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Archive for the ‘ 2014 Training Camp ’ Category

5 Takeaways From Patriots vs Eagles


Jimmy Garoppolo had another strong showing on Friday night. (USA TODAY Images)

It was good to see the Patriots bounce back after a rocky start last week in Washington, beating up the Philadelphia Eagles 42-35 in a game that was shaky at times but overall showed a lot of promise as the team continues working toward getting ready for the regular season.

For the fans who were on hand, they were able to get a good look at all three quarterbacks Thursday night, with Tom Brady getting the starting nod and playing fairly well, while Jimmy Garoppolo and Ryan Mallett both followed him and also looked good while they were out there.

Taking a further look back, here are some thoughts on the victory as the team gets set for next week’s match-up at home against the Carolina Panthers.

1) PATRIOTS WERE EFFICIENT MOVING THE BALL AND SCORING:

Looking at the numbers from last night’s game, it’s hard not to feel good about what the offense was able to do as a whole and all three quarterbacks did a good job.  They finished the night with 478 yards of total offense and one of the more impressive stats was the fact that the Patriots finished with 35 first downs and were balanced in terms of how they converted them.  They finished the night with 14 passing first downs and 15 rushing, with six more converted via penalty by the Ealges. They also converted an impressive 10-of-15 (67%) on third down.

Even more amazing was what they were able to do down in scoring territory.  They converted 6-of-7 red zone opportunities against the Eagles, with each quarterback throwing at least one touchdown pass (they finished with four passing touchdowns total) and also rushed for two scores.

2) MALLETT BOUNCED BACK AFTER ROUGH OUTING:

While it wasn’t perfect, Mallett looked a little more confident than he did during last week’s loss in Washington and put together a pretty good outing.  He finished the night 7-of-11 including a touchdown pass and also rushed for a touchdown.  The touchdown pass to Brian Tyms was a perfect throw, with Mallett lobbing a perfect pass that Tyms out-leaped his defender and caught the football with both feet coming down in bounds.

Those are the type of throws that show glimpses of what Mallett’s capable of and it’s going to be interesting to see in these final two weeks how both he and Garoppolo play out there.  If Mallett goes out and has another good night and Garoppolo continues to play well behind him, the Patriots may make the decision to move Mallett should he impress another team enough for them to want to acquire him.  Belichick has already experienced how important it is to have a capable back-up in case disaster should strike and Garoppolo still needs to show that removing Mallett from the mix would be a move they could live with.


Malcolm Butler looked impressive once again after a strong showing last week in Washington. (USA TODAY Images)

3) MALCOLM BUTLER CONTINUES TO SHINE:

Butler continues to make his presence felt and followed-up last week’s performance with another good one against the Eagles.  He surprised everyone by starting opposite Darrelle Revis and was in on a forced fumble with Dont’a Hightower in the first quarter, while also forcing another later in the third quarter that he recovered.  He continues to be one of the bright spots of this preseason and is certainly making a strong case for a roster spot should he continue to play well.

4) COULD TYMS FACTOR INTO THE MIX?:

Second-year receiver Brian Tyms had another decent performance after hauling in 3 passes for 29 yards along with a touchdown and is another player making a strong case for a spot on the team.  This is a group that has a lot of speed and quickness, which is a nice change from where they were several years ago when they were comprised of older veterans. It’s going to be interesting to see how he factors in if he continues to perform the way he has over these first two games.

5) FINCH MAKING A CASE FOR HIMSELF AFTER SLOW START:

Running back Roy Finch improved from his week one outing, finishing the night with seven carries for 37 yards along with a touchdown and also caught two passes for 34 yards.  We’ve seen a lot of growth from him throughout training camp and it was good to see it start to translate into the preseason.  Hopefully he can continue to improve over these final two weeks, which if that happens could potentially help him earn a role with this offense heading into the 2014 regular season.

Overall it was a good performance all around and this week’s match-up against Carolina will hopefully be one that will see players continue to take positive steps forward before the team begins trimming the roster to 53 in the next couple of weeks.

Ryan Mallett Expected to Get The Starting Nod Tonight


Ryan Mallett will play the lead role in tonight’s Preseason Opener. (USA TODAY Images)

Ryan Mallett talked this week about the fact he’s confident he can be a starting quarterback in this league, and it appears Bill Belichick will let him take the lead role in tonight’s preseason opener.

According to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, Mallett will get the starting nod tonight, giving him an opportunity to showcase his talents during the team’s first preseason game with potentially some of the first team players as he tries to continue a lot of the success he’s had this week.

Mallett’s received plenty of praise during these joint sessions and now that he has an opportunity to showcase himself, how he performs this preseason could potentially raise his stock high enough to give New England an opportunity to move him before the trade deadline.

Mallett said this week he believes he can be a starter in the NFL and tonight will certainly be a great opportunity for him to be able to prove it.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity to be able to play a lot,” Mallett told the media this week. “I haven’t really gotten too many chances during the regular season because I have a pretty good guy in front of me. Any time I get to play, I look forward to it.”

Patriots Huddle: Thursday’s News, Notes and Links 8/7


Bill Belichick helped set up a productive week for the Patriots and Redskins during their joint sessions. (USA TODAY Images)

Some news and notes this morning:

MALLETT GETS THE NOD TONIGHT:

It’s been a pretty busy week during the team’s joint practice sessions and after getting a look at most of the starters during their work against Washington, it appears Bill Belichick will let Tom Brady be a spectator and will start Ryan Mallett at quarterback in tonight’s preseason opener.

According to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, Mallett will get the starting nod tonight which means fans may get an opportunity to see how he fares with some of the first team players as he tries to continue a lot of the success he’s had this week. Mallett’s received plenty of praise during these joint sessions and now that he has an opportunity to showcase himself, how he performs this preseason could potentially raise his stock high enough to give New England an opportunity to move him before the trade deadline.

Mallett said this week he believes he can be a starter in the NFL and tonight will certainly be a great opportunity for him to be able to prove it.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity to be able to play a lot,” Mallett told the media this week. “I haven’t really gotten too many chances during the regular season because I have a pretty good guy in front of me. Any time I get to play, I look forward to it.”

PATRIOTS AND WASHINGTON IN THE SPOTLIGHT NATIONALLY THIS WEEK:

Bill Belichick has been an innovator in the NFL with a lot of his insight and methods and this week’s joint sessions in Washington appear to be yet another example of how big of an effect he’s seemingly having on the league thanks to how they approached these practices.

A lot of the national media is taking note of how the two teams worked together this week to work on different situations and how they were able to simulate so many different things over the course of the last few days. With every game being different and unfolding in different ways, it’s hard for teams to get much red zone work, two-minute drills, third down, etc. in a preseason game unless those situations present themselves in a given contest.

That’s one reason why the overall thought is that a lot more value appears to be being placed on joint practices instead of preseason games. Both Belichick and Washington coach Jay Gruden took a lot of time putting together a plan to make the most out of their time on the field while orchestrating nearly two hundred players into situations where they could best evaluate them. There was plenty of work in a lot of different areas and it seems like this ended up being a very productive week for both sides and Gruden seems pleased with how it went.

“I thought it was a great experience,” said Gruden. “It exposed some things we really have to work on as a staff and it exposed some things that we have to work on as players. Overall we competed really well. I’m excited the way we came off the ball and competed in all the drills, but moving forward we know we have a long way to go but we’re not as far as we think.”

It seems to be a better way for teams to compete in a more controlled environment and for the most part both teams seemingly escaped with minimal injuries while getting a lot of work done. That’s about as much as they could have hoped for and tonight’s game will likely be more of an opportunity for some of the younger guys to showcase themselves as they try and battle for an opportunity to earn a roster spot.

Following tonight’s game, New England will get more work in next week when the Philadelphia Eagles visit Foxboro for another set of joint sessions.

BAD NEWS ON SEALVER SILIGA:

The Patriots have seemingly suffered their first significant injury of this preseason after Siliga suffered an injury to his left hand on Tuesday that appears to be more severe than first thought.

According to Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston, Siliga was flown back to Boston to undergo further tests on his hand and there appears to be significant concern by the team over the injury.

That’s bad news for a team that doesn’t have much depth up front to begin with and Siliga had been a pretty good contributor there after a strong showing last season.

One can only hope now, for his sake, is that this will be something he’ll recover from.

ADDITIONAL LINKS:

BOSTON GLOBE:

Patriots, Redskins praise joint practices – Shalise Manza Young: Manza Young files her notebook this morning, which leads off with thoughts from both sides on this week’s sessions.

BOSTON HERALD:

Source: Ryan Mallett to start Patriots’ preseason opener tonight against Redskins – Jeff Howe: Howe reports that it will be Mallett taking the field to start tonight’s game.

How offensive line protects Tom Brady key to success – Karen Guregian: Guregian has an article on whether or not there should be any cause for concern on the offensive line heading into this season.

For starters, here’s what to watch – Jeff Howe: Howe has his thoughts on what to keep an eye on tonight when New England takes the field in their preseason opener.

It’s Ryan Mallett time – Karen Guregian: Guregian writes that Mallett will get a good long look tonight when the Patriots battle the Redskins.

ESPN BOSTON:

Patriots not expected to play tonight – Mike Reiss: Reiss has his list of players he believes won’t see action tonight and recaps some of the injuries that took place this week.

W2W4: New England Patriots – Mike Reiss: Reiss has his list of things to keep an eye on, including the Patriots’ secondary’s first exposure to the new rules on illegal contact and defensive holding.

WEEI:

Ryan Mallett on his Future: ‘You Can’t Control What you Can’t Control’ – Mike Petraglia: Petraglia has an article on Mallett, who is confident in his ability to be a starter in this league.

What to watch for Thursday night in Patriots-Redskins Preseason Opener – Christopher Price: Price has seven things he’ll be looking for tonight, including how the interior of the Patriots’ offensive line performs.

Reports: Sealver Siliga Returns to Boston For Tests on Left Hand, Will Miss Time – Mike Petraglia: Petraglia follows up on reports on Siliga’s hand injury.

Week 9 showdown between Patriots-Broncos already toughest ticket – Christopher Price: Price has a note on how expensive the tickets between Denver and New England are and also on how the Patriots affect the median ticket prices for teams on the road.

FOX SPORTS:

Fan presents Brady with painting of him and ‘Gazelle’ - Here’s a note on a local artist from Richmond, Virginia, who headed over to present a photo of Brady and his wife. You’ll have to see it to understand it.

ESPN:

Dual practice could be way of future – John Clayton: Clayton has some thoughts on joint sessions after watching the Patriots and Redskins go at each other this week and believes that the way the two teams approached it should be a good model for other teams to follow.

CBS SPORTS:

Darrelle Revis looks revitalized in Patriots-Redskins Practice – Jason LaCanfora: LaCanfora has a terrific read with thoughts on Revis and some overall observations from his time watching these two teams.

Patriots Huddle: Wednesday’s News, Notes and Links 8/6


Edelman and the Patriots had a long joint practice session Tuesday down in Richmond against Washington. (USA TODAY Images)

Here are this morning’s links along with notes on each:


OBSERVATION LINKS:
Here’s a quick run down with links to media observations from yesterday’s session:

BOSTON GLOBE:

 Another impressive day for Tom Brady – Ben Volin

BOSTON.COM:

Patriots Training Camp Notes: Long Practice, Mixed Results – Zuri Berry

WEEI:

Tuesday Practice Report – Mike Petraglia

ESPN BOSTON:

Patriots Camp Report: Day 13 – Mike Reiss

Observations from Patriots camp: Day 13 – Mike Reiss

PATRIOTS.COM:

Patriots offense stays hot in the Richmond heat, defense keeps hitting and other blogservations – Andy Hart

Butler getting job done at corner; Tues. joint practice notes from Richmond – Erik Scalavino

REDSKINS.COM:

#SkinsCamp Day 11: Notes & Highlights – Andrew Walker


ADDITIONAL LINKS:

BOSTON GLOBE:

Bill Belichick has always seen Tom Brady as a leader – Shalise Manza Young: Manza Young files her notebook this morning, which leads off with comments from Belichick on his first year in New England, which included the drafting of Brady.

BOSTON HERALD:

Justin Jones sees red with opportunity – Karen Guregian: Guregian has an article on Jones and writes that when he’s on the field, you can’t take your eyes off him.

Tom Brady still impresses and leads, bar none – Jeff Howe: Howe has an article on Brady, with humorous comments from Logan Mankins talking about the veteran quarterback.

ESPN BOSTON:

Tom Brady: We don’t have all the answers – Mike Reiss: In this article Brady talks about the things they’re working on and the benefits of working against Washington’s defense.

Patriots tested in steamy 3-hour practice – Mike Reiss: Reiss gives his synopsis of yesterday’s session, which Brady said afterwards was one of the longer practices he could remember.

Brady on ‘pygmies’ Edelman & Amendola – Mike Reiss: Reiss has a funny comment from Brady, who is hoping the two receivers don’t get mad at him for the reference.

Belichick: ‘Situational’ practice important – Lee Schechter: Schechter has comments from Belichick from yesterday and the benefits of being able to work on different situations.

WEEI:

Tom Brady thanks Wes Welker for mentoring Julian Edelman, Develops Chemistry with Danny Amendola – Mike Petraglia: Petraglia has comments from Brady, who credits Welker for helping Edelman and also notes the receiver has “worked his tail off”.

CBS BOSTON:

Patriots Blog: Mallett Will Get Opportunity In Preseason – Levan Reid: Reid has notes from yesterday, including comments from Belichick, who praised Ryan Mallett during his press conference.

ATTLEBORO SUN CHRONICLE:

FARINELLA: Kraft mailing probably needs fine print – Mark Farinella: Farinella has an article on another potential access road on route one and his thoughts on the situation.

MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL:

James White impresses New England Patriots – Bob Wolfley: Wolfley has a local article on White, who is a former Wisconsin Badger.

WASHINGTON POST:

On Day 2 Redskins and Patriots stress red zone, third down, two-minute drill – Liz Clarke: Clarke has notes from Tuesday, which saw the two sides work on situational football and was something Bill Belichick felt was valuable to be able to create.

Tom Brady relishes the challenge, even in practice – Jason Reid: Reid writes that Brady has looked sharp, noting that even some Redskins fans have cheered for him while watching him.

Thoughts from Patriots’ Camp: Brady just as driven as ever – Mark Maske: Maske has Patriots-related thoughts in this piece, including comments from Brady on a variety of topics.

Patriots Huddle: Tuesday’s News, Notes and Links 8/5


So far Vince Wilfork isn’t paying any attention to his Achilles and is feeling good to this point of training camp. (USA TODAY Images)

Here are some links on this Tuesday morning, including links to observations from Monday’s joint practices against Washington:


MONDAY OBSERVATION LINKS:

ESPN BOSTON:

Patriots Camp Report: Day 12 - Mike Reiss: Reiss recaps day one in Washington, noting that watching Darrelle Revis and DeSean Jackson go head-to-head drew some attention.

Observations from Patriots camp: Day 12 - Mike Reiss: Reiss has additional information from Monday’s session in this entry.

Patriots Training Camp Notes: Brady, Mallett Shine - Zuri Berry: Berry has notes from Monday’s session, with Tom Brady and Ryan Mallett both looking impressive.

Providence Journal:

Patriots defense shuts down Griffin, Redskins in first joint practice - Eric Kolenich: Kolenich has some quick notes from Monday, which included a strong performance by the Patriots’ defense.


BOSTON GLOBE:

Patriots DBs must be aware of new emphasis on rules – Ben Volin: Volin files his “On Football” column for this morning, which focuses on the fact the Patriots’ defensive backs will have to learn a little more about the new rules the league is enforcing as it relates to downfield contact.

Patriots’ Chris Jones building on strong rookie season – Shalise Manza Young: Manza Young has a nice read on Jones, who is keeping his success from last season in perspective.

BOSTON.COM:

Patriots Training Camp Notes: Brady, Mallett Shine – Zuri Berry: Berry has notes from Monday’s session, with Tom Brady and Ryan Mallett both looking impressive.

BOSTON HERALD:

Darrelle Revis shows off his talents – Jeff Howe: Howe has an article on Revis, who put on a strong performance while showing off what he’s capable of yesterday.

Patriots pin back ears on pass rush – Karen Guregian: Guregian has an article on the Patriots agressive pass rush, which they showed glimpses of yesterday.

Healthy Vince Wilfork’s words carry weight - Karen Guregian: Guregian has an article on Wilfork, who looked good during his outing on Monday as he continues getting ready for the season.

Patriots Notebook: Gronk sits this one out – Jeff Howe: Howe files his notebook this morning, which leads off with the fact Rob Gronkowski stayed back in Foxboro as he continues rehabbing his knee.

ESPN BOSTON:

A few Ryan Mallett thoughts - Mike Reiss: Reiss has some thoughts on his own perspective on Ryan Mallett, who created a lot of buzz with his play on Monday.

Snapshots: Pats-Redskins practice - Some photos from Monday’s session are in this entry.

RG III report: Wisdom from Tom Brady - John Keim: Keim offered up some comments from the Washington quarterback, who talked about his conversation with Brady.

Trimmer Wilfork: Achilles an afterthought – Mike Reiss: Reiss has an entry with comments from Vince Wilfork, who talked about the fact he’s not thinking about his achilles injury so far this preseason.

Camp Confidential: New England Patriots – Mike Reiss: Reiss has a good read with some insight into why there’s reasons for optimism and pessimism in different areas of this training camp.

MASSLIVE:

Patriots training camp notes: Vince Wilfork drops weight in return from injury; Mike Mayock calls Ryan Mallet ‘a legitimate NFL starting QB’ – Nick O’Malley: O’Malley recaps yesterday’s events down in Richmond, Virginia.

WEEI:

Bill Belichick recalls good old days against Redskins, ‘Almost my Second Home’ – Mike Petraglia: Petraglia has comments from Belichick, who has a history with Washington.

Darrelle Revis: Day 1 vs. Redskins shows ‘physical’ Patriots ‘D’ ‘ Getting Better Every Day - Mike Petraglia: Petraglia has an article with comments from Revis, who said his team continues to improve each day.

NESN:

RGIII Appreciative Of Tom Brady’s Wisdom, Hopes To Pick His Brain More – Doug Kyed: Kyed has comments from Robert Griffin III after he and Tom Brady spent some time chatting on Monday.

PROVIDENCE JOURNAL:

For Patriots, joint practice with Redskins brings back memories - Eric Kolenich: Kolenich has an article on what it was like being in Richmond against the Redskins.

Donaldson: Is Darrelle Revis better than Pats Hall of Famer Ty Law? - Jim Donaldson: Donaldson compares Revis to Law and ponders if Revis might actually be a better player.

PATRIOTS.COM:

Ask PFW: How do you feel about “bubble” players? – Erik Scalavino: Scalavino has this week’s mailbag, which touches on a variety of topics including how he feels about players like Tavon Wilson, Patrick Chung, and Jake Bequette.

 

Patriots Defense Is Starting To Come Together


Chandler Jones joins a defense that looks like it should be much better in 2014. (USA TODAY Images)

As the team heads into another week of training camp the Patriots will be in Washington this week for joint practices as they get set for their first exhibition game of the year on Thursday night.

So far, especially defensively, this is a unit that appears to be coming together, with Jarrett Bell of USA TODAY highlighting a moment from practice last week where the defense made a major goal line stop and celebrated collectively after making the play.

Linebacker Rob Ninkovich hit running back Stevan Ridley first, with a half-dozen others joining him just after and taking Ridley down short of the goal line.

“Hell, no! We won’t go! Hell, no! We won’t go!” they reportedly chanted, pumping fists, high-fiving and bumping chests.  It’s exactly the type of camaraderie that is great to see at this point in camp and this is a group that looks confident at this point in the preseason.

During that same series prior to their goal line stand, Darrelle Revis also stepped in front of a pass from Tom Brady and returned it for a touchdown.  That play was celebrated as well and Brady acknowledged how dangerous both Revis and newcomer Brandon Browner are, which as a quarterback, closes the margin for error for whoever they’re facing.


If Tom Brady and the offense can continue their success scoring points in 2014, the Patriots revamped defense should have them poised for plenty of success.
(USA TODAY Images)

“They’re both great players, so when you make a mistake, they make you pay, and I think that’s the mark of a really good corner,” said Brady. “As a quarterback, you’re always trying to find the weak link in the defense, and neither of those guys are weak links. Sometimes, we’ve got to go after them, [and] we’ve got to try to see if we can make a play. But like I said, if you miss a little bit, they end making the play. It’s great work for us, and you understand what you’re up against.”

Those are moments that give fans a glimpse of what may be in store for 2014.  So far this football team is showing signs that they’re going to be tougher to handle this year defensively, which will hopefully allow them to hold opponents in check a little better than they’ve done in previous seasons.  Offensively, scoring points hasn’t been that big of an issue, with the Patriots tied for second offensively in points-per-game with 27.8 in 2013. However, slowing teams down has been an area of contention after they allowed an average of 373.1 yards per game, ranking them 26th in the league.

With Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly returning and both looking strong thus far in camp, much of what ailed this team last season appears to be an area that will be better this year.  This is a team that allowed opposing teams to have success running against them last season, giving an average of 134.1 yards per game on the ground and a lot of those problems started after both Wilfork and Kelly were lost for the season early in the year.

The linebacker position also looks improved thanks to the return of Jerod Mayo, with Dont’a Hightower and second-year linebacker Jamie Collins among players who have also looked good early on.

There’s still a long way to go before the season is here, but there appears to be plenty of reason to be optimistic.  This week they’ll finally get a chance to start hitting opposing players, which will give Bill Belichick an opportunity to get a glimpse at how they’ll potentially fare against an opponent other than themselves.

“Obviously we’re not game planning for them or anything,” said Belichick on Friday. “We’ll just go down there, do what we do and they’ll do what they do and we’ll kind of figure it out as we go. It will be a good experience for us to work against Coach [Jay] Gruden’s offense, Coach [Jim] Haslett’s defense and see some different matchups.

“We’ve seen our guys go against our guys a lot and now we’ll get to see them go against somebody else. I think we’re all looking forward to it. I think it will be a helpful evaluation for our team.”

Patriots Huddle: Monday’s News, Notes and Links 8/4


Tom Brady and the Patriots are in Washington this week for joint sessions leading up to their first preseason game on Thursday. (USA TODAY Images)

PATSFANS.COM:

Six Takeaways From Patriots Training Camp So Far –  Steve Balestrieri: Balestrieri highlights some things that we’ve seen from training camp at this point in the preseason.

BOSTON GLOBE:

How will Patriots employ Darrelle Revis? – Ben Volin: Volin ponders how the team may utilize cornerback Darrelle Revis in this morning’s “On Football” column.

BOSTON.COM:

Duron Harmon Listed As Starting Strong Safety In Patriots First Depth Chart – Erik Frenz: Frenz looks at the depth chart released by the team, which has Harmon sitting i the top spot at strong safety.

BOSTON HERALD:

Offering a sneak peek at Patriots after 1 week – Karen Guregian: Guregian has a good read on the latest week of practices and some thoughts heading into these joint sessions.

Patriots-Redskins practices: Five things to watch – Jeff Howe: Howe has five things to watch this week, including how Brady and the receivers will fare down in Washington.

Patriots go
 without Dominique Easley – Jeff Howe: Howe has a note on the fact the Patriots went down to Washington without Easley as he continues working his way toward getting back to 100%.

ESPN BOSTON:

New England Patriots’ projected roster – Mike Reiss: Reiss has a roster projection, along with notes on each position as he goes down the roster.

Patriots, Richmond excited for practices – Mike Reiss: Reiss has an article on what the environment is like down in Washington leading into this week’s practice sessions.

Patriots rookie LB Skinner passes physical – Staff: Skinner reportedly passed his physical on Sunday, activating him off the non-football injury list.

WEEI:

Report: Patriots re-sign LB James Morris – Christopher Price: Price has a quick note on the re-signing of linebacker James Morris, who was previously given a “failed physical designation” and was waived.

Centers of Attention: Ryan Wendell, Dan Connolly and Bryan Stork all in Spotlight: Christopher Price: Price has an article on the centers, who are in a pretty good competition during camp so far.

USA TODAY:

Bell: Revamped Patriots defense shows renewed ferocity – Jarrett Bell: Bell looks at the defense and recaps a moment last week where the Patriots made a big stop at the goal line and celebrated the play, showing how tight this group is becoming.

BLEACHER REPORT:

What We’ve Learned Through Week 2 of Patriots Camp – James Christensen: Christensen has a good look at what’s happened to this point in training camp.

NEPATRIOTSDRAFT.COM:

Madison to Foxboro: The Game of Patriots Rookie James White – Oliver Thomas – Thomas highlights White’s growth so far in training camp, who has a similar style to Shane Vereen.

WASHINGTON POST:

Could joint practices, such as Redskins vs. Patriots, supplant a preseason game? – Liz Clarke: Clarke wonders if the addition of joint practices might cause the league to consider replacing preseason games with additional regular season games as the league tries to expand to an 18-game season.

Patriots Huddle: Monday’s News, Notes and Links 7/28


Wide Receiver Julian Edelman said on Sunday that returning punts continues to be something he enjoys doing. (USA TODAY Images)

EDELMAN LOVES WHAT HE DOES:

Despite the injury risk that’s inherent with guys who tend to return punts, Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman loves what he does and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Meeting with reporters on Sunday the veteran wide receiver said it’s a part of the game that helped him make the team, and he loves every bit of it.

“I love returning punts,” Edelman told the Boston Herald. “That’s a part of the game that gave me the opportunity to make this team, and I love returning punts. I love (special teams) coach (Scott) O’Brien. I love the scheme. I love all that stuff. I want to do that. I would love to do that. If they ask me to do it, I will do it with a smile on my face.”

Edelman actually accomplished something pretty impressive last season, grabbing 105 receptions and 35 punt returns which, according to the Herald, made him the first player in franchise history to do so.

RB JAMES DEVELIN RECEIVES PRAISE:

Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio spoke to the media on Sunday and had high praise for running back James Develin, who had a good season last year and is off to another great start thus far in camp.

One of the things Caserio pointed out about Develin is his versatility, which is something, as we know, Bill Belichick always appreciates when it comes to guys who can fill multiple roles.

“The unique thing about James, he’s a very versatile player, and we saw that even going back to last season — he’s able to line up in the backfield, at tight end, detached from the formation,” Caserio said via ESPN BOSTON. “James is very smart, works very, very hard. He had a great offseason. As a player, from Day 1 that he entered the program to where he is now, he’s really improved. He’s put in a lot of time. It’s a credit to him. He’s smart and versatile, so he gives you a little bit of flexibility because he can do a number of different things — he can block with force in the running game, he can put his hand down on the line of scrimmage and block with force on the line of scrimmage. He’s earned all his opportunities with his performance and his work ethic.”

Meanwhile, Develin said it’s been a long journey to get where he is, but he’s glad the Patriots have given him this chance.

“It’s been a long road,” he told the Boston Herald. “But I’m very, very appreciative of his organization giving me the opportunities they’ve given me in the past and I’m thankful to be here. I’m just going to work hard for this team and help them win some games.”

RIDLEY NOT WORRIED ABOUT HIS CONTRACT:

Patriots running back Stevan Ridley had a rough outing in 2013, just one year removed from a season where he rushed for over 1200 yards.

Now he finds himself at a crossroads with a contract and his career in New England at stake heading into this season.  According  to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, at this point, Ridley and the Patriots haven’t discussed the possibility of an extension.  Howe writes that he doesn’t expect anything to happen until after the season, “if it does happen at all”.

Ridley was also asked on Sunday if the contract is weighing on him.

“Not really,” Ridley told the newspaper. “I have to be honest about it. It’s there, but it’s not my first concern. My first concern is going out there and being the best player for this team. I think if I go out there and have a productive year and do what I need to do, the contract will take care of itself.

“I’m not really going to put too much thought into it because I think as you guys know, if I start thinking about that, I could easily be a distraction. I can’t really worry with that. I’m going to have some good days, going to have some bad days but I’m going to keep working, keep my head in the dirt and grinding it out.”

PATRICK CHUNG GLAD TO BE BACK

After being away from the team down in Philadelphia, Patriots safety Patrick Chung seems to be enjoying his time now that he’s back here in New England.

Chung is spending his time getting reacclimated with his team but he said he’s glad to be back.

“I love it,” Chung told WEEI.com on Sunday. “Love it here. Culture is good here. Fans are good here. Coaches are good here. Locker room is good here. Food is good here. I like it here, man. It’s home.”

Chung is battling with Tavon Wilson, Duran Harmon and others as he tries to earn a roster spot.  He told WEEI that everyone is working hard and for now the focus is to just keep getting better.

“We’re all competing,” Chung said. “With a good secondary back there, we’re all competing. Everybody is working hard, learning the defense to try and get better day by day. Whoever plays is whoever plays, whether it be starting, second string, special teams, it doesn’t really matter. It’d be great if we could all get on the field at some point. We just have to work hard to get better.”


 

SUNDAY CAMP REPORTS:

Sunday Practice Observations – Derek Havens, PatsFans.com

Patriots Camp Report: Day 4 - Mike Reiss,ESPN BOSTON

Observations from Patriots Camp: Day 4: Mike Reiss & Lee Schechter, ESPN BOSTON

Sunday Notes: Brandon Browner Brings the Noise Before Mother Nature Brings the Hammer – Mike Petraglia, WEEI

Patriots Blog: Observations From Day 3 At Training Camp – Levan Reid, WBZ-TV

Brady rests, line mixes it up and other Patriots Day4 camp blogservations – Andy Hart


 

ADDITIONAL LINKS:

BOSTON HERALD:

Patriots Notebook: Happy returns for Julian Edelman – Jeff Howe: Howe files his notebook, which leads off with a bit on Julian Edelman and the fact he’s continuing to try and do his part “to earn a role”.

Stevan Ridley tries to block out contract thoughts – Jeff Howe: Howe writes that Ridley is focused on “just grinding it out” instead of worrying about his contract.

Stevan Ridley in running for new deal – Jeff Howe: Howe has more on Ridley, who is in need of a good year to earn a new deal, although Howe points out that running backs have been disposable on this team in recent years.

James Develin won’t get close to comfort – Adam Kurkjian: Kurkjian has an article on James Develin, who said he’s never going to let himself get too comfortable.

BOSTON GLOBE:

Notes: Stevan Ridley comfortable stepping up as leader – Michael Vega: Vega files his notebook this morning and writes that going into year four Ridley’s trying to take on more of a leadership role with the team.

BOSTON.COM:

5 Takeaways To Go Along With 5 Days of Patriots Training Camp - Zuri Berry: Berry has thoughts on what’s gone down so far, which includes the fact that Darrelle Revis has been exactly as advertised.

ESPN BOSTON:

Patriots Sign 2 WRs; FB Develin praised – Mike Reiss: Reiss has a quick entry on the fact the team brought in a couple of receivers following the Patriots waiving Greg Orton.

Julian Edelman: ‘I love returning punts’ - Lee Schechter: Schechter has more on Edelman’s comments from Sunday.

New England Patriots’ projected roster – Mike Reiss: Reiss does a projection this morning and feels after a shaky start for Jimmy Garoppolo at this point in camp that Ryan Mallett seems to have the early edge.

WEEI:

Nick Caserio: Patriots Ready to take “Good” with “Bad” on Jimmy Garoppolo – Mike Petraglia: Petraglia has comments from Caserio, who said the team is prepared to deal with the growing pains the rookie will likely experience.

Patrick Chung is Really Happy to Be Back – Mike Petraglia: Petraglia has an article on Chung, who said “it’s home” when talking about being back.

CSNNE:

Breer: What to expect from Gronk this season - The NFL Network’s Albert Breer gave his thoughts on Rob Gronkowski and what fans can expect coming off of a torn ACL.

BLEACHER REPORT:

New England Patriots: First Impressions From Training Camp -  James Christensen: Christensen has a good article with some impressions on the team so far through camp.

ATTLEBORO SUN CHRONICLE:

PATRIOTS: Ridley looking to score in 2014 – Mark Farinella: Farinella has an article on Ridley, who is focused on having more success down in the red zone this season.

Patriots Huddle: Sunday’s News, Notes and Links 7/27


Saturday ended up being a rough outing for quarterback Tom Brady against Darrelle Revis.
(USA TODAY Images)

Some news and notes for this morning:

REVIS SHINES ON DAY THREE:

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is all too familiar with having to go against Darrelle Revis after battling him twice a year for several seasons against the New York Jets, but he may be getting tired of facing him every day in practice after what happened on Saturday.

Revis got the better of Brady a couple of times during yesterday’s session, picking off the veteran quarterback twice on pass attempts to Julian Edelman.  He also made a great play against newly added receiver Brandon LaFell on a deep pass play during the team’s 11-on-11 drills.

Brady has already said that having Revis there is great for the team because having to go up against him will make everyone around him better.  Saturday was another great look at two top players battling it out and unfortunately for Brady, Revis was the one on the better end of that match-up.

PATRIOTS CB LOGAN RYAN PLAYING WELL:

After coming off of a solid rookie campaign second-year cornerback Logan Ryan seems to be off to a good start after the Patriots finished their third day of training camp on Saturday.

So far Ryan has been a bright spot for the Patriots defense and on Saturday made two leaping plays that broke up two passes to receiver Danny Amendola and also held his own against wide receiver Julian Edelman.  He also picked off quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo on a pass attempt to receiver Wilson Van Hooser.

It’s tough to get overly excited three days into camp, but Ryan showed great instincts in his rookie year and the expectations are high for him to be just as effective in 2014 after he finished with a team high five interceptions last season.  However, it appears he’s doing the right things early on in camp and hopefully that continues over the next month as the team continues working toward getting ready  for their upcoming campaign.

TOMMY KELLY RETURNS:

Some good news on Saturday after veteran defensive tackle Tommy Kelly came off off the PUP list and participated in his first session of 2014.  The veteran was limited during the team’s first full-pads practice, with the team obviously taking it easy as he continues returning from a torn ACL that he suffered last season.  He’s a player that will definitely be someone to watch in the weeks ahead, as having both he and Vince Wilfork together for an entire season is something that should allow them to continue a lot of the success they had together early on last year before the two went down in back-to-back games due to injuries.

SO FAR, SO GOOD FOR VINCE WILFORK:

For anyone who had doubts about Wilfork, he’s looked pretty good early on in training camp and doesn’t seem to be showing any ill-effects coming off of his ruptured Achilles that knocked him out just three games into last season.

So far he’s been a full-participant and on Saturday he appeared to have another good outing.  That’s a good sign and we’ve also seen good things from defensive tackle Sealver Siliga, who played well while taking over some of the reps after Kelly was limited in his first practice back.

However, the health of each of those two players will be something to keep an eye on.  But should Wilfork and Kelly both manage to head into this year healthy it should make for a pretty good group up front for New England.

RB JAMES WHITE IMPRESSES:

Running back James White drew some praise earlier this week from coach Ivan Fears and in the team’s first padded session of the year went out and looked impressive.

He got some work in with the first team offense on Saturday and showed some pretty good quickness and change of direction.  So far he appears to be as advertised and will likely continue to be a formidable competitor at that position for a roster spot.

GREG ORTON LIKELY GONE FOR 2014

According to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, wide receiver Greg Orton, who was carted off the field on Friday, appears to have suffered a torn Achilles.

That’s bad news for Orton as it likely ends his season before it even got started.  He just signed with the team on July 23rd having already been with them previously on their practice squad.  Unfortunately he appears to have suffered the team’s first significant injury of the year, which has to be disappointing for him.

PATRIOTS SING ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY’ TO CANCER-STRICKEN BOY:

In what was certainly the most touching moment of training camp on Saturday, the Patriots gathered at midfield and sang happy birthday to a young boy who is battling cancer.

The team huddled around Danny Nickerson, who turned six on Friday and is suffering from an inoperable brain tumor.

On a more inspiring note, Nickerson recently made a wish of having birthday cards mailed to him and the response was apparently massive, with the Boston Globe reporting that over 100,000 cards passed through the Foxborough post office.

It’s definitely great to see and hopefully it was a moment that will live on in the memories of a family who is enduring something well beyond the scope of what any parent or loved one should ever have to go through.


SATURDAY’S MEDIA OBSERVATIONS:
Here’s a collection of media links with recaps of what went down during Saturday’s practice session:

PATSFANS.COM:
Saturday Observations 7/26 – Derek Havens

BOSTON GLOBE:
Saturday’s Patriots practice report: Revis steals the show – Ben Volin

BOSTON.COM:
Patriots Training Camp Notes: Trench Battle Ensues In First Padded Practice – Erik Frenz

BOSTON HERALD:
Practice observations: Darrelle Revis intercepts Tom Brady twice in first padded session – Jeff Howe

ESPN BOSTON:
Patriots Camp Report: Day 3 – Mike Reiss

Observations from Patriots camp: Day 3: Mike Reiss and Lee Schechter

NESN:
Patriots Training Camp Observations: Darrelle Revis Excels Against Tom Brady- Doug Kyed

PROVIDENCE JOURNAL:
Training camp observations: Darrelle Revis shines in day three – Mark Daniels

WEEI:
Saturday Notes: Danny Nickerson Celebrates Belated Birthday With Patriots – DJ Bean


ADDITIONAL LINKS
Note – you can also CLICK HERE to find an expanded edition with additional links

BOSTON HERALD:

Patriots defense might be over-ruled – Karen Guregian: Guregian has an article on the fact the changes this season by the league in terms of what’s permitted by defensive backs could be a problem for the Patriots.

Darrelle Revis a big hit on first contact day – Jeff Howe: Howe has an article on Revis and the fact that so far he’s made a big impact with players who really look up to him.

Patriots Notebook: Garoppolo learns to handle bumps – Jeff Howe: Howe files his notebook from practice yesterday, which leads off with the fact that Jimmy Garoppolo didn’t have his best outing in front of the massive crowd of over 13,000 people on Saturday.

Rookie running back James White justifies love – Adam Kurkjian: Kurkjian has an article on White, who so far has looked good this training camp.

BOSTON GLOBE:

Patriots sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to boy with cancer – Shalise Manza Young – Manza Young has a good article on Danny Nickerson, whose family had a cool experience after the team invited him to Gillette Stadium and the players sang happy birthday to him.

Staying healthy ultimate goal for Patriots in camp – Ben Volin: Volin files his “On Football” column for this morning, noting that trying to “get in shape and don’t get hurt” is obviously the team’s overall goal of this training camp.

Free agent Roy Finch hopes special skills pay off – Shalise Manza Young and Michael Vega: The two file their notebook for this morning, which leads off with the fact Finch is glad to be getting an opportunity as he got some work in on special teams on Saturday.

Punishment wasn’t enough for Ravens’ Ray Rice – Ben Volin: Volin files his Sunday Football Notes column, which leads off with his thoughts on the Ray Rice situation in Baltimore.

ESPN BOSTON:

Quick-hit thoughts around NFL, Patriots – Mike Reiss: Reiss files his weekly Sunday notes column, which includes some interesting topics as always.

Spotlighting potential niche Pats players – Mike Reiss: Reiss looks at a variety of players who are trying to carve out a spot for themselves on New England’s roster.

WEEI:

Sunday NFL Notes: Bill Belichick Poised to Climb Wins Ladder in 2014 – Christopher Price: Price files his weekly notes column, which leads off with the fact Bill Belichick is one regular season win away from 200.

PROVIDENCE JOURNAL:

Rookie QB Garoppolo has rough moments in adjusting to bigger stage – Mark Daniels: Daniels has an article on Garoppolo, who had another rough day on Saturday after getting picked off repeatedly and fumbling a snap.

Patriots’ Thompkins Having a Good Camp So Far In His Second Season


Kenbrell Thompkins is off to a good start so far this preseason. (USA TODAY Images)

After having a full season under his belt, Patriots receiver Kenbrell Thompkins appears more comfortable with things as he begins his second training camp here in New England.

So far, while it’s only been two days, Thompkins has continued to impress through the early part of camp, including laying out for a reception against Darrelle Revis for a touchdown on Friday. The catch drew plenty of cheers from the crowd who were on hand to watch the team in their second practice and considering who it was against, it’s certainly something that fans likely hope they’ll see more of should he earn a spot on the roster by the time the final cut downs come.

He received a lot of criticism over the latter of half of last season when his production plummeted, but that doesn’t appear to have sidetracked him. Instead it’s only made him work harder and Belichick had some praise for him on Friday.

“Hard working kid; one of our hardest workers,” said Belichick. “He really tries hard to do everything right. Very attentive, very coachable and he’s very hard working.”

Hard work and desire is something that can’t be coached and is always appreciated by Belichick. Plenty of players have had talent yet have come and gone, largely in part because they didn’t want to put in the necessary effort to make themselves better. Guys who work hard tend to do well here and it appears Thompkins has committed himself to trying to take the next step with this offense.

While the team is only two days in, there’s still a long way to go and Thompkins is just trying to take everything in stride. When asked about his expectations for the upcoming season, Thompkins said for now he’s just focused on trying to keep working.

“I haven’t even got that far yet,” he said via the Boston Globe. “I’m just trying to make sure that I’m preparing for camp and looking forward to tomorrow.”