Patriots' Taylor: I've got that itch

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Patriots' Taylor: I've got that itch

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

FOXBORO -- It's beginning to get a "Fridays with Fred" feeling inside the Patriots locker room following Friday practice sessions. And it will continue to be that way until veteran running back Fred Taylor returns to game action.

Taylor (turf toe) hasn't played since Week 3, but did resume practicing last week with limited participation. Last Friday, he said he was ready to go against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but didn't get the call from coach Bill Belichick.

This Friday, Taylor said much of the same, but did sound a little more antsy, and a little more ready to suit up for Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts.

"I feel pretty good," said Taylor. "I had a better week of practice. Ultimately, you guys know as well as I do. It's the coach's decision at the end of the day. So I'll just stay patient and see what that call is.

"I haven't played in a while, but I've got that itch. I'd definitely love to be back out there and keep improving.

"Belichick knows what's best for the team, going forward," added Taylor. "And whatever that is, I have to live with it, and just be ready for it. I had a very solid week of practice, a lot better than last week. I'm continuing to improve, so we'll see how it goes."

Media members are only allowed to watch the first 10-15 minutes of practice each day, so while Taylor has been listed with "limited participation," it's tough to tell just how he looks.

He described why he felt he had a better practice this week, than last.

"Getting some quicks back, some burst," said Taylor. "Just getting in and out of my cuts feel a lot better. And able to just mix it up with the defenders. Last week wasn't as much of that. But this week, the confidence is just getting better with each rep."

As much as Taylor believes he's ready to get back on the field for Sunday's game, he realizes that Belichick is going to make the right decision, either way. But he does believe he's convinced enough people.

"I'm just going to sit back, hit my knees, say a little prayer, and hopefully I can sway coach to be willing to take a shot with me for Sunday," said Taylor. "But I'll be patient to see. Whatever's best for the team, I'm all about that.

"I thought I showed some glimpses last week, where I could have mixed it up in certain situations. The same this week. But it's not my call. We'll see. We'll just wait on Sunday and see. I don't want to go one way or the other with this. But I had a pretty solid week, and we'll see how it goes."

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comdannypicard

Curran’s 100 plays that shaped a dynasty: A nice pair of kicks

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Curran’s 100 plays that shaped a dynasty: A nice pair of kicks

We're into the Top 10 now.

These are the plays of the Bill Belichick Era you best never forget. And probably can't. They're the ones that led directly to championships -- most for New England, a couple for the other guys. Or they're plays that signified a sea change in the way the New England Patriots under Belichick would be behaving from there on out.

I did my best to stack them in order of importance. You got a problem with that? Good. Let us know what's too high, too low or just plain wrong. And thanks for keeping up!

PLAY NUMBER: 4

THE YEAR: 2001 (actually Feb. 3, 2002)

THE GAME: Patriots 20, Rams 17

THE PLAY: Vinatieri 48-yarder in Superdome delivers SB36 win

WHY IT’S HERE: When the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, it was viewed nationally and locally as a cathartic moment for a long-suffering region. Deliverance for a fanbase that resolutely suffered through 90 years of star-crossed heartbreak with a mix of stoicism and fatalism. “Long-suffering Red Sox fan” was a badge of honor, an identity. And New Englanders – baseball fans or not - would self-identify with the hideous notion of Red Sox Nation. There was no “Patriots Nation.” To drag out the forced metaphor, Patriots fans were living in tents and cabins in the wilderness, recluses. Reluctant to be seen in town where they’d be mocked. And suddenly, they cobbled together one of the most improbable, magical seasons in American professional sports, a year which gave birth to a dynasty which was first celebrated, now reviled but always respected. And while so many games and plays led to this 48-yarder – ones we’ve mentioned 12 times on this list – Adam Vinatieri kicking a 48-yarder right down the f****** middle to win the Super Bowl was an orgasmic moment for the recluses and pariahs that had been Patriots fans when nobody would admit to such a thing.
 

PLAY NUMBER: 3

THE YEAR: 2001 (actually Jan. 19, 2002)

THE GAME: Patriots 16, Raiders 13

THE PLAY: Vinatieri from 45 through a blizzard to tie Snow Bowl

WHY IT’S HERE: Two thoughts traveling on parallel tracks were running through the mind while Adam Vinatieri trotted onto the field and lined up his 45-yarder to tie Oakland in the 2001 AFC Divisional Playoff Game, the final one at Foxboro Stadium. “There’s no way he can make this kick in this weather,” was the first. “The way this season’s gone, I bet he makes this kick. It can’t end here. It can’t end now.” From where I was sitting in the press box I couldn’t see the ball clearly, probably because I was looking for it on a higher trajectory than Vinatieri used. So I remember Vinatieri going through the ball, my being unable to locate it in the air and then looking for the refs under the goalposts to see their signal. And when I located them, I saw the ball scuttle past. Then I saw the officials’ arms rise. Twenty-five years earlier, the first team I ever followed passionately – the ’76 Patriots – left me in tears when they lost to the Raiders in the playoffs. Now, at 33, I was covering that team and it had gotten a measure of retribution for the 8-year-old me.