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Patriots.com News Blitz - 11/14/2006

Mike Reiss of The Boston Globe talks to tight end Daniel Graham about the Patriots identity. Graham explains that, in his four-plus seasons with the team, they've been at their best when the team had a trademark. It wasn't necessarily a decision between being a running team or a passing team. "Everybody knew that when they came to play the Patriots that our offense was physical -- running game, passing game," Graham said. "That was just us."

According to Mike Reiss of The Boston Globe, defensive end Richard Seymour played about 67 percent of the Patriots defensive snaps against the Jets. Seymour said earlier in the week that he wanted to play more than he did. He reiterated those feelings yesterday, however he also said he wants to be a team player. Along those lines, Seymour said yesterday that he doesn't think it's "time to push the panic button" on the team's morale. Reiss explains that players are disappointed with the loss, but aren't experiencing any divisions or breakdowns. As for Seymour's role, he admitted he still isn't at 100 percent with a left elbow injury and said, "I think as a competitor, you always want to be in the football game."

It's hard to shake the feeling that the Patriots have reached a crossroads, says John Tomase of the Boston Herald. Tomase explains that a number of players made "un-Patriots-like comments" following the last loss, and expressed feelings about being "outcoached." The writer explains that the Pats haven't lost consecutive games in four years and argues that the Pats haven't lost a game to "an inferior team" in even longer. Tomase believes that both of those things put the Patriots in "uncharted territory." But all is not lost. Seymour said, "We're all in this together, trying to figure out how to get back on track. Winning will take care of a lot of that."

John Tomase of the Boston Herald says the "knee-jerk response" to Brady's recent stack of interceptions is to wonder if he's hurt. "I think he's been able to play in every game, so you'd have to ask him that," Belichick said yesterday. "There probably isn't a player in the league that plays every week that's 100 percent. He's probably in that category. So is everybody else. That's pro football." Brady's numbers are off his career marks across the board.

Gerry Callahan of the Boston Herald takes a look at the mentor-protege relationship that existed between Belichick and Jets HC Eric Mangini. Callahan believes a "Belichick-Mangini feud" now exists, and argues that it contributed to the Patriots loss to the Jets last weekend by being a distraction to the team.

John Tomase of the Boston Herald explains that "in a move at once perplexing and yet strangely commendable," Seymour has begun carrying a second cell phone that serves as his fan hotline. The number is included in the story.

Albert Breer of the Boston Herald takes a look at wideout Jabar Gaffney, who played well in last weekend's loss. "It felt good to make some plays," Gaffney said in the postgame locker room. "Would have felt better if we would've won. It was what it was." Breer notes that wideout Doug Gabriel was sidelined for much of the game, giving Gaffney the chance he needed to make a splash on the team.

Michael Felger of the Boston Herald offers his Patriots report card on the Jets game. It looks like the Pats had a little trouble passing with these marks, though he gave the receivers a good review.

[Ian Clark ](http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=Ian Clark on Football: Pats have work to do&articleId=03e425cd-865b-4722-9e7c-afc3ac1054b6)of The Union Leader explains that "it's gut-check time for the New England Patriots," and offers his Patriots report card on the Jets game.

The Providence Journal's Shalise Manza Young reports that Seymour was sidelined for much of the Jets game. "As players have heard me say many times, they don't control playing time," said Belichick yesterday. "What they control is their performance when they're on the field. Coaches control playing time. That's what a coach's job is, to call plays, make substitutions and prepare the team. A player's job is to be ready to play, and when he's called on and gets the opportunity, go out there and play the best he can. That's what every player's job is."

Shalise Manza Young of The Providence Journal also reports on offensive lineman Billy Yates, who is out for the season with a broken leg after starting the Pats last three games.

Alan Greenberg of the Hartford Courant reports that Seymour took issue with the amount of time he spent on the field after the Jets game was over. Greenberg also notes that receiver Doug Gabriel fumbled the ball on a second-quarter, 22-yard catch-and-run play and did not return to the game.

Eric McHugh of The Patriot Ledger reports that the Patriots have lost their aura and are looking to regain their mojo. He explains that it was inevitable, given how high they had set the bar.

The Patriot Ledger's Eric McHugh reports that cornerback Ellis Hobbs took responsibility for the loss, saying, "I take fault for that. If you want to say I lost the game. I lost the game." McHugh argues that there are a lot of other players who probably share similar feelings of responsibility, though Hobbs has been the most vocal about it.

Hector Longo of The Eagle-Tribune reports that Mangini attacked the Patriots weak spots. Mangini called the game planning he did over the Jets bye week, "tweaking." Longo says Mangini studied the game film from the Patriots loss to the Broncos and attacked the receiving game similarly. Longo also argues that without deep threats like Deion Branch and David Givens, the Jets had an easier task to complete in controling the Pats short-throw passing game.

Michael Parente of the Woonsocket Call reports that Seymour reiterated that everyone's to blame when a team loses. "We win as a team and we lose as a team. No one is exempt from that -- not me, not (Tom) Brady, not coach (Bill) Belichick, not (Mike) Vrabel or not Troy Brown," said Seymour. Parente notes that Belichick "didn't have a problem with Seymour's comments" and explains that Belichick included himself in the group of parties responsible for the loss when he said, "I'm sure that every player felt like they could've done a better job. I think every coach feels like we could've done a better job."

Tom Brady isn't the only one to blame for Sunday's loss, says the Woonsocket Call's Michael Parente. While Brady has slipped to 14th in the NFL in passer rating this season and is now ranked 12th out of 17 AFC quarterbacks, Belichick admitted that everyone on the team struggled against the Jets. "We've won a few games around here and he's had a lot to do with those wins," Belichick said yesterday. Parente argues that Brady also had a lot to do with the losses, but admits that the offensive line was weak, allowing Brady to be sacked four times in the game, also conceding that "Brady is still working to develop rhythm with his new receivers."

Also don't forget to check out USA Today's Inside Slant on the Patriots, updated yesterday.

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