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November 30, 2007
Ravens' Friday injury report
QB Steve McNair - left shoulder
WR Demetrius Williams - ankle
TE Todd Heap - thigh (dnp)
CB Chris McAlister - knee (dnp)
S Gerome Sapp - thigh (lp)
DT Justin Bannan - ankle (lp)
T Jared Gaither - illness (dnp)
OLB Jarrett Johnson - thumb (fp)
RB Willis McGahee - ankle (fp)
OLB Gary Stills - knee (fp)
TE Daniel Wilcox - foot (fp)
dnp - did not practice
lp - limited participation
fp - full participation
Posted by Shalise Manza Young at 7:00 PM | Permalink
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Friday injury report: All systems go
The Patriots have released their Friday injury/participation report, and only one player is on it (guess who?) - Tom Brady, probable, right shoulder.
Much like last week, when Jarvis Green practiced only on Friday and played Sunday, Kevin Faulk (thigh) missed Wednesday and Thursday's sessions but practiced today and has been removed from the list.
Posted by Shalise Manza Young at 4:03 PM | Permalink
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Transcript: Bill Belichick's Friday press conference
Ron Jaworski this week had comments about Randy Moss and a perceived, on his part, lack of effort against Philadelphia running complimentary routes. How would you characterize his effort against Philadelphia, specifically in that category?
I think, like all of us, Ron’s a football guy. He’s entitled to his opinion and so is everybody else. [I] just think that Randy’s done a good job for us. He’s been a good leader, been a good player, been very productive, and I’d say the same thing I’d say about Randy as I’d say about myself and every other player. He’s not perfect. There are things he could do better. I make plenty of mistakes; so does everybody else. Is every play perfect for any of us? No. There’s room for improvement by all of us. I put everybody in that category.
Is that category - effort on complimentary routes -- a particular area that --
No, I’m just saying I think there’s plays in every game that any player could improve on. There’s plays that could be better coached or better called or better officiated or better anything. It’s a competitive game, so there’s always room for improvement for everybody, and that includes every player and every coach on our team. I can’t speak for any other ones.
So in some way you agree with his assessment?
I never said that. I said Ron’s entitled to his opinion. So is everybody else.
Want to talk more about Ed Reed?
Bring him on.
Tom [Brady] said you wanted to adopt him earlier this week.
That might be stretching [it] a little bit. Ed’s a great player. He’s a great player. [A] former Player of the Year, and deservedly so. He does a lot of things that very few other players at his position can do. He’s got a big impact on the game and there’s not a lot of defensive players you can say that about, but he’s one of the elite.
You’ve often talked about how you’re always going to prepare for every player and every team’s best game. Do you prepare for that bull’s-eye as your profile increases each week?
That’s the way it’s been all year. That’s the way it’s been every year. I mean, did you think the Jets were pointing for us? Did you think San Diego was pointing for us? Buffalo? Right down the line. Those were big games for us, they’re big games for them. Everybody’s putting out their best preparation and best game.
Can you see an increase as the season goes on?
It’s there every week. That’s what we try to do every week [and] I think that’s what our opponents try to do every week. That’s the National Football League. We have 16 games, not 162. Once a week, we play. If you can’t play once a week your best game, then…Every two weeks? Every three weeks? I don’t know. Believe it or not, we try to play [well] every week. I know it doesn’t look like it, but we do try to play [well] every week. I’m sure our opponents do, too. There are a lot of other great players and coaches in this league doing the same thing as we are, working just as hard, putting in just as much time, that have just as much experience. It’s a very competitive league and there isn’t much sometimes that decides winning and losing a game, so you’d better be able to do all of the little things, do them at the right time and any play can make the difference.
Junior Seau is in his 18th year and when you look at his career you’d say he’s a run-stopper, but here he’s kind of a third-down guy.
I wouldn’t say that. I think Junior has played on all three downs his entire career, and been productive on all three downs his entire career. In San Diego, I can’t remember him ever coming off the field and at Miami, Zach [Thomas] was really their every-down linebacker, but I don’t think it was because Junior couldn’t do it. I think that was just the role that they had him in down there for a couple of years. He’s played on every down for us.
Of those two aspects, is he better at one?
I think he’s [a] pretty well-rounded player. He’s big, he’s fast, he’s physical, he can tackle, he can run, he can cover, he can blitz. He’s [a] pretty versatile player. He plays up in the line, plays back off the line. I don’t see him as a one-dimensional player at all. I think he has a lot of versatility, more than probably most middle linebackers that have played in this league. I’d certainly put him in the top 10 percent of that group.
Is his productivity sort of surprising to you at this point in his career?
I think it is, if you look at the numbers. If you just look at how many 30 - whatever it is, [38, 39], however old he is, the number of those linebackers and what their production [is] - But, I mean, you look at Junior [and] just look at the man, there he is. He doesn’t look old, he doesn’t play old. He looks just like everybody else does that’s a veteran player. He’s got a lot of energy, he can run, he’s quick, he’s explosive, he’s got a high energy-level, he’s smart, he’s on top of it. I don’t want to say he doesn’t look his age, but [when] you watch him on the football field, you don’t look at him and say, wow, there’s an old man. It looks like he’s getting ready to retire. I don’t think anybody thinks that. You just don’t see it. You don’t see it on the practice field, you don’t see it on the game field. I think he has as much energy out there as anybody. I wish we had more that had the same kind of energy he does, to be honest with you, that are half his age or not much more than that.
Knowing how important football obviously is to you and talking about still getting butterflies on game day, can you talk about what the kids are going to feel on Saturday at the MIAA Emass Super Bowls at Gillette Stadium?
I’m sure it will be an exciting day for them and their families. When you look at high school athletes, so many of them, that’s their last game. And then there’s a fraction of them that go on and play in college and then there’s a fraction of them that go on and play professionally. But in a lot of cases, the kids that play in high school, that’s going to be their last competitive football game. And for some it isn’t, but for probably the majority, it is. I’m sure it’s an exciting experience for both them and their families and their school. It’s something that I’m sure that they’ll always remember. You remember the rivalry games and the big games that that they play within their conference or their rivals or whoever it was, but to play in a championship game, I think probably any athlete or coach, no matter how old you get you always remember the championship games you were in. There’s only so many of them, and that I’m sure will be, I think, a memory that all of those kids bring with them. It’ll probably always tie them together. I know a number of my friends that were involved in championship teams, even at the high school level, they have their reunions, they come back or an undefeated team or whatever. I had that in high school at Andover. We were undefeated in ’71 - or, I’m sorry, it was the fall of ’70. We still have those reunions every once in awhile for an undefeated team or that kind of thing. So, it is, you’ll always be connected to those - to your teammates and to that group of people, whoever they all encompassed - the coaches and everybody else that’s associated with the team. It’s a life-long memory. I think it’s great that we have the facilities to handle it and I’m sure it will be a memorable experience for all of those teams involved.
Have you had a chance to scout Dartmouth-Everett?
I haven’t seen them yet. Maybe we’ll see them Saturday.
You’ve had nine turnovers on offense, which is the fewest in the league. Where does that start, in terms of ball security? Does it start in practice or with the quarterback…?
It’s every player’s responsibility who handles the ball. When you handle the ball, you carry the entire fortunes of the team with you. No matter who it is - center, punter, quarterback, running back, defensive player on a turnover, returner - whoever it is, there’s nothing more important than possession of the ball, so it’s a tremendous amount of responsibility and anybody that has it needs to understand what the importance of it [is], and the importance of doing all that they can to secure it. It could cover a lot of different areas, from decision-making to technique and so forth, but yeah, it’s critical and everybody that touches it is part of it. It’s something that we emphasis. I know every team does. It’s important to us, and it’s an accountability that the players have to - whoever handles it has to accept. Hopefully we can keep those to a minimum. That’s important, especially this week against a turnover-driven team like the Ravens who’s record is so closely tied to the turnover ratio, like most games in this league are, but the Ravens in particular, they’re pretty heavily tilted towards their advantage in turnovers and their winning percentage.
Posted by Art Martone at 2:11 PM | Permalink
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Transcript: Defensive coordinator Dean Pees' Friday press conference
Mike Vrabel has 9.5 sacks, one of the top marks in the league. When you look at his performance do you see him playing better than he has in the past seasons that you’ve been here?
It’s always hard to say whether a guy is playing better. I think Mike is doing the things we ask of him. I think he’s playing well. The thing about Mike is he is a really smart football player, maybe one of the most intelligent players that I’ve coached and we’ve got a lot of them. I just think he’s playing well right now and I think, being in the same spot, the thing that he’s provided for us in the past is his versatility to move around, which has helped us as a team. This year, we haven’t had to move him like that as much, which I think has helped him as an individual. I think he’s playing well. To say that he’s playing better, I’ve seen him play pretty good at times in ’02, ’04 and ’05 so I think he’s playing well right now.
How are these linebackers going to shake out now with Rosevelt Colvin out?
Well, as always, it seems like everybody has to go through it and we’ve gone through it in years past. You’ve got to just deal with injuries and that you hope somebody… When somebody else has a problem or is injured, it provides an opportunity for somebody else so you hope that somebody else can step up. The thing that happens with every team -- and it’s also with us -- is that you’re always concerned about depth. Whenever you lose somebody, like when we lost Rodney [Harrison] in the secondary or [Richard] Seymour up front, you lose depth, too. Somebody’s got to just pick up the slack and we’ve got to keep going and guys have got to fill in, the depth thing always concerns you.
How necessary is it to have that five-man rotation at that position?
I think it was important prior, even before Rosevelt got hurt. It’s always good if you can - up front, especially in the front seven - have a rotation to keep guys healthy as much as you can and try to keep them fresh. It’s even going to be more so. We’re going to need to try to find somebody that we can rotate in there now. That’s always good for the front seven to be able to rotate guys in, if you have them. If you don’t, you don’t. You’ve got to play with who you have.
Where is Chad Brown at this point? Is he ready to step in?
He’s on his way back. I mean he’s only been here two days, but it’s always great to have an older veteran guy who’s been in your system. You can get an older veteran guy that comes in and has not been in your system, he might as well be a rookie -- Sometimes it’s worse. But in Chad’s case, it’s great to have a guy that was out there, that was available to come in at short notice and know a little bit of something about our system. To be fair him, to say after two days of practice, Boys, he’s ready to just jump in there, [isn’t fair]. He’s working hard at it and I’m really happy that we have him.
Is Adalius [Thomas] going to slip outside now?
Well, you know us. We have the ability to play 3-4 and 4-3 and 4-2 and 2-4 and whatever you want. That’s always going to be a game-to-game thing. He slides outside; he can play inside. We’ve had the ability with guys like him, that’s one of the versatilities that those guys have. You’re always going to see a multiple [number] of defenses from us week-in and week-out.
Do you expect teams to try to attack you with the in-cuts like Philadelphia did last game?
Philly wasn’t so much the in-cuts. Sometimes it was the seams of the field. There’s a little difference. But one thing I give a lot of credit to [are] the Eagles and to [A.J.] Feeley, he had a good game. He threw a lot of passes when he was under duress and getting hit and put them on the money. At the same time, we need to play them better. The thing that got us a little bit in [trouble] the last game, and we’ve tried to work on it this week, is just fundamentally we got a little bit lax at times and let things happen that just shouldn’t happen. There are other plays that they made: He made a good throw, they made a good catch. And that’s football, but there were other times that we got caught kind of watching the rush, expecting that guy to get sacked and he didn’t get sacked and maybe we were out of position a little bit.
One of the things that some players mentioned was that maybe the pre-snap communication was maybe a little bit off. Did you see that at all?
Not particularly. They would be the better ones to ask on that because they’re the ones out there doing the communicating. I can’t always hear it from the sidelines, especially when the crowd’s into it. I didn’t see that as a big concern, but that would have to be something that they would answer.
How about Pierre Woods, a second-year player who could potentially see more time with Rosevelt Colvin going out? Can you just talk about him a little bit in his progression from year one to year two?
Well, again, he’s a guy that’s been a legitimate backup and he’s a guy that we are hoping that we can get in the mix. He’s done a great job on special teams for Brad [Seely]. You know, he would certainly… he’s working hard and he’s getting better all the time and we’re hoping that he just keeps progressing like that and, if he does, then he’s certainly going to give us some depth where we need it.
Can you also talk about Eric Alexander a little bit in his progression?
It’s kind of the same way. What’s set Eric back has been being hurt and being out for 4-5 weeks and not being involved in some things, but it’s kind of the same thing as Pierre. We just need him to keep progressing and getting better so hopefully we can use him in some kind of rotation to help balance it out a little bit, too. Again, he’s working real hard. He’s coming off that injury and both of those guys have been working real hard this week to try to get themselves in the mix.
How concerned are you about limiting wear and tear on Tedy Bruschi and Junior Seau?
Well, I’m always concerned about all the players. I mean it’s not only those two. We have a few other guys back there too that you’re always trying to take reps off of them, if you can. One of the things that would help us do that is if we got off the field on third downs, which we were doing for the first 10 games. We did really well and that helped limit the number of plays that we were in the game. Now, we didn’t play a lot of plays in the Eagles game, but we could have played a lot less if we would’ve done a better job on third down. It’s always a concern on any player that has been around for a while. But, hey, we’ve got to play with the guys that we have and they know that and they’re ready to do that.
Posted by Art Martone at 2:06 PM | Permalink
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Friday: perfect practice attendance
The Patriots are holding the day's practice in shells and sheatshirts and sweatpants, and there is perfect attendance.
That means Kevin Faulk, who has missed the last two days of practice with a bruised thigh, is on the field.
Posted by Shalise Manza Young at 12:34 PM to Kevin Faulk
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