Patriots

Edelman helps Pats to victory in multiple ways

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Edelman helps Pats to victory in multiple ways

FOXBORO -- Earlier this month, Julian Edelman was charged with one count of indecent assault and battery for allegedly groping a woman at a Boston nightclub.

Some believed it would have resulted in his release from the New England Patriots. Those people were wrong.

And several weeks later, Edelman isn't just "still on the roster." He's playing a role in Patriots wins, like he did on Monday night against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Edelman finished Monday's 34-3 win at Gillette Stadium with two punt returns for 81 yards a touchdown. That 72-yard punt-return touchdown came with 9:24 left in the third quarter, and put New England up 24-3.

At that point, the game was out of reach. And afterwards, he spoke to the media, but only talked football.

"I've been advised not to talk about it," said Edelman, when asked if he'd like to comment on the assault and battery allegations.

Edelman said he uses football as a way to escape from all the noise that's come with his off-the-field issue.

"It's been pretty challenging, but all I can do is come out here and get away from everything else, and focus on my job," said Edelman. "And that's what I've been doing."

On Sunday night, his job was more than returning punts. Edelman also saw plenty of time on defense, mainly in third-down sets.

"I'll do whatever I can to help the team," said Edelman. "We were a little thin, and I'm not going to say no to an opportunity."

Edelman played a handful of defensive snaps in garbage time last week, but other than that, just a few times he played safety as a freshman in high school.

"It's definitely a new experience," said Edelman. "But like I said, whatever the coaches ask me to do, I'm going to go out there and try to do my best.

"It's tough because you've got to do stuff going backwards. You've got to be fluid. I mean, those guys are good. It's tough. Just a totally different experience."

Returning punts is nothing new to him, though. With his third-quarter punt return touchdown, Edelman became the fourth Patriots player with two or more punt returns for a touchdown, just one behind the leader, Troy Brown.

Edelman called Brown the "swiss army knife" after Sunday's win, acknowledging that Brown was a receiver who also returned punts and saw some time on the defensive side of the ball.

But both players are better known for their punt return skills, and Edelman proved that tonight, even if he also finished the game with a solo tackle.

Bill Belichick has been known to bring on players who can play multiple positions, and Edelman is proving to be one of those players.

"Well, he's learning how to play defense," said Belichick. "Hes got a long way to go, but hes working hard, he's getting reps and he's getting better at it. Weve been talking about the return game for quite a while. I feel like weve been close to breaking off a big play one block away or one better hold-up or just one thing, and we got it today. Our punt return team has been doing a good job. Theyve been working hard, weve been close, and it was satisfying for them and for all of us, really, for that to happen, because I do feel like weve been close.

"Those guys work hard and Julian has worked hard trying to make it happen . . . It was a big play in the game, I think it really I dont want to say put it out of reach but it certainly put a big gap in the game."

Patriots cut ties with Cassius Marsh, sign Eric Lee to help front-seven

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Patriots cut ties with Cassius Marsh, sign Eric Lee to help front-seven

Cassius Marsh was brought to New England to help a depleted defensive end group and play in the kicking game. The Patriots wanted him badly enough that they parted with two draft picks -- a fifth and a seventh -- to acquire him in a trade with the Seahawks just before the start of the season. 

Less than three months later, they've decided to part ways with the 6-foot-4, 245-pounder. 

Marsh played in nine games for the Patriots this season, providing the team with an edge defender and someone with special-teams experience. He blocked a kick in Week 7 against the Falcons that earned him an enthusiastic attaboy from coach Bill Belichick. 

Coming off the edge, Marsh recorded one sack and 13 hurries. Against the run, he was used more sparingly, and he was one of the Patriots on the scene for Marshawn Lynch's 25-yard run in the second quarter on Sunday. He played in just two snaps in Mexico City after missing the previous week's game in Denver due to a shoulder injury. 

Without Marsh the Patriots remain thin at defensive end. In order to help bolster that spot, the corresponding move the Patriots made to fill the open spot on their 53-man roster was to sign defensive lineman Eric Lee off of the Bills practice squad. 

Lee entered the league with the Texans last season as an undrafted rookie out of South Florida. Listed at 6-foot-3, 260 pounds, Lee has bounced on and off of the Bills practice squad this season since being released by the Texans before this season.

The Patriots got a good look at Lee during joint practices last summer with the Texans at The Greenbrier in West Virginia. In the preseason game with the Texans that week, Lee played 40 snaps and according to Pro Football Focus he had two quarterback hurries. The Patriots have a history of snagging players they've practiced against, and with Lee, that trend continues

Belichick takes some heat for 'earthquake' comment

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Belichick takes some heat for 'earthquake' comment

Bill Belichick sounded less than enthused about traveling to Mexico to play a game. And his line about being "fortunate there was no volcano eruptions, earthquakes or anything else while we were down there," didn't exactly sit well with some folks south of the border.

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“Personally, I wouldn’t be in any big rush to do it again,” Belichick said on his weekly appearance on WEEI's "Dale and Holley with Keefe" show Monday. “Players did a great job dealing with all the challenges that we had to deal with. I think we’re fortunate there was no volcano eruptions, earthquakes or anything else while we were down there. I mean you have two NFL franchises in an area that I don’t know how stable the geological plates that were below us [were], but nothing happened so that was good.”

Pancho Vera of ESPN Mexico took exception to Belichick's comment on Twitter, which, translated, called out the "ignorance of the genius of the NFL." More than 200 people were killed after a quake centered near Mexico City struck in September. 

Other Twitter users said, using Belichick's reasoning, they wondered if they'd be fortunate not to be killed or wounded in a mass shooting if they were to travel to the US:

Translated, the tweets read "I also have luck in Las Vegas I was not in a shooting" and "But you are right, I apply the same when I go to the U.S. and say I was fortunate I was not in some crazy shootout."