Aaron Hernandez appeared in Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River on Monday in one of the final hearings before his trial next month in the killing of Odin Lloyd, and prosecutors said the trial is expected to last 6-10 weeks and include the testimony of about 45 witnesses.

Hernandez, who pleaded not guilty to Lloyd’s 2013 murder as well as the shooting deaths of two men in Boston in 2012, has one more pre-trial hearing scheduled on Jan. 6, three days before jury selection begins.

Hernandez’s fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins, had a hearing in the same courtroom earlier. She pleaded not guilty to lying before a grand jury that was seeking evidence about Hernandez’s role in the murder.

Hernandez’s attorney, Michael Fee, requested the right to question potential jurors during the selection process in court, but the judge denied it.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

The film confirmed for Bill Belichick what he thought during Sunday’s game against the Jets. The offense wasn’t very good.

But Belichick didn’t single out any particular area, like the offensive line. The Patriots head coach, instead, chose to put everyone in the same boat.

Bill Belichick. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Bill Belichick. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

The film confirmed for Bill Belichick what he thought during Sunday’s game against the Jets. The offense wasn’t very good.

But Belichick didn’t single out any particular area, like the offensive line. The Patriots head coach, instead, chose to put everyone in the same boat.

Asked his assessment of the offensive line’€™s struggles, he said the problems were more a result of execution than communication, though both played a factor with the absence of starting left guard Dan Connolly to a neck issue. The first example of the execution and communication problems came on the very first drive, when left tackle Nate Solder and Connolly’s first half replacement Josh Kline appeared to miscommunicate on inside and outside responsibilities. The breakdown allowed Calvin Pace to rush outside and David Harris to rush inside, with both getting to Tom Brady.

“I think we had a lot of communication ‘€“ or I’€™d say execution issues on offense,” Belichick said in a Monday conference call. “We just didn’€™t execute very well, I’€™d say, in any part of the game. All the players were involved, all the coaches were involved. We just didn’€™t execute very well. We had mistakes everywhere; multiple mistakes everywhere. You could point to any spot and find some because they were everywhere.

“We just have to try to correct them today and move on. But I don’€™t think there was any one single thing that I would point to. I think it was an accumulation of a lot of lack of execution plays. That being said, there were a lot of times good things that happened on the play, but one part of the play that was poorly executed and I thought we didn’€™t have much to show for it. But we didn’€™t execute the passing game very well. We didn’€™t execute the running game very well; blocking, passing, catching. It was just [that] none of it really was very good.”

Adding to the complexity, the Patriots rotated their line frequently with tackle-eligible formations. In the second half, the Patriots moved Ryan Wendell from right guard over to left guard and moved Marcus Cannon to right guard. Belichick saw some improvement with those changes, as the Patriots put together a fourth quarter go-ahead drive and killed the final five minutes of the game with an effective run game.

“There were times when we were OK, there were times when we weren’€™t,” Belichick added. “You could put any player’€™s name into that question offensively and the answer would be the same. We need all of our players to play better. We need our good players to play better. We need to do a better job of coaching. We need to do a lot of things better. Fifty yards of offense in the first half, that’€™s not going to win many games. We were lucky to even be in the game.”

In a repeat of the Oct. 16 game at Gillette, the Jets were dominating the stats. The Patriots had just 52 total yards on 25 plays while the Jets had 176 yards on 35 plays. Still, the Jets led just 10-7 at the break.

Here were some other takeaways from Belichick on Monday:

Q: How did you like the look when Alan Branch, Vince Wilfork and Sealver Siliga were in there defending the run together?

BB: At times it looked good. There were other times it could have been better. We gave up some easy plays there in the start of the third quarter ‘€“ just hand the ball off right up the middle for 15 yards. We had our moments. There are still a lot of things that we can and need to improve on.

Q: Back in training camp you said part of the extra tight end rotation is the resulting disruption on the line. Nate Solder was the one who came in the most in that role yesterday. Why did you feel Nate was the best player for that spot?

BB: I’€™d say just due to a number of circumstances based on what our current situation is as we sit here playing a game on December 21, given the week we had to prepare for it and all the things that we had to, that were in place last week, we felt like that was the best thing to do.

Q: On Brandon Bolden’€™s 17-yard run when you had both Cameron Fleming and Nate Solder in for that play, what is your take on what made that play work? Did Brandon make a read there at the end? It looked like there was a hole there for a second and he ended up bouncing it outside for the big gain.

BB: It was pretty much really the same play that we ran on the goal line the first time, not the touchdown play, but the one where [Jonas] Gray ran from like the two to the one [yard line]. It was that same play and the results were pretty much the same. On Gray’€™s run, the one guy we didn’€™t have blocked on that was [Dawan] Landry. Landry came up and made the tackle. We gained, I don’€™t know, about a yard and got the ball down to the one or inside the one on first down, whatever it was.

We had basically the same setup on that third-and-one play and Landry came up and saw it and Bolden, instead of running down into Landry kind of like Gray did, he felt that he could get outside and get to the edge and James Develin was kicking out their force player on that who was [Antonio] Allen and Allen just wasn’€™t able to get outside and make the play. James did a good job of tying him up. Had Bolden cut the ball inside, Landry would have been there to make the tackle. Whether he would have stopped him for a yard or not, I don’€™t know, [it] would have been close. Brandon thought he could get outside, which he did. Allen wasn’€™t able to keep him or make the play, so Brandon turned the corner and turned it into a long run.

Q: Was Rex Ryan‘€™s team ready? Are they really tough to coach against in terms of preparation and creativity? Was that just another example of how tough his teams are to coach against?

BB: Every team is tough in the National Football League. I think you can just look at the scores in yesterday’€™s games or pretty much every game in the NFL every weekend. It’€™s the NFL. We don’€™t play Division I football and have a couple Division III teams on the schedule. They just don’€™t exist. Every week is tough. I don’€™t want to take anything away from them. They came out there, they competed well. In the end, we kind of made the plays that we needed to make in the fourth quarter to win and they didn’€™t. But I didn’€™t think we played particularly well, particularly on offense, until we made a few plays in the fourth quarter, but the turnover was a big play. We were lucky that didn’€™t cost us. We were able to keep them on the edge of field goal range and not give up any points there. But that was a bad turnover. I don’€™t think it was our best game by any stretch. I don’€™t want to take anything away from the Jets, but we have and we’€™ll need to play a lot better than we played yesterday.

Q: You guys clinched another first-round bye yesterday. Do you approach it any differently now?

BB: Our approach is going to continue to prepare and try to improve our level of performance all the way across the board: coaching, playing, running game, passing game, kicking game, everything. Just keep trying to work to get better. I think we’€™ll need to play our best football ‘€“ it will need to be ahead of us. That’€™s what we’€™ll try to prepare to do; to play well and continue to work on things that we need to work on so we can play better.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Back in Foxboro a day after their 17-16 escape against the Jets, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels stepped up and shouldered a big load of responsibility for the rough day Tom Brady and the Patriots offense had getting on track.

Tom Brady was hit early and often in Sunday's win over the Jets. (Getty Images)

Tom Brady was hit early and often in Sunday’s win over the Jets. (Getty Images)

Back in Foxboro a day after their 17-16 escape against the Jets, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels stepped up and shouldered a big load of responsibility for the rough day Tom Brady and the Patriots offense had getting on track.

Brady completed 23-of-35 passes for just 182 yards and was sacked four times, all in the first half. He was hit and hurried several times in the second half as the Patriots did just enough to walk out of MetLife Stadium with their 12th win.

“I don’t think we had our best day in total on offense,” McDaniels said in a Monday conference call. “I don’t think anybody played or executed or coached particularly well, starting with me. I think there were definitely some things we did well at times and then certainly the Jets gave us some issues.

“They have a good defense, a good front and a good scheme and they’re well-coached and they deserve credit for creating some issues for us. And at the same time, we feel we can coach and play better. That onus is on us. We’ve got to do better and hopefully we can do that going forward.”

“I don’t think they did anything we haven’t seen before, and certainly didn’t do it for that many snaps. Overall, they played better than we did. Our guys fought and battled and made some plays in some critical situations to help us win the game but we can definitely do better than that.”

As for the 11 hits on Brady, McDaniels said the film showed breakdowns all over.

“Like I’ve said before, there’s a lot of things that go into good pass protection,” McDaniels said. “There was more than one issue [Sunday] in terms of protecting the quarterback. We had issues in the front, we had issues at tight end, we had issues at running back. So, the issues aren’t just in one spot. I think the solution is definitely an execution thing.

“And it’s our responsibility as an offense, as a coaching staff and all our players, each one of us needs to do our job on every play, and when we do, then usually we have an opportunity to make a good play. Whenever you don’t have solid pass protection or room to run in the running game or whatever it may be, usually that’s a result of a lack of execution or sometimes being beat physically by another good player. A lot of things go into it.”

The one area the Patriots did very well was in the so-called “four-minute” offense, where it’s the offense’s job to run out the clock at the end of the game. The Patriots got the ball back after Vince Wilfork‘s blocked field goal and didn’t give the Jets another chance.

“I thought the four-minute drive was big,” McDaniels said. “We didn’t do everything perfect in the four-minute drive but I thought Danny came up with a couple of real critical plays there to convert some third downs and then we found some things we were able to do in the running game there that gave us some positive yards that gave us the opportunity to try and close the game out.

“I thought Brandon ran well in that situation and that series. We just executed the things we were trying to do. We wanted to try and finish the game on offense once we got the ball back with 5:16 to go. The guys did a good job of executing and overcoming the false start penalty and the long-yardage situation to convert and found a way to finish it there in the running game there in the end, which I thought was really good.”

Now, McDaniels has the Christmas week to get ready for another rugged front seven in the Bills.

“The Bills and Jets, obviously they’re very good defenses, both of them, physical, good defensive fronts, both of them,” McDaniels said. “The Bills certainly have their own style, play their own type of system. Coach Schwartz does a great job of having them prepared each week. They’ll throw some new wrinkles at you each week and then they’ll play their base stuff. They play really well. They know what they’re doing. They know they’re adjustments.

“They’re rarely out of position. They force you to make a lot of good plays in order to beat them against a lot of good players. And certainly, they’re well-coached. It’s a different challenge in terms of style and what we’re going to see in terms of the staging of the front and the type of pressures and those types of things we’ll see. But nonetheless, it’s going to be a huge challenge. This is one of the best defenses we’ll see all year.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Coming off an ugly 17-16 victory over the Jets that clinched a first-round playoff bye, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning and talked about why the Pats have so muc

Coming off an ugly 17-16 victory over the Jets that clinched a first-round playoff bye, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning and talked about why the Pats have so much trouble vs. their division rivals. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Brady was 23-of-35 for 182 yards with one touchdown, one interception and four sacks in Sunday’s game as the Patriots struggled to turn away the 3-12 Jets. Afterward, New York coach Rex Ryan said his teams give Brady and the Patriots “the biggest challenge.”

“I think the last four games we’ve played against them we haven’t played very well, and they’ve all kind of come down to the last possession,” Brady said. “It’s frustrating to be in those situations where we’re just not playing to the way we’re capable. But it’s hard to win in the NFL and it’s hard to win on the road against a good division rival.

“It was a great win for our team. I thought our defense really made some huge plays. We made a couple plays there in the second half to help us win. I would loved to have played a lot better in the first half and put a lot of pressure on those guys. But they did a good job kind of keeping us off balance and ended up making it a pretty tough game.”

Asked what the Jets do to give the Patriots trouble, Brady pointed to a number of factors.

“They’ve got a good team,” he said. “They’ve got a good defensive front. They put pressure on the quarterback. They’ve got good guys in the middle of the defense that get things coordinated. They’ve got a good scheme and they keep you off balance. They give you a lot of looks, and we know them really well. They’ve been in a lot of close games with us, so they have a lot of confidence they can play us well. And certainly after the first half, us being down 10-7, they feel like they’re in the game and they’ve got a great chance to win.

“I know their record was what it was, but they certainly played their best yesterday. When you watch them play the Bills and get beat by 38 points, I don’t really think we played the same team. Like I said, we kind of sputtered early and gave them a lot of confidence, and that’s never a great thing to do. But like I said, I’m glad we made some pretty key plays there in the fourth quarter.”


Looking at the pressure he faced Sunday, Brady explained that the Jets cause problems of confusing offensive protection.

“I think it’s a communication issue,” he said. “You always kind of find that when you play those guys. They’ve got a lot of hybrid types, so they’ve got guys that can drop, they’ve got guys that can rush. It’s technical, but basically they all line up on the left and then at the snap of the ball they all run out of there and everyone blitzes on the right. Or they all line up on the right and everyone blitzes on the left. They just do a good job of kind of disguising some things, and then you’re kind of prepared for these blitzes and then they just give you a regular defense. And then you just settle in on a regular defense and then they give you another blitz. They do a really good job of spinning the dial on you. And then when they don’t, they’ve got good enough players on the front that can cause disruption.”

It’s been widely speculated that Ryan will not return to New York next season. Asked if he liked Ryan, Brady said he doesn’t know him well enough to offer an opinion.

“I’ve never thought about that. I never really thought about that,” Brady said. “I think he’s a great coach. I have a lot of respect for him. I don’t know him as a person. I know the players that have played for him really play hard for him. I don’t know him personally at all.”

After the game, Brady crossed paths with Ryan in the hallway.

“I walked out of our locker room and I was going into the media room, and he was just walking by,” Brady explained. “I didn’t see him after the game [on the field], so I just shook his hand and wished him luck.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com.patriots.

On Julian Edelman, who missed Sunday’s game: “Julian’s become really one of our most dependable players, if not our most dependable player. … There’s a reason why Julian plays as much as he does, because he’s always doing the right thing, he’s always lined up in the right spot, he understands the urgency and the timing in the passing game, he’s got great anticipation. He and I have played so much football together. There’s a lot of things that you can talk about over the course of the week, and then when the game happens those things kind of get thrown out and you react and you anticipate and you be a football player. And Julian’s really that kind of player.”

On which receiver has complained the most to him: “It’s a good thing when they want the ball. I would say Julian’s a little bit of a complainer, but in a good way. It’s a good thing when they want the ball. You don’t want someone that’s going to defer to all of the other guys. But it’s also a problem when a guy’s like, ‘I was wide open, it would have been a touchdown,’ then you watch the film the next day and there’s three guys on him. Then I’m going like, ‘What are you talking about?’ They lose a little bit of credibility when that comes out.”

On what advice he would offer to a quarterback coming into the league: “I don’t know that there’s just one piece. There’s a lot that it takes. To be successful in anything, it just takes good decision-making. So that would be my first evaluation, on what kind of decisions you make. When you’re presented with an A or B option, when you choose the right ones on a consistent basis, I think you’re set up for success no matter what you choose. And that’s on and off the field, especially as it relates to quarterbacks. If you choose the wrong decision on a consistent basis, then it’s hard to change those things. You just try to do the right thing on and off the field, you try to be a good representative for your team. And then there’s all the other things that come into play.”

On how much he and the rest of the starters will play next Sunday against the Bills: “After the last few weeks of football, I’d love to go out there and see if our offense can put together the best 60 minutes of football that we’ve put together in a long time. We’ve been up and down as of late. We’ve got to start really putting some great football together here in these next [few weeks]. We got the bye. We’ve got to be able to win this week then we get the bye and then play at home. Hopefully we can take care of business the first week of the playoffs and then go from there.”

On if some banged-up players might rest Sunday: “There’s a lot of guys that could probably use a little time off. But at the same time, this is football season. You play through whatever you’ve got and you deal with those things when your season ends. All those things are coach’s decisions. I want us to go out and win, that’s what I want. I don’t care about resting. I want to go out there and try to kick some butt. That’s what I want to do.”

On the University of Michigan coaching vacancy, and if he has any input as a prominent alumnus: “No, I don’t even know who does decide those things. I know some players text me, former players and so forth. But it seems like there’s a lot of momentum with [Jim Harbaugh] and all that, the media reports. But you never know if those are true or not true. He’s obviously a great coach, he’s been a great coach in the pros for a long time. Who knows what’s going to happen? Who knows? I have no idea.”

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar
A number of players from both teams sent their well wishes to Jets center Nick Mangold before he was carted off with a lower left leg injury. (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

A number of players from both teams sent their well wishes to Jets center Nick Mangold before he was carted off with a lower left leg injury. (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — It was an unfortunate day for Jets center Nick Mangold.

After walking onto MetLife Stadium field wearing an NYPD hat to honor the two fallen officers from Saturday’s horrible event, he left the field on a cart with what looked like a serious lower leg injury.

Early in the second quarter, the 2006 first-rounder got his leg rolled up on and he went down in serious pain before having to be being carted off the field. Before the cart took off, virtually the entire Jets sideline and a good number of Patriots players went over to the cart to give Mangold their best wishes. He had X-rays and said more tests will be needed to be done Monday, but he was moving around the locker room afterwards on crutches.

The player closest to the cart may have been a member of the Patriots, Vince Wilfork, as the two have been battling against one another for close to a decade going back to college when Wilfork was at the University of Miami and Mangold at Ohio State. It has only continued as the two have been division rivals since entering the league with there always being a good battle in the trenches when the two teams meet with Mangold at center at Wilfork at defensive tackle.

“Vince and I, we’ve been playing against each other for, shoot, it goes back to college,” Mangold recalled. “We played against each other. We’ve had some great battles and I have the utmost respect for that guy. … Very appreciated.”

“That was greatly appreciated,” Mangold added of the support. “Even though I wasn’t in the best of moods at the time as a player your team behind you and even the other team, that leaves you with a deep appreciation.”

As for wearing the NYPD hat prior to the game, Mangold was doing anything he could to show his support, saying he decided on the gesture Saturday night.

“Those two officers, it’s a shame. That’s tough,” Mangold said. “Those guys, they do a great job. I’ve been here nine years. Every one of those guys that’s out there, that risks their lives every day, to go out there and keep the community safe, protect the community — for that to happen, for those two guys, for their families, that’s a raw deal.

“If wearing that hat gives a little bit of comfort or shows support for those folks, I’m happy to do it.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price explain how the Patriots held off the Jets, 17-16, Sunday at MetLife Stadium to improve to 12-3 and lock up a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs.

[0:00:28] ... a blocked field goal this time air vents as he was called Vince Wilfork DeVon recording with that nickname I cannot claim at my own. Came up with a big block of the Nick Folk 52 ...
[0:02:49] ... offensive line yes the patriots were missing their starting left guard and Dan Connolly. But the rotation we saw it was a bad heart and you know bad Harken back to the beginning of the season. Where the patriots were playing you know Russian roulette with there at the middle portion of their offensive line. And that's not something really that instills a lot of confidence in people especially when Tom Brady is the quarterback what did you see in terms of the problems along the interior of the line. It was the left side it'll line particularly note Dan Connolly Conley has been banged up over the last month or so but he over the course the full season has been the ...
[0:07:15] ... pay off and yet. Well that leads me to the next subject Cincinnati Bengals. They could do the New England Patriots are huge favor a Monday night at Paul Brown Stadium if they beat the Denver Broncos. Patriots with this game this win today. Here at MetLife stadium clinched the first round bye if the Bengals beat the Broncos. That wraps up the number one seed in the AFC for the upcoming playoffs and home field throughout to the potential. Of the Super Bowl in Glendale next week it's the Buffalo Bills we'll see how the patriots handle this Christmas week obviously with the holidays upon us and the win that now. Wrapped up the patriots have a little more time maybe it up unwind a little bit heal those bumps and bruises and we'll see how plays out in week seventeen. As the patriots get ready to wrap up this regular season with a game against the Buffalo Bills again the final here at MetLife stadium that was the patriots seventeen and the jets. Sixteen for Christopher price some micro try ...





EAST RUTHERFORD N.J. — With wide receiver Julian Edelman downgraded to out Saturday night with a concussion/thigh injury, someone was going to have to step up and fill the void left by a guy who has 92 catches and 972 yards on the year.

That guy was Danny Amendola.

Amendola entered the game Sunday with 15 total catches this season, and finished Sunday with eight catches for 63 yards. At times the sixth-year veteran looked like the best Patriots player on the field in the first half. He also was able to provide a spark in the return game as he finished with 91 yards on five kick returns, and 63 yards on three punt returns, including a 39-yard return in the first half, which led to a Rob Gronkowski touchdown, the Patriots’ first score of the game.

“Absolutely,” when asked if he was looking forward to Sunday. “It’s a rough game. Some guys go in, some guys go out. Everyone has a job to do, just trying to do my job.”

The wide out played a total of 43 snaps by our count, his most since Week 9 against Denver. His season-high was 61 in Week 1 against Miami. He was part of the grouping that sparked the Patriots in the second half when they went no huddle with he and Brandon LaFell as the wide receivers, Tim Wright and Gronkowski at tight end and Shane Vereen in the backfield.

“He did a great job, and he’s been really looking for this opportunity,” Tom Brady said. “I thought he did a great job in here in the role that he played. He’s a very good player for us. He did a good job returning some great kicks and punts. It will be good to get Jules [Julian Edelman] back next week. Hopefully he can get back next week.”

Even with not being as productive as he was with the Rams, Amendola is keeping his confidence up and making sure he’s ready when called upon.

“You have a job to do every week,” Amendola said. “You have a role on the team if you’re suited up. You have something to do within the game plan. You have to do your job. Whatever it is, never doubt yourself.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable