Daily Recap: New England Patriots News and Notes 8/31

Derek Havens
August 31, 2011 at 05:57pm ET

Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower returning to practice field an encouraging sign
Why was Patriots LB Kyle Van Noy doing pushups at a bowling alley?
Patriots owner Robert Kraft owns no concerns that Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are missing OTAs
New NFL policy lets players who don’t want to stand for anthem stay in locker room
Former Patriots rip NFL’s new anthem policy

My colleague Ian Logue helps start you off each day with his daily links entry, so in an effort to help fellow Patriots fans get caught up at the end of each day on what’s gone on with this football team, I’ll be offering a daily entry at the end of each day to help keep up with any news you may have missed. You can also follow me on Twitter to learn when it’s available.

With their fourth pre-season game on Thursday night against the Giants, the Patriots have a lot of work to do. Especially after cutting down their roster and losing to the Lions last Saturday night 34 - 10. With so much going on, there is certainly no shortage of news. Here are some notes on the team and around the league on Wednesday:

  • On Monday, the Patriots began to trim down their roster from 90 players to 80 as the league's deadline loomed. Among the cuts were safety James Sanders and cornerback Jonathan Wilhite. While Wilhite was on the roster bubble, Sanders' release came as a shock to most. To read my full write up on Sanders, check out the story here.


  • The Patriots also signed WR Tiquan Underwood on Monday and he is determined to stand out. He played at Rutgers with second-year cornerback Devin McCourty and has played 13 games over the past two seasons for the Jaguars. Underwood was a seventh round draft pick in 2009 and was released last week.



  • Patriots quarterback Tom Brady really struggled on Saturday night. Brady completed 12 of 22 passes for 145 yards and a 44 yard touchdown pass to Wes Welker. Unfortunately, he was also got sacked twice, fumbled once, and threw an interception. In Brady's defense, he did not have the greatest protection. After the game, Brady commented on his performance:

“I think we were trying to get the ball down the field a little bit, so you’re going to hold it.  They have a good pass rush, we held up out there for a decent amount of time.  I have to do a better job of making quicker decisions, getting rid of the football and getting it to the guys who can do something with it.”


  • It was another quiet night for Chad Ochocinco and some fans are beginning to get anxious. Possibly for good reason though as the chemistry between Tom Brady and Ochocinco is not where it needs to be at this point. The receiver was targeted four times Saturday night and did not have one reception. Luckily, the two have more opportunities to get in sync but, time is not on their side. Ocho has "heard the rumblings", however, and had something to say on the subject -

“I’m just nowhere near where I want to be. I’m my biggest critic anyway,’’ he said yesterday. “Regardless of what you write, what you guys see – I’m the first to judge myself. I’m always aiming for perfection and one of those things about being here, about being in an organization like this, that prides itself on perfection and excellence, you know, I’m sort of putting the pressure on myself to be right and be perfect now. Not later.

“I’m trying to squeeze everything within a short time frame. And it’s somewhat impossible but if I can aim to be as perfect as possible, I think I’ll get up to speed.’’

  • Former Patriots safety James Sanders, who was released on Monday, has signed a one-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons. I am definitely disappointed Belichick decided to part ways with the safety but, I am glad he landed with a good team in the Falcons.


  • The Patriots are reportedly interested in defensive tackle Pat Williams. The team has been doing their "due diligence" on several veteran players across the league this off-season. So the question remains, is their interest real or are they just scouting a player they could go up against one day? For that, only time will tell but I am very curious either way. Even though Williams is older (38) he is not far removed from several dominating seasons with the Vikings. If the team feels he could contribute on select downs, I think it would be a solid addition; Although, I am not sure what he can offer at this point.



  • The Patriots final preseason game is on tomorrow at home against the Giants. After a very quick turnaround for the team, I am curious to see how they respond. After a very disappointing outing from the club on Saturday, i'm not expecting to see too many of the team’s starters in action when they face the Giants. I believe the coaching staff will now start to shift the players focus to the regular-season opener, Sept. 12 against the Miami Dolphins.


  • After the first league-wide roster cuts yesterday, Aug. 30th. The Patriots roster is now at 80 players. The team now has four days to shuffle their roster and finish evaluating the players as Sep. 3rd marks the day where final cuts are made.

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