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REPORT: Patriots QB Mallett Traded to Texans

Patriots quarterback Ryan Mallett is headed to Houston. (USA TODAY Images)

After an offseason of talk and a preseason that also had its’ fair share of whispers, it appears that Ryan Mallett may finally be leaving town after all.

According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Mallett has been traded to the Houston Texans, although no terms of the trade of have been released just yet.

The move reunites Mallett with former Patriots offensive coordinator and new Texans head coach Bill O’Brien. ¬†O’Brien also held the role of quarterbacks coach here in New England during Mallett’s rookie season back in 2011.

Mallett had an up and down preseason and didn’t exactly impress while he was out there, but most felt that he would remain with the Patriots during the final year of his contract, which expired after the 2014 season. ¬†Following Saturday’s cuts, it seemed that he would be backing up Tom Brady for at least another season. ¬†Now it seems he’ll have an opportunity to start in Houston.

UPDATE: According to several reports, New England will receive a conditional seventh round pick for Mallett based on the percentage of snaps he plays for the Texans this season, which could potentially turn the pick into a sixth round selection.

Patriots Boyce Among Final Cuts On Saturday

New England Patriots WR Josh Boyce was among those cut during Saturday’s move to get down to the 53-man roster limit. (USA TODAY Images)

Once thought of as a potential big play receiver in New England’s offense, it appears that receiver Josh Boyce will be one of many trying to land a job with an NFL team after Saturday’s cut down as the Patriots pared their roster down from 75 to the 53-man limit.

According to ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss, Boyce was notified that he would be among the players waived this afternoon. ¬†The speedy receiver out of Texas Christian was taken in the fourth round last year but wasn’t able to take the next step after having had an up and down training camp. ¬†

Boyce had a strong offseason and started off well, receiving a lot of praise early on in camp. ¬†However, he was inconsistent, looking fantastic one day and then not so great at other times. ¬†Apparently the coaching staff didn’t feel confident in his growth, and as a result it appears they’ve¬†made alternative decisions at the bottom of a group that many had felt had both Boyce and potentially Kenbrell Thompkins battling for a roster spot.

Thompkins seems to have survived, while Boyce didn’t. ¬†Although it’s not out of the realm of possibility for Boyce to potentially return on the team’s practice squad should he clear waivers.

Meanwhile, other players said to be among those having received bad news are the following:

WR Josh Boyce
DT Jerel Worthy
DT Eathyn Manumaleuna
DT L.T. Tuipulotu
DE Jake Bequette
TE Steve Maneri
C Braxton Cave
G Jon Halapio
T Chris Martin
LB Steve Beauharnais
LB James Morris*
(*apparent right knee injury suffered Friday night, placed on IR per Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald)
LB Ja’Gared Davis
RB Roy Finch
RB Jonas Gray
CB Daxton Swanson
S Kanorris Davis
S Shamiel Gary
WR Jeremy Gallon
RB Taylor McCuller
LS Danny Aiken

One quick note for those wondering. So far it appears the Patriots will stay with three quarterbacks, with Ryan Mallett still on the team to this point.  According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, had the Patriots cut Mallett, the Texans would have claimed him.

Also, Howe points out that Brandon Browner and Brian Tyms are now on the suspended list.

As history has shown, the final cuts don’t necessarily guarantee any security for some of the remaining guys who are left, as the situation tends to remain fluid while the dust settles and New England begins evaluating other players released. As a result, don’t be surprised if there are some additional moves through the remainder of the weekend as the team finishes putting their roster together heading into their week one match-up in Miami next Sunday.

Mankins Departure Ends A Tumultuous Last Few Seasons

Tom Brady lost Logan Mankins but gained a tight end following Tuesday’s transaction. (USA TODAY Images)

In the NFL, business always ultimately wins out and what transpired on Tuesday was another good example after the Patriots sent offensive guard Logan Mankins to Tampa Bay in a surprising trade.

Truthfully, it’s a move that wasn’t surprising. ¬†The team hit the free agency market back in March with around $15 million in salary cap space and needed to create additional room, which lead to the team seeking cap relief from players that also included Vince Wilfork. That created a contentious situation that fortunately was ultimately resolved.

However, Mankins, who had a big cap hit ($10.5 million) heading into 2014, dug his heels in again and rebuffed the idea of reworking his deal. ¬†The veteran said via a source of Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald that if the team had looked his way to rework his current deal, he reportedly said, “It’s not going to happen.”

It’s not a shock given the rough negotiations during his last contract that saw him hold out in 2010 following his restricted free agent tender, which at the time was worth $3.26 million. He refused to sign the deal due to a change in the collective bargaining agreement that kept him from becoming a free agent. In June Mankins even told Mike Reiss he wanted to be traded.

‚ÄúI want to be traded,‚ÄĚ Mankins told Reiss. ‚ÄúI don‚Äôt need to be here any more.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúThis is about principle with me and keeping your word and how you treat people.‚ÄĚ

That lead to a holdout which saw him sit out the first eight weeks of the season.  He ultimately signed the tender, which was reduced to $1.54 million and reported in November.

That year saw Dan Connolly, who is still on the roster, fill in for him over that span as the team started 6-1.  They also allowed just 12 sacks with Connolly filling in.

There were certainly some difficult times between Mankins and the Patriots during his tenure in New England.
(USA TODAY Images)

The team then franchised Mankins in 2011 and things got a little ugly during the negotiations. Mankins eventually gave in and signed his one-year, $10.1 million contract at the end of July but weeks later agreed on a six-year contract extension that closed the book on those hard feelings and brought him to where he is today.

There was never a story regarding any issue with Mankins following the Herald report from earlier this year, which seemingly would have led most to believe that he would have been on the opening day roster despite the financial implications.

However, the Patriots have contracts to extend (Devin McCourty, Shane Vereen, Nate Solder, Matthew Slater, among others) and the money will have to come from somewhere. ¬†Mankins, who is slated to earn $6.25 million this year and $6.75 million in 2015 and 2016, didn’t seem interested in working with the team to help provide any financial relief. ¬†As a result, Tuesday’s trade to Tampa Bay seems to be more of a business decision for both sides.

They already have a host of depth on the offensive line, with a deep group that should allow them to survive his absence.  Meanwhile, the team adds a player in tight end Tim Wright who can provide them production at that position, which they desperately needed.  In the event Rob Gronkowski suffers any setbacks or Michael Hoomanawanui gets hurt, they have a player who caught 54 passes for 571 yards and five touchdowns during his rookie season and seems like he could potentially overtake Hoomanwanui on the depth chart.

In a statement released by the club last night Bill Belichick admitted that Mankins was “everything we would ever want in a football player”, but like past decisions, the overall health of the team was their top priority.

‚ÄúLogan Mankins is everything we would ever want in a football player,” wrote Belichick.¬†“It is hard to imagine a better player at his position, a tougher competitor or a person to represent our program. He is one of the all-time great Patriots and the best guard I ever coached. Logan brought a quiet but unmistakable presence and leadership that will be impossible to duplicate. Unfortunately, this is the time of year when difficult decisions have to be made — and this is one of the most difficult we will ever make — but like every other decision it was made for what we feel is in the best interests of the team.‚ÄĚ

That apparently means they feel they’re better off without him. ¬†Hopefully Wright helps Brady forget about the fact he’ll no longer have Mankins in the huddle or on the line to his left this season, and that the money they saved will help keep the rest of this group together in the years to come.

REPORT: Patriots Sending Mankins to Buccaneers for TE Wright

Logan Mankins is now a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
(USA TODAY Images)

New England hasn’t been a stranger so far with pulling off trades to deepen their roster, but they pulled off a shocking one on Tuesday considering who was involved.

According to Jay Galzer of, the Patriots have traded offensive guard Logan Mankins to Tampa Bay in exchange for tight end Tim Wright and an undisclosed draft pick.

It’s been a well-known fact that New England didn’t have much depth behind tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Michael Hoomanawanui, so the addition of Wright, who caught 54 passes for 561 yards and 5 touchdowns in 2013, certainly gives them some much needed depth at that position.

The loss of Mankins takes away some attitude and toughness up front on the offensive line, but the amount of depth they have there apparently left them with a tough decision when it came to bolstering another position instead.  As a result, the agreement was made and it gives the Buccaneers some help up front as well.

Mankins was entering his 10th season in the league after having been drafted in the first round by New England back in 2005.

The release of Tommy Kelly was likely a disappointment after the veteran had been looking forward to playing next to Vince Wilfork since signing last season. (USA TODAY Images)

When the Patriots signed Tommy Kelly before the start of last season, the veteran seemed excited about his opportunity to be in New England.

More importantly, he was looking forward to the chance to play on a defensive line that would have paired him next to Vince Wilfork, whom he expressed quite a bit of admiration for and at the time he said it factored into his decision to come to the Patriots.

Tommy Kelly is now looking for a new team after being released. (USA TODAY Images)

‚ÄúYou get to the end of your career, you get the opportunity to play with a real good team like New England ‚ÄĒ it came down to a couple teams ‚ÄĒ but I guess after talking with Coach [Bill] Belichick and then just the opportunity to play with Vince,‚ÄĚ Kelly told Patriots Today at the time. ‚ÄúYou wanna play with someone that can play. You know, you always watch people who play your position. I mean, he‚Äôs a real good player. A hell of a player.‚ÄĚ

Kelly got to enjoy playing with Wilfork for just three and a quarter games, with Wilfork suffering an Achilles injury just 4:40 into the fourth game of the season in Atlanta.

To make matters worse, Kelly would suffer a torn ACL just a week later that cost him the rest of his season as well.

Now at the age of 33 and coming back off the injury, Kelly found himself caught in a situation where the team had been adding younger depth. After losing both he and Wilfork last season and getting caught without a lot of options inside, the Patriots appear focused on trying to build more depth to make sure they’re better prepared this time around. ¬†We saw the addition of Dominique Easley through the draft and looking at this group there are a host of other players who will likely factor in with Sealver Siliga (barring any setbacks during his recovery from his hand injury), Michael Buchanan, Jerel Worthy,¬†Joe Vellano or Chris Jones, among others who could find themselves in the rotation.

Either way the club seems to believe Wilfork is healthy enough to be able to give them a veteran presence inside for these guys to gain experience. ¬†Unfortunately for Kelly, they didn’t feel the same about him. ¬†Belichick has been a guy who has shown respect to veterans by releasing them early enough so they can start auditioning for other team sooner rather than later after being let go. ¬†It’s just too bad for Kelly that he wasn’t able to get the opportunity he had hoped for before he landed here.

Wednesday’s New England Patriots Links 8/20

Darrelle Revis can’t wait for the 2014 regular season to start. (USA TODAY Images)

Here’s a quick rundown of this morning’s links for Wednesday August 20th:


For Darrelle Revis, This Week is a game-changer – Anthony Gulizia

Jerod Mayo remains mum on injury – Shalise Manza Young

Notes: NFL expands practice squads to 10 – AP


Brandon LaFell en route to filling big role  - Chris Mason

Aaron Dobson works toward return to old form - Jeff Howe

Patriots Notebook: Jerod Mayo mum on absence – Jeff Howe

Photo Gallery: Patriots Practice: August 19

Buckley: Darrelle Revis’ gut says this one’s real РSteve Buckley


Fun With Flags? Patriots DBs Express Concern Over Rules Emphasis – Erik Frenz

NFL Expands Practice Squads From 8 to 10 Players – Erik Frenz

Jermaine Wiggins Joins Hot 96.9 FM’s Morning Show РZuri Berry

Patriots Practice Attendance: Sebastian Vollmer Absent For Second Straight Practice – Erik Frenz

Patriots 2014 Training Camp Photos


Jeremy Gallon takes ribbing in stride – Mike Reiss

How practice squad change affects Patriots – Mike Reiss

Leftovers from Patriots locker room – Mike Reiss

Patriots’ Sebastian Vollmer absent again – Lee Schechter

LaFell: Shell-shocked to comfortable – Lee Schechter

Why Tom Brady went all out on pick-six – Mike Reiss

Weekly Patriots mail is delivered - Mike Reiss

DE Jones could benefit from Revis Island – Mike Reiss


‘Shellshocked’ LaFell could have ‘big role’ – Mike Petraglia

Vollmer misses 2nd straight practice – Mike Petraglia

Mayo says ‘everything is good’ – Christopher Price

Edelman on MFB: Patriots ‘know the rules’ – Jerry Spar

Brady on D&C: ‘Got to be able to adjust’ to refs – Jerry Spar


Patriots Journal: Revis anxious to get the season going - Mark Daniels

Patriot wideout LaFell admits he’s still got a lot to learn – Mark Daniels

Tuesday’s New England Patriots Links 8/19

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski took part in contact drills for the first time this preseason on Monday. (USA TODAY Images)

A quick rundown of links on this Tuesday Morning:


Patriots Practice Report: Missing Patriots appear for final training camp session – Shalise Manza Young

Observations from Patriots camp: Day 22 – Mike Reiss and Lee Schefter

Patriots Training Camp Observations: Rob Gronkowski Advances To Contact - Doug Kyed

Training camp observations: Rob Gronkowski progresses as the Patriots get healthier – Mark Daniels



Patriots Training Camp Notes: Rob Gronkowski Makes First Appearance in Team Drills РErik Frenz - Frenz looks at the return of Gronkowski and writes the chemistry between he and quarterback Tom Brady has picked up right where it left off.

What Happened in 1-on-1 Pass-Rush Drills Throughout Patriots Training Camp – Erik Frenz: Frenz has a good entry looking at how the players fared in drills on Monday.


Rob Gronkowski ramps up the intensity – Shalise Manza Young: Manza Young has an article on Gronkowski, who took part in 11-on-11 work on Monday and was in on contact drills for the first time this preseason.

Dominique Easley leads list of Patriots back in action - Michael Vega: Vega files his notebook this morning, which leads off with Easley’s return to practice Monday.


Patriots Notebook: Rob Gronkowski fully engaged – Jeff Howe: Howe files his notebook this morning, which leads off with the fact Gronkowski took part in contact drills for the first time this preseason.

Patriots Beat: Stevan Ridley‚Äôs fate in his hands – Karen Guregian: Guregian focuses on Ridley, who wasn’t happy after losing the football Friday night.

Back in action, Dominique Easley like kid in candy store – Adam Kurkjian: Kurkjian has an article on the return of Easley, who felt like a “lost kid” while he was out.


Cleaning out the Patriots notebook – Mike Reiss: Reiss has additional notes from Monday, with Dominique Easley having some good moments in practice.

Stevan Ridley: ‘Sick feeling’ with fumble – Mike Reiss: Reiss has comments from Ridley, who wasn’t pleased after fumbling the football Friday night despite the fact it was negated by a penalty.

Rob Gronkowski takes ‘step forward’ – Mike Reiss: Reiss has notes on the return of tight end Rob Gronkowski, after he took part in drills during Monday’s session.

Jerod Mayo, Bryan Stork return for Patriots – Mike Reiss and Lee Schefter: Both Stork and Mayo were among players back on the field on Monday, including tight end Michael Hoomanawanui.


Michael Hoomanawanui returns to practice ‘hungry’ to get back to full strength – Ryan Hannable: Hannable has an article on the return of Hoomanwanui,

What we learned: 10 takeaways from Patriots at end of camp – Christopher Price: Price has a good read on his thoughts as camp comes to a close, including the fact he feels Julian Edelman should have another strong season if he remains healthy.


Bill Belichick Transcript 8/18: We coach the players to play within the rules - Here’s the full transcript from yesterday’s press conference.


Checking in on the Rookies: Eagles vs. Patriots – Jimmy Flaherty: Flaherty takes a quick run through how the rookies performed Friday night, with an evaluation on each in this entry.

How Patriots Wide Receiver Brian Tyms Has Become a Steady WR for New England – James Christensen: Christensen has a good read on Tyms, who has had a strong preseason thus far.

Monday’s New England Patriots Links 8/18

Receiver Brian Tyms has caught the attention of some of his teammates thanks to his play this preseason. (USA TODAY Images)


Patriots’ roster competition begins to sort itself out – Ben Volin: Volin has his latest roster and practice squad projections.


Reports: Patriots Bolster Tight Ends Group by Re-Signing Justin Jones – Zuri Berry: Berry has an article on the fact the Patriots added another tight end after only having one healthy one on their roster.


Confident Roy Finch back in running – Adam Kurkjian: Kurkjian has a good read on Ray Finch, who is finally getting a hold of his nerves after a decent performance Friday night.

Secondary takes new emphasis in stride – Karen Guregian: Guregian has a good read on the fact the games have been unwatchable thanks to the number of flags thrown and some insight from Darrelle Revis on the situation.


Third-quarter review: Bad fit for Will Smith? – Mike Reiss: Reiss goes back and looks at the film and has several thoughts from Friday night’s¬†third quarter and ¬†feels Smith looked out of place playing defensive end.

Rookie TE Justin Jones back in fold – Mike Reiss: Reiss has a report of the return of tight end Justin Jones, who had previously been released back on August 10th.

Harvard’s Ott out of Pats’ snapper mix – Mike Reiss: Reiss has a note on the release of Ott, which now leaves Danny Aiken as the team’s lone long-snapper.


Reports: Patriots Re-Sign Tight End Justin Jones, Release Tyler Ott – Doug Kyed: Kyed follows up on reports of the team’s latest transaction.


Breer: Patriots must assess if Ridley’s fumbles worth it – Albert Breer of the NFL Network joined Sports Tonight and discussed Stevan Ridley, who fumbled again Friday night in the team’s win over Philadelphia.


New England Patriots: What We’ve Learned Through Week 2 of Preseason – James Christensen: Christensen looks at a variety of things we’ve found out about this team so far through two exhibition games.


Mallett answers back; battle for backup now on – Hector Longo: Longo has article on the back-up quarterback position, which after Mallett’s recent performance he feels is heating up.


Patriots Notebook: Tyms continues to make his case – Glen Farley: Farley files his notebook this morning, which leads off with a bit on receiver Brian Tyms, who has started catching some attention¬†from his teammates thanks to¬†the plays he’s made.


The good, bad, and ugly from Patriots camp … so far – Glen Farley: Farley has an article looking at a variety of things that have gone right and wrong during camp so far.


‘Unfortunately it wasn’t the guy’: Jets fan who punched female Patriots supporter in the face following scuffle is unrepentant after his MetLife Stadium ban is overturned – David McCormack: For those who remember the female Patriots fan who was punched in the face by this fan, who was subsequently banned from MetLife Stadium, here are more ridiculous comments from this idiot, who is also being allowed back in this year.

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.


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.


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)


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.


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.


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.

Patriots vs Eagles: 5 Things to Watch For Tonight

Tom Brady will seemingly see his first action of the preseason tonight. (USA TODAY Images)

Friday night marks the Patriots’ second exhibition game of the year and should be a night where some of New England’s starters see some action for the first time in 2014.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is among players who will hopefully see time tonight, which will be the first time fans will have seen him throw a football in a live game since New England fell to Denver in the AFC Championship Game back in January.

However, the slate is clean and the outlook for this season appears to be bright given some of the players coming back from injuries, as well as some of the Patriots’ offseason acquisitions. ¬†These games may be meaningless in the standings, but the reps are valuable in terms of preparing for a long year¬†and will be ones they’ll use to iron out the kinks as they continue getting ready for the regular season.

Here’s a quick rundown of some things to keep an eye on tonight:


It appears that every offseason moving forward will center around the potential demise of Brady, with quite a few critics circling him like buzzards while looking for any weakness to suggest that he’s no longer as good as he’s continued to be. ¬†For Brady, the noise doesn’t matter,¬†but this is still a key opportunity to make¬†sure that he and his receivers are able to use this time getting more in sync so they can start better than they did in 2013, most notably in the first half over their first two games.

In the first half of the opener in Buffalo last year¬†Brady was just 13-of-25 for 122 yards, with the only player he seemed to be on the same page with being Julian Edelman. ¬†He was 5-of-5 for 31 yards and two touchdowns over the first two quarters when throwing Edelman’s way and the offense was shaky up until the latter part of the game before¬†he and Danny Amendola turned it on and started moving the football in the second half.

They also struggled in week two against the Jets, with Brady finishing the first half 11-of-24 for 136 yards, with the quarterback leaning once again on Edelman after completing 7-of-12 over the first two quarters. ¬†He was just 5-of-17 overall combined for the game when targeting Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins, with Brady and Edelman clicking in the second half after catching 6-of-6 passes thrown his way. ¬†That’s something that can’t happen this season and it would be great if Brady¬†can achieve that type of precision with the other guys around him heading into this year. ¬†That work starts tonight.

Jimmy Garoppolo looked good last week, but can he follow it up tonight against the Eagles? (USA TODAY Images)


Rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was the lone bright spot at quarterback last week after a pretty dismal week one showing offensively for New England, but he showed enough to make the back-up quarterback position a little more interesting¬†given Ryan Mallett’s struggles in that game. ¬†As a second round pick the expectations are already fairly high for the former Illinois standout, especially given who he’s playing behind.

So far Garoppolo seems to be gaining confidence while Mallett has appeared a little tentative, which is disappointing for anyone hoping to see New England receive any value for him before he hits free agency and likely moves on. Mallett’s availability for tonight seems in question, but should Garoppolo play well against the Eagles, it may set up an interesting situation over these final two weeks given their focus on having plenty of depth at other positions. ¬†It’s not out of the realm of possibility to carry three quarterbacks, but if he does play,¬†Mallett needs to step up and finally have a strong performance. ¬†He doesn’t get many opportunities to show what he’s capable of and so far, given the sample we’ve seen, he’s definitely not taking advantage of his time on the field.


As the Patriots continue trying to revamp their secondary, Butler was a player who last week was impressive and that’s continued through this week during their joint sessions against Philadelphia. ¬†The undrafted rookie finished with two passes defensed and six tackles in Washington and so far has actually looked like a player who has been in this defense for a while despite being a newcomer. ¬†It’s a group that overall is fairly crowded and Butler’s presence only muddies it further, but it’s a problem that New England should be happy to have given how he’s played.

The bigger question now is whether or not he can remain consistent and continue to improve. ¬†There are still three games to go and tonight’s performance should hopefully be a reasonably good indication of ¬†what direction he’s headed in. ¬†However, so far he’s a player who is starting to look like a roster lock if he can keep it up.

For Kenbrell Thompkins, the time is now for him to step up and show he’s a starting NFL receiver. (USA TODAY Images)


Kenbrell Thompkins has looked good in practice during this preseason but didn’t have a strong showing during his one appearance last week in Washington. ¬†He was targeted just twice with one reception, having played 29 offensive snaps. ¬†For a player who is trying to re-establish himself as a starter in this offense, he needs to look like a man among boys when he’s on the field. ¬†He can’t afford to be just another player and tonight is another opportunity to hopefully have a better performance. ¬†

To this point he’s seemingly slipped down the depth chart and finds himself behind Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and Aaron Dobson. ¬†But the problem he faces now is the fact Brandon LaFell’s stock has been rising, leaving Thompkins and Josh Boyce seemingly at the lower tier of that depth chart. ¬†As a result, the time is now for the second-year receiver to show everyone what he’s got.


Friday night may mark the first time fans get their first glimpse of Darrelle Revis in the secondary, which should be interesting in terms of seeing that dynamic and how well he works with Devin McCourty and the rest of that defensive unit.  There were times in the past where the lack of solid play at corner has put McCourty out of position trying to help out, which was emphasized when that changed following the addition of Aqib Talib to this group.

Once Talib arrived McCourty was able to focus more on his job and having Revis there should once again allow him the same luxury. Revis’ experience and calm demeanor has seemingly already had a positive effect with the other guys and so far they seem to be each working well together.

The good news is this unit already looks completely different from last year’s and it seems like Revis’ impact on the guys around him is having quite a positive effect. ¬†We’ll see tonight how that translates during what few snaps they ultimately play, but it should be exciting to see them in action.

It should be another interesting game, but hopefully we’ll see additional players take advantage of their opportunities as the team continues the evaluation process building a roster that will hopefully see New England among the NFL’s elite by the end of the season.