Here’s a look at this morning’s top stories:
Positive News Following Mitchell’s MRI – Watching Thursday night’s game against the Saints, it was hard not to grimace after seeing Malcolm Mitchell’s horrific elbow injury that knocked him out of action.
However, the good news is initial reports said it was just an elbow dislocation and on Sunday, according to ESPN’s Adam Kaplan, the result of Mitchell’s MRI came back clean, which further reinforces that the rookie definitely caught a break with an injury that certainly looked worse when it happened than it ultimately was.
Mitchell had a solid debut, leading the team with four receptions for 55-yards and showed terrific quickness and was smooth coming out of his routes, but the most impressive part was his ability to get separation and it looked relatively effortless. That would certainly give the Patriots some much needed depth at a receiver position that has both Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola coming back from injuries.
The Patriots haven’t had much luck as it pertains to injuries but this news is certainly encouraging. Should he see action in 2016, it will be fun to see how he develops as it’s definitely a position that never hurts to have some additional talent.
Belichick Happy to Have Develin Back – After being without fullback James Develin in 2015, Belichick talked about how valuable it is to have the veteran back and he’s looking forward to seeing him contribute this season.
“I think James is great to have on the team. He’s a great teammate,” said Belichick. “He has a lot of great attributes; his toughness, he catches the ball, very smart, so those things are good. Like any role or situation, how many of them can you have and which ones are the most important to you? I think he’s effective in his role it’s just a question of eventually when you put together your team and your offense, how big are various roles relative to other roles? What’s the overall value or contribution of the player in all facets of the team – offense, defense, special teams, situational football? But situations like goal line and short-yardage are pretty important situations so they might carry a little more weight than other situations. In the end we’ll just have to see how it all plays out. He’s certainly very competitive in what he does, no question about that.”
Ebner Returns to Patriots – Nate Ebner is back from Rio after competing on the rugby sevens Olympic squad and while he hasn’t rejoined the team on the field yet, he’s looking forward to transitioning back to his job with the Patriots after bulking back up to where he needs to be for the rigors of the NFL.
Ebner’s team finished ninth in the Olympics against some tough competition, called his trip to Rio a “once-in-a-lifetime, memorable experience” but he’s looking forward to getting himself physically ready for football and getting back to work.
“When my neck muscles get acclimated to wearing a helmet the whole time I think I’ll be good to go,” Ebner said via USA TODAY. “Probably gain a little bit of weight. But I’m just going to take it one day at a time. I’m not worried about things physically being a big problem.”
Brady has been impressed with Garoppolo so far. (USA TODAY Images)
Brady has praise for Garoppolo – No one knows better than anyone how difficult it is being the quarterback for the Patriots, and Brady has apparently been pretty pleased with what he’s seen from Jimmy Garoppolo so far.
The veteran said on Sunday that Garoppolo has been working hard to try and improve and earn the respect from the guys in the locker room and he’s enjoyed seeing his development.
“He works his tail off to prepare and I know he has the respect of everybody,” said Brady. “That’s what you try to do, you try to come out here and prepare, earn the respect of your teammates and your coaches, and you’ve got to put the work in. You’ve got to show that you’re willing to show up every day and do whatever it takes to get the job done. It’s been fun to see his development.”
Garoppolo got off to a slow start in Thursday night’s game but finished strong, finishing the night 11-of-18 for 168 yards as the Patriots took a 17-16 lead into the locker room at the half before he gave way to Jacoby Brissett for the final two quarters.
Now it’s back to work, and Brady knows this will be another important week for both of them.
“We got off to a good start the other night and hopefully we keep it going,” said Brady. “We have three days of practice coming up against the Bears that will be good preparation for our team. We’ve got to use them really well and hopefully we can come out of Thursday night, after these practices and the game, a stronger team than we are now.”
Washington Shines Sunday – Wide receiver Nate Washington had a subpar performance in Thursday night’s preseason opener and on Sunday he seemingly came out with a little added motivation.
He beat both Logan Ryan and Malcolm Butler for big gains, beating Ryan twice and Butler once on a hot and humid afternoon at Gillette Stadium. However, he also committed a false start penalty that left him having to take a lap. He’s got a tough road ahead of him after seeing Mitchell stand out Thursday night, and he likely got a big break thanks to Mitchell’s injury,which should open up more reps for him.
One of the biggest things seems to be that he’s having some difficulty getting on the same page with the two quarterbacks, which stood out again on Sunday. That will be an area to watch now with Mitchell out, as the opportunity to prove he belongs is now in Washington’s hands.
Whether or not he can do it, is up to him.
Ninkovich Spotted Before Practice – While Rob Ninkovich can’t practice while he recovers from a torn triceps, it’s not stopping the veteran from coming to work.
According to our own Steve Balestrieri, who was on hand for today’s practice, Ninkovich was out on the field for warmups and did some running as he likely tries to keep himself in shape for when he is able to return to the line-up.
Ninkovich was reportedly seen wearing a protective sleeve on his left arm but wasn’t on the field beyond warmups.
The veteran suffered the injury but there was reportedly no additional damage, so the good news is he’ll be an added addition to a Patriots defense that already appears as though it could be pretty formidable in 2016.
Belichick on Why Bears are a Good Trade Partner – The Patriots seem to have a good relationship with the Bears, at least as it pertains to their personnel department.
After trading for tight end Martellus Bennett this past offseason along with guard Ryan Groy in August and linebacker Jonathan Bostic in September last year, it’s a team they appear to have a good relationship with and Belichick talked about it on Sunday, saying the fact they’re in another Conference certainly helps.
“You can’t trade with somebody that’s not willing to trade,” said Belichick. “Yeah, we’ve been able to work it out with them. I think we have a good relationship with their personnel people, their coaching staff.”
“Obviously, they’re in the other conference so that always makes it a little bit easier to talk and exchange personnel.”
Belichick also added that there’s no real secret about their relationship.
“Nothing special,” said Belichick when asked if he had any prior relationship with Bears GM Ryan Pace. “But kind of like the Saints they’re not afraid to make a trade or talk personnel.”
SOCIAL POST OF THE DAY:
Logan Ryan Wishes Happy Birthday to teammate Devin McCourty:
Posted Under: Daily Patriots Rundown
Tags: 2016 Patriots PreSeason Bill Belichick Jimmy Garoppolo Logan Ryan Malcolm Butler Malcolm Mitchell Martellus Bennett Nate Ebner Nate Washington Rob Ninkovich Tom Brady