We’re at the midway point of the week and one day away from the team’s first public practices to be held in front of the media when we’ll start to learn a little more about some of the new faces taking the field in 2016.
For now, here’s a look at this morning’s top stories.
Prognosis Sounding Good on Lewis – The addition of Dion Lewis seemed like it was going to give the Patriots an injection at the running back position, but they lost him just as he was starting to hit his stride after he went down on November 8th with what ended up being a season-ending knee injury.
It ended up being a big setback for an offense that never got into gear in the running game after he went down, and considering how the offseason has played out there’s obviously plenty of reason to wonder if they’ll be any better this season. Having Lewis back healthy would certainly help there, and on Tuesday afternoon there was at least some good news from that standpoint.
According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, Lewis’ recovery is reportedly going well, and so much so in fact that Reiss reports that some close to Lewis feel “he’s about a month away” from being able to play in a game. Barring any setbacks, it sounds like he’ll be ready for the season opener out in Arizona, which is encouraging news after catching a glimpse of what he was able to do prior to his injury in 2015.
He lead the team in yards per carry at 4.8 including two touchdowns, and scored two more through the air while also averaging nearly 11-yards per reception out of the backfield.
His health is going to be critical, especially given the uncertainty still hanging over the position heading into training camp. But more importantly, his ability to switch things up both carrying the football and making plays in the passing game make him a weapon that this team could certainly use in the postseason.
Lewis is obviously a special player who all eyes will definitely be on in the coming months. Hopefully, if all goes well, we’ll be watching him in January and potentially February as well.
Patriots 10 Best Plays of 2015 – Yahoo! Sports has a widget with a video featuring the 10 best plays of 2015, which includes some terrific moments.
Some of the top plays include the pass play to Brady, the big play in the AFC Championship Game on the touchdown to Gronkowski, as well as a terrific catch and run for a touchdown by Gronk at home against Miami.
Others include Jamie Collins’ block against the Colts, as well as another terrific defensive play on an interception by another player, and several big moments from Julian Edelman.
You can feel free to check them out via this link.
Bills Tightening Up – It’s no secret Rex Ryan has a little Bill Belichick envy and it appears the Buffalo Bills have decided that the Patriots decision to be secretive in the media must be working in Foxboro, so it looks like they’re following suit.
Oddly enough, they’re even more strict given their guidelines.
From Mike Rodak of ESPN:
– Reports (which also include radio reports, tweets, podcasts and blogs) pertaining to strategic and tactical information are strictly prohibited. This includes:
– Referencing plays run or game strategy, including trick plays or unusual formations.
– Reporting on personnel groupings, sub-packages, players who are practicing with individual units (first team, second team, goal line, offense, nickel defense, etc.), special plays, who is rushing the passer, dropped passes, interceptions, QB completion percentage, etc.
The same holds true for injuries:
– Media should not report on any injury situation occurring during a practice that is not open to the public with detailed speculation to the potential nature, severity of the injury or level of practice participation. Acknowledging an injury occurred is permitted, but anything beyond a general report would be purely speculative and possibly inaccurate.
– Still and television photographers are not permitted to shoot or film injured players at a closed practice, even during the period that is open to the media. Filming of injured players rehabbing either before, during or after closed practices is prohibited.
The policy makes it difficult for reporters who are on hand for the practices that are closed to the public, making it a little tough to relay to fans what’s going on given the restrictions.
Rodak had a little fun with things on day one:
A quarterback just threw a pass and the football landed in the hands of an offensive player at today's Bills OTA practice.
— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) May 24, 2016
Ryan’s feeling the heat this season so obviously it appears they’re willing to try anything. Unfortunately it ultimately comes down to the play on the field and until he figures that part out, it’s going to take a little more than secrecy in practice via the media to beat New England.
Faulk talks about his draft day moment – The moment with Kevin Faulk on draft day where he announced New England’s pick while wearing Brady’s jersey was certainly a fun moment, and Faulk spoke with 98.5 the Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich about the conversation he and Brady had where Brady thanked him for what Faulk had done.
“Thank you for just showing the respect that we had for each other,” Faulk revealed Brady told him, via CSNNE.com.
“That was all it [was],” Faulk said Tuesday morning on Toucher & Rich. “It wasn’t [a] big, drawn-out deal, nothing like that. It was, ‘Thank you.’ . . .
“We may not talk every day, but whenever we do pick up the phone to call to each other, we can help each other out.”
Faulk was recently selected to be included in the team’s Hall of Fame, and it’s safe to say that moment certainly might have helped his cause a bit.
Patriots Snubbed From Top 10 List – I saw the article yesterday by Bucky Brooks but ignored it, but there were some other outlets who mentioned it and it was discussed for a bit on WEEI Tuesday afternoon, so I’ll bring it up here.
Brooks wrote an article on Monday highlighting who he felt were the 10 most talented teams, and apparently he didn’t believe New England was worthy of the list.
Among teams who made the cut were Dallas, NY Giants, Vikings, Panthers, Cardinals, Seahawks, Steelers, Bengals, Broncos, Chiefs. The fact that the Vikings and the Giants made the list ahead of the Patriots is a little silly given that this is a team coming off of an AFC Championship appearance and they’re returning most of their starters in addition to some solid offseason acquisitions in Martellus Bennett on offense, Terrance Knighton on defense, etc.
It was a bizarre read and some of the logic behind the decisions were a little head-scratching. So needless to say, if you’re on Twitter, feel free to let him know about it at @BuckyBrooks.
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