Good morning, here are Sunday’s Patriots news 8-7 and notes on what’s happening around the AFC East. And what a week it has been for the Patriots and their fans the past seven days.
Brady Shines On Friday and Speaks to his Suspension:
Tom Brady played like a man possessed on Friday. Having to already sit for four games due to the Deflategate ridiculousness, he then has had to hear the not-so-silent whispers from certain media members if he will even get his job back when Week 5 rolls around.
On Friday, he put much of that talk to sleep. In the Patriots intra-squad scrimmage, Brady was surgical, carving up the opposing (White) defense while leading a blowout victory. Sometimes poking the bear is not the greatest thing, at other times it is just what the doctor ordered. See the quote above.
Brady then spoke with the media for the first time and about his suspension he would only say, “It was just a personal decision,” Brady stated. “I try to come out here and just focus on what I need to do to get better and help our team, and like I said, I’ll be excited to be back when I’m back”
The media was asking him how he plans to deal with his forced four-week hiatus, but the veteran QB stayed steadfast in his mantra that he just wants to improve now. “I’ll deal with that when it comes,” he said. “I really don’t know. I’m really focusing on every day and trying to get better. One of my coaches said, ‘Look, you’ve just got to get better every day,’ and that’s where my focus is.”
“These days are important for me, they’re important for every guy on this team to get better and make the improvements. Collectively, it’s a long season. We’ve got a good, competitive team. I’m just going to be rooting for us to win every game that we’re playing that I’m not in, and certainly I hope we win every game when I’m in there too.”
After his talk with the media, Brady re-donned his equipment and resumed his workout, running, throwing and doing some flexibility work. Like Thursday, he was the last player off the field.
Faulk Enters the Hall and is Honored by His QB:
The Patriots Hall of Fame has a new member and the organization put together a nice ceremony for him, with his friends, family, and former teammates in attendance to honor him. Bill Belichick spoke both during the ceremony and afterward in his press conference about Faulk’s dedication, selflessness, and production.
But the appearance of QB Tom Brady brought down the house. He came out in his warmup jacket and underneath he was wearing Faulk’s #33 jersey. Faulk was moved nearly to tears and spoke afterward about the love and respect he has for Brady.
Following the induction, the fans in attendance, nearly 25,000 were treated to an in-stadium practice where the team had a spirited session.
Grissom Shines in Scrimmage, Helps Own Cause:
While much of the talk of the Blue-White Scrimmage on Friday centered around, and rightfully so, the play of Tom Brady, Geneo Grissom had a very solid day. The second-year defensive end has been mentioned as a player that will have to contribute on STs to make the roster in 2016. He did just that on Friday.
Grissom set the tone of the session right from the opening kickoff. Flying down the field, he absolutely de-cleated V’Angelo Bentley with a thunderous hit that could be heard all over the practice fields.
After the Blue team scored on their first possession, he made the tackle again on Bentley, albeit with a little less force than the first one. I’m sure that the coaches explained to him to throttle it back just a tad.
Later in the session, after the White team had kicked a field goal, they tried a squib kick. Grissom alertly picked it up and showing some nice agility, returned it to near midfield. That set the stage for Brady to throw a bomb on first down deep down the left sideline to Matthew Slater for a touchdown.
He flashed a couple of times on defense as well, showing a nice pass rush from the edge. With the defensive end position jam packed with depth, one way to stand out is having special teams’ versatility. Grissom did nothing to hurt his chances with his performance on Friday morning.
Belichick, Caserio Did a Great Job of Building Depth:
The Patriots have amassed quite a crew of 90 players comprising the current training camp roster and Belichick the GM deserves plenty of credit. Belichick, the coach has already raved about the depth the team has at WR, TE and Safety during the first week of camp. This is one of his deepest rosters that he’s put together in his time in New England.
How deep is the roster? Normally the bottom 10-12 slots on the 90-man roster is a revolving door with players coming in going. But this season? Zero movement.
NEPatriotsDraft’s Mike Loyko had a fascinating bit of information earlier this week.
If there is still an area of the roster to be concerned with it would be OT and RB. With Sebastian Vollmer still on PUP, Marcus Cannon is getting the starting reps at RT, which is a scary proposition. And at RB Dion Lewis is on PUP and D.J. Foster, the most intriguing of the backs and by far the most athletic has missed a lot of time. Donald Brown is now hurt as well. These two positions will bear monitoring as the summer continues.
East Bound and Down…AFC East Notes:
Dolphins Going to a “Wide Nine” Approach for the Edge:
The Miami Dolphins hired former Lions Defensive Line coach Jim Washburn this season and one of the changes he’s bringing is the Wide Nine alignment where his edge players set a full gap outside where the tight ends are. This helps with creating better pass rush angles.
While critics point to the pressure it places on the interior defensive line, it just forces the outside linebackers told the Palm Beach Post, “We just want our guys to play fast. You look at Wash’s history playing this defense, they’ve played great run defense. It’s not what people think. It’s kind of an illusion a little bit.”
It should benefit former Bills’ DE Mario Williams giving him a better angle to rush the passer this season, and the prevailing thought is that the Dolphins will be a more attacking defense in 2016.
Much Ado about nothing…Jets Have Dustup in TC:
While the media made a big deal about the altercation between Brandon Marshall and Darrelle Revis at the Jets training camp on Friday, these things happen every year.
Both players had to be separated from each other after some pushing and shoving became escalated after Marshall supposedly taunted Revis about a poor game he had a year ago against the Houston Texans. Tempers get short during camp and this type of thing happens often.
Coach Todd Bowles diffused the situation and had this to say: “You love them competing,” Bowles said to the NY media. “You’re going to get pissed off in camp as a player. It’s not charm school. We’re going to play football, and both of them got where they are by making plays and from not backing down. You like that competitiveness. You’ve just got to keep it clean, and for the most part, they did.”
Bills Ragland Suffers Injury in Friday’s Practice:
Buffalo Bills rookie linebacker Reggie Ragland pulled limping in practice on Friday and was forced to leave the field. Now there’s worry that he may have suffered ligament damage to his left knee.
“I’m not real sure about ligament damage,” Bills coach Rex Ryan said. “I guess I was just so hopeful there’s not going to be ligament things. My understanding is that as you get going, your leg is so tight, they’ll fight it. You don’t really get a true look of that. So as we mentioned, we got to wait for that swelling to go down.
According to ESPN’s Mike Rodak, Ragland was chasing down RB Reggie Bush when he pulled up lame and then hit the turf. There was no contact on the play.
If the 2nd-round draft pick (#41 overall) is out for any length of time it will be a blow to the Bills defense. Top draft choice Shaq Lawson had off-season shoulder surgery and will miss the first several games of the year, probably the first six on PUP.
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