|Report: Dominic Raiola facing $10K fine for punching Zach Moore||11.26.14 at 3:53 pm ET|
Dominic Raiola thought he’d gotten off scot-free for his cheap shots on Zach Moore.
Not so fast.
The NFL announced Wednesday that the Lions offensive lineman would be fined $10,000 for a shot to the back of Moore’s head late in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 34-9 win over the Patriots, according to this report from MLive.com.
That runs counter to the statements from Raiola about the incident.
“There’s no fine,” Raiola initially told reporters. “It’s during the game. I don’t know about regrets, I don’t live life with regrets. I didn’t intentionally try to hurt anybody. I didn’t try to do anything out of the ordinary.
“So, just play the game,” he added. “I didn’t make it a big deal, everybody else did.”
According to NFL spokesman Michael Signora, Raiola violated Rule 12, Section 2, Article 12(c) of the NFL Rule Book which prohibits “striking, swinging at, or clubbing the head, neck, or face of an opponent with the wrist(s), arm(s), elbow(s), or hand(s).”
Moore shrugged off the incident on Monday, but Patriots coach Bill Belichick took a shot at Raiola, saying there was likely some “frustration” on the part of the Detroit center, as he hadn’t beaten the Patriots in his 14-year career.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|Report: Ed Hochuli will work as referee for Patriots-Packers||11.26.14 at 2:09 pm ET|
Ed Hochuli will serve as the referee for Sunday’s Patriots-Packers game, according to FootballZebras.com.
Hochuli, known for his physique — as well as his occasional tendency to overexplain situations on the field — will be working his first New England game of the season. His last Patriots have was the regular-season finale last year against the Bills. Hochuli, who has worked an an NFL official since 1990, has served as the lead referee for two Super Bowls.
Here’s a look at who has worked as the lead official for each New England game this year, and the corresponding penalties for each game, not counting the flags that were offset or declined.
Sept. 7 at Miami: Walt Anderson — 9 penalties, 100 yards (Dolphins — 4 penalties, 26 yards)
Sept. 14 at Minnesota: Tony Corrente — 15 penalties, 163 yards (Vikings — 7 penalties, 58 yards)
Sept. 21 vs. Oakland: Pete Morelli — 6 penalties, 59 yards (Raiders — 6 penalties, 49 yards)
Sept. 29 at Kansas City: John Parry — 3 penalties, 30 yards (Chiefs — 4 penalties, 35 yards)
Oct. 5 vs. Cincinnati: Jerome Boger — 12 penalties, 114 yards (Bengals — 4 penalties, 37 yards)
Oct. 12 at Buffalo: Walt Coleman — 9 penalties, 60 yards (Bills — 8 penalties, 107 yards)
Oct. 16 vs. Jets: Bill Leavy — 9 penalties, 64 yards (Jets — 7 penalties, 70 yards)
Oct. 23 vs. Bears: Brad Allen — 7 penalties, 38 yards (Bears — 5 penalties, 41 yards)
Nov. 2 vs. Denver: Walt Anderson — 9 penalties, 71 yards (Broncos — 10 penalties, 72 yards)
Nov. 16 at Indy: Pete Morelli — 5 penalties, 53 yards (Colts — 4 penalties, 27 yards)
Nov. 23 vs. Lions: Tony Corrente — 11 penalties, 89 yards (Lions — 9 penalties, 54 yards)
Nov. 30 at Packers: Ed Hochuli
For more on Hochuli’s work as a referee, check out his page at Pro Football Reference. For more information on this week’s assignments, click through to the always reliable Football Zebras. And for more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|Darrelle Revis: Aaron Rodgers ‘our biggest test yet’||11.26.14 at 1:44 pm ET|
“The guy is awesome,” added Revis. “We’re looking forward to it.”
New England will be looking to slow down a Green Bay offense that has been lights out over the last several weeks. The Packers are 5-0 at home, and in his five games at Lambeau this year, Rodgers is completing 67 percent of his passes, is averaging 284.8 passing yards per game and has 18 touchdowns and no picks, to go along with a passer rating of 138.1.
“They’re an impressive team,” Revis said of the Packers. “They’re tops in every category in the passing game.”
Rodgers leans heavily on the duo of Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. The 6-foot-3, 217-pound Nelson is eighth in the league in catches (68), fifth in targets (106) and receiving yards (1,066) and fourth in touchdown catches (nine). He’s only one of five receivers with at least 100 targets and 1,000 receiving yards, and has 18 catches for 329 yards and three touchdowns in his last three games. Cobb is a 5-foot-10, 192-pounder out of Kentucky who has 58 catches on 79 targets for 837 yards and a team-high 10 touchdowns.
“They always get open — that shows you they understand the game,” Revis said of the Nelson/Cobb combo. “They’re very experienced. They have a lot of chemistry with Rodgers.”
The Patriots have cruised through the first four games of a six-game stretch that many believe would come to define their season, with four straight wins against four straight divisional leaders in Chicago, Denver, Indy and Detroit. But defeating the Packers in Green Bay represents a sizable challenge — the Packers are unbeaten at home, have averaged 44 points per game and have won their games at home by an average of 27 points per game. That includes two games where they’ve put up more than 50 points.
“That’s a part of the NFL, the challenge,” Revis said. “It doesn’t matter what team you play. All 32 teams are good and you have to bring your ‘A’ game every Sunday. You have to play elite ball to win. Our schedule has been pretty tough but at the same time, it’s the schedule. You get challenged, and you have to stand up to the challenge.”
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|Mr. Consistency: TE Tim Wright setting new standard for reliability in Patriots passing game||11.26.14 at 10:26 am ET|
FOXBORO — Tim Wright is in some rarefied air.
In his first season with the Patriots, the tight end has proven himself to be an eminently reliable part of the passing game — he has 23 catches on 26 targets. Even with the understanding that one of the targets was a throwaway by quarterback Tom Brady (an uncatchable ball), that’s an 88 percent catch rate, the best on the New England roster when it comes to players who have been targeted by Brady at least 20 times.
If he continues at his current rate, he’ll set a new standard for the Patriots. Since 2006, no member of the Patriots who has been targeted at least 20 times has a reception rate of better than 80 percent.
Of course, none of this is particularly new for Wright — last season with the Buccaneers, he proved equally sure-handed, as he caught 71 percent of the passes (54 receptions on 76 targets) that were thrown his way. But his target numbers this year — combined with his six receiving touchdowns (second on the team to fellow tight end Rob Gronkowski), have made him one of the surprise success stories when you’re talking about the 2014 Patriots offense.
Part of Wright’s success is rooted in the fact that most teams are solely focused on stopping Gronkowski, and have usually dedicated at least two defenders per play in hopes of trying to slow down the big fella. But it’s another thing altogether to take advantage of the opportunities when they’re presented to you, and Wright has done just that.
“Every time we throw to him it’s a touchdown — we’ll try to find him more down there,” Brady said after Wright’s two-touchdown performance against the Lions. “He does a great job in the coverage and finds the open spots.”
While the touchdown ratio is impressive — more than one-quarter of his catches have resulted in touchdowns — his work as a reliable target has really distinguished him from the rest of the field. Since 2006 — when targets were first tallied, on five different occasions, a New England pass catcher who was targeted at least 20 times caught 77 percent of the passes that were thrown in his direction. The latest high-level connection came in 2010 when running back Danny Woodhead caught 34 of the 44 passes that were thrown his way.
Prior to that, veteran running back Kevin Faulk did it three times: Faulk caught 58 of the 75 passes thrown his way in 2008, while both wide receiver Wes Welker (112-of-145) and Faulk (47-of-61) hit the 77 percent mark in 2007. And Faulk caught 43 of the 56 passes thrown his way in 2006 to reach the same plateau. (While Welker was targeted more than any other receiver between 2007 and 2012 and was consistently over 70 percent between 2007 and 2011, he never topped the 77 percent mark.)
According to Wright, the key to being a good target is simple.
|Patriots re-sign LS Charley Hughlett to practice squad||11.26.14 at 9:36 am ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots have re-signed long snapper Charley Hughlett to the Patriots practice squad, according to his agent.
Hughlett was with New England this spring and summer before being cut loose at the end of training camp. The 6-foot-4, 251-pounder has been with the Cowboys and Jaguars. As a collegian, he handled all long snapping duties for four seasons at Central Florida.
|In Focus: Charting offensive opportunities for Patriots skill position players||11.25.14 at 9:11 pm ET|
Every week, we list the Patriots’ “offensive touches,” a running tally of which one of the offensive skill position players is getting the most looks. Like our weekly look at targets, it can occasionally be an inexact stat, but it remains a good barometer of how confident the coaches (and quarterback) are when it comes to the skill position players at their disposal. Here’s a breakdown of the 2014 New England offense after 11 games:
RB Shane Vereen: 122 (78 carries, 44 catches) 3 negative catch, 6 negative runs
RB Stevan Ridley: 98 (94 carries, 4 catches), 8 negative runs
WR Julian Edelman: 78 (8 carries, 70 catches)
RB Jonas Gray: 70 (70 carries)
TE Rob Gronkowski: 58 (58 catches)
WR Brandon LaFell: 48 (48 catches)
QB Tom Brady: 19 (19 carries), 14 sacks, 7 kneeldowns
TE Tim Wright: 24 (1 carry, 23 catches), 1 negative rush
RB Brandon Bolden: 17 (16 carries, 1 catch), 2 negative runs
RB LeGarrette Blount: 12 (12 carries), 1 negative run
RB James White: 12 (9 carries, 3 catches)
WR Danny Amendola: 11 (11 catches)
FB James Develin: 7 (1 carry, 6 catches)
WR Kenbrell Thompkins: 6 (6 catches)
QB Jimmy Garoppolo: 6 (6 carries) 2 sacks, 6 kneeldowns
WR Aaron Dobson: 3 (3 catches)
TE Michael Hoomanawanui: 2 (2 catches)
WR Brian Tyms: 1 (1 catch)
Notes: The Patriots had five negative plays from scrimmage on Sunday against the Lions — two negative runs from Vereen and one from Blount, as well as two negative pass plays to Vereen. … On the season, New England has run 758 plays from scrimmage, and 38 of them have gone for negative yardage (5 percent), not including kneeldowns. … Against the Lions, the Patriots ran 73 plays with 50 of them coming in shotgun (68 percent), a season-high. In addition, the game-book lists them as having run 14 of their 73 plays in no-huddle (19 percent), also a season-high. … On the season, the Patriots have run 67 of their 758 plays out of no-huddle (8 percent) and 256 snaps in shotgun (34 percent). … By way of comparison, over the course of the 2013 regular season, the Patriots were in shotgun for 42 percent of their offensive snaps and they ran no-huddle on 11 percent of their snaps. … One more note: Brady was not sacked for the second consecutive game. For all the struggles the offensive line endured at the start of the year, it’s worth noting that through 11 games this year, he’s only been sacked 14 times. Through the first 11 games of 2013, he was sacked 31 times. While that’s all not the result of the offensive line — Brady has displayed increased mobility, a greater ease with his receivers, and has had a rejuvenated Gronkowski — it’s a sizable difference, and the offensive line deserves some kudos for the better numbers.
|Detroit’s Dominic Raiola: No regrets about cheap shot Sunday against Patriots||11.25.14 at 7:17 pm ET|
Detroit offensive lineman Dominic Raiola said Tuesday he has no regrets about what happened between him and Patriots defensive lineman Zach Moore last Sunday.
In the waning moments of New England’s 34-9 win over the Lions, Raiola could be seen diving at Moore’s knees, as well as trying to punch him in the back of the head. Raiola said Tuesday he wasn’t going to be fined by the NFL for the incident.
“There’s no fine,” Raiola told reporters. “It’s during the game. I don’t know about regrets, I don’t live life with regrets. I didn’t intentionally try to hurt anybody. I didn’t try to do anything out of the ordinary.
“So, just play the game,” he added. “I didn’t make it a big deal, everybody else did.’
Moore shrugged off what happened, while Patriots coach Bill Belichick took a swipe at Raiola the day after the incident, reminding people that Raiola was likely frustrated about what happened because he’s never beaten the Patriots in his 14 seasons in the NFL.
“I don’t really care what he said,” Raiola said when asked about Belichick’s comments. “Not a lot of people beat those guys. I didn’t make it an issue. I just finished the game.”
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.