Darrelle Revis has a ton of respect for Oakland defensive back Charles Woodson. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Darrelle Revis has a ton of respect for Oakland defensive back Charles Woodson. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Darrelle Revis has ‘€œmuch respect’€ for Oakland’€™s veteran defensive back Charles Woodson, but isn’€™t sure he wants to spend 17 years in the league.

‘€œI’€™m still in year eight right now,’€ Revis said with a laugh after practice on Thursday. ‘€œI’€™m a big fan of him too. Watched him at Michigan and looked up to him. He’€™s ‘€¦ hopefully, he’€™s a future Hall of Famer. The guy has played great ball in the league, and [is] still making plays. Bill [Belichick] put up some plays and he’€™s still making them, in year 17. I tip my hat off to him. I have much respect for him.’€

Revis won’€™t have to worry too much about Woodson — that’€™s more for quarterback Tom Brady. Instead, his focus is going to be the Oakland passing game, led by rookie quarterback Derek Carr. On Thursday, the veteran crier talked about the challenges that come with facing a rookie signal-caller for the first time.

‘€œThe material that we have, you just have to rely on that and go from there,’€ Revis said of Carr. ‘€œWe’€™re doing the best we can with game planning against that offense, and we have to stick to the material we have and go from there.’€

‘€œHe’€™s running their offense. He can throw every route.’€

Of course, Revis has been known to bait a young quarterback into a bad throw from time to time. Could that be the case again on Sunday?

‘€œI can’€™t give you all of that,’€ he said with a laugh. ‘€œLike I said, we’€™re going to do what we think is best to make sure we’€™re successful in the game plan. We’€™re still going through it. We have another day tomorrow to finish up red zone. So far, it’€™s been going good with the game plan and we just have to go through some more film study and figure out come Sunday where our best matchups are the best game plan on defense.

‘€œTheir receiver corps, they have [Denarius] Moore, who’€™s very fast. I’€™ve played against him in the past. Him, you have to watch him at all times on the deep routes. [Rod] Streeter — we don’€™t know, but we’€™ll figure that out. Then you’€™ve got James Jones, the savvy vet. We feel like we give them a lot of respect, their receiving corps. We’€™re just looking forward to the matchup and covering those guys. Like we said, there’€™s not a lot of material on Carr. We just have to focus on what we know about Jones, Moore and Streeter.’€

In the end, while the Patriots figure to be favored heading into this one, Revis knows this sets up to be a classic trap game.

‘€œI know a lot of guys on that team, so I’€™m really looking forward to it,’€ Revis said of Oakland. ‘€œThe Raiders always come to play. We just have to be ready for what they’€™re going to bring. They’€™re 0-2 right now, and I’€™m sure they’€™re searching for a win coming off 0-2. We know they’€™ll be ready — we just have to be focused and make sure we don’€™t let one slip away at home.’€

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

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

FOXBORO — Pete Morelli will work as the lead referee for Sunday’s game between the Patriots and Raiders, according to our pals at FootballZebras.com.

This will mark Morelli’s first New England game of the season, and his third in the last year-plus. His last Patriots game came when he worked last year’s divisional playoff between New England and Indianapolis at Gillette Stadium. He also worked the Patriots-Texans at Houston on Dec. 1, 2013.

Here’s a look at who has worked as referees for New England’s games to this point in the season:

Sept. 7 at Miami: Walt Anderson
Sept. 14 at Minnesota: Tony Corrente
Sept. 21 vs. Oakland: Pete Morelli

For more on Morelli’s work as an official, check out his page at Pro Football Reference. And for a complete look at this week’s officiating assignments, check out Football Zebras.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
MFB talks to Sal Cappaccio of WGR in Buffalo, Ryan Ruocco of ESPN NY, and Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun Sentinel

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[0:20:05] ... senator -- he's also if you wanted to. Tightly -- the public Rodney Harrison at night on our money. And that's his job to talk about the repeated it's that. It is your job to analyze ...
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[0:22:12] ... just know what's talking about this they got -- Although it's under Tony Dungy -- -- -- Tony Dungy well we got to wait to get all the facts we don't really know what's go that we don't. Tony we got ...

From 95.7 The Game, Greg Papa breaks down the struggling Raiders and discusses Charles Woodson's comments that the team sucks

[0:01:58] ... from 95 set in the game play by play voice of the Oakland Raiders to advance Christian four in the Maloney here. Amid there's gonna be in Boston OK so I'm looking at the numbers on ...
[0:04:04] ... an -- actually harassment problem -- what they've actually brought it -- Carlos Rogers. Tractor -- MacBook Pro -- and shot it very different ball. Wondering -- Are -- little. Culture shock not played well at ...
[0:06:00] ... great pop up from 957 game play by play voice of the Oakland Raiders -- rosy picture hostages say got to be pretty happy about your chances with a lot of this game. What is -- ...

FOXBORO — There was a certain amount of rich irony when Bill Belichick spoke this week about what he sees as the continued greatness of 37-year-old defensive back Charles Woodson.

“Woodson really doesn’€™t look like a 17-year veteran, I’€™ll tell you that,” Belichick began. “He makes plays all over the field ‘€“ very aggressive, fast, instinctive, strong tackler, tough. Just couldn’€™t say enough about how impressed I’€™ve been watching him on film. The Raiders have real good team speed. They’€™re a big, physical team. We have a lot to get ready for in terms of their scheme and personnel.

“I think Coach [Dennis] Allen has done a good job there defensively with emphasizing the turnovers. They caused a lot of fumbles last year. I think it was the fourth-most in the league or something like that. They do a good job of turning the ball over.”

Of course, it’s the one turnover that Woodson thought he caused on Jan. 19, 2002 that will haunt him and the Raiders forever. Charles Woodson came on a corner blitz and sacked his former Michigan teammate in the snow of old Foxboro Stadium. Woodson stripped the ball from Tom Brady and Raiders linebacker Greg Biekert recovered. With 1:43 left in the fourth and the Raiders leading, 13-10, in the AFC divisional playoff game, all hope appeared lost for the Patriots.

Brady and Woodson were best of friends at the University of Michigan. They were separated by just two locker stalls. Brady even threw to Woodson a little while the two were with the Wolverines. This Sunday will mark the sixth time the two have met in the NFL but Brady says the two have never discussed the way their first encounter ended.

“I don’€™t think we’€™ve ever talked about that, but I remember it very well, and I’€™m sure he does, too,” Brady said Wednesday. “He was making plays back then, and he’€™s still making plays the same way. He’€™s got long arms, a really strong tackler. He’€™s been a ball hawk his entire career.”

Woodson has talked about it in the past, including last January on the NFL Network as the Patriots and Brady were getting ready to take on the Broncos in the AFC championship.

“Let’s just get this out of the way,” Woodson said. “If they make the correct call — which they did at first, then they overturned it — this (10)-game playoff streak that Tom Brady has? It never happened. Tom Brady owes me his house. I’m the reason why he’s married to who he’s married to. I’m a reason for a lot of that. Everything. Because they overturned that call.

“Tom. C’mon now. Fess up. It was a fumble. It’s still a fumble.”

Well, Brady wasn’t willing to offer up one of his manses but he did give Woodson this glowing review this week as he prepares to take on the 0-2 Raiders.

“He looks phenomenal to me,” Brady said. “I’€™ve known him for a long time. I’€™ve practiced against Charles when I was in college. We’€™ve known each other for 20 years. I have a lot of respect for him as a player, as a person, as a friend, and he looks phenomenal back there. He’€™s a big playmaker for that defense, and he gets his hands on a lot of balls ‘€“ not only in the pass game but in the run game. He’€™s trying to strip the ball out on every play. He’€™s a great tackler. He’€™s got great anticipation. He’€™s someone that I really have to know where he’€™s at on every play.”

Brady’s only loss to Woodson came that next season, when the Patriots were beaten on a Sunday night in Oakland, 27-20. That night, Woodson had four tackles and forced a David Givens fumble. Brady was 18-of-30 that night for 172 yards, one of only five games in his career where he’s thrown for fewer than 175 yards while attempting at least 30 passes. Lifetime, Brady is 5-1 against Woodson, including a 35-0 shutout against Woodson’s Packers in 2006. Woodson has 21 tackles in those six games but just three passes defended, as Brady has stayed away from his old friend.

Brady also reminded everyone that this is the same Charles Woodson who won the Heisman in 1997 and was a pretty good receiver in his own right.

But it was his defense that stood out in college and still does to this day. The defensive back received 282 more Heisman points than runner-up Peyton Manning and remains the only primarily defensive player to win the honor. Woodson is also the last player to win the Heisman Trophy that is not a running back or quarterback. Woodson, with Brady on the sidelines behind Brian Griese, led Michigan to an undefeated season and a share of the national championship that same season. Brady did get a chance to throw to him at Michigan but on a very limited basis.

“Yeah, I did. I didn’€™t get a lot of those reps,” Brady said. “I wasn’€™t in there much when he was there. They didn’€™t give me chances to throw the ball to him. I was kind of with all the backup guys at that time. When I did, he was probably our best receiver when he was there. Whenever we need a big play we put him in, and he always seemed to make it, so that’€™s why he won the Heisman.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

While every other blogger pretends to know what’€™s going on in the NFL, I am going in the exact opposite direction.

Dog memeThat piping-hot sports take might not do much for my credibility, but isn’€™t the honesty refreshing? The Internets is full of people desperate to prove that they are smarter than everyone else, but not me, I am proud of my mediocrity. I learned that lesson a long time ago from a close friend of mine. No NFL insider, let alone blogger, could have predicted that the Seahawks would lose to the Chargers or that the Saints would open the season 0-2. Instead of droning on about the elite-ness of Richard Sherman, or the struggles of the Saints pass rush, I am going to chalk up those anomalies to the fact that the NFL, especially early in the season, makes zero sense. Thus my picks will not be based on trends, facts or stats, rather the classic combination of Miller High Life and braggadocio. The title of this weekly blog really should be ‘€œWhose Line is it Anyway?’€ Because in the end, everything is made up and the points don’€™t matter. With that being said, onto the picks.

Chargers +2.5 at Bills

The Bills may have won their first two games, but they are still the Bills. I have watched the Bills suck for too long to be impressed by a two-game winning streak. The last time the Bills made the playoffs I was 9 years old and the Music City Miracle only struck me as mildly hilarious. At that age, I didn’€™t have the wherewithal to properly appreciate how typically Bills-ian that loss was. But with maturity and experience, I’€™ve come to the obvious realization that the Bills will never be good. This year will be no different. Also, as a card-carrying member of the #FreeRivers fan club, you better believe I am picking the Chargers. Plus, this gives me the excuse to play this all day Sunday.

Pick: Chargers +2.5

Ravens -1.5 at Browns

I really hate the phrase ‘€œGod hates Cleveland,’€ because it implies that God actually cares about the sports future of the 45th-largest city in the United States. The suggestion that a divine power was some how responsible for The Drive, The Fumble or Jose Mesa is patently absurd. So no, God doesn’€™t hate Cleveland, but I sure do. Cleveland has nothing going for it and is easily the worst of the Rust Belt cities. It is just as crime-ridden and plagued by deindustrialization as Detroit, yet has none of the charm. When Drew Carey and James A. Garfield are your most notable residents, you know you are dealing with a bunk city. Heck even Gary, Indiana, produced the Jackson 5.

As for actual football reasons to pick against the Browns: The Ravens have a good run defense, are 22-8 all-time against Cleveland, and have wily vet and pass-catching machine Steve Smith Sr. Don’€™t be surprised if this game is won by a Justin Tucker field goal in the final moments.

Pick: Ravens -1.5

Broncos +5 at Seahawks

I really have no idea what is going to happen in this game. I can’€™t even rely on irrational hatred because I don’€™t like either of these teams. You may ask then, Sam, if you have no insight, why pick this game? Because it’€™s the most interesting game of the week and I might as well have a rooting interest. For the Broncos, this game is an opportunity for revenge after last year’€™s Super Bowl embarrassment. For the Seahawks, it’€™s the opportunity to re-establish themselves as the league’€™s best team. Now, I don’€™t like the fact that the most valuable member of the Seahawks always will be the architect who designed CenturyLink Field to be a cacophonous false-start-producing sound dungeon. That has never sat well with me. But I have to take Seattle’s home-field advantage into consideration. Also, throughout last week, the ‘€œNothing beats that new car smell’€ line from Peyton Manning‘€™s new Nationwide ad was stuck in my head. To borrow a line from Drew Magary and a tune from Nationwide: ‘€œPeyton is a haughty douche.’€

Pick: Seahawks -5

Steelers + 3.5 at Panthers

This line baffles me. I don’€™t see why anyone watching the first two weeks of football would think the Steelers are a good football team. How are the Panthers, with a healthy Cam Newton and one of the best defenses in the NFL, only favored by 3.5 points at home! It’€™s absolutely mind-bottling. My mind is in a bottle. I don’€™t think the ultimate Steelers homer Tim Benz could even talk himself into picking Pittsburgh this week. I would be shocked if Greg Olsen doesn’€™t have two touchdown receptions. This is a horrendous waste of a Sunday night game. Only a big game from the legendary Jason Avant could make this one entertaining.

Pick: Panthers -3.5

Bears -3 at Jets

The Bears have Alshon Jeffery, Brandon Marshall and Martellus Bennet. The Jets barely have a secondary. Sexy Rexy was so desperate to find something resembling a talented football player on the field last week that he rushed Dee Milliner back from a high ankle sprain. The result: Jordy Nelson had a 209-yard receiving game! Classic case of one team rising to the occasion well in crunch time and the other playing undisciplined trash football. Last week, Chicago erased a 13-point deficit, scoring three TDs in the fourth quarter. The Jets gave up an 18-point lead, gaining only 100 yards in the second half. I didn’€™t even have to mention the whole timeout debacle to justify this pick, but it’s more fun now that I did.

Pick: Bears -3

Last Week: 2-3-0
Season: 5-4-1

Blog Author: 
Sam Packard

According to reports, the Patriots had perfect attendance at practice Thursday, as linebacker Jerod Mayo and safety Don Jones both returned after not practice on Wednesday. It appears Mayo was absent on Wednesday because of the birth of his child.

According to reports, the Patriots had perfect attendance at practice Thursday, as linebacker Jerod Mayo and safety Don Jones both returned after not practice on Wednesday. It appears Mayo was absent on Wednesday because of the birth of his child.

Meanwhile, Jones was dealing with a hamstring injury.

The Patriots continue preparation for their home opener this weekend against the Raiders.

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

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Derek Carr

Derek Carr

If Derek Carr is able to lead the Raiders to an upset win over the Patriots on Sunday in Foxboro, he would break new ground for rookie quarterbacks against Bill Belichick. Since 2001, no rookie QB in his first or second start of his initial season in the NFL has beaten Belichick in New England.

In that span, Belichick has faced rookie quarterbacks on 19 occasions, and New England is 14-5 against them. However, none of those losses have come at home. Last year, Geno Smith turned the trick at MetLife Stadium when he led the Jets past the Patriots in overtime. In 2012, Russell Wilson did the same in a home game for the Seahawks. Colt McCoy shocked the Patriots in a Browns blowout in 2010 in his first time against New England. In 2009, Jets QB Mark Sanchez knocked off the Patriots in his first-ever game against Belichick in the Meadowlands. And in his first year in the league, Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers past the Patriots. All of those games were away from Foxboro.

Belichick said this week he’s been impressed with several aspects of Carr’s game, and as a team that was interested in taking a quarterback in the early stages of the 2014 draft — Carr went 36th overall to the Raiders, while New England chose Jimmy Garoppolo at No. 62 — the Patriots were able to get what Belichick called a “good look” at Carr. The coach was impressed by the Fresno State product.

“His athleticism, [as well as his] arm strength, Belichick said. “[His] ability to get the ball down the field and avoid negative plays in the pocket with his athleticism, mobility and some running ability, too, are all things that we saw in college that I’€™d say are showing up this year in the NFL as well.

“He’€™s only been sacked a couple of times,” Belichick added of the 6-foot-3, 214-pounder who has completed 47-for-74 passes for 414 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions while adding 55 rushing yards. “He’€™s an athletic guy back there. He can certainly get the ball down the field. We know he’€™s a smart kid. I think all the things that we saw from him at Fresno and when he’€™s had an opportunity to do them in this league have continued to show up. Obviously the systems are different, but from a skill standpoint I think his skills are his skills and they’€™re pretty good.”

(One other note as it relates to rookie QBs against New England — on some of those occasions, Belichick has faced rookies twice a year, and interestingly enough, in that span, Geno Smith is the only signal-caller to win his second game against the Patriots in his rookie season. Previously, Belichick had gotten the better of the first-year players, beating the likes of Ryan Tannehill and Sanchez the second time he faced them when they were rookies. And dating back to 2004, Belichick also managed to best Roethlsberger in the AFC title game after the then-rookie beat the Patriots in the regular season.)

Here’s a look at the breakdown by season:

2013: EJ Manuel (L): 18-for-27, 150 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Geno Smith (L): 15-for-35, 214 yards, 0 TD, 3 INT, sacked four times
Geno Smith (W): 17-for-33, 233 yards, 1 passing TD, 1 rushing TD, 1 INT, sacked four times

2012: Russell Wilson (W): 16-for-27, 293 yards, 3 TD, sacked twice
Andrew Luck (L): 27-for-50, 334 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT, sacked once
Ryan Tannehill (L): 13-for-29, 186 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, sacked three times
Ryan Tannehill (L): 20-for-35, 235 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, sacked seven times

2011: None

2010: Colt McCoy (W): 14-for-19, 174 yards, TD

2009: Mark Sanchez (W): 14-for-22, 163 yards, TD
Sanchez (L): 8-for-21, 136 yards, TD, 4 INT, sacked two times
Josh Freeman* (L): 2-for-4, 16 yards, sacked two times

2008 None

2007: Trent Edwards** (L): 10/20, 97 yds, INT, sacked once
2006: Vince Young (L): 15/36, 227, 2 INT, sacked five times, two rush, 29 yards, TD

2005: None

2004: Ben Roethlisberger (W): 18-for-24, 196 yards, 2 TD
Ben Roethlisberger (L): 14-for-24, 226 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT
Luke McCown (L): 20-for-34, 277 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT

2003: Byron Leftwich (L): 21-for-40, 288 yards, TD, 2 INT

2002: Joey Harrington (L): 22-for-44, 210 yards, 3 INT

2001: Chris Weinke (L): 15-for-36, 144 yards, 3 INT

* Freeman replaced ineffective Josh Johnson midway through fourth quarter
** Edwards replaced J.P. Losman after Losman injured on first series

We’ve been over this before, but in the wake of Carr and the Raiders coming to town, it’s important to note there are certain basic elements that all of the rookie quarterbacks who beat the Patriots have been able to accomplish to over the years.

– All of the winning QBs have been very smart with the ball. Only one (Smith) threw an interception. They’ve all done a terrific job managing the game, not taking a ton of negative plays and not worrying about deficits in the early going. In 2012 (against Wilson and the Seahawks) and 2013 (Smith and the Jets), the Patriots were up by double digits in the second half before it went off the rails. New England also held early leads in 2004 against Roethlisberger and 2009 against Sanchez. If Carr is going to be able to pull off the upset, history tells us that he’ll have to make up some ground if he wants to make it happen.

– None of the winners have been statistically dominant — none threw for more than 300 yards — but they’ve all been relatively accurate. In addition, they’ve all been smart enough (or been told by their coach and/or offensive coordinator) not to try to take over the game by themselves, making sure to put the real work in the hands of their skill position players. Last year, Smith got a tremendous outing from wide receivers Jeremy Kerley (eight catches on 10 targets for 97 yards and a touchdown) and David Nelson (four catches on seven targets for 80 yards), as well as running back Chris Ivory (34 carries for 104 yards). If Carr can get similar efforts out of his skill position players, that would go a long way.

– They all have gotten lockdown performances from their defense. Last year against the Jets, Brady was sacked four times and finished without a touchdown pass on the way to an overtime defeat. In 2012 against the Seahawks, the Patriots finished with 23 points ‘€” almost 12 full points below their league-leading 34.8 points per game average. In 2010, New England again was leading the league in points per game with an average of 32.4, but the Browns limited them to a shockingly low 14 points. In 2009, the Patriots averaged 26.7 points per game, but they scored just nine points that afternoon against the Jets. (In that one, New England stalled out in the red zone three times.) The Raiders defense will have to be up to the challenge.

– All of the rookie wins came relatively early in the season — the latest victory was Nov. 7, 2010, when McCoy and the Browns knocked off New England in Week 9.

Is Carr capable of going where no rookie quarterback has gone before? It will take a superlative effort, as well as an excellent afternoon of complementary football out of the rest of his teammates (as well as the coaching staff) to pull off the victory. If he stumbles, he can always point to the tidy little blueprint assembled by the likes of Wilson, Smith, Sanchez, McCoy and Roethlisberger for some guidance. But in the end, it remains to be seen if the partial path forged by that quintet will serve as a complete road map to victory for the rookie come Sunday. Ultimately, it’ll be a journey he’ll be taking alone.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

FOXBORO — There must be something nostalgic in the air in Foxboro this week.