Tag Archives: Devin Lucien

Patriots Release Wide Receiver Malcolm Mitchell

Steve Balestrieri
August 6, 2018 at 3:11 pm ET

The Patriots are releasing wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell, according to NFL insider Jason La Canfora.

Knee issues have dogged Mitchell since his playing days at Georgia and are the cause of his release. The Patriots tried unsuccessfully to shop Mitchell around this summer but his inability to get on the field had no interested parties.

Mitchell, who just turned 25, was a key contributor in the Patriots Super Bowl run in 2016. He caught 32 passes for 401 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie, nearly all of it in the second half of the season. He missed part of that season with an elbow injury but came back and earned the trust of Tom Brady. He steadily gained confidence and was a huge part of the 4th quarter comeback against the Falcons in the Super Bowl.

He caught five passes for 63 yards in the second half of the Super Bowl.

His future looked bright, however,  the very same knee issues robbed him of 2017. He never made it onto the field last season and his knee woes held him to just a couple of all-too-brief cameos this spring. That led to the Patriots shopping him unsuccessfully.

The team can either convert him to IR again with an injury settlement or outright release him, depending upon the health of his knee. It is a case of oh-so-close for the talented wide receiver.

So where does this leave the team? In the short term, it immediately opens up a roster spot, despite the fact he hadn’t been practicing. That will be filled quickly. But it was clear before training camp even began that Mitchell wasn’t going to be in the team’s plans for 2018.

With Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett, Cordarrelle Patterson, Eric Decker, Kenny Britt, and younger players Riley McCarron, Braxton Berrios, Devin Lucien and Paul Turner, they have enough depth to carry them through the season. Although Britt too has missed some valuable time this camp. Julian Edelman will miss the first month of the season due to his suspension.

As we posted in our 53-man roster projection this morning, Mitchell wasn’t on the roster and youngsters Berrios and McCarron were still on the outside looking in for a roster spot.

It is a shame to see a player as talented as Mitchell lose his career on an injury. But the chances of another team taking a flyer on him at this point would remain pretty slim.

The 2018 New England Patriots On Social Media

Robert Alvarez
August 2, 2018 at 6:03 pm ET

The following list is a reference point for the 2018 New England Patriots social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and YouTube.

(NOTE: Most Snapchat account links only available within app and are not listed publicly)

Ryan Allen 

David Andrews

Ja’Whaun Bentley

Braxton Berrios

Brandon Bolden

Tom Brady

Kenny Britt

Rex Burkhead

Marcus Cannon

Patrick Chung

Adrian Clayborn

Duke Dawson

Phillip Dorsett

Eric Decker

Nate Ebner

Julian Edelman

Danny Etling

Trey Flowers

Marquis Flowers

Mike Gillislee

Stephon Gilmore

Rob Gronkowski –

Lawrence Guy

Duron Harmon

Dont’a Hightower

Jeremy Hill

Chris Hogan

Jacob Hollister

Brian Hoyer

Cyrus Jones

Jonathan Jones

Ted Karras

Harvey Langi

Brandon King

Devin Lucien

Shaq Mason

Jason and Devin McCourty

Sony Michel

Malcolm Mitchell

Cordarrelle Patterson

Derek Rivers

Elandon Roberts

Eric Rowe

Christian Sam

Danny Shelton

Joe Thuney

Vincent Valentine

Kyle Van Noy

LaAdrian Waddle

James White

Deatrich Wise

Isaiah Wynn

Patriots Trade QB Jacoby Brissett to Indy for WR Phillip Dorsett

Steve Balestrieri
September 2, 2017 at 2:20 pm ET

The Patriots on Saturday have swung another trade, this one on a much larger scale. They’ve traded QB Jacoby Brissett to the Indianapolis Colts for WR Phillip Dorsett.

This deal was first reported by ESPN’s Field Yates.

Dorsett, 24, is a 5’10, 185 pound WR who is going into his third year with the Colts. The former first-round pick, who was selected 29th overall in 2014, caught 33 passes for 528 yards in 2016. He is an explosive type of WR who will be expected to be insurance for Julian Edelman in the slot and on Special Teams where he could be asked to help in the punt return game. But another scenario may be that this will free up Danny Amendola for more work in the punt return game and leave Dorsett to concentrate more in the slot.

Not good news for WRs Austin Carr and Devin Lucien.

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 – Texans Preseason Game #2, What to Watch For

Steve Balestrieri
August 19, 2017 at 8:00 am ET

The Patriots and Texans have finished their joint practices and meet in Houston on Saturday night at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. local time) for the second preseason game of the 2017 Patriots schedule.

The game will be broadcast on CBS with Dan Roche, Christian Fauria and Matt Chatham (sidelines) on the call. It will also be live on NFL Game Pass and on 98.5 the Sports Hub, the Patriots flagship station with Bob Socci and Scott Zolak on the call.

After a couple of spirited and tough practices against the Texans this week in West Virginia, the teams meet in a preseason game before doing it for real in Week 3 in Foxboro. Here are some of the things we’ll be watching for.

Brady and the Healthy Starters Making an Appearance: Last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Patriots sat 40 of their veteran players as well as some hurt ones. It would be difficult to imagine them sitting again and then having to play two + quarters against the Lions next week in the tune-up for the regular season.

So this will be the first chance we get to see guys like Brandin Cooks and Rex Burkhead on the offense and established veterans like Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, and James White will get to strut their stuff with Brady. I still don’t expect to see Rob Gronkowski this week.

On the defense, that means seeing Stephon Gilmore and Malcolm Butler at corner this week with Pat Chung and Devin McCourty at safety. None of whom played a week ago. David Harris should see some action at middle linebacker tonight as well.

The Offensive Line Will Have Their Hands Full: The Patriots know full well how tough the Texans front seven on defense is. They gave them all they could handle in the divisional playoff game in Foxborough last year. The joint practices were much more of the same. On Tuesday, the Texans defense carried the day, leading Brady to get heated on the sidelines. They were better on Wednesday but look for Houston to get after whoever is under center.

Nate Solder, Tony Garcia, and LaAdrian Waddle are banged up and won’t play. That leaves Cameron Fleming protecting Brady’s blind side over left tackle. The team kept a running back in, right behind the left tackle to help out this week. When Brady is in, expect to see James White or Burkhead doing much the same thing.

Whitney Mercilus, J.J. Watt, Jadevon Clowney et.al had a good week going against the Patriots offensive line during the joint practices. They’ll be looking to set the tone early by doing the same. The offensive line will have to give Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo the time to find the receivers. With that in mind, our next key to watch…

Patriots Wide Receivers Keeping the Pressure On: During training camp thus far this summer, the Patriots wide receivers have looked like a pretty dominant group. The versatility and depth make this unit fun to watch. This week will be our first chance to see them on the field together. Brady already has great chemistry with the likes of Edelman, Hogan and Danny Amendola. He’s approaching that (in practice) with Cooks who has been explosive this summer.

While Houston’s front seven is a dominant type of group, the secondary has some question marks. At corner, they lost A.J. Boyue who effectively shut down half of the field in the divisional playoff game in January. And at safety is the Texans position of concern. They’re still searching for answers there besides Andre Hal who wasn’t terrific a year ago. If there is a chance to stretch the field tonight, look for Brady to do so with either Cooks or Hogan.

Once the starters give way, guys like Devin Lucien, Austin Carr and TE Jacob Hollister will be looking to continue their hot summers. All three would be, in a different time frame, in a great position to make the roster. With the depth in place, all three are having to make strides to make the 53-man cut down in two weeks.

Patriots Edge Pressure, Where Does It Come From: We’ve mentioned the Texans front seven which is excellent and now the flip side. With the injuries to the two rookie draft picks, the Patriots are thin on the edge. Dont’a Hightower won’t play, so that leaves the team even thinner. Where does the edge pressure come from?

This will probably be a question we’ll ask every week, but for now, veteran Trey Flowers who led the team down the stretch a year ago will be the guy who is expected to provide the most pressure. Look for the team to employ LBs Kyle Van Noy and Shea McClellin in more of a rush mode beginning this week. Rookie Harvey Langi, who is having a very solid camp will no doubt be tasked to do more of the same.

One area where the team can help the edge players is to push the pocket from the inside where the Texans QBs, Tom Savage and DeShaun Watson can’t step up. That will fall to guys like Lawrence Guy and Adam Butler, the rookie UDFA who is stepping up his game.

Bottom of the Roster Players Have a Great Chance to Shine: With the Patriots 90-man roster as deep as we’ve seen it in many years, the players who round out the Patriots roster will have a chance to strut their stuff against a playoff team from 2016 in the Texans. And that includes a couple of players who didn’t have their best moments against the Jacksonville Jaguars last week.

Cyrus Jones struggled mightily on defense, and he’s clearly over-thinking things back there. That is something that has to be remedied. In essence, he’s the #5 corner, so he’s not expected to play much on defense. But he can’t let it affect his play in the return game. And he was lackluster there a week ago, tonight is a prime opportunity to erase those bad feelings.  If he fails there, the Patriots have options. Both Danny Amendola and Dion Lewis are waiting in the wings if called. Time to step it up.

Elandon Roberts and Jordan Richards both struggled a week ago, Roberts was reaching and filled the wrong gaps and Richards’ deficiencies in speed were put on display as well as taking a very poor angle on a 79-yard touchdown run. Both need to step up their game.

As we mentioned above, the young receivers, Lucien, Carr, and Jacob Hollister have another prime opportunity to impress the coaches. Adam Butler and Conor McDermott on the offensive and defensive lines, respectively are players to watch tonight.

 

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.

New England Patriots Training Camp Primer – Wide Receivers

Steve Balestrieri
July 11, 2017 at 6:30 am ET

Position is Loaded and Will Be Fun to Watch

The Patriots head into training camp in just a few weeks and there should no shortage of competition at several spots, especially at the back end of the roster. 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 wide receivers.

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. With the new rules in play, the Patriots will start camp with 90 players and don’t have to cut down until the final 53.

The Patriots were stocked pretty well at wide receiver in 2016 and were very productive. The good news was they lost only Michael Floyd who played just a bit down the stretch. The better news was that the team only got Danny Amendola to agree to another pay cut, but they locked Julian Edelman on an affordable, team-friendly deal that keeps him around for the next few years.

And yeah, the team brought in speedster Brandin Cooks who has been very productive with Drew Brees and the Saints. What’s not to like about this position? Not very much. On paper, this unit looks as deep, talented and versatile as any group we’ve seen. But we digress, let’s look at the entire unit.

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

Roster Locks: Brandin Cooks, Julian Edelman, Malcolm Mitchell
The Patriots traded their first-round draft pick to New Orleans for Brandin Cooks, the #32 pick in the draft for a guy who is just 23-years old and in the past two seasons has caught 162 passes for 2311 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Cooks has that take your breath away speed in the open field and is versatile, he can play inside, outside or in the slot. Look for the Patriots to move him around and put him in motion to get a free release and get set to watch some fireworks this season.

Julian Edelman is primed for another big year. (SBalestrieri photo)

Edelman is Brady’s best friend off the field and his favorite target on it. The self-made wide receiver has turned himself into a fantastic professional. Facing questions in 2016 about his foot after multiple surgeries on it in 2015, Edelman played all 16 games, caught 98 passes for 1106 yards and was always counted on to make the clutch catch at crunch time.

In the playoffs, Edelman caught 21 passes for 342 yards and a touchdown. His catch in the Super Bowl late in the 4th quarter with the Patriots behind was one of the great plays of the entire season and helped the Patriots win the game in overtime.

Mitchell was having a very good training camp and then hurt his arm in the preseason. That slowed his progress but in the second half of the season, the lights came on for him and he was solid down the stretch. Overall, he made 32 catches for 401 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie, including a two-touchdown game against Darrelle Revis, the first time Revis has allowed any WR to catch two TDs on him in a game.

Mitchell also had a solid Super Bowl, catching six passes for 70 yards as Tom Brady showed amazing trust in his rookie wide receiver. Now with a full offseason under his belt and better familiarization in the system, Mitchell should be an even better player in 2017. With all of the options, his numbers may not reflect it, but we expect big things from him this season.

Near Roster Locks: Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola
Hogan came over from the Buffalo Bills last year and for the first time in his career, he didn’t enter training camp on the bubble with guys brought in to replace him. All he did was have a career year in 2016 with 38 catches for 680 yards, for an incredible 17.9 yards per catch with four touchdowns.

In the playoffs, Hogan caught 17 passes for 332 yards and two more scores. Like Cooks and Edelman, he has the versatility to move inside, outside or in the slot. That means that Josh McDaniels can move those guys around and create favorable matchups.

Chris Hogan looks to build upon a successful 2016 season this year. (SBalestrieri photo)

Amendola has found a home here in New England, and while he never became the replacement for Wes Welker that he was supposed to be when he signed, (that job has been more than ably filled by Edelman) he’s been remarkably clutch.

He is arguably no more than the fourth option in the passing game, but when the chips are on the line, he has Brady’s absolute trust. Trailing in the Super Bowl with less than a minute to go and needing a two-point conversion, Brady was going to him all along. And he delivered, as he’s done in many clutch situations.

I don’t expect him to have eye-popping numbers in 2017, but we can expect a couple of highlight reel catches or touchdowns…possibly both. And then the team will re-do his deal again next spring.

On the Bubble: Andrew Hawkins, Devin Lucien
Hawkins signed with the Patriots after playing for the Browns the past three seasons. He also played three more with the Bengals. The diminutive 31-year old wide receiver has had a 50-catch season with Cincinnati and a 60-catch season with the Browns.

In another year, I’d say his chances of sticking around are pretty good, but a look at the top five WRs on the roster and the question is, Who would he replace?

Lucien has good size and is the second tallest WR on the roster at 6’2. He was drafted by the team in the 7th round in 2016 with their final pick and stuck around last year. But like with Hawkins, it will be very hard for the players to unseat any veterans ahead of them on the roster.

Outside Looking in…. Longshots: Austin Carr, Cody Hollister
The Patriots signed undrafted free agents Austin Carr and Cody Hollister this spring and both are intriguing.

Carr is a 6’0, 201-pound wide receiver who caught 90 passes for 1247 yards and 12 touchdowns while operating out of the slot for Northwestern. He runs quick, precise routes and specializes at catching passes in traffic. He sounds exactly like a bigger version of Danny Amendola.

Hollister is a long-shot to make the roster but has good size and very good special teams’ ability. During mini-camp, we saw Hollister displaying good chemistry with 3rd string QB Jacoby Brissett. That’s the kind of thing he’ll have to do this summer if he has any chance of sticking.

I would put both Hollister and Carr in the realm of having a good shot at landing on the Practice Squad.

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.

Andrew Hawkins Announces Signing With Patriots

Robert Alvarez
May 24, 2017 at 10:30 pm ET

The New England Patriots officially added another wide receiver to their already crowded depth chart on Wednesday by signing free agent Andrew Hawkins to a one-year contract.

Hawkins announced the signing via the Lebron James developed professional athlete social media platform “Uninterrupted.”

“I’m super excited about the opportunity to join the reigning football champions. I exited Cleveland, and I said it was about joining a contender and the Patriots are the contender, the reigning champs. The program is top-notch and you get the opportunity to play with the best quarterback and the best coach in NFL history.”

Hawkins professional football path began in the Canadian Football League from 2009-2012 where he won two Grey Cup Championships for the Montreal Alouettes after four collegiate seasons at the University of Toledo.  In January 2011 he signed his first NFL contract with the then St. Louis Rams but was waived in August of that year. The Cincinnati Bengals claimed Hawkins off waivers later that summer and he spent the next three seasons in Cincinnati before moving north to Cleveland from 2014-2016.  The Browns released Hawkins on February 27th 2017.

2014 saw Hawkins have his most productive season as a professional, leading the Browns with 63 catches for 824 yards, but inconsistent quarterback play in Cleveland limited Hawkins to a combined 60 catches over the last two seasons. For his career, Hawkins has 209 receptions for 2,419 yards with five receiving touchdowns in six NFL seasons.

Julian Edelman, Brandon Cooks, Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell and Matthew Slater are already locked into spots on the active depth chart. Hawkins will likely be competing with undrafted free agents Austin Carr and Cody Hollister in training camp. Devin Lucien and DeAndrew White are also on the Patriots practice squad.

To make room for Hawkins, the Patriots released wide receiver Devin Street and now have 12 wide receivers under contract.

Hawkins then followed up his announcement by posting an edited video scene from the HBO series “Ballers” which featured wide receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola but with Hawkins head put onto the main character Ricky Jerret, played by John David Washington.

Back to Work. #Patriots @dannyamendola @edelman11

A post shared by Andrew Hawkins (@hawk) on

Best of Social Media: Super Bowl LI Postgame and Championship Parade

Robert Alvarez
February 10, 2017 at 9:07 am ET

The instant New England Patriots running back James White crossed the goal line plane for the winning touchdown, the largest comeback in Super Bowl history was complete.

Facing a 25 point deficit, the Patriots never led until the final score. An unprecedented 31-0 run to end the game set off one of the wildest finishes in football history and a fifth Lombardi to One Patriot Place in Foxborough.

Below is a compilation of some of the best social media postings shared by the players, media, and fans during the celebration on the field and the parade in Boston two days later.

It takes a team. And so much love. #NeverStopBelieving

A post shared by Tom Brady (@tombrady) on

My everything

A post shared by Tom Brady (@tombrady) on

https://www.instagram.com/p/BQLRA8wjXBg/?taken-by=gisele&hl=en

https://twitter.com/NFL/status/828463124059738112

Catch me at the parade How Bout Dat

A post shared by Tom Brady (@tombrady) on

"If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don't deal in lies, Or being hated, don't give way to hating, And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise: If you can dream – and not make dreams your master; If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools: If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breathe a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!' If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, ' Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch, if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds' worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, And – which is more – you'll be a Man, my son!"

A post shared by Tom Brady (@tombrady) on

Rain drop. Drop top. Benny dabbin on the boat with his Papa!

A post shared by Tom Brady (@tombrady) on

https://www.instagram.com/p/BQRCyqXDQv0/?taken-by=tombrady

"If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don't deal in lies, Or being hated, don't give way to hating, And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise: If you can dream – and not make dreams your master; If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools: If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breathe a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!' If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, ' Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch, if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds' worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, And – which is more – you'll be a Man, my son!"

A post shared by Tom Brady (@tombrady) on

#patsnation we love you!!!!! coming home with another one! #wegotsomereallybigrings

A post shared by Julian Edelman (@edelman11) on

A post shared by Julian Edelman (@edelman11) on

A post shared by Julian Edelman (@edelman11) on

5 boston 5

A post shared by Julian Edelman (@edelman11) on

Boston you are the #champions #gottabelieve

A post shared by Julian Edelman (@edelman11) on

Best ever no questions asked! # 2 for me and # 5 for that guy!!

A post shared by Rob Gronkowski (@gronk) on

My brother @glenn_gronkowski and I super bowl champs together!!

A post shared by Rob Gronkowski (@gronk) on

Tag team Gronk Bro's VS the Hype bro's! @mojorawleywwe @zryder85 #duckboat #champs #gronksquad #wwebelt

A post shared by Rob Gronkowski (@gronk) on

Champs!! #GronkBro's #Gronkfitness #patriotsnation #parade

A post shared by Rob Gronkowski (@gronk) on

When you're a CHAMP!!!

A post shared by Jason+Devin McCourty (@mccourtytwins) on

https://www.instagram.com/p/BQL22r3A4vH/?taken-by=mccourtytwins&hl=en

Me: Tom we won the SUPER BOWL AGAIN…YEAAAAA Tom: LETS GOOOOOOO….Parade was epic!!!!! -Dmac

A post shared by Jason+Devin McCourty (@mccourtytwins) on

For Life I have my beautiful wife and TWO Super Bowl Championships!!! I am blessed!!! #wifeforlife #bymyside

A post shared by Robert Ninkovich (@nink50) on

World Champs!!!!!!! #itsneverover #patriots

A post shared by Robert Ninkovich (@nink50) on

A post shared by Robert Ninkovich (@nink50) on

Champs!!!!!!!

A post shared by Robert Ninkovich (@nink50) on

A post shared by Robert Ninkovich (@nink50) on

Never quit.

A post shared by Danny Amendola (@dannyamendola) on

A post shared by Sheard (@jabaalsheard) on

https://www.instagram.com/p/BQMLKsgAB0h/?taken-by=mac_bz&hl=en

A post shared by Malcolm CB Butler (@mac_bz) on

https://www.instagram.com/p/BQNudTXjN47/?taken-by=dharm30

https://www.instagram.com/p/BQTKfhcDfT9/?taken-by=dharm30

2x World Champ

A post shared by Logan Ryan (@realloganryan) on

Champions….

A post shared by Martellus Bennett (@martellusb) on

https://www.instagram.com/p/BQKecO0hN4l/?taken-by=martellusb&hl=en

When your boy gets the baddest girl in the club phone number!! Swish.

A post shared by Martellus Bennett (@martellusb) on

Letsss gooooooo! Shoutout to everyone who came to the parade! #champs #sb51 #patsnation #doyourjob #parade

A post shared by Chris Hogan (@chrishogan_15) on

No better feeling!! 2x World Champs!! #GoPats

A post shared by Nate Ebner (@ebs43) on

https://www.instagram.com/p/BQMPReMBErM/?taken-by=_boomtower

Reason for my being!

A post shared by Patrick Chung (@23patrickchung) on

When you're happy so you just tackle people

A post shared by Patrick Chung (@23patrickchung) on

We worked for every bit of this. Awesome time today with the boys #hulksmash #patsnation #fam

A post shared by Brandon Bolden (@bbhulksmash) on

We always the littest @sweetfeet_white28 @gronk @d_lew33 @martellusb

A post shared by LeGarrette Blount (@l_blount29) on

https://www.instagram.com/p/BQKuEV8DO-F/?taken-by=laflamablanca95

https://www.instagram.com/p/BQLhXkID_w3/?taken-by=laflamablanca95

https://www.instagram.com/p/BQNxhp2D6os/?taken-by=laflamablanca95

https://twitter.com/III_Flowers/status/828731813891813376

https://www.instagram.com/p/BQNwJFWjcIq/?taken-by=iii_flowers

Champs.

A post shared by Matt Lengel (@matthewlengel) on

https://www.instagram.com/p/BQO2J5BgziQ/?taken-by=lindaholliday_

Belichick SMILE ALERT!

NO DAYS OFF! NO DAYS OFF!

(Everyone in attendance took the day off)

Some current and former Boston athletes got in on the congratulations.

Curse broken?

Captain America was on the edge of his seat.

The greatest troll tweet of all time.

Just remember, always think before you tweet.

Roger That.

With Competition Heating Up, Keshawn Martin a Player to Watch

Steve Balestrieri
August 25, 2016 at 7:33 am ET

Missed a lot of time and needs to show he’s ready

Keshawn Martin will be one of the key players to watch this Friday when the Patriots take on the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte on Friday night.

With the cuts in the 90-man roster (Patriots are already down to 81), looming to 75 next week, the Patriots still have an on-going and intriguing battle for the fifth wide receiver position. The team has Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan and rookie Malcolm Mitchell as roster locks. Danny Amendola seems close to returning from the PUP so he’d be #4. That leaves a single spot unless the team opts to carry an extra WR at the expense of a position elsewhere.

Martin was an under-the-radar pickup for the Patriots in mid-September last season. The 5’11,195-pound wide receiver was an inactive player for the first two weeks of the season with Houston. The Patriots sent a fifth-round draft pick to the Texans and received Martin and a sixth-rounder in return. He quickly proved his worth and showed nice versatility in working his way in with the Pats seamlessly.

Martin-beats-Coleman-deep

Martin appeared in 11 games in 2015 and caught 26 passes for 326 yards and two scores as the Patriots third wide receiver. He also returned 12 kickoffs for 302 yards and 8 punts for 92 yards. The Patriots gave Martin a $600,000 signing bonus as part of his new 2-year deal worth $2.975 million dollars and immediately his status for the upcoming season improved to a near roster lock.

In June, Martin spoke to the media about excited about the opportunity to have an entire offseason in the Patriots system and working with Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo. But training camp hasn’t been a smooth one for Martin. He’s missed some time with an injury and when he was on the field, he was outplayed by Aaron Dobson.

Now he’s back on the field and taking full part in the practices which are very good signs that he’ll play against the Panthers in the third preseason game this week. He needs to, the competition is heating up for that fifth and final wide receiver spot on the Patriots roster.

On our latest 53-man roster projection from last week, Martin was still penciled in as our choice for the final wide receiver but there is still plenty of opportunity for that to change.

Dobson had a very strong camp but his production in the first two preseason games hasn’t been eye-popping. DeAndre Carter and Chris Harper have both had their moments during training camp and have been consistent, hard workers who’ve been answering the bell every day, something that can’t be overlooked. Devin Lucien seems a long-shot at this point and would be a practice squad candidate.

Martin brings the veteran presence, the prior production, and the special teams’ versatility to the table when discussing his chances. If he’s healthy and able to generate any kind of offensive production, he’s still the favorite to land on the 53-man roster. Because Carter, Harper, and Dobson all will be trying to turn heads themselves against one of the better defenses in the league.

So in watching the game within the game this week, keep tabs on the Patriots wide receivers, especially Martin. Five players are vying for one roster spot. And time is running out on the opportunities to show what they can do.

My money is still on Martin, but don’t rule anyone out just yet.

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Patriots Training Camp Primer – Wide Receivers

Steve Balestrieri
July 13, 2016 at 6:00 am ET

Health, New Blood Are Important Factors

The Patriots head into training camp in just a few weeks 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 is the Wide Receiver position.

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 next up are the wide receivers. The Patriots have no less than 11 players vying for roster spots although Matthew Slater is truly a special teams’ specialist first and a WR second. For our purposes, we’ll list Slater later with our STs primer.

This is a position that is top heavy with roster locks and it will be hard for some of the players trying to either break into the NFL or established veterans to carve out a roster spot. So the competition here, especially for the last slot will be intense. Another question to be answered is, will the Patriots carry five WRs or six?

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

Roster Locks: Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell
Edelman is recovering from another procedure related to his surgery where he had another pin placed in his broken foot. That the team will no doubt opt to go slowly with him will help the other players vying for spots get more reps.

Among the cognoscenti of national NFL writers, Edelman is widely considered a “system player”. While we differ with that assessment, no one can argue his worth with Tom Brady and the Pats. He’s one of  Brady’s favorite two targets in the passing game and his toughness and willingness to do the dirty work is unquestioned. A healthy Edelman in September means big things for this offense, so we may not see much of him in camp.

Amendola has worked himself in Brady’s “Circle of Trust” and become a key member of the wide receiver core. He has a knack for making the tough catches at critical times and is another guy who, while not the biggest guy, has plenty of toughness. He worked his contract again to stay in NE.

Hogan was signed as a free agent from the Buffalo Bills this spring and is another guy that isn’t highly valued elsewhere. But he’s a perfect fit for this New England offense. He can play inside in the slot or slide outside into the “X” position that Brandon LaFell played in the past two seasons. While he doesn’t have the short-area quickness of Edelman, he’s bigger (6’1, 220 lbs) with better top end speed.  He’ll be an intriguing guy to watch as the season unfolds.

Hogan comes back and makes a nice catch in front of Biggers

Hogan comes back and makes a nice catch in front of Biggers

Mitchell is a lock due to his draft position. The rookie wide receiver from Georgia has decent size at 6’1, 195 pounds and played in a pro-style offense in college. He runs good crisp routes, has excellent hands and has outstanding athleticism. He probably would’ve gone higher in the draft but he had some injuries and played in a run-heavy offense. Mitchell injects some much-needed youth into the wide receiver position.

Near Roster Locks: Keshawn Martin
Martin came over in a trade last year with the Houston Texans and showed he was a quick study, learning the Patriots offense swiftly upon his arrival. Now with a full offseason under his belt, Martin is looking to carve out a role with the team.

The speedy, if undersized wide receiver has the versatility that the coaches love. He can play inside in the slot (are we seeing a pattern here?), outside in the “X”, as well as play special teams. Martin was given a contract extension with some decent guaranteed money last year, so the team liked what they saw from him a year ago.

On the Bubble: Nate Washington, Aaron Dobson, Chris Harper
Washington, another Texans’ WR, signed with the Patriots as a free agent in March. The 32-year old veteran was a member of two Super Bowl winning teams earlier in his career and now is looking to add another to his resume.

He’ll be an outside the numbers kind of receiver here. Washington has always been a deep threat kind of player with a 15.2-yard career average per reception. How will he fit in with the Patriots short to medium passing game? He struggled to find a rhythm with Brady in the spring, but there is plenty of time left to get it going.

The clock is running out for Aaron Dobson. When the Patriots drafted him in 2013 NFL Draft he came with a rep of having the size and hands to be a #1 type receiver for the Patriots. But injuries, inconsistent play and a lack of confidence in him place him squarely on the bubble in 2016. He had a strong spring, but will need much more to stick around this year. He’ll have to stay on the field for the entire training camp and preseason and turn some heads.

Chris Harper signed with the Patriots as a UDFA out of Cal last spring. Facing an uphill battle in training camp, he had an impressive summer and preseason and made the 53-man roster in September. But he couldn’t break into the offense last season and unfortunately for him, he’s best remembered by the gaffe he made. He muffed a punt in Denver last November which led to a Denver comeback OT victory. Harper faces much the same odds this season again and will need a strong summer to make the team.

Harper had a catch that looked eerily familiar to a certain SB catch

Harper had a catch that looked eerily familiar to a certain SB catch

Outside Looking in…. Longshots: Devin Lucien, DeAndre Carter
While these next two players are longshots, don’t go to sleep on either.

Devin Lucien is an intriguing player because he’s bigger receiver at 6’2 and is the kind of guy who traditionally comes out of nowhere to make the team. He played three seasons at UCLA and had just 58 catches before transferring for his senior season at Arizona State.

Playing in the “X” role, he had a solid 2015 with 66 catches for 1072 yards and eight touchdowns. But it was his finish that got the Patriots attention. He snagged 26 catches for 534 yards with five touchdowns in his final three games. Once he got familiar with the offense, his play took off. He was one of Pro Football Focus’ UDFA sleepers to watch.

He’s got very good athleticism, running a 4.49-second 40-yard dash at his Pro Day with a 6.93 time in the 3-cone drill and a 34.5-inch vertical leap. With the logjam ahead of him at WR, it will be a tough hill to climb for the 7th rounder, but we’ve seen this happen before. He may be a good Practice Squad candidate.

DeAndre Carter signed with the Ravens as a UDFA in the spring of 2015. He spent training camp with Baltimore before being picked up by Oakland and finally the Patriots last year. He signed a futures contract with New England and is facing an uphill climb to make the roster.

While diminutive at just 5’8, 188 pounds, Carter is very athletic, running a 4.44 time in the 40-yard dash with a 1.45 10-yard split, a 38.5-inch vertical leap and a very impressive 6.64 time in the 3 Cone Drill. Carter is fast, makes quick cuts and had a pretty impressive spring.

But again, with the logjam at WR especially players that can play the slot, he’ll have to really have an impressive summer to stick. But if Edelman and Amendola aren’t ready to go at the outset of training camp, Carter could turn enough heads to make a push for a roster spot. He too, like Lucien could end up on the Practice Squad this fall.

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

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For the Patriots WRs, Opportunity Knocks With Edelman Out

Steve Balestrieri
May 16, 2016 at 6:03 am ET

With #11 out until mid-August, the time is now to build trust w/Brady

The Patriots got some not entirely unexpected news last week when it was announced that WR Julian Edelman had a second procedure on his injured foot and had a screw inserted. While for the fans and the team this is a worrisome development, if you are one of the many wide receivers vying for a roster spot or an increased role, this means something totally different…Opportunity.

While no one wants to see another man hurt or miss time, these players are professionals and they can recognize this for what it is. Injuries are a constant fact of life in the NFL and all of the other receivers (WR/TE/RB), not named Danny Amendola, or Rob Gronkowski have a unique opportunity to build their rapport with Tom Brady and gain the QB’s trust. With Dion Lewis rehabbing from a torn ACL, it is true for the backs as well. And the time to do that isn’t in Arizona Week 1, but now… in the spring OTAs, the minicamps and into training camp.


Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola have already built up their trust level with Tom Brady, now the new members of the offense have to step up. (USA TODAY Images)

As a former Special Forces operator, we looked at things in much the same manner that these young men will now. While the average man looks on events thrust upon him as a blessing or a curse, the warrior-minded individual looks upon every obstacle in front of him as a challenge. That was our Bushido and it undoubtedly is theirs as well.

The events playing out now with Edelman out and even Tom Brady possibly missing the first month of the season is a unique opportunity for the receivers on this team to carve out their roles and build trust with both Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo.

There are a lot of new faces in the Patriots offense this season. WRs Chris Hogan and Nate Washington came over in free agency while Malcolm Mitchell and Devin Lucien were added in the draft.  TEs Martellus Bennett and Clay Harbor were signed during free agency as was RB Donald Brown.

The Patriots also have WRs Aaron Dobson, Keshawn Martin, Chris Harper, DeAndre Carter who all will be looking to expand their snap counts this spring and summer as they fight and compete for roster spots.


Chris Hogan will be looking to carve out a role in the Patriots offense in 2016. (USA TODAY Images)

Without the Pats most favored target in camp, these players will have expanded opportunities to work with both Brady and Garoppolo to build up the timing, the comfort level and the trust needed to thrive in the Patriots offense. Gronkowski and Amendola already have found that trust level with Brady, the rest need to get working on it now.

Speaking of Amendola much has been written about how he was staring at being released if he didn’t agree to a huge salary slash. One has to wonder now if that was indeed true. The Patriots had to know, full well that Edelman was staring at another surgical procedure. Regardless of whether he’s “expected” to be good to go for training camp (which is still a big if), would the Patriots roll the dice and cut Amendola loose with the possibility that Edelman may not be ready for the season? Especially considering that both LeGarrette Blount and Lewis are coming off of serious injuries.

While everyone is expecting Hogan and Bennett to be very successful this season, for all intents and purposes they’re still unknown quantities in the New England scheme. That would leave Gronkowski as the only trusted weapon that could (looking at a worst case scenario) be available in Week 1. So perhaps it was really Amendola that held the power there. If so, then the Patriots made a slick maneuver. Regardless, Amendola decided that staying put was his priority over everything else and the point was moot. Still an interesting topic, however.

Watching the spring and early summer workouts it will be intriguing to see who thrives with Brady and who does so with Garoppolo. I think we’ll see Hogan initially step into an Edelman-esque mode while Mitchell will probably take on much of the workload that the now-departed Brandon LaFell handled.

It wouldn’t surprise me to see Jimmy G build up a big rapport with the new TEs, Bennett, and Harbor. But at this point, it is purely speculative. There will be a lot of moving parts this spring/summer and the veterans will be motivated to step into new roles on a new team quickly.

For the younger players especially the draft picks and UDFAs especially a guy like D.J. Foster, with some of the Patriots top weapons being on the shelf during the spring, the time is ripe for them to learn the playbook and gain some valuable experience working alongside Brady and Garoppolo and earning that all-important trust.

There is always the next Wally Pipp waiting to happen…

Carpe Diem

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

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcast 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.