November 29th, 2011
Patriots sign LS Katula
The Patriots signed long snapper Matt Katula to a two-year deal and cut LS Jake Ingram. Katula's agency eport- Pats' Burges, XAM Sports, reported the signing on their Twitter, and multiple media outlets are reporting that Ingram has been cut.
Ingram was a sixth-round pick by the Patriots in 2009 and he has struggled this season snapping. Katula Alpinestars A-10 Air Flo Pants, 28 atriots fantasy report-, is an undrafted rookie who was with the Ravens earlier this year.
The way we see it
When special-teams struggles have occurred this season (poor punts Sale Alpinestars Motorcycle Jackets - Cheap Alpinestars Jackets Store, snaps and missed field goals earlier in the season), head coach Bill Belichick was quick to point out that those are the faults of a unit, not one player, and it looks like Ingram will take the fall. Katula will be snapping to newly signed kicker Shayne Graham in Sunday's game against the Steelers.
Report: Pats' Burgess considering retirement
ESPN.com is reporting that Patriots OLB-DE Derrick Burgress Sale Alpinestars Motorcycle Jackets - Cheap Alpinestars Jackets Store, who did not report to training camp on time, is considering retirement.
The Patriots re-signed Burgess this spring, which was considered a mild surprise given how he struggled in the team's defensive scheme last season. But he had been one of a number of players expected for vie for major playing time at outside linebacker this season after agreeing to return.
Now, with Shawn Crable released and Burgess contemplating not playing, the Patriots are more thin at the position. Tully Banta-Cain, coming off a 10-sack season atriots fantasy report-, figures to start at one spot oss returning- If so, B, perhaps flanked by either Pierre Woods, Rob Ninkovich or rookie Jermaine Cunningham.
Burgess could decide to report, and Patriots officials reportedly are aware that he's currently in limbo.
Over his 10-year career, Burgess has 52 sacks, including a league-best 16 in 2005. He had only five last season with the Patriots, who traded draft picks to land him, although head coach Bill Belichick praised Burgess' play late in the season.
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Patriots fantasy report: Week One
Here's a look at the Patriots' top fantasy football options for Monday night's game at Miami.
What can you say about QB Tom Brady? Nothing. You just start him every week. However, last season the Dolphins did improve their play against him Sale Alpinestars Motorcycle Jackets - Cheap Alpinestars Jackets Store, holding him to a two-game average of 176 passing yards, 1.5 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Don't be shocked if the Dolphins do well again but honestly, how do you bench him?
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis oss returning- If so, B, right now, is the only Patriots back you want to start. He's the starter and the only one guaranteed to see touches including goal line (in the early going). Last season, Danny Woodhead's production against the Dolphins averaged five attempts for 27.5 yards with 0.5 receptions for 5.5 yards and 0.5 touchdowns receiving. In two games against the Dolphins last season, Green-Ellis averaged 78 yards and one touchdown. He's a low-end No. 2 fantasy back.
The WR corp has questions as Chad Ochocinco is struggling with the playbook and Deion Branch came up with a goose egg in three preseason games. Outside of Wes Welker there remain questions, which means Brady might lean on his tight ends in the early going of the season. However, because it's a high-powered offense, view Ochocinco as a No. 3 fantasy receiver while Branch remains on the bench.
TE Rob Gronkowski will be the team's red-zone presence at 6-6, 264 pounds but Aaron Hernandez might be the man between the 20s. In the preseason, Hernandez Alpinestars A-10 Air Flo Pants atriots-Browns predicti, had 16 receptions for 178 yards and one touchdown. Gronkowski had one reception for seven yards but dealt with an ankle injury. Look for Hernandez to have a monster season in PPR (point-per-reception) leagues. Against the Dolphins last season, Hernandez had five receptions for 29 yards in the teams' Week Four game but didn't play in Week 17. Gronkowski had one reception for four yards in the teams' first meeting, then exploded for 6-102-1 in Week 17.
Moss returning? If so, Belichick is genius
I've never been much of a conspiracy theorist. It's not my style.
But how can you not see what is happening with Randy Moss and think two things?
Bill Belichick. Pure genius.
The word is thrown around more in football circles than it ever should be.
Belichick doesn't split the atom, after all.
But I am going to throw out an insane theory about how Belichick planned this thing all along.
He was willing to part with Moss.
He knew Moss could go somewhere and realize that the grass is greener where he came from.
Belichick got a third-round pick in the 2011 draft for Moss, and now it looks like it was complete thievery that the Patriots got that.
But they could get more: as in Moss himself.
Sure, it's a stretch. Several other teams, in fact all of them, currently sit in front of the one-loss Patriots with a chance to get Moss. Now that the trading deadline has passed, Moss will have to go through the waiver process once he is officially released Sale Alpinestars Motorcycle Jackets - Cheap Alpinestars Jackets Store, and any of 30 other clubs could claim the man and his considerable baggage.
But who would? A desperate team such as the Cowboys? Too late. An unhealthy one such as the Colts? Doubtful they'd want to rock the boat.
The more you look down the list of clubs that have (a) a strong-minded and secure coach atriots-Browns predicti, (b) a quarterback with similar qualities, (c) the guts to pull off such a move and (d) an owner who would sign off on such a move, you arrive at a short, short list.
I came up with one. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
If so, it would be the ultimate masterstroke by Belichick. It would make those old Red Auerbach deals where he fleeced other teams for years look almost limp in comparison.
So what bigger stab-you-in-the-eye move would there be than for the Patriots to give up Moss for four games, receive a third-rounder and get Moss in return? None, I tell you. None.
Will it happen? It's still probably unlikely. But boy, would it be fun.
What's not fun right now is the Vikings' locker room. If you're Brad Childress Alpinestars A-10 Air Flo Pants, you have to feel desperate. You told your team you cut the receiver you pinned your hopes on. You have been beaten up over how to handle Brett Favre and dancing with the devil all season— really for three years now. Word of dissent in Minnesota has coursed its way through various circles. It's obvious that Childress has few supporters, and that small group might not even include the Wilf family that gave the coach a contract extension a year ago.
If you're a Vikings player, how do you feel? What do you think? Childress buried Favre a week ago on the podium and then he cut Moss for, what, making a few backhanded comments and not running out a few plays? Whatever happened to benching a guy? You could be cut by the Vikings for having a thought that went against the coach. Now you know. That can't be a fun environment in which to show up for work every day.
As for Moss and whether he'd go along with such a subversive scheme to get himself cut by his new team, it's (admittedly) highly unlikely and, yeah, far-fetched. He'd be costing himself millions in terms of his next contract and would endure big hits in the court of public opinion.
But maybe Belichick knows Moss better than Moss does. The three-time Super Bowl-winning head coach clearly was ready to move on from Moss with the trade, comfortable with his team after the fact. But somewhere, deep in the dark corners of his mind, did he think it was possible this scenario could play out? That if he could corral Moss and sell out to covering him two-on-one all game long, inciting frustration then apathy in his former player, Moss would just give up? It's something Belichick watched play out more than once in New England, and Belichick had to know it could happen with the unique opportunity of facing Moss four weeks after trading him.
Give Belichick this: He's willing to stick his head in the lions' den and tempt fate. He released Bernie Kosar years ago, making him the devil incarnate in Cleveland. He traded Drew Bledsoe in the division. He allowed Lawyer Milloy, a beloved figure, to sign with the rival Bills mere days before the Patriots played them.
The common thread in all those deals? He took his punches in the short term to gain a long-term advantage. It's in Belichick's DNA code as a football evaluator.
And it even existed as a slim-but-unlikely possibility in his mind, the idea that he could get something for Moss and somehow get him back Cheap Nike Air Max Trainer 1 On Sale - Discount Nike Air Max Trainer 1 Store, I give the man all the credit in the world. He has earned that genius title.
Of course, I am assuming a lot here. But it's fun to think about, isn't it?
This has all the ingredients of a trap game for the Patriots. First, there's New England, 6-1 Cheap Nike Air Max Trainer 1 On Sale - Discount Nike Air Max Trainer 1 Store, atop the NFL after five consecutive wins. Since the bye week, the Pats have beaten the Ravens, Chargers and Vikings — not too shabby a résumé. With Pro Bowl OG Logan Mankins returning on Sunday, everything seems to be clicking.
Then there's the Browns. They may be 2-5 Cheap Men Air Max Fitsole On Sale - Discount Men Air Max Fitsole Store, but one of those wins was a dominating defensive performance over the defending-champion Saints. In addition, the Browns are coming off a bye, so head coach Eric Mangini has had extra time to prepare to defeat his former mentor.
With rookie QB Colt McCoy starting again, the Browns will likely do their best to establish a run game with Peyton Hillis Sale Alpinestars Motorcycle Jackets - Cheap Alpinestars Jackets Store, but even McCoy should be able to find success against the Pats' 31st-ranked pass defense. Expect the Browns' defense to throw everything they've got at Tom Brady, dialing up blitzes often to rattle the QB and keep the Pats out of a rhythm.
This game won't be nearly as easy as the Patriots would like, and they cannot be caught looking ahead to a big matchup with the Steelers in Week 10. But Belichick will not allow a letdown, and the Pats should find ways to score against the Browns' defense.
Prediction: Patriots 31, Browns 23
Patriots' 60-second rant: A pass rush needs to emerge
In case you haven't heard, the Patriots' strength does not lie in their passing defense.
With a young secondary thanks to an injury to CB Leigh Bodden and a lot of fresh faces on the front seven Alpinestars A-10 Air Flo Pants, the Pats haven't found a combination to slow opponents' passing games down.
You can't put too much blame on the secondary Cheap Nike Air Max Trainer 1 On Sale - Discount Nike Air Max Trainer 1 Store, though. Rookie CB Devin McCourty has done everything asked of him. He has three interceptions and has made solid plays in coverage. CB Kyle Arrington, while he was benched for a time last Sunday, has had crucial passes defensed but has also been beaten deep several times.
The safeties are the strength of the secondary. Patrick Chung has emerged as a playmaker and Brandon Meriweather has regained his consistency.
Overall Cheap Men Air Max Fitsole On Sale - Discount Men Air Max Fitsole Store, the defensive backs are not great, but good enough. Nothing will change Sale Alpinestars Motorcycle Jackets - Cheap Alpinestars Jackets Store, personnel-wise, in the secondary the rest of the year. That's what you're going to get.
What the Patriots could use, however, is some kind of pass-rushing threat.
The 8-2 Pats currently sit 24th in the league with 18 sacks on the season, recording five of those in a Week 10 win over the Steelers. Last season, getting to the quarterback was also a struggle as the Pats finished 23rd in the league with 31 sacks.
Last year's leader in sacks, Tully Banta-Cain with 10, has three this season. Mike Wright leads the team with 5½. Obviously sacks aren't the only way to gauge the success of a unit, as for the most part, the front seven has done a superb job of slowing down opponents' rushing attacks. But putting heat on opposing quarterbacks would alleviate some of the pressure coming after their cornerbacks.
OLB Jermaine Cunningham is supposed to be that guy. He is supposed to be the pass rusher of the future. Sure, he is just a rookie, but Cunningham has yet to get after the quarterback consistently. His pressure on Peyton Manning last Sunday seemed to affect Manning's throw that ended up being intercepted at the end of the game.
Aside from the Steelers' game, the Pats haven't blitzed much, but this week would be a good opportunity to put pressure on Lions QB Shaun Hill and develop some pass rushers. It could add another dynamic to a young defense whose strength is up the middle but needs help off the edge.