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New England Patriots News 7-08, AFC East Notes

Steve Balestrieri
Steve Balestrieri on Twitter
3 years ago at 5:30 am ET
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary

New England Patriots News 7-08, AFC East NotesSteve Balestrieri - PatsFans.com

Good morning, Here is your Sunday’s Patriots news 7-8, & AFC East Notes …We hope everyone had a safe and happy Independence Day holiday. Here’s to the next 242 years.

Quick Hitters:
Tom Brady was on vacation up in Montana and the Pats QB has been pretty active with his Instagram account on social media. And the Brady clan had a spirited game of dodgeball with the QB even beaning his mom. But for the record, it appeared that his wife Gisele was the most active and accurate of all players out there.

Tom vs Time Soccer version? Soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is supposedly weighing his options with Facebook about producing a 10-part series on the social media giant about his life, similar what Tom Brady did a year ago.

Cristiano will be paid a cool $10 million and it is expected that the series would be insanely popular, even more so than Brady’s. Ronaldo has 120 million followers on social media. It wouldn’t be shocking to see several of these pop up now.

Shawne Merriman was back in the news this week as he asked on social media, “What happened to forever hating an organization and fanbase, to be honest, I would’ve never played for the Patriots.”  When pressed, he replied, “because of all the ‘gates’”. Fair enough, but whoever said, the Patriots would have wanted him?

Patriots individual game tickets go on sale on July 23. That’s just two weeks from tomorrow. It is almost time for football season again.

You know we’re in that dead space before training camp begins when the fact that when Rob Gronkowski attends a wedding in Western, NY and the bride places a Buffalo Bills hat on his head, which he promptly Gronk spikes and it becomes a thing.

Bleacher Report Story of Edelman Suspension Gets Patriots Fans Ire:

Mike Freeman knew what buttons to push…and he did it expertly. Julian Edelman is hardly the first player to be busted for PEDs and certainly won’t be the last, however, the latest Bleacher Report piece throws the thought out there that Edelman’s suspension should lead everyone to question whether we are watching an honest game.

Julian Edelman file photo. (SBalestrieri photo)

 

By invoking that question it was sure to fire up the legion of Patriot haters out there, giving them all the excuses to slam down their Block House India Pale Ale and scream for asterisks. It also quickly inflamed the passions of the fan base here as they feel, Freeman is making a “Patriots-mountain” out of an anthill when he very subtly calls into question whether Edelman’s catch against the Falcons in the Super Bowl was legit.

There is a difference between the baseball steroid inflated home run era and NFL players getting caught up in the HGH testing while rehabbing from serious injuries. That includes Edelman and that he that “he that won’t be named” individual who couldn’t feel his fingertips after neck surgery. But perhaps not.

He did step over the line by injecting race into it, “white man in a black league” as if that had anything to do with anything other than to, once again, inflame both sides of the equation.

In a totally unrelated side to this, and maybe it is just the oversaturation this spring/summer of the talk of the Patriots’ issues inside the building, but I have this sneaking suspicion that the team may try to dangle #11 in a trade scenario this summer. With 2018 and 2019 remaining on his contract, at a pretty affordable cap hit, it wouldn’t be the strangest thing we’ve seen.

Unless of course, teams subscribe to Freeman’s take that many teams believe Edelman is an overrated product, and of others that he’s working with a system QB. Take your pick. We’ll see how that plays out.

2nd Year Player Deatrich Wise May Benefit from Clayborn’s Presence:

Trey Flowers has been mentioned quite often as the player most pundits believe to benefit the most from the addition of DE Adrian Clayborn this offseason. And that figures to be the team’s plans for third downs, having both of them on the field as much as possible on third down. But one player who could also benefit from Clayborn’s presence is 2nd year DE Deatrich Wise.

Wise impressed as a rookie in training camp last year. He seemed much older and mature than the rookie he was in 2017. He got off to a quick start in the season, showing an ability to get after the quarterback. But he struggled with consistency, especially in the running game, something that isn’t a shocker for rookies.

Deatrich Wise in a joint practice with the Jaguars in 2017. (SBalestrieri photo)

The Patriots expect much bigger and better things from players from Year 1 to Year 2 and the 6’5, 275 pound Wise is one of those players who is expected to step up his game. Playing next to and learning from a seasoned pro like Clayborn is bound to help Wise. Clayborn was frequently one of the first players on the field this spring. When veterans show that kind of work ethic, it generally rubs off on the younger players.

Another area he’ll need to improve in is dropping into the flats in coverage, something the team asks its edge rushers to do often. Wise isn’t the best at that and will have to improve in that regard.

One area to watch on defense will be how new coordinator Brian Flores (without the title) calls the defense. He promised to have the unit being aggressive. If that is indeed the case this year, it will be good news for players such as Wise, Clayborn, Flowers and Derek Rivers.

Eastbound and Down…AFC East Notes:

Bills Honor State Trooper and Former Tryout Player Clark:

The Buffalo Bills honored NY State Trooper Nicholas F. Clark this week after he was killed in the line of duty responding to a call. The Bills flew the flags at half-staff at One Bills Drive.

Clark, 29,  tried out for the Bills in 2012 after being a two-time All-America honoree and the Empire 8 Defensive Player of the Year twice at Alfred University.

On Monday, Clark responded to a call involving a suicidal man who had barricaded himself in a house. Officers from the County Sheriff’s Office as well as local and State Police responded to the scene. In trying to bring the entire sad episode to a peaceful solution, Clark was shot and killed.

The man who shot Clark, Steven M. Kiley, 43, was a pre-K to 12th-grade principal in the Bradford Central School District who also died at the scene. Kiley killed Clark with a blast from a shotgun. Police then responded with gunfire which wounded Kiley in the chest and would have been fatal, however, then Kiley turned his gun on himself committing suicide.

The funeral for Clark will be today at 11 a.m. at Alfred University.

Former Grafton Standout Steinmetz Hoping to Stick With the Dolphins:
The Miami Dolphins signed one of the bigger rookie free agents, literally, this spring, inking former Grafton, URI and Purdue alum offensive lineman David Steinmetz to a UDFA contract.

Steinmetz, a 6’8, 325-pound offensive tackle was a standout on the Grafton Indians football teams coached by Mike Ross and current head coach Chris McMahon. Playing in Central Mass, he didn’t get a lot of interest in top FBS schools and signed with URI. After starting 31-of-33 games there and graduated with a degree in criminology and criminal science, he transferred as a graduate student to Purdue and played his final season of eligibility there.

Although he wasn’t invited to the NFL Combine, he took part in Purdue’s Pro Day and his vertical leap of 33 inches and his Broadjump of 9’7”, would have been 2nd and 4th respectively of OL in attendance. He also Benched pressed 225 pounds, 26 times which got the attention of the Dolphins’ coaching staff. Now it is simply a question of learning the playbook and carving out a role for himself.  

Jets Hoping For Redemption For Terrelle Pryor:
Most of the talk surrounding New York Jets WR Terrelle Pryor seems to be centered on either the boom or bust label. While that may be a true statement, the Jets are definitely hoping for the former rather than the latter.

After leaving Ohio State as a QB, he had three unproductive years as a QB for the Raiders before landing in Cleveland as a wide receiver in 2015, where he caught one pass. But in 2016, he caught 77 for 1007 yards and four touchdowns. Last year in Washington, he numbers plummeted to just 20 catches for 240 yards and a single score. He suffered an ankle injury that required surgery and ended his season after just nine games.

The Jets signed the freakishly athletic player to a one-year prove it deal and hope he can recapture the magic of his 2016 season with Gang Green this season. His ankle however, kept him out of the spring workouts so he’ll have a lot of ground to make up this summer.

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

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and myself from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.


Posted Under: Patriots Commentary
Tags: 2018 Patriots offseason 2018 Patriots preseason 2018 Patriots season 53 Man Roster Projection Adrian Clayborn Bill Belichick Buffalo Bills Chris Hogan Deatrich Wise Derek Rivers Julian Edelman Miami Dolphins New England Patriots New York Jets NFL Patriots Patriots edge rushers Tom Brady Trey Flowers


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