Patriots

Belichick: Carter's been solid all year

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Belichick: Carter's been solid all year

While Chad Ochocinco has been a non-factor, Albert Haynesworth is still getting his legs under him and we're not seeing anything earth-shaking from Shaun Ellis, one veteran pickup is doing things of note for the Patriots. Defensive end Andre Carter, brought in with a simple mandate - get to the quarterback - did so twice on Sunday. But those two sacks shouldn't be a signal he's started playing well, according to Belichick. The Patriots head coach said on a conference call Monday that Carter's been playing well since he arrived. "Hes had a really solid year for us," said Belichick. "I think he's performed well pretty much since the first training camp practice. He's a very consistent, high-effort player, strong, experienced, knows what hes doing, very professional. He's been really consistent."Sack stats (and several other numbers that can be twisted) drive Belichick batty. And he mentioned that in discussing Carter."I think its really inaccurate to think that all of a sudden its been something great because he had two sacks yesterday because thats the stat that it really seems all defensive linemen get measured by," Belichick sniffed. "I think its very inaccurate. I think he's played consistently week in and week out. He had a couple big plays yesterday, but hes had good plays for us every week."Belichick was also enthused about the work of Haynesworth in his second game back from a back injury that shut him down for two weeks. "I think missed time is a little bit of a hurdle for anybody," said Belichick. "We talked about linebacker Brandon Spikes earlier, but I think Albert has been the more hes practiced, the more regularly hes practiced and played, the better hes been. I thought he had several good plays yesterday. It was encouraging. A couple of other notes from Belichick's conference call . . . On the traditional postgame coach's handshake and whether he'd miss doing it if the practice ceased"I havent really thought about it."On the play of Brandon Spikes Sunday . . .
"I think Brandon has been improving a little bit every week increased his practice reps and his playing time and all that. I think I said earlier this week that he really missed the entire preseason and he missed the Miami game, so his preseason is kind of coming to a close right now, Id say, in terms of timing and practices and all of that. He's getting better and he made some plays for us on the next-to-last possession defensively. When they were trying to run the clock, he blitzed up the middle a couple times and was disruptive and we were able to get the runner for little or no gain. He showed up on a few plays."On Tuesday's trade deadline"I dont think theres anything where the papers are all typed up and ready to be signed, lets put it that way. But who knows what could happen."

Brady enjoying "unique experience" of road trip

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Brady enjoying "unique experience" of road trip

While being away from home isn’t uncommon for the Patriots - just think about all those Super Bowl trips - Tom Brady believes each excursion takes on its own feel, its own flavor and - eventually - its own meaning.

Back in 2014, the Pats went from playing in Green Bay and losing to the Packers straight to San Diego for a week on the West Coast prior to a rousing victory over the Chargers. That week, many players said in the aftermath, helped propel the team to great heights,.  You’ll recall, that season ended in grand fashion, a triumph in Super Bowl 49 over Seattle, at the time - and maybe still - the greatest Super Bowl ever played.

“I think all these experiences are pretty unique,” Brady said Friday from Falcon Stadium at the Air Force Academy. “That was a very unique experience. This is different.”

Brady spoke about the number of stops the Pats have and will have to make on this trip - from Denver to Colorado Springs then on to Mexico City Saturday before a Sunday night return to Foxboro and their own beds for the first time in 10 nights.

“When you’re on the road like this, there’s less to do,” he said. “You know my family is not here, my kids aren’t here. There’s nobody telling me what I did wrong in the house. It’s just being at home and now it’s being here and trying to figure out a way to win a game.”

Brady quickly smoothed over any possible ill-will at home - why make Gisele mad? - smiling and saying “I didn’t mean that so I’ll take it back.”

Kidding aside, the 40-year old signal caller seemed pleased with the work the Patriots have put in during this long trip. A week of team-bonding can’t be a bad thing, especially for a group that seems to be hitting it’s stride both on and off the field. There’s the five wins in a row and also a locker room that has a better understanding of one another than it did during the first month of the season. But Brady is not ready to make any grand proclamations. That just wouldn’t be his style.

“I think it’s still work in progress,” he said of team chemistry. “You look at still adding a player like Marty (Bennett) last week. Things are always changing and evolving. We’re still trying to figure out what we’re doing well and after 8 or 9 weeks, you start to figure those things out. Now we have to work hard at those things, try to really own them, and use them going forward to try and win the most important games. We have a lot of important games coming up, starting with this one. Hopefully we can play our best football going forward.”

Brady said he’s been fired up for this game with the Raiders south of the border ever since the schedule was released all those months ago.

“I’ve never been to Mexico City,” he said. “It’s been a game you kind of look forward to. We’re playing against a really good football team in a pretty cool environment. It will be very memorable. I think everyone is excited.”

Patriots’ injury report: Center Andrews, WR Hogan out

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Patriots’ injury report: Center Andrews, WR Hogan out

The Patriots will be without center David Andrews on Sunday when they play the Raiders in Mexico City. Andrews, who hasn’t all practice all week with an illness, is one of four Pats listed as out on the injury report released Friday.

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Offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, who didn’t play last week against the Broncos is also out, along with wide receiver Chris Hogan and special teams captain Matthew Slater. Offensive linemen Ted Karras and Joe Thuney each took reps at center so one of them will likely start in Andrews’ absence. LaAdrian Waddle filled in for Cannon and performed well last week vs. Denver. 

Here’s the full injury report for the Patriots and Raiders: