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New England Patriots News 8-20, AFC East Notes

Steve Balestrieri
Steve Balestrieri on Twitter
6 years ago at 5:00 am ET
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary

New England Patriots News 8-20, AFC East NotesSteve Balestrieri -

Good morning and welcome to your Sunday Patriots news 8-20 and AFC East notes.  These are indeed some strange times we’re living in….nuff said.

Rivers Loss a Costly One in the Short Term: The loss of rookie Derek Rivers will be felt by the team this year, but it shouldn’t impact the team or the player long term. Most players who have ACL surgery return to being just as athletic as they were before the surgery. Rivers can use the time to be in all of the meetings and learning every nuance of the defense in the meantime. Once Wise returns from his concussion, it should help things along in the depth department. That and Dont’a Hightower once back at practice will help things immeasurably.

In the meantime, the team can look at either free agency or via a trade if they feel they have to address this loss immediately. We kicked around a few names on Friday night with our piece.  Mike Reiss also kicked around a few more names on Saturday in his regular column with a few other intriguing names.

Hold a Grudge? Bill Belichick? No Way…Unless it is the Jets:
Bill Belichick has a memory like an elephant, just sit in on one of his press conferences when the subject comes around to history and he’ll talk for a long while rattling off tidbits of information and stats that are at times…simply amazing.

He also has a long memory when it comes to people that have done him wrong. And he’s not the forgiving sort. This week during joint practices with the Texans, he was asked about his long relationship with Romeo Crennell.

“Romeo and I started together at the Giants in special teams, so he and I coached special teams together and then we coached defensively together through 1990,” he said. “We worked at the Patriots together, then another team, and then back with the Patriots in 2001.”

The other team? None other than the Jets. After he resigned as the Jets coach he was nearly accused by Jets President Steve Gutman of being off his rocker. “I think, I’m not a psychologist, but I think I just listened for an hour to a person who is in some turmoil and deserves our understanding and our consideration,” Gutman said.

Bill Belichick at Patriots training camp. (SBalestrieri photo)

That didn’t sit well with Belichick and the Eric Mangini and Spygate fiasco was the final straw. The Jets are Public Enemy #1, “He who shall not be named” and don’t forget it.

While some in the NY media think of it as petty, Belichick doesn’t care. They write about “another team.”

Former Patriot NT Lester Williams Passes Away at 58: Sad to note that former Patriots nose tackle Lester Williams has died, he was just 58. Williams played in 40 games for the Patriots from 1982-85 including a start in Super Bowl XX against the Bears. While with the Patriots, Williams logged 39 solo tackles, 60 assists, five sacks, three fumble recoveries and five passes defensed.

He was part of the deep Patriots draft class of 1982 with No. 1 overall pick, defensive end Kenneth Sims, running back Robert Weathers (second round), Patriots and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Andre Tippett (second round), guard Darryl Haley (second round), wide receiver Cedric Jones (third round), linebacker Clayton Weishuhn (third round) and free safety Fred Marion (fifth round).

According to the, he passed away at his home. He was an All-American at Miami before joining New England.

Patriots Buy Two Planes, Air Kraft Takes Off:
The Patriots became the first NFL team to own private planes. And yes the team will travel in style, the paint job on the “Air Kraft” is phenomenal with five Lombardi trophies painted on the tail.

ESPN broke the story on Tuesday that Kraft bought two 767 Boeing wide-body jets for the  Super Bowl champions to fly in their own aircraft.

“One plane will be used as the main plane for the season, while the other will be the backup, with flight operations being run out of Providence, Rhode Island,” sources told ESPN.

The planes, which have reportedly been retrofitted with all first-class seats, will be run out of Rhode Island.

East Bound and Down…AFC East Notes:

Bills McDermott Voices Confidence in Tyrod Taylor at QB:
After two weeks of the preseason, new Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott probably didn’t envision himself answering questions to who his starting quarterback is going to be, but after a slow, uneven start to the summer, Tyrod Taylor hasn’t been particularly impressive which adds to the questions. But after McDermott left open a potential QB competition on Thursday, a day later he rallied around his starter.

“I have all the confidence in the world in Tyrod,” McDermott said. “By no means was that meant to come across that way.”

“Tyrod’s going to start for us this week, and I look forward to him getting back on track. There’s plays that he wanted back from last night among other players as well. That said, there were good moments in the game. We continue to evolve as an offense. That’s the second game. Keeping big picture perspective in mind, we have to do some things to get the offense on track. There’s no doubt about it.”

Miami Adds Depth to Linebacking Core, Signs Rey Maualuga:
The Dolphins, needing depth at the LB position after Raekwon McMillan was lost to IR with an injury have signed veteran Rey Maualuga to a one-year deal. Maualuga, 30, spent the last eight years for the Cincinnati Bengals.

He signed a deal for the veteran minimum of $900,000 which means he’ll count only for $615,000 against the salary cap.

Maualuga will be counted on to be a two-down run-stuffing linebacker who will come off the field in obvious passing situations for the Dolphins defense. He brings a veteran’s savvy and an element of toughness with him which should help. Miami’s defensive coordinator Matt Burke was Maualuga’s position coach in Cincinnati.

Jets Sign WR Kenbrell Thompkins, Waive Safety Middleton:
The New York Jets, in need of depth at wide receiver, have brought back Kenbrell Thompkins who played for Gang Green in 2015. To make room for him, they waived/injured safety Doug Middleton.

Thompkins was signed by the Patriots as a UDFA in 2013 and played for them before being waived in 2014. He then played for the Jets in 2015 and caught 17 passes for 165 yards (9.7 yards per catch) in seven games.

The 6’0, 195-pound wide receiver from Cincinnati had his most memorable moment as a member of the Patriots in 2013. Trailing 27-23 with 10 seconds left on the New Orleans Saints 17-yard line, Thompkins beat Jabari Greer down the sideline and in the end zone, corralled Tom Brady’s throw with just 5 seconds on the clock for the game-winning score.

For his career, Thompkins has played in 33 games (17 starts) with 70 receptions for 893 yards (12.8 yards/catch) and four touchdowns.

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

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Posted Under: Patriots Commentary
Tags: 2017 Patriots Preseason 2017 Patriots Season 53 Man Roster Projection Bill Belichick Buffalo Bills Chris Hogan Danny Amendola Jimmy Garoppolo Julian Edelman Malcolm Butler Miami Dolphins New England Patriots New York Jets NFL Patriots edge rushers Tom Brady Trey Flowers

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