Setting the table for Patriots-Texans

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Setting the table for Patriots-Texans

Idle Friday thoughts while cleaning out the desk drawer of my mind and riffling through Springsteen and Neil Young lyrics to find something apt to apply to this weekend's game at Gillette Field.

Wade Phillips dawdled into a verbal snafu Thursday when he used the words "not" and "a real athletic guy" when discussing Wes Welker. Phillips was actually describing Welker in relation to A.J. Green, who is 6-foot-4 and can jump out of the gym. Wes Welker is 5-9 and cannot jump out of the gym. "Ah, Welkers not Green, Phillips said. Hes a good player, but hes not that big or a real athletic guy. Hes a quick guy that gets open on option routes. The perceived slight on Welker was quickly seized upon forcing Phillips to take to Twitter to stomp out flames of indignation.

Wade Phillips @sonofbum Wes Welker is a great athlete and one of the best receivers of all time- twistthataround
Twitter. It's a helluva place.
It's been amusing this week to listen to the media weigh in on what players should and shouldn't use for motivation. Ummm, they're the players... they can use whatever they want.

You think Gary Kubiak doesn't know how to brain battle and get into some gamesmanship with the Patriots? The Texans head coach strayed from his customary sharing of injury information early in the week. Asked the status of tight end Garrett Graham, Kubiak said, "Were going to talk about injuries on Wednesday. So well update you guys. Thatll be the first time well talk about that.

Why? "Ive got a new philosophy, thats what I was told," Kubiak replied. "That was my philosophy, starting today so thats my philosophy. Well talk about it on Wednesday.The Patriots, you may have heard, are less forthcoming than most teams about injuries.

With both Brian Kelly (Everett) and Chip Kelly (Manch-vegas, New Hampshire) and Bill O'Brien (Dorchester) all being courted for NFL head coaching jobs - and opting to stay at Notre Dame, Oregon and Penn State respectively, the tide of coaches with New England (mainly Massachusetts) ties taking over top spots in the NFL was stemmed a bit. In addition to those three, Medway's Pete Carmichael (offensive assistant for the Saints) was in the mix and could soon get his shot at a head job. And the Dolphins staff is littered with Mass guys led by head coach Joe Philbin (Springfield), OC Mike Sherman (Norwood), line coach Jim Turner (Braintree), wide receivers coach Ken O'Keefe (Worcester Academy), and strength coach Dave Puloka (Arlington).

The key player on the NFC side of the playoffs? Justin Smith. The Niners defensive tackle left the game against the Patriots with a torn triceps and the decline of the San Fran defense was breathtaking. He'll be back for the Divisional Playoff game against the Packers, but what level he can play at may determine whether San Fran has another game next week.

It will be interesting to see what happens next with Armond Armstead, the defensive tackle the Patriots worked out earlier this week. Armstead went undrafted in 2012 after having a star-crossed college career at USC. Released by the CFL's Toronto Argonauts (reportedly by mutual agreement if an NFL opportunity arose), Armstead had six sacks for Toronto this past season. The 6-5, 298-pound Armstead is not eligible to be added to the Patriots roster during the playoffs because of NFLCFL rules. He could be a target for 2013, though.

Wow. The Jets Mike Westhoff, their retiring special teams coach, carpet-bombed the organization on the radio Friday morning. Given the performance of the Jets special teams in 2012, this is one of those pot-calling-the-kettle-a-glass-house deals. Here's a route to the full audio from The Joe Rose Show.

The always insightful Matt Bowen from National Football Post goes inside the Xs and Os of the Patriots play-action game against the Texans. The question to me is whether Wade Phillips has it in him to back off his blitzing nature and drop more guys into coverage and make Tom Brady process more defenders. If he doesn't, the Texans are meat.

The more I consider this Patriots-Texans game, the more I believe it won't be the same blowout as last time. Patriots 41, Texans 14.

Patriots place Tre' Jackson on reserve/PUP list

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Patriots place Tre' Jackson on reserve/PUP list

The Patriots announced three roster moves on Monday night. Two resulted in players parting ways with the team. The other opened a roster spot without a departure. 

In addition to releasing both defensive tackle Terrance Knighton and center Bryan Stork, the Patriots also placed guard Tre' Jackson on the reserve/physically unable to perform list.

Jackson began training camp on PUP, and he has not practiced with the team since camp kicked off. Now that he is on the reserve/PUP, the second-year player out of Florida State will be forced to miss the first six weeks of the regular season, but he will not count against the active roster during that period. 

Jackson, a fourth-round pick last year, played through knee issues at times as a rookie, seeing action in 13 games and starting in nine. He has been spotted on the practice fields this summer, but he has been limited to warm-ups and conditioning work. 

In his absence, the Patriots still have depth at guard, which may have had something to do with the team's willingness to make Jackson unavailable for almost the first half of the season. Rookie Joe Thuney looks like he will be the starter at left guard, while Josh Kline could be the option at right guard to start the season. Jonathan Cooper and Shaq Mason are dealing with injuries at the moment, but they both returned to the practice field on Monday, and they also have a shot at the right guard job. Rookie sixth-rounder Ted Karras could also factor in as a reserve at either guard or center if he makes the club. 

The Patriots currently have 80 players on the active roster and need to reduce that number to 75 by 4 p.m. on Tuesday.