'Tuck rule' still a nightmare for Woodson

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'Tuck rule' still a nightmare for Woodson

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

FOXBORO -- Everybody has nightmares. Charles Woodson's seem to be recurring.

The 2001-02 AFC Divisional playoff game at a snowy Foxboro Stadium continues to haunt Woodson's dreams.

Now a cornerback for the Green Bay Packers, Woodson was the Oakland Raider who stripped Tom Brady of the ball in the fourth quarter of that playoff game.

But, as we all know, that play -- a fumble recovered by Oakland -- was reviewed and overturned because of the tuck rule. Brady's arm was just barely going forward, which, by the rules, meant it was an incomplete pass and not a fumble.

The Patriots retained the ball, drove down the field, tied the game with a field goal, and then won 16-13 with another field goal in overtime.

The rest is history.

Just ask Woodson, who will be reminded of that game once again if it snows Sunday night at Gillette Stadium.

"You know, I've had that flashback more times than I would like," said Woodson in a conference call on Wednesday. "I catch that game on classic football channels sometimes. That's a bad memory for me. But, you know, it is what it is."

Packers coach Mike McCarthy began his NFL career as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs' offensive coaching staff in 1993 and 1994. Joe Monatana spent the last two seasons of his career as the quarterback for the Chiefs in both of those seasons.

Having to study for Tom Brady this week, in preparation for the Patriots on Sunday night, McCarthy said on Wednesday that he sees glimpses of Montana in the Patriots' quarterback.

"Joe was probably the most fundamental quarterback that I've had an opportunity to be around," said McCarthy. "I would say definitely, Tom is in that category. His fundamentals are outstanding."

Woodson agrees with the comparison as well.

"I think Brady's No. 1, as far as quarterbacks are concerned," said Woodson when asked who was the best quarterback in the league. "I guess there are some similarities. Joe Montana was 'Joe Cool' and Brady's no different. Watching him on film, and watching games when they're on television, the way he drops back, he sits in that pocket as if there's no rush coming.

"There's no panic in his game. And he's a winner, and Joe was a winner as well. That's the greatest comparison between the two."

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.

Patriots place Lewis and Vollmer on reserve/PUP, cut three to get to 75-man limit

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Patriots place Lewis and Vollmer on reserve/PUP, cut three to get to 75-man limit

FOXBORO -- The Patriots were able to trim their roster to 75 players by Tuesday's 4 p.m. deadline without making any eye-opening cuts. 

The team placed right tackle Sebastian Vollmer and running back Dion Lewis on the reserve/physically unable to perform list, which will make them unavailable for the first six weeks of the regular season. The Patriots also released linebacker Ramon Humber, tight end Steven Scheu and offensive lineman Keavon Milton.

Neither Vollmer nor Lewis were expected to be healthy enough to begin the season. By placing them on reserve/PUP, the Patriots are no longer dedicating active roster spots to those players, but they have also kept the option open for one or both to return later in the year. Guard Tre' Jackson was also placed on reserve/PUP on Monday. Receiver Danny Amendola is the lone player to remain on active/PUP, meaning he will continue to count against the active roster and can re-join the team to practice at any time.

Ninkovich (triceps), Mitchell (elbow) show progress in practice participation

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Ninkovich (triceps), Mitchell (elbow) show progress in practice participation

FOXBORO -- On the day the Patriots had to trim their roster to 75 players, a few of the absences at the team's practice were a sign of what was to come. 

Tight end Steven Scheu, linebacker Ramon Humber and offensive lineman Keavon Milton were all missing from the session, and it was later announced that all three had been released. Running back Dion Lewis and offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer -- both of whom were on the physically unable to perform list going into Tuesday -- were also absent, and they were both placed on reserve/PUP later in the day. 

For Lewis and Vollmer, the reserve/PUP designation means that they will be forced to miss the first six weeks of the regular season but will not count against the roster during that period. Guard Tre' Jackson was placed on reserve/PUP on Monday. Receiver Danny Amendola is the only player who remains on active/PUP. He could be activated to practice and play with the team at any time.

Other absences from Tuesday's practice -- the last before Thursday's preseason game with the Giants -- were Cre'Von LeBlanc, Matthew Slater, Shea McClellin and Nate Solder. For Slater, it was the second consecutive practice he missed. 

Linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill missed Friday's preseason game with the Panthers and was held out of Mondays practice with an illness, but he was back on the field on Tuesday. 

Defensive end Rob Ninkovich (triceps) and receiver Malcolm Mitchell (elbow) both remained with their teammates for drills following the warm-up period. Their increased participation is an indication that their recoveries are progressing in the right direction. Since suffering their injuries they have consistently headed to a lower practice field for conditioning work following warm-ups, but Tuesday saw that routine change.

Belichick: 'All the experts in the league' can decide on number of preseason games

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Belichick: 'All the experts in the league' can decide on number of preseason games

FOXBORO -- After Ravens tight end Benjamin Watson went down with a torn Achilles in a recent preseason game, Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said he wouldn't mind if the league eliminated preseason games. 

"If I had my choice, I'd go none," Harbaugh said. "That might be an extreme point, but we could run scrimmages, or we could run practices against other teams and figure it out. We'd all be in the same boat. That's for people higher up than me to decide."

Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked on Tuesday afternoon for his thoughts on the value of the preseason. 

"I think I’ll let all the experts in the league decide that," Belichick said. "That’s not really my job. My job is to coach the team. But, I think our joint practices give us extra opportunities to evaluate the team. That’s why we use them.

"I’d say probably almost every team in the league does that. There might be a couple who don’t, but most of them do one, sometimes two. It seems to me like most of the teams want that type play and competition and opportunity rather than less of it. You want to play against somebody else. I don’t know why you wouldn’t schedule a few extra scrimmage days. But, you should talk to the experts about that. That’s not really my . . . we just play by the rules."