Patriots

Patricia wary of Tennessee's weapons

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Patricia wary of Tennessee's weapons

The Titans team New England will play in Week 1 is not the same that got buried under a 59-0 Patriots avalanche in 2009.
Kerry Collins? Gone. Vince Young? Gone.

Tennessee is now lead by second-year quarterback Jake Locker. Have your doubts? Probably. Nobody's seen him start an NFL game before.
But Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia found some nice things to say on his Tuesday conference call.
"I think you can definitely see just the ability he has to be able to run their offense," Patricia said, "recognize what the defense is doing, get the ball to the appropriate people versus whatever the defense may be running, and be able to read the coverages and get the ball to the soft spot in the defenses."
Even though Chris Johnson fell off in production last year, and has underwhelmed during this preseason (more on him in a minute), Locker will have others to look to.
"They have a lot of different weapons they can use offensively along with obviously a great coaching staff to utilize all those players," Patricia explained. "So, weve got to just really pay attention to all of them, make sure we understand whos out on the field and make sure we understand what packages they're running in the game. I dont really think you want to single anybody out; they obviously have great players at every position."
Rookie Kendall Wright will also be making his first career start on Sunday. Part of the opportunity comes from first-round talent Kenny Britt's one-game suspension, but Wright has also made a case all his own for snaps.
He hooked up with Locker for four catches, 44 yards, and a 10-yard touchdown in Tennessee's 32-27 preseason win over Arizona.
"Hes got good speed; he can get down the field vertically on seam routes, go routes, things like that," Bill Belichick noted Tuesday. "They also threw him a lot of slip screens in college, catch and run type plays; hes had some of those with the Titans as well. He has good ball skills, good ability to run after the catch. Hes a 200-pound guy, hes a pretty solid guy thats big, that can run -- not big, big but hes got good size.
"Hes been a very productive player. Hes already had good production in preseason and he had good production in college so he finds a way to get open. Obviously quarterbacks have confidence in him in terms of getting him the ball and the coaches do in some of the plays theyve designed for him. Im sure theyre happy with him; hes been a good addition to their team. He looks like a good football player."
Speaking of good football players, Belichick made it clear he doesn't care that Johnson's stats have fallen off. So what if he only had 26 rushes over 10 yards last year? So what if he only had four touchdowns?

So what if the guy's preseason yards per carry was just 2.9?
Belichick won't call Johnson anything but "very dangerous."
"His production speaks for itself," the coach said. "Hes really an outstanding player with the ball in his hands in the passing game, in the running game, inside runs, outside runs, draws, screens. Everybody is at the point of attack because he has the speed to start one way and go the other to get back to the cutback backside of the defense or bounce out in either direction.
"It's a big challenge for our defense."
Bigger than in the last meeting between these two teams, anyway.

Raiders' Marshawn Lynch suspended game for shoving official

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Raiders' Marshawn Lynch suspended game for shoving official

NEW YORK - Oakland running back Marshawn Lynch was suspended for one game without pay by the NFL on Friday for shoving a game official during the Raiders' victory over Kansas City on Thursday night.

Lynch was ejected from the game after he shoved line judge Julian Mapp.

The scuffle started when Oakland quarterback Derek Carr was hit late on a run by Kansas City's Marcus Peters midway through the second quarter. Raiders offensive linemen Kelechi Osemele and Donald Penn immediately confronted Peters, and Lynch sprinted onto the field from the bench to join the fray. Mapp tried to break up the fight, but Lynch pushed him and grabbed his jersey. Lynch also got a personal foul.

NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan wrote a letter to Lynch, saying:

"You made deliberate physical contact with one of our game officials as he was diffusing an active confrontation between players. You were disqualified for your inappropriate and unsportsmanlike actions. Your conduct included pushing the game official and grabbing his jersey. ... You were not directly involved in the active confrontation that the game official was attempting to diffuse, nor were you a participant in the play that initiated the confrontation. You were the only player from either team who ran from the sideline to midfield to insert himself into a situation in which he was not directly involved."

Lynch will be eligible to return to Oakland's active roster on Oct. 30, the day after the Raiders' game against the Buffalo Bills.

Lynch finished the game with two carries for 9 yards.

The Raiders rallied to win 31-30 on a touchdown pass by Carr on the final play, and Lynch was in the locker room after the game congratulating his teammates.

Lynch came out of retirement this season and was traded from Seattle to the Raiders. Lynch said he wanted to make a comeback so he could give something back to his hometown of Oakland before the Raiders move to Las Vegas in 2020.

Lynch has rushed for 266 yards and two touchdowns in seven games.

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