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August 25th, 2008
Brady at practice; Light and Webster return
Posted by Karen Guregian at 1:28 pm

Tom Brady was once again out for practice during the brief window the media is allowed to view the workout. In that period, he stretched, did a drill requiring footwook and took some snaps, dropping back and delivering a few short passes. The quarterback, who has been nursing a right foot injury, didn’t look particularly hampered with regard to his mobility.

In terms of other practice notes, offensive lineman Matt Light, and cornerback Jason Webster, who have been out since July 26th, returned to the field, as did tight-end Stephen Spach, who had missed some time.

As for the missing bodies, wide receiver Wes Welker, who suffered a rib injury during Friday’s preseason game with Philadelphia, was not present. Tightend Benjamin Watson was also among the 13 who were not out on the lower practice field.


August 25th, 2008
Walking cast spotted at Brady locker
Posted by Karen Guregian at 12:01 pm

While Tom Brady was optimistic about his return, saying on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan show this morning he thought he’d be ready to go for the Pats season opener Sept. 7 against Kansas City, we should point out that there was a walking cast at the foot of Brady’s locker. The removable boot sure looked a lot like the one he wore the week before the Super Bowl, when he was filmed wearing it in New York, when he was nursing that high right ankle sprain.

The Pats quarterback has claimed that while it’s the same leg, it’s a different injury. Obviously, even if it’s a different problem altogether, it was interesting to see a return visit from the infamous boot. Whether he’s actually using it or not, remains a mystery. But it was present at his locker.


August 25th, 2008
Brady says he feels `really good’
Posted by Karen Guregian at 8:55 am

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady didn’t indicate whether he would be playing in the team’s final preseason game Thursday on the road against the Giants, but he did say he expects to be playing when the season opens against Kansas City on Sept. 7 at Gillette Stadium.
Speaking on WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan Show this morning, Brady didn’t get specific about the foot injury that has kept him off the field for the first three preseason games, but said he’s “feeling really good.”


August 23rd, 2008
Belichick weighs the green dot
Posted by Karen Guregian at 4:46 pm

 During a conference call just completed with the media, Patriots coach Bill Belichick spoke on number of topics, most notably the use of the new defensive helmet radio system for his defense, which he employed for the first time last night.

According to Belichick, both linebackers Tedy Bruschi and Mike Vrabel had green dots on the back of their helmets, signifying they could receive  play-calls from the sidelines prior to the snap. The system was used during the first half, and third quarter.

 On Sunday, in Tampa, the club had tried out the process during wamp-ups, but not during the game.

”I think it’s a learning experience for everyone. We know more about it now. We have at least a game under our belts to try and figure out what’s the best way to utilize it. How to make it advantageous, and how to keep it from being a problem, or another log on the fire that we really don’t need,” Belichick said. ”We’ll talk about that this week, and try to figure out the best plan how to . . . if we can utilize it productively we will. And if we can’t, we won’t. So we’ll just have to see how that goes. And try to decide what’s the most efficient way to do it.”


August 23rd, 2008
Asante chats Pats
Posted by Karen Guregian at 12:58 am

Here are some of Asante Samuel’s post-game remarks.

On coming back to Foxboro: ”The first initial feeling when I came out on the field, I wasn’t really thinking about it. I went over to see some of the guys and say hello.”

On getting a hit on Randy Moss: ”It was fun. I have something to call him and joke about with him. I’ll tell him he doesn’t have any moves on me.”

On the reception from the fans: ”It was all good. They love me; they hate me. They miss me, but I’m not playing for them anymore, so they hate me.”


August 23rd, 2008
Belichick’s post-game comments
Posted by Karen Guregian at 12:45 am

Here’s the transcript from Bill Belichick’s post-game press conference as provided by the Patriot’s staff: 

BB: I thought we played a little more competitively there in the second half obviously giving up 14 points on returns in the first half put us pretty deep in the hole. We still have a lot of work to do. Philadelphia is a good football team and we all know that. There were certainly a lot of things were could have done better out there tonight but I think it was a good learning experience for us. We saw a lot of things we are going to need to face somewhere along the line this season so it was good to get that exposure and play against another good football team. We will get back to work tomorrow, it is another short week and we keep trying to improve here. Work towards the [New York] Giants this week [and] Kansas City two weeks from Sunday. So that is where we are at.

Q: Is special teams the last thing you get to put together in training camp?

BB: No I wouldn’t say that. You work on them right along with everything else.

Q: Can you talk about the play of Matt Cassel?

BB: Some good things. Some could have been better. Protection at times is a little bit of an issue. I thought he made some good throws. There were probably some plays that he probably would have liked to have back but that is pretty much true for everyone. There is always some positive plays and some that we can improve on and that goes for all of us.

Q: After the punt return for a touchdown [at the end of the second quarter] you were talking to Chris Hanson. Would you have liked to see that ball be kicked out of bounds?

BB: Yes. It wasn’t good situational play. We didn’t execute the play we should have in that situation. I’ll take the responsibility for that but regardless you still have to cover him. It wasn’t very well handled at all.

Q: How do you think Matt Gutierrez competed in the second half?

BB: I thought we competed well in the second half as a team. I thought Matt [Gutierrez] did a good job at leading the team and the opportunities he had. He hung in there. He took a few hits but he stepped up and threw the ball. He made a nice throw coming out of the end zone, it looked like a guy was in his face when he threw that one to [Tyson] DeVree. Again, they hit us on some pressures and some things we could have adjusted to a little bit better but I thought overall he hung in there well and I thought the whole group did really.

Q: In the first half, did you notice an extra amount of missed tackles?

BB: It seemed like we missed a few. I am not sure how many that was. I don’t know. You would always like to tackle better, that is something that you hope improves as you go along in the preseason. We don’t do a lot of live tackling in practice so the opportunities we have to do it are in the preseason games. Hopefully, we can keep improving in that area. We need to.

Q: How much stock do you put in the final score in these preseason games?

BB: Well, I think certainly the score is relevant and that you played a game that way. There is a lot of things we need to work on, on a play-by-play basis and teach and correct and coach on and improve on. That is really the big part of it. We have been on both ends of these kinds of games. It is not a game on the standings. It is a reflection on what happened on that particular night but there is still a lot of things that we can learn from on all those plays tonight and that is what we will try to do.

Q: Do you have any concerns that some of the performances that we have seen in the preseason games will trickle over into regular season?

BB: Well, I don’t know that any game impacts the next game. I think each game is it’s own entity. Again, we have been through a lot of those. I think each game, it is whatever team plays better that night, that is the team that is going to prevail. But nevertheless, there is a lot of things you can learn from the plays in the games that you play. I think there is certainly a lot you can learn from them and we can coach off. But I don’t think, if you complete a long pass this week that you will complete one next week and if they complete a long pass this week then they are going to complete one next week. It doesn’t mean that it is not going to happen but it doesn’t necessarily mean it is going to happen either. I think that we have all seen enough of that to know that is not necessarily the case. Certainly, you always want to play well and you want to do everything right and want to have as few corrections as possible but there are always going to be some.

Q: How much impact does two games in six days have on the individuals?

BB: I think like it does any other time. The less time you have, the less time you have to recover. You still have to process the same amount of information from a game plan standpoint, all the different situations and how you want to handle them. You know; goal line, short yardage, third down, two minute, red area, blitzes and so forth and so on. You just have to do it in a condensed amount of time. We will have plenty of those weeks during the season so it is not like it is not going to come up again. That is the way it is so we just have to do what we would normally do in seven days, in less time when that is the situation. That is the way it will be this week and the same thing from a physical standpoint. Guys could always use an extra day and we have a couple of short weeks here, with Tampa to Philadelphia and Philadelphia to the [New York] Giants. But we will have a couple of extra days on the other end of it going into the Kansas City game. In the end it all evens out. With every long week is a short week and with every short week is a long week. We just have to utilize your time as efficiently as you can in whichever one of those situations you are in. That is what we try to do. There is nothing we can do about it and no point in making a big deal about it. If it is short than use that amount of time. If it is long, than use that amount of time.


August 23rd, 2008
Post-game thoughts
Posted by Karen Guregian at 12:39 am

Forget the 0-3. That’s really irrelevant during the preseason.

What sticks out are how poorly the top units continue to perform. Here’s how the three units broke down tonight.

Offense:

*** While Matt Cassel’s numbers weren’t atrocious (8-for-14, 60 yards), he’s failed in three games to put the ball in the endzone. That speaks volumes for a quarterback trying to keep hold of the No. 2 job. Matt Gutierrez (14-for-20, 217 yards, 2 TDs) certainly made a run for the back-up job with his performance.

**** The offensive line remains porous with pass protection breakdowns, and also tonight, coming up with drive-killing holding penalties.

**** The running game was dormant save for a brief flurry in the third quarter. Laurence Maroney and Sammy Morris continue to have few holes to squeeze through.

Defense:

*** The opening drive continues to be a killer, although the Eagles had to settle for a field goal after 14 plays.  The Ravens (field goal), Bucs (touchdown) and Eagles (field goal) have all scored on the first possession against the Pats first defense.

*** The top unit can’t get off the field, with the Eagles converting on 50 percent of its third down chances.

Special teams:

*** While Stephen Gostkowski remained a rock (5-for-5 in the preseason), the kickoff coverage team gave up a 101-yard touchdown return, while the punt unit surrendered a 76-yard TD return. That should never happen.


August 22nd, 2008
Welker hurt
Posted by Karen Guregian at 8:34 pm

Wide receiver Wes Welker suffered a rib injury, presumably while being tackled on a first quarter punt. His return was being deemed “questionable.”.


August 22nd, 2008
Brady sits: It’s official
Posted by Karen Guregian at 7:23 pm

The Patriots just released a list of players not expected to play, and Tom Brady heads that list.  As mentioned earlier, this is not really a surprise. The Pats are thinking safety first with the franchise quarterback. There’s no need to risk aggravating the foot, or further injury at this stage.

Here’s a look at the full list of those not expected to play:

* Tom Brady 

* Jason Webster

* Brandon Meriweather

* LaMont Jordan

* Mike Richardson

* Kyle Eckel

* Stephen Neal

* Matt Light

* Billy Yates

* Oliver Ross

* Sam Aiken

* LeKevin Smith

* Adalius Thomas


August 22nd, 2008
Pre-game sights
Posted by Karen Guregian at 7:08 pm

Players from both teams have come out for pre-game warm-up. The most notable absentee, of course, is quarterback Tom Brady, who apparently will miss his third preseason game.

One other missing Patriot of note is linebacker Adalius Thomas, who while practicing this week, was wearing a wrap or removable cast on his left arm. He did not play Sunday in Tampa.

On the flipside, Rodney Harrison  is on the field, and will be seeing his first preseason action, as will Kelley Washington and rookie Jonathan Wilhite.


August 22nd, 2008
Report: Brady won’t play
Posted by Karen Guregian at 6:35 pm

According to Patriots Today, Tom Brady won’t be playing tonight against the Eagles. If the report is true, it shouldn’t come as a shock. He only practiced once this week, coming off his right foot injury. And, if he were to play, he’d be at a bit more risk, given several members of the offensive line - both starters and subs- remain on the shelf (Matt Light, Stephen Neal, Russ Hochstein, Ryan O’Callaghan, Billy Yates). So it would appear the Pats are erring on the side of caution with the franchise quarterback.

To this point, only Matt Cassel, Matt Gutierrez and Kevin O’Connell have appeared in the early pre-game warm-ups.


August 22nd, 2008
Asante in the house
Posted by Karen Guregian at 5:57 pm

Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel just came out for some stretching, and immediately greeted some of his former Patriot teammates, namely Wes Welker and Richard Seymour, who were on the field. Warm hugs and handshakes were exchanged with Samuel, who signed a 6-year, $57 million deal with Philadelphia. He also chatted with Chad Jackson and C.J. Jones.


August 22nd, 2008
Pats pay tribute to Pires
Posted by Karen Guregian at 5:18 pm

The Pats have dedicated tonight’s game in the memory of Dan Pires, the late New Bedford (Mass.) Standard Times reporter who covered the Patriots.

The team placed a picture of Pires in press box, just outside the elevator. The words under the photo read: “Tonight’s game is dedicated in the memory of Dan Pires - a proud father, a dear friend, and a true fan. On behalf of all your friends, we miss you.”

 Following the national anthem, a moment of silence will be observed.


August 21st, 2008
Kraft on Upshaw’s passing
Posted by Karen Guregian at 1:52 pm

Patriot’s Chairman/CEO Robert Kraft offered the following words in a statement with regard to the passing of NFLPA head Gene Upshaw:  “I am deeply saddened today to learn of Gene Upshaw’s passing. He is a man I have always admired and respected. Through hard work and perseverance, Gene accomplished so much in his life. He was passionate about the game of football and dedicated much of his adult life to improving the game, not just for the benefit of the players, but for the benefit of all our fans, too. His many on-field accomplishments earned him a place among the all-time greats in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But his contributions to the game go way beyond the playing field. His union leadership has been one of the key factors to the exponential growth that the league and all of its players have enjoyed over the past two decades. Gene represented the players the way I would want to be represented: with understanding, integrity and a steadfast commitment to doing what was right for them and what was best for the game. On behalf of my family and the entire New England Patriots organization, I extend our sincerest sympathies to his wife, Terri, and the entire Upshaw family. Gene’s legacy on the game will be lasting and his presence will be missed.”


August 21st, 2008
Pats release Jimoh
Posted by Karen Guregian at 1:45 pm

The Pats released cornerback Ade Jimoh. The move was made in order to make room for Mike Flynn, the offensive lineman signed today.

Jimoh wasn’t expected to make the roster.


August 21st, 2008
Pats sign OL Flynn
Posted by Karen Guregian at 11:06 am

The Patriots have signed 34-year-old center/guard Mike Flynn, who has spent the past 10 seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, according to his agent, Ralph Cindrich.

Flynn is a New Englander, having gone to Cathedral High School (Springfield, Ma.), and college at Maine. He was part of the Ravens Super Bowl team in 2000. He signed a minimum veteran deal.

”There weren’t too many teams he wanted to play for, and New England was one of them,” Cindrich said. ”Economically, there were some better opportunities, but this is where he’s from. He’s a starting player on a Super Bowl team. It’s a great opportunity and great thrill for him.”


August 20th, 2008
Brady returns to practice
Posted by Karen Guregian at 12:50 pm

     Patriots quarterback Tom Brady returned to practice today for the first time since Friday. He missed last Sunday’s Tampa

Bay preseason game with a sore right foot, however during the small media window today, he did not appear to favor the foot during brief throwing drills and stretching exercises.

     There were 13 players missing from practice, including offensive tackle Matt Light, who Coach Bill Belichick indicated earlier was “getting closer” to returning to practice.


August 19th, 2008
No Brady/Rodney returns
Posted by Karen Guregian at 4:30 pm

Tom Brady wasn’t on the practice field during the small window the media was allowed to view practice today. The Pat’s quarterback missed the second preseason game against Tampa due to a right foot injury, and is questionable for Friday’s night’s preseason tilt with Philadelphia.

He was, however, in Foxboro. While the team was practicing on an upper field late in the afternoon, he was spotted on the main field inside Gillette Stadium wearing work-out clothes.

Brady was one of 14 players, including the two on the physically unable to perform list (Stephen Neal, Oliver Ross), not at practice. One other notable missing was safety Brandon Meriweather, who was injured in the Bucs game.

Returning to the field were safety Rodney Harrison, running back LaMont Jordan, wide receiver Kelley Washington and rookie defensive back Jonathan Wilhite. 


August 19th, 2008
Pats sign TE DeVree
Posted by Karen Guregian at 3:01 pm

One tight-end released in Marcus Pollard, another brought in, as the Pats signed rookie tight end Tyson DeVree today.

The Pats had orginally signed the 23-year-old rookie free agent on May 5th, but released him on June 11th.

DeVree, who is 6-6, 245 pounds, finished his college career at the University of Colorado (2006-07) after transferring from Western Michigan (2003-04) after his sophomore year. He played in 44 collegiate games, making 96 receptions for 987 yards and 15 receiving touchdowns.


August 19th, 2008
Pollard released
Posted by Karen Guregian at 1:34 pm

The most significant news out of Bill Belichick’s morning press briefing had the team releasing veteran tight-end Marcus Pollard, who looked to be a third tight-end, if the team planned on carrying that many at the position.

When asked about the move, Belichick essentially said it was better for Pollard to cut him now, rather than later.

”We just felt like, with Marcus, that it really wasn’t going to work out here the way that we had hoped and that he he had hoped. But at the same time, there is still a couple of preseason games left. There is some time before the opener, and I think there are some other teams that are looking for tight ends and maybe there is a better opportunity for him somewhere else. That’s for him to determine,’ Belichick said. ”Rather than to do it on the last cut, where his opions would be more limited, we felt like in fairness to him and out of respect to him, that he deserved that.”

The remaining tight-ends on the roster are Benjamin Watson, David Thomas, Stephen Spach, and Jonathan Stupar, the latter two looking like longshots to make the team.


Next Page »


BLOGGER
Patriots beat writer John Tomase joined the Herald in 2005 after six years covering the Red Sox. A Mansfield native and Tufts grad, he grew up during the Steve Grogan era and is coming around on this Brady guy, even though he'll always have a soft spot for No. 14 and his neck roll.

Karen Guregian has been a member of the Boston Herald sports staff since 1984.

She has been covering the Patriots beat full-time for the past two seasons and has covered practically every major sporting event for the Herald during her career, including the World Series, Super Bowl, Stanley Cup finals, NBA Finals, U.S Open tennis championships and numerous professional golf major championships.

She served as a hockey beat writer, covering the Boston Bruins for a period of eight seasons and has regularly contributed to the Herald's Red Sox coverage.

She has won numerous awards, including Boston Magazine's "Best of Boston" award as best local sports reporter on two different occasions. She has also won several New England Press Association awards for both news, and sportswriting.

She is a native of Chelmsford, and 1984 graduate of Northeastern University.

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