Practice Squad Moves
The New England Patriots signed defensive lineman Santonio Thomas to the practice squad on Monday. They released him last week to make room on the active roster for Richard Seymour. To make room for Thomas, the team released offensive lineman Pat Ross.
The move to get Thomas back on the practice squad makes sense considering the 6-foot-4, 305-pound defender still has practice squad eligibility left. The team has put significant time into his development since signing him as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Miami in 2005.
The team released offensive lineman Pat Ross to make a spot for Thomas. Ross was signed to the Patriots practice squad on October 9, 2007 as a street free agent. He spent 2006 season on the Seattle Seahawks' practice squad. Ross followed Patriots center Dan Koppen at Boston College and assumed the starting role at center for BC when Koppen entered the NFL.
Mike Vrabel Has Career Game
Mike Vrabel turned in what could arguably be labeled as a career game on Sunday against the Redskins. Vrabel caught a 2-yard touchdown pass after subbing in on the goal line offensive package. It was the tenth score of his career. He also sacked Jason Campbell three times forcing three fumbles, one of which was returned for a touchdown. Vrabel finished with a team high 13 tackles (11 solo)
Vrabel's head coach took the play in stride. "Mike had some big plays for us," Belichick said in his post game press conference. "He made a nice play down there on the goal line and had some strip sacks. He always does a good job and he had some big [plays] today. Knocking those balls out, those are obviously - they were huge plays.
Tom Brady agreed, Vrabel doe s a good job with all that he's asked to do, especially when catching a pass from Brady.
"I think it was a good sell by the offensive line, he just slipped out there and another touchdown catch for him," Brady said. "He's very good at evading defenders and getting off the line of scrimmage. He's very quick [and] he uses his hand well. He's got good hands when he catches it."
Vrabel was nominated for the GMC Defensive player of the week, an award chosen by the fans. Other nominees are Tennessee's Travis La Boy, Jacksonville's Aaron Glenn, San Diego's Antonio Cromartie and Philadelphia's Trent Cole.
Redskins defensive end Demetric Evans tried to put a positive spin on the 52-7 loss to the Patriots on Sunday. Evans felt that the blowout came at the right time of the year and had it happened early in the season could have sent the wrong message to the team, giving them a hangover that would have been difficult to recover from.
"I feel sorry for whoever played them Week 1," Evans said. When it was pointed out that the Jets were the team the Patriots pounded in week 1, Evans noted that his point was made. "And you see where they are," Evans said. The Patriots blew out the Jets 38-14 in what has been dubbed "spy-gate." New York went from a 10-6 record in 2006 to a 1-7 record this season.
Redskins offensive lineman Casey Rabach was equally impressed with the Patriots, and grudgingly complimented Brady's performance.
"They are darn good and are probably one of the better teams I have ever played against," the seventh year pro said. "He (Tom Brady) is a heck of a player. He has been playing at a high level for a long time in this league. He had a great day."
Moss Continues To Amaze
WR Randy Moss caught his 11th touchdown pass of the season. Moss's 11 scores are the second highest single-season total in Patriots history. Stanley Morgan holds the franchise record of 12 touchdown receptions in 1986. At his current pace, Moss will score 22 for the season, which will surpass the former career-best mark of 17 he accomplished twice (1998,2003). Moss leads all Patriots receivers with 779 yards on 49 receptions (16.6 avg.)
Brady Continues Record-Setting Pace
QB Tom Brady has thrown for at least three touchdowns in all eight games this season, tying the NFL record for consecutive games with three or more touchdown passes. Brady also set a new single-season career high with his 30th touchdown pass of the year against the Redskins. He finished the game completing 29 passes in 38 attempts for 306 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. One more touchdown, and Brady will tie the franchise record of 31 held by Vito "Babe" Parilli (1964), and is on pace to shatter the NFL record (49) with a potential 60 touchdowns on the year.
Running Game An Afterthought
RB Laurence Maroney started the game against the Redskins in impressive fashion with runs of 11 and 13 yards on the Patriots first possession of the game. After missing three games with a groin injury, Maroney returned to the lineup lat week playing one half of football. Maroney finished the Washington game with 14 carries for 75 yards.
Maroney trails Sammy Morris, who missed his second consecutive game due to injury, for the lead amongst Patriots rushers. Morris has 384 yards on 85 carries (4.5 avg.) with three touchdowns. Maroney has 358 yards on 74 carries (4.8 avg.) and no scores. Kevin Faulk's 5-carry 32-yard performance places him third on the team's stat line with 156 yards on 33 carries (4.7 avg.) for the season.