It’s Monday and time for all of us to head back to work, but here’s a quick rundown of the latest news before you head out:
Akeim Hicks is gone – Sunday night saw the Patriots lose a player who was an important part of New England’s defense in 2015, with Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal reporting that Hicks opted to sign with the Chicago Bears. Hicks had a good season after being acquired by New England, finishing with 21 tackles, 3 sacks, and five tackles for a loss, along with 7 QB hits and one fumble recovery. After being an unknown commodity before joining the Patriots, the 26-year old was able to revive his career in New England and after coming up just short of a Super Bowl berth, Hicks obviously opted to cash out and will play elsewhere next season.
Rams DE Chris Long Set to Visit – ESPN’s Trey Wingo reported Sunday night that Long will be in town on Monday for a visit with New England. Daniels had previously reported on the interest in the Rams veteran, and they’ll now get the opportunity to meet with him. The 30-year old defensive end recorded three sacks last season along with two tackles for a loss, five quarterback hits, and forced one fumble. Mike Reiss of ESPN pointed out Sunday night that current Patriots DL coach Brendan Daly knows Long well, having been his position coach in St. Louis from 2009-2011. The Star-Telegram is also reporting that Long is expected to meet with the Cowboys this week, and ESPN reports that after visiting Atlanta over the weekend, the Falcons are not out of the running either.
Tre Jackson Doing Well After Offseason Knee Surgery – Speaking of Reiss, the Patriots obviously have some concerns at offensive line but the good news is one of their rookie guards appears like he’ll be back and ready to compete in the coming months. Reiss reported on Sunday that Jackson is recovering well after getting his knee scoped over the past month, which Reiss reports isn’t expected to affect his long-term availability.
TE Derby Working Hard – One other note by Reiss on Sunday was the mention of second-year tight end AJ Derby, who spent his first season in New England on injured reserve but has been putting in a lot of time this offseason. Reiss reports that Derby has remained in town so far since the season ended, working out regularly at Gillette Stadium as he continues preparing for his second year in New England.
Steelers CB Blake Makes a Visit – According to Reiss the Patriots also received a visit from cornerback Antwon Blake this weekend, who is headed next to visit the Titans in Tennessee. Blake finished fifth on the team in tackles in 2015 with 74 including one sack, five tackles for a loss, two interceptions, and was tied for the team lead with Ross Cockrell with 11 passes defensed. He also had one forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Ebner Remains a Patriot – CSNNE.com reported on Saturday that special teams standout and back-up safety Nate Ebner agreed to terms on a new 2-year deal over the weekend, keeping him in the fold for the foreseeable future. His agent told the Boston Herald, “This was his goal. He wanted to be back. When you look at the definition of a Patriots player, he’s it, from work ethic, to skill set, to how he conducts himself.” Ebner finished tied for second on the team in special teams tackles in 2015, and also had one quarterback hit on defense.
Curran Expects 100% Injury Rate at WR in 2016 – Some interesting comments from CSNNE.com’s Tom Curran Sunday, who expects a high number of injuries at receiver this season and believes the Patriots are smart to keep Danny Amendola in the fold. “His role should remain basically the same,” said Curran of Amendola. “He’s your third guy. He’s your complementary guy. Here’s why you don’t throw him out. There is probably going to be a hundred-percent injury rate at that wide receiver position this year. Edelman is going to get hurt at some point. Amendola is going to get hurt. Hogan, if he’s going to get used a ton, is going to get hurt. Gronkowski is going to get hurt.”
SOCIAL POST OF THE DAY:
Jimmy Garoppolo is enjoying his offseason: