Belichick: Carter's been solid all year


Belichick: Carter's been solid all year

While Chad Ochocinco has been a non-factor, Albert Haynesworth is still getting his legs under him and we're not seeing anything earth-shaking from Shaun Ellis, one veteran pickup is doing things of note for the Patriots. Defensive end Andre Carter, brought in with a simple mandate - get to the quarterback - did so twice on Sunday. But those two sacks shouldn't be a signal he's started playing well, according to Belichick. The Patriots head coach said on a conference call Monday that Carter's been playing well since he arrived. "Hes had a really solid year for us," said Belichick. "I think he's performed well pretty much since the first training camp practice. He's a very consistent, high-effort player, strong, experienced, knows what hes doing, very professional. He's been really consistent."Sack stats (and several other numbers that can be twisted) drive Belichick batty. And he mentioned that in discussing Carter."I think its really inaccurate to think that all of a sudden its been something great because he had two sacks yesterday because thats the stat that it really seems all defensive linemen get measured by," Belichick sniffed. "I think its very inaccurate. I think he's played consistently week in and week out. He had a couple big plays yesterday, but hes had good plays for us every week."Belichick was also enthused about the work of Haynesworth in his second game back from a back injury that shut him down for two weeks. "I think missed time is a little bit of a hurdle for anybody," said Belichick. "We talked about linebacker Brandon Spikes earlier, but I think Albert has been the more hes practiced, the more regularly hes practiced and played, the better hes been. I thought he had several good plays yesterday. It was encouraging. A couple of other notes from Belichick's conference call . . . On the traditional postgame coach's handshake and whether he'd miss doing it if the practice ceased"I havent really thought about it."On the play of Brandon Spikes Sunday . . .
"I think Brandon has been improving a little bit every week increased his practice reps and his playing time and all that. I think I said earlier this week that he really missed the entire preseason and he missed the Miami game, so his preseason is kind of coming to a close right now, Id say, in terms of timing and practices and all of that. He's getting better and he made some plays for us on the next-to-last possession defensively. When they were trying to run the clock, he blitzed up the middle a couple times and was disruptive and we were able to get the runner for little or no gain. He showed up on a few plays."On Tuesday's trade deadline"I dont think theres anything where the papers are all typed up and ready to be signed, lets put it that way. But who knows what could happen."

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Titans roll to 36-22 victory over Jaguars


THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Titans roll to 36-22 victory over Jaguars

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - There's nothing like a visit from the Jacksonville Jaguars to make the Tennessee Titans remember how to protect their home field.

Marcus Mariota threw for 270 yards and two touchdowns to end his home struggles and the Titans had their highest point total of the season in a 36-22 victory over the Jaguars on Thursday night.

Click here for the complete story

Develin stays on top of tight end techniques in case he's next man up


Develin stays on top of tight end techniques in case he's next man up

FOXBORO -- Once the Patriots traded AJ Derby to the Broncos for a fifth-round pick earlier this week, they were left with just two tight ends on their roster. While those two tight ends -- Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett -- have played as two of the best tight ends in football this season, it's a position group that has been considerably thinned. 

Until coach Bill Belichick adds another player at that spot, James Develin would be the logical "next man up." A position group unto himself as the team's lone active fullback -- the other fullback in the locker room is practice-squad player Glenn Gronkowski -- Develin meets with Patriots tight ends and coach Brian Daboll on a daily basis because the fullback and tight-end responsibilities in the Patriots offense are similar, particularly in the run game.

As much time as he spends with that group, Develin tries to absorb what he can when it comes to the nuances of the position. 

"I always kind of try to prepare, obviously, for my fullback role, but then in any other role that I might be called upon for," Develin said on Thursday. "A couple years ago, we had a bunch of injuries during the offseason program, during OTAs, and I filled in a little bit at tight end. I try to keep myself familiar with all those techniques and that tight end role so if the day were to come where I needed to go out there and do it, I'd be able to go out there and do it."

When the Patriots began the season relying more on the run, Develin was called upon to play a relatively significant role in the offense. He averaged 21.3 snaps per game through the first three games of the season, but that number has fallen to 13.6 since Tom Brady's return from a four-game suspension. Still, his role can be a critical one. 

The Patriots' running game faltered last season after both Blount and Dion Lewis went down with season-ending injuries. Having Develin in the mix as an extra blocker would not have guaranteed a more efficient attack, but it may have helped the team's running-game woes late in the year. 

Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels now has the luxury of bringing Develin onto the field when he wants some added muscle for his blocking schemes, and should the Patriots need a tight end in a pinch, Develin could do that too.

"A lot of times, especially in the blocking game, really the only difference [between fullback and tight end] is that I'm five yards off the ball in the backfield and they're up on the line," Develin said. "The angles are a little bit different. But a lot of times the assignment is typcially the same thing. It's just the technique of getting there and the angles that you take.

"Then in the passing game, as a tight end, there's just a lot more routes and stuff like that. I try to work on that to help me as a fullback to be a little bit better in space . . . It's a sybiotic relationship." 

As it is, Develin will line up occasionally outside. Though not a threat as a receiver in that spot in the same way that Gronkowski or Bennett would be, he understands some of the different looks tight ends have to be comfortable with.

If an emergency arose and he was asked to fill that role, he wouldn't hesitate.

"There's a little bit of carry-over depending on what we're doing or whatever play we have called where I'll line up on the line," he said. "But that's kind of what a fullback has to do. You kind of have to be able to be thrown into whatever position on the field that you gotta do and you gotta just do your job."