Category Archives: Daily Patriots Rundown

Patriots Training Camp Day 8 Observations

Steve Balestrieri
August 2, 2019 at 1:55 pm ET

Offense Struggling or Defense Too Good?

The Patriots conducted their eighth practice of training camp  This one was in shorts and shells with no contact.

Attendance – Julian Edelman and Yodny Cajuste remain on NFI, Demaryius Thomas is still on PUP along with Nate Ebner and Ken Webster. In addition, Lance Kendricks was absent while Rex Burkhead was limited. Edelman, Webster, and Ebner were on the field for the beginning of practice. 

As we’ve seen recently, the kickers also retreated down to the lower practice field where you can’t see much of anything. But we will say, someone’s chipping should be improving….

The intensity was scaled back today as the team was working on individual drills and some situational work early. Later the punters returned and each had turns trying to pin the receiving team deep along the sideline…more below.

Defense lining up for running game drills. (SBalestrieri)

The offense has scuffled along the past few days and Friday wasn’t an exception. Tom Brady was getting frustrated, his voice was carrying over the field as he exhorted the troops. Is it the case of the offense not playing well or just that the defense is looking locked in and ready for the regular season? The chicken or the egg? 

N’Keal Harry pulls in a pass in WR drills 8/2. (SBalestrieri)

Our other observations included:

  • Jakobi Meyers got some reps with the first team this morning as Harry was taking them with the second unit and Brian Hoyer. Later in the session, Harry moved back up in with the first unit.
  • Sony Michel continues to get a lot of looks in the passing game. During the early 7-on-7 work, Brady went in Michel’s direction twice in the first four snaps.
  • Isaiah Wynn took the early snaps with the first unit of the offense which is a positive sign for him. When the team later went to 11-on-11 drills, Dan Skipper “the Weatherman” took over.
  • Brady worked early with the running backs in passing drills while Jarrett Stidham worked with Braxton Berrios, Ben Watson, Maurice Harris, and Matt LaCosse.
  • Berrios continues to be taken to school by Jonathan Jones, who is blanketing him in coverage. Berrios can’t get separation and the 2nd yr WR is getting increasingly frustrated. 
  • Jones swatted away a pass intended for Berrios as he was trying to come across the middle and Brady tried to force it in there. 
  • The secondary as a whole has been outstanding. On the second snap of 7-on-7s, Brady had no one open, scrambled to his right and still no one was able to shake free. He then tucked the ball away as if to run….outstanding coverage.
  • Brandon Bolden made a nice leaping grab from Brady during 7’s. Bolden ran a wheel route down the right sideline and Brady delivered a nice ball where Bolden jumped up high to bring it down.
  • The punters returned to the field with Jake Bailey getting the first reps as the drill was designed to pin the opposition deep along the sideline. His first punt wasn’t very deep but he got a nice roll and it was not returnable. His second punt was much better with distance and great hang time. 
  • Ryan Allen’s last two punts were not good ones. The first he shanked it short, the second was short as well with little hang time and was returnable. 
  •  Jamie Collins picked off a Hail Mary pass.
  • JC Jackson continues to play at a high level and is having a very impressive training camp thus far
Dontrelle Inman makes an over-the-shoulder catch. (SBalestrieri)

The Patriots are off on Saturday and Sunday is a travel day as the team will stop off in Canton, OH for a stop at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. On Monday – Wednesday the team will conduct joint practices with the Detroit Lions, before their preseason game on Thursday night.

The team probably won’t return to Gillette until next Saturday. 

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

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

New England Patriots News 12-02, AFC East Notes

Steve Balestrieri
December 2, 2018 at 5:00 am ET

Good morning, here is your Sunday Patriots news 12-02, & AFC East Notes.

Some Quick Hitters this morning:

Just a reminder that you revisit our keys to the game here:
And our players to watch from a Patriots perspective by clicking on the links:

Trey Flowers missed practice on Friday, and immediately alarm bells went off. But then it was announced that his absence was not injury related. He published the reason for his absence later and it was a good one.

Did you Know? With two touchdown passes, Brady will move past Brett Favre for the second-most TD passes in the regular season with 509, (Manning has 539), and he’d move ahead of Manning for the most TD passes for both the regular and postseason combined with 580.

Did you Know Pt.2? Since 2001, the Patriots are 91-12 (.883) when they don’t turn the ball over and 144-12 (.923) with a positive turnover margin.

Did you Know Pt. 3: With a win, the Patriots will own a 54-14 (.794) record vs. NFC teams since
realignment in 2002, which is the best interconference record in the NFL during that time, including a 17-3 mark against the NFC North. With a win today the Patriots will improve their home record versus the NFC to 27-7 (.794)

Bill Belichick coaches his 300th regular season game for the Patriots today. Since 2000, he has a record of 222-77 (.742) and led the Patriots to 15 division titles in 18 seasons.

The NFL and KC Chiefs organizations continue to hit the low bar when it comes to violence against women. The Chiefs released Kareem Hunt on Friday after the video of an assault against a woman he had spent the day with surfaced on TMZ.

The Chiefs and NFL knew about this when it happened in February and the league with a large investigative branch of ex-cops, FBI agents and private investigators couldn’t find in nine months what TMZ did? They turned a blind eye toward it until it hit them in the face (Ray Rice video ring a bell?) The truth is…the Chiefs didn’t want to know, they were content, chalking this up to being young and inexperienced. Which is worse.

McDaniels Leaving? Doubtful:

Every year when the list for potential new NFL head coaches come out, Patriots Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels normally is one of the most mentioned coaches that may be on the market.  I highlight “may-be” because I really don’t think that McDaniels is going anywhere this spring, although stranger things have happened.

After the Indianapolis Colts had their flirtation with McDaniels and he bolted at the last possible second and opted to remain with the Patriots, he was signed to a five-year deal which supposedly pays him in the top tier of assistant coaches in the NFL.

If there was one place where he could possibly be enticed, it would be Cleveland. The Browns have seemingly turned a corner and it was known that McDaniels really liked Baker Mayfield in last spring’s NFL Draft. But one would have to believe that as long as Tom Brady is playing, that McDaniels is staying put as well.

Belichick is Pleased With Patterson in 2018:

The Patriots picked up Cordarrelle Patterson this year and no one was really sure how’d he’d do in the New England system. Patterson has always been a dynamic kick returner and this season has been no exception, he’s returned one for a TD, while most times teams are content with booting the ball out of the end zone and giving the Patriots the ball at the 25-yard line. But beyond that, it was a question mark.

Patterson has fit in quite well, doing a little bit where ever he’s been needed. Early in the year when the team was woefully thin at WR, he filled in and had some production there. Later as injuries wracked the running back position, Patterson accepted the challenge and filled in there as well. On the season Patterson has caught 13 passes for 122 yards with 2 TDs including a 55-yarder. He’s carried the ball 37 times for 156 yards and a score. In the kicking game, he’s returned 17 kicks for 525 yards (30.9-yard average) with a 95-yard return for a TD.

Bill Belichick mentioned Patterson during his comments on Weds. “…he’s been a good player with two different organizations,” Belichick said.  “You know, he ran the ball, he caught it, he ran with it, he returned it, he covered kicks, he blocked – he has a lot of skill and he’s a big guy that can run, he’s tough, and he shows up every day.

“So, we thought were getting that, that’s what we got and we’ve used him in different ways.  He’s embraced it, he’s worked hard to learn and accept different roles and he’s done them well.  So, he’s been a pleasure to coach, he’s been a great addition to our team and he’s given us a lot of versatility, and times where we’ve really needed him to step in and help us, and he has.”

Tom Brady has blessed Patterson with the nickname, “The Experiment” and it is one the player has embraced. “Oh man, I like any nickname Tom gives me,” Patterson said.  “I’m enjoying my time here. I am having fun, as always. No matter where I am I am going to have fun and enjoy myself like it’s my last.”

McCourty Helping Melinfonwu Get Up to Speed with the Safties:

Zack Cox from NESN had a nice piece this week on the website about how veteran Devin McCourty and the other safeties are aiding newcomer Obi Melifonwu to get fully acclimated to the Patriots defense. After saying that the Grafton, Mass. native and UConn alum was “freaking huge”, McCourty said the 6’4, 224-lb safety is doing all the right things with his teammates.

“He’s a bigger, physical guy,” McCourty said to Cox “and I thought he’s done a great job, whether it’s staying after with (Steve Belichick), talking to myself, (Pat) Chung or (Duron Harmon) (about) when he’s out there, what we expect of him and what we need him to do and then what he expects of us and what we need to do to help him.”

McCourty reiterated what we’ve said here, Melifonwu may be the team’s long-term answer covering opponent’s tight ends. “(He’s a) very athletic guy,” McCourty added. “He’s able to go up there and match up on some tight ends, and where we’re talking about being undersized against them, he lines up and is mano-a-mano, same size.

We’ve been on the Obi bandwagon since the 2017 NFL Draft, so to say we’re optimists here would be an understatement.

Who You Have This Week? NFL Week 13 Predictions:

Last week: 10-5 Season 114-60-2

Thursday night’s picks Saints over the Cowboys 0-1

Baltimore at Atlanta: Falcons
Denver at Cincinnati: Broncos
LA Rams at Detroit: Rams
Arizona at Green Bay: Packers
Buffalo at Miami: Dolphins
Chicago at NY Giants: Bears
Carolina at Tampa Bay: Panthers
Indianapolis at Jacksonville: Colts
Cleveland at Houston: Texans
NY Jets at Tennessee: Titans
KC at Oakland: Chiefs
Minnesota at New England: Patriots
San Francisco at Seattle: Seahawks
LA Chargers at Pittsburgh SNF: Chargers
Washington at Philadelphia MNF: Eagles

Thursday Early Pick: Titans over Jaguars

Eastbound and Down AFC East Notes:

Bills Look To Continue Winning Ways In Miami:

The Buffalo Bills own a modest two-game winning streak, but when you’re 4-7, you look for positives where they may fall. Technically the Bills still have a minuscule chance at the post-season, they’d have to run the table and finish at 9-7 and still need help but they are playing a Dolphins team that is also struggling at 5-6 and on defense.

Rookie QB Josh Allen has struggled this season but against a Miami defense that is  29th in total yards allowed, 30th in passing yards per attempt, 29th in sacks and 29th in rushing yards allowed, things are looking better for a Bills offense that has struggled.

But the Buffalo defense will have to be much better against the run this week. They were gashed by the Jaguars to the tune of 225 yards before Leonard Fournette foolishly got himself ejected from the game. And they’ll have to deal with Frank Gore and Kenyon Drake who gives Miami a nice 1-2 punch.

Clock Running Out on Dolphins/Tannehill:

The Miami Dolphins have been patient, very patient in waiting for Ryan Tannehill to become the franchise QB that they hoped they drafted in 2012 when they selected him with the 8th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.

But here he is and will be entering the fourth year of a six-year, $95.272 million deal that he signed in 2015. And the Dolphins are still waiting. Tannehill has only played in six games this year, getting injured in his throwing shoulder. But in those games, the Dolphins are 3-3, with Tannehill going 102-154 for 1,176 yards, 10 touchdowns, and five interceptions.

Miami, like Buffalo, has to go on a roll at the end of the season to make the playoffs. That may be the only thing that saves Tannehill’s tenure with the Dolphins. He can be jettisoned next spring when he’ll be owed a cap hit of $26,611,666. Miami will absorb a $13,423,334 dead cap hit if they release him in March.

McCown Expected to Start in Tenn. for the Jets:

The New York Jets rookie QB Sam Darnold is rapidly getting back to normal from his injured foot and was removed from the injury report on Friday. But even still, the Jets are expected to roll with the veteran Josh McCown this week and possibly start Darnold against Buffalo next week.

At 3-8, the Jets season is over and now they’re playing for pride…and jobs for next year. But this week, they’re facing a 5-6 Tennessee team that still has a shot at a playoff berth but was smarting from a loss at Houston last week.

The Jets are reeling, losers of five in a row and have allowed back-to-back 200-yard rushing performances by the opposition. Facing a rush-heavy Titans attack with Dion Lewis, Derrick Henry, and QB Marcus Mariota, the pressure will be on the Jets front seven to play much better this week.

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

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

Daily Notebook: Friday Patriots News and Notes 6/9

Ian Logue
June 9, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

Had some site-related technical things that required some fixing the last couple of evenings, but with everything back in order, here’s a look at this morning’s top stories as we close out the week.

Patriots Lock Up Edelman Through 2019 – When it comes to keeping their core players in place, the Patriots took a step on Thursday to ensure one of them will be in the fold for at least two more seasons.

According to the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe, Julian Edelman agreed to terms on a two-year extension that will keep him in New England through 2019.  The deal reportedly includes incentives that would allow him to earn up to $15 million, but the best part of the deal is the fact that it keeps the Patriots’ most valuable receivers in place through the next two years.  Both Brandin Cooks and Chris Hogan are under contract through 2018, while Malcolm Mitchell’s rookie deal runs through the 2019 season.

Quarterback Tom Brady, the most important piece of the puzzle, is signed through 2019 and if Rob Gronkowski can get back to form, he’s also under contract through that season as well.

The deal is also great for Edelman, who thankfully won’t have to hit free agency.  He hit the market back in 2014 and received little interest, with just Cleveland, Baltimore and San Francisco expressing interest before he eventually re-signed with the club.

It worked out quite well, since his eventual return was a big part of the team’s Championship run that season.

The receiver is coming off of a career season in receiving yards, finishing with 1106 yards on 98 receptions.  He was also the team’s most-targeted receiver on third down last season, having been targeted 49 times with 28 receptions, 24 of which moved the chains including two touchdowns.

It’s a remarkable story considering how far the former seventh-round pick out of Kent State has come.  He’s won two Super Bowl rings and now, thanks to Thursday’s news, he’ll at least be around long enough to have a good opportunity to win a couple more before his career here comes to an end.


The Patriots and Belichick have dominated the AFC East since he took over in 2000.

Kraft’s Son Mocks Jets – For anyone wondering whether or not a rivalry remains between the Patriots and the Jets, one of Robert Kraft’s sons made a comment on Thursday mocking them at a charity event.

Josh Kraft, who is the president of New England’s Charitable Foundation, mocked the Jets during his comments as he addressed the 2017 Myra Kraft Community MVP Award winners at Gillette Stadium.

At the end of his speech, he invited the winners to tour the Patriots’ Hall of Fame and mentioned the fact that the Jets don’t have such a facility of their own.

“It’s a great take,” Kraft said via ESPN, referring to the tour. “I’m not biased, but it’s a lot better than the Jets’ Hall of Fame, right? Which is non-existent.”

For the Jets, they’ve faced a Patriots team that has been a thorn in their side since Bill Belichick took over in 2000.  They’ve had just 9 winning seasons over that span as the Patriots have dominated the AFC East and just one in the last six years.

Needless to say, there’s certainly reason to poke fun at a club that hasn’t won a championship in 49 years.  Given the jealousy that tends to go on between the two teams, one can expect construction to begin on a facility relatively soon once the Jets catch wind of Kraft’s comments.

Gilmore Already Pushing Pats Receivers – The physical side of newcomer Stephon Gilmore has been on display this week at minicamp, and his teammates have already been talking about the impact he’s made by having to practice against them.

Wide receiver Chris Hogan talked about having to battle against Gilmore, with the two having previously battled during their time in Buffalo.

Now that they’re getting to do it in New England, it’s an opportunity to take things to the next level and Hogan admitted that Gilmore being a Patriot is already having a positive impact.

“Going against him, just makes you better,” Hogan told the Boston Herald . “Anyone who’s out there going against him knows he’s a big-time competitor. He’s physical, he’s strong, you have to be prepared for that. He’s going to try to disrupt guys off the routes with their timing or whatever it is. He’s a good player and he’s got good ball skills.”

Between having to battle against GIlmore along with Malcolm Butler, this is a group that should face some solid competition day in and day out.  Even better, it works both ways and should help in making sure each unit is at their best heading into 2017.

Amendola Throws Out First Pitch At PawSox Game – Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola was in Pawtucket Thursday night and threw out the ceremonial first pitch, with the PawSox posting the video on their Twitter page.

https://twitter.com/PawSox/status/872952710072586240

Amendola then spent some time signing autographs and creating some smiles for the kids who were on hand for the game.

We’ll End on this video posted by the Patriots for “National Best Friend Day”

Daily Notebook: Tuesday Patriots News and Notes 6/6

Ian Logue
June 6, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

It’s a quiet morning here on this Tuesday, but here’s a look at today’s top stories.

There’s been some rumblings over the past few weeks regarding how the end of Tom Brady’s career will play out, along with how New England can potentially transition to Jimmy Garoppolo.  With Garoppolo heading into the final year of his contract, his situation will likely be one of the most watched when this season comes to an end, especially since all sign seem to indicate that he might be their quarterback of the future.

The complicated aspect of that discussion is going to be how the club can potentially keep him in the fold behind Brady until the veteran calls it a career.  Financially, it’s going to be a challenge.  Quarterbacks make the highest salaries amount position players if they get franchised and on Monday, Mike Reiss pondered one scenario of how the team might handle their back-up quarterback.

According to Reiss, he feels that a proactive move to sign Garoppolo to a 1-year, $24 million extension might make the most sense since they can spread the cap hit out over two years.  Reiss used that amount because it’s a figure that is projected to be close to the franchise tag after the season.

With $19 million in available cap space, New England certainly has room to work with if they really feel that strongly about keeping him.  It’s also a move that would give Garoppolo the payday he’s likely been quietly waiting for, while keeping him in the fold through two more seasons while Brady continues trying to win a couple of more championships before he retires.

It’s a complex situation and one that may be one of the most important for the Patriots to make sure they don’t mishandle if the door on one of the most amazing eras comes to a close in the next couple of years.

Good quarterbacks are tough to find and whoever replaces Brady will have some big shoes to fill.  Garoppolo has shown that he can at least wear them, which explains why he remained here through the draft.  Whether or not he can reach anywhere near Brady’s level remains to be seen, but all signs seem to point to him being here for the foreseeable future.  Now it’s just up to the Patriots to figure out how to get it done.


Bennett made quite the impression in his one year with the club.

Bennett Planning a Visit to Boston’s Children Hospital – While it was tough to see Martellus Bennett move on this offseason, there’s no question that he made quite the impression during his one season in New England.

One of the biggest things that stood out was his affinity for the community and as he gets ready to make a return to receive his Super Ring during the team’s upcoming party on Friday night, he’s planning on making an important stop.

Bennett announced on his Instagram account that he’s planning on making a visit at Boston’s Children’s Hospital with the hopes of bringing a few smiles and raising the spirits of the kids who are being treated there.

While some may be upset that he opted for a big pay day in Green Bay to join Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, it’s hard to argue that Bennett’s heart isn’t in the right place.  He put together a memorable season in his one year here and left quite an impression, and hopefully the kids he’ll visit Friday get to have a little fun with a player who brought a lot of laughs and terrific moments in his one year with the club.

Patriots Cut Vereen, Add CB Likely III – The Patriots announced a transaction on Monday, with the team cutting undrafted free agent defensive lineman Corey Vereen in favor of another undrafted hopeful in Will Likely III.

Likely is a player whose potential upside coming off of a season-ending knee injury last season at Maryland must have resonated enough with the Patriots for them to take a chance on him.  The former cornerback-returner tore his ACL back on October 15th, seemingly knocking off the board of teams in the NFL and now has him hungry to earn a spot on someone’s roster.

He’s a talented player, with one aspect of his game standing out in his ability to return kicks.  Likely earned All-American honors and the Big Ten Return Specialist of the Year award in 2015.  He also made a name for himself on defense, finishing as a first-team all-conference defender in 2014, picking off six passes.

He’s been working hard and told the Baltimore Sun back in November that he knew his chance would come.

“That’s going to come, right now it’s just rehabbing and getting back right,” he said of his NFL career. “Once I get there, once it happens, there’s no doubt in my mind what’s going to happen. Right now it’s just trying to get back as healthy as possible.”

It appears that opportunity will come with the Patriots, who with his addition have a pretty good group at that position that should be fun to watch heading into training camp.

Patriots Sign Garcia – The Patriots announced another signing on Monday, with the team getting another draft pick under contract.

The team agreed to terms on a deal with 2017 third-round pick Tony Garcia, with the 23-year-old standout from Troy officially now in the fold with the team.

He said back in April that it had been a fun journey getting to this point, having gone from a player who wasn’t heavily recruited out of high school to being a third-round selection in the NFL.  Now it’s just up to him to make the most of it.

“It’s not really where you start or how you start, it’s where you finish,” said Garcia.  “It doesn’t matter where you go to school if you just perform well while you’re there. I think I’m a testament to that and I’m just happy to have the opportunity.”

Garcia’s signing now leaves just defensive end Derek Rivers as the lone draft selection remaining unsigned.

Daily Notebook: Monday Patriots News and Notes 6/5

Ian Logue
June 5, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

With the weekend now in the rear-view, here’s a look at today’s top stories.

Mangini Hoping to Mend His Relationship With Belichick – Eric Mangini saw his relationship with Bill Belichick evaporate thanks to SpyGate and it sounds like 10-years later, he’s still hoping that his mentor will somehow forgive him for damaging the reputation of the coach who gave him his start in the NFL.

Ask anyone outside of New England to even explain what SpyGate is and you’ll typically get the wrong information.  The event stemmed from the fact that the league had released a memo in 2006 regarding the use of video cameras, which prevented clubs from being able to record video from the sideline.  The biggest misconception is the fact that videotaping opposing coaches wasn’t illegal (provided the video wasn’t “accessible to club staff members during the game”), but the fact the Patriots continued doing it from the sideline instead of another location was the thing the NFL took issue with after Mangini reported it.

During the investigation by the NFL, Belichick didn’t deny the fact the Patriots did it and said he was under the impression that as long as the tapes weren’t used during the game, that the practice wasn’t illegal.  But at that point, it lead to the league levying a $500,000 fine against Belichick and $250,000 against the team, as well as docking the club a first-round draft choice.

But the worst part about the entire thing is the fact that it sparked an erroneous report by the Boston Herald that ultimately became what the event has been labeled for. Then Patriots beat writer, John Tomase, reported that the team videotaped a walk-through prior to their Super Bowl meeting against the St. Louis Rams back in 2002, which ultimately turned out to be false.  The Herald later published a retraction and apology, but the damage had been done, with the story having become a national headline the day before the Super Bowl in 2008.  Some even feel that it was enough of a distraction to derail the club’s unbeaten run and given the timing of the story, it’s hard not to believe it played some small role from that standpoint.

However, the most irritating part of that entire sequence of events is that 10-years removed from when it happened, ask any opposing fan outside of New England about the team or SpyGate and the taping of the walk-through is what they believe it was all about. The worst part is, they – including multiple news outlets since then – still take it as truth despite the fact it never happened.

Either way, that event permanently damaged the relationship between the two coaches.  It drove a wedge between Mangini and the man who gave him his start during their time together back when Belichick was coaching in Cleveland and even saw his mentor speak at his wedding.

However, according to ESPN’s Rich Cimini, the two haven’t spoken since and Mangini admitted that the whole thing became far more than it needed to be.

“It was never supposed to go the way that it went,” Mangini told Cimini recently. “It was more about, ‘Hey, don’t do this here.’ It wasn’t about reporting it. Sometimes things get out of hand and get rolling in one direction. It was never, ever supposed to go that way.”

But it did, and after multiple coaching stints Mangini is now out of the league and has watched the man who brought him up through the coaching ranks win two titles in the last three seasons.  Mangini may be remorseful but he also leaves out the fact that the Jets made another accusation while claiming the Patriots illegally placed a microphone on a defensive player, which the league also looked into and found it had no merit.

While he may have left that part out, those are things that are likely etched in Belichick’s mind forever.  For now Mangini remains disappointed with how things have turned out and he admits that he hopes that the two can reconcile.

“Look, Bill is a big part of my life. Bill gave me a tremendous opportunity, and I enjoyed that experience, and I respect him. It’s disappointing, the way it’s been. Hopefully, it can change at some point.”

It’s funny hearing this yet again after Mangini had previously made similar statements about a year ago, likely looking for some sort of absolution.  One would have to believe, given everything that has happened, he probably still won’t get his wish.


Flowers had a terrific year in 2016.

Flowers Putting 2016 in the Rear View – Trey Flowers had an impressive season in 2016, finishing with seven sacks during the regular season as well as 2.5 during the playoffs.  He emerged as one of the bright spots for a Patriots defense that lead the league in fewest points allowed and became a Super Bowl Champion in his second season in the NFL.  Now he heads into his third season looking to build on a big year, although he recently admitted that he’s turned the page and is only looking forward.

“I don’t look too highly on it because last year was last year,” Flowers told Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. “The last game was the last game. I could look at that game, and there’s a lot of plays that I missed, a lot of opportunities that I missed that I should have had. That’s just all about staying hungry. Having the Super Bowl that I had in the biggest game of my career, understand while watching the film, ‘You did all right, but you could have done better.’

“I’ve got that mentality coming into the season. Any opportunity I’ve got, I want to improve on being more productive. This will be my first time coming in and being able to produce at a high level. Being able to understand my role; I know my role now. Being able to live in that role, I’m looking forward to it. I’m going to stay hungry.”

After emerging as a defensive threat, Flowers said that he’ll likely register on the radar of opposing teams in the film room, which will now force him to have to work a little harder if he hopes to build on the success he had in 2016.

“Coming off of last year, I know a lot of guys are going to start looking at me now,” Flowers told the Herald. “A year ago, they probably weren’t paying much attention to me. They’re going to start studying me, game-planning me, and I watch film trying to see how I can counter off a move that they might be expecting. You’ve got to deal with it if they’re going to game plan for you, if they’re going to double team you. You’ve still got to remain productive, and that’s one of the reasons why I’m hard on myself.”

Another Belichick to Join Coaching Staff – With Bill Belichick heading into the back half of his NFL tenure, he’s already done a pretty good job of bringing his sons up through the ranks and it appears another one is set to break through.

According to the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe, Belichick’s youngest son, Brian, will reportedly be promoted from the scouting department to coaching assistant.

It’s an impressive step for Brian, who graduated from Trinity College last year before becoming an addition to the scouting department.  Now he finds himself joining the coaching staff, although exactly what he’ll be doing has yet to be reported.

His brother, Steve, moved up to safeties coach last season after spending four years as a coaching assistant.  His group had a solid year after being part of a Patriots’ defense that finished in the top-10 in total defense and allowed an NFL best 15.6 points per game.

He joined his father and brother on the field at the Super Bowl back in February, with the two later enjoying the incredible moment of seeing the team win their fifth title of their father’s coaching tenure.

To what capacity Brian falls under will be something to keep an eye on, but it’s truly become a family affair as they try and help the Patriots continue one of the most successful runs by a team in NFL history.

Hightower and Mitchell to Start on PUP? – One tidbit that Mike Reiss reported on in his Sunday notes is the fact that the Patriots could see two notable players potentially unavailable to start training camp.

Reiss reports that both Dont’a Hightower and Malcolm Mitchell were missing from the practice field during two weeks of voluntary OTAs, which he believes points to the likelihood that they’re each dealing with some sort of medical/rehabilitation issue.

While Reiss says that no one should be alarmed over this development, it could open up the possibility of one or both beginning training camp on the physically-unable-to-perform list if they haven’t recovered by the time camp opens.

Gronk Picks off a Bouquet And Spikes It – If anyone is wondering how Rob Gronkowski is getting along as he continues recovering from his back surgery, he looked pretty quick and nimble in a video posted on Twitter as the tight end appeared at a wedding recently.

In the video, Gronkowski can be seen making a leaping interception of a wedding bouquet before spiking it, which saw the arrangement explode into a mess of petals on the floor before celebrating his accomplishment.

You can check out the video below.

Daily Notebook: Thursday Patriots News and Notes 6/1

Ian Logue
June 1, 2017 at 7:00 am ET

Here’s a look at today’s top stories.

Guy Willing to Do it All – One of the more notable signings of the offseason hasn’t gotten much press but the addition of Lawrence Guy appears like it could be one that might end up being one of the more important additions for the Patriots in 2017.

Guy, who the Patriots signed to a 4-year deal that could be worth as much as $20 million deal back in March, was an important piece for a Baltimore defense that saw him head off to one of their biggest AFC Rivals.  The 26-year old was a key component for the Ravens, who established a role for himself after Baltimore acquired him off of waivers back in 2014 and he evolved into a strong player in the middle of their defense.

He’s got plenty of versatility, having the ability to play multiple spots and he’s also had success on special teams, which as most fans know, is something Bill Belichick appreciates.  Guy was named Special Teams Player of the Week in September of 2016 after his performance during the club’s second-largest comeback in team history when he blocked an extra point that the Ravens recovered and returned for 2-points.  The play got the Ravens on the board and sparked Baltimore overcoming a 20-0 deficit to eventually defeat Cleveland 25-20.

He’s no stranger to hard work or trying new things and he’s not afraid to play whatever position he’s asked, although he joked that he might not be a great fit in the secondary.

“I said, ‘I feel comfortable anywhere you put me at.’ It’s one of those situations with me as a player that I … found that I needed to play different positions for me to be the best player I can be,” Guy said Wednesday via NESN.com. “Coming in this situation, wherever they need to put me at, I can go ahead and do it. I’m not a great corner. I’m a little bit heavy, but I’ll try it.”

One of the best things about Guy seems to be the fact that he’s aware that doing multiple things makes a player more valuable, which is something Belichick has emphasized over the years. Given that New England’s schemes sometimes change completely from week to week, having a player that can adapt is clearly important.   That makes someone like Guy a good fit, and he’s happy to do whatever the team needs him to in order to make sure he can contribute as much as he can.

“I like to be on the field, so if they put me at a position they need me to work at, I’ll go out there and do it,” said Guy. “The whole object is to be able to play multi positions on the field so you can be out there for the most time you can and how you help the team out. If you can only do one thing, you’re not really helping the team. If you can do multiple things, you can help the team a lot.”

He sounds like a Patriot already.

White’s Attitude Hasn’t Changed – James White finished the 2016 Championship season in unique fashion, having been the player fighting his way into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown, capping off a solid year for that ultimately lead to his being rewarded this offseason with a contract extension.

White spent time last season splitting snaps with LeGarrette Blount, seeing most of his time on third down where he finished with the second-most receptions on the team behind Julian Edelman, catching 18 passes on third down with 9 first downs.

Those are the moments that White works for and after slowly coming into his own, he’s maintained the same attitude.

Always be ready.

“I just try to stay locked in at all times,” said White via the Worcester Telegram. “Whether I’m going to play one snap or I’m going to play 100 snaps, I just want to stay locked in at all times. That’s a big part of our team.”

“You never know who’s going to be the guy to have the big game or who’s going to get the most plays. So you’ve got to stay ready, so you don’t have to get ready. So that’s pretty much what my process was, to be ready for when my number’s called.”

White joins a crowded backfield this preseason that features incumbents Dion Lewis and D.J. Foster, along with newcomers Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee competing for playing time.  Like the receiver spot, we’ll likely see an interesting development at some point with a surprise cut reflecting a difficult decision from Belichick due to his belief in whichever player survives.

For White, he’s thankful for every moment he’s experienced so far and just as he always has, he’s looking forward to making the most of the upcoming season.

“I’ve been blessed to have an opportunity,” White said. “I’ve just tried to make the most of it, and I just want to try to continue to get better, continue working hard and continue to stay humble.”

For White, that game-winning touchdown is in the past.  He’s simply on to 2017.

White & Lewis Among the Toughest to Tackle – One of the most impressive traits about Dion Lewis and James White is how dynamic the two players are with the football in their hands, and ProFootballFocus released a graphic emphasizing just how good the two are.

Lewis and White ranked 4th and 5th in the NFL among running backs who forced missed tackles after catching the ball out of the backfield, trailing only Arizona’s David A. Johnson, Cleveland’s Duke Johnson and Detroit’s Theo Riddick.

While many are familiar with how athletic Lewis is, White’s shiftiness was on display many times throughout last season as he quickly became a dangerous asset in New England’s passing game.

The numbers don’t lie, and it’s no secret the Patriots have plenty of talent at the position and a limited around of room, leaving New England with a good problem to have heading into training camp.


Brady and Edelman are nominated for honors at the 2017 Kids Choice Awards.

Brady, Edelman Among Players Up For Nickelodeon’s Kids Choice Awards – It shouldn’t be a surprise that plenty of kids love Tom Brady and the Patriots, and Brady finds himself among some of the world’s most popular players up for an award at the upcoming Kid’s Choice Awards.

Brady joins LeBron James (NBA), Stephen Curry (NBA), Christiano Ronaldo (Soccer), Kris Bryant (MLB) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR) among those nominated for the potential recipient of “Favorite Male Athlete”.

Brady’s also up for “Clutch Player of the Year” after his performance in the Super Bowl, going against Alex Morgan (Soccer), Katie Ledecky (Swimmer), Sidney Crosby (NHL), Russell Westbrook (NBA), Sergio Garcia (Golf), Mike Trout (MLB) and Stephen Curry (NBA).

Joining Brady as a fellow teammate up for an award is Julian Edelman, who is up for the “Hands of Gold” award.  His catch in the Super Bowl will likely be on display as he tries to win out against the likes of Adrián Beltré (MLB), Braden Holtby (NHL) Antonio Brown (NFL), Ian Kinsler (MLB) and, of course, Odell Beckham Jr. (NFL).

No word yet on whether or not the two will be on hand, although given that it’s an award show for kids, it would certainly be fun to see the two make an appearance in the event either one earns an award.

Fans can now vote via the Nick App and the event is set to be recorded live on Thursday, July 13th from UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles.

Daily Notebook: Wednesday Patriots News and Notes 5/31

Ian Logue
May 31, 2017 at 7:00 am ET

Here’s a look at today’s top stories.

Hightower Holds Event Inspired By His Mom – Dont’a Hightower has remained busy this offseason and spent Tuesday night making his presence felt here in the community after he held an event in order to raise awareness for diabetes.

According to Ryan Hannable of WEEI.com, Hightower hosted a private screening of the new “Wonder Woman” movie for a group of woman who have diabetes Tuesday night.

The event was held at Showcase Cinema at Patriot Place, and it’s a cause that hits close to home because both his mother and grandmother have been impacted by the disease.  Hightower admitted that his mother was the motivation behind him getting behind this cause.

“My mom is my Wonder Woman,” the veteran linebacker said via WEEI.com.  “My mom is obviously the reason why I’m here.  She made a lot of sacrifices for me and my sister. Ever since she’s gotten diagnosed with diabetes, I’ve tried to do as much as I could to try to promote it and promote awareness and do what I can for it. The opportunity came up, and I couldn’t say no to it.”

Hightower’s mom wasn’t at the event, but he said that “she’s doing well”, which is enough for him.


Is Danny Amendola battling for a roster spot in 2017?

Carr Relishes Opportunity – The Patriots have a pretty crowded group at the receiver position and undrafted free agent Austin Carr appears focused on breaking into a group that on the surface seems to lack much room for him.

The former standout out of Northwestern finds himself battling for a spot against a group that seemingly has Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan, Julian Edelman and Malcolm Mitchell as the obvious locks to make the roster.  From there, it comes down to Andrew Hawkins and Carr, among others, as players potentially trying to unseat Danny Amendola for a spot on the roster.

After making the team as a walk on for Northwestern in his freshman year and going undrafted despite being named a unanimous first-team All-Big Ten selection following a senior season where he led the conference in receptions, Carr is no stranger to beating the odds.

He fits the mold of past and current slot receivers and is one of the more intriguing prospects at that position heading into training camp.  But given how reliable Amendola has been over the years, along with what Hawkins brings to the table, he’s clearly got his work cut out for him.  The good news is, he’s also working with a quarterback who he’s rooted for as he was growing up, so the goal now is to hopefully make the team.

“It’s really a dream come true, but at the same time, there’s no time to be star-struck,” said Carr via the Worcester Telegram. “There’s no time to be caught up in that. I have to earn a spot. That’s my goal and I’ve got to grasp the opportunity.”

Carr said that one of the things he brings is a hard-working mentality where he enjoys soaking in the knowledge that comes from being around experienced, talented players.  As competitive as he is, he knows he’s stil got plenty of room to improve and he’s humble enough to understand that it’s his job each day to learn and become a better player.

“I bring relentlessness, I bring a hard-work ethic, I bring humility. I think every day is an opportunity to learn,” said Carr. “Every day is a time to humble myself, to become low and to serve the guys that are ahead of me, to watch them closely and to improve.”


Brady’s MVP second half in February likely fended off Garoppolo.

Schefter Admitted Super Bowl Comeback Quieted Brady Naysayers – We all know Tom Brady’s intention of trying to play into his mid-forties, which if he can continue playing at a high level, would certainly be impressive given what we’ve seen from past quarterbacks who fell apart after they turned 40.

Adam Schefter appeared on Bleacher Report’s “Stick to Football” podcast and gave his thoughts about the fact that had the Super Bowl turned out differently after the Patriots fell behind 28-3, which included an abysmal first half where Brady also threw a pick-six, the calls for Jimmy Garoppolo would likely have been much louder this offseason.

“Again, I’d like to say this, Tom Brady, that Super Bowl was 28-3 at one point, and if that game had continued on that course, the offseason would have been dedicated to people talking about is it time to replace Tom Brady with Jimmy Garoppolo?” Schefter said via CBS Sports.com. “When Tom Brady turned that game around, not only did he win a Super Bowl for the Patriots, he stayed off all the [naysayers] that would have come, I believe if they would have lost that game as decisively and as one-sided as it was at one point in time. He’s 40 years old. He’s going to be 40 years old this year and he is the greatest quarterback of all-time. None of that is in dispute, and he may play for five or six more years, he may do that, but the chances are he’s not going to because nobody has ever done that before.”

Schefter admitted that Brady’s entering uncharted territory and while he’ll question whether or not it can be done, he’s the last person to challenge a player like Brady who has already proven so many people wrong over this incredible career.

“I’m not going to challenge the great Tom Brady in any way,” said Schefter. I would never challenge that guy ever, but Father Time usually wins that battle. If he can beat Father Time, he’s even more incredible than we think he is. We’ll see.”

Daily Notebook: Wednesday Patriots News and Notes 5/24

Ian Logue
May 24, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

Here’s a look at this morning’s top stories.

Gronk Agrees to Incentive Package – Looking at the $5.25 million tight end Rob Gronkowski was set to make in 2017, it left him well underpaid compared to his peers as he looked to bounce back after his 2016 season was cut short due to injury.   However, the Patriots reportedly agreed to a change to his contract and his new deal should give him plenty of additional motivation as he attempts to get back to the top of his game.

According to ProFootballTalk.com, Gronkowski now has a three-tiered incentive package for 2017 that raises his salary, provided he meets the parameters.

From ProFootballTalk.com:

According to agent Drew Rosenhaus, Gronkowski can earn another $5.5 million, another $3 million, or another $1 million under the following formula: (1) if he participates in 90 percent of the offensive snaps OR catches 80 passes OR gains 1,200 receiving yards OR scores 14 touchdowns OR is named a first-team All-Pro, Gronkowski will earn the extra $5.5 million; (2) if he participates in 80 percent of the snaps OR catches 70 passes OR has 1,000 receiving yards OR scores 12 touchdowns, he gets the extra $3 million; or (3) if he participates in 70 percent of the snaps OR catches 60 passes OR has 800 receiving yards OR scores 10 touchdowns, he gets the extra $1 million.

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that should he hit all his incentives, Gronkowski’s salary could reach $10.75 million.

The good news for Gronkowski is the fact that the majority of milestones he would need to reach in order to earn the incentives are all ones he’s hit in the past when he’s been healthy for 16 games, which is the biggest question the Patriots likely have heading into this season.

As the website points out, the good news for Gronkowski is the fact his base salary wasn’t affected and the team simply gave him attainable goals to raise his salary to a more competitive level with other players at his position, as well as potentially becoming the highest paid tight end in football.  The other obvious upside is if he’s putting up those types of numbers, the Patriots should certainly benefit in the win column.

Overall, it’s a win-win for both sides, and if Gronkowski can return to form, it will hopefully also open the door to a further extension to ensure he stays here for the foreseeable future.


Belichick is a big fan of joint practice sessions.

Patriots and Jaguars to Hold Joint Session – Preseason football in past years here in New England had offered up an opportunity for fans to get a free up close and personal look at opposing teams in the days leading up to the game, and they’ve had some great opportunities to get a first-hand look at some good teams and players.

Last year featured the Bears and Saints, who were each competitive clubs that made the experience fun to watch.  This preseason, there now sits a bit of the unknown with an up and coming team set to reportedly visit Foxborough in the coming months, with the Jacksonville Jaguars set to hold joint practices against New England.  The two teams will reportedly hold sessions on August 7th and 8th, with a preseason game that week scheduled on August 10th at Gillette Stadium.

For the Jaguars, it’s a great opportunity for first-year head coach Doug Marrone to get the chance to work with one of the best coaches in the game as he looks to try and get his Jaguars club headed back to being a competitive football team.

“Having the opportunity to practice with the defending world champions to begin our preseason schedule will be beneficial for our football team,” said Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone via the team’s release. “We appreciate Coach Belichick extending the invitation to our organization.”

As for the Patriots, one player who is already looking forward to the match-up is undrafted free agent cornerback and Jacksonville native, D.J. Killings, who can’t wait to compete against his hometown team.

“I’m just ready to whup ’em, for real,” he told the Boston Herald’s Adam Kurkjian. “First in college and high school, you’re like, ‘Oh, you know, the Jacksonville Jaguars, they’ve got some great players.’ Now, you respect them as players, but it’s like, ‘I ain’t looking up to y’all no more. It’s time for me to go against y’all.'”


Bruschi knows first hand how tough it is to go undefeated.

Bruschi Argues in favor of 2007 team – One of the topics discussed over the offseason given the amount of talent the Patriots have acquired is whether or not this year’s club is more talented than the one that managed to run off a perfect 16-0 regular season in 2007.

Tedy Bruschi was asked that very question on Monday on ESPN’s NFL Live program, and was pretty emphatic in his feelings on the matter.

“Overreaction! Are you kidding me?” Bruschi said via Mike Reiss. “That 2007 team, I’ll go straight to the defensive line, having [Vince] Wilfork, [Ty] Warren and [Richard] Seymour in front of me — three first-round picks. The talent we had along the front seven.

“Randy Moss, a lot of the guys they had on offense, especially. Tom [Brady] threw 50 touchdown passes. Wes Welker couldn’t be stopped in the slot. And you know what else is a talent? Mental toughness, and that’s what those guys had, because to go 16-0, to carry that burden.”

Bruschi might be a little biased given that he played on that football team, but there’s no question that winning all sixteen games is obviously an extremely difficult feat, especially since his club was only the second in league history to pull it off behind the 1972 Dolphins.

Mental toughness is indeed what it takes and one of the biggest questions is always how well will the new players adapt in a system that requires the same laser-focus from every player each week.

The former linebacker knows what it takes and like the rest of the fans here in New England, it will be up to the 2017 edition of this football team to prove themselves when they take the field together and begin playing meaningful games in the coming months.

Hollister Brothers Happy to Be Patriots – When you’re two brothers playing in completely different colleges, one of the last things you expect is to end up playing on the same NFL team together.

Landing on a team that happens to be the defending Super Bowl Champion would likely be considered an even bigger long-shot, yet that’s what ultimately happened to rookie free agents and twin brothers Jacob and Cody Hollister.

Where they went to college wasn’t even close to this region, with Jacob playing in Wyoming, while Cole played at Arkansas.  Yet it was the Patriots who gave them an opportunity and they’re both looking forward to having the chance to make the most of it.

“The whole process, two twins on the same team, it’s ridiculous. The odds are crazy, so having him here is great,:” Cody told the Boston Herald.  “Having family with you, we’ve been away from each other for three years, so being back together is an incredible experience. Learn better and we compete together, so there’s nothing better than that.”

According to the Herald, the two have spent plenty of time going over plays and formations while trying to figure out New England’s playbook, but they said it’s been a great experience and despite all the time they’re spending together, it never gets old.

“We get tired of each other, but it’s brotherly love,” Cody said. “Having him here is awesome.”

With OTAs already having started, the journey is well underway for two brothers pursuing the same dream.  The fact that they’re able to do it together, makes it an even cooler story and they’ll be fun to keep an eye on should they make it into the start of training camp.

 

Daily Notebook: Monday Patriots News and Notes 5/22

Ian Logue
May 22, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

It’s the start of a new work week, and here’s a quick rundown of today’s top stories.

Belichick Pays Respects to Berman – Following a car accident that took the life of Chris Berman’s wife, Katherine, back on May 9th, Bill Belichick was among other big names from around the league who were on hand to pay their respects during a ceremony held for her last Wednesday.

According to the Hartford Courant, Belichick joined Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, former Bills quarterback Jim Kelly, as well as many of his former coworkers at ESPN.

Various people spoke at the memorial ceremony, which began around 1pm and lasted for about an hour, with Berman being the final speaker as he talked about their life journey together.

Berman, who has had various sit downs with Belichick over the years, has clearly earned the love and respect of so many during his career at ESPN and the sudden tragedy sparked an outpouring of support, which was obvious as nearly 500 people attended the ceremony for Berman’s late wife.

Meanwhile, the accident also took the life of 87-year old Edward Bertulis of Waterbury, who was killed when Berman struck his vehicle from behind with such force that it was overturned, leaving him trapped and calling for help following the accident. Bertulis initially survived but later died at the hospital.

While Berman’s loss stole the headlines, Bertulis’ story is a difficult and sad one as well as his death came while he was on his way back from visiting his deceased wife at the Mount Olivet Cemetary, which according to his daughter was something he had done every day since she passed away following their 64 years together.

From all of us at PatsFans.com, our thoughts go out to both families.


James White isn’t the only one with tough incentives in his new deal.

White Not the Only One With Difficult Incentives – Last week we mentioned the difficult incentives that James White has in his new deal but it sounds like he’s not alone, with one big-name veteran seeing similar struggles appearing in his deal.

According to the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin, much like White, former Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has milestones that may be well out of reach in his new deal with the New Orleans Saints.  Volin points out that in order to max out his incentives, Peterson will need to lead the NFL in rushing touchdowns and will also have to rush for at least 1500 yards.  He’s only ever rushed for more than 12 touchdowns in a season once during his career, which was back in his third year back in 2009.

As for the rushing total, he’s only ever rushed for over 1500 yards twice, rushing for 1760 yards back in 2008 and then his astounding 2097 yard total in 2012.  In his last full year in the NFL in 2015, he rushed for 1485 yards, with 11 touchdowns.

The difference between the two players is that White is in the prime of his career while Peterson is a player who has to prove he can still play.  But further complicating things for Peterson is the fact he’ll have to be productive in an offense that already has fellow running back Mark Ingram in their backfield, who rushed for over 1,000 yards last season.

“I figured we were going to draft somebody or get somebody in free agency, still might, I figured that was going to happen, so it’s not surprising to me,” Ingram told NOLA.com via FoxSports.com. “I don’t care who comes in, where I’m at, who I’m playing with. I’m always going to compete, I’m always going to do the best I can do and that’s just me, that’s how I’m built.”

It just goes to show that it’s not just young players who find themselves in tough contract situations, although White’s deal still remains one of the more puzzling ones we’ve seen given New England’s current personnel.  However, following LeGarrette Blount’s signing with Philadelphia, it ensured that there will at least be one fewer players to compete with for playing time this season.

Belichick Spends Saturday At the Preakness –  Bill Belichick took a little time off on Saturday as he and his longtime girlfriend, Linda Holliday, were in Baltimore for The Preakness.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BUVUJkAFjSb/

Belichick traded his normal hoodie attire to get all dressed up as the two took in the annual race, which saw Cloud Computing pull off the win in a close finish.

It will likely be the last break Belichick gets for the next month as the Patriots will begin OTAs this week.

Shanahan Still Has One Play He Regrets During Loss to Patriots – Kyle Shanahan has the unenviable position of lamenting his former team’s Super Bowl loss to New England, who obviously overcame the largest deficit in Super Bowl history to beat the Falcons back in February during Shanahan’s final game with the team.

The now coach of the 49ers said recently that he has one play that he wishes he could have back, which he felt was the turning point in the game.

“The second-and-10 that we got sacked on,” Shanahan told Rich Eisen during The Rich Eisen Show last week via CSNNE.com. “I wish I had dialed up something differently. And then the next play, we called an option to [Mohamed] Sanu, we got right back in field goal range, but we had a holding call on the play and it knocked us out some more, and an incompletion on the next one.”

That was a difficult sequence for Atlanta, who missed an opportunity to potentially put the Patriots away on that drive and it ultimately left the door open for Tom Brady and company to complete their incredible comeback.

Given that fans in New England can remember a couple of plays here or there during each of the Patriots last two Super Bowl losses that might have been the difference, it’s certainly a relief to be on the other end of things.  Belichick might be the first to admit he’s not perfect, but he and his staff made the right moves when it mattered in each of their last two championship runs and like Pete Carroll, Shanahan learned a tough lesson that will unfortunately likely stay with him for a long, long time moving forward.

Daily Notebook: Thursday Patriots News and Notes 5/18

Ian Logue
May 18, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

Here’s a look at today’s top stories.

Gisele Says a Little Too Much – Gisele Bundchen appeared on CBS This Morning on Wednesday and was asked about a variety of topics, one of which obviously included her husband, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Bundchen was asked about Brady’s future and if she’d like to see him retire from football, and the quarterback’s wife admitted that due to concussions he’s suffered, she does worry about him playing.

“He had a concussion last year,” she said via DeadSpin. “I mean he has concussions pretty much every—I mean we don’t talk about—but he does have concussions.”

The tough part is trying to piece together when he might have suffered those concussions, as they were never reported and he’s never been listed on the injury report as dealing with one.

As NFL Writer David Woods of theScore.com, points out Brady has never been listed with a concussion on the injury report over the past four years, nor has he ever been placed in the concussion protocol.

As a result, it’s a difficult situation and if Brady simply hid it from the team and their doctors, there doesn’t seem like there’s much that can be done.   According to  ProFootballTalk.com, the NFL and NFLPA will look into Gisele’s claims, although they released a statement saying that what they’ve looked at so far doesn’t show anything to indicate that Brady suffered a head injury.

“We have reviewed all reports relating to Tom Brady from the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultants and certified athletic trainer spotters who worked at Patriots’ home and away 2016 season games as well as club injury reports that were sent to the league office,” read the statement via PFT. “There are no records that indicate that Mr. Brady suffered a head injury or concussion, or exhibited or complained of concussion symptoms. Today we have been in contact with the NFLPA and will work together to gather more information from the club’s medical staff and Mr. Brady. The health and safety of our players is our foremost priority and we want to ensure that all our players have and continue to receive the best care possible.”

Gisele did say during the interview that she has her concerns about him continuing to play, with the more important goal being that he’s healthy and unaffected by the rigors of football once his career is over.

“I don’t really think it’s a healthy thing for your body to go through, do that kind of aggression all the time, that can not be healthy for you,” said Bundchen.  “I’m planning on having him be healthy and do a lot of fun things when we are 100 (years old) I hope.”

Winning another championship could certainly impact a potential retirement decision, especially since Brady recently said that winning a sixth title was a milestone he’d love to reach.  Whether or not he’d walk away after that remains to be seen, or if he’d instead just move on to trying to win “the next one.”

As he’s said previously, if he’s playing at a high level and he continues feeling the way he is right now physically, fans can likely expect the latter.

You can watch the full report in the Tweet below:


Blount finally agreed to a contract in Philadelphia Wednesday.

Blount Lands in Philadelphia – Despite the free agent tender placed on LeGarrette Blount, it appears the free agent running back will join the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017.

According to ESPN’s Josina Anderson, Blount has agreed to a contract with the Eagles, which is a deal worth a reported $2.8 million, including up to $1.55 million in incentives.  It’s a move that benefits the Patriots, who initially put the free-agent tender on Blount not long after it was rumored that the Baltimore Ravens were in contention for Blount’s services.

That seemed to scare off Baltimore and the fact that Blount will be playing for the Eagles in the NFC is a benefit since it keeps him off of a rival roster.  The other good news is, his signing keeps the Patriots in the mix in the compensatory formula, so it’s a win-win situation for both sides.

Blount had a solid career in New England, setting a franchise rushing touchdown record in 2016 with 18 during his final season, as well as 1161 rushing yards.  He also averaged 3.1 yards-per-carry in the postseason and scored a touchdown.


Former Patriot Vince Wilfork hasn’t decided on retirement just yet.

Wilfork Not Done Yet? – All signs seemed to point to the end of Vince Wilfork’s career following the end of the 2016 season, but it sounds like Wilfork hasn’t completely closed the door just yet.

Wilfork spoke to Sirius/XM’s “Good Morning Football” on Wednesday and said that he’s not retired and that he’s simply taking his time before he makes a final decision.

“Right now, I just want to make sure whatever decision I make … I’m 100 percent confident in,” he said via UPI.com. “And right now, the only thing I’m doing is enjoying the offseason like I normally do any other year. And I’m just taking my time with everything because I want to make the right decision.”

Texans General Manager Rick Smith told the Houston Chronicle last month that he’s under the impression that Wilfork wasn’t returning.

“I haven’t spoken to Vince Wilfork since last season,” said Smith. “My expectation is that Vince is not playing anymore.”

Wilfork’s season ended at Gillette Stadium back in January when the Patriots handed the Texans a 34-16 defeat in the AFC Divisional round.  The veteran finished that game with just one tackle but received a standing ovation when Texans head coach Bill O’Brien called Wilfork off the field, which saw the former Patriot blow kisses to the crowd as he walked to the sideline.

When the game was over, Wilfork felt it might be the last time he would take the field.

“No emotions and I will take my time and think about it,” said Wilfork back in January.  “I think I have played my last NFL football game. I will take the time and do my due diligence and sit back see if I really want to retire. We will see. I don’t know how long that will take. I will see, it doesn’t change the fact that I enjoyed every bit of my career; I enjoyed 11 great years in New England and enjoyed two great years in Texas with unbelievable teammates.”

Now the big question will be whether or not he’ll make it three, or if he’ll walk away.  For now, as he ponders his future, he’s also busy promoting his barbecue skills in a promotion with Kingsford, which during his time in New England saw him have players over his home over the years to enjoy his culinary skills.  However, as good as he is, he told the Was/hington Post that former teammate Tom Brady never tried his cooking.

“We kind of X’ed him out. He be on a certain diet,” Wilfork told the newspaper, referring to Brady’s strict diet.

“If Tom Brady would try my barbecue, maybe Tom Brady would turn into me,” Wilfork jokes. “I don’t think nobody wants that.”

He’s probably right.