DT Sopoaga ready to start over with Patriots

By MATTHEW CARROLL - Associated Press
    2013-10-30 17:09

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - Isaac Sopoaga turned 32 years old nearly two months ago.

The massive defensive tackle received a belated birthday gift earlier this week, though.

The New England Patriots on Tuesday acquired Sopoaga in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles, adding the veteran just before the trading deadline in an effort to bolster a depleted defense that's struggled recently against the run.

''Today is my daughter's fourth birthday, but I feel like yesterday and today is my birthday,'' said Sopoaga, a proven run stopper who started seven of the Eagles' first eight games. ''The Patriots, you know, it's like a dream come true, to be honest. Respect these guys the last 10 years. They won (the Super Bowl) three times. It's just an awesome feeling.''

Sopoaga spent the first eight years of his career with the San Francisco 49ers before being signed by Philadelphia as an unrestricted free agent in March. The 6-foot-2, 330-pound lineman recorded 10 tackles for the Eagles.

He has started in 87 of 133 career games with 465 tackles, 7 1/2 sacks, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.

''He's basically played defensive tackle and nose tackle throughout his career,'' Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. ''Strong guy, physical guy.''

Sopoaga sure has some big shoes to fill - as well as some developing gaps.

New England (6-2) has been without starting defensive tackles Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly for the past three weeks. Wilfork, the heart of the defense the last 10 years, was placed on season-ending injured reserve Oct. 3 with a torn right Achilles tendon, and Kelly has been sidelined for the last three games with a knee injury. Middle linebacker and leading tackler Jerod Mayo also was lost for the season, placed on injured reserve two weeks ago with a torn pectoral muscle.

The Patriots are now preparing for the Pittsburgh Steelers (2-5) with a vastly different defensive cast than they started with in training camp.

''It's great to have all your players and be at full strength. The reality of it is that's usually not the case. Every team in the league goes through the same thing somewhere along the line,'' Belichick said. ''All the players that are on the team have a role and they have to be ready when they're called on to perform that role.

''We have to be able to adjust during the game when those situations occur or during the week or during the year if it's a long-term thing.''

The Patriots have acclimated to life without their stalwart linemen by leaning heavily on rookies Chris Jones and Joe Vellano. They also signed 34-year-old defensive end Andre Carter last week in the hope the 12-year veteran can rekindle some of the success he experienced in his lone season with the team in 2011. He registered 10 sacks that year.

In addition to their veteran leadership, Carter and Sopoaga both will be counted on to shore up a rushing defense that ranks 31st in the league at 130.8 yards allowed. That's ahead of only winless Jacksonville.

Prior to the losses of Wilfork and Kelly, the Patriots were allowing 105 yards per game and permitted just one touchdown on the ground through their first four games. Over their last four, including both losses, they are yielding 156.5 yards - much of it up the middle - and have given up three rushing touchdowns.

The second half of the season appears to be getting brighter, though.


NOTES: In addition to Sopoaga, the Patriots received the Eagles' sixth-round pick in next year's draft in exchange for a fifth-round choice. . RB Shane Vereen returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since injuring his wrist in the season opener against Buffalo. Vereen was placed on injured reserve with the designation to return, meaning he was ineligible to practice for six weeks and must miss at least eight games. With a bye looming in two weeks, the Patriots could have Vereen back on the field as soon as Week 11. . QB Tom Brady was asked about his Halloween antics while growing up and admitted to throwing eggs at houses. ''We egged, we (toilet-papered) houses. We never ghosted,'' he said. ''That's a new thing, I guess.''


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Sean LeeOct 5 06:42p

Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee (concussion) is feeling better but will have to pass all of his concussion tests before he is cleared to play again, according to head coach Jason Garrett.

Lance DunbarOct 5 06:42p

Dallas Cowboys RB Lance Dunbar (knee) will miss the rest of the 2015 season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered in Week 4. He scheduled [ More ]

Ronnie BrownOct 5 05:32p

Free-agent RB Ronnie Brown (Chargers) re-signed with the San Diego Chargers Monday, Oct. 5, according to a source. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Andrew LuckOct 5 05:12p

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (shoulder) is expected to play in the Week 5 game against the Houston Texans Thursday, Oct. 8. Luck has a slightly separated throwing shoulder [ More ]

Sammy WatkinsOct 5 04:42p

Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins' (calf) status for the Week 5 game against the Tennessee Titans is uncertain at this point, according to head coach Rex Ryan. 'He looked [ More ]

Jordan ReedOct 5 04:42p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed's (concussion, knee, ankle) head injury is a real concern, according to head coach Jay Gruden. Reed has a long history of head injuries dating [ More ]

Daniel FellsOct 5 04:42p

New York Giants TE Daniel Fells (ankle) was placed on the season-ending Reserve/Injured list Monday, Oct. 5, due to a staph infection in his ankle. TE Will Tye was [ More ]

Antonio GatesOct 5 04:22p

San Diego Chargers TE Antonio Gates is in great shape and will be play in the Week 5 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, according to head coach Mike McCoy.

Ryan MallettOct 5 02:42p

Houston Texans QB Ryan Mallett will be the starting quarterback for the Week 5 game against the Indianapolis Colts Thursday, Oct. 8, according to head coach Bill O'Brien.

Christine MichaelOct 5 02:42p

Dallas Cowboys RB Christine Michael will have a role in the offense, according to executive vice president Stephen Jones, with RB Lance Dunbar (knee) possibly out for the rest [ More ]

Dez BryantOct 5 02:32p

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (foot) could return after the Cowboys' Week 6 bye, according to executive vice president Stephen Jones. Bryant recently had a positive examination of the [ More ]

Cecil Shorts IIIOct 5 02:12p

Houston Texans WR Cecil Shorts (shoulder) is considered doubtful for the Week 5 game against the Indianapolis Colts because of the dislocated shoulder he suffered in Week 4.

Alec OgletreeOct 5 02:12p

St. Louis Rams LB Alec Ogletree (ankle) will need surgery on his ankle, according to head coach Jeff Fisher. Ogletree is a candidate to be placed on the short-term Reserve/Injured list.

Dan CampbellOct 5 01:52p

Miami Dolphins tight ends coach Dan Campbell was named the team's interim head coach Monday, Oct. 5.

Julius ThomasOct 5 01:52p

Jacksonville Jaguars TE Julius Thomas (hand) is scheduled to meet with a doctor Monday, Oct. 5, and may be cleared for full practice after the meeting. His status for [ More ]

Caleb SturgisOct 5 01:32p

Philadelphia Eagles PK Caleb Sturgis will remain the team's kicker for the time being, according to head coach Chip Kelly.

Will MontgomeryOct 5 01:22p

Chicago Bears C Will Montgomery (leg) will miss the remainder of the 2015 season after he suffered a fractured tibia during the team's Week 4 game. He will need [ More ]

Josh JohnsonOct 5 01:22p

Indianapolis Colts QB Josh Johnson was released Monday, Oct. 5.

Colin KaepernickOct 5 01:02p

San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick was 13-for-25 for just 160 yards and an interception in the Week 4 loss to the Green Bay Packers. He also ran for 57 yards on 10 carries.

Kyle BrindzaOct 5 12:42p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers PK Kyle Brindza was released Monday, Oct. 5, after missing seven kicks in the last two weeks.

Joe PhilbinOct 5 11:52a

Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin was fired Monday, Oct. 5, according to Sun-Sentinel.

Willie SneadOct 5 11:02a

New Orleans Saints WR Willie Snead played 48 snaps (66% of the offense) Sunday, Oct. 4, in Week 4, while WR Brandon Coleman played just 19 for 26% of the offense.

Andrew LuckOct 5 10:12a

Updating an earlier report, Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (shoulder) is expected by the team to be under center Thursday, Oct. 8, against the Houston Texans. His shoulder injury [ More ]

Daniel FellsOct 5 09:52a

New York Giants TE Daniel Fells (foot) had an unexpected foot surgery and is likely headed to Injured Reserve, according to sources.

Jordan ReedOct 5 09:42a

Updating a previous report, Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (concussion) was diagnosed with a concussion Sunday, Oct. 4.

Andrew LuckOct 5 08:52a

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (shoulder) has a short week to prepare for Week 5, but he's trending toward being ready Thursday, Oct. 8, against the Houston Texans. 'He [ More ]

DeMarco MurrayOct 5 08:42a

Philadelphia Eagles RB DeMarco Murray said he's not getting enough touches in the offense Sunday, Oct. 4. 'No, I'm not,' Murray said. 'I don't think I am. It's how [ More ]

C.J. SpillerOct 5 01:42a

New Orleans Saints RB C.J. Spiller carried just twice for 10 yards in the Week 4 game against the Dallas Cowboys, but he had an 80-yard touchdown catch and [ More ]

Willie SneadOct 5 01:42a

New Orleans Saints WR Willie Snead posted six receptions for 89 yards in the Week 4 game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Mark IngramOct 5 01:42a

New Orleans Saints RB Mark Ingram carried 17 times for 77 yards in the Week 4 game against the Dallas Cowboys. He also added six receptions for 51 yards [ More ]

Drew BreesOct 5 01:42a

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees (shoulder) completed 33 of his 41 pass attempts for 359 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. His 80-yard touchdown pass to RB C.J. [ More ]

Brandon WeedenOct 5 01:12a

Dallas Cowboys QB Brandon Weeden completed 16 of his 26 pass attempts for 246 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions in the Week 4 overtime loss against the New [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
Player Notes:
Forum Posts:

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group