Anderson making most of new start

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Anderson making most of new start

FOXBORO -- Losing Andre Carter and his 10 sacks is a blow for the Patriots defense. But Mark Anderson, one of the rushers who'll be called on since Carter ripped his quad on Sunday, has nine sacks this year.
In other words? Anderson as a replacement is not ideal. But better than if New England had nobody who could get to the quarterback. "If you lose somebody like Andre, that's a very key player to our defense," said Anderson. "But my role is not going to change. I'm still gonna go out there and play hard. Conditioning and preparation don't change. One of our soldiers went down but everyone has to step up."Andersonhit a career crossroads during the lockout. A fifth-round pick from Alabama in 2006, he rolled up 10 sacks as a rookie. But his production in Chicago dipped to the point he was an October release by Chicago last season. He spent the remainder of 2010 in Houston then was a free agent. He's had a bit of a rebirth here in New England. "This has been an opportunity for me to start fresh," he explained. "It was a great thing for Bill (Belichick) and Mr. Kraft to consider me during the lockout and when the season started. I just try to go out there and have fun and make the most of every opportunity."Since he's only signed through the end of the season,does he have a sense he's entering a new phase in his career?"Whenever you get the opportunity (you have to maximize)," he explained. "I got a great opportunity here with New England and I know I have to make the most of the opportunity because I'm blessed to even be put in this situation. I'm having fun. Fun is the only word to describe what's going on right now."

Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

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Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

FOXBORO -- The Patriots will head into Sunday's AFC title game with seven players listed as questionable, including three receivers. 

Danny Amendola, Malcolm Mitchell and Chris Hogan have all been limited in practices this week due to their injuries. Amendola has been dealing with an ankle issue since a Week 13 win over the Rams, while Mitchell has not played since injuring his knee in Week 16 against the Jets. Hogan suffered a thigh injury against the Texans and left the game in the third quarter.

Both Hogan and Mitchell indicated this week that they were moving in the right direction in terms of their recoveries. One would think that the Patriots would need at least one, if not both, to help stress the back end of the Steelers secondary this weekend.

Hogan has been the team's most consistent down-the-field threat this season, averaging a whopping 17.9 yards per catch during the regular season. Against the Texans, before his injury, he reeled in four passes for 95 yards. 

Mitchell, meanwhile, had a very productive second half of his rookie season before he was hurt. He compiled 25 catches for 306 yards between Weeks 11 and 16, establishing himself as one of Tom Brady's go-to targets. 

The overall health of the Patriots receiving corps -- which will also include Julian Edelman and Michael Floyd -- will bear watching when the Patriots and Steelers kick off in two days.

The injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Steelers game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

QUESTIONABLE
WR Danny Amendola (ankle)
TE Martellus Bennett (knee)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder)
WR Chris Hogan (thigh)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (knee)
DL Jabaal Sheard (knee)

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

QUESTIONABLE
TE Ladarius Green (concussion/illness)
LB James Harrison (shoulder/triceps)
RB Fitzgerald Toussaint (concussion)

NOT LISTED
RB Le'Veon Bell (not injury related)
K Chris Boswell (illness)
LB Anthony Chickillo (ankle)
S Sean Davis (shoulder)
C B.J. Finney (illness)
WR Darrius Heyward-Bay (illness)
DE Ricardo Mathews (ankle)
QB Zach Mettenberger (illness)
S Michael Mitchell (not injury related)
QB Ben Roethlisberger (not injury related)
LB Vince Williams (shoulder)