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Replay: Best of Radio Thu Nov 30 - 02:00 PM | Sun Dec 03 - 10:40 AM News Blitz - 10/24/2011

Patriots players and coaches enjoy their time off. Don Shula praises Belichick and Brady. It’s all inside today’s edition of the News Blitz.

Monique Walker of the Boston Globe writes about the progress Brandon Spikes is making in the early part of the Patriots season. Spikes missed all of the pre-season and week one with an ankle injury. Since that time the second year player out of Florida has started the last four games, playing in a career-high 67 snaps in the Patriots last game against the Cowboys. "I missed a significant amount of time,'' Spikes said. "With football, you got to get a feel for it. You keep coming with repetition day by day. I was definitely behind, but now I think I'm kind of getting upbeat and I'm in top shape. I feel like I'm taking it all in with the defense. I just want to keep getting better every day.''

Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald writes about recent comments from NFL Hall of Fame coach Don Shula about Bill Belichick and Tom Brady's relationship. "It's great to have that confidence in your quarterback," Shula said. "I know I always felt no matter what the score was with Marino, we were always in the game. He made it exciting. You never felt like you were out of it. I'm sure Belichick feels the same way about Brady, and with good reason." With the Patriots win over the Cowboys, Belichick and Brady tied Shula and Dan Marino for the most wins for a quarterback-coach tandem at 116 wins.

Mike Reiss of writes about an increase in playing time for Vince Wilfork. Through six games last season, Wilfork had played in about 65.6% of the Patriots defensive plays. This season, in a new defensive system, Wilfork's time has increased to about 87.6% of the defensive snaps.

Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald gives the Patriots bye week superlatives. The high school year book-like awards shine light on some of the best performers in the first part of the Patriots season. Awards included "class couple", "most likely to become famous" and "most likely to live on an island."

Chris Forsberg of writes about how some of the Patriots coaches spent their off time. While Bill Belichick admitted he used some of his time to "get ahead a little bit on Pittsburgh," he did take time out for his family. Belichick was spotted on the sidelines at the Rutgers-Louisville game on Friday night. Belichick's son Stephen is the long-snapper for Rutgers.

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