Good morning, here are Sunday’s Patriots news 8-28, sorry no AFC East Notes today. Will make sure that those are back next week.
Patriots Evaluate Talent a bit Differently:
I got a couple of messages this week asking why the Patriots would be interested in a player (Barkevious Mingo), who was obviously a bust in Cleveland with the Browns.
They’re good, legitimate questions but let’s say this. The Patriots evaluate players just a little differently than other teams do. Most teams look at a player and ask “How will he fit in our system?” Bill Belichick and Nick Caserio look at the same player and ask, How can we take what he does best and make it work within the framework of our system?
They don’t care where a guy is drafted, once he walks in the door, he’ll get an equal shot at proving himself on the roster and they’ll experiment to find out what his strengths and weaknesses are and try to put him in a position to succeed.
The Patriots liked Mingo coming out of the draft in 2013 and it may have just been a case like Jabaal Sheard, also with Cleveland or with Akeem Ayers with Tennessee or even Akiem Hicks a year ago when he came over from the Saints. The team was using a different scheme and the player didn’t fit in with that.
Time will tell if they hit or miss with Mingo but Belichick’s average with these types of moves is pretty high.
Injuries Ultimately Derailed Stork’s Career in NE:
Former Patriots center Bryan Stork’s time in New England came to an untimely end when the Patriots traded the talented, tough but injury prone player to the Washington Redskins for a conditional 7th-round draft pick in 2017.
Stork was drafted in the 4th round of the 2014 NFL Draft and became a starter on the team that went to and won the Super Bowl over the Seattle Seahawks. Stork was a big part of that win and Tom Brady’s protection for that entire season.
But concussions beginning in his final college season of 2013 began to take their toll. He had one for four years in a row. Last season, his concussion caused him to begin the year on PUP. Another this season resulted in him missing a good chunk of training camp. During his absence, David Andrews took over as the starting center and played well, outplaying Stork just a bit when he returned.
While much has been made of his temper and losing control in Denver a year ago and twice this season, while I’m sure it was a factor, I believe it now to have been a minor one. If he’d been healthy and outplaying Andrews, it probably wouldn’t have been a topic of conversation.
Team Unlikely to Call Ridley, Rice:
Whenever another team jettisons or is close to releasing a player, many fans begin to immediately clamor for that player to be brought in by the Patriots. It has gotten to the point where even some national writers put the Patriots in the equation because the story is then guaranteed to generate hits.
Such was the case this week, with the team rumored to be adding a running back when former Patriots RB Stevan Ridley was released by the Lions, many fans were jumping on the bandwagon to bring him back. The 2012 version? Sure but Ridley has had a serious injury and has lost a step since and was ineffective behind a good Jets offensive line a year ago.
One player who keeps coming up is Ray Rice. Rice hasn’t played since the end of the 2013 season and even then was in the midst of the worst year of his career. He averaged only 3.1 yards per carry and there was talk then that he was on the downside of his career. And any thoughts that it would be New England that would give him a second chance were quickly put to rest by Patriots owner Robert Kraft who said the Patriots would never sign him…but the storylines refuse to die.
On a similar note, the Browns were rumored to putting the talented but troubled (and suspended) WR Josh Gordon on the trading block this week. Immediately social media exploded with New England trade scenarios and how the Patriots needed a “deep threat”… whistle if you’ve heard that before. Never mind that the Patriots invested a draft pick in Malcolm Mitchell who would play basically the same role or the cash for Chris Hogan who came over during free agency from the Bills.
Instead of splash Bill Belichick did what his M.O. always does, and got an under the radar deal for Mingo who strengthens the depth and will buy in to the Patriots system totally.
Belichick Takes the Team to the Movies with Wahlberg:
In a move that we’ve seen frequently over the past several years, Bill Belichick decided to do some team building by taking the team to the movies. In a story first reported by ESPN’s Mike Reiss, Belichick told the team that they’d spend last Sunday night doing some film work.
But the team walked over to the showcase Cinema next door in time to have big-time Patriots fan Mark Wahlberg waiting on the team. His latest film “Deepwater Horizon” won’t be released to the general public until Sept. 30, but Wahlberg gave the team an advanced screening.
It wasn’t just a night off however, the message of the film and to the team that teams have to pull together to survive resonated with many of the players. Deepwater Horizon was an offshore oil drilling platform that suffered a catastrophic explosion in 2010 that resulted in the worst oil spill in US history.
That is team building with a strong lesson learned there, a very Belichick type move.
Reiss’ piece and the quotes from some of the players can be found here:
Time Running Out For Knighton:
When the Patriots added Terrance Knighton this offseason, it looked like they added a player who could give their defense some bulk inside to improve a unit that struggled against the run last season. But so far Knighton hasn’t been much of a factor during the preseason and on Friday night he didn’t even see the field.
As a result, it doesn’t seem like things are going well for the former Washington player, and he voiced his displeasure about it to Boston Herald writer Jeff Howe, but said he’ll continue to try and earn a role.
“I prepared myself to play,” Knighton told Howe. “I just didn’t play. I don’t know. You’ve got to ask the coaches. I’m 100 percent healthy. I prepared myself to play a lot of football tonight. It didn’t happen. It is what it is. I’m not asking why or anything. I’m just going to show up to work tomorrow and take it a day at a time.”
We’ve already seen an interesting evolution defensively thanks to players who have emerged at several positions during this preseason and it’s no secret that the expectations of big name free agents that come in here don’t always pan out the way we expect (former Washington DT Albert Haynesworth comes to mind). For now it’s up to Knighton to prove he deserves to be a part of this team, but he’s running out of time to change their minds as the Patriots head into their final preseason game next Thursday night.
“It’s disappointing because I’ve played a lot of ball in this league, seen a lot of things, but I’m not going to make too much of it,” Knighton said. “It is what it is. Whatever happens, happens. If I’m here, I’m here. If I’m not, I’m not. I’m just taking it a day at a time really.”