Tag Archives: Deatrich Wise Jr.

New England Patriots News 06-30, AFC East Notes

Steve Balestrieri
June 30, 2019 at 5:00 am ET

Good morning, here is your Sunday Patriots news 06-30 and AFC East notes this week. 

 Quick Hitters:

Jared Veldheer – retired shortly after signing with the Patriots on May 13. He recently came out and stated why in an interview he did earlier last week with MLive.

“It was easy (decision) because of knowing what my body was telling me, but it was hard because I was leaving a very good situation being with the Patriots,” Veldheer said. “(Belichick) understood, and everyone in the NFL building understands that the sport can do a number on your body and different guys have different timelines on how long they can make it through.”

Veldheer said that his hips, “Particularly my left one, was in pretty bad shape (after the season).”

DeAngelo Hall – former NFL DB was a guest on Good Morning Football and stated that Tom Brady was the best QB he ever faced and added that he didn’t have many regrets in his NFL career but one was not signing with the Patriots when they offered him a good deal but less money than he eventually signed for. The Patriots offered him 3 years and $27 million and the Redskins offered 3 years and $30 million. Hall said he now regrets not taking a little less and having a chance at a Super Bowl.

Isaiah Wynn – Is running at full speed and should be ready for training camp according to Jeff Howe of the Athletic. He reported that Wynn should be a full go at training camp which is a very good sign for the 23rd player selected in 2018 NFL Draft. And the Pats offensive line. 

Patriots Charitable Foundation – Patriot Place and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care are teaming up to build an adaptive home for an American veteran. Chelsea resident Brandon Korona lost a leg to an IED in Afghanistan. On Friday morning, the Patriots invited Korona and his family to Patriot Place to break the news that the three organizations will donate $50,000 to adapt his home for his needs. WCVB Channel 5 was the first to break the news.

Rob Gronkowski – has really trimmed down since announcing his retirement from the NFL. After seeing pictures of him recently, anyone harboring hopes of a comeback from the big guy and not being realistic. And any thoughts of him joining the WWE seem far-fetched as well.

Jonah Williams – Tough to see arguably, the best OL in this year’s draft go down with an injury before training camp starts and be lost for the season. Williams tore the labrum in his shoulder and required surgery which will sideline him for the entire 2019 season. The Bengals drafted Williams in the 1st round, 11th overall in the recent draft.

Julian Edelman’s Story Goes to Showtime:

The documentary “100% Julian Edelman” went live on Showtime on Friday night and was mostly filmed during the 2017-2018 timeframe when the Patriots WR was rehabbing from his ACL surgery.

There is a lot of humor in the hour-plus long video but some serious items as well. Edelman grew up terrified of his dad, who was a demanding taskmaster of a coach and demanded the best out of his son every day. The story goes over some of the drills that his father made him perform and they weren’t easy and were designed to make him tougher mentally. 

There is also a bit where Edelman talked about only being five feet tall until his senior year of high school, where he went thru a growth spurt where he grew eight inches and his football career, thanks to the hard work with his father paid off.

It delves into some interesting subjects like his PED suspension where he and his Dad didn’t speak for 81 days. Edelman says the pair speak every day and the two disagreed over how it was handled. 

Edelman – Welker, Is it Really Necessary to Compare?:

We realize that it is the summer doldrums where there isn’t much shaking…news-wise for the Patriots and these things are just exercises for discussion. We get it but there comes a time when it really doesn’t do either player justice when comparing players and their production to the team. 

Which brings us to the Julian Edelman – Wes Welker debate that is all over social media.  Edelman, is an icon in New England now, after playing a huge roll in the last three Super Bowl wins, including Super Bowl MVP honors for SB LIII. He’s Tom Brady’s best friend and most trusted receiver. 

Welker is now, unfairly remembered mostly for the one that got away. The SB XLVI catch that could have closed out the Giants. And the fact that the Patriots didn’t re-sign him in 2013 and he bolted for Denver to play for the Broncos and Peyton Manning while wearing that ginormous “Dark Helmet” piece of headgear. 

But in his six years in New England, Welker was beyond productive catching 112, 111, 123, 86, 122, and 118 passes. The only season he didn’t catch over 100 passes was the 2010 season, where after tearing his ACL in January in a game against the Texans, he returned in September and still put up very good numbers; 86 passes, 848 yards with seven touchdowns. 

If there was a knock on Welker, it is that his post-season numbers didn’t quite match up to his regular season excellence. But make no mistake, the numbers were still very good. But if one cares to recall, the Patriots were perhaps, too reliant on Welker, something Bill Belichick himself was recorded as saying on the sidelines. Welker in reality, despite the one pass in Super Bowl XLVI, had better hands than Edelman.

Edelman has upped his game in the post-season, especially in the Super Bowl. His three games, 9-109 and the game-winning touchdown against Seattle, in addition to that mammoth hit he took from Kam Chancellor down the middle, was the stuff of legend. 

Against the Falcons, he had five catches for 87 yards, including that incredible catch in traffic at crunch time where he snagged the ball just before it hit the turf. It is one of the more iconic Super Bowl catches ever, up there with the Lynn Swann catch of the 70s.

And of course, the SB MVP game against the Rams (10 catches, 141 yards) where he was basically uncoverable the entire game. The Rams tried everyone to slow him down and no one could. For a guy who doesn’t fit the poster image as a dominant wide receiver, it was one of the most dominant wide receiver performances in the history of the Super Bowl. 

Welker should receive his red jacket and his rightful place in the Hall soon. If you don’t remember how good he was, play back his very first game in a Patriots uniform. Belichick was called out by the bobos on talk radio for giving up multiple draft picks for a guy who couldn’t hack it with the Dolphins and Bolts. That first game against the Jets answered all of those questions. You could see it happening right before your eyes. 

Do we really have to go thru these mental gymnastics that are all the rage over, “Is so-and-so the best ever?” Be thankful we had both, and a seamless transition between when Welker left and Edelman truly took over. The offense was different then, it evolved and has become even better than it was then. In a big game, give me either in his prime and I’m confident that I’ll win.

Attention Belichick GM Haters…PFF Has the Patriots With the Best Roster in the NFL:

The site Pro Football Focus (PFF) is bound to be taking heat amongst the Bill Belichick haters, especially among the ones that are always beating the drum that “GM Bill is hurting, Coach Bill” and that “Belichick can’t draft.” Sound familiar?

PFF put together a piece for ESPN where they compared every roster in the NFL and despite losing Trey Flowers, Trent Brown, and Adrian Clayborn in free agency and Rob Gronkowski to retirement, the Patriots still have the best roster in the league. 

PFF cited the Pats strength down the middle and it begins with QB Tom Brady. Brady, according to PFF had his fourth “elite” season in a row, (oopsie to the Simms, Kellerman trolls).

Despite always picking at the bottom of every round in the NFL Draft, Belichick has put together the top roster of the league. The Rams, Saints, and Eagles round out the Top 4. PFF listed, not tight end but the pass rush as a potential weak spot…more below.

Is the Patriots Pass Rush a Worrisome Spot? Not Presently: 

In the ESPN piece that was referenced above, as we said the Patriots pass rush was listed as a potential problem spot. After losing Trey Flowers and Adrian Clayborn during free agency, the Patriots who finished 31st in sacks in 2018 could be conceivably on the short end of the pass rush totals again this season. 

Trey Flowers had 7.5 sacks but was very versatile, fulfilling a variety of roles for the defense. Clayborn had just 2.5 sacks during the regular season but upped his play in the post-season. 

The post-season was a different story. The Patriots were much more aggressive and after logging just 30 sacks in 16 regular season games, they logged 10 in just three playoff tilts. And it wasn’t from one player, they got contributions from everyone. Kyle Van Noy led the team with three, while Dont’a Hightower and Flowers each had two apiece. 

In the Super Bowl, quite a difference from the year before, the pass rush hounded Jared Goff all game long. The defense had 13 QB hurries, eight QB hits, and four sacks. One of the pressures on Goff resulted in Stephon Gillmore’s interception at the end of the game.

But the team didn’t stand pat and signed free agent Michael Bennett from the Eagles and then drafted Chase Winovich in the 3rd round. And if the spring workouts with the unpadded workouts and no contact are any indication, LB Jamie Collins should be in-line for some quality playing time.  

Bennett, despite being 33 is still a quality pass rusher and like Flowers, has the ability to move inside and bring pressure up the middle. Winovich was somewhat of a steal, with the Patriots snagging him with the 77th overall pick. While neither has played a snap with pads on yet, this isn’t to suggest that either is a cure-all but the cupboard isn’t bare either. 

Deatrich Wise can kick inside and will have to up his play this season, while John Simon, Hightower, and Van Noy all have shown the ability to rush the QB on occasion. Collins is the wild card, having had a very good spring. Will the Patriots ever reap any reward out of Derek Rivers? He lost his rookie year to a torn ACL. Last year, he didn’t show much and will be under the microscope in Year 3. 

So, this will be an area to watch for sure during training camp, especially when the one-on-one battles take place between the OL and the DL. But the scheme will play a huge role as well. Will the defense continue their aggressive ways after a very successful playoff run in 2018-19? 

We aren’t predicting a Top 5 sack season, but we aren’t looking for them being near the bottom either. As always, the defense will no doubt start off slowly.  Bill Belichick, as always, adds elements to it as the year progresses. A weakness? Not right now it isn’t. But like every year, we’ll have to watch for injuries and players to step up first. Our view here is that the 2019 version of the defense should be much better in the pass rush department….we’ll see.

AFC East Notes will return soon….

________________

Julian Edelman’s motto for 2019? “Just got to keep it going.” That is a good motto for the team as they try to keep “Knockin’ on Seven’s Door.”

“So, how was your 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 and game analysis.

Best Of Social Media: Week 1 Texans vs Patriots

Robert Alvarez
September 11, 2018 at 3:23 pm ET

At long last the New England Patriots season opener arrived on Sunday against the upstart Houston Texans and young quarterback Deshaun Watson, who just a year earlier, gave the Pats a thriller at Gillette Stadium.

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Let’s go boys. #GameDay

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GAME DAY MOOD!

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In the first quarter, the new look Patriots defense made an immediate impact, with the help of a healthy Dont’a Hightower.

The Patriots scored first, as tight end Rob Gronkowski logged his first Gronk spike of 2018.

7-0 Patriots.

Before the end of the quarter, the Texans scored a Ka’imi Fairbairn 42 yard field goal to cut the deficit to 7-3.

To open the second, the Patriots offense continued to look crisp, as quarterback Tom Brady found James White for a 12 yard touchdown and a 14-3 lead.

Deatrich Wise and the Patriots defense continued to step up, bowling strikes along the way after sacks.

https://twitter.com/Patriots/status/1038851827071049728

Stephon Gillmore continued to keep Watson out of the end zone.

Just before the half, Gronk caught one of the more bizarre balls you’ll ever see.

https://twitter.com/WAD1980/status/1038857378551095296

The catch setup Phillip Dorsett’s first touchdown of the year and a 21-6 halftime lead.

In the third quarter, Brady and Gronk continued to connect deep. With this reception leading to another Gostkowski field goal and a 24-6 lead.

https://twitter.com/Patriots/status/1038869569299861504

With under two to play in the third, the Texans finally found the end zone when Alfred Blue ran it in from the one on Watson’s first successful drive of the afternoon. 24-13 Patriots after three.

In the fourth quarter, Doresett continued to impress, setting up another Gostkowski field goal to extend the lead to 27-13.

Nursing a two touchdown lead, return man Riley McCarron made things interesting following a muffed punt that lead to a Bruce Ellington five yard touchdown reception from Deshaun Watson. 27-20 Patriots.

So with the Texans down just seven, Ryan Allen and the special teams unit delivered as Houston was unable to tie the game and the Patriots would go on to win week 1 27-20.

https://twitter.com/Patriots/status/1038884315914887168

 

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12 & 99.

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W

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Week one ✔️

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Best Of Social Media: AFC Divisional Playoffs Titans vs Patriots

Robert Alvarez
January 14, 2018 at 10:56 pm ET

The Patriots entered the 2017 Divisional Playoffs as heavy favorites over the upstart Tennessee Titans, but were seeking to advance to their seventh consecutive AFC championship game.

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See you tonight #PATSNATION #NOTDONE #LETSGOO #UNDRAFTED @todaysathletes

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(Check out the follow up to this Tweet with a story by WBZ-TV HERE)

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In the first quarter, it was the Titans who drew first blood, as Marcus Mariota found an unlikely target for his first touchdown, rookie Corey Davis who got his first career NFL touchdown reception in the most important of games. An incredible one handed highlight grab to stun the Foxboro faithful early on.

Seeking a response after struggling to find a rhythm in the first quarter, the Patriots opened the second with a long drive that resulted in the game tying score on a quick catch and run by James White.

Two drives later, same guy, same result. The Patriots would jump ahead 14-7 for their first lead of the game, they would not relinquish it.

Chris Hogan, who battled injuries throughout 2017 that resulted in him missing seven of the final eight regular season games, only caught one pass in this game, but made it count. 21-7 Patriots heading into halftime.

In the second half, with running back depth thin due to the absence of Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee, Brandon Bolden saw surprise action against the Titans, and scored his first touchdown since 2015. 28-7 Patriots.

The Patriots opened up a 28-7 lead after three quarters and the rout was on.

Seeking to put the finishing touches on yet another divisional round victory, Tom Brady found Rob Gronkowski, and of course, a Gronk spike ensued.

The Patriots defense played a big role in keeping the Titans offense out of the end zone, allowing just two touchdowns all game, the second coming in garbage time when Mariota found Corey Davis again to bring the final score to 35-14.

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Wrong place at the wrong time #notdone #ICameToFlex #duh #ItsNotRocketScience

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Still going..

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Those my dawgs fasho! #NotDone

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Best Of Social Media: Week 16 Bills vs Patriots

Robert Alvarez
December 28, 2017 at 8:17 pm ET

The New England Patriots entered Week 16 looking to maintain their standing atop the AFC as the number one seed, but they had to get past a Bills team that came into last Sunday’s game still in the hunt for a wild card spot.

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sunday in foxboro #gameday #letsgo

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GAMEDAY – locked in! #patsnation #newenglandpatriots #patriots #patriotsnation

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For the second time this season, neither the Patriots or Bills could get much going in the first quarter. As the lone scoring game from a Stephen Haushka 41 yard field goal to give the Bills a 3-0 lead after one.

To open the second, Stephen Gostkowski hit a 21 yard field goal to knot the game at 3, but when the Patriots got the ball back two drives later, quarterback Tom Brady made a very uncharacteristic decision, and allowed his first interception return for a touchdown for the first time since lasts years Super Bowl. Jordan Poyer made the play and the Bills took a surprising 10-3 lead.

Needing a response, Rob Gronkowski found the end zone with an incredible catch for a touchdown that again tied the game up. 10-10 midway through the second quarter.

The Brady connection to Gronkowski was the 75th time both hooked up for a touchdown, fifth all time among quarterback to receiver duos. Both the Patriots and Bills would trade another field goal each and would go into the half tied at three, but not without another officiating controversy.

Despite the calls of “cheating”and “fixing” by outraged Bills fans following the ruling, their team managed to keep the game within reach heading to the locker room.

In the third quarter, both the Patriots and Bills again traded field goals to up the score to 16-16 as Bills running back Lesean McCoy broke ankles on his way to setting up red zone opportunities.

Seeking to get some space, Brady continued to find Gronkowski, which helped setup the Patriots second touchdown of the game, by former Bill Mike Gillislee.

Through three quarters 23-16 Patriots.

In the fourth quarter, the game shifted to become the Dion Lewis show, as the Patriots began to pull away from the Bills. Brady found Lewis from 12 yeards our for his 30th touchdown pass of 2017, which extended a record for most all time by a quarterback over the age of 40. It was also the seventh time in Brady’s career with 30 plus touchdown passes. 30-16 Patriots.

Lewis again would find the end zone with about four minutes to play in the fourth, a four yard run extending the lead to 37-16 and all but closing the door on any Bills upset.

On a day that would later earn him AFC Offensive Player of the Week, Dion Lewis ran for a career high 129 yards to go with his two scores.

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“What a feeling”

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Patriots, Brady Answer the Bell, Smother Saints 36-20 Observations

Steve Balestrieri
September 17, 2017 at 6:18 pm ET

Ok, now everyone can back away from the ledge. The Patriots did just what they needed to do after a bad performance in the Week 1 loss to the Chiefs, they dominated the game on offense and the Saints defense had on answers for the Patriots offense as the team ran out for 30 points in a pivotal first half and cruised to an easy win on the road.

It wasn’t all pretty, there are still several areas to tighten up on, but as we’ve seen for years with Bill Belichick and this team, it is always done be degrees and this team was infinitely better than the team that stepped on the field 10 days ago.

So after Buffalo thudded back to earth in Carolina, the Patriots find themselves tied with Buffalo at the top of the AFC East at 1-1. Miami and the Jets are still playing at this point although the Jets are trailing as we speak.  Here are some other observations on this one:

Tom Brady Skewers Saints “D”: We talked coming into this game that we’d be shocked if this offense didn’t score between 30-35 points. I predicted a 34-24 win. They actually went a bit more than that and left some points on the field in the process.

Brady entered the game with just three healthy wide receivers and put on an absolute clinic in the first quarter throwing for 177 yards and three touchdowns.

Brady overall was surgical, completing 30-39 for 447 yards and three touchdowns, no interceptions, no interceptions with a passer rating of 139.6

He went to his running backs more in this one, mostly James White and completed 13 passes for 143 yards to the backs who stepped up big time in the passing game this week. Brady was frequently under duress but stood tall in the pocket and delivered. Despite being short of WRs today, Brady completed passes to nine different players today.

Defense Steps Up: It still is far from what they’ll expect later in the season, but it is only Week 2. The defense was gashed a week ago by the Chiefs, and all week the lament was “what is Drew Brees and the Saints going to do?” Well, the defense stepped up big, especially in the running game. New Orleans ran for 81 yards, helped by a big run on the last play of the game by Mark Ingram. But that was much, much better for Matt Patricia’s unit. Take away that last run which skewed the stats and the Saints averaged 3.3. Yards per Rush.

Anytime you can go to New Orleans and hold Drew Brees and the Saints to two touchdowns, you’ve done your job. And this defense definitely did that today. They still need to work on their communications for the rub routes and pick plays but overall this was a much better effort.

Minnesota is supposed to have one of the best defenses in the NFL. They allowed 19 points at home to New Orleans. This same Saints offense at home where they are much more effective scored just one more point. Mission accomplished.

Gronk Has a Big Game Before Injuring Groin: Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski heard the talk about him supposedly losing a step this week after Eric Berry did a masterful job of slowing him down this week.

He too, answered the bell this week, hauling in six passes for 116 yards and a score, including his broken play 53-yard touchdown where it was vintage Gronkowski. He got free down the sideline, got the pass and shook off a tackle and then the big man rumbled into the end zone for a score and treating the fans to the first Gronk spike since Week 8 a year ago.

He then left the game and running another seam route and taking the ball deep into New Orleans territory he went down awkwardly and went straight into the medical tent. He was seen later pedaling the exercise bike on the sideline. We’ll have to see what transpires this week on the Wednesday practice and injury report.

Situational Football Pays Off: One thing we always love to watch in practice is the team practicing their situational football scenarios. Bill Belichick calls out downs, distances and time on the clock and the team has to respond. No one does it more and better than the Pats.

Today was a prime example of this. After stopping the Saints just before the half, the Patriots were driving and in a position to score to go up big at halftime. Brady led them down the field and on third down he scrambled but came up two yards short of a first down.

The reacted perfectly. The kicking unit ran on the field, the offense got off and Stephen Gostkowski had time to get set and boot a field goal to end the half that put the team up 30-13 at the break. It was a huge switch in momentum and was a prime example of why they practice those plays.

Deatrich Wise Steps Up Nicely in His Second Game: The rookie defensive lineman got a ton of reps today. Looking at the defensive line, there was a ton of youth out there at times with Wise, Adam Butler and Trey Flowers providing the pass rush.

Wise finished with two tackles, a sack and five QB hits on Brees. The young lineman from Arkansas had a very good summer and is off to a very good start in his NFL career. The pass rush wasn’t great today, especially considering the state of the Saints offensive line but it was good enough.

Cassius Marsh only had a few snaps but got some good pressure as well. His coming off the left end saved a touchdown as Brees had to unload the ball early and his pass was short, with his wide receiver open in the end zone.

Offensive Line Didn’t Play Well: The offensive line play will be an area where the coaches will try to settle things down this week, with Houston coming into town. Brady was under pressure far too often although they only sacked him twice. Nate Solder, in particular, struggled with Cameron Jordan.

But they also had a mixed bag in the running game. Overall the Patriots managed 119 yards on the ground which is good but only for a 3.8 yard per carry average. The run blocking will have to be better as we go on but again when you score 36 points and run up 555 yards on offense, there aren’t too many dings against the offense. However, the coaches will point to the 3 of 7 in the red zone as a teaching point this week.

Call the MASH Unit: The injuries continue to pile up. New England entered the game with just three healthy wide receivers and had two of them plus Gronkowski going down. Chris Hogan looked like he had a thigh injury and Phillip Dorsett also came up limping in what looked to be an ankle or foot problem.

Eric Rowe was injured which opened the door for Jonathan Jones to come in and he played very well, breaking up a couple of passes, one in the end zone on a very head’s up play. Rex Burkhead suffered a rib injury and left the game. It will be interesting to see who is healthy enough to go next week against Houston.

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

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.

An Early Projection for the Patriots Starting Lineup, Better, Stronger, Faster

Steve Balestrieri
May 8, 2017 at 9:08 am ET

The NFL Draft is in the books, free agency has been fruitful, and the Patriots have made a flurry of initial UDFA moves. Barring any late moves or last minute trades, the initial roster of the 2017 Patriots should now be set.

As it stands now on paper, the roster for this season’s team looks better than the one that just won the Super Bowl. But as Bill Belichick has frequently said, you never really know what each season’s team will be like until Thanksgiving. Lots of things can and will change, injuries occur, and some players’ production will either rise or fall inside the system. Tweaks to the roster always occur during the season.

But what we see now should constitute the bulk of this year’s team. Confidence is high as always in New England. And for a team that has won 10 or more games for 14 straight seasons, why should there be any other feeling?

So here is a quick projection for the starting lineup for the 2017 Patriots

Offense:
Quarterback:

Tom Brady: Well duh? No change from last year or the 15 years prior. While the talk remains that eventually, his play is going to fall off a cliff due to his age, at this point, it is a lot of wishful thinking for a lot of non-Patriots supporters. His play, especially in the 2nd half of Super Bowl LI shows he’s still at the top of the heap in regard to NFL QBs.

His backups remain Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett. The rumor mill for Jimmy G. had him being traded this offseason but he’s still here, at least for 2017 and should any injury occur, he’ll be ready to step in.


James White is among a crowded Patriots backfield this season.

Running Back:

James White: After a Super Bowl where he could have easily been named the MVP, White has been given a nice raise and contract extension. And with the Patriots being a passing team first, White has proven to be a trusted, capable weapon in the offense.

But the Patriots are a matchup team that uses a rotation of running backs so their roster of backs doesn’t really have a starter per se, it will depend on how they match up against an opponent. Mike Gillislee will have a big role, taking over the big back i.e. LeGarrette Blount role. Something to consider, New England runs the ball on third down much more so than most fans would believe, so Gillislee will have a big role.

Rex Burkhead and Dion Lewis, who should be completely healthy now round out the RB options. James Develin remains the fullback. Brandon Bolden, D.J. Foster, and LeShun Daniels are longshots for the roster at this point.

Wide Receiver:

Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Brandin Cooks: The Patriots brought in the speedster Cooks who was very productive in New Orleans this offseason. He’ll move around from outside to the slot depending on the matchups. A look at the top three with Edelman, Hogan, and Cooks shows that all of them can do the same. That makes for a very difficult group to cover. The versatility factor makes this group even more dangerous.

Malcolm Mitchell and Danny Amendola are the primary backups and they’ve shown that they’ve earned Brady’s circle of trust. Mitchell came on in the second half of his rookie season and should be ready for more production in Year 2.

Devin Lucien, Devin Street, and Cody Hollister are longshots for the roster.


Rob Gronkowski is once again the Patriots top TE Option heading into 2017.

Tight End:

Rob Gronkowski, Dwayne Allen: Gronkowski returns healthy for 2017 and Allen was brought over in a rare trade with the Colts, replacing Martellus Bennett who left in free agency. Gronk, when healthy remains the gold standard for NFL tight ends. Allen is an excellent blocker that can be very productive in the passing game who can attack the seams of the defense.

There is now plenty of depth behind them with James O’Shaughnessy, Matt Lengel, Rob Housler and Jacob Hollister fighting it out for a roster slot and repetitions. Training camp competition will be interesting to watch here.

Tackle:

Nate Solder, Marcus Cannon: No changes here from 2016. Solder returned from IR and played very solid in 2016. He’s in the last year of his contract and the Patriots must decide this year if they want him to return in 2018. Cannon was the biggest pleasant surprise of 2016. He parlayed a contract extension into a very solid campaign under the able tutelage of Dante Scarnecchia.

The team drafted a potential replacement for Solder in 2018 or beyond with Antonio Garcia. They added another tackle in the late rounds of the draft with Conor McDermott. He’ll be fighting backups Michael Williams, Cameron Fleming and LaAdrian Waddle for reps and a roster slot.

Guard:

Joe Thuney, Shaq Mason: No changes here from 2016. Thuney came in and started from Day 1 at left guard. As can be expected, he struggled a bit as a rookie and needs to come back stronger for his second season. Mason is a tough, road grader in the running game and will be looking to improve as well in 2017.

Primary backups should be Jamil Douglas who was brought over in midseason from Miami who was a 4th round draft pick in 2015 and Chris Barker.

Center:

David Andrews: No change here from 2016. Andrews is a bit undersized for the position but is smart and tough. He won over Tom Brady during training camp last year because of his ability to make the line calls and seeing the field much like Brady did.

His backup remains Ted Karras, the tough but less mobile version of Andrews. Karras can also play guard as well, the versatility that the coaching staff loves.


Flowers had a strong showing in 2016.

Defense:
Defensive End:

Trey Flowers, Kony Ealy: Lots of changes here. Gone are last season’s Week 1 starters Chris Long and Jabaal Sheard via free agency. But Flowers, who came on strong in the 2nd half of the season was the team’s best defensive lineman down the stretch and should be primed for a very solid 2017. Ealy was brought over from the Panthers as well as a 3rd round pick for the Patriots 2nd rounder.

Lots of good depth here now, Rob Ninkovich will play both DE and OLB and fill in where he’s needed and may still lobby for starting duties. Top draft choice Derek Rivers gives the team the speed and athleticism from the edge. Deatrich Wise is a bigger, edge setting end who can kick inside as an interior pass rusher. Lawrence Guy is another big man who can play inside as an interior tackle or on the edge. Geneo Grissom is on the outside looking in this year.

Tackle:

Malcom Brown, Alan Branch: No changes to the starting lineup. Brown played solidly in Year 2 but could stand to improve his pocket push in 2017. Branch was excellent against the run in 2016, eating up a ton of space. He returns with a new deal and has played the best football of his career since coming to New England.

Backups include Vincent Valentine, Woodrow Hamilton, Guy, Darius Kilgo, and UDFA Josh Augusta who is one of the players to watch in training camp. He’s a huge space eater who could be one of the surprise players to stick on the roster.

Linebacker:

Dont’a Hightower, Jonathan Freeny: Wait, what? People forget Freeny, a Bill Belichick favorite was a starter for the defense a year ago until landing on IR. Hightower got a new deal after testing free agency and not finding the market he envisioned out there. He’s the glue that holds the defense together for the Pats. He calls the defense and is the guy they need in the middle. He can do it all, stuff the run, cover in the flat and blitz up the A-gaps. Hightower’s starting slot is secure, Freeny will have to re-earn his spot this summer. But for now, he’s in.

Backups include sub-package third down players Shea McClellin and Kyle Van Noy, run-stuffer Elandon Roberts, Ninkovich, Trevor Bates and UDFA Harvey Langi. Langi is one of my players to watch this summer.

Since the Patriots spend so much time in sub-packages, we only include two starting linebackers, therefore…


Butler’s potential return solidifies a terrific secondary.

Cornerback:

Stephon Gilmore, Malcolm Butler, Eric Rowe: The team gave Gilmore a big money contract this spring during free agency. And after a contentious period with Butler, he signed his free-agent tender and has been in for off-season workouts. Rowe is a big matchup corner and gives the Patriots a very solid starting three. Each has the versatility to be shifted around and play outside or in the slot depending on how Belichick and Matt Patricia choose to use them.

Backups include Cyrus Jones, Jonathan Coleman, Jonathan Jones, and intriguing UDFA D.J. Killings who for now, is a long shot for the roster.

Safety:

Devin McCourty, Pat Chung: No changes here from 2016. McCourty is the QB for the secondary and always ensures that the players in are in the right position. He plays the centerfield position in the base defense and can slide up to play in the slot in the “big nickel”. Chung is the guy in the box, he plays physical against the run and he’ll cover tight ends in the short to intermediate range.

Duron Harmon was brought back with a nice deal in free agency. He plays a lot of snaps and replaces McCourty as the center fielder in big nickel coverage. Jordan Richards has been disappointing thus far. Nate Ebner and Brandon King are special teamers.

Special Teams:

Stephen Gostkowski, Ryan Allen, Joe Cardona, Matthew Slater: The team’s specialists remain the same. Gostkowski will have training camp competition for the first time in a while from Josh Gable, known more for his trick shots. Punter Ryan Allen and LS Joe Cardona face no competition. Slater is a perennial Pro-Bowl gunner.

So, with the additions made in the draft and free agency, the Patriots look …on paper in a prime position to compete for another Super Bowl bid. Of course, injuries and other factors always weigh in but there are no holes on the roster as it currently stands. They’ve addressed their needs across the board and look even better than the team that won 14 games in the regular season and three more in the playoffs in 2016.

Is it time for mini-camp yet?

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

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.

Patriots’ Defense on the Edge Will Have a Different Look in 2017

Steve Balestrieri
May 3, 2017 at 10:50 am ET

 The Patriots didn’t have to make too many changes for a roster that had just won Super Bowl LI but one of the areas that underwent pretty dramatic change was at defensive end on the edge. With Jabaal Sheard and Chris Long leaving via free agency, it was considered the Patriots biggest area of need.

And the Patriots have addressed it, bringing in Kony Ealy in a trade with the Carolina Panthers and then drafting a pair of edge players Derek Rivers from Youngstown State and Deatrich Wise from Arkansas. Those three players will join Trey Flowers and Rob Ninkovich for the Patriots this season. The team signed UDFA linebacker Harvey Langi as well and he played the edge for BYU somewhat last year, but his best fit is at outside linebacker.

Flowers was arguably the best Patriots defensive lineman down the stretch last season. He’s guaranteed to be starting at RDE when the season starts. Ninkovich and Ealy will compete for the LDE spot. With Rivers and Wise providing rotational depth.

But this year’s unit has a much different feel to it because they have more versatility. Ealy is a bigger guy at 6’4, 275 pounds. He can set the edge in the running game, has the athleticism to get after the passer and is big and physical enough to kick inside as an interior pass rusher on third down. Flowers already does that frequently.

The Patriots brought in another free agent, Lawrence Guy who can be a sub-package interior pass rusher. That’s what they’ll get in Wise as well. He’s a big kid, at 6’5, 275 pounds with insanely long arms that he needs to learn to use better. When he extends his arms, with his upper body strength, he can push through tackles and get to the quarterback. He’s frequently been compared to Chandler Jones but isn’t nearly as athletic. He’s more of a big edge setter. But Wise can also kick inside and provide interior pass rush…Seeing a trend here?

Which brings us to the team’s first draft pick Derek Rivers. If there was one element the Patriots front seven lacked on the edge last season was speed. Rivers will bring that speed to the pass rush with an athleticism that should serve the team very well.

Rivers isn’t as big at 6’4, 250 pounds at the defensive end position but ran a 4:61 in the 40-Yard Dash, with a 1:61 10-Yard Split. His time in the 3-Cone Drill was third best at the position with 6:94. That shows he has the quick twitch athleticism, loose hips and the ability to change direction as well as bend off the edge to get to the QB. He showed his strength with 30 reps at the Bench Press.

He may need some time to find his feet in the NFL, similar to how Flowers progressed in his first campaign, but he has the potential to be a very good player in the league. The good part is, with the depth of the team, he won’t be pushed too hard too soon. They can let him develop and learn the nuances of the position at the NFL level.

With the added depth, the Patriots can move Ninkovich around and possibly let him take some snaps at OLB with Shea McClellin, Kyle Van Noy, and Langhi.

However, the edge will look quite different in 2017. How effective will it be? No one knows right now but I’d bet on Belichick having it figured out as the season winds along.

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

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.

Daily Notebook: Wednesday Patriots News and Notes 5/3

Ian Logue
at 5:00 am ET

It was a quiet Tuesday as we hit the halfway point, but here’s a look at this morning’s top stories.

Fourth Round Penalty Costly? – With New England having been penalized a fourth-round selection thanks to DeflateGate, it was interesting to go back through Bill Belichick’s selections in that round over the years, which actually produced a fair amount of talented players.

Going down the list beginning with last season, it’s been a pretty good run for this team in that round in recent years.  While some of the selections in the earlier years didn’t pan out too well, they’ve had a pretty good run overall over the past few seasons.

Here’s the full list from that round during the Bill Belichick era:

2016: Malcolm Mitchell (113th)
2015: Shaq Mason (131st), Tre’ Jackson (111th), Trey Flowers (101st)
2014: Bryan Stork (105th), James White (130th), Cameron Fleming (140th)
2013: Josh Boyce (102nd)
2012: N/A
2011: N/A
2010: Aaron Hernandez (113th)
2009: Rich Ohrnberger
2008: Jonathan Wilhite (129th)
2007: Kareem Brown (127th)
2006: Garrett Mills (106th), Stephen Gostkowski (118th)
2005: James Sanders (133rd)
2004: Dexter Reid (113th), Cedric Cobbs (128th)
2003: Dan Klecko (117th), Asante Samuel (120th)
2002: Rohan Davey (117th), Jarvis Green (126th)
2001: Kenyatta Jones (96th), Jabari Holloway (119th)
2000: Greg Randall (127th)

It’s interesting looking back over these names, especially from 2000-2009.  New England either knocked it out of the park (Jarvis Green, Asante Samuel, Stephen Gostkowski) or they swung and missed badly (Kareem Brown, Dexter Reid, Garrett Mills).

But the past several seasons going back to 2014 has produced some pretty good players, including last year’s addition Malcolm Mitchell, along with Trey Flowers, James White and Bryan Stork (despite his career being cut short due to concussions).

As for this season, Deatrich Wise Jr. Joins his former teammate in Flowers as a player trying to become another success out of that round this season, and given how some of the experts seem to feel about Wise Jr, it seems like he could be the next player to make a name for himself on this list.

If nothing else, this list of players is certainly a reminder that the NFL Draft is obviously not an exact science. But credit the team with doing a better job here in recent years and it’s players like this that has been yet another reason why they’ve remained among the NFL’s elite.


Spending time with his mom trumped another visit to the White House.

Brady Admits Why He Skipped White House Visit – Reporters got to Brady during last night’s 2017 Met Gala in New York and the veteran quarterback admitted why he missed last month’s visit to the White House.

To no one’s surprise, Brady said time with his mom won out over going back to the White House for the second time in three years.

“Spending time with my mom and, you know, that’s pretty important to me,” he told ExtraTV.com during his interview. “It’s been a great year, but it’s even better to spend time with my parents and my kids.”

“I can’t wait to get that ring, that’s what I’m really looking forward to, that ring ceremony in a couple of months”

It’s likely been a more enjoyable offseason for Brady than it was last season, with the veteran getting a little redemption after coming up short the prior year against Peyton Manning and the Broncos.  After winning a fifth title, Brady’s seemingly already hit the reset button and he sounds like he’s looking forward to getting back to working on to now putting some jewelry on his other hand.

“We’ve started the new season so we’ve moved on in a lot of ways, ” said Brady.  “We’ll be ready to kick some butt here starting in a couple months.  Right now we’re just training, which is good, but it’s nice to be back to work.”

Patriots Break Six-Figure Salary Threshold with UDFA – Undrafted free agents tend to get nice little amounts of money as a little side bonus to go with knowing they’ll get a shot to compete for a spot on an NFL team.

But in New England, the Patriots made some news on Tuesday when the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe revealed that one player in particular got a sizable amount of guaranteed money from his new club for this upcoming season.

Howe reports that linebacker Harvey Langi got $100,000 in guaranteed base salary for this season, more than triple the amount of any other undrafted free agent player in the league.  As Howe points out, no other UDFA in the NFL has seen a guaranteed salary of more than $30k, which is obviously a testament of what they must think of the Brigham Young standout.

When you look at his measurables, he ran a 4.32 20yd shuttle and a 11.83 60 yard shuttle, with both marks earning him top performer honors at this year’s combine.  Those types of drills tend to catch the eyes of the Patriots coaches and it’s obvious they like him.  We’ll have to see if the money he’s earned will translate to a spot on the team in 2017.

Patriots Bring Back Street – The Patriots brought back a familiar face on Tuesday, with Devin Street finding himself claimed by the team that had him on their roster for part of their 2016 championship season.

Street was claimed off of waivers by New England after the Colts let him go and Street is back on the Patriots 90-man roster just in time as the the Patriots get ready to begin their upcoming minicamps and OTAs.

Street might be glad to be back but he obviously faces a pretty crowded group of talent as he joins Brandin Cooks, Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola and Malcolm Mitchell.  But it’s an opportunity to compete and grow as a player, which is about all anyone in the NFL can hope for.

The third year receiver played his college football at the University of Pittsburgh, having appeared in 36 regular season games and has 10 receptions over his career for 152 yards along with one touchdown, which came against the Giants back on October 25, 2015 in a losing effort while he was with the Cowboys.

Daily Notebook: Tuesday Patriots News and Notes 5/2

Ian Logue
May 2, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

We’re on to Tuesday, and here’s a quick look at today’s top stories.

Rivers Has Local Ties – Much was made of the fact the Patriots took Derek Rivers out of a small school like Youngstown (Ohio) State University in the third-round this past weekend, but looking closer, the defensive end also is a native New Englander with local ties.

He was actually born in Augusta, Maine, although he was raised in North Carolina.  But this weekend his mom, Mary Leinonen, sat with her son and their family, many of whom still live in New England, while they held a draft party in South Carolina.  According to the Kennebec Sentinal, as Rivers finished without having been drafted in the second round, he apparently began getting nervous.

However, it wasn’t long before the phone eventually rang and when his mom found out where he was headed, she was excited.

“He whispered to me, ‘Patriots,’ and I did a little jig,” she told the newspaper.

But for the next few minutes, they reportedly managed to hold it together in front of their family, who was unaware of the call and got to experience the jubilation of his selection as his name came across the television.

“I didn’t really care what team he went to. He didn’t care, either, he just wanted the chance,” Leinonen said. “The Patriots was a nice surprise. I went to a (Patriots) game when I was 7 and Steve Grogan was the quarterback.”

Now that Rivers has realized his dream, hopefully the next trip to Foxboro will be even more memorable for Leinonen.

For now, Rivers will take his next step this weekend when mini-camp begins.

Belichick Got Right to the Point With Wise Jr. – Watching the video on Patriots.com of what went on when the Patriots made the selection of Deatrich Wise Jr. in round four over the weekend showed that Bill Belichick doesn’t mince words and gets right to the point when it comes to telling a player they’re about to become a Patriot.

When it came to selecting Wise Jr., it was Berj Najarian, who is listed as director of football/head coach administration on his Linkedin page, who was the one who made the initial call to get Wise Jr. on the phone.  From there it was Belichick, looking relaxed while dressed in khaki shorts and a blue buttoned down short-sleeved shirt, who stood up and walked across the room with a focused look on his face to take the phone from Najarian to speak to the rookie.

There was a quick greeting by Belichick after Najarian handed him the phone, and from there, the Patriots head coach delivered the news.

“We’re about ready to make you a Patriot here,” said Belichick.  “Houston, they’re going to pick, then we’re going to select you.  So, congratulations.”

Done.

On the other end, Wise Jr. said the whole experience was definitely one he won’t forget.

“It was exciting,” said Wise Jr.  “Once I got that phone call it got real quiet, and then once my name went across the screen my family, my girlfriend, my friends around me just jumped for joy. It was a very joyful moment.”

Should Wise Jr. go on to have a terrific career in the NFL, it’s funny how that moment was the opening line in what the Arkansas standout is likely hoping will be a book with many chapters.  With rookie mini camp looming and OTAs not far behind, he’ll be getting started with that next step soon enough.


Wise Jr. seems to have the right attitude and should fit in well.

Wise Jr. Fit the Mold in Arkansas – Another note on Wise Jr. that was pretty interesting.  According to SECCountry.com, it’s worth noting that Wise joined Jeremy Sprinkle as a player who was just a 3-star recruit, which left them with limited options since neither player was highly-touted.

But after ending up in Arkansas, despite the doubters, it was the hard work and dedication that really impressed his coaches, including head coach Bret Bielema, who said that having guys who are hard workers far eclipses having four or five star recruits.

“I believe in development,” Bielema said last spring via SECCountry.com. “We’re never going to have a sexy roster of 5-stars or 4-star (recruits). We’ve got a bunch of guys that like to go to work every day and want to develop.”

It’s a trait that, as we know, Bill Belichick looks for as well, which will also hopefully make Wise Jr. a good fit here in New England.


Fans haven’t even gotten to see Cooks in action in New England yet.

King Calls Cooks Deal the “Trade of the Draft” – While the Patriots only came away with four draft picks this weekend, it’s hard not to remember that one of the deals they made could become one of the biggest of the offseason, especially when the time comes for fans to get a glimpse of what the pairing of Tom Brady and former Saints receiver Brandin Cooks will look like.

In his Monday Morning Quarterback piece, MMQB writer Peter King touched on the topic and called the acquisition of Cooks from New Orleans for the 32 overall pick the “Trade of the Draft”.

“Cooks is 23, has averaged 72 catches a year in his first three NFL seasons, plays tougher than he looks, and will play for the next two years for a total of $10 million. What’s not to like?” wrote King.  “And if you’re the Saints, you feel you’ve gotten in Ryan Ramczyk a guy who’s likely going to be a starting tackle for you soon—maybe this year—and it’s unlikely they’d have signed Cooks long-term after 2018. So from each team’s perspective, it’s a good deal.”

As for the Patriots, the first media sessions will be coming soon when the team opens up sessions on a limited basis.

First-round talent tends to sometimes be a gamble and the move for Cooks is certainly less risky than taking a chance on an unknown player.  It remains as a great move by a Patriots team that is now that much deeper with him on the roster and hopefully if all goes well, he’ll also make their offense that much better.

Three Games to Glory V is Now Available! – One of the best parts about when New England wins a championship is the fact that the team releases a video with plenty of behind the scenes footage, along with unique film from NFL Films documenting what was certainly an incredible playoff run.

Now that it’s finally May 2nd, today happens to be the day that the fifth edition of Three Games to Glory is released, commemorating New England’s Super Bowl championship run and documenting the journey through the playoffs through their historic come-from-behind win over the Falcons.

It’s finally available, and the team has been teasing the video for a while now and if you’ve seen any of the footage, it definitely brings back chills experiencing some of the terrific moments from the 2016 postseason all over again.

Coming off of Draft Weekend, the timing is certainly perfect as most of us are already fired up for the upcoming season. has it on sale on both DVD and BluRay and you can also support our own Miguel Benzan’s charity by selecting “Bread of Life” through Amazon.com’s smile program when you order.

Daily Notebook: Monday Patriots News and Notes 5/1

Ian Logue
May 1, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

After a busy weekend, here’s a look at this morning’s top stories:

Quality over Quantity In the 2017 Draft For the Patriots – The NFL Draft is typically one of the biggest weekends of the year for most Patriots fans who follow it intently, but given how few picks New England finished with in terms of selections (4), it will certainly go down as one of the most memorable due to how few they walked away with.

As Mike Reiss of ESPN pointed out on Sunday the four selections tied the 1995 San Francisco 49ers for the fewest draft picks by a defending Super Bowl champion, but New England seemingly made the most of the players they came away with.

They grabbed two offensive linemen and two defensive ends this weekend, infusing youth into two important positions for this team.

In Antonio Garcia and Conor McDermott the Patriots have two young players they can begin grooming for the tackle position on the offensive line, whether it’s for an eventual replacement for Nate Solder or simply to add quality depth in case of injury to either Solder or Marcus Cannon.  Protecting Brady is obviously a priority as the quarterback turns 40 and after losing right tackle Sebastian Vollmer, who seems appears poised to retire, it’s a wise move for a team that is lacking depth behind their two starters.

In Derek Rivers and Deatrich Wise Jr. the Patriots have two young defensive ends to help boost their pass rush, which is certainly good news for a team that has had their share of trouble getting to the quarterback.  Rob Ninkovich has played a lot of snaps over his career and at 33 may not have many seasons left, so developing players behind him is a good move.  Should either player emerge into a role player in 2017, it will only be that much better.

Overall, it’s not a bad draft for a team that was already in good shape thanks to what has been a pretty strong offseason. Thanks to this weekend, they’ve grabbed some terrific young pieces for the future, which if they pan out, will be another reminder of the quality of work that continues to be done by Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio and New England’s scouting department.


Conor McDermott brings versatility to New England.

McDermott Has Versatility, NFL Pedigree Working For Him – While we spotlighted Wise Jr. on Sunday and the fact his father is a former NFL player, recently drafted tackle Conor McDermott also falls into that category.

His brother, Kevin, is a long-snapper for the Vikings, which is a skill that McDermott claims is also in his arsenal, as well as the fact he’s had plenty of experience as a tight end.

“I used to long snap in high school,” said McDermott during his conference call on Saturday.  “And I did some back up during my college career.”

He also said that he was a tight end for his entire life prior to moving over to tackle in college.

“I was a tight end my whole life and then when I got to UCLA they moved me right to tackle, and then I did some tackle-tight end formations and some goal line and short-yardage for my first two years before I became a full-time left-tackle starter,” he said.

McDermott went on to say that he’s familiar with Nate Solder after having studied him in college, and he admitted he’s “been a fan of his for a while”.  He also went on to say he’s looking forward to meeting him.

The rookie also said that there’s some good chemistry between he and fellow draft pick Antonio Garcia, with the two having spent time working together at the Senior Bowl.

“We spent a good amount of time together,” said McDermott. “We were on the same team and practiced together every day, watched film together in meetings. He’s just a great guy. I’m happy for him and excited to work together.”

Needless to say, he sounds like a great fit and another great addition to the defending champs.

Patriots Add 17 Undrafted Free Agents – One part of the offseason that has become more of a focus in recent years has been keeping an eye on undrafted free agents, which has been fun to watch thanks to the players who have emerged from those ranks over the years for the Patriots.

New England loaded up with 17 undrafted players, although there may be changes still yet to come prior to when camp opens in a couple of months due to the roster shuffling that will likely take place between now and then.

One interesting story is the fact New England added a pair of twin brothers to the mix in Cody Hollister (WR, Arkansas) and Jacob Hollister (TE, Wyoming), which will likely be a fun story to follow later this summer as the two were recently profiled by FoxSports.com.

I was such a cute baby (on the right haha)

A post shared by Cody Hollister (@codyhollister) on

According to published reports, here is a list of the other additions from this weekend:

  1. LeShun Daniels Jr. (RB, Iowa)
  2. Jason King (OL, Perdue)
  3. Harvey Langi (LB, Brigham Young)
  4. Josh Augusta (OT, Missouri)
  5. Corey Vereen (DE, Tennessee)
  6. Austin Carr (WR, Northwestern)
  7. Dwayne Thomas (CB, LSU)
  8. Kenny Moore (CB, Valdosta State)
  9. Max Rich (OT, Harvard)
  10. David Jones (S, Richmond)
  11. Damarius Travis (S, Minnesota)
  12. Adam Butler (DL, Vanderbilt)
  13. D.J. Killings (CB, Central Florida)
  14. Cole Croston (OT, Iowa)
  15. Jason Thompson (S, Utah)

As for who will be the next Malcolm Butler (2014), David Andrews (2015) or Ryan Allen (2013), among plenty of other past standouts, that remains to be seen.  But if history is any indication, it will certainly be an area to keep an eye on during training camp to see if any one of these players ends up being this year’s surprise heading into this season.


Kirk Minihane of WEEI called Edelman “Essentially Brain Dead” Friday.

WEEI’s Minihane: Edelman a “Dummy” and “Essentially Brain Dead”, Brady’s Charity “Shady” – If you listened to WEEI on Friday, Kirk Minihane of “Kirk and Callahan” dropped some disturbing comments about Julian Edelman along with questionable remarks toward quarterback Tom Brady.

The topic of discussion came about surrounding the fact Brady and Edelman are taking part in an upcoming “Wealth and Success Summit” on June 8th in Boston with motivational speaker Tony Robbins.

While Minihane and Callahan disagreed with the two players being part of the event, Minihane went over the top with his criticism and had choice words in particular for Edelman.

“What I would say is, again, it gives you an insight into how empty Brady is,” said Minihane of the fact the quarterback is appearing at the event.

“He’s not empty, just because he has different priorities than you…” responded Callahan.

“If you think Tony Robbins, that crap he’s peddling is real, you are as dumb as the day is long,” said Minihane to Callahan.  “That’s what I would say.”

From there they played a clip from one of Robbins’ appearances, and that only infuriated Minhane further, which sparked one of his usual rants.

“I mean, really, and Brady will be sitting there with his notebook taking notes while this idiot [referring to Robbins] talks and slings his crap,” said Minihane.

“Julian Edelman, who is essentially brain-dead,” Minihane continued, “really is going to sit there and … ”

“Julian Edelman?” responded Callahan.  “You’re going to pay $6000 to hear Julian Edelman? …”

“Talk?” barked Minihane.  “I don’t want to listen to him talk here at the station for free every week.”

If you listen to Minihane with any regularity, you’ll notice a pattern of ripping someone, and then coming back with “I like that person … “.  He took same approach with Brady as the segment continued.

“So Brady has only so much time, according to Gerry [Callahan], for Best Buddies but he can take a day with Anthony Robbins, a full day, right?  O.K., just want to get that straight,” said Minihane.

“This is frightening, this seriously creeps me out.  I like Brady, he’s a nice guy, our interactions with him, he’s always been a good guy with us.  I know he does a lot of charity work.  I like the guy.  I’m actually worried about him.  I want to go there, I’ll pay the $6000, I’m going to throw a net over Brady and bring him somewhere and try and bring him back to reality because his mind has snapped.  It’s snapped, he’s snapped.”

“This is so below Brady.  This is so minor league.  This is Tom Brady, the greatest quarterback ever, the greatest football player who ever lived, a king in this town, he’s married to Gisele [Bundchen], the two of them are worth about $600 million and he’s going to schlepp to some hotel with Anthony Robbins and that dummy, Edelman?  For this talk?  Am I the only one who thinks this is utter madness?  Evidently.”

Speaking about Minihane’s praise for Brady’s charity work, he was singing a different tune earlier in the week.  Minihane went after the quarterback following the Globe (a newspaper he’s openly admitted he can’t stand and has a strong dislike for editor Joe Sullivan) releasing the piece about Brady’s charity, Best Buddies, last weekend, questioning where the money was being allocated.  Minihane surprisingly took the newspaper’s side and claimed Brady and the charity weren’t being transparent.


Minihane accused Brady of not being transparent with his charity last week using the word “shady.”

“So a charity that never disclosed it, gives $500,000 a year for his charity and what Brady does with it is things like, $250,000, if you donate to Best Buddies, there’s a chance that money is going to his high school in San Mateo, they get $250,000,” said Minihane.  “If you give Best Buddies $100, if you’re a guy making $35,000 a year, you give Best Buddies $100 because you love Brady, just know, there’s a chance it’s going to Santa Monica Catholic Community, or the TB12 Foundation, a charity formed by Brady in 2015 to support clients of his Foxboro-based TB12 Fitness and Nutrition company.  That’s in the world of shady to me right there.  I’ll say it.”

“Ohio State University, $50,000, in honor of Ed Razek, that’s where your money may be going, a former Victoria Secret executive who is said to have helped launch Brady’s romance with Gisele, in 2006.  $50,000 Michigan, obviously Dana Farber, Mission of Hope Haiti, Navy Seal Foundation, a charity for Tom Martinez, Brady’s coach who died five years ago. $30,000 went to a nursing facility in Minnesota that cared for Brady’s grandfather before he died in 2016.”

He then argued with Mut Mutnanski about if giving to the nursing facility was a good cause (again, Brady’s grandfather was cared for there which obviously holds a special place in the heart of the quarterback) and proceeded to argue with Mutnanski about whether or not Brady’s own foundation was also good cause.

“You think the TB12 Foundation is a good cause?” barked Minihane.  “Based on what?”

From there, Minihane claimed Brady and Best Buddies weren’t being transparent about where the money was going, which Mutnanski tried in vain to explain to him that the information is there if Minihane just “does the work” and looks for it, which it is.  Co-host Gerry Callahan also tried to reason with him, but failed as well.

Minihane, who joined the show a few years ago and has injected some life back into WEEI’s morning show, has played an important part in the station taking back the lead in the ratings over 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich.  But some of his bizarre rants seemingly are said (one can only hope) without him really thinking them through and certainly must test the incredible patience shown by his co-host, along with the two terrific producers WEEI has for that show in Chris Curtis and Ken Laird.

Brady and Edelman both appear weekly on the radio station during the regular season, with Brady being the only one of the two who conducts a weekly interview with Kirk & Callahan’s show every Monday during the season.  Edelman usually appears in the afternoon with Ordway, Merloni and Fauria and since WEEI owns the rights to Patriots Monday, that’s the primary reason why those two players appear on there each week.

Needless to say it would be great if Minihane could tone it down and stick to the things he does really well, like interviews like these, instead of these rants that likely wouldn’t be received positively with either player if they were made aware of them.

It’s been a rough road for Minihane, who has faced multiple suspensions over the years and last season cost the station weekly interviews with Mike Lombardi and has alienated others.  One would believe that costing the station a weekly interview with a player like Brady – or Edelman for that matter – likely wouldn’t be something that would go over too well with the station.

Brady’s said in the past he’s a very positive person and tries to avoid negative situations.  Despite that, it’s safe to say the veteran quarterback wouldn’t be feeling overly positive about Minihane’s comments.  Knowing Minihane, who already predicted Brady’s impending demise two seasons ago, there will most likely be more to come.