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Tuesday Patriots Notebook 8/14: Hightower Feeling Healthy; Edelman Suffers Scare

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4 years ago at 7:48 am ET

Tuesday Patriots Notebook 8/14: Hightower Feeling Healthy; Edelman Suffers ScareDavid Butler II - USA TODAY Sports

We’re on to Tuesday and here are this morning’s top stories:

Hightower Feeling Good – After a couple of injury-riddled seasons, veteran linebacker Dont’a Hightower is feeling pretty good so far during this training camp.

Hightower, who played in 27 snaps last Thursday night but didn’t register a tackle, said he’s feeling healthy and is looking forward to hopefully getting a little more playing time this week against the Eagles.

“Just looking to get more snaps,” Hightower told the media on Monday. “Practice and game, it’s a little different. I felt good when I was out there though. Looking forward to more practicing and getting to the game on this Thursday. But like I said, it’s been a while, still got to knock a little rust off of me. You can do some of that in practice but there’s nothing like a live game so definitely will take advantage of what I got left.”

The veteran linebacker admitted that after ending up on injured reserve last year, it’s taken quite a bit of work to get back to this point.  The good news is, it’s been a good start and he’s happy with where he’s at.  Now the goal is just to get a little better each day as he continues on what he admits has been a long road back.

“I felt good last week, feel good this week.” said Hightower. “Just going to continue to stay what I’m on as far as my rehab. Massages, acupuncture and all that good stuff. Try to keep a routine and hopefully it will hold me solid over. ”

Belichick Sees Things With a Clean Slate – While many people have a tough time turning the page when it comes to a player in terms of their role year-to-year, Bill Belichick admits that it’s something he doesn’t have a problem with.

In Belichick’s mind, every year is different.  Some players start out on the practice squad and use that time to carve out a role for themselves and sometimes that role changes.  Even starters who struggled the year before may doubt themselves instead of trying to work through it and improve.  Guys who work hard and continue to evolve are the ones who tend to do the best, while others get caught up in doing just enough to hang on and get stuck in whatever role they start with.

They may feel that the perception the coaches have may be difficult to change but for a young player, Belichick is able to view them with fresh eyes.  He admitted on Tuesday that each year is a new start and he believes the role a player may have had a year before doesn’t necessarily define who they can be – unless they let it.

“I don’t know. I’d say it’s not hard for me. I think maybe it might be harder for other people,” said Belichick when asked about it on Monday. “I think sometimes it’s harder for the players. They’ve been in a certain role and they’re not used to not being in that role, whether it’s practice squad or starter or whatever it is. Sometimes that’s the bigger adjustment either way, as odd as that sounds – not always, but sometimes.”

It was an interesting discussion.  When you take into consideration how much practice squad players evolve over the course of a season, the growth a player experiences can’t be overlooked.  The hard part for a player is probably taking that experience and turning it into the confidence he needs to take the next step and break into the line-up.  The same can be said for a starter who struggled in one area the year before, but then goes on to excel in a new role.

The biggest thing players need to remember is that with the amount of changes that tend to happen on an NFL roster year-to-year, the odds are good that there’s always a role somewhere.  It also certainly helps that Belichick takes notice and doesn’t hold their previous shortcomings against them if the progress is there.  As a player, that’s all you can hope for.

“Yeah, I see a clean slate every year,” said Belichick. “I can’t speak for everybody else. You’d have to ask them that.”

Edelman suffers a scare at the end of practice – It’s been a long journey for Julian Edelman, who spent all of last year working his way back from the torn ACL he suffered during the preseason that ended his 2017 season.

On Monday, it looked like he got a little nicked up at the end of practice.  Mike Giardi pointed out that he got his right leg, the same one he had surgery on, tangled up with Eric Rowe in practice and seemed a little tentative as he finished practice.

Edelman was on the field for 16 snaps Thursday night against Washington and was expected to speak to the media on Monday.  However, his press conference was cancelled, although he was still out there afterward signing autographs.

Camaraderie Helps Jones – Like Edelman, Cyrus Jones spent last season as a spectator after suffering a season-ending injury at the end of preseason but he admitted that the time away from the field was at least productive.

He got the perspective of seeing things a little bit differently and the good news was, albeit it wasn’t good news for the team, he wasn’t alone.  He joined Edelman along with Derek Rivers as players in similarly frustrating positions as all three were rehabbing from significant knee injuries.

For Jones, as bad as it was, being part of that group ended up having a positive effect on his experience.  Instead of being alone while he was going through it, he had someone like Edelman there to push him and to provide a little extra motivation as both players, along with Rivers, each rehabbed from their respective injuries.  While it probably wasn’t what he hoped for, Jones admitted that he built “some camaraderie” and it helped him get a different perspective of the game.

“Not being able to play the game physically, you only have one choice, and that’s to watch it from the outside in and try to become a better student of the game,’’ he told the Boston Globe. “I just tried to do my best to take advantage of that.’’

Jones just recently returned to practice after sitting out last week’s game against Washington.  It’s been a slow climb, but the veteran was a full participant.

Now it’s up to Jones to see if he can put a tough start behind him and evolve into the player many believed he could be when the team drafted him in the second round of the 2016 draft.  We’ll likely see him get some reps in the return game along with in the secondary and fans can only hope that the rookie jitters he experienced nearly two years ago end up like his knee injury – just a bad memory.

“I’m not worrying about the negative stuff right now, frustration or whatever,’’ he told the newspaper. “That’s in the past.’’

Eagles Fan Trolling Team With Billboard – Apparently winning a Super Bowl wasn’t enough for one Eagles fan, who decided that she’d waste some money trying to troll fans and players here in New England.

According to the Boston Globe, Eagles fan, Gina Lewis, teamed up with a local Philadelphia-based sports artist after winning a bet with a co-worker, who is a Patriots fan, to pay for a Billboard if her team won.  The report didn’t say whether or not the coworker honored the bet, but she reportedly raised money with a GoFundMe account for the endeavor, which she used to pay for the artist and the month-long billboard campaign, which is appearing on a billboard just up the road from the stadium.

The money she raised paid for the artist’s rendition along with a month of advertising, with the rest reportedly being donated to the Carson Wentz AO1 Foundation.

Clearly, it was money that was well-spent.

This practice isn’t new and Patriots fans aren’t strangers to this nonsense.  Some will probably recall New York Jets fans having previously pulled something similar following deflategate after a fan paid for a plane to fly overhead trolling the team.

That’s what years of misery usually does to those fans and at least for Lewis, she can pull off this stunt having a Championship to fall back on.  As for Jets fans, well, that’s a different story.


Posted Under: Daily Patriots Notebook

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