upside if the Vikings can get things settled down a bit.

Jonas Gray, Patriots — 21 percent

Gray was more than a little impressive against the Colts last week and now is a player to own in all formats. Will he carry that kind of load every week? That’s an obvious “no,” but he’s a weekly flex option and a guy who can start for you at your RB2 spot if needed. He’s probably already heavily owned in the New England area, but go get him if he’s not.

Latavius Murray, Raiders — 1 percent

Murray got his first meaningful run of snaps and touches in Week 11. His 59 total yards eclipsed his production over the first 10 games and it bodes well for increased usage down the stretch. Murray is a very talented back as we said way back when the Raiders selected him in 2013. He’s got some fantasy upside now that he’s getting snaps, but beware of the Raiders’ oh-so-awful closing schedule. That limits the second-year back’s value a bit. He’s a player to add if you’ve been leaning on Darren McFadden, and he now is a player who should be rostered in all leagues with 12 or more teams. He has value in both standard and PPR formats.

Alfred Blue, Texans — 51 percent

He’s probably going back to a smaller role this week as we expect Arian Foster to return to his role as the lead back in Week 12. Having said that, we’ve seen how effective Blue can be, and with Foster’s history of missing time, he is an essential handcuff option for those who own Foster. He’s also a potential starter if Foster misses more time, so you can go get him and stash him even if you do not own Foster. The Texans have a very good run schedule over the next five weeks and the next three in particular.

Knile Davis, Chiefs — 43 percent

Here’s another crucial handcuff option. If you own Jamaal Charles, then having Davis on your roster is crucial. Very rarely will you get a player who can replace a high percentage of what an elite back leaves behind. Davis, in the Chiefs’ scheme, certainly is one of those guys. Go get him ASAP if you rely on Charles.

Charles Sims, Buccaneers — 29 percent

If you are hurting at RB, then Sims is a good pickup, especially in PPR formats. The risk is that he loses early-down work to Doug Martin, who could return this week. That being said, Sims was drafted by the current regime and Martin was not. This may lengthen Sims’ leash a bit, and he has significant PPR appeal if he’s getting enough playing time.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Jordan Matthews, Eagles — 62 percent

This is your last chance. Matthews has become Mark Sanchez‘s favorite target, as we suspected he might. The Eagles use him out of the slot most of the time, and Sanchez traditionally uses the slot receiver often and loves throwing the ball between the numbers. This is a trend that likely will continue. Matthews is a must-own player. I’m sure a lot of you already have him, but go after him if you still have the chance.

Kenny Britt, Rams — 15 percent

He looked very good playing with new starter Shaun Hill. Hill ignited the Rams’ downfield attack, and with Tre Mason invigorating the ground game, this could continue. Britt should be owned in most standard scoring leagues and larger PPR formats.

Cecil Shorts, Jaguars — 44 percent

Shorts is going to be the lead dog down the stretch for the Jaguars, who now are without Allen Robinson for the rest of 2014. He’s a must-own guy in PPR formats and a recommended pickup in all leagues right now.

Jarvis Landry, Dolphins — 14 percent

The rookie is getting better on a weekly basis. He now is worthy of a roster spot in some smaller PPR leagues if you have enough bench space. He’s going to be Ryan Tannehill’s favorite target soon if he’s not already.

Kenny Stills, Saints — 14 percent

With Brandin Cooks out 2-4 weeks, Stills is in for an increased role in the Saints’ pass-heavy offense. He should be owned in most formats.

Andrew Hawkins, Browns — 35 percent

The return of Josh Gordon could actually help him in terms of consistency while taking away some weekly upside. Hawkins is worth owning in most PPR formats.

TIGHT ENDS

Coby Fleener, Colts — 41 percent

With the ankle injury to Dwayne Allen, Fleener is a TE1 for the next few weeks or until Allen returns. He’s been used more in general, but Allen’s departure is almost certain to increase Fleener’s profile. He’s the tight end to add this week, along with Kyle Rudolph.

Kyle Rudolph, Vikings — 51 percent

He was worked in slowly last week, but after two weeks of practice he should be ready for a lot more in Week 12. Rudolph will be a weekly TE1 once he’s fully settled in, and that will be sooner rather than later. Go get this guy now.

Jordan Cameron, Browns — 48 percent

You may have to wait another week, but Cameron will be getting softer coverage when he returns due to the presence of Josh Gordon, who returns this week. I like the idea of adding Cameron and stashing him. It’s an especially good move if you have no stud tight end.

Owen Daniels, Ravens — 38 percent

He was dumped in a lot of leagues due to the Ravens’ Week 11 bye, and he can help you down the stretch if you are hurting. Daniels is the third option in the Ravens’ passing game. He’ll scratch out solid numbers — even when he’s held out of the end zone.

Blog Author: 
Peter Davidson
Adrian Peterson has been suspended for the rest of the 2014 season. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Adrian Peterson has been suspended for the rest of the 2014 season. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

The NFL announced Tuesday morning that Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has been suspended without pay for the rest of the 2014 season.

Peterson pleaded no contest Nov. 4 to misdemeanor reckless assault in Texas for injuries to his 4-year-old son he was disciplining. He had been on paid leave from the team since Sept. 17.

In a letter to Peterson, Commissioner Roger Goodell said, ‘€œThe timing of your potential reinstatement will be based on the results of the counseling and treatment program set forth in this decision. Under this two-step approach, the precise length of the suspension will depend on your actions. We are prepared to put in place a program that can help you to succeed, but no program can succeed without your genuine and continuing engagement. You must commit yourself to your counseling and rehabilitative effort, properly care for your children, and have no further violations of law or league policy.’€

The NFLPA immediately announced plans for an appeal, issuing a statement that read in part: “The decision by the NFL to suspend Adrian Peterson is another example of the credibility gap that exists between the agreements they make and the actions they take. Since Adrian’€™s legal matter was adjudicated, the NFL has ignored their obligations and attempted to impose a new and arbitrary disciplinary proceeding.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Through 10 games, the Patriots have been flagged for 84 penalties (third-most in the league) for a total of 752 yards (most in the NFL). To this point in the season, here’€™s a breakdown of the calls that have gone against the Patriots, not including penalties that were declined or offset:

Most penalized players, listed by total flags and with total yardage lost:
ST/DB Logan Ryan: 7 penalties (illegal block above the waist, 2 defensive pass interference, 2 defensive holding, illegal use of hands, offsides on free kick), 88 yards
WR Brandon LaFell: 6 penalties (offsides on free kick, 3 offensive pass interference, false start, illegal shift), 45 yards
OL Nate Solder: 6 penalties (offensive holding, illegal block above the waist, 4 false starts), 40 yards
CB Brandon Browner: 6 penalties (3 defensive holding, illegal contact, encroachment, defensive pass interference) 37 yards
OL Jordan Devey: 4 penalties (2 offensive holding, false star, unnecessary roughness), 40 yards
OL Bryan Stork: 4 penalties (2 false starts, 2 offensive holding), 30 yards
TE Rob Gronkowski: 3 penalties (false start, unsportsmanlike conduct, unnecessary roughness), 35 yards
LB Dont’€™a Hightower: 3 penalties (roughing the passer, defensive offsides, unnecessary roughness), 35 yards
S/ST Patrick Chung: 3 penalties (defensive holding, facemask, offensive holding), 28 yards
LB Jamie Collins: 3 penalties (unnecessary roughness, 2 defensive pass interference), 28 yards
DL Chandler Jones: 2 penalties (2 roughing the passer), 30 yards
S/ST Duron Harmon: 2 penalties (face mask, illegal block above the waist), 21 yards
S/ST Tavon Wilson: 2 penalty (offensive holding, illegal block above the waist) 20 yards
DE Rob Ninkovich: 2 penalties (illegal use of hands, facemask), 20 yards
ST/DB Don Jones: 2 penalties (2 offensive holding), 20 yards
DL Dominique Easley 2 penalties (neutral zone infraction, unnecessary roughness), 20 yards
QB Tom Brady: 2 penalties (2 intentional grounding), 20 yards
WR Aaron Dobson: 2 penalties (offensive pass interference, false start) 15 yards
OL Cameron Fleming: 2 penalties (false start, offensive holding), 15 yards
Team: 2 penalties (illegal substitution, false start), 14 yards
CB Darrelle Revis: 2 penalties (2 defensive holding), 10 yards
CB Alfonzo Dennard: 2 penalties (2 defensive holding), 10 yards
CB Malcolm Butler: 1 penalties (defensive pass interference), 24 yards
WR Danny Amendola: 1 penalty (face mask), 15 yards
OL Ryan Wendell: 1 penalty (facemask), 15 yards
OL Dan Connolly: 1 penalty (chop block), 14 yards
TE Michael Hoomanawanui: 1 penalty (offensive holding), 10 yards
OL Marcus Cannon: 1 penalty (offensive holding), 10 yards
RB/ST Brandon Bolden: 1 penalty (offensive holding) 9 yards
DL Sealver Siliga: 1 penalty (illegal use of hands), 5 yards
OL Josh Kline: 1 penalty (false start), 5 yards
WR Julian Edelman: 1 penalty (false start), 5 yards
LS/ST Danny Aiken: 1 penalty (false start), 5 yards
TE Tim Wright: 1 penalty (false start) 5 yards
DE Zach Moore: 1 penalty (illegal use of hands), 5 yards
OL Sebastian Vollmer: 1 penalty (false start), 4 yards

Most penalized by position
Offensive line: 21 penalties, 173 yards
Cornerback: 17 penalties, 164 yards
Wide receiver: 10 penalties, 80 yards
Special teams: 9 penalties, 72 yards
Defensive line: 8 penalties, 80 yards
Linebacker: 6 penalties, 63 yards
Tight end: 5 penalties, 50 yards
Safety: 3 penalty, 35 yards
Team: 2 penalties, 14 yards
Quarterback: 2 penalty, 21 yards

Most frequently called penalties
False start: 17
Offensive holding: 13
Defensive holding: 10
Defensive pass interference: 6
Facemask: 5
Unnecessary roughness: 5
Offensive pass interference: 4
Illegal block above the waist: 4
Illegal use of hands: 4
Roughing the passer: 3
Offsides on free kick: 3
Intentional grounding: 2
Chop block: 1
Illegal shift: 1
Defensive offsides: 1
Illegal contact: 1
Illegal substitution: 1
Neutral zone infraction: 1
Unsportsmanlike conduct: 1
Encroachment: 1

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance with Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning and talked about Rob Gronkowski, last Sunday’s win over the Colts and looked ahead to this week’s game against the Lions.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance with Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning and talked about Rob Gronkowski, last Sunday’s win over the Colts and looked ahead to this week’s game against the Lions. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Gronkowski has showed no signs of being slowed down after tearing his ACL last December. After getting back to 100 percent, the tight end has been on a tear of late — over his last six games he has caught 40 passes for 587 yards and six touchdowns.

“He surprises me all the time, just what his ability is,” Brady said. “He’s just got incredible ability to make catches, runs, the way he blocks, just as a teammate — there’s nothing he can’t do. It’s so fun to play with people like that. Gronk has been a guy I’ve loved playing with since I’ve been here, he’s just a phenomenal player, phenomenal athlete. He’s a tough matchup for everybody because he’s big, fast, athletic and he has a great attitude. It’s the whole package with him and the biggest issue that he’s had is staying on the field and that is hard for a lot of people, and I think he’s really worked hard to put himself in a position where he can be on the field, so it’s been great to see.”

Gronkowski hasn’t played a full season each of his last two seasons because of injury, so some have suggested the tight end be more cautious on the field when it comes to avoiding some hits. When asked about Gronkowski’s 26-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter where he dodged seemingly the entire Colts secondary, Brady said that wasn’t a play to avoid such hits, but did add there is a time when it is beneficial to avoid such hits.

“I think there is definitely times to play it safe and there is other times not to, and I don’t think that was one of those times,” Brady said. “The game was still a two-score game and we were trying to really put the nail in the coffin. You don’t want to go — and I’ve talked with other players over the years about — it’s great to try and gain extra yards and all those things, but it’s also to put yourself to the risk of cutting back into seven guys on defense and taking big hits to gain an extra yard and get knocked out of the game and knocked out of next weeks game, and maybe knocked out of the week after that. Those things don’t make sense to me.

“Part of being a smart football player is making smart decisions and you have to evaluate the situation and you have to try and make a smart one. We all try and do that on our particular plays, with our particular job and what we’re asked to do, but at the same time doing things that are in your ‘€¦ you can’t help the team if you’re not out there playing. In that particular situation Gronk made a great stiff-arm and cut back, really ran through the secondary, which was awesome. That is what he thought he needed to do and that is what he did. That was a great play and a great way to really end the game in a way.”

The running game played a major part in the Patriots’ 42-20 win over the Colts Sunday night, as the team rushed for a season-high 244 yards. Brady said playing from ahead was also a key in the win, as it forced the Colts into being almost a strictly passing offense.

“The other night we really didn’t have any negative plays, we didn’t have any negative runs, real negative passes where we lost yards,” said Brady. “We had two interceptions, but other than that it was pretty clean. It was a great way to play them. It was a great way to play them from ahead. We talked about that all week because you really don’t want to let them be two-dimensional and we really forced them into a one-dimensional game and we could really play the game on our terms all night, being able to run it like we did. It was just awesome to control the line of scrimmage like that. Every time we handed it off we were making yards, which is a great thing for our offense.”

The Patriots are now 8-2, and leading the AFC, but will face a tough test this coming weekend at home when the Lions visit Gillette Stadium. The Lions enter with a 7-3 record and allowing an NFL-low 15.6 points per game.

“Hard to tell, it is still pretty early in the week,” said Brady, when asked if the Colts are the best defense the team has faced. “We’re still doing the evaluation of it. They are a good team, they’ve always had a good defense and obviously it starts with their guys up front, so they get a lot of pressure — they got four guys up front and they rotate a lot of guys in and out of their front-four to get pressure. [Ndamukong] Suh has been a great player for a long time. We’ll try and put together a great plan and try and take advantage of things we see. They are athletic, they all run to the ball, they have a lot of speed. It’s a big challenge.

“It’s very different than what we faced last week, so we have to find a different way to win. We have to have a great week and that is where it starts — preparation so you can go out and play with confidence, play with anticipation and you go out and see where you’re at. If that game plan doesn’t work you try and get your game plan B as quickly as you can and if that doesn’t work you get to another one and you try and keep finding combinations all the way to the end to try and score points.”

More highlights to come…

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Every week over the course of the 2014 season, we’€™ll provide a look at the Patriots pass rush numbers. Like all stats, the numbers have to be placed on context of game-situations and personnel. And while sacks can be overrated, when evaluated as part of a bigger picture that includes quarterback hits and quarterback pressures (the latter courtesy of Pro Football Focus), it should provide a good picture as to which defenders are consistently able to get after the quarterback. Currently, the Patriots are tied for 15th in the league in sacks with 23. Based on the official NFL game books and PFF, here’€™s a look at the pass-rush numbers for the Patriots after nine games for the 2014 regular season:

Sacks (via gamebooks)
DE Rob Ninkovich: 5 (29 yards)
DE Chandler Jones: 4.5 (28 yards)
LB Dont’€™a Hightower: 3.5 (25.5 yards)
LB Akeem Ayers: 2 (18 yards)
DL Chris Jones: 1.5 (12 yards)
LB Deontae Skinner: 1 (10 yards)
LB Jerod Mayo: 1 (9 yards)
DL Casey Walker: 1 (5 yards)
DL Joe Vellano: 1 (4 yards)
DB Kyle Arrington: 1 (0 yards)
DE Zach Moore: 0.5 (2.5 yards)
DL Dominique Easley: 0.5 (2 yards)
DL Vince Wilfork: 0.5 (2 yards)

Quarterback Hits (via gamebooks)
DE Rob Ninkovich: 10
DE Chandler Jones: 8
LB Dont’€™a Hightower: 7
DL Chris Jones: 3
LB Akeem Ayers: 2
LB Jerod Mayo: 2
LB Jamie Collins: 2
LB Jonathan Casillas: 1
DL Joe Vellano: 1
CB Brandon Browner: 1
LB Deontae Skinner: 1
DB Patrick Chung: 1
DL Casey Walker: 1
DL Vince Wilfork: 1
DL Dominique Easley: 1

Quarterback Hurries (via PFF)
DE Rob Ninkovich: 20
DE Chandler Jones: 15
LB Dont’€™a Hightower: 11
LB Akeem Ayers: 11
LB Jamie Collins: 10
DL Vince Wilfork: 9
DL Dominique Easley: 7
DL Chris Jones: 6
LB Jerod Mayo: 5
DL Casey Walker: 3
DE Zach Moore: 3
DL Sealver Siliga: 2
DL Joe Vellano: 2
CB Alfonzo Dennard: 1
S Patrick Chung: 1

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price