Taylor ready to move forward, remain healthy


Taylor ready to move forward, remain healthy

By Rich Levine

FOXBORO The Patriots showed last Sunday that theyre more than capable of producing a solid ground game without the services of Laurence Maroney.

But with Maroney shipped to Denver earlier this week, the one area where the Pats running-back corps is most affected is depth. With one less proven, capable runner on the roster, it will be more essential than ever that the remaining backs stay healthy and on the field. Something thats obviously been an issue for New England's current No. 1 back Fred Taylor.

Over the course of his first 12 years in the league, Taylor developed the reputation as an injury-prone player. Not soft, but just a guy who, for one reason or another, tends miss at least a game or two every season. Hes only played all 16 games twice in his career, and last year missed 10 weeks because of ligament damage to his right ankle.

But this season, with Maroney now a mile high in Denver, the Pats can hardly afford to enter any Sunday with Taylor in street clothes. Obviously, Taylor understands this, but, as he noted Thursday, sometimes injuries are just the way of the NFL beast.

"The thing is," said Taylor, who led the Pats with 71 yards on 14 carries against the Bengals, "a lot of times people dont realize how brutal this game is that we play. I still always look back to the practice with the Saints when we was just walking through and a guy snapped his ACL. There have been other situations over the years. Jamal Anderson is another who sticks out in Atlanta. He was just running a swing route out of the backfield and popped his ACL . . . Injuries are apart of the game."

While he is, and hopefully continues to be, healthy, he knows what the Pats need and expect from him. And he doesn't expect that to change just because the teams now short one certified back on the roster.

"There's no extra pressure," Taylor said. "This is my job, this what I have to do, and I've been doing it for a while. The only pressure is the pressure we put on ourselves to come out and perform at a high level. So losing a back, Ive been through that situation times and times again, and thats never been something that would increase the pressure. Its me. If I put pressure on myself it would just be me wanting to do everything as close to perfect as I can."

When asked specifically about Maroney, a young back who Taylor took under his wing after joining the Pats, Taylor was brief, and made it clear he was ready to move on from the issue.

"He's fine. You always want to find a positive in any situation so speaking on Laurence, which is the last question, hes doing fine."

He's more focused on the guys who are still with the team and hopes that he, Sammie Morris, Kevin Faulk and BenJarvis Green-Ellis, can take the field on Sunday and deliver the same balanced attack that helped bring home a W against the Bengals.

"I thought we did a pretty good job with getting all the backs involved," he said. "That came down from the coaching from above, and going into that we kind of knew it would be that way. It felt good for each one of us to get in there and not get cold on the sideline."

Rich Levine's column runs each Monday, Wednesday and Friday on Rich can be reached at Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrlevine33

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


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


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.


“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."