Tag Archives: Cedric Thompson

Tuesday Daily Rundown 8/23: New England Patriots News and Notes

Ian Logue
August 23, 2016 at 5:00 am ET

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

Belichick Offers Little On Brady Situation – According to CSNNE’s Tom Curran, Bill Belichick granted Tom Brady excused absences for Sunday and Monday, which comes on the heels of the Patriots quarterback suffering a thumb injury before last Thursday night’s contest where he reportedly sliced his thumb with scissors, which kept him ever taking the field during the club’s 23-22 win over Chicago at Gillette Stadium.

However, whatever reason Brady wasn’t present over the previous two days is reportedly unrelated to the injury, but Belichick wasn’t willing to comment about the quarterback’s situation when questioned by the media during his press conference on Monday.

“I don’t comment on any personal situations,” Belichick said.

Brady had been an active participant in the joint practices against both the Saints and Bears but the odds of seeing him play have likely dropped with two games to go and the fact they’re transitioning into regular-season mode. Belichick admitted Monday that they’re not quite there yet, but games like these are still important since it gives them an chance to see how well they compete against a competitive team in Carolina.   It’s an opportunity for improvement, although it’s still a different scenario than how they’ll handle things in September.

“I think this is a good opportunity for us to compete against arguably as good as any team in the league,” Belichick told the media Tuesday.  “[With] all that being said, we’re not talking about a regular season game here. We’re not talking about game planning and all of those kind of things, which I can’t imagine would happen in this game, but they’re going to happen in a couple of weeks so it’s a whole different ball game. I don’t think you can compare this game to a regular season game even though I’ve heard people try to do that.”

Either way, it’s been a long road to get to this point and Garoppolo admitted that Brady has been important to him this preseason. But the goal now is to continue trying to get better as he continues getting ready to face what should be a good challenge for him to begin the season.

“You learn so much from the guy, he’s obviously a tremendous quarterback, he’s been doing it for so long now,” said Garoppolo. “Each quarterback has a different style on how they lead, how they approach everything. Me and Tom are real similar in ways, but we’re different in ways, too. It’s one of those things where you’ve got to make it your own, you don’t want to come in and be phony and be someone you’re not, you just have to go about it as you would.”

Mitchell is already feeling better after his injury scare. (USA TODAY Images)

Mitchell Downplays Elbow Injury – Watching rookie receiver Malcolm Mitchell’s elbow injury in week one was pretty tough, especially seeing his arm bend awkwardly before the former Georgia standout was left writhing in pain left the field assisted by trainers.

At the time, it was hard not to wonder if the receiver’s promising beginning would end before he had a chance to get started, but the news of an elbow dislocation with no serious damage was definitely a relief for those hoping Mitchell could build on his impressive 4 reception, 55 yard performance.

The receiver is expected to need four weeks to recover, which puts his return hopefully close to the start of the regular season.  He’s been back at practice wearing a brace but has been limited, but the fact he came back so quickly is a testament to his toughness, which is certainly a positive sign.  While he’s still continuing to recover, he’s already feeling better.

“I’m feeling good, a lot better today than the day it happened,” Mitchell said via ESPN.

Mitchell, who was dragged down from behind by his jersey, joked about the fact that he “probably should have tucked my shirt in” and that while he’s disappointed about what happened, all he can do is make the best of it.

“As a competitor, sitting out in general is disappointing, but you can only control what you can control,” said Mitchell.

“There’s nothing anyone could have done to stop that from happening. It was meant to be.”

That’s just the attitude that makes him fun to root for, and hopefully we’ll see even more from him in 2016.

Brady Has Vegan Snacks For Sale – For anyone out there who might be a fan of avocado ice cream, the quarterback just made it a little easier for those of you who want to eat like a four-time Super Bowl Champion.

Brady’s fitness company Tweeted on Monday that vegan “TB12 Snacks” were offered up on his fitness website, which included “raw, vegan, organic, gluten-free and dairy-free” individually packaged items packaged in resealable biodegradable rice paper and cost just $50.

The snacks included are Blueberry Crunch, Amazon Crunch, Superfood Energy Squares, Cacao Goji Energy Squares, Dark Cocoa Coconut and Buffalo Almonds & Ranch Cashews.

The only problem is, for now, they’re sold out and there’s no word yet if/when they’ll be back in stock.  This marks the second time Brady’s seen success in the food world, with the veteran quarterback having sold out a $200 nutrition manual cookbook earlier this offseason which included 89 recipes.

Patriots Release Two More Players – In addition to the news we learned yesterday about safety Cedric Thompson’s time with the team being over, the team made it official on Monday and also announced two other players who were forced to clean out their lockers and move on.

Joining Thompson was veteran tight end Bear Pascoe along with rookie free agent DB V’Angelo Bentley, giving the Patriots four open roster spots with one week to go before they’re forced to trim their roster down to 75 players on August 30th.


Monday Daily Rundown 8/22: New England Patriots News and Notes

Ian Logue
August 22, 2016 at 5:00 am ET

Here’s a quick rundown of this morning’s news:

Lewis Gets “Cleanup” on His Knee – According to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, Patriots running back Dion Lewis will have to have a follow-up procedure on his surgically repaired knee, which is going to impact his availability to begin the regular season as he’s expected to begin the year on PUP.

Lewis originally had the surgery in November following his injury, but according to the Providence Journal’s Mark Daniels, the veteran suffered a setback in July prior to the beginning of training camp, which apparently upon further review lead to the decision.

The good news is, he could potentially be available at some point in 2016.  The bad news is, the challenge Jimmy Garoppolo faces over the first four weeks just got a little tougher since Lewis definitely won’t be out there with him to begin the season.

His injury will open up opportunities for players like James White and Tyler Gaffney, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Patriots also explore additional options in the coming weeks as they try and solidify a running back group that will be looking to improve off of a disappointing 2015.

Another Injury for Vollmer – Sebastian Vollmer has had a tough run and it looks like things aren’t getting any better for him to begin 2016.

According to Rapoport, Vollmer’s been dealing with a hip injury that has been the reason he’s been on PUP thus far and it’s not looking good for a return for the veteran right tackle.  Rapoport reports that Vollmer is likely to stay there throughout the season, leading to more uncertainty on the right side, which will likely put Marcus Cannon back in the spotlight again this season.  Cannon has looked better thus far and he has Dante Scarnecchia back to push him, and hopefully he’ll be able to play at a high level because it looks like he’ll probably see extended playing time this season.

Vollmer’s had a tough run the last couple of seasons. (USA TODAY Images)

Mason suffers injury – More bad news up front after a report from the Boston Globe’s Jim McBride that guard Shaq Mason broke his hand, which is another blow to the group that dealt with quite a few injuries in 2015.  Mason’s injury obviously isn’t as significant as Vollmer’s and the odds are good we’ll probably see him at some point, but given the timing of his injury it’s reasonable to think that he may miss time to begin the year with the start of the season just about three weeks away.

Patriots Waive Safety – The Patriots had a transaction on Sunday, with NESN’s Doug Kyed pointing out a tweet from safety Cedric Thompson’s agent, David Canter, that said he’s been released.

The move puts the Patriots roster at 88 with just over a week to go before the team will need to trim down to 75 players by August 30th.  The mandatory league cutdown date when the Patriots will need to be at the 53-man limit to begin 2016 is September 3rd.

Brady Missing From Practice – According to CSNNE’s Tom Curran, Tom Brady missed practice Sunday and is not expected to practice Monday, as the veteran quarterback is reportedly away with excused absences unrelated to his injury prior to the team’s exhibition game against the Bears where he missed the contest due to a freak injury to his thumb.

That was likely a tough one for Brady, who was expected to play in the game and now won’t get the opportunity to step back onto the field in front of the home crowd at Gillette Stadium until after his return from his four game suspension, which won’t be until October 16th against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Patriots Take in a Movie Sunday Night – Bill Belichick spent Sunday night doing a little team-building, with the team taking a trip to the movies as they get set to begin preparations to face the Panthers this week.

According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, the team took in a screening of the movie “Deepwater Horizon” Sunday night, with coaches and players spending some time away from the gridiron in what has seemingly been a pretty productive preseason thus far.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft was spotted meeting Mark Wahlberg prior to the screening, who stars in the film along with Kurt Russell, John Malkovich, Gina Rodriguez, Dylon O’Brien and Kate Hudson.

The film will hit theaters on September 30th.

Ninkovich Frustrated With Being Out – Rob Ninkovich had been a steady presence on the Patriots defense over the years, having not missed his last 102 straight regular season games, third best behind the Colts Kendall Langford (128) and the Packers Julius Peppers (128).

But he’ll miss the beginning of 2016 as he recovers from a torn triceps, and the veteran linebacker told CSNNE that it’s been hard being out, but all he can do is try to stay in shape and continue watching film as he works his way back.

“It’s really hard,” he told the website. “I haven’t had to deal with anything like this for a long time. Just trying to work as hard as I can, and just trying to work and do the only thing I know how to do. That’s try to work hard to get back.”

Ninkovich suffered the injury back on August 9th during a joint practice with the Saints but is expected to be back at some point during the 2016 season.

Garoppolo wired for success – The Chicago Tribune had a nice story on Jimmy Garoppolo, looking at the opportunity sitting in front of their local native as he gets set to take the reigns for the Patriots this season.

According to the newspaper, not only was Garoppolo excited for his chance when the news came down that Brady would be dropping his appeal and letting the NFLPA move forward without him, but so was Garoppolo’s family, who gathered with the quarterback for dinner that evening.  His brother, Tony Jr., revealed  said, “It was just smiles around the table” as they celebrated the news.

Garoppolo’s father, Tony Sr. is a union electrician who Tony Jr. said has “never worked a 40-hour week in his life,” with their father being someone who puts in a lot of overtime as he did what it took to take care of his family and that he deserves a lot of credit for the QB’s work ethic.

That hard work has clearly begun to pay off and his family now has plenty to be happy about given how Garoppolo played Thursday night. He finished 16-of-21 for 181 yards and a touchdown and looked very much in command of the offense for much of the night.

He’ll face a different test over the next two weeks as he’ll be on the road playing against a little more of a hostile crowd against both the Panthers this Friday night, followed by the Giants next Thursday, which should be interesting to see how he handles playing outside the friendly confines of Gillette Stadium.

The third game is considered to be the “dress-rehearsal” for the opener, with Garoppolo expected to be the guy who one would believe will start as he tries to build off that performance against the Panthers Friday night.  He’s grown a lot just in these past two weeks, so hopefully we’ll see this week show just how ready he is heading into week 1.

Patriots Training Camp Primer – Safeties

Steve Balestrieri
July 26, 2016 at 6:00 am ET

Deepest Position of the Team, Tough Cuts Ahead

The Patriots head into training camp this week and there should be no shortage of competition at a number of spots. As a lead-in to the beginning of camp, we’ll break down the positions and give our take on who is a lock, a near lock for the 53-man roster and who is on the bubble. Next up are the Safeties.

Bill Belichick likes to say that the spring’s OTAs and Minicamp is a learning exercise and that the real competition begins in training camp. While that is true to an extent, with 89 players on the current roster, a minimum of 36 of these will be cut. That doesn’t take into consideration the tweaking that goes on during the season after the initial 53-man roster is completed.

So the next position to break down are the safeties. The backend of the Patriots secondary is set, starters Devin McCourty and Pat Chung return and each will turn 29 in training camp so their age isn’t an issue.  Duron Harmon is normally the first man on the field, but he missed all of the spring so 2nd-year player Jordan Richards was taking the majority of his reps. Richards is shorter and stockier than Harmon and is a bit stiff for the backup center field role, he’s better suited to the box or the hybrid safety/linebacker role. Nate Ebner will not be at camp, having been granted permission to play rugby in the Olympics.

Those five plus Brandon King were on last year’s roster. The team let Tavon Wilson walk in free agency but waiting in the wings is LB/S Kamu Grugier-Hill, Brock Vereen, Cedric Thompson and the recently signed Vinnie Sunseri.

The team is deep and talented at safety and they’re more than addressed the loss of Wilson who played very little the past two seasons.

So who’s locked in and who’s on the bubble?

Roster Locks: Devin McCourty, Pat Chung, Duron Harmon, Jordan Richards
McCourty is the quarterback of the secondary, a co-captain of the team and the glue that holds everything together on the backend. He still doesn’t get the credit he deserves for his center field play. With each passing year, he’s asserting his leadership more and more and still just 28 is one of the oldest established veterans of the unit.

Pat Chung has excelled in his second stint with the Pats. (USA TODAY Images)

Chung continues to enjoy a renaissance in his second go-around with the team. He plays up in the box and is extremely effective at stopping the run and covering the tight ends. It seems like Chung should be older than 28, but he still has several good years left in his career.

Harmon was considered a reach when he was drafted in 2013 but now he’s a very valuable member of the defense. In certain packages, the team will move McCourty around and bring in Harmon to play centerfield. He played in nearly 54 percent of the team’s defensive snaps and allowed just 4 of 11 passes for 69 yards and two touchdowns in 2015. He was also credited with three passes defended and three interceptions. His 58.5 passer rating against, was the best of the Patriots’ secondary men.

Richards was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2015 NFL Draft with the 64th overall pick. He has an outstanding football I.Q. and is a high character guy. As a rookie, most of his playing time (21% of the defensive snaps), came after McCourty and Chung suffered injuries late in the season. He’s best suited to the backup of Chung, being used down in the box and covering the tight ends.

On the Bubble: Nate Ebner, Brandon King,
King was a pleasant surprise a year ago, carving out a special team’s role and ending up with the second most tackles on the STs unit. He wasn’t given much of a chance of sticking but worked closely with Special Team’s Coach Joe Judge and had a solid rookie season.

Ebner was given a contract extension this spring and has been a valuable member of the STs unit. But he was granted a leave of absence to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics as a member of the US National Men’s Rugby Team. He’s been a fixture here but his absence could open the door for another player who steps up in training camp.

Kamu Grugier-Hill could be one of those players. An undersized, athletic demon on special teams, he could easily carve out a role for himself on defense as well. He’s one of those LB/S hybrids that teams are filling their rosters with.

Brandon King had a solid rookie season competing on Special Teams. (SBalestrieri/PatsFans Images)

Outside Looking in…. Longshots: Vinnie Sunseri, Brock Vereen, Cedric Thompson

Sunseri is an intriguing player, someone I was hoping the Patriots would take a look at in 2014 when he was taken by the Saints in the NFL Draft. He’s the son of the Raiders’ coach Sal Sunseri and was lauded by his teammates at ‘Bama as being a coach on the field. An excellent special teams’ leader, he is also injury prone. He blew out an ACL in his senior season, had his rookie year cut short with a broken arm and missed all of 2015. This may be an audition of another kind. He may end up being a coach in the not too distant future, and maybe Belichick is building off of some first-hand knowledge of him.

Vereen was signed to the Patriots practice squad in November after being released by the Bears and then the Vikings. After the season was over, he signed a future’s contract for 2016. Vereen can play safety and has filled in at slot corner. He’s considered a core special teams’ player and served as a gunner for a bit this spring. He is a longshot to make the roster.

Thompson spent all of 2015 on the Dolphins’ practice squad after being drafted by Miami in the 5th Round of the 2015 NFL Draft out of Minnesota. He wasn’t resigned and the Pats signed him to a future’s contract. The 6’0, 212-pound safety is another longshot to make the roster given the depth.

Check out our earlier primers on the running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, offensive line, defensive line, linebackers and the cornerbacks.  And be sure to keep tuned into PatsFans.com during training camp as we’ll post daily updates from down in Gillette.

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

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