Good morning, here are your Sunday’s Patriots news 7-2, & AFC East Notes.
With July here, we’re now only 25 days away from the start of the 2017 season’s training camp. As in every year, this begins the exciting time of the summer as the team will take the field for the first time in pads on July 27.
The cut-down from 90 players to 53 will be a tough one this year and a couple of veteran players may be on the outside looking in this summer. We’ll take an early first crack at the 53-man roster tomorrow on PatsFans.com.
Which Veterans Could be on the Bubble?
This year could find some veterans on the bubble come cut-down time. With the recent addition of LB David Harris, Jonathan Freeny who has been a valuable special teams’ contributor and a starter at times on the defense, could be on the outside looking in. He began the 2016 season as a starter on defense in Arizona but ended up on IR with an injury. We’ll be watching him closely this summer.
Brandon Bolden, who also has been a terrific player on special teams for many years could be on the outside looking in with all of the running back depth now on the team with the additions of Mike Gillislee, and Rex Burkhead.
NFLPA Warns Players of a Financial Scam:
The NFL Players Association has warned players about a possible financial scam involving three tax advisory firms, according to Alex Marvez of the Sporting News.
The NFLPA warned players about allegations against John Richard Burgess after receiving inquiries from players. One player stated that he was assessed a fee of $500,000 for services from one of Burgess’ firms, the NFLPA said.
While the NFLPA has a detailed history of criminal charges and fraud claims against Burgess dating to 1988, it stopped short of calling anything illegal at this point. The memo sent by the union to current and former members stated only that it was for “informational purposes.”
Patriots 2017 Offseason, Belichick’s Best Ever? Time will Tell:
There was an intriguing column by ESPN’s Mike Reiss the other day, mentioning the off season that the Patriots have had and how it ranks among Bill Belichick’s best. And the most interesting part? Reiss doesn’t use the 2007 season as the benchmark, which seems to be the year most people point at, but the 2001 offseason.
He pointed out in the short but really good read, that at the time, nobody thought much of the additions running back Antowain Smith, guard Mike Compton, receiver David Patten, fullback Marc Edwards, quarterback Damon Huard, cornerback Terrell Buckley and linebackers Mike Vrabel, Bryan Cox, Roman Phifer and Larry Izzo. The first round (6th overall) draft pick of Richard Seymour was panned as well. But those players became the core of three Super Bowl winning teams.
The ultimate test of this season’s offseason acquisitions will be made at the end of the 2017 season, but at least on paper, it seems like this group could give 2001 a run for their money.
Edelman, Despite His Feet, Make the Cover of ESPN ‘The Body’ Issue:
By now, every Patriots fan has seen the latest cover of ESPN’s “The Body’ issue and Edelman has made the cover. He spoke to ESPN’s Morty Ain about his workout regimen and learning to catch punts after he was drafted. And among his many scars was the revelation of his ‘ugly feet.’
“I’ve got very ugly feet. The moment I got in the NFL — when I started having to do these cone drills and learning how to run routes, and your feet are just constantly going in and sliding and hitting the back or the front of your toe — my feet have just gotten so ugly,” Edelman said.
“I’ve got a bunion on my right one. My toenails are all jacked up. I’ve got scars on the side of them. I’m embarrassed of them. I don’t try to hide them, but I don’t wear sandals, I’ll tell you that right now. No words can describe them. They look like grim reaper feet. Tales of the crypt. Remember “Tales From the Crypt”?”
While Edelman bared it all for one magazine…
Belichick Dresses Up for Nantucket Magazine Cover:
We’re accustomed to seeing Bill Belichick in his trademark cut-up hoodie while pacing around the Patriots practice or the games with a pencil behind his ear and a sun visor perched on his head.
But this week, the coach and long-time girlfriend Linda Holliday did a photo shoot for Nantucket Magazine. Showing a side of himself he rarely allows to be seen, Belichick and Holliday were both dressed to the nines and spoke about football, his ties to the island, his foundation and Holiday mentioned that he has a great singing voice.
You can check out the entire piece here:
East Bound and Down…AFC East Notes:
Bills Offensive Line Rated as #10 in the NFL By PFF:
The Buffalo Bills greatest strength is arguably their offensive line. And entering into the 2017 season, Pro Football Focus, (PFF) has rated the Bills OL as the league’s 10th best. And there is hope with better play at the right tackle position, this unit could crack the Top 5 this year.
Jordan Mills struggled at RT last season, but he’ll have the opportunity to turn things around and fend off 2nd round draft pick Dion Dawkins from Temple this summer. But the rest of the unit is solid especially in the running game where the Bills are very strong.
Left tackle Cordy Glenn, guards Richie Incognito and John Miller along with center Eric Wood gives Buffalo a talented group up front.
The Bills running game was tops in the NFL in all run concepts according to PFF. They topped the league with 2630 yards rushing and averaged 5.3 yards per rush. New offensive coordinator Rick Dennison is expected to continue the Bills strong zone running scheme in 2017.
Dolphins Announce Training Camp Dates, Look to Build Depth:
The Miami Dolphins have announced that they are making 13 practices open to the public at the team’s training facility, beginning July 27. Camp runs through Aug. 15, and is free to attend. However, there are only 2,000 seats are available per day, however, so those who wish to attend need to sign up on the team’s website.
Open camp dates include, Thursday, July 27; Friday, July 28; Saturday, July 29; Sunday, July 30; Monday, July 31; Wednesday, Aug. 2, 8:45 a.m.; Thursday, Aug. 3; Friday, Aug. 4; Monday, Aug. 7, 8:45 a.m.; Tuesday, Aug. 8; Sunday, Aug. 13; Monday, Aug. 14; Tuesday, Aug. 15.
With a talented group of starters in 2016, new coach Adam Gase won 10 games and got the Fins to the playoffs, this training camp, they’ll be looking to add depth across the board and be ready to improve upon last season’s performance.
LB Zach Orr to Visit the Jets This Week:
The New York Jets jettisoned LB David Harris who was quickly scooped up by their divisional rival Patriots recently and now have a hole there. And one player who will be visiting Gang Green is 25-year old LB Zach Orr, who is returning to the NFL after a brief retirement.
Orr retired in January due to a congenital neck and spine condition. But now if he passes team’s medicals, he could find himself not only back in the NFL, but a player commanding a decent amount of money.
He visited already with the Lions and the Colts and is scheduled to meet with the Jets soon.