Friday Injury Report

The Patriots have just released their Friday Injury Report witj just one change — Kevin Faulk. Here’s the latest:

Did Not Participate in Practice
RB Kevin Faulk (team decision)

Limited Participation in Practice
QB Tom Brady (right shoulder)
LB Rosevelt Colvin (ankle)
CB Randall Gay (thigh)
RB Laurence Maroney (groin)
G Stephen Neal (shoulder)
WR Donte Stallworth (knee)
WR Kelley Washington (hamstring)
NT Vince Wilfork (shoulder)
DL Mike Wright (knee)
G Billy Yates (shoulder)

Thursday Injury Report

Here’s the injury report, just released by the Patriots:

Limited Participation in Practice
QB Tom Brady (right shoulder)
LB Rosevelt Colvin (ankle)
CB Randall Gay (thigh)
RB Laurence Maroney (groin)
G Stephen Neal (shoulder)
WR Donte Stallworth (knee)
WR Kelley Washington (hamstring)
NT Vince Wilfork (shoulder)
DL Mike Wright (knee)
G Bill Yates (shoulder)

Wednesday Injury Report

Here’s the injury report, just released by the Patriots:

Limited Participation in Practice:
LB Rosevelt Colvin (ankle)
CB Randall Gay (thigh)
RB Laurence Maroney (groin)
G Stephen Neal (shoulder)
WR Donte Stallworth (knee)
WR Kelley Washington (hamstring)
NT Vince Wilfork (shoulder)
S Eugene Wilson (ankle)
G Billy Yates (shoulder)

Full Participation in Practice
QB Tom Brady (right shoulder)

Bill Belichick Q&A, 9/26

Here’s the complete transcript of Bill Belichick’s Q&A with the media this morning at Gillette Stadium:

BB: We’ve had a few days here to brush up on the Bengals. Once again, this is a very talented and explosive team. Offensively, I think we know who all of the playmakers are. Certainly [Carson] Palmer and T.J. [Houshmandzadeh] and Chad [Johnson] and Rudi [Johnson], they’re a very explosive group. They have kind of an interesting situation on the offensive line. They really play with eight linemen. They have a rotation with them very similar to what a lot of teams do defensively with their defensive linemen; you just don’t see it too much on the offensive side of the ball. They’re all pretty good. They move the ball with whoever is in there. It’s just a little bit unusual to see that many guys playing on the offensive line, but they play them all and they’re all pretty good. Defensively, this is a turnover driven team. Cincinnati has been at the top of the league in turnovers the last few years. They’re up there again. They’re very conscious of getting the ball out one way or another, whether it be by scheme or by technique or by the style of play that their players use. They have good players in the kicking game as well. Obviously [Shayne] Graham is about as good as it gets on field goals. They do a good job on plus 50 punting. Skyler Green is a quick guy on the returns, on the punts. They run hard on those kickoffs regardless of who is back there. They’ve had big returns on the kickoffs consistently through the years and that’s shown up again already this year. Again, a very talented team, a team that is explosive that can score in a hurry whether it be on offense, on defense like they did against Baltimore with the strip sack and ran it in for a touchdown, and make plays in the kicking game. They have a field goal kicker that’s very, very accurate. We have a lot to get ready for this week. Today is going to be kind of a regular Wednesday for us. We’re going to go through our normal preparations today and see if we can start gaining some ground on the final product that we’re headed toward on Monday.

Q: When cornerbacks are working against players like Wes Welker and Randy Moss, can it help elevate their game?
BB: I think cornerbacks work against a lot of different types of players. Receivers have different skills sets, so as a corner you learn how to defend all of those different skill sets whether it be speed, quickness, technique, individual route running type of skills or combinations of, and that of course transcends into the actual routes and schemes that a particular offense or a particular team uses. On an individual basis, I think every receiver kind of has his own way of getting open, even though it’s kind of the same route maybe. Everybody runs a comeback route. Everybody runs an in-cut. Everybody runs a slant, but the specifics of how each individual player runs that based on his body frame, his quickness, his speed, sometimes his catching technique and things like that, it’s a little bit different for each guy. I think that corners have to understand that and deal with it. It’s no different than offensive linemen having to block a 350-pound defensive lineman, having to block an athletic 260-pound linebacker, having to block a real quick 205, 210-pound defensive back who comes in on a safety or a defensive back perimeter blitz in sub, that type of thing. You have to learn how to deal with different players and their skills and their skill sets in a one-on-one matchup. That’s true for everybody. That’s what eventually it comes down to and you have to block or tackle or defend or get open against guys who use different techniques and different skill sets.

Q: So practicing against a guy like Moss can help you?
BB: It helps you playing against a guy like Moss, right. Covering a player like Welker is hard. He’s different than Moss. Covering a player like [Donté] Stallworth is hard. He’s different than Welker. Covering [Jabar] Gaffney is hard. He’s different than Stallworth. Kelley Washington is different than them. Bam Childress and Troy Brown are different than Wes Welker. Each guy has his own style and technique and that type of thing. It’s not all the same, but I think it’s good experience for all of them. There’s a general category – bigger receivers, quicker receivers, speed guys and that kind of thing, but each guy kind of has his own way of doing things. That’s a challenge for the defensive back.

Q: With Cincinnati, have you seen any inconsistencies in their running game? There has been talk that it hasn’t been up to some people’s expectations.
BB: Well, it’s been so productive for them that I guess anything less than six yards per carry and 130 a game might be less than what they’re used to. But, no, I think they’ve run the ball well. Rudi looks like Rudi. As I said, they’ve mixed in some different combinations on the offensive line, but I think that all of those players have been…a couple of them had an injury situations. Levi [Jones] missed some time. [Eric] Ghiaciuc missed the last couple of games. He got hurt against Baltimore, but no matter who has been in there, they’ve done a good job and I think they’re still a good running football team, absolutely.

Q: What makes Palmer so good at running the no-huddle?
BB: He’s just a good quarterback. He does everything well. He can make all of the throws. He’s a strong guy in the pocket. He reads coverages well. Very accurate. He’s a good quarterback.

Q: How are [Johnathan] Joseph and [Leon] Hall coming along for them?
BB: Again, they’re a very talented group. Joseph has been slowed down a little bit and Hall has replaced him some at corner, but when Joseph has been in there, then Hall has played the nickel back and has played in the slot. Hall is instinctive. He’s quick. They’re both good tacklers. They’re both strong players, physical guys that get up and bang the receivers around a little bit. They both have good hands and good ball skills. Madieu [Williams] is a very athletic guy at safety. Dexter [Jackson] is a kind of a ballhawk back there. He has great feel and read on the quarterback and gets his hands on a lot of balls. [Deltha] O’Neal has had a lot of good games against us. He’s another very athletic guy with great hands and good ball skills. They’re all ball hawks back there. It’s the same thing with [Keiwan] Ratliff when he’s played. They do a good job of jumping the quarterback and getting their hands on the ball and breaking on it and turning it over.

Q: Obviously you studied their game against Cleveland. Was that just an aberration with the score and Cleveland putting up 51 points against them?
BB: As I said before, I think early in the season you get some games and some matchups and some situations that are not really what they are. They’ll play each other again and I doubt that the game will go the way this first one did. We’ve seen those games before. One week it’s 51-50. The next week it’s 7-3.

Q: You talked about Kyle Brady being an example of someone who came in and was able to pick up the offense fairly quickly and be productive for you. Is it fair to put Sammy Morris in that category as well?
BB: Sure. Sammy has done a great job for us. Sammy has been a player that has contributed on all four downs for us. He’s played in the kicking game. He’s played on third down. He’s played on first and second down. He gets asked to do a lot of different things and he does them and he does them right. He’s versatile, smart, a tough kid, plays strong, has some speed and quickness to be able to play in the kicking game, play on third down, be a receiver. He’s been out of the backfield some. He’s a good player. He’s worked hard at it. He’s been here the whole offseason. He hasn’t missed any time. He’s been on top of his job and his assignments and he’s performed them well, in the preseason games, practices and so far in the regular season. He’s a good guy to work with and he’s really a dependable guy. No question.

Q: How important has he been to helping Laurence Maroney in the running game and helping carry some of the load?
BB: I think we’ve had production from all of our backs. I think it’s a good group. They work well together. They help each other out. They’re all smart, tough, work hard, unselfish. I think it’s a good group to work with.

Q: Is this the best and most explosive offense you will face this season?
BB: They’re pretty explosive. They score a lot of points. They’ve been right at the top of the league in points every year. What are they now? 30 a game? Something like that, or close to it. They can score from anywhere and they can score in a hurry. They’re productive in the running game. They have a great quarterback. They have great receivers. The tight ends are good. They have a good blocking fullback, a good offensive line. It seems no matter who they put out there, they score. They use a lot of different people in their receiver combinations. Rudi missed most of the second half last week against Seattle. [Kenny] Watson ran the ball well. He was very productive. It almost doesn’t seem to matter who is out there. If that ball is moving down the field, it’s usually moving pretty fast.

Q: Do you see T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chad Johnson as the same type of receiver or are they a little bit different from one another?
BB: I think that there are a lot of similarities. They use them in different spots. T.J. plays mainly in the slot, not exclusively, but mainly. Chad plays mainly outside, but not exclusively. I think that if they wanted to switch them they probably could, but I think they have them where they think they’re most productive. There’s a balance there. They’re usually on opposite sides, so it’s hard to get them both. It’s hard to get either one of them, but it’s unusual to see them together. They do it a little bit, but not a whole lot. I think they don’t want you to be able to go and load up over on that side. Different but kind of similar to the Indianapolis program where [Marvin] Harrison and [Reggie] Wayne usually aren’t together. They’re on opposite sides and that makes it harder to get both of them. But they’re both quick. They’re both fast. They’re both good after the catch; real good hands. They’re good route runners. The interesting thing about those guys a lot of times when they catch the ball, there’s nobody within five yards of them, 10 yards of them sometimes. They spin them around. It’s not like they’re open diving for the ball trying to make a circus catch. A lot of times they beat the defender so bad it looks like he’s out to practice early just standing right there by himself. I showed the team a couple [of plays] today where they’re standing in the end zone pretty much fair-catching the ball waiting for it to come down where the guy falls down or he’s spun around. They’re very good route runners, both of them. Very good.

Q: Is this a game where field position isn’t that big of a deal?
BB: I think it’s always a big deal. It’s always a big deal. I don’t think you want to play these guys on a short field. I don’t think that’s a good idea at all.

Q: After three games, is Asante Samuel back up to last year’s level yet?
BB: I think right now our job as a team, and Asante’s job, is to get ready for Cincinnati and the challenges this week, which are plenty. That’s what we have to do, is take advantage of our opportunities this week in the classroom and on the practice field and film study to get ready and prepare for this outstanding passing game. That’s what we’re going to do. But ranking something compared to some other year or some other game, or whatever…I don’t know.

Q: How would you assess your offensive line’s efficiency?
BB: I think the line is doing a good job for us. It’s not perfect, but it’s been solid. We’ve had a couple of different guys in there at right guard, but otherwise it’s been pretty consistent. It could be better. It’s been solid. It’s helped our offensive production. We haven’t had a lot of penalties. We haven’t had a lot of negative plays, so that is good.

Q: What has Maroney done best this year so far?
BB: I think the biggest thing for Laurence is to keep working on his consistency. I think we’ve all seen him make plays out there and do things well. It’s like any other player, just being able to do it consistently, time after time. A lot of plays. A lot of things to do right. Try to get them all done. That’s the way it is with most players in this league. Just about everybody can go out there and make plays somewhere along the line. It’s just a question of how consistently you can do it and try to keep the bad ones out of there. I think that’s true for him too.

Brady named Player of the Week

The NFL has just announced that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week. Brady posted a career-high 150.9 passer rating and tied his career-high with four touchdown passes in a 38-7 win over division opponent Buffalo. The veteran signal caller completed 23 of 29 passes (79.3 percent) for 311 yards. With the Patriots trailing 7-3 midway through the second quarter, Brady led the Patriots on two scoring drives that ended in touchdown passes to take a 17-7 lead at halftime. In the second half, Brady tossed a four-yard touchdown pass and a 45-yard touchdown pass to cap off the win.

Sammy Morris Q&A

Through the first three games of the regular season, running back Sammy Morris has been a backup in name only — the veteran has posted 151 rushing yards, second on the team behind starter (and neighbor) Laurence Maroney, and has a pair of touchdowns. He spoke about his role on the team, his relationship with Maroney and his thoughts on the Bengals this morning at Gillette Stadium:

Saw the Sox cap in your locker. Are you a Red Sox fan?
Just of late, actually. I met [Josh] Beckett at the Beckett Bowl, and went to a game recently. They’ve kind of grown on me. The Braves are my favorite team, actually.

Coach just called you a really professional, dependable guy. How do you react to that?
It’s flattering. When I come in every day, I just try to be me, and just give my team all I’ve got.

What’s been the biggest surprise for you so far?
I think everyone here holds themselves to high expectations, and that comes from the top. I think we expect to go out and make big plays and expect to play well. So nothing has really been a surprise for me.

How has it been working with Laurence? You guys seem to have a pretty complimentary running style.
I think our running back group as a whole is multifaceted. I think each of us brings a different aspect to the game. But when it comes to me and Laurence, I think we have a great relationship away from the field. As I’ve said before, he’s my neighbor, and that kind of helps with the environment when we do come to work.

What are some of the things that stand out for you about this Cincinnati defense?
They play hard — they’re a ball-hawking defense. They thrive off turnovers and they’ve been able to get them. They have a lot of athletes back there, and they play well and I think they’re pretty disciplined in what they do.

With an explosive offense like Cincinnati has, is there more pressure on the offense to produce?
I think as an offense, we go into each game with that attitude. We have to score. We have to do our part to keep the defense off the field and eliminate turnovers. Especially this week against a team that does so well at getting turnovers, it puts the onus a little more on us to play more ball control and play better in the red zone — to make sure we come out with six instead of three.

Did you have certain expectations about your role and how involved you would be with this team coming into the season?
My expectations were to be involved. That’s really all I was expecting, to be involved. After that, the coaches made their own decisions.

Pats make series of moves

The Patriots have just announced a series of roster moves — they’ve signed cornerback Antwain Spann to the practice squad, released cornerback Gemara Williams from the practice squad and placed tight end Jason Rader on the practice squad reserve/injured list.

Spann, 24, was originally signed by the Patriots as a free agent on Jan. 19, 2006. Last season, he was signed from the Patriots practice squad to the active roster on three occasions and saw action in eight games. The 6-foot, 195-pound cornerback notched six special teams tackles on coverage units in 2006. The Louisiana-Lafayette product was released by the Patriots on July 19, 2007.

Williams, 24, was originally signed by the Patriots as an undrafted rookie free agent on May 8, 2006. The 5-foot-8-inch, 185-pound defensive back was placed on injured reserve on Sept. 2, 2006 and missed his rookie season due to injury. Williams attended the University of Buffalo, where his 39 career passes defensed set a school record. He was released by the Patriots on Aug. 18, 2007, and was signed to the practice squad on Sept. 12, 2007.

Rader, 26, was signed to the Patriots practice squad on Sept. 3, 2007. The 6-foot-4-inch, 260-pound tight end has played in five career NFL games — all with the Miami Dolphins in 2006. Rader was originally signed by the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted free agent out of Marshall in 2004. He was waived by Atlanta prior to the 2004 regular season and was signed by the Dolphins on June 13, 2005. He spent eight weeks of the 2005 season on Miami’s practice squad. Last season, Rader split time between Miami’s active roster and practice squad and appeared in five games. He played for the Rhein Fire of the NFL Europe League in the spring of 2005.

Bill Belichick Q&A, 9/24

Thanks to the Patriots’ PR staff, here’s the complete transcript of Bill Belichick’s Q&A with the media this morning at Gillette Stadium:

BB: Just following up on yesterday afternoon’s comments. It was a little bit of a different game in that a few things happened there in the first quarter that kind of changed a little bit of our plan for the way we thought the game would go. I thought the players did a good job making some adjustments both offensively and defensively, kind of in what the emphasis was. I thought they were heads-up on the sideline. They did some things in the game that we really hadn’t spent a lot of time going over in practice, because Buffalo kind of threw them at us and played us a little bit differently than what they’ve been doing, or maybe what we expected. That was good. We still have a lot of things we have to work on. Obviously we made enough plays to win. I thought we were good in some phases of the game. We could’ve been a little more consistent. We had a lot of negative runs in the running game and missed some scoring opportunities, gave up another touchdown in the red area, things like that that certainly could’ve been better. In the end, like I said, we made more plays than they did and that’s always the idea. We need to correct the mistakes on this one and then be ready to get on to Cincinnati and go out there and try to play an error-free game. That’s probably what it will take.

Q: Had you prepared for Trent Edwards at all and what kind of adjustments did you have to make for him?
BB: We talked about him. We of course didn’t expect him to play. There’s very few quarterbacks, a couple come to mind, but there aren’t a lot of quarterbacks that are more athletic than [JP] Losman. Some of the things that he does affected us on the pass rush. I think that Edwards obviously has a good arm. He made several good throws in the game. A poised kid. A guy we had a lot of respect for coming out. He’s a talented guy. I would say we were a little bit less concerned about him scrambling than JP. That would probably be the big thing in the pass rush. In terms of the throws he can make in the passing game and all of that, not much.

Q: Did it mean you could blitz more?
BB: No, I just think that the guys, particularly the outside rushers, if it’s a guy like Losman you really have to be concerned about him getting outside the pocket, throwing on the run, getting balls down the field. Last year, they snapped one over his head, he picked it up and still got outside and hit a 20-yarder. He had a couple of scrambles on us, just more concerned about his running ability and keeping him contained in the pocket than Edwards, but no I don’t think the passing game really affected it much.

Q: After looking at the tape, what will you say to Wes Welker, ‘Be careful, don’t do that anymore?’
BB: I think I covered it after the game. It wasn’t the best play I ever saw. It wasn’t the worse one. Just try to make good decisions out there with the ball, it doesn’t matter how you get it or where you get it, you just need to make good decisions with it.

Q: Did you think it was a good play? A bad play?
BB: It wasn’t the best play I saw. It wasn’t the worst play I’ve ever seen. It could’ve been a lot worse.

Q: Can you comment on Russ Hochstein filling in over there?
BB: I thought our offensive line overall did a pretty solid job. They gave us a few problems, like they always do, but I thought it was a pretty solid job. We ran the ball well. We pass protected fairly well for the most part. Russ is a dependable guy for us. He’s been able to step in there at both guard and center for us through the years. He’s a smart guy. He works hard. He’s tough. He’s been banged up a couple of times, but I think he’s always come back as quickly as anybody has come back from a couple of the things that he’s had. He’s a tough kid and he’s out there and he’s dependable and he works hard and he’s smart and he’s versatile. He stepped in there and did it again, kind of like Jarvis [Green] has done for us at times on the other side of the line. Russ is kind of like that too.

Q: This is three weeks in a row you’ve had different players in that spot. Do you take a step back and say you are pleased with you depth on the offensive line?
BB: Sure. Absolutely. Anytime a player steps in there and plays well for you, you feel good about your depth at that position. It’s always good. As much as you hate to see a player go out, it’s encouraging to see another player step in and do a good job. It gives you more confidence in him and your depth at that position and the overall consistency you can maintain as a team. Definitely. You never want to see anybody go out, but that presents an opportunity for somebody else and it’s good when they can go in there and capitalize on it.

Q: Are you pleased with your overall balance on offense and the run to pass ratio?
BB: I think we’ve had our moments. At times it’s been better than others. It’s competitive. I think people at least have to respect it. You have to respect our running game. You have to respect our passing game. There are some things that we can do better. We can execute them better. We can set up our system so that we can take advantage of things that the defense does, a couple of situations where we didn’t have great plays called that I think I could do a better job of just organizing it so that we have a better chance on those plays. I think there’s something to work with there. There’s a lot of things we can improve on.

Q: Can you talk about what goes into the process of throwing the challenge flag?
BB: First of all, I think it has to be what you would consider an important play in the game. Second, how good you feel about the call or what evidence you have to work with. I would say the more important the play, the less certain I would be about the evidence or view of the play. Sometimes you’re just kind of hoping that you get a good view of it. The more sure you are of the replay, the more sure you are of the evidence that will overturn the play, then I would say the less important the play would need to be. It could be an incomplete pass on first down or a catch that’s ruled incomplete, whatever it is. It could be a first down play or something like that. You really got a good look at it. You really think that it was called incorrectly then, okay, you throw it. If it’s a big play in the game, a scoring play, a play like [Tom] Brady’s play. The ball is down there on the one yard line, it turns over, it’s a seven-point play, even though we hadn’t gotten it in, you think you could score from the one down there, so it’s a seven point play. Did we have a great look at it? Was I convinced that it wasn’t a fumble? No, not really, but it was such an important play, and it was close that you take a shot at it. I think those things, for me, work in inverse proportions. If I get information from the coaches booth and they say, ‘Hey this guy definitely stepped out of bounds. There’s no question about it,’ then I’d probably be inclined to throw the flag even if the play wasn’t that critical. If it was 15, 20 yards, whatever it is. If it was a really critical play, like the one in the endzone, that’s another scoring play. Was he out? It was close. I think the play was probably called correctly, but it’s close and it’s a scoring play. It’s early in the game. I thought it could’ve been a big play, that’s why I threw it.

Q: Does there have to be a consensus there in the booth? Is there one person assigned to that?
BB: We have it organized so that the information flows smoothly. I’d say I get good information from the booth. I have no problem with that. Like I said, sometimes it’s the magnitude of the play more so than somebody saying, ‘This is absolutely the way it is.’ If they look at it and say, ‘Hey, it’s close. We can’t get a good look at. It’s hard to tell.’ The team is coming out of the huddle. They’re getting ready to run the next play. You have to make a decision. Like I said, the more important the play is, the more likely I probably would be to throw it regardless of how convincing the evidence was.

Q: With the three wins that you’ve had this season, your team has won by a pretty dominant score. Do you look back and say you’ve been pretty dominant?
BB: I look at the things that I feel like we need to improve on and do better moving forward. I think that’s what you do every week, win, lose or draw. I think that’s what we need to do. I think every team in this league is improving. It’s early in the year. Every team is getting better and that’s what we need to do. I’m not too worried about last weekend. I’m more worried about next week. I think a lot of times early in the season, people get skewed and they get a misinterpretation or a poor impression of the way things really are based on very little evidence. A lot of times it’s just a matchup or it’s a certain situation that’s, I would say, sometimes not ordinary so everybody jumps to a conclusion that this is the way it is or that’s the way it is. I personally don’t think that’s necessarily correct. I think it just happened to hit that way early in the season. Then everybody throws a lot more weight onto it than what’s really deserved. I think we can all see examples of that even in the last couple of weeks. Look at what Cleveland did offensively two weeks ago and this week against Oakland. You look at what Cincinnati gave up defensively two weeks ago and then what they did last week, and they played well against Seattle defensively. Again, it’s early in the year. One game, that doesn’t mean this is what a team is or isn’t, good or bad. It means that is what happened in the game, but that can be skewed by circumstances, by matchups, earlier in the season and I think that has a way of leveling itself out when you have more games and more evidence through the course of the year. I don’t think right now is really a good time to evaluate where any team is. I think right now every team, at least the way I feel about our team, we need to improve, we need to get better at the things that we’re not doing as well on. If we don’t, I think it will hurt us in the long run. So, that’s where we are.

Q: What are your impressions of the punting game?
BB: I like what we’re seeing from Chris [Hanson]. Chris did what we asked him to do yesterday. Could his punts have gone a little bit further? Maybe they could have, but he did what we asked him to do. Therefore, I’m happy with that. Could it be better? It could be better.

Q: On the fourth-and-7 from the 29 [play], you didn’t go for the field goal. Was that something you saw in pregame warm-ups?
BB: I think the wind was a little bit of a factor. It was a long field goal. It was early in the game. It was a lot of field position to give them. I think it would’ve been a tough kick into that wind. I think you saw that on the kickoffs. I think that Steve [Gostkowski] hit the ball well yesterday. I thought he hit it extremely well. I don’t know how you could kickoff with the opportunities he had, I don’t know how he could kick them any better than he kicked it. A long field goal into the wind at that point in time, I just didn’t think that was the best play for our team. We almost picked it up. That extra yardage on the field goal and the opportunity to gain yards, even though we didn’t covert it, there was a field position swing there. Where did they end up with the ball?

Q: On the 23.
BB: 23. We gave our defense 77 yards.

Q: Can you just comment on the play you’re getting there at the inside linebacker spot?
BB: We’re trying to use all three of those guys. They’ve all done a good job. They all can play in any situation. We’ve broken it up differently from time-to-time, but we have confidence in all three guys. They can all play the run, play the pass, rush, they’re all instinctive, they communicate well, they can run the defense. I think that Tedy [Bruschi] AD [Adalius Thomas] and Junior [Seau] have given us good play in there, physical play. It could be better. It could be coached better by me. It could be played better by them. I think we’re doing some things well. There are other things that we need to do better.

Q: Going back to the punting for a second, you wanted Chris to hit punts that were not returnable?
BB: I thought that was pretty obvious in that particular situation. Yes.

Q: So stay away from [Roscoe] Parrish?
BB: [Nods yes] If we could kick them out of bounds to [Terrence] McGee, we would’ve been kicking them out of bounds to McGee too. I’m not saying that every situation is the same. I’m just saying that a lot of punting is situational play. I think that Chris has done a good job. He’s done a real good job for us. That’s not just in the regular season games, but the preseason games, the practice situations. I think he’s done a good job and I’m glad that we have him.

Q: You mentioned the touchdowns allowed in the red area by your defense. Your opponents are five for five down there.
BB: We haven’t stopped anybody all year.

Q: Obviously that’s going to be an area of focus.
BB: It’s been a focus. It’s been a focus. We have to do a better job down there. We have to coach it better. We have to play it better. We have to do a better job. We’re going to have to stop somebody sometime. We haven’t stopped anybody yet. It starts with me; coach them a little better then maybe we’ll play better. If we play better, maybe we’ll stop somebody. We need to do that. You can’t let them in the end zone every time they cross the 20-yard line. It’s ridiculous. Like I said, it’s a combination of bad coaching and bad playing. Hopefully we can do a better job going forward. It wouldn’t take much.

Patriots postgame notes

Here are a few postgame notes from the Patriots’ PR staff:

The Patriots have scored points in each of their 12 quarters of play this season and have scored in 31 consecutive quarters dating back to last season (including regular season and playoff games). Since being shut out 21-0 against the Miami Dolphins on Dec. 10, 2006, the Patriots have scored in 35 of 36 quarters. Since that game against Miami, the Patriots have averaged 34.8 points per game in nine regular season and playoff contests. Over that nine-game span, the Patriots have scored 34 or more points seven times.

Randy Moss caught five passes for 115 yards, making him the first player in NFL history to record three straight 100-yard receiving games in his first three games with a team (rookie or veteran). His total of 403 receiving yards rank second to the 1963 total of 422 yards by Oakland’s Art Powell for the highest receiving yardage total in NFL history for a player’s first three games with a team. Moss’s three-game total of 403 receiving yards marks the second highest total by a Patriot since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, ranking second only to Terry Glenn’s three-game total of 431 yards from Sept. 19 to Oct. 3, 1999. Moss is the first Patriots player to top 100 yards in three straight games since David Givens did it from Oct. 24 to Nov. 7, 2004. The game against the Bills marked Moss’s 49th career regular season 100-yard game.

Player Team Year Yds
Art Powell OAK 1963 422
Randy Moss NE 2007 403
Laveranues Coles WAS 2003 391
Anquan Boldin ARZ 2003 378

Randy Moss caught two touchdown passes for the second straight game, becoming the first Patriot to have two or more receiving touchdowns in back-to-back games since Ben Coates hauled in two scoring passes in the first two games of the 1994 season (9/4/94 and 9/11/94). Against the Bills, Moss scored a 3-yarder in the second quarter to give the Patriots a 17-7 lead and a 45-yarder in the fourth quarter to give New England a 38-7 advantage. The touchdowns give Moss a team-high five through three games this season and raise his career total to 106 receiving touchdowns, a mark that ranks fifth in NFL history.

Tom Brady set a career high with a 150.9 passer rating and tied his career high with four touchdown passes. Through three games, Brady has totaled 887 yards and has completed 70-of-88 passes (79.5 percent) and has compiled a 141.8 passer rating. Brady’s 79.3 percent completion rate against the Bills (23-29) is the fifth-highest completion percentage of his career. Each of his three games this season rank among the top six single-game completion percentages of Brady’s career.

Rating Date Opp.
150.9 9/23/07 vs BUF
148.3 10/21/01 at IND
147.6 11/03/02 at BUF
146.6 9/9/07 at NYJ
143.9 11/25/01 vs. NO
140.4 10/09/05 at ATL

TD Date Opp.
4 9/23/07 vs BUF
4 11/19/07 at GB
4 10/30/07 at MIN
4 12/27/03 vs BUF
4 09/22/02 vs KC
4 11/25/01 vs NO

Pct Cmp-Att Date Opp.
84.6 22-26 11/03/02 at BUF
81.5 22-27 10/09/05 at ATL
80.6 25-31 9/17/07 vs. SD
80.0 16-20 10/21/01 at IND
79.3 23-29 9/23/07 vs BUF
78.6 22-28 9/9/07 at NYJ

Tom Brady tied his career high with four touchdown passes, marking his sixth career game with four scoring throws. Brady has thrown for three or more touchdowns in three straight games to begin the 2007 season – the first time in his career that he has thrown three or more touchdowns in three consecutive games. His three-game total of 10 touchdown passes is the highest three-game total of his career. His previous three-game high was nine touchdowns, achieved in the first three games of the 2002 season.

The Patriots have begun the 2007 season with a 3-0 record, marking the seventh time in the franchise’s 48-year history that they have begun the season with three victories in a row. New England last achieved the feat in 2004 and has done it five times in the 14 seasons since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994.

New England has scored a total of 114 points through three games this season, marking its highest three-game scoring output in a single season since the first three games of the 2002 season, when it totaled 115 points. The Patriots’ 114 points in three games is tied for the third-highest three-game total in franchise history during a single season. The Patriots set a team record in 1962 by scoring 118 points over a three-game span from Sept. 16 to Oct. 6.

Laurence Maroney totaled 103 yards on 19 carries (5.4 avg.), marking his second career 100-yard rushing game. He also broke the 100-yard mark at Cincinnati on Oct. 1, 2006, when he totaled 125 yards on 15 carries (8.3 avg.). Through three games this season, Maroney is averaging 4.7 yards per carry, totaling 252 yards on 54 carries.

Asante Samuel picked off a Trent Edwards pass in the fourth quarter and returned it 42 yards, recording his first interception of the season and the 17th interception of his regular season career. Samuel has also recorded four playoff interceptions for New England. With his interception against the Bills, Samuel has now recorded 10 interceptions in his last 12 regular-season and playoff games, dating back to a three-pick performance against Chicago on Nov. 26, 2006. Including the playoffs, Samuel has returned five of his 21 career interceptions for touchdowns.

Tight end Benjamin Watson hauled in an 8-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady to give the Patriots a 10-7 lead in the second quarter. The scoring grab was the 10th of his career and marked Watson’s third straight game with a touchdown reception. He also snared a 7-yard score last week against San Diego and grabbed a 5-yard touchdown in the season opener against the New York Jets. Dating back to last season, Watson has caught a touchdown pass in five of his last seven regular season games.

With a 45-yard reception in the third quarter, Randy Moss became the 19th player in NFL history to gain 11,000 or more career receiving yards. Moss finished the game with 11,103 career receiving yards. Moss, a 10th-year veteran, entered the game ranks third in NFL history by averaging 78.8 receiving yards per game (11,103 yards in 141 games).

Jabar Gaffney scored his first touchdown of the season on a 4-yard reception from Tom Brady in the third quarter. The touchdown was the ninth of Gaffney’s regular season career and his second regular-season touchdown in a Patriots uniform. Gaffney also scored a pair of touchdowns for New England in the 2006 playoffs. Gaffney’s touchdown against the Bills capped off a 9-play, 89-yard drive and gave the Patriots a 24-7 lead.

Ellis Hobbs strip-sacked Buffalo’s J.P. Losman, forcing a fumble on a 9-yard sack in the first quarter. Jarvis Green recovered the ball for the Patriots, who proceeded to march deep into Buffalo territory and take a 3-0 lead on a 24-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski. The sack was the first of Hobbs’ career and his forced fumble was also a career first. For Green, it was his fifth career fumble recovery. Hobbs’ strip-sack was the Patriots’ fourth of the season. In the season opener against the Jets, Mike Vrabel sacked Kellen Clemens and forced him to fumble in the fourth quarter (the Jets recovered the ball). Last week against the Chargers, Rosevelt Colvin sacked Philip Rivers and caused him to fumble twice (the Patriots recovered once).

•Today’s game was the 141st consecutive home sellout for the Patriots. The streak includes every preseason, regular season and playoff game since the 1994 regular season opener.
•The Patriots improved to 82-33 (.713) at home since 1994, including regular season and playoff games.
•The Patriots improved to 31-9 (.775) all-time at Gillette Stadium, including regular season and playoff games.
•Tom Brady improved to 24-1 (.960) as a starter in games played on artificial turf during the regular season. His only career regular season loss on turf came to the Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium in the 2003 season opener.

•Brady improved to 12-1 (.923) as a starter in his career against Buffalo.
•Brady improved to 45-10 (.818) as a starter in home games, including regular season and playoff contests.
•The Patriots improved to 41-1 (.976) when Tom Brady posts a passer rating of 100.0 or higher.

•With their victory today, the Patriots now own 13 wins over the Bills in a 14-game span, marking the first time in franchise history that New England has defeated an opponent as many as 13 times in a 14-game span. The Patriots have defeated Buffalo eight straight times dating back to the Bills’ 31-0 victory in the 2003 season opener.

•The Patriots defense has held the Bills to a touchdown or less in five of the last eight games between the teams.
•The Patriots are now 20-6 in their last 26 meetings with the Bills.
•The Patriots have now recorded 54 wins over the Bills, the most against any opponent.
•Bill Belichick holds a 13-2 record against the Bills as head coach of the Patriots.

The Patriots wore their silver jerseys today – the sixth time that the team has worn them since they were introduced in 2003. New England improved to 5-1 while wearing silver. Below is a recap of New England’s record when wearing silver.

(all at Gillette Stadium)
Date Opponent W/L Score
11/16/03 Dallas W 12-0
12/07/03* Miami W 12-0
12/12/04* Cincinnati W 35-28
10/02/05 San Diego L 17-41
12/17/06 Houston W 40-7
09/23/07 Buffalo W 38-7
*-New England clinched AFC East title with win

Junior Seau played in his 244th career game today, moving into second place on the NFL’s list of most games played by a linebacker. He has played in 244 games over 18 seasons with San Diego (1990-2002), Miami (2003-2005) and New England (2006-2007). Seau passed Bill Romanowski’s mark of 243 career games, which he achieved from 1988-2003. Clay Matthews holds the NFL record for most games played by a linebacker, appearing in 278 contests from 1978-1996 with Cleveland and Atlanta.

Kyle Brady grabbed his first pass in a Patriots uniform in the second quarter, hauling in a 20-yard reception from Tom Brady to bring the Patriots to the Bills’ 2-yard line and set up Randy Moss’s touchdown catch that made the score 17-7.

The Patriots scored first, taking a 3-0 lead on a 24-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski in the first quarter. New England has scored first in six straight regular-season home games and has scored first in each of its three games this season.

Tom Brady postgame Q&A, 9/23

Here’s the complete transcript of Tom Brady’s Q&A with the media this afternoon after today’s Patriots-Bills game.

Q: Your first two touchdown drives were set up with good returns from Wes Welker. How important is it for you guys to get that field position there?
TB: I think we got off to a bit of a slow start offensively, kind of like we did in practice this week. We picked it up there in the second half. But you’re right – Wes set up some great field position and I think the key to the game offensively [was] the offensive line, and the way they performed today was exceptional. It’s kind of what they’ve been doing all year, but they were doing such a good job run-blocking, we had a lot of holes in the run game and they did a great job of pass-protection. That allowed us to hold onto the ball a little bit longer. I don’t know if we had any sacks – maybe one – but I held on to the ball. They did a great job.

Q: On that 45-yard touchdown pass to Randy Moss, Coach Belichick thought it might have been incomplete. Did you think it might be too long?
TB: Nope. I haven’t overthrown him yet.

Q: Can you describe that play?
TB: They were playing a lot of cover-2, and they weren’t in cover-2 on that particular play. I just tried to lay it up there for him and he usually comes down with it.

Q: You mentioned the slow start. Was that because of things the Bills were throwing at you or is it just a matter of having to get into a rhythm?
TB: I think it’s a good defense, and I think they did some things. They’re a very fast, physical defense and they have some play-makers over there with Aaron Schobel. I think they played very hard. I think we just capitalized when we had the opportunities – when we got the ball in the red zone on the fumble, missed the fourth down and six, so there’s things that we definitely need to improve on and I’m glad we won, but we have a big week this week.

Q: You made that look easy out there — To throw that ball the distance you threw it, in-stride, on the outside shoulder — How hard is it to make that kind of play?
TB: I just throw it up as high as I can and try to put it out there where only he can get it. Like I said, I think his length allows him to even when the DB is on his hip; just he can extend and make the play. It was a great catch. It was a great call by [offensive coordinator] Josh [McDaniels]. My job is easy. You just have to throw it up there.

Q: You had a slow start this week. Do you think it has to do with an emotional letdown after last week, which was so charged up? How hard is it to maintain that type of energy each week?
TB: [When] you play on Sunday night, you get home at 2:00 in the morning and believe it or not, those things affect you. They carry over for days. You go to bed at 3:00 in the morning and then you’re starting on Monday at the same time as normal. Wednesday afternoon it still kind of feels like late Tuesday night and it just…We have a bunch of old guys on this team and it takes a little longer to recover.

Q: The quarterback is not as young as he used to be.
TB: Yeah, he’s definitely not as young as he used to be. I don’t bounce back quite as fast. You want to have all of that energy all of the time, but some days you just wake up at 6:00 a.m. and say, “Ugh, it’s going to be a long day today.” You have to fight through it, because you can’t lose days. You can’t lose days of preparation. This team knows that and I think Coach recognized it and really came down on us pretty hard – probably harder than he ever has. The team really responded on Friday, Saturday we were focused and today we came out and we made enough plays.

Q: How encouraging does it become that a fumble at the 1-yard line can almost become a momentum builder, given the defensive stop and Wes Welker’s return?
TB: Sure, and it was great that the defense was able to hold them and keep them back there. The fumble was a bad play and you’d rather punch it in there and kick it off to them, but fumbling the ball there on the one and then gaining that field position definitely set us up.

Q: Not that you’d ever fumble on purpose, but did you sense that something was needed at that moment to snap you out of it, because it wasn’t right, and they found the moments to do it?
TB: Like I said, you’d rather have the good plays be the momentum builders than a play like that. I think the defense has given us momentum all year. The punt return that Ellis [Hobbs] gave us in the Jets game, the interception return Adalius [Thomas] gave us last week and then some of those stops and punt returns this week were huge for the offense and setting us up in field position, which is what we’re going to continue to need. I [take] pride [in] that 99-yard drive that we had out there in the fourth quarter. That was pretty good. I hope to continue that.

Q: Were you surprised at the lateral that Wes Walker threw?
TB: I don’t know what they were doing, those two. Maybe Wes learned that in Miami. I’ve never seen it around here. I’m sure Coach is going to [yell at] us for that. It’s just another one of those things that makes tapes. It turned out this time. I don’t know how well it turns out most of the time.

Q: Your first three touchdown throws inside the 10 yard line were to three different people. Are you consciously trying to spread the ball around?
TB: I think this particular time it was just that the coverage really dictated that it go to certain people. We got down there on the first drive and we were inside the five or six yard line and we didn’t get it in. We kicked the field goal and we came back with a good approach the next few times and really pounded the ball in there when we could and then took our shots when we got man-to-man coverage. I thought it was a nice play by Ben [Watson] reading the zone. The second one to Randy was an all-out blitz and the guy had no help in the middle of the field. Randy ran a great route. The third one, Jabar [Gaffney] found a hole. [They] ended up doubling or tripling Randy and Gaff kind of pulled ahead of there and made a catch. I think that’s all set up by great offensive line play, to tell you the truth. For us to hold the ball and sort through that kind of stuff, and with the blitz pick-up like they did, they performed extremely well. And that was a [darn] good defensive line we faced, too, Schobel and [Ryan] Denney and the big guys inside, too, who are excellent. The way they protected and the way they run-blocked for us today – a lot of us do a lot of things offensively.

Q: Don’t you love to throw when Randy is covered and know that the play is still going to be made?
TB: He’s a mismatch every time he’s out there when it’s one-on-one, so if they’re doubling him then you try to find other guys to go to. And if they single him, you have an opportunity even when he’s covered to put the ball in a position [where] only he can make the play because of his height and his length. That’s what happened today. He had pretty good coverage on him. He just made an outstanding catch.

Q: Do you find yourself making throws maybe you wouldn’t have in the past because of who you have out there?
TB: Like I said, we’ve had different styles throughout the years and that style has worked extremely well. This offense is going to just continue to morph into the players that we have. I thought there was a drive there where it was run, run, run, play-action and I hit Wes on that lateral play, but that was fun because we were pounding it in there and finally they had a cover-2 defense, we play-action fake and all three linebackers step up and Wes is wide open. That’s tough on the defense, and the more that we can run it effectively in a play-action pass and then when they give us man coverage you try to throw the ball to your mismatches, that’s a pretty good way to go.

Q: What is it with 38 points?
TB: 38? I don’t know. Coach didn’t want to kick a field goal to get to 41 at the end, so…I don’t know. It’s a good number. I think it’s going to be a tough one this week playing on the road on Monday night, so we have a big challenge. I’m glad we have an extra day to prepare.

Q: You gave credit to your offensive line. Going up against the pass-rush and the success Schobel has had, to not hear his name called for the first three quarters must have made you feel good.
TB: Sure, and Matt [Light] did a great job over there on my left side. At the same time, I think we’re trying to scheme things up so he’s not coming off the edge all day, and you always try to keep those pass-rushes accountable for those pass-rushers, because they can ruin a game. That’s where the best guy usually is, right over on the offense’s left side. They did a good job with him. He’s a great player, a Pro Bowl player, but our offensive line is shutting it down this year.

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