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Patriots.com News Blitz - 12/8/2011

Ian Rapoport of the* Boston Herald* writes about Andre Carter returning to Washington after playing the past five years with the Redskins. After last season, the 32-year old Carter thought he might not get picked up by a team before the Patriots signed him. "I told everyone I was actually done," Carter said yesterday. "I don't know if people counted me out, but me personally, with what was going on with the lockout, not getting picked up (until early in camp), it was definitely a long-shot." Carter leads the Patriots with nine sacks this season.

Zuri Berry of the Boston Globe writes about the challenge Tom Brady and the Patriots offense will face on Sunday against the Redskins pass rush. After facing Dwight Freeny and Robert Mathis last week, the Patriots will face Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan this week. The two have combined for 12.5 sacks this season. "I feel like every week we're talking about their pass rushers and we've played quite a few good pass rushers this year," Brady said. "I think these two guys are right up there in terms of their ability to set the edge in the running game, to collapse a pocket, to strip sack the quarterback. Even if they're not sacking the quarterback they're forcing the ball out quickly. They're good players. I think they're the key to the whole defense."

Jeff Howe of NESN.com writes about the Patriots success when playing turnover free football. After turning the ball over 10 times in the first six weeks, the Patriots have turned the ball over only five times since then. Since 2001, the Patriots are 51-5 in regular-season games without a turnover (.911 winning percentage). They're 42-6 with one turnover (.875), 24-10 with two turnovers (.750), 10-9 with three turnovers (.526), 2-9 with four turnovers (.182) and 1-3 with five turnovers (.250).

Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com writes about veteran Nate Jones playing 69 snaps last Sunday after signing with the team only four days before the game. When asked about challenges he faced, Jones said, "Simple things, like learning all the guys' names... being on time to everything, knowing where I have to be. These are all the things that come with coming to a new place. You just take it one step at a time."

Christopher Price of WEEI.com writes about the versatility of rookie offensive lineman Nate Solder. Solder has played in all 12 games, starting in nine, and has played left tackle, right tackle, tight end and special teams. Due to his play as a rookie, Solder is drawing comparisons to Logan Mankins and Dan Koppen who both started their rookie years. "He's done a great job of handling everything we've asked him to do, all the responsibilities," veteran offensive lineman Brian Waters said of Solder. "I think if you asked him himself, he'd probably say he has to get better in certain areas, but I think he's done a great job handling all his responsibilities this year. I think he's done that, and you can see that the team trusts him a lot, and that's the reason why he's been able to do a lot of different things."

Mike Sando of ESPN.com writes his weekly MVP watch which included three Patriots this week. Sitting third was Tom Brady, sixth was Wes Welker and sitting tenth? Rob Gronkowski. Gronkowski has an NFL record for tight ends this year with 14 total touchdowns; 13 receiving and one rushing. Gronkowski also is in the top five in receptions and receiving yards this season.

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