Tag Archives: Leonard Hankerson

New England Patriots News 3-27, And AFC East Notes

Steve Balestrieri
March 27, 2016 at 5:00 am ET

Good morning, here are Sunday’s Patriots news 3-27 notes and what’s happening around the division.

Billionaire Boys Club Turns a Jealous Eye to Kraft: At the NFL league meeting in Boca Raton, FL this week, Patriots owner Bob Kraft acknowledged that he indeed did write a letter to Commissioner Roger Goodell asking to restore the Pats draft picks. However, he quickly found himself voted off the island.

“I don’t think you’ll see any momentum among our peers,” Kraft said. “I wish they would, because they could be in a similar position.”

To quote former Patriots WR Troy Brown, “We’ve got Bingo here!”

Goodell was asked later in the week if he would comment on Kraft’s letter. He stated that there “was no new information in it” and “the penalties will stand”. If you’re surprised by that, then you haven’t been paying attention.

The league certainly hasn’t.

After unleashing a series of false information leaks via the media immediately after the AFCCG against the Colts, the ridiculous Wells Report and outright lies about the questioning of Tom Brady and Patriots staffers, the writing has been on the wall for some time.

But this week when WEEI’s Kurt Minnihane interviewed Chris “Mad Dog” Russo from Sirius XM Radio, the story took another turn. Kraft’s fellow owners weren’t interested in the truth. Rather the owners were much more interested in punishing Kraft and the Patriots because….they win too much. Get the entire story from WEEI here:

Hey, let’s overspend in free agency, hire the coach du jour and make bad business decisions but punish New England because they win more than us.

Like little boys whose Soap Box Derby cars can’t keep up with the kid who wins every year, they are perfectly content to let their highly paid button man Goodell look like a buffoon constantly changing his tune to knock down that kid and put him to the back of the line. Integrity of the game? Seems laughable coming from Park Avenue.

Kraft had a choice a year ago to be part of the boy’s club and suck it up or do what’s right and sue the pants off the league. He tried to be the good soldier and this is how he was repaid by his brothers. Band of Brothers they ain’t.

Writing a letter to Goodell was merely a PR move to try to win back the fan base…there was no cavalry coming to his rescue.

They could be in a similar position.” Right Kansas City? It is more probable than not that the league wasn’t interested in hearing their side either.

Patriots Nation bids RIP to a Pair of Veterans: On March 24, the Patriots were saddened to learn of the loss of two former standout players, Julius Adams and Kevin Turner.

Adams, 67, was drafted by the Patriots in 1971 and played his entire career with New England from 1971-1985. He retired before coming back for a final season in 1987. He was a very good defensive end for the Patriots during his time and was a member of the 1985 team that went to the Super Bowl. He also was a member of the Patriots 50th Anniversary Team, announced in 2009.

He retired with 79.5 sacks, second in team history behind Andre Tippett’s 100. Perhaps his best moment was in the famous “Snow Bowl” game against Miami when he blocked a Dolphins’ field goal attempt later won by the Pats 3-0 when an inmate cleared the field of snow before John Smith’s kick.

Turner died from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) at the young age of 46. A good blocking and pass catching fullback, Turner played three seasons for the Patriots after being drafted by New England in the third round of the 1992 NFL Draft from Alabama.

During his career with the Pats Turner had 96 carries and 98 catches out of the backfield. His best was the winning touchdown in overtime against the Minnesota Vikings in 1994 after the Pats had trailed early 20-0.

Bill Belichick Not a Member of the “Breakfast Club”: The writing was on the wall immediately. Bill Belichick looked like he’d rather have a date with the hangman than suffer thru the interview at the “Coaches Breakfast” at the league meetings.

As soon as he sat down, he pushed the assorted microphones and voice recorders away with a forearm and then proceeded to grunt and answer each question with as short an answer as possible for the next 45 minutes. He said “I don’t know” at least 20 times (I stopped counting), and just glared without speaking at the requestor after one question.

I get it. On many levels. The fan in me is always amused by Belichick when he channels his inner Wilford Brimley curmudgeon-like self and gives the stare to questions.

I get it for Belichick. He’s never been fond of press conferences; they are to him a necessary evil that he puts up with to do what he loves…to coach football. But normally his pressers at Gillette are with him on the podium with a bigger chasm between him and the media where he generally extends his arms as far as he can stretch.

The Coaches’ Breakfast is a much more intimate setting with the media sitting on top of him as well as behind him. For Belichick it is much too close and he wanted none of it. Of course because it WAS after all a league mandated event, his behavior could have had something to do with that. And we know how Bill feels about those and them.

I also get the standpoint of the media, as a person that has sat in front of Belichick during his press conferences, I’ve seen firsthand when he isn’t interested in giving a thing or when someone asks a question about a topic that catches him in the right mood, watch Belichick give a 17-minute dissertation on the construction of the Patriots practice squad. So Mike Giardi’s comment on Twitter which he was roundly booed for rings hollow. It is the media’s job to probe, to ask questions. Or, as Belichick is so fond of saying…doing their job.

Bottom line is, he is who he is. He’s not going to change and the only reason he was there was so he wasn’t fined….wait. What? Who said that?

Nate Washington Adds Depth to Receiving Core: The Patriots added another WR to the roster this week as they signed former Texans wideout Nate Washington to a 1-yr deal.  Washington should have little trouble picking up the Patriots system since Houston plays with a similar offense.

As soon as this news hit, the rumors were flying that this meant the end of Danny Amendola.  Not so fast on that one. While Washington who will turn 33 this season is able to work inside, his versatility allows him to work outside with equal ability.

The Patriots are not a team that worries much about designations; this guy is an “X”, that guy is a “Y” etc. They like their players to be able to step in seamlessly in any position. Washington on paper, can do that. If the need arises he can step in and play underneath. But he may push Aaron Dobson for the outside WR role where he can run those intermediate routes with the occasional deep one. Training camp will have plenty of competition this season.

NFL Cries Foul for Innuendo, Rumors…Really? This week the NY Times wrote a scathing article criticizing the NFL on its concussion research and links to the tobacco industry.

The league then took great offense to the Times piece and said that the newspaper “published pages of innuendo and speculation for a headline with no basis in fact.”

In its statement the NFL then went on to say, “Since learning of the proposed story, the NFL provided the Times with more than 50 pages of information demonstrating the facts. The Times ignored the facts. So we present them here:”

This sounds like the “New York Times story in context” or a reasonable facsimile thereof.  So apparently the league can dish out innuendo and ‘facts’ that can be disagreed with but can’t take it in return. My, my, my. One is left to wonder if the NFL’s legal team of Howard, Fine and Howard have any clue as to how crazy this sounds.

East Bound and Down…AFC East Notes:

Dolphins Searching for New Stadium Sponsor: The Dolphins, smarting from the losses of free agency now have other ‘fish’ to fry. Their stadium, Sun-Life Stadium until the naming rights expired a month ago, is now open for bidding for a new sponsor.

The stadium, previously known as Land Shark and Pro-Player and Sun Life is in the midst of a huge $400 million-dollar makeover that will include a canopy to keep fans dry when it rains.

Now they just have to come up with a way to fill the place.

Jets Have to Pay Fitzpatrick: The Jets did the smart thing and played the waiting game but the wild amounts of money that have been thrown around at a bunch of middling or backup QBs has them in a quandary. Now they have to pay Ryan Fitzpatrick or they’ll be in rough shape come September.

Obviously they didn’t want to pay Fitz the kind of money he’s looking for. But after seeing guys like Sam Bradford, Brock Osweiler and even Chase Daniel cash in, they may be forced to. Fitzpatrick isn’t their long-term answer but he took them to the brink of the playoffs last year, something that was out in left field at the start of the season.

At the league meetings they were trying to project an air of having it under control whether Fitzpatrick signs or not. The free agent market is drying up and Geno Smith is definitely a step in the wrong direction….pay the man.

Bills Re-sign Hankerson, Mills This Week: The Bills, in a tough place with the salary cap, announced a pair of signings this week. They re-signed WR Leonard Hankerson this week to a 1-year contract and also announced that RT Jordan Mills had signed his tender.

Buffalo signed Hankerson late last season after he was jettisoned by both the Falcons and the Patriots. He caught 26 passes last season in Atlanta. He had no catches for Buffalo, but should compete for the 3rd WR role now that Chris Hogan has signed with the Patriots.

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.

Transaction News: Patriots Waive Joey Iosefa, Lose Two Players On Waivers

Robert Alvarez
December 28, 2015 at 10:09 pm ET

As first reported by ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss, the New England Patriots announced on Monday they have released fullback Joey Iosefa following two weeks on the 53-man active roster.

Iosefa saw his only game action of the 2015 season against the Tennessee Titans in week 15 when he played 20 snaps and rushed for 51 yards on 14 carries. His most memorable highlight this season came on a 15 yard run when he knocked down Titans defensive back Coty Sensabaugh.

Reiss also reported “tight end Asante Cleveland (waived Friday) and receiver Leonard Hankerson (waived Saturday) were both claimed on waivers. Cleveland by the Chargers, and Hankerson by the Bills.”

Patriots – Jets II, Key Matchups; Who Has the Razor’s Edge?

Steve Balestrieri
December 24, 2015 at 6:09 am ET

The New England Patriots head back out on the road for a key game against the New York Jets. The normal rivalry aside, this one is even bigger in terms of playoff implications for both teams.

Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. ET on Sunday and will have Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts on the call. The game can also be heard on the Patriots flagship station of 98.5 FM the Sports Hub with Bob Socci and Scott Zolak on the call.

The Jets (9-5) are on a four-game winning streak and need to win to keep their playoff hopes alive. They are currently tied with both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs at 9-5 but lose out on the tie breaker and are on the outside looking in. They beat the Dallas Cowboys 19-16 last week as they gutted out a close win in the final moments.

New England (12-2), beat a bad Tennessee Titans team 33-16 on Sunday to clinch a first round bye in the playoffs. It was the Patriots sixth straight 12-win season becoming only the second team (Indy with seven) to do so. With a win on Sunday the Patriots will clinch the #1 seed in the AFC and ensure home field advantage in the playoffs.

We here at PatsFans.com are continuing our “Razor’s Edge” column in 2015 to give a quick break down on some of the key matchups of the game and what you can look for in how the game plays out.

Series History: The Patriots and Jets will meet for the 114h time on Sunday including the playoffs. The Patriots hold a 59-53 overall edge against Gang Green but the series has been marked recently by very close games. The Jets maintain a 28-27 lead at home although the Patriots lead 3-2 in games at Met Life Stadium.

The most recent matchup was another classic Pats-Jets contest; New York led 20-16 in the fourth quarter before Tom Brady led the Patriots on two 10-play scoring drives for touchdowns in the Pats 30-23 win.

Here is a look at some of the key matchups and who holds the Razor’s Edge.

First up is the Patriots offense:

Leonard Hankerson Has 3 Weeks to Impress Patriots Staff

Steve Balestrieri
December 18, 2015 at 10:09 am ET

The Patriots added some depth at wide receiver this week by signing WR Leonard Hankerson off of waivers from the Atlanta Falcons.

Hankerson was originally drafted by the Washington Redskins in 2011 draft with the 79th pick in the 3rd round out of the University of Miami. Hankerson played four years with the Skins before signing a deal with the Falcons this spring.

Hankerson has 107 receptions in 39 career games for 1408 yards for a 12.6-yard average and nine touchdowns. In eight games for the Falcons he caught 26 passes for 327 yards and three touchdowns.

He has good size at 6’2, 211 pounds and can box out defenders in the intermediate passing game. He also has 4.43 speed in the 40-yard dash. While not a burner, he can at times go deep and stretch the field vertically. At just age 26, he should be entering his prime but his problem has been one of durability. He’s had just one season (2012), where he played in all 16 games.

He logged two 30-catch seasons for Washington in 2012-13 so he does possess some decent ability. His issue will be how quickly he can assimilate into this offense, how he will fit in and can he stay healthy for the next three to six games.

Not a LaFell replacement: All of social media was abuzz that the Patriots signed Hankerson with the thought of replacing LaFell in the Patriots offense. While the two possess a similar skill set and size, he’s not here to replace LaFell but to augment the other options for Brady and the offense.

Hankerson’s best area to work is in the 5-15-yard range where he can use his size to box out defenders and post up. Unlike LaFell he has a bit better speed where if you choose to stretch the field vertically, he is built better for that.

But Hankerson’s value for the Patriots will be to allow both Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola to heal up if he can work his way into the offense. With Edelman likely out again this week and next, it will be a good time to see what Hankerson can do.

3-Weeks to Showcase Talent: He really has a three-week audition for the Patriots. If he can produce and become a reliable target during the games against the Titans, Dolphins and Jets, then he can work himself into a nice supporting role for the post-season.

He has a lot of work to do and a lot of ground to cover to learn the intricate Patriots offense and route tree for the wide receivers. Remember last spring and summer where LaFell struggled with it mightily until the season started. Hankerson won’t have that kind of time. But in reality you could see his role evolve somewhat if he’s able to stick around and stay healthy.

He will probably be a short-to-intermediate receiver now while Amendola and Edelman are still recovering from injury. But once they’re back in the fold completely, he could see some deeper routes to keep defenses honest and to open up some of the underneath routes.

His development will bear close watching in the next few weeks. But it was a low-risk, high reward signing. Bill Belichick’s old friend Thomas Dimitroff did him and the player a favor by releasing Hankerson off of IR. He could find a nice niche here if things work out.

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.

Patriots Claim WR Hankerson and Tackle Waddle off Waivers

Robert Alvarez
December 16, 2015 at 10:05 pm ET

Following another Sunday that saw two more New England Patriots added to the injured reserve list this week, the team was once again busy on the waiver wire by adding wide receiver Leonard Hankerson and offensive lineman LaAdrian Waddle as first reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Hankerson, according to a Pro Football Talk article by Josh Alper, “was waived off of injured reserve by the Falcons on Tuesday because his hamstring injury healed since he was placed on the list earlier this month. Hankerson had 26 catches for 327 yards and three touchdowns in eight games with the Falcons before getting hurt.”

As for Waddle, he “started six games at right tackle for the Lions this season after recovering from the torn ACL that brought his 2014 campaign to an early end.”

To clear roster space for both players, the Patriots officially placed running back LeGarrette Blount on season-ending injured reserve and also waived wide receiver Damaris Johnson.