2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Patriots prepare for a veteran QB - for a change

    2013-09-20 02:26

(Eds: With AP Photos.)
By MATTHEW CARROLL
Associated Press

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - Rookie quarterbacks haven't exactly made life simple for New England's defense this season.

The Patriots finally will face a veteran Sunday, though, and they're quite familiar with Tampa Bay's Josh Freeman.

``He's a big guy. I didn't realize how big he was,'' New England defensive end Rob Ninkovich said. ``Until you see him in person, you realize he's 6-5, 6-6. Big presence in the pocket.''

Ninkovich was speaking from plenty of firsthand experience.

New England and Tampa Bay held joint practices each of the last two training camps. And contrary to facing a pair of first-year signal-callers in Buffalo's EJ Manuel and the New York Jets' Geno Smith, there is plenty of tape to watch on the fifth-year Freeman.

There's been more than enough time to prepare, too. Sunday will mark 10 days since the Patriots (2-0) last played a game.

``The more film you have of somebody, obviously, the easier it is,'' Patriots safety Steve Gregory said.

Nothing has been easy for New England. And Tampa Bay (0-2) isn't about to change that.

Between Freeman, explosive running back Doug Martin and 6-foot-5, 230-pound receiver Vincent Jackson, the Patriots are in for another test despite the Buccaneers' record.

``We have our hands full with (Martin) and Vincent Jackson. There's no letdown with those two on the field,'' Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork said. ``It's going to be a challenge for us. But at the same time, every week it feels like it's something different.

``But that's football. You get challenged in different ways every week. It's going to be different from the first two weeks for us.''

But it starts and ends with the tough-to-tackle Freeman. Despite rumors that he wants to be traded, coupled with a poor start to the season, Freeman still poses a threat to New England's defense.

``I think Josh has real good physical skills and he's matured and developed a lot as a player,'' Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. ``Even working against him in practice the last two years, just seeing him on a consecutive-day basis standing out there watching him throw the ball, run the offense, handle the team, he's definitely grown and developed as a quarterback and is a guy who can run the offense and has all the physical talent to make all the throws, scramble and get out of trouble.

``He's a hard guy to sack.''

Freeman isn't off to the best start, completing just 45.3 percent of his passes with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He's not much of a threat to run the ball, either, something New England had to contend with when facing Manuel and Smith.

``As a D-line, you just try and get the pressure on him and get him thinking,'' Ninkovich said. ``Just getting pressure on him, having him make quick decisions, that's what you want to do to get after him.''

They've certainly wreaked havoc on opposing quarterbacks so far. In fact, New England's defense surprisingly has helped overcome a shaky start by Tom Brady and the offense.

Usually, it's the other way around.

Trailing by four points in the fourth quarter of the opener at Buffalo, the Patriots forced three punts and recovered a late fumble to help seal the win. Four days later, with Brady and a slew of rookie receivers struggling to connect, the defense recorded four sacks of Smith and intercepted him three times in the fourth quarter to end the upset bid.

``I think everyone knows we're a couple of plays away from losing games and they were a couple of plays away from winning games,'' Patriots safety Devin McCourty said. ``So you really can't always take a team just from the record.''

And as much as the Patriots seem to understand what Freeman is capable of doing, the benefits extend to both teams.

``Having those preseason practices and the game, you can kind of get a sense of personnel, strengths, weaknesses. And they also have the same thing, too,'' Ninkovich said. ``It was cool to have practices against them, but it is preseason and it's not like they're throwing everything at us and we're throwing everything at them.

``This is a regular season game and this is where it counts.''

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Teddy BridgewaterSep 29 09:47p

Minnesota Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater (ankle) did not participate in practice Monday, Sept. 29. QB Christian Ponder worked with the first-team offense during practice.

Geno SmithSep 29 09:47p

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan publicly remained supportive of QB Geno Smith Monday, Sept. 29. He said he talked to the quarterback about his incident with yelling [ More ]

Donald BrownSep 29 09:23p

San Diego Chargers RB Donald Brown and RB Branden Oliver combined for 42 yards on 29 carries in Week 4, and although head coach Mike McCoy bashed the running [ More ]

LeSean McCoySep 29 09:23p

Updating a previous report, Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy (toe) is not injured, head coach Chip Kelly said Monday, Sept. 29. 'He's not on the treatment list,' Kelly said. [ More ]

Vernon DavisSep 29 09:23p

Updating a previous report, San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis (back) had a 'positive mindset' Monday, Sept. 29, but general manager Trent Baalke said the extent of his injury is 'not fully known.'

Stevan RidleySep 29 09:13p

New England Patriots RB Stevan Ridley was on the field for just one of his team's seven offensive snaps in the first quarter Monday, Sept. 29, in the Week [ More ]

Roddy WhiteSep 29 09:03p

Atlanta Falcons WR Roddy White said he expects the team to be involved in high-scoring shootouts all year, and head coach Mike Smith agreed to an extent. 'I don't [ More ]

David NelsonSep 29 08:13p

New York Jets WR David Nelson (ankle) suffered an ankle injury in Week 4, and the signing of WR Chris Owusu could be an indication Nelson's injury is significant. [ More ]

Frank AlexanderSep 29 08:03p

The Carolina Panthers reinstated DE Frank Alexander Monday, Sept. 29, after he served his four-game suspension. He won't count toward the 53-man roster limit for one week.

Patrick ChungSep 29 07:53p

New England Patriots SS Patrick Chung and RB James White were back taking kickoffs in pregame warm-ups Monday, Sept. 29, before the Week 4 game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Jarrett BoykinSep 29 07:23p

Green Bay Packers LB Sam Barrington (hamstring), DT Josh Boyd (knee) and WR Jarrett Boykin (groin) did not practice Monday, Sept. 29. LBs Brad Jones (quadriceps) and Clay Matthews [ More ]

Jerick McKinnonSep 29 07:23p

Minnesota Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon (ankle) was limited in practice Monday, Sept. 29.

Chad GreenwaySep 29 07:23p

Minnesota Vikings LB Chad Greenway (hand, rib) and CB Captain Munnerlyn (illness) did not practice Monday, Sept. 29. CB Josh Robinson (hamstring) was limited, while FB Jerome Felton (knee), [ More ]

Aaron MurraySep 29 07:13p

The Kansas City Chiefs have declared QB Aaron Murray, WR Albert Wilson, DL Damion Square, RB De'Anthony Thomas, SS Eric Berry, RB Joe McKnight, OT Laurent Duvernay-Tardif inactive for Week 4.

Aaron DobsonSep 29 07:13p

The New England Patriots have declared WR Aaron Dobson, CB Alfonzo Dennard, DL Casey Walker, OT Jordan Devey, OL Josh Kline, WR Kenbrell Thompkins, DE Zach Moore inactive for Week 4.

Chris OgbonnayaSep 29 07:03p

The Carolina Panthers will sign free-agent RB Chris Ogbonnaya (Browns).

Tharold SimonSep 29 06:53p

Seattle Seahawks CB Tharold Simon (knee) is making progress in his recovery from knee surgery and is a few weeks away from returning, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

Luke WillsonSep 29 06:53p

Seattle Seahawks TE Luke Willson is expected to take over as the starting tight end while TE Zach Miller (ankle) is out.

Ray RiceSep 29 06:53p

Free-agent RB Ray Rice's (Ravens) appeal of his suspension will be heard by a neutral arbitrator after the NFL agreed to the change. The NFL and NFL Players Association [ More ]

Ropati PitoituaSep 29 06:43p

Tennessee Titans DE Ropati Pitoitua (knee) hopes to play in Week 5 after missing Week 4 because of a lateral collateral ligament sprain.

Bruce CarterSep 29 06:23p

Updating a previous report, Dallas Cowboys LB Bruce Carter (quadriceps) is considered day-to-day because of the quadriceps injury he suffered in Week 4.

Nick FolesSep 29 06:13p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles did not complete any of his 10 passes that traveled at least 20 yards down the field in Week 4, and two of those [ More ]

Chris ProsinskiSep 29 06:13p

Jacksonville Jaguars CB Chris Prosinski and Washington Redskins LB Gabe Miller and DT Robert Thomas cleared waivers and became free agents Monday, Sept. 29.

Tauren PooleSep 29 06:03p

Carolina Panthers RB Tauren Poole was placed on no-recall waivers Monday, Sept. 29.

LeSean McCoySep 29 05:53p

Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy is not dealing with any injuries at this time, according to head coach Chip Kelly. McCoy rushed for only 17 yards on 10 carries in Week 4.

Josh NormanSep 29 05:23p

Carolina Panthers CB Melvin White has been benched in favor of CB Josh Norman.

Dee MillinerSep 29 05:23p

New York Jets CB Dee Milliner (quadriceps) could return this week, according to head coach Rex Ryan, who said he's confident Milliner will be able to play Week 5.

Jarius WrightSep 29 05:13p

Minnesota Vikings WR Jarius Wright said he created a solid chemistry with QB Teddy Bridgewater during the preseason, which is why he caught eight passes for 132 yards in [ More ]

Tommy BohanonSep 29 05:03p

New York Jets FB Tommy Bohanon (collarbone) has a fractured collarbone, according to head coach Rex Ryan.

Winston GuySep 29 05:03p

The Jacksonville Jaguars released SS Winston Guy Monday, Sept. 29.

Zach MillerSep 29 05:03p

Updating previous reports, Seattle Seahawks TE Zach Miller (ankle) is only expected to miss two games after he underwent ankle surgery last week.

Marques ColstonSep 29 04:43p

New Orleans Saints WR Marques Colston has struggled quite a bit during the first month of the season and seems to disappear at times. He had a late-game fumble [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group