Patriots familiar with what Seymour brings


Patriots familiar with what Seymour brings

By A. Sherrod Blakely Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn FOXBORO When you talk about intangibles in sports, you'll frequently hear about leadership.

For all the impressive sacks Richard Seymour stockpiled with the New England Patriots and now the Oakland Raiders, it is his leadership that may best define who he is.

You're going to hear all week about how Oakland's Darren McFadden is tearing up the NFL rushing the ball. You'll hear about the Raiders and all their big-playmakers, like fifth-round pick Denarius Moore who is averaging 20 yards per catch this season.

But for all that talk, for all of the Raiders (2-1) success in the early part of this season, Seymour's presence on the field and inside the locker room has been just as vital.

"He brings a lot of veteran leadership to that group," said Patriots tackle Matt Light, who has had many battles in Patriots practice with Seymour. "He's a smart player. I'm sure he's one of the guys that keeps everybody in line. They're a good group."

And Seymour has certainly played a pivotal role in the Raiders success defensively. They come into Sunday's game ranked 4th in sacks, with 10. Seymour, who has 10 tackles this season, has also registered 2.5 sacks. But again, numbers only scratch the surface when talking about his impact.

For Raiders rookie head coach Hue Jackson, having a veteran with Seymour's leadership skills has only made his transition from coordinator to head coach, smoother.

"Obviously, Seymour came from New England, has done a great job here of being, one, a pro, two, mentoring our players or making them understand what it takes to be the best they can be, and he's been tremendous to our staff because he's a leader of men and he understands what it takes to get this job done week after week. He's been unbelievable for this organization."

Several factors went into the Patriot's decision to part ways with Seymour prior to the 2009 season, with none appearing larger than the looming free agency of Vincent Wilfork.

With both Seymour and Wilfork hitting the free agent market after the 2009 season, coupled with the looming free agency of Logan Mankins, the Patriots elected to ship Seymour off to the Raiders for a future first-round pick used by the Pats to select Nate Solder in the first round of this year's NFL draft.

"Richard Seymour is everything we thought he would be and a little bit more," Jackson said. "I tell everybody, he was our first-round draft pick this year. I'm very happy about what happened as far as the trade to here, and he's playing well for us."

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has seen Seymour's work ethic on a day-in, day-out basis. And yes, his leadership skills are evident, too.

But Brady is more concerned with how the Pats deal with Seymour, the defensive lineman.

"He's a tough, hard-nosed football player that loves the game," Brady said. "You can see that by the way he plays. He really gets after the quarterback. He plays the run well. He's obviously a leader in that defensive front there. And when he gets going, they all get going. That's the thing, they all rally around him. When he makes his plays, then they all start making plays. So it's important for us to try to figure out ways to slow him down."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Ravens safety Weddle was interested in joining Patriots before landing in Baltimore

Ravens safety Weddle was interested in joining Patriots before landing in Baltimore

FOXBORO – Back in March, Eric Weddle batted his eyes longingly at the Patriots. The two-time All-Pro safety’s time was done with the Chargers and he wanted to spend his NFL autumn with a team that had a chance to win it all. 

He didn’t land in New England, but he didn’t too badly, winding up with the usually competitive Ravens.  

On a Thursday conference call with New England media, Weddle confirmed that there was mutual interest expressed. 

“Obviously, I was interested,” he acknowledged. “I have nothing but high regard, respect and admiration – and envy, quite honestly – of the success of the New England Patriots over the years. Obviously, battling them in my career, it’s always been a great game. I love the way they play, love the foundation, love everything about it. It was definitely on my radar. There were talks both ways, it just didn’t end up [working out].”

The numbers massed at the position with Patrick Chung, Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon played a role in the two sides not being able to reach accord, according to Weddle. 

“I’m good buddies with Patrick Chung,” he said. “I grew up playing with him and Devin [McCourty] is one of the best to play, so I don’t know if it would have worked out personnel-wise. But obviously, I could have seen myself fitting in there seamlessly.”

Weddle’s New England attraction apparently wasn’t love that bloomed late in his career. Toward the end of his conference call, Weddle said, “I’m still wondering why they just didn’t draft me in ’07; I could have been still playing there now.”

As reporters puzzled for a moment trying to recall the 2007 first-rounder, Weddle chipped in with the answer: “[They took] Brandon Meriweather.”

Raiders' loss to Chiefs puts Patriots in AFC driver's seat

Raiders' loss to Chiefs puts Patriots in AFC driver's seat

FOXBORO - The Patriots got a desired outcome Thursday night when the Chiefs handed the Raiders their third loss of the season. 

The 21-13 loss dropped Oakland and KC into a tie atop the AFC West at 10-3 but the Chiefs, by virtue of beating Oakland twice this season, have the divisional tiebreaker. Oakland went from the top seed in the AFC to the fifth spot.

More importantly around here, the Patriots now are in position to win out and claim the AFC’s No. 1 seed. 

Prior to the Raiders loss, Oakland would have been the top seed if both they and the Patriots won out.  Now, the 10-2 Patriots have a leg up on the rest of the conference. The Raiders’ road stays tough. They are at San Diego and Denver and host the Colts. 

The Chiefs have a more favorable close to the season with home games against Tennessee and Denver before their season finale at San Diego. 

The Patriots’ road over the final four is no picnic though, beginning with the Ravens and at Denver before the last two hosting the Jets and traveling to Miami.