Monday Daily Rundown 8/8: New England Patriots News and Notes
Good morning, here’s a quick rundown of this morning’s news.
Belichick Looking Forward to Practices With Saints – This week coming up is a big one as the Patriots will start joint practices with New Orleans, with the two teams set to take the field together on Tuesday morning.
It’s one of the things that Bill Belichick looks forward to, as it gives him the opportunity to help his team work on situational football against somebody other than his own players. The team held another scrimmage on Sunday after breaking up into two groups for the second-straight practice, but this week marks the opportunity to start getting a look at his a new competitive opportunity, and it should hopefully give be a productive one.
Saints head coach Sean Payton told reporters in New Orleans yesterday that he’s looking to this week.
“I think it’s good,” said Payton. “You get to that point in camp—this will be the fourth time we’ve worked with New England—it gives you different looks, different personnel. I always like it. Somewhere in that second or third week of camp when you begin to maybe not just go through the motions, I think it picks up the intensity and awareness a little bit. I think it’s good when it’s a different team, especially when it’s a quality team like New England.”
One of the comments Belichick made on Sunday was the fact that the two clubs have an excellent relationship, which makes the process much easier.
“Yeah, somebody you can work with, that’s the number one thing,” said Belichick when asked about it. “That’s above all else. We have a great relationship with the Saints, with Sean [Payton] and his staff, the organization. It’s always worked out well the times we’ve done it with them, so if we have an opportunity to do it with them we try to take advantage of it. It’s been really good. They’re great to work with.”
Belichick said that he and Payton have already held discussions about putting a plan together for when they take the field, and the goal is to make it as productive as possible so they can make the most of it.
“I think we know what we want to try and do,” said Belichick. “We’ll talk about it when they get here. We’ll kind of go over it one more time. We’ve still got practices that are important to us before we get to that, but we want to be organized with them. I think we are and we’ll just kind of fine-tune that when they get here, but we’re good to go.”
Belichick did say that Tuesday will definitely be the key day for the two teams, as he told reporters that Wednesday’s practice won’t be as physical since the two teams will play their first preseason game of the year Thursday night.
Brady Leads Squad to Victory On Sunday – Tom Brady had a perfect performance in his last victory in a split squad scrimmage, but Belichick tested him on Sunday after stripping him of his best players.
Brady was 13 of 24 with a touchdown and an interception, with the veteran seeing some of his top targets from his previous victory taken away as Belichick increased the level of difficulty. As Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald pointed out, players like Chris Hogan, Martellus Bennett, Malcolm Mitchell, LeGarrette Blount and James Develin were all given to Jimmy Garoppolo’s team.
Yet somehow Brady led his team on a game-winning drive with a backup offensive line while facing the likes of Dont’a Hightower, Logan Ryan, Duron Harmon, Jonathan Jones, Patrick Chung, Trey Flowers, Vincent Valentine, Shea McClellin and Terrance Knighton.
The result? An 11-10 victory. No one does better with less and Brady, once again, made the most of it after pulling off the win.
Julian Edelman came off the PUP list on Sunday for the Patriots.
Edelman, Harbor Back at Practice – Some good news as both wide receivers Julian Edelman and Clay Harbor were activated off of PUP, with each player returning to practice on Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
Edelman’s return was obviously the bigger of the two stories on the afternoon, as his health had been a concern heading into 2016 given the fact he was coming off of a follow-up surgery on the fractured foot he suffered in Week 10 last season that sidelined him for the rest of the regular season, and left him hampered when he returned for the playoffs.
Most reports were positive on the veteran wideout, who showed some pretty good quickness during his first time back on the field and he said Sunday’s return was significant as he begins the process of getting ready for the season.
“A lot of significance,” Edelman told the media Sunday. “You’ve got to get your football legs back in shape and you’ve got to have this extra weight on. It’s about seven pounds, so it’s good to get out here and run around with the pads and adjust to catching a ball with the shoulder pads, the helmet, the face mask; going out there and trying to get tired, as tired as possible with the pads on so you can get used to the games and stuff.”
As for Harbor, he didn’t participate in the scrimmage and considering how deep the Patriots are at the position, he’ll find himself with quite a task ahead to establish himself in a pretty crowded field.
Gronkowski’s Change in Routine Paying Off – An interesting note by ESPN’s Mike Reiss in his Sunday notes column about Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who seems to have changed up his routine this year. Reiss noted that for the first time in his seven-year career, Gronkowski arrived for training camp at his playing weight (listed at 265 pounds), which goes against his usual approach where the tight end would come in a little heavier knowing that he would shed any excess weight because of all the running the team does in camp.
Gronkowski said the change wasn’t intentional, but now the most important thing has been trying to maintain it.
“It wasn’t anything intentional. It was probably because I was running a lot before coming to camp,” Gronkowski told Reiss. “Now it’s about maintaining it, so you eat, baby! You eat that extra steak, you eat those extra potatoes, all that extra stuff.”
The veteran tight end has had good results so far in camp, looking as dominant as ever and he told Reiss that thanks to how it’s worked out so far, it may be an approach he continues with in the future.
Brady Trying to Make the Most of Camp – Tom Brady only spoke on Friday and one of the things that stood out is how these practices seem to hold a little more significance for him this season, since he’ll be sidelined until October once the regular season starts.
Right now thanks to the personnel additions, there have been changes in the offense to try and incorporate some of the new guy into the mix, and Brady’s goal right now is to put in as much work as he can so that he’ll be ready to go when he’s finally able to come back.
Honestly, I’m just trying to be as good as I can be every day,” said Brady. “I think making improvements in certain areas; we’ve tried to make them. We changed our offense; we’ve had a lot of, kind of new players on the team, and just have been trying to incorporate them, so I feel like we’re building towards something.”
“We’ve got a lot of meaningful preseason games coming up that we have to see some improvements in and we’ve got a lot of practices left. It’s a long season so it’s just going to be a lot of hard work, a lot of discipline and effort. Like I said, I’m going to go out and do the best I can do in whatever role that I’m asked.
It’s been another difficult offseason for Brady, and the final outcome likely has him left with a fair amount of frustration that he didn’t want to share with reporters. For now he’s keeping those thoughts to himself, with the plan on putting it behind him and channeling into his efforts in practice.
“I always approach it, I have a job to do, and I try to approach it the best way I can,” said Brady. “I’ve always tried to do things the same way. Every day is important to me, certainly as someone who’s been around here for a long time, I know I have to bring it every day. I think I just try to go out there and lead by example, try to bring it and show my teammates that I’m ready to bring it mentally and physically every day.”
Posted Under: Daily Patriots Rundown