A quiet morning on this Wednesday, but here’s a look at this morning’s top stories:
Coleman Emerging As a Contributor – The Patriots were fortunate to have an undrafted free agent become a key contributor in the secondary after Malcolm Butler’s huge play and subsequent strong 2015 campaign. However, by the end of last season they had another previously undrafted player who looked to also be headed in the right direction.
Defensive back Justin Coleman was an undrafted free agent with the Vikings in 2015, before fate eventually saw the 23-year old end up and stick in New England. He finished the regular season having played in 10 games with 21 tackles including a tackle for a loss and five passes defensed, as well as a fumble recovery.
In the playoffs he had 7 tackles, a quarterback hit, as well as two more passes defensed. Not a bad performance from a player who worked hard all season and carved out a role for himself, and now Coleman said he’s using it as motivation to have an even better 2016.
“I just need to get better. It gives me every little bit of motivation that’s out there to help me get better,” Coleman said via the Providence Journal’s Mark Daniels . “(Last year)’s definitely a motivator. Everything I do, I just try to work hard for the team and possibly put myself in a good position to help us and get better at whatever I’m doing.”
Needless to say, Coleman is certainly a player to keep an eye on heading into training camp.
Saints Payton Reveals Joint Practices – As we get closer to the preseason it sounds like anyone attending the practices leading up to the Patriots exhibition game against the Saints might be able to watch the two teams battle it out up close and personal.
New Orleans head coach Sean Payton hinted on Tuesday that the two teams will be taking part in joint practices before their preseason game at Gillette Stadium on August 11th.
“Bill [Belichick] and I have talked,” Payton told reporters via WEEI.com. “We’ll have the schedule at some point, but we’ll probably have a couple days of practice with them prior to that game.”
The Patriots open the preseason against the Saints and will also be holding joint sessions against the Bears during their week two battle with Chicago. Those will obviously be the only two opportunities for joint practices here in Foxboro, as the Patriots play both of their final two exhibition games against Carolins on 8/26, followed by the Giants on 9/1.
It might just be OTAs, but Rob Gronkowski is still honing his skills.
Gronk Talks About the Tricks of the Trade – ESPN’s Mike Reiss spoke with Rob Gronkowski after practice on Monday, focusing on a play where he caught a touchdown pass in the endzone as he worked on fundamentals.
On the play he worked on his head and shoulders fake, as well as his footwork prior to breaking out to the corner on his route.
“That’s a route, when you’re going to your left or right you want to give the whole head and shoulders, not just a little leg step,” Gronk told Reiss. “You want to give the whole-body feel, to get the defender to think you’re going that way and then pop the other way. You have to have a couple moves and tricks to get open.”
Gronk pulled off a memorable fake during the postseason on this play against the Chiefs, which resulted in a touchdown. Practices like these obviously set the foundation, so hopefully we’ll see plenty more of these in 2016.
Gronk's stop & go move pic.twitter.com/gP9Rrxxcvv
— The Cauldron (@TheCauldron) January 16, 2016
Gronk enjoying working with Bennett – Gronkowski’s presence this week on the field quieted the whispers about his contract status for this season, but more importantly it gave us a glimpse of seeing Martellus Bennett and Gornk together on the field, which should hopefully provide plenty of excitement this season.
Gronkowski admitted Monday that Bennett’s a knowledgeable player, and it’s been fun working with him.
“It’s great, it’s great to be out there with him,” said Gronkowski. “He’s another guy that brings a lot of football knowledge to the game in the meeting rooms. I think he’s going on his ninth year so he has so much experience.”
“He’s been with a few teams, with a few coaches, and has played all around, so it’s great to get so much knowledge from him and from the coaches. Going out on the field, he’s a hard worker. He puts some dedication in so it’s great to be with him out there.”
Getting back on the field is obviously great for everyone, as it gives each of the players an opportunity to start building some continuity heading into training camp. Gronkowski said that it’s just great to be back out there working in live drills, and it was probably important for him to be out there given this is the last week before their final break heading into camp.
“It’s OTAs. It feels the same every time now, every year,” said Gronkowski. “You just go out there, keep your football legs under you, which is great; running routes, stay in football shape. What’s cool about it is that it brings the competitiveness out of you. You just can’t go out there in your backyard or out on the field just throwing with the quarterbacks, going versus someone or having someone across from you gets you back in that right feeling like it’s a game.”
And as we know, it won’t be long before it all gets going for real next month.
SOCIAL POST OF THE DAY:
Danny Amendola showing some support for Martellus Bennett:
— Danny Amendola (@DannyAmendola) June 15, 2016
Posted Under: Daily Patriots Rundown