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New England Patriots News 8-23 and Notes Around the AFC East

Steve Balestrieri
Steve Balestrieri on Twitter
August 23, 2015 at 6:35 am ET

New England Patriots News 8-23 and Notes Around the AFC East(PHOTO: Derick E. Hingle - USA TODAY Sports)

🕑 Read Time: 5 minutes

Good morning, here are Sunday’s Patriots news notes and what’s happening around the division:

Rumors Abound About Brady Case, What to Make of it: Depending upon which side of the courtroom you are sitting on, the Brady case in front of Judge Berman is either looking great for the QB or a clear win for the NFL. How can a case with these tough questions being asked by the judge have such varied opinions by the many legal minds that are covering the case? We’ll try to make sense out of this…

Goodell may have the legal right to hand out these punishments, which were handed down by the CBA and the judge may be dutifully pressed to find in their favor or have his judgment overturned by an appeals court. Certain legal eagles like ESPN’s Lester Munson has stated as such…of course I wouldn’t bet the house on much of what he states. Just look at his background. However, the argument has merit.

While Goodell may have the RIGHT to hand down punishments,  there are procedures to follow and not to mention that the evidence used to get there behind the shoddy and predisposition used in the Wells Report is an area that can’t be overlooked.

An independent investigation this was not from the beginning. The science was faulty, Wells played with the facts to fit the NFL’s case and they ignored other facts. Berman didn’t care for the editing of the Wells Report by NFL attorney Jeff Pash, plus during the appeal, by not allowing the NFLPA to question Pash. The entire episode played out like a kangaroo court

Berman also couldn’t wrap his head around the entire Goodell statement that he equates the deflation of footballs, (an equipment issue), with using performance enhancing drugs. Equipment violations, even serious ones are to be dealt with by fines according to the CBA. Performance enhancing drugs fall under a separate policy and the judge made mention of this.

The judge has been trying to get both sides to sit down and work out a settlement. Neither has been willing to do so, and give in an inch. If Brady’s case is successful the NFL will most certainly appeal the decision and this will drag on.

But considering the heavy-handed, sloppy manner in which this has been handled by Goodell, and against one of the biggest faces of the league, this looks to be a bigger black eye to the league than the Ray Rice fiasco was a year ago.

We’ve heard unconfirmed rumors from more than one source that some owners aren’t happy with Goodell and the way he’s handling this case. And that they’ll ask him to step down once the season begins…..  Integrity of the game?

Patriots – Saints Provide Blueprint on Joint Practices: All week around the NFL we were reading of fights and dustups during teams’ joint practices and it wasn’t a pretty picture. Many were wondering if the Patriots and Saints would fall into the same category. They didn’t need to…

Bill Belichick and Sean Payton have a lot of respect with one another as well as each other’s programs. Payton in his comments during the week stated that they wouldn’t “put up with that B.S.”, and the teams joint practices went off without a hitch. That marked the third time in the last six seasons the teams worked together during the preseason.

Both teams controlled the tempo and the situational work they both were looking for. And both got a lot of great looks from the joint sessions. If a player or two got heated during the practices, others quickly stepped in to diffuse the situation. Saints DL and Patriots OL broke down a drill together, holding hands after a particularly intense 1-on-1 period. It shows the level of respect between the two organizations and coaches. Other teams should take note.

McCourty’s CB Time, Drawing to a close?: During training camp we all saw that Malcolm Butler was the clear-cut left cornerback for the upcoming season. But at the right cornerback position, it wasn’t…and isn’t such a clear choice.

Competition between Logan Ryan, Tarel Brown, Darryl Roberts and Bradley Fletcher was injected with the Pats top FS in McCourty starting last Saturday. At the time we chalked it up to health reasons. Roberts was hurt in the first preseason game and Brown was working his way back from a foot injury in 2014. Plus there was an abundance of safeties the team wants to evaluate.

McCourty started Saturday night’s game in New Orleans at RCB and the results weren’t pretty. His own comments after the game speak about how uncomfortable he was there. So will this experiment be soon over? Probably. McCourty will no doubt see some snaps at corner this season depending upon the opponent just like 2014. But once Brown is 100 percent, I think he will be the starting RCB.

Wide Receiver Depth Razor Thin: With Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell, Aaron Dobson and Brian Tyms all out, the last thing the Patriots needed was for one of the remaining wide receivers to get injured. But that is exactly what happened on Saturday night. Brandon Gibson was injured late during the Saints game and seemed to be favoring the same knee he has injured in the past.

Gibson, Chris Harper and Jonathan Krause have been getting a lot of reps at WR and all three have been impressive at times this summer. What the team really needs is the injured players returning to practice …and soon.

It was a tough break for Gibson, looking to catch on with the Patriots this season as he has been consistent all summer. This will bear watching as the team gears up to face Carolina in their third preseason game next week.

East Bound and Down…Notes Around the AFC East:

Bills Getting injured Players Back, Keeping all Three QBs?: The Bills got back to work on Saturday after their preseason game and started getting some of their injured players back. Fred Jackson missed several weeks with a bad hamstring, returned to practice as did DL Kyle Williams who missed time with a thigh injury.

Head coach Rex Ryan has been hinting around that the team may keep all three QBs vying for starting duties. Matt Cassel, Tyrod Taylor and EJ Manuel have all stepped up their games in recent days although there still remains no clear cut starter.

Tannehill Shines Again For Miami against Carolina: Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill was given a big $96 million dollar contract extension this offseason and thus far this summer, he’s earning it. Tannehill has had an outstanding training camp and he’s followed that up with two excellent performances in the Fins’ two preseason games.

Tannehill was 12 of 15 for 102 yards and a touchdown in the Dolphins loss to Carolina. This is great news for a Miami team looking to take that next step. During the preseason, he’s completing 81 percent of his passes and has led the team to three touchdown drives in limited work.

Leonard Williams Shines in Jets Win Over Atlanta:  Jets rookie DL Leonard Williams, expected to play a bigger role initially due to the Sheldon Richardson suspension to start the season, was very impressive against Atlanta.

The big rookie DL made five tackles, had 1.5 sacks and notched a safety in the Jets lackluster win over the Falcons. He was one of the bright spots on the team and his performance just scratches the surface on his potential.

The Jets are going to have win with defense and running the football effectively and this has to be a great sign for the rookie. Head coach Todd Bowles compared Williams’ body type to a young Richard Seymour.

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcast on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and I from discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.

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About Steve Balestrieri

A former US Army Special Forces NCO and Officer, Steve has been following the Patriots since their days at Fenway Park. Steve has worked in the film industry and wrote as an Military Editor at, as a reporter for the Millbury Daily Voice, Millbury-Sutton Chronicle, and the Grafton News. He's also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

Tags: 2015 NFL Preseason 2015 Patriots Training Camp 53 Man Roster Projection Bill Belichick Brandon Gibson Brandon LaFell Buffalo Bills Chris Harper Jimmy Garoppolo Julian Edelman LaGarrette Blount Malcolm Butler Miami Dolphins New England Patriots New York Jets NFL Patriots Patriots edge rushers Patriots Training Camp Photos Tom Brady

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