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Former Patriots Safety Steve Gregory Announces Retirement



Former Patriots safety Steve Gregory announced his retirement Saturday after eight seasons in the National Football League. (PHOTO: Steve Balestrieri/PatsFans.com)

Back in February the Patriots released 31-year old veteran safety Steve Gregory in an apparent financial move that saved the team $2.85 million against the 2014 salary cap.

As it turns out, that apparently marked the end of his NFL career after Gregory announced his retirement on Saturday.


Gregory was a solid contributor in New England’s secondary during his tenure with the team. (USA TODAY Images)

He played in 26 games in New England through 2012 and 2013, the final two seasons of his eight year career.

Gregory was a solid contributor in the Patriots’ secondary during his tenure with the team and he’s walking away with his head held high, with his plan now to potentially be involved as a coach.

From his statement released via his agent, David Canter:

“It is with tremendous respect, appreciation, and admiration for the game of football that I’ve decided to announce my retirement effective immediately.  After enter the game as an undrafted free agent, I was fortunate enough to play twice as long as the average player. This past offseason, my wife Rosanne and I were blessed to welcome a daughter, Aviana, and spending time with her has changed my life’s perspective. It is my hope to continue in football as a coach and I look forward to what the future holds. I’m tremendously happy with my decision and being able to walk away from this great game both healthy and on my own terms. I would be remiss in announcing my retirement without thanking my great family, coaches, teammates, scouts, trainers, agent and all of the fans that have supported me along the way.

Thank you,
Steve Gregory”

During the 2013 regular season the veteran played in 14 games with 11 starts along with 79 tackles and a sack.  He missed two games with a thumb injury he suffered during the team’s week nine 55-31 rout of Pittsburgh, but for the season he participated in over 80% of the snaps in all but three of those contests.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Patriots QBs Mallett vs Garappolo Through Game 1


Garoppolo and his offense had a little more success on Thursday night. (USA TODAY Images)

After breaking down the numbers from last night’s game, here’s a look at each quarterback, along with the receivers each targeted and connected with, etc:

RYAN MALLETT:

Total Number of Offensive Plays: 26 (Excluding punts & field goals)
Number of First Down Plays: 10 – First Downs Converted: 0
Number of Second Down Plays: 9 – First Downs Converted: 1
Number of Third Down Plays: 7 – First Downs Converted: 3
Number of Fourth Down Plays: 0, Punts – 3, FG Attempts: 1 – First Downs Converted

Overall: 5-of-12 (42%) 55yds 1 sack/-5 yards
First Down Passing: 0-for-3 (0%)
Second Down Passing: 1-of-3 (33%) for 11yds, 1 sack/-5yds
Third Down Passing: 4-of-6 (67%) for 44yds

Red Zone Passing: No Attempts

Total Receiving Stats:

Brandon LaFell: 2-of-5 for 16yds – 1 First Down
Josh Boyce: 1-of-2 for 15yds – 1 First Down
James Develin: 1-of-1 for 13 yards – 1 First Down
Kenbrell Thompkins: 1-of-2 for 11 yards – 1 First Down
Roy Finch: 0-for-2


JIMMY GAROPPOLO:

Total Number of Offensive Plays: 24 (Excluding punts & field goals)
Number of First Down Plays: 11 – First Downs Converted: 3
Number of Second Down Plays: 7 – First Downs Converted: 2
Number of Third Down Plays: 5 – First Downs Converted: 3
Number of Fourth Down Plays: 1, Punts – 1, FG Attempts: 0 – First Downs Converted 0

Overall: 9-of-13 (69%) 157 yards 1 TD
First Down Passing: 4-of-5 (80%) 52 yards
Second Down Passing: 4-of-5(80%) 52 yards
Third Down Passing: 1-of-2 (50%) 53 yards

Red Zone Passing: 0-for-2

Total Receiving Stats:

Brian Tyms: 5-of-6 for 119yds – 1 TD – 5 First Downs
Josh Boyce: 2-of-3 for 15yds
Roy Finch: 1-of-2 for 7yds
Wilson Van Hooser: 1-of-1 for 16 yards – 1 First Down
Justin Jones: 0-for-1

It’s interesting to note how consistent Garoppolo was when looking at his passing numbers by down, with the identical stats from 1st to second down and similar yardage on third down. Obviously we’re only through one game and Garoppolo still has a lot to learn, but it will be interesting to see if at some point Bill Belichick gives him the opportunity to work with the first team in any of these preseason games should Mallett continue to struggle.

Another Inconsistent Outing for Patriots QB Ryan Mallett

A lot of the buzz this week centered around how good quarterback Ryan Mallett looked during the Patriots’ joint practice sessions against the Redskins, but on Thursday night it certainly didn’t translate onto the field for him during the team’s first preseason game.


Ryan Mallett was inconsistent during the Patriots first preseason outing of 2014.
(USA TODAY Images)

Mallett started the game and played the entire first half, finishing the night 5-of-12 (42%) for just 55 yards and over that span the offense had a difficult time moving the football.  A lot of that stemmed from the fact they struggled running the football and he also didn’t have much success completing passes on early downs. He finished 0-for-3 on first down and just 1-of-3 on second down.  That put him in long yardage situations throughout most of the game.

He faced nine second down plays Thursday night, seven of which were from eight or more yards.  Third down was just as dismal, with Mallett converting just three of seven on the night, largely because five of those seven were from 10 or more yards.

Granted he didn’t have all of New England’s best offensive weapons, with Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola among those who sat out Thursday night’s contest. However, he still had Kenbrell Thompkins, Josh Boyce, Shane Vereen and Brandon LaFell and there were situations where he wasn’t as accurate as he needed to be.

He had moments where he threw at LaFell’s feet coming back over the middle and another where he badly overshot Roy Finch on a screen pass. Then he would make a tremendous throw like the one he made to Boyce when he fired a laser in between three defenders on a third down play for a first down.

The frustrating part was the fact they couldn’t get anything going and failed to put up any points, with Mallett and the offense only crossing midfield twice. They never reached any farther than the Redskins’ 36 yard line and that drive ended with a missed 54-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowksi late in the second quarter.

It was simply another inconsistent night in a game where most had hoped he would turn the corner. Considering these opportunities and that much playing time don’t exactly come around that often, it’s just too bad he didn’t rise to the occasion.

After the game Mallett admitted he still has some work to do.

“I feel like I did a few positive things,” said Mallett. “A few things I wish I could do different, but that’s what practice is for. We go back to work next week and get ready to go again.”

For now he’ll get back to the drawing board as he gets ready for the Eagles, who will visit the team for joint sessions next week prior to their second exhibition game.

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


It was a rough night for Patriots QB Ryan Mallett. (USA TODAY Images)

Some notes and links following last night’s loss:

JIMMY GAROPPOLO OUTPLAYS MALLETT IN DEBUT:

For all the praise Ryan Mallett received this week, it was quarterback Jimmy Garopplo who had the better outing during the Patriots 23-6 loss down in Washington Thursday night after Garoppolo finished the night completing 9-of-13 passes for 157 yards along with a touchdown in the second half.

While it hasn’t shown up as much during training camp, Garoppolo looked fairly poised and even showed some great touch on the football after hitting a couple of deep plays to Brian Tyms, including a 53-yard pass on third down in the fourth quarter along with his 26 yard touchdown throw to him in the closing minutes of the game.

“I did alright,” said Garoppolo after the game.  “There is a lot of stuff to improve on. It is a process. For any rookie quarterback, there is a lot to learn from and we will go watch the tape tomorrow and fix those things.”

Meanwhile, Mallett finished the night 5-of-12 (42%) for just 55 yards on a night that seemed fit for him to finally be able to showcase himself following a week that saw him garner some positive remarks from members of the national media who were in Virginia watching him.

Unfortunately it didn’t translate over into the game, which for now leaves Mallett the same as he’s been.  He’s been just O.K.  Not great, not terrible, but certainly not strong enough to be considered a starting caliber quarterback.

It’s early to pile too much praise on Garoppolo, but it wasn’t a bad start for the rookie.  It’s just one game and he was going against players who, many of which, won’t even be in the NFL one month from now.  But he made the most of his opportunity, which is about as much as he could have hoped for.

There’s still three preseason games to go and plenty of snaps likely in their future.  Hopefully for Mallett’s sake he’s able to regroup against the Eagles this week.

STARS SIT THIS ONE OUT:

Last night was clearly an evaluation for some of the more unproven players, with a lot of New England’s starters sitting out while others got some plays in to get comfortable and back into game shape.

Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and Logan Mankins were among some of the stars who sat this one out on the offensive side of the football, while Chandler Jones, Darrelle Revis, Devin McCourty and Dont’a Hightower were some notable names who were on the sidelines watching other guys take their reps on the defensive side.

However, out on the field were Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly, both of whom are coming back from injuries and needed the snaps as they continue working on settling back in.  Kelly told the Boston Globe after the game that he’s still got a bit more work ahead of him to get back into shape, but he expects next week’s game against the Eagles to go a little more smoothly.

“I think I have to work on it, but that’s what these games are for,’’ Kelly told the newspaper. “I don’t see myself getting this gassed next week against Philly.”

PATRIOTS SUFFER ANOTHER INJURY:

According to the Boston Globe, second year defensive tackle Chris Jones suffered an ankle injury in the first half and didn’t return, which delivers another blow to a group that already lost Sealver Siliga earlier in the week with a hand injury.

Prior to the two getting hurt their depth was already shaky at best, so Jones’ injury will be something to monitor, especially if the injury to Siliga is as serious as some of the recent reports have been stating.

ADDITIONAL LINKS:

BOSTON GLOBE:

Ryan Mallett unimpressive in Patriots opener – Ben Volin: Volin has his “On Football” column for this morning, which focuses on the rough night that Mallett had down in Washington.

Patriots stars missing in opener – Shalise Manza Young: Manza Young files her notebook this morning, which leads off with the fact quite a few starters sat out last night’s contest.

Patriots have rocky start to preseason – Here’s a collection of photos from last night’s game

Ryan Mallett hype is a trick of the trade – Christopher Gasper: Gasper writes there are lobbyists in Washington who wish they could spin as favorably as the Patriots have on Mallett recently.

BOSTON.COM:

Patriots vs. Redskins Stock Report: Ryan Mallett Struggles, Malcolm Butler Shines – Erik Frenz: Frenz recaps some of the performances from last night while taking a look at some players who helped their cause.

BOSTON HERALD:

Ryan Mallett misfires – Jeff Howe: Howe has an article on the less than impressive performance by Mallett last night.

Patriots Notebook: Returning vets get little taste – Jeff Howe: Howe files his notebook, which leads off with him looking at the performances of Kelly and Wilfork in their first game action since being placed on injured reserve last year.

Brandon Browner burned early – Karen Guregian: Guregian has notes on the fact that the new contact rules hurt Browner last night.

ESPN BOSTON:

Leftover Thoughts from Patriots’ Loss – Mike Reiss: Reiss has additional thoughts on last night’s game, including the fact it was another step forward for Vince Wilfork.

Belichick, players react to preseason loss – Mike Reiss: Reiss has additional quotes from inside the locker room after the game.

Tale of two backup QB’s for Patriots – Mike Reiss: Reiss contrasts the play of the two quarterbacks last night.

Observation deck: new England Patriots -Mike Reiss: Reiss has his takeaways from last night’s game along with some additional thoughts in this piece.

Ups and Downs for the Patriots – Mike Reiss: Reiss has some players who he feels had a good night, while others didn’t fare so well.

WEEI:

What we learned Thursday – Christopher Price: Price has a good read from last night’s loss after how it all unfolded.

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.

REPORT: Patriots Trying to Extend Darrelle Revis


It appears the Patriots may be trying to make sure Darrelle Revis sticks around for the foreseeable future. (USA TODAY Images)

Since arriving in New England cornerback Darrelle Revis’ work ethic and his performance on the field have seemingly been a perfect fit with Bill Belichick and the Patriots’ defensive system.

Now it appears Belichick may be trying to make sure Revis remains a part of it for the foreseeable future.

According to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report, the Patriots have already started trying to extend Revis’ two-year contract.

“What I’m hearing from the Patriots is that Revis has been so good so far that they are privately already starting to talk about extending his contract,” Cole said to Bleacher Report’s Adam Lefkoe via Boston.com. “The Patriots like what they see so much — they think they see the next Ty Law and that shutdown cover corner to really get their defense going — that they’d like to extend him out. Robert Kraft, the owner of the team, has pulled Darrelle Revis aside and started to talk to him to see if they can get a long term deal worked out.”

Revis originally signed a two year deal worth $32 million shortly after losing Aqib Talib to the Broncos in free agency, but the second-year option was massive (a $12.5 million roster bonus) and would leave New England in a difficult position from a salary cap perspective.  So extending him makes both financial sense and would give them a player who essentially gives them an incredible asset on the defensive side of the football.

So far the veteran appears to be enjoying himself here in New England, having also talked very positively about his relationship with Belichick.  We already know how much better Tom Brady makes this offense and Revis essentially provides a similar presence on the defensive side of the football. Having him now working with Belichick certainly seems like a terrific pairing and hopefully – if they can get something done – it will be one that lasts for a long time.

“You know, Coach Belichick is very open about football. It’s football talk. He’s very open about it. You can go to him about anything,” said Revis last week. “You can ask him about anything. We’re just trying to get ready. We’re just trying to get ready and get prepared. Anything that’s best for the team, that’s the best position that’s going to put us in a position to win. That’s all we try to do: football talk. We talk all the time about what’s the best position for the team for us to win.”

And locking Revis up for the long-haul would certainly make winning a little easier.

UPDATE Wednesday 7:05pm:

Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald Tweeted a bit ago and refuted the report:

Cole’s report had said that Kraft “has pulled Darrelle Revis aside and started to talk to him to see if they can get a long term deal worked out.” It’s possible that while no official negotiations may have begun between the two sides, it sounds like Kraft may have simply tried to get a feel for what it may take to get a deal done in order to keep him in a Patriots uniform.

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.”