Tag Archives: New England Patriots

Slow Your Roll on the Patriots WRs… There’s a Long Way to Go

Steve Balestrieri
August 21, 2019 at 8:34 am ET

Social media was abuzz yesterday after and many Patriots fans were as happy as Christmas morning when the images of Josh Gordon stretching at practice and Demaryius Thomas in full uniform, off of PUP. With Julian Edelman and N’Keal Harry also back at practice, the wide receiver position and situation was now much rosier and many folks were already checking flight availability to Miami in early February. Let’s just pump the brakes on that just yet. 

We’re always glass-half-full types here and if there is anything that the past two decades have taught us is they always, always get things figured out. Which is why we weren’t in full-blown panic mode a week ago when the same social media mavens were decrying Bill Belichick for leaving the cupboard bare when Tom Brady was throwing to Gunner Olszewski early in the joint practice with the Titans.

Now with the risk of sounding like Debbie Downer here, we’ll try to explain our “cautious optimism” when it comes to the receiver group. Having Edelman, Gordon, Harry, Thomas, Phillip Dorsett, Jakobi Meyers, Maurice Harris, and Braxton Berrios at the position is certainly cause for optimism, and if it were 2012, I’d be calling friends in Florida and preparing them for houseguests in February. But it isn’t and I’m not ready to do that… just yet.

Gordon The Most Physically Gifted But Flawed WR:

Gordon’s talent is still undeniable, he showed that last year where he came in and produced at a very good level. And there is no reason to doubt that at age 28 that physically he couldn’t produce the same or even more if he plays 16 games. But he hasn’t played a full season since his rookie year of 2012. 

His issues have always been off the field and even with a great deal of support from the Patriots last season, his demons resurfaced and he once again found himself suspended by the league. While we certainly don’t want to see him backslide, more from a personal than a football standpoint, counting on him for an entire season is something the team can’t afford to do.

The Patriots made it clear that although they’d welcome him back [and gave him a tender], they weren’t planning on having him around. Hence the signings of Harris, Dontrelle Inman [now with the Bolts], Thomas and drafting Harry while adding Meyers after the fact. 

Can Thomas Reinvent Himself?

With Thomas, the opposite questions are in-effect. His on-field regression with the Texans last year was evident after he was traded by the Broncos. He didn’t look like the same receiver before he tore his Achilles. But he’s been rehabbing hard with the training staff and seems as upbeat as one can be. 

So what can be reasonably expected from Thomas at this juncture of his career? We didn’t think he’d even make the team, which is why the timing of his coming off of PUP was so intriguing. With just two days of practice before the Carolina preseason game, and then just a week of practice and a final tuneup with the Giants, it leaves him precious little time to get on the same page with Brady and the offense. 

Perhaps Thomas is going to reinvent himself as a more of a possession type of wide receiver and become a chain mover rather than the game-breaker he was earlier in his career. That is a possibility, but until we watch him on the field and see him run, I’d err on the side of caution, and not count on him making the 53-man roster. 

Harry and Meyers Have Upside But Are Still Rookies:

Patriots fans are justifiably pleased and should be with the selection and performance of both Harry and Meyers. And Meyers, the UDFA QB turned WR from NC State has probably been more impressive this summer. He’s shown a quickness off the line where he’s been able to gain separation and catch everything that’s been thrown his way.

Former Patriot and now analyst Matt Chatham said he looks like a six-year veteran on the field. He’s developed quite a rapport and chemistry with Brady and the QB has been throwing to his spots on the field before Meyers makes his breaks. 

Harry has all of the tools and the size to be a very productive WR in the league for years to come. He’s the only WR that Belichick has ever taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. He’s the master of the contested catch. However, his development has been slowed by a few nagging injuries this summer.

But something to keep in mind with both of these players is that they are rookies. Their production may take some time to get going. The speed and physicality of the NFL game is something they’ll have to get used to. They won’t be facing the twos and threes of an opponent’s defense but their top-line players. Patience is the word of the day.

So, while we believe that the offense is going to be just fine [never had any doubts], let’s just slow the talk of the “best WR group since 2007” for a bit …As Belichick is so fond of saying… “they have a long way to go.”

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 and game analysis.

Patriots Release Ryan Allen, Jake Bailey Wins Punting Job

Steve Balestrieri
August 20, 2019 at 7:12 am ET

The first domino has fallen in one of the hotly contested position battles for the Patriots 53-man roster. The team is releasing veteran punter Ryan Allen and handing over the duties to rookie Jake Bailey from Stanford.

The move essentially clears the way for Bailey to get the work needed to prepare for the regular season by getting all of the punting reps as well as the holds for extra points and field goals. And by releasing Allen now, Bill Belichick does the veteran a solid move by allowing him to find a new job right away. One would not expect Allen to be unemployed for very long. 

While many would consider this move surprising, especially after Allens’s performance in Super Bowl LIII, where he could have conceivably been the MVP, it was expected and we’ve written about it here since the June minicamp.

Bailey’s scouting profile listed that the rookie has a tremendous leg and can put an incredible amount of hang time on the ball. We were sold here back in June when we got to see him in the flesh for the first time.

His performance in training camp has done nothing to alter those initial perceptions, rather he’s reinforced them. While Allen has always been consistent, and most especially with his directional punting, Bailey’s punts were much longer and frequently had hang time for five seconds or more, which is well above the norm.

After the Titans safety on Saturday, Bailey’s free-kick punt from the Patriots 20-yard line traveled 67 yards and hung up for more than five seconds. This allowed Chase Winovich to tackle the ball carrier at the Tennessee 27-yard line.

His versatility had something to do with the move as well. Besides holding for kicks, Bailey can kickoff and act as an emergency field goal kicker if Stephen Gostkowski were to get injured in a game. 

This move of releasing Allen frees up and additional $780,000 in salary cap space, coupled with the release of WR Dontrelle Inman leaves the Patriots with $12,614,103 in available cap room. This is according to our bud Miguel Benzan, also known as @patscap, who is the go-to guy when it comes to the Patriots and the salary cap. It also frees up a spot on the 90-man roster. 

Bailey will be the first right-footed punter to play for the Patriots in the Bill Belichick era and the first on the team since Tom Tupa in 1998.

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 and game analysis.

Patriots 53-man Roster Projection 3.0, Several Vets Face the Axe

Steve Balestrieri
August 19, 2019 at 7:30 am ET

With the Patriots now halfway thru their preseason slate, we’re going to take stock of the roster once again and take a stab at predicting a 53-man roster projection. The preseason games in Detroit and Nashville along with several joint practices conducted with both teams have given the coaches much more information and play against an opponent to evaluate.

What is different about this particular projection is that several established veterans may now find themselves on the roster bubble as the coaches now find that the depth of this roster will make them face some really difficult decisions moving forward.

Offense –

Quarterbacks: (3)

Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer, Jarrett Stidham
Out: none

No changes here. The Patriots could feel that Stidham can handle the backup duties for Brady, much like they did in 2009 when Brady was returning from his ACL injury and Brian Hoyer was a rookie backup. But Hoyer’s value lies in his experience, he is a sounding board for Brady and does a valuable and underrated job of running the scout team offense during the practice week. This could change, but for now we’re sticking with three QBs.

Running backs: (5)
Sony Michel, James White, Damien Harris, Brandon Bolden, James Develin
Out: Rex Burkhead, Nick Brosette, Jakob Johnson* [NFL International Player]

A big change this time around. Develin could be lumped in with the tight ends but regardless of where he is, he’s not going anywhere. The Patriots are deep here and after the game in Nashville, Harris showed his versatility of being able to run the ball and made five catches out of the backfield. Something he shares with Burkhead. 

Could the increased versatility of Michel and now Harris, plus the return of Gordon mean that the Patriots cut Burkhead? Due to the depth and decisions, they have to make on the other side of the ball, [see more below], some very tough decisions will have to be made, and this one won’t be easy. Watch who is playing late in preseason games 3-4 and we may have our answer

Brosette has played well in limited action and lands on the practice squad. Johnson got a number of reps in Nashville who is automatically granted an extra spot on the PS due to his NFL International status

Tight ends: (2)
Matt LaCosse, Ryan Izzo, **Ben Watson Suspended**
Out: Lance Kendricks, Stephen Anderson, Andrew Beck, Eric Saubert

This all depends on how serious LaCosse’s injury situation is. If he’s going to be out for a while, this could open the door for one of the other veterans to step in. LaCosse has had a solid summer. Izzo is a good inline blocker, remember he made the 53-man roster last year before landing on IR.

Wide Receivers: (6)
Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry, Josh Gordon, Phillip Dorsett, Jakobi Meyers,  Braxton Berrios
Out: Maurice Harris (IR), Dontrelle Inman [asked for and granted his release Sunday], Damoun Patterson, Ryan Davis, Gunner Olszewski, Demaryius Thomas [PUP], Cameron Meredith [PUP]

Edelman, Harry, and Gordon project to be the top three. Gordon’s reinstatement puts him right smack on the roster in a lock status. They know his value.   

Meyers has been extremely impressive all summer and is now a lock. Harris was having a terrific spring/summer but he got injured and Tom E. Curran from NBC Sports Boston has reported he could be out “for a while”. So this is where the Pats will place him on IR with the possibility of returning later this season. Dorsett is injured as well. His position seems a bit unsure right now as well.

Berrios goes from out in our last projection to making the roster by virtue of his ability to return kicks and punts. Although they could tag Dorsett/Bolden for that. Thomas, although seen running full speed this week, along with Meredith begins the year on PUP.  With Gordon’s addition, the team will have to carry an extra wide receiver to protect themselves in the event that Gordon’s inner demons resurface. 

Offensive line: (8)
Isaiah Wynn, David Andrews, Shaq Mason, Marcus Cannon, Joe Thuney, Dan Skipper, Ted Karras, Hjalte Froholdt
Out: Yodny Cajuste [NFI], James Ferentz, Cedric Lang, Tyree St. Louis, Martez Ivey, Cole Croston

Wynn’s return to action and his performance in the game against the Titans has to be a big relief for the coaching staff. The team keeps Skipper as the swing tackle for now as Cajuste gets a red-shirt IR year. Froholdt and Ferentz battle it out for the final backup spot. But the team could opt for keeping just seven OL as they did at cut-down time a year ago.  

Defense –

Edge Players: (5)
Michael Bennett, Deatrich Wise, John Simon, Chase Winovich, Derek Rivers
Out: Keionta Davis, Trent Harris, Nick Thurman, Ufomba Kamalu

Rivers makes the cut this time around after very solid play this summer with a big caveat. He was hurt and helped off the field in Nashville. The severity of his injury may come into play here. Hopefully, he’s not injured badly this time around. 

Winovich has been very impressive this summer, Bennett, Simon, and Wise are established veterans. Harris has played well as a sub-rusher and could sneak in if Rivers is hurt more seriously.

Interior Defensive Line: (4)

Lawrence Guy, Mike Pennel, Danny Shelton, Adam Butler

Out: Bryon Cowart, David Parry

No changes. Guy and Pennel should be the Week 1 starting combination inside. Shelton returns, as the backup nose tackle. Guy and Butler offer versatility in either inside DL in a 4-3 or as 3-4 DEs playing a five-technique. This is a solid group and Mike Pennel should be an immediate early downs producer. Cowart is playing really well and although pushing for a roster spot will end up on the practice squad. 

Linebacker: (5)
Dont’a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Shalique Calhoun
Out: Elandon Roberts, Brandon King, Christian Sam. Terez Hall, Calvin Munson,

Big changes here, once again difficult decisions force the team to part ways with Roberts and King who is a special teams ace. Sam and Munson have looked good in limited availability but are victims of the numbers crunch. Calhoun has gotten better all summer long and brings good pressure off the edge. 

Cornerback: (6)
Stephon Gilmore, J.C. Jackson, Jason McCourty, Joejuan Williams, Jonathan Jones, Keion Crossen
Out: Duke Dawson, Ken Webster, D’Angelo Ross

Another area where changes are made. Gilmore, McCourty, and Jackson give the team three very good outside corners. Jones has clearly outperformed Dawson and will handle the slot. Williams has really come on and has played very well in the past few weeks. 

Will the Patriots cut ties with a 2nd round player [Dawson] who has never played a down? Unfortunately, that is the case.

Safety: (5)
Devin McCourty, Pat Chung, Duron Harmon, Terrence Brooks, Nate Ebner
Out: Obi Melifonwu, Malik Gant, AJ Howard

Ebner is back and edges out King for the STs slot. Toughest cut here is Melifonwu who has played well all summer long. The top three are locked in and Brooks has gotten a lot of work with the top unit. 

Specialists: (4)
Kicker Stephen Gostkowski, punter Jake Bailey, long-snapper Joe Cardona, Gunner Matthew Slater
Out: Ryan Allen

No changes here. Gostkowski and  Cardona faced no camp competition, although Gostkowski has missed kicks in consecutive games. Bailey has a huge leg and also can kickoff, he still gets the edge over the established solid veteran in Allen, who won’t be unemployed for long. Slater is tremendous as the Patriots gunner. 

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 and game analysis.

New England Patriots News 8-18, AFC East Notes

Steve Balestrieri
August 18, 2019 at 5:00 am ET

Good morning, here is your Sunday Patriots news 08-18 and AFC East notes this week. 

The Patriots are returning home and will prepare for the upcoming preseason game against the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night. The joint practices are over as is the open public portions of training camp. The media will still be allowed in but their access will be shortened as well during practices 

Check back with us frequently on PatsFans.com as we’ll continue to post daily training camp updates as well as breaking news. 

 Quick Hitters:

Derek Rivers – Tough break for the Patriots 3rd year player who has been having a very good training camp and he went down with an injury and didn’t return. Hopefully, it isn’t a serious injury this time around.

Russell Wilson – Is now a part-owner of a sports franchise, [Seattle Sounders]. One has to wonder if another QB was to purchase a portion of a professional team, say Tom Brady buys a piece of the NE Revolution that just happened to be owned his own team owner, Robert Kraft, then the internet would implode…instead, crickets.

Tom Brady – playing elsewhere or retiring in 2020? The story that just won’t die but truthfully, yes it could conceivably happen. And it could snow for the Panthers game. Brady is playing for a basic one-year deal. So are Phillip Rivers and Drew Brees. But ask yourself this, the Patriots aren’t going to saddle themselves with deferred bonus payments in 2020 and 2021 if they didn’t believe that there isn’t a very good chance of his returning. Feelings here is, depending on how 2019 goes, it gets done. 

Chase Winovich – Was chastised by Brady on Instagram. Wino posted a clip from Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” Act II, Scene I where he wrote:
That lowliness is young ambition’s ladder,
Whereto the climber-upward turns his face;
But when he once attains the upmost round.
He then unto the ladder turns his back,
Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees
By which he did ascend.

Brady responded with “Study your playbook”…savage

 Josh Gordon is Back, What Are Realistic Expectations?

The NFL has allowed Josh Gordon to be conditionally reinstated back to the team after a five-game hiatus [two regular-season games, three in the playoffs]. The league has to feel that he has his mental health and substance abuse issues in order. That is a good sign, for both the player and the person.

The Patriots kept a space open for him by offering a 2nd round tender on him and that wasn’t surprising, considering Gordon was a popular teammate and a productive one on the field. But now what? Where do the Patriots go with Gordon?

It isn’t as clear cut as one would think. During the entire offseason, NFL insiders were reporting that the Patriots would welcome Gordon back but they weren’t counting on his presence. Does that change now? As they already know, those demons that Gordon has battled don’t just magically disappear. It takes a life-long struggle against them. And just one slip-up now could mean the end of Gordon’s NFL career. 

Josh McDaniels and Bill Belichick have to decide whether they just fully embrace Gordon’s return and insert him in the offense and risk losing a big piece of it somewhere down the road this season, or do they ease him in and give another wide receiver a roster spot…just in case he has issues again. 

With a healthy Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry, and a reacclimated Gordon at WR, all of a sudden the WR position projects to one of strength. Phillip Dorsett, Jakobi Meyers, Maurice Harris, and Braxton Berrios are there for depth. And they have both Demaryius Thomas and Cam Meredith on PUP. 

Dorsett and Harris are also banged up right now, which would thrust Meyers into a more prominent position, at least early in the season. How this plays out will be an intriguing story to watch. Everyone wants to see Gordon succeed in life first, football second, but the NFL is a business, which we’ve been told over and over. 

This development I believe means that they certainly have to keep an extra WR on the roster at cut down time. I’d also look for Gordon to be targeted as much as he merits this season. Brady has trust in him on the field, and with Edelman, Harry et al, it should prove to be a fun offense to watch. 

Brady and Vrabel Trash Talk Rooted In Deep Respect:

One of the more entertaining things about the joint practices this week with the Patriots and Titans was being able to witness the constant trash talk that emanated between Tom Brady and Titans head coach Mike Vrabel. 

The two were very close personal friends as teammates and remain so today, despite the fact that Vrabel now coaches another team. But their friendship was marked by constant playful jabs at one another. Brady is a Michigan man while Vrabel went to Ohio State. There were bets made before the ‘big game’ every year and frequently the winner of the bet would have his college jersey worn by the other. After one Ohio State win, Vrabel had his jersey hanging in Brady’s locker. 

This week was a continuation of that. It started on the first day as Brady strolled on to the practice field, Vrabel yelled at him for walking, where Brady retorted to basically mind his own business, but in more colorful language. 

Brady upped the ante on Vrabel’s birthday by handing him a small trophy inscribed with the score of last year’s game, where Tennessee ripped the Patriots 34-10, with the subliminal message that while Vrabel won the battle, the Patriots ultimately won the war with their sixth Super Bowl title. 

Brady spoke with the media after practice and couldn’t stop smiling while talking about his trash-talking with his former teammate. “I wouldn’t describe it as civil,” Brady said. “He’s been a good friend for a long time. Obviously, he’s done a great job leading his team. Proud of him and everything he’s accomplished. We all support him even though he’s coaching for another team.”

Vrabel, who had a reputation as a player who could even crack up Bill Belichick on occasion, gave Brady, even more razzing after he and Ben Watson failed on a connection in the red zone. “I never dropped one of those. Let me know if you need me to report.”

“It was fun. It brought back a lot of memories, just to be able to sit out there and have him make a play and he turns around and says, ‘Mikey, you know you better cover that. You guys need to do this,’” Vrabel said. “We had a lot of fun. We have a lot of respect for those guys and can learn a lot from them; how they practice and how they operate.”

The respect between the two is obvious, but it is also entertaining to watch those two jaw at each other constantly. The Patriots’ practices back then must have been something to behold. 

Michel, Harris Need to Factor More in the Passing Game:

The Patriots like to force opposing defenses to face an array of possibilities when they have the ball. That unpredictability was somewhat lost when Sony Michel was on the field in 2018. The Patriots ran the ball approximately 76 percent of the time when Sony was behind Brady. 

The plan this year is to get Michel and rookie Damien Harris involved more in the passing game out of the backfield. The benefit there would be two-fold. It would make the offense more unpredictable and would also boost the running game by keeping the opponent from loading up the box in an attempt to stuff the run. 

With injuries piling up at WR and TE, the running backs, a position of strength can really help in this regard. James White remains the primary 3rd-down pass-catching back but Rex Burkhead is the kind of versatile player they need in this scenario. Now Michel and Harris should begin to chip in more and more once the regular season begins. 

Part of Michel’s lack of productivity in the passing game last year was that he missed a significant amount of training camp with an injury and the coaches limited what they were putting on his plate as a rookie. That should change this year. 

Harris is an outstanding pass blocker and an underrated receiver out of the backfield. He was beginning to see more looks in the passing game in camp but has been slowed by a hand/wrist injury. 

Look for more passes going to the backs this season and for them to mix and match liberally to create matchup problems for the Patriots’ opposing defenses.

Eastbound and Down AFC East Notes:

Josh Allen/Cole Beasley Connection Off and Running for the Bills:

The Buffalo Bills first-team offense looked extremely sharp in their preseason 27-14 win over the Carolina Panthers. Josh Allen was particularly impressive. In two drives, he completed 9-11 passes for 102 yards as the Bills’ offense put up 10 points. One of Allen’s two incompletions was a drop by Shady McCoy out in the flat. 

As we’ve posted here several times, Offensive Coordinator Brian Daboll has decided to use Cole Beasley a lot in this offense. And he and Allen are thriving working together. On Allen’s 11 passes, five went to Beasley, all completions, for 44 yards. Beasley is loving this offense.

“I love Daboll so much, I have so much respect for him and I’m so appreciative for the opportunity and the belief that he has in his guys,” said Beasley. “You feel that and when you feel that from a coach you’re not afraid to go up to him and suggest things, give him some ideas. He likes to try things and have fun with it, and it makes it fun to come to work.”

Dolphins Rosen Gets the Start in PS Game vs Tampa Bay:

The Miami Dolphins started QB Josh Rosen over Ryan Fitzpatrick in their 16-14 loss to the Bucs on Friday night.  And while Rosen’s numbers were hardly eye-popping, 10-18 for 102 yards, they were much better than Fitzpatrick’s as the veteran was under pressure the entire time and could complete only 3-9 for 20 yards. Rosen was also the victim of several drops, including several by Preston Williams who, after shining in Week 1 was only able to make one catch for seven yards while getting starting reps. 

The offensive line struggled to protect their quarterbacks and to open holes in the running game. Rosen, and Fitzpatrick after him were under duress all game long. Fitzpatrick is slated to get the start next week against the Jaguars, but unless they get better OL play, it won’t matter who is under center.

Jets Lose LB Avery Williamson With Torn ACL For the Year:

New York Jets linebacker Avery Williamson is to undergo season-ending surgery after tearing the ACL in his right knee Thursday night against the Atlanta Falcons. This was a huge blow for the Jets defense as he was one of the team’s most consistent and durable players a year ago, playing in all but five defensive snaps.

Williamson’s injury happened on a fluke play late in the second quarter. He and CB Tevaughn Campbell were in coverage defending running back Brian Hill in the end zone. Williamson and Campbell collided, as Campbell dove into Williamson’s knee as he tried to make a play on the ball.

He called the signals last year but turned those duties over to C.J. Mosely this season as well as moved to the weak side LB position.

________________

“Well, I have a ton of respect for Mike [Vrabel] as a person, as a coach. He’s been a friend for a long time and obviously did a great job last year in the game we played him. We really got handled down here. He’s got an excellent staff and I’m sure that he’s teaching these guys a lot of football. He was a really smart player, a very fundamental player, so I’m sure that you can see those strengths in the way he coaches his team.” Bill Belichick on joint practices with the Titans –  8-14

________________

“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.

Patriots Young Guns Lead Team to 22-17 Victory Over the Titans

Steve Balestrieri
August 17, 2019 at 11:24 pm ET

It wasn’t as clean as last week, the Titans have a lot of depth, like the Patriots and this one wasn’t nearly the blowout that the opening week was. But in the end, the younger players that the Patriots have brought in were the difference in the win. The Patriots overcame a 17-8 halftime deficit enroute to a 22-17 win over Tennessee.

With a quick turnaround and the third preseason game on Thursday night with Carolina, nearly all of the starters sat this one out. Tom Brady, was a cheerleader on the sidelines for Brian Hoyer and rookie Jarrett Stidham. 

The Patriots were really sloppy on the penalty front, getting flagged 12 times, while the Titans had 10, a total of 22 accepted penalties. One of those flags cost the Patriots two points. Stidham came in for Brian Hoyer after the Titans downed a punt at the two-yard line. Lance Kendricks was called for hold in the end zone. 

Other quick observations include:

Brian Hoyer- a rough night for the veteran back up. He got absolutely hammered a few times and was slow to get up. He also threw a pick on the Patriots first series.

Jarrett Stidham – He got away with a couple of early throws that could have been intercepted for pick-sixes. But he settled in and played well, completing 14 of 19 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown. 

He led two long scoring drives in the second half 81 yards in 10 plays and 99 yards in 11 plays capping off the game-winning drive with a nice 23-yard touchdown pass to Damoun Patterson.

Damien Harris – We’ve been singing his praises since the NFL Draft and in his first preseason action, the rookie running back from Alabama looked very good. He rushed 14 times for 80 yards and caught five passes for 23 yards. 

Harris is a patient runner who follows his blocks, makes one cut and goes. He’s tough after contact and runs with his pad level low and made the most of his opportunities. 

Isaiah Wynn – Ladies and gents, there’s your left tackle. Wynn looked very solid, if not outstanding in his debut.  There has been so much speculation and worrying about his availability and the Patriots have been taking it cautiously with him. But he looked and moved really well. Big exhale, he’s fine.

Chase Winovich – The rookie from Michigan who plays like his hair is on fire, had another really solid outing. After Derek Rivers and Shalique Calhoun went down with injuries, he stepped up. He had a sack, a QB hit, two tackles for a loss and drew a holding penalty by the end of the first half. His motor and solid play is going to make him a fan favorite this season. 

Jakobi Meyers – Was the best wide receiver on the Patriots side by a very, very wide margin. This kid gets better every time he hits the field. He was targeted six times and made six catches for 82 yards and a two-point conversion from Hoyer. Slow 40 time? The kid can flat out play and catch the ball.

Joejuan Williams – The rookie corner had another really solid game. He struggled early in camp but those days seem long ago and far away. Titans QBs were 0-3 when throwing at him as he had two pass breakups. He looks like he’s gaining confidence daily out there and with his size and physicality, can be a great matchup piece. 

Byron Cowart – the rookie DL from Maryland set the tone early. On the second snap of the game, he undressed veteran Roger Saffold and planted Marcus Mariots for a sack. Calvin Munson and Shalique Calhoun were also active out there again.

Some things need cleaning up: The backup safeties and linebackers weren’t covering the Titans tight ends well early in this one. They cleaned it up a bit later but the coaches will have something to say on that. Obi Melifonwu seemed late to react to an inside move by Delanie Walker and was easily beat for a touchdown. 

Penalties – The Patriots were getting flagged a lot especially in the first half, this will be a big issue with the coaches after they look at the film.

Injuries – Rivers and Calhoun went down, Calhoun was able to come back and play but Rivers, after being helped off the field was not seen again. That is a tough break for a kid in his third year who lost his rookie season to an ACL tear and spent last season trying to regain his form. He’s had a strong preseason and training camp. 

The road portion of preseason is over, the Patriots will play the Panthers on Thursday and then the Giants at home in the preseason finale before taking on the Steelers in Gillette for the 2019 season opener. 

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.

What They’re Saying: “Momentum Continues To Build” For Patriots Joejuan Williams

Ian Logue
at 12:00 pm ET

It’s been a solid preseason for Patriots defensive back Joejuan Williams, who has been terrific so far and looks like a player ready to contribute in their secondary.

Here’s a quick rundown of everything that’s been written about him so far this preseason:

“Joejuan Williams closed quickly on a Hoyer completion to Maurice Harris to make a stop shy of the end zone.” – Jeff Howe, TheAthletic – 7/25/19

“In an 11-on-11, Hoyer found Phillip Dorsett for a 35-yard touchdown — rookie cornerback Joejuan Williams couldn’t keep up with Dorsett’s speed.” – Henry McKenna, USA TODAY – 7/26/19

“Brian Hoyer made a perfectly weighted toss to speedster Phillip Dorsett on a post route that went for a touchdown against rookie cornerback Joejuan Williams.” – Hayden Bird, Boston.com – 7/26/19

“Got roasted by Dorsett for a touchdown and on a few other passes. Needs to start picking it up.” – Greg Bedard, Boston Sports Journal – 7/26/19

“Joejuan Williams had his best day of camp and broke up another pass to Watson. He had a couple on nice breakups today. ” – Steve Balestrieri, PatsFans.com – 7/31/19

“Rookie cornerback Joejuan Williams made his best play of camp, breaking up a pass intended for Dorsett from quarterback Brian Hoyer in 11-on-11s.” – Doug Kyed, NESN – 7/31/19

“Jason McCourty, Duke Dawson, Terrence Brooks and Williams broke up passes in 11s.” – Doug Kyed, NESN – 7/31/19

“Rookie CB Joejuan Williams broke up a deep throw intended for Phillip Dorsett. He’s barely made contact with a receiver or the ball so far in camp, so that counts as a step in the right direction.” – Matt Dolloff, 98.5 The Sports Hub – 7/31/19

“Rookie CB Joejuan Williams broke up a deep throw intended for Phillip Dorsett. He’s barely made contact with a receiver or the ball so far in camp, so that counts as a step in the right direction.” – Matt Dolloff, 98.5 The Sports Hub – 7/31/19

“Rookie cornerback Joejuan Williams enjoyed his best practice to date. Early in the session, Williams ran stride for stride with Phillip Dorsett and broke up a deep ball on a corner route. Later, Williams stepped in front of Maurice Harris to bat down a short pass over the middle.” – Kevin Duffy, Boston Herald – 7/31/19

“In a late 11-on-11 drill, Harry beat rookie CB Joejuan Williams and reeled in the ball as he toppled to the ground, drawing loud cheers from the crowd. Harry got up and threw his arms in the air in celebration and chest-bumped with WR Braxton Berrios. ” – Matt Dolloff, 98.5 The Sports Hub – 8/01/19

“Williams covered Harry well on a deep post early in this period. He looks to be making progress after looking overmatched at times earlier in the offseason and at the start of camp.” – Matt Dolloff, 98.5 The Sports Hub – 8/01/19

“Harry had a great haul on a deep pass for a touchdown that left Duron Harmon upset with Joejuan Williams.” – Greg Bedard, Boston Sports Journal – 8/01/19

“Patriots cornerbacks JC Jackson, Jonathan Jones, Keion Crossen and Joejuan Williams (two) and safeties Obi Melifonwu (two), Malik Gant and Devin McCourty had pass breakups in 1-on-1s, 7-on-7s and 11-on-11s. ” – Doug Kyed, NESN – 8/05/19

“Decent day for rookie cornerback Joejuan Williams, who ripped the ball away from Lions receiver Andy Jones in a goal line drill. Williams also stood out in 1-on-1s.” – Kevin Duffy, Boston Herald – 8/05/19

“Rookie Joejaun Williams did a great job of hanging with Travis Fulgham on a deep route to force an incompletion.” – Paul Perillo, Patriots.com – 8/05/19

“The Patriots defense had nine deflections in practice – Jamie Collins (two), Duron Harmon (two), Stephon Gilmore, JoeJuan Williams, Keion Crossen, Obi Melifonwu and D’Angelo Ross.” – Mark Daniels, Providence Journal – 8/06/19

“J.C. Jackson and Joejuan Williams both grabbed interceptions. Jackson’s was against Brady going deep for Damoun Patterson, as he stayed underneath and snagged the ball with what looked like one hand. Williams undercut a route to Dorsett on a throw from Jarrett Stidham to make his pick.” – Matt Dolloff, 98.5 The Sports Hub – 8/12/19

“JoeJuan Williams had one of his strongest practices, finishing with two interceptions and two pass deflections.” – Mark Daniels, Providence Journal – 8/12/19

“Cornerback Joejuan Williams had perhaps his best practice of the summer. He was very active and made a few plays. This comes after he saw a lot of snaps against the Lions.” – Ryan Hannable, WEEI – 8/12/19

“Jackson and Joejuan Williams logged an interception.” – Henry McKenna, USA TODAY – 8/12/19

“Joejuan Williams made good use of his height and hands in a jump ball against Harris. Brian Hoyer rainbowed a ball toward Harris, but as the receiver tried to make the catch, Williams stuck in his hands for a breakup.” – Henry McKenna, USA TODAY – 8/12/19

“Joejuan Williams did a nice job staying with Maurice Harris on a deep pattern down the right sideline. Harris couldn’t get position on the rookie, who managed to knock the pass away with an impressive leap.” – Paul Perillo, Patriots.com – 8/12/19

“Jarrett Stidham was 8 of 14 with two interceptions. The first pick would have been a Derek Rivers sack, but the play continued and Stidham tried to hit Danny Etling on a deep ball. Joejuan Williams blocked out Etling and easily picked it off. The second interception was also for Etling, who bobbled the ball and lost it to Gilmore.” – Jeff Howe, The Athletic – 8/12/19

“Williams’ momentum continues to build. He has a team-high seven passes defensed in team drills with one pick and six breakups. It’d take a lot for him to leapfrog Jason McCourty, J.C. Jackson or even Jon Jones, but the coaches have to be happy about Williams’ progress.” – Jeff Howe, The Athletic – 8/12/19

“The second-round pick had his best practice by far with two interceptions and a pass breakup. He appeared much more confident and physical. Was basically a blanket all over the field.” – Greg Bedard, Boston Sports Journal – 8/12/19

“After enduring a rough start to camp, Williams has come on in major, playmaking fashion lately. He boxed out Dorsett to intercept a deep ball in 1-on-1s, then picked off Stidham on another bomb during a team period. Williams also broke up a pass intended from Harris. No doubt this was the second-round rookie’s best practice as a pro.” – Andrew Callahan, MassLive – 8/12/19

“McCourty’s consecutive pass breakups early in team drills set a foretelling tone for the defense. Williams and Keion Crossen were the only other players to post multiple PBUs Thursday.” – Andrew Callahan, MassLive – 8/12/19

“A real nice day for cornerback Joejuan Williams, who had an interception during team drills (against Jarrett Stidham) and another in individual drills (against Tom Brady). The second-round pick also had a pass breakup during full-squad work ” – Jim McBride, Boston Globe – 8/12/19

“Interceptions in team drills: Gilmore (two), safety Patrick Chung, linebacker Jamie Collins and Williams.” – Doug Kyed, NESN – 8/12/19

“Pass breakups in team drills: McCourty (two), Jackson, Jones, Williams, Crossen, safety A.J. Howard and linebackers Trent Harris and Brandon King.” – Doug Kyed, NESN – 8/12/19

“Williams had one of his best practices of the summer.” – Doug Kyed, NESN – 8/12/19

“Had two interceptions today to go with his multiple breakups on Monday. It appears the game is now slowing down for the second-round pick and he’s starting to make plays. This is the type of progress you like to see from rookies and now the hope is he starts to stack success.” – Greg Bedard, Boston Sports Journal – 8/14/19

“The Titans didn’t do much on offense, but most of it was against McCourty, who allowed three big passing plays, including two from Tannehill. With J.C. Jackson and, now, Joejuan Williams possibly breathing down his neck for a starting spot, the veteran doesn’t want to give the upstarts an opening right now.” – Greg Bedard, Boston Sports Journal – 8/14/19

“Stephon Gilmore and Joejuan Williams made nice plays during goal line 1-on-1s. On separate reps, they prevented Titans wideout Corey Davis from coming down with the ball on fade routes to the back corner.” – Kevin Duffy, Boston Herald – 8/15/19

“Joejuan Williams remains a work in progress, but he has steadily improved throughout camp, which is all anyone can ask for at this point. His progress showed up again Thursday when he won a one-on-one drill against a Tennessee receiver by breaking up a fade to the corner of the end zone.” – Jeff Howe, The Athletic – 8/15/19

“Williams, Duke Dawson and Jason McCourty also registered pass breakups.” – Jeff Howe, The Athletic – 8/15/19

“When the Patriots’ twos came in, there was a tough rep for rookie Joejuan Williams and Keion Crossen, who had a bust that resulted in an easy score. Williams also got whistled for a defensive hold in the end zone.” – Tom E Curran, NBC Sports Boston – 8/15/19

“Rookie Joejuan Williams dominated Corey Davis in a one-on-one matchup . . . Fellow rookie Ken Webster is surging.” – Jim McBride, Boston Globe – 8/15/19

“Ryan Tannehill threw a touchdown to Taywan Taylor when it looked like Keion Crossen blew a coverage. Titans should have scored earlier to Darius Jennings but Tannehill’s throw was awful. It bailed out Joejuan Williams, who wasn’t listening to the communication from the other DBs and he failed to adjust.” – Greg Bedard, Boston Sports Journal – 8/15/19

“Cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore, Ken Webster, Duke Dawson and rookie Joejuan Williams had pass breakups in 1-on-1 drills over Titans receivers. Williams’ came on an impressive play over Titans wideout Corey Davis. Webster, a seventh-round pick, Gilmore, Dawson, Jason McCourty and Keion Crossen went undefeated.=” – Doug Kyed, NESN – 8/15/19

“Pass breakups in 11-on-11s: Dawson, Williams, McCourty, linebacker Dont’a Hightower.” – Doug Kyed, NESN – 8/15/19

You can see more players at our 2019 Patriots Training Camp Player News Database, updated each night during camp.

What They’re Saying: Patriots’ Isaiah Wynn Showing Off “Some Nastiness In His Game” After Slow Start

Ian Logue
at 10:14 am ET

After a slow start during this training camp as he continues working his way back from last year’s injury, tackle Isaiah Wynn has started to gain some momentum recently and appears poised to take over the starting job at left tackle.

Here’s a quick rundown of what’s been written about him during training camp:

“Isaiah Wynn was the starting left tackle during walkthroughs, but he didn’t participate in 11-on-11s.” – Mark Daniels, Providence Journal – 7/25/19

“Isaiah Wynn was being eased into full-team drills, despite it being a glorified minicamp session, seeing him out there is a very positive sign.” – Steve Balestrieri, PatsFans.com – 7/25/19

“Isaiah Wynn is expected by most to step in and assume starting duties at left tackle, coming off his missed rookie season due to injury. And though Wynn did get some work in at that spot, it was guard Joe Thuney who slid over and shouldered the load on Thursday in most of the team portions of practice.” – Staff, CBS Boston – 7/25/19

“In a great sight for Patriots fans, 2018 first-round pick Isaiah Wynn was back on the field and working as the starting left tackle during non-competitive situations. In team periods, Joe Thuney shifted to LT with Dan Skipper. Figured Wynn would be eased in.” – Greg Bedard, Boston Sports Journal – 7/25/19

“Isaiah Wynn started the practice at left tackle, which was an encouraging development, but he didn’t finish the workout, likely as the team methodically gets him back up to speed from a torn Achilles. The starting line, from left to right, was Wynn, Joe Thuney, James Ferentz, Shaq Mason and Marcus Cannon.” – Jeff Howe, TheAthletic – 7/25/19

“Isaiah Wynn took some reps at left tackle for the first time since rupturing his Achilles’ tendon last preseason. Wynn lined up next to Joe Thuney as the offense ran plays early in practice. However, when things turned to the 11-on-11 portion of the workout, Wynn did not take any reps and Thuney slid outside to tackle, where he spent his time during the spring. With Andrews out, there was a rotation at center that including Ferentz and Karras.” – Paul Perillo, Patriots.com– 7/25/19

“No surprise but still notable: left tackle Isaiah Wynn was working with Tom Brady and the first-team offense. When Wynn took a break later in practice, Joe Thuney moved to left tackle and Ted Karras jumped in at left guard.” – Henry McKenna, USA TODAY – 7/25/19

“Coming off a torn Achilles that robbed him of his rookie year, offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn is making progress. Wynn didn’t participate in any team drills during minicamp, but he opened as the starting left tackle in the first training camp practice. Wynn saw reps in team drills early in the session.” – Kevin Duffy, Boston Herald – 7/25/19

“Second-year offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn was on the field and did some work at left tackle, but none of which occurred in 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 work. Like in the spring, Joe Thuney saw plenty of reps there in his place. ” – Ryan Hannable, WEEI.com – 7/25/19

“Isaiah Wynn, New England’s top draft choice in 2018, missed his entire rookie year due to a torn Achilles suffered during the preseason. He’s been cleared to practice, but during 11-on-11 work, it was Joe Thuney – normally a left guard – lined up at left tackle.” – Jake Levin, NBC Boston – 7/25/19

“Isaiah Wynn did indeed take some snaps at left tackle with the starters on the offensive line. But there was also plenty of Joe Thuney in that spot once again. James Ferentz took David Andrews’ spot at center most of the time, with Ted Karras sliding in for Thuney at left guard.” – Matt Dolloff, 98.5 The Sports Hub – 7/25/19

“Isaiah Wynn started practice before working out in a different location with Wise.” – Mark Daniels, Providence Journal– 7/26/19

“The left tackle situation remains up in the air. Isaiah Wynn lined up as the starting left tackle at the beginning of practice, but departed for conditioning shortly afterwards. He returned for the very end of practice, observing from behind the offensive line.” – Kevin Duffy, Boston Herald – 7/26/19

“Isaiah Wynn received a similar work load as he did on Thursday when he saw no reps in 11-on-11. While the tackle watched with the backup linemen during those periods on Day 1, on Friday he joined Wise for a time on the lower rehab field. Wynn did return and was with the team for the rest of the workout.” – Paul Perillo, Patriots.com – 7/26/19

“Offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn was out there once again, but did not compete in any team drills and departed to the lower fields midway through for conditioning work. Joe Thuney saw extensive time at left tackle, as did Dan Skipper. Wynn’s availibility for Week 1 should not be viewed as certain at this point.” – Ryan Hannable, WEEI – 7/26/19

“Same deal as Friday for Isaiah Wynn. The second-year offensive tackle did not participate in team drills.” – Kevin Duffy, Boston Herald – 7/27/19

“Once again, Isaiah Wynn was very limited and departed for the lower field to work on conditioning” – Ryan Hannable, WEEI – 7/27/19

“Deatrich Wise, David Andrews and Isaiah Wynn continue working on their rehab despite being in full pads on the field. Wise and Wynn spent time on the lower field and none of them has taken any full-team reps at this point.” – Paul Perillo, Patriots.com – 7/28/19

“Wynn was practically a non-participant. He was present for the beginning of practice, but left for some conditioning work. He returned in shorts and a T-Shirt at the end of the session. Wynn, recovering from a torn Achilles, has not taken a competitive 11-on-11 rep through four practices.” – Kevin Duffy, Boston Herald – 7/28/19

“Isaiah Wynn was the starting LT in walkthroughs with Dan Skipper backing him up.” – Greg Bedard, Boston Sports Journal – 7/29/19

“Dan Skipper continued to get time with the starters at left tackle. Isaiah Wynn continued to be mostly a spectator. ” – Matt Dolloff, 98.5 The Sports Hub – 7/29/19

“Running back Rex Burkhead and offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn were limited.” – Doug Kyed, NESN – 7/31/19

“Tackle Isaiah Wynn continues to watch during team drills.” – Henry McKenna, USA TODAY – 7/31/19

“Isaiah Wynn participated early on, but eventually worked on the lower field.” – Matt Dolloff, 98.5 The Sports Hub – 7/31/19

“Offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn received a slight uptick in work, too. He lined up at left tackle for a half-speed positional drill. Wynn did not participate in 1-on-1s or in 11-on-11s.” – Kevin Duffy, Boston Herald – 7/31/19

“Isaiah Wynn took some left tackle reps during a drill with no defense on the field, but he did not participate in 1-on-1s or competitive 11-on-11 drills. It was pretty much all Dan Skipper next to left guard Joe Thuney during 11s” – Kevin Duffy, Boston Herald – 8/01/19

“Dan Skipper once again started at left tackle in the first session of the day. Isaiah Wynn is out there, but not participating in even second-team drills. Cedrick Lang backed up Skipper.” – Matt Dolloff, 98.5 The Sports Hub – 8/01/19

“Dan Skipper continues to work with the top offensive line in team drills at left tackle. Isaiah Wynn has yet to take any reps in 11-on-11 work or anything against a defender.” – Andy Hart, WEEI – 8/01/19

“After being solely an observer whenever the defense came onto the field, the former first-round pick finally took part in 11-on-11 drills today. Even though there were no pads and the pace was not game speed, this was another step in the process for the projected opening-day starter, which we pointed out the other day. Time is still on Wynn’s side.” – Greg Bedard, Boston Sports Journal – 8/02/19

“But for second-year offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn the workout marked an increase in reps and workload as the 2018 top pick continues to work back from the torn Achilles suffered last August that derailed his rookie season.” – Andy Hart, WEEI – 8/02/19

“Offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn seems to have increased his practice workload. He was in on full-team walk-throughs. He also participated in second-team 11-on-11 drills. It’s a non-padded practice but still notable.” – Doug Kyed, NESN – 8/02/19

“Left tackle Isaiah Wynn got extended work with the first-team offense in team drills. That’s a step forward for him, even if the team drills were non-contact. When the reps went to full-speed, he began to spend more time with the second-team, with tackle Dan Skipper jumping back into the mix with the 1s.” – Henry McKenna, USA TODAY – 8/02/19

“Offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn received snaps in team drills for the first time this summer. This wasn’t a fully padded practice, and so the drills weren’t quite full speed, but this was nevertheless a promising sign.” – Kevin Duffy, Boston Herald – 8/02/19

“The Patriots 2018 first-round pick participated more in this practice than we’ve seen all offseason. Wynn was playing left tackle with the backups and although there was no contact, this was a big step in the right direction.” – Mark Daniels, Providence Journal – 8/02/19

“Isaiah Wynn saw his most extensive action of the summer, working in the second group along with Hjalte Froholdt, James Ferentz, Tyler Gauthier and Tyree St. Louis. He lined up at left tackle in 11-on-11s throughout the latter half of practice for his first extensive work against a defense.” – Paul Perillo, Patriots.com – 8/02/19

“Nothing new for offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn. He didn’t participate in competitive positional drills or 11-on-11s. Dan Skipper took all the reps when Tom Brady was at quarterback.” – Kevin Duffy, Boston Herald – 8/05/19

“Offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn took reps in a walk-through setting before the Pats and Lions started the competitive drills. Wynn did not participate when the Pats offense faced the Lions defense. ” – Kevin Duffy, Boston Herald – 8/06/19

“Isaiah Wynn was in pads once again and did take part with other starters during the walkthrough. He was limited, though, and didn’t take part in team drills.” – Phil Perry, NBC Sports Boston – 8/06/19

“The biggest news was that Isaiah Wynn looks like he’s taken a huge step in the right direction. The second-year player took part in contact drills for the first time since suffering a torn ACL Achilles last summer. Wynn rotated in with Dan Skipper at left take with the starting offense. He also took part in 1-on-1 and 2-on-2 contact drills. Wynn could be on his way to starting in Week 1 if he keeps progressing.” – Mark Daniels, Providence Journal – 8/12/19

“The biggest takeaway was tackle Isaiah Wynn participating in full-contact drills for the first time this summer. The second-year player split first-team reps with Dan Skipper, but that could just be until he works his way fully back from a conditioning perspective. This is the biggest sign we’ve seen that points to him being ready for Week 1 against the Steelers. ” – Ryan Hannable, WEEI – 8/12/19

“Tackle Isaiah Wynn worked on the left side with the first-team offense. He played at full-speed, too.” – Henry McKenna, USA TODAY – 8/12/19

“But there’s lots of news to get to from Monday’s practice. Chiefly, left tackle Isaiah Wynn saw work in competitive drills for the first time all summer. Wynn is gradually returning from an Achilles tear suffered in the 2018 preseason. His increased workload on Monday is a promising sign for the Pats.” – Kevin Duffy, Boston Herald – 8/12/19

“Wynn rotated in with Dan Skipper at left tackle for most 11-on-11 periods. He finished out the day as the left tackle with Tom Brady in the hurry-up drill.” – Kevin Duffy, Boston Herald – 8/12/19

“Wynn looked solid in competitive situations. He squared off with Mike Pennel in his first 1-on-1 rep (it appeared to be a draw), and he teamed with Ted Karras to defeat rookies Chase Winovich and Byron Cowart in a 2-on-2 rep.” – Kevin Duffy, Boston Herald – 8/12/19

“He started his work in 1-on-1s against the defensive lineman early in practice, handling himself well in his first rep. Later, he lined up at left tackle for two late periods of 11-on-11 offense with the first group. Aside from a handful of reps against a defense here and there, it was the busiest we’ve seen Wynn since before his injury last summer.” – Paul Perillo, Patriots.com – 8/12/19

“Wynn held his own Monday in full-speed one-on-ones and throughout team drills, so this was a positive first step. If Tom Brady makes his preseason debut Saturday against the Titans, the Patriots would probably prefer Wynn to be on his blind side.” – Jeff Howe, The Athletic – 8/12/19

“Have to admit, Wynn looked pretty good. As a shorter tackle, he’s obviously closer to the ground, but he’s really solid when he’s low and he keeps his feet moving. He’s very stout as well. Kind of reminds me of Brian Waters. Like the former right guard, Wynn also got after it in the run game with good push down the field.” – Greg Bedard, Boston Sports Journal – 8/12/19

“Not only did he take real reps, but he looked pretty good. Now the big test is seeing how he recovers tomorrow. If it’s all good, Wynn should take some reps in Tennessee.” – Greg Bedard, Boston Sports Journal – 8/12/19

“Isaiah Wynn is nearing 100 percent participation after he took his first live reps in team periods and 1-on-1 pass rush Monday. He dug in opposite New England’s starting defense and scout-team unit. Wynn and Skipper split the live first-team reps, but the closest Wynn had been to that type of action previously had been with the third-string unit at less than full speed.” – Andrew Callahan, MassLive – 8/12/19

“Prospective left tackle Isaiah Wynn participated in full-contact drills for the first time. He beat rookie defensive lineman Byron Cowart. He was sharing first-team reps with Dan Skipper.” – Doug Kyed, NESN – 8/12/19

“Isaiah Wynn rotated in with Skipper at left tackle, as Wynn continues to ramp up his participation level coming off his injury-lost rookie season.” – Jim McBride, Boston Globe – 8/12/19

“Isaiah Wynn got reps with the starters at left tackle. Another step forward for him in what looks to be an extra-slow build toward the season for the sophomore out of Georgia.” – Matt Dolloff, 98.5 The Sports Hub – 8/12/19

“New England’s projected left tackle Isaiah Wynn increased his workload Monday. Don’t be surprised if he makes his preseason debut Saturday. He rotated at the top left tackle job with Dan Skipper during Tuesday’s walk-through sessions.” – Doug Kyed, NESN – 8/13/19

“Left tackle Isaiah Wynn, the other 2018 first-round draft choice, was also among the starters for the initial walkthrough at practice on Tuesday. He alternated reps with Dan Skipper on Monday.” – Henry McKenna, USA TODAY – 8/13/19

“After seeing his most extensive action of the summer on Monday, Isaiah Wynn rotated with Dan Skipper with the first group at left tackle. It will be good to see if Wynn can continue that development this week in Nashville and perhaps see some action in the game against the Titans.” – Paul Perillo, Patriots.com – 8/13/19

“Isaiah Wynn was once again rotating at left tackle with Dan Skipper during the walkthrough. Wynn, who is coming back from a torn Achilles he suffered last preseason, took part in competitive 11-on-11 drills for the first time on Monday.” – Steve Hewitt, Boston Herald – 8/13/19

“After participating in live contact drills for the first time this summer Monday, Isaiah Wynn rotated with Dan Skipper at left tackle with the first team. It would not be a shock to see Wynn on the field Saturday night.” – Ryan Hannable, WEEI – 8/13/19

“After receiving about half of the competitive reps in Monday’s practice, Isaiah Wynn saw his workload scaled back a bit. Wynn did not participate in a competitive 2-on-2 drill at the beginning of practice. In 11-on-11s, he took the first rep in each period and then exited, giving way to Dan Skipper. Wynn’s involvement in full-speed team drills is a notable development this week.” – Kevin Duffy, Boston Herald – 8/14/19

“Isaiah Wynn may have taken a little bit of a step back. After rotating with Dan Skipper back in Foxboro, he only did the first rep in all team periods and then was relieved by Skipper. He did not do any 1-on-1s and was limited in 4-on-4s. Afterwards, he did acknowledge he’s 100 percent and could play in a game.” – Ryan Hannable, WEEI – 8/14/19

“Isaiah Wynn took the first rep but then made way for Skipper in each 11-on-11 period. Wynn rotated in for an extra rep during one of those periods. This was less work than Wynn got Monday when he monopolized the starting left tackle reps.” – Jeff Howe, The Athletic – 8/14/19

“Isaiah Wynn continued to work his way into being a more regular participant, splitting reps with Dan Skipper at left tackle.” – Tom Curran, NBC Sports Boston – 8/14/19

“Isaiah Wynn and Skipper both worked at left tackle with the first group. Wynn seemed to open most segments but didn’t always stay in the lineup for more than a play. He did some solid work, though, whether it was in 1-on-1s or in normal 11-on-11 periods. His physicality is tough to miss, and after practice he told reporters that he is 100 percent healthy and would be ready to play in Week 1 if that’s what he’s asked to do.” – Paul Perillo, Patriots.com – 8/14/19

“Isaiah Wynn basically split snaps with Dan Skipper. That’s another big step forward. Wynn even got tangled up in the wash and went to the ground but bounced right back up. Wynn really looks good in all his reps. He’s got really quick feet and is stout.” – Greg Bedard, Boston Sports Journal – 8/14/19

“Isaiah Wynn took the first snaps at left tackle for most series before giving way to Skipper. Wynn showed great lateral movement and power on one play in which he wiped out the middle linebacker as Brady completed a pass to Berrios. Wynn did run a penalty lap when he flinched during individual drills.” – Jim McBride, Boston Globe – 8/14/19

“Skipper started at left tackle for the first run-heavy period of the day, but he rotated with Wynn after every two reps. Wynn was the starter for the first two pass-heavy periods, and he has held his own with a large degree of success. Whether it’s due to conditioning or Achilles management, the Patriots have seemingly been reluctant to give Wynn a full workload in 11-on-11s. It’s certainly not due to lackluster performance.” – Jeff Howe, The Athletic – 8/15/19

“Isaiah Wynn got a significant amount of work on Thursday and he continues to look like a more-than-solid offensive lineman. Probably closer to really good.” – Tom E Curran, NBC Sports Boston – 8/15/19

“The 11-on-11 offense saw Dan Skipper and Isaiah Wynn alternate at left tackle. Skipper took the first two reps while Wynn got the next two. After that Cole Croston also saw some action as Skipper once again dealt with some heat-related issues. Unlike Wednesday, Skipper was able to continue and eventually made it back into the lineup and finished practice.” – Paul Perillo, Patriots.com – 8/15/19

“Isaiah Wynn participated a little more than he did on Wednesday and held up fine. The second-year player has some nastiness to his game.” – Ryan Hannable, WEEI – 8/15/19

“Isaiah Wynn got a little hot under the collar after a nice battle with Jayon Brown during pass-rush drills. Again, cooler heads prevailed.” – Jim McBride, Boston Globe – 8/15/19

“Wynn and Dan Skipper continued to rotate at left tackle. Both struggled during the final two-minute drill and likely would have given up sacks if the QBs weren’t off-limits.” – Jim McBride, Boston Globe – 8/15/19

“Isaiah Wynn seems to be coming along well. Wynn has seen an uptick in snaps over the past week. He participated in 11-on-11s on Thursday, often subbing out after the first two reps of each period (he did stay in for one period start-to-finish, however). Wynn also turned in an impressive 1-on-1 rep against Titans outside linebacker Sharif Finch. There was a little extra shoving between the two players at the end of the rep.” – Kevin Duffy, Boston Herald – 8/15/19

You can see more players at our 2019 Patriots Training Camp Player News Database, updated each night during camp.

Postcards From the Edge – Patriots Front Seven Primed For 2019

Steve Balestrieri
at 7:30 am ET

What a difference a year makes. Last season at this time, there were major questions about the depth of their linebacking corps and who…besides Trey Flowers could rush the passer. Now, they enter their second preseason game and the front seven has depth galore and an entirely new outlook on things. 

Flowers was tough to see leave, he did so much and a lot of it under the radar for the Patriots. But the team addressed it in several ways this year. The big men in the middle Lawrence Guy, Mike Pennel, Adam Butler, and Danny Shelton look better than they were a year ago inside. Rookie Byron Cowart is still a long shot for the roster but has come on after missing time early with an injury. He had a half-sack and a QB pressure last week in Detroit. 

Although Michael Bennett is 33 years old, as of today, he shows no sign of slowing down and has been dominant in our limited look at him so far. And Bennett is flashing some of the same versatility, lining up inside, outside and even over the nose.

He’s embracing his role and the defensive scheme and seems to have a healthy respect for the coaching staff. Deatrich Wise hasn’t been 100 percent yet but should now see some action. Consistency is the key for him in 2019.

Chase Winovich was picked up this spring in the third round of the draft and he’s been “exactly who we thought he was.” He has an incredible motor that goes non-stop, excellent hands [which will only get better with pass-rush consultant Joe Kim]. Winovich has looked terrific in his opportunities which included a 1.5 sack performance against the Lions last week. 

Derek Rivers keeps trending up. He too had a big game against Detroit [2 sacks], and put constant pressure on the QBs last week, both in practice and in the game. After being a total non-factor for his first two years, is he a shoo-in? No, but the way he’s playing has to be a huge confidence boost for not only him but the coaches. 

Shalique Calhoun is quickly becoming a steal. The veteran that came over from the Raiders this spring barely registered on the radar [here as well….], however, it seems like he’s another guy that wasn’t considered a nice pickup and who can pay big dividends for the team. His play was such that he was given reps with the starters. He responded in Detroit with a sack and a tackle for loss. 

And we haven’t even got to the linebackers. John Simon was the under the radar pickup last year.  He does a terrific job of setting the edge and had an interception last week. Jamie Collins was dynamic last week and has been a beast throughout training camp. He has the athleticism to be a movable chess piece anywhere they sense a mismatch to their advantage. He had a sack last week…. Are we sensing a pattern here?

Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy are the linchpins for the front seven. They can rush off the edge or up in the A-gaps.  Hightower dropped weight this offseason and looks faster and a bit more athletic. He looked good back in his home state this week.

Van Noy was another Belichick highway robbery when they snatched him away from the Lions. He can do everything that Belichick and Mayo will ask of him. Elandon Roberts and Ja’Whaun Bentley hold down the middle. Two guys outside looking in are Calvin Munson and Christian Sam.  Munson has put back-to-back solid weeks together.

Last week, the Patriots had 17 QB pressures and nine sacks against the woefully unprepared Lions. This week against a better team, the front seven hounded Titans’ QBs in the joint practices. Can they do it again in the game on Saturday night? 

We shall see. But things are trending up for this defense in 2019. In about three weeks will be the first real test when they take on the Steelers in the season opener. Pittsburgh has one of the better offensive lines in the league. And this time around, there is growing confidence in the front seven.  

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.

What They’re Saying: Jonathan Jones: After “Strong Camp”, CB Poised to Earn a Bigger Role in Patriots Defense

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August 16, 2019 at 3:00 pm ET

Patriots training camp has seen Jonathan Jones as one of the most consistent performers in their defense, with Jones playing like a player who knows this is his chance to earn a bigger role in the team’s secondary.

He had plenty of terrific moments, and here’s a rundown of what’s been written about him:

“Jonathan Jones stood out among his peers on Thursday. The slot cornerback intercepted Brady in 2-on-2s. In 11-on-11s, he deflected a Brady pass. Both plays happened with him covering Braxton Berrios. Also deflecting passes were Jackson, Crossen and D’Angelo Ross.” – Mark Daniels, Providence Journal – 7/25/19

“Jones, who’s competing for a starting job in the Patriots’ base nickel defense, was a standout in practice. He intercepted Brady during 2-on-2 drills in a target to wide receiver Braxton Berrios. He broke up another Brady pass to Berrios.” – Doug Kyed, NESN – 7/25/19

“Jones made a nice interception in two-on-two work, as Brady tried to fit a fade to Berrios in the right corner of the end zone. Jones had strong coverage throughout the play and appeared to have his way with Berrios in several matchups.” – Jeff Howe, TheAthletic – 7/25/19

“Jones matched up against Braxton Berrios on a couple of occasions and blanketed him. The first resulted in a terrific interception as he was able to get position on Berrios and made the leaping catch.” – Paul Perillo, Patriots.com – 7/25/19

“Cornerback Jonathan Jones intercepted Brady’s first throw in competitive reps (a 2-on-2 drill). The pass was intended for second-year receiver Braxton Berrios. Jones showed up again with a deflection on a pass from Brady to Berrios in an 11-on-11 drill in the red zone. These weren’t the only misfires from Brady to Berrios.” – Henry McKenna, USA TODAY – 7/25/19

“Jonathan Jones, who played a key role in both the Super Bowl and the AFC Championship, was the standout from Day One. He intercepted Tom Brady during a 2-on-2 goal line drill. Brady threw a fade for receiver Braxton Berrios, and Jones high-pointed the ball and came down with the pick.” – Kevin Duffy, Boston Herald – 7/25/19

“Jonathan Jones made multiple pass break-ups, as well as an interception of Brady on the first 11-on-11.” – Hayden Bird, Boston.com – 7/25/19

“Jones was one of the biggest stars of the day on defense breaking up several passes, one of which was thrown by Brady in the end zone.” – Ryan Hannable, WEEI.com – 7/25/19

“Jones continues to have a strong camp and he finished with two pass breakups on Brady in full-team drills. ” – Mark Daniels, Providence Journal – 7/31/19

“Jonathan Jones made a really nice play of breaking up a pass intended for Berrios. Jones is having an outstanding camp thus far. Perhaps only Gilmore is playing better in the secondary right now.” – Steve Balestrieri, PatsFans.com – 7/31/19

“Jonathan Jones had two pass breakups in 11s. ” – Doug Kyed, NESN – 7/31/19

“CB Jonathan Jones broke up a pass intended for Ben Watson. Jones has been arguably the best defensive player on the field in camp. He is playing like a man who knows the Patriots could get rid of him at no cost whatsoever. He needs to prove he belongs over younger, cheaper options, and so far he has done that.” – Matt Dolloff, 98.5 The Sports Hub – 7/31/19

“Jonathan Jones made a nice pass breakup against Braxton Berrios. Tight coverage all the way over the middle and got an arm in to disrupt the catch.” – Matt Dolloff, 98.5 The Sports Hub – 7/31/19

“Not sure you’ll find many other players who have had a better or more consistent camp than Jones. He’s been dominating in the slot and has been a real pain in Braxton Berrios’ rear end.” – Greg Bedard, Boston Sports Journal – 8/02/19

“Jones is also giving receiver Braxton Berrios fits. He broke up a target intended for Berrios on Friday, and Berrios was deeply frustrated. It was a simple crossing pattern, which seems to get broken-up on every target for Berrios. ” – Henry McKenna, USA TODAY – 8/02/19

“CB Jonathan Jones broke up a pass intended for Berrios in this session. He’s been one of the best players on the field in camp. The way he’s playing, he easily looks like the starting slot corner.” – Matt Dolloff, 98.5 The Sports Hub – 8/02/19

“Jones hasn’t had a down day yet. He’s arguably been the Patriots’ most impressive player in training camp.” – Kevin Duffy, Boston Herald – 8/02/19

“Patriots cornerbacks JC Jackson, Jonathan Jones, Keion Crossen and Joejuan Williams (two) and safeties Obi Melifonwu (two), Malik Gant and Devin McCourty had pass breakups in 1-on-1s, 7-on-7s and 11-on-11s. ” – Doug Kyed, NESN – 8/05/19

“Jonathan Jones’ strong camp continued as the slot corner made a terrific diving deflection to knock down a pass intended for Chris Lacy during 7-on-7s.” – Paul Perillo, Patriots.com – 8/05/19

“It was a tough day for both slots, but Jones had the rougher day as he was victimized by Danny Amendola and others several times as the Lions had a good day on offense.” – Greg Bedard, Boston Sports Journal – 8/06/19

“Jonathan Jones, who has been outstanding during camp, lost a battle with Danny Amendola on a cross route for a third-down conversion. ” – Paul Perillo, Patriots.com – 8/06/19

“Jonathan Jones continued his solid summer by standing out in 1-on-1 work.” – Ryan Hannable, WEEI – 8/12/19

“Cornerback Jon Jones is a nightmare for receiver Braxton Berrios, who has struggled to separate from Jones all throughout training camp. ” – Henry McKenna, USA TODAY – 8/12/19

“Jakobi Meyers continues to impress, making a handful of catches, including a sneaky back-shoulder seam snag from Brady with Jonathan Jones in coverage.” – Jim McBride, Boston Globe – 8/12/19

“Pass breakups in team drills: McCourty (two), Jackson, Jones, Williams, Crossen, safety A.J. Howard and linebackers Trent Harris and Brandon King.” – Doug Kyed, NESN – 8/12/19

“Jonathan Jones spent some time early in practice returning kicks. Jones can absolutely fly and would seem to be a great candidate to fill a role that doesn’t have an obvious candidate.” – Paul Perillo, Patriots.com – 8/13/19

“Titans wide receiver Adam Humphries was among those who left practice early. Humphries didn’t do much against a dominant Patriots secondary. He had one opportunity for a big play, but let the ball bounce off his chest and to the ground on a deep route. Humphries had beaten Jonathan Jones on the play.” – Kevin Duffy, Boston Herald – 8/14/19

“Cornerback Jonathan Jones anticipated a Marcus Mariota throw in a goal line drill and recorded the pass-breakup.” – Kevin Duffy, Boston Herald – 8/15/19

“Jon Jones had some up and down moments during a seven-on-seven period. He showed off impressive instincts by anticipating a check down, peeling off his man, and then breaking up a pass intended for Taywan Taylor. Jones was later beaten on a touchdown pass to Jennings.” – Jeff Howe, The Athletic – 8/15/19

“Stephon Gilmore and A.J. Brown, a rookie wideout out of Ole Miss, got a bit heated about midway through practice during some 11-on-11 work. The two were lined up to the offensive right side but Marcus Mariota’s throw went the other way. That didn’t stop the two from getting into as Devin McCourty, Jason McCourty and Jonathan Jones also came over to get involved.” – Paul Perillo, Patriots.com – 8/15/19

“Pass breakups in 7-on-7s: Jackson, cornerback Jonathan Jones, Gilmore and linebacker Jamie Collins.” – Doug Kyed, NESN – 8/15/19

You can see more players at our 2019 Patriots Training Camp Player News Database, updated each night during camp.

What They’re Saying: Patriots Sony Michel “Continues to Be the Top Running Back on the Depth Chart” After Strong Start

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at 1:00 pm ET

After a solid first season, Sony Michel continues to improve at training camp and appears on track to be the team’s top back again in 2019.

Here’s a quick rundown of what’s been written about him so far during this training camp:

“Running back Sony Michel and center David Andrews also returned to practice. Michel was activated off the physically unable to perform list.” – Doug Kyed, NESN – 7/27/19

“Michel got the first carry for an 11-on-11 run game installation, followed by rookie running back Damien Harris.” – Henry McKenna, USA TODAY – 7/27/19

“Back from the PUP list, Sony Michel took the first rep during running back during team drills, but departed for conditioning work on the lower field when the contact ramped up.” – Kevin Duffy, Boston Herald – 7/27/19

“Michel spent some time catching passes from Brian Hoyer early on before retreating to the lower rehab field for some conditioning work. He appeared to run well coming off an offseason knee procedure.” – Paul Perillo, Patriots.com – 7/27/19

“Fellow second-year pro Sony Michel was limited. Michel, who came off the PUP list on Saturday, did not receive any reps in 11s.” – Kevin Duffy, Boston Herald – 7/28/19

“Sony Michel and David Andrews were both more active than they have been to date in practice, though it was obviously not a full-contact workout.” – Andy Hart, WEEI – 7/29/19

“Running back Sony Michel (knee) saw reps in competitive team drills for the first time. On one carry, Michel showed nice burst and change-of-direction skills. He looks to be making progress.” – Kevin Duffy, Boston Herald – 7/31/19

“Running back Sony Michel saw an uptick in work for the second consecutive day. Michel earned the first carries in several 11-on-11 periods. After undergoing a minor knee procedure in the spring, Michel looks to be at or near full speed. He’s running with burst and agility in practice.” – Kevin Duffy, Boston Herald – 8/01/19

“At one point the offense committed a false start and literally everyone on offense had to run a lap. Even Edelman joined his teammates on the jog. Shortly after that, Brady and RB Sony Michel bungled a handoff and the offense had to run yet another lap.” – Matt Dolloff, 98.5 The Sports Hub – 8/01/19

“Can’t cough one up after the entire offense just ran a lap. Even if there was something off about the exchange from Brady.” – Phil Perry, NBC Sports Boston – 8/01/19

“In a promising development for his potential to be a three-down back for this team, Michel was much more involved in the passing game in this practice and showed off some nice hands/agility on a few receptions.” – Greg Bedard, Boston Sports Journal – 8/02/19

“Many are looking for Sony Michel to improve in the passing game this season. The second-year back did make a nice stretching catch on a ball from Brady to beat Jamie Collins’ coverage in an early group drill.” – Andy Hart, WEEI – 8/02/19

“Sony Michel saw more work as a receiver on Friday than we’d seen all throughout camp. ” – Phil Perry, NBC Sports Boston – 8/02/19

“Particularly impressive catches: running back Sony Michel. Michel has been more and more involved in the passing game as the summer has progressed.” – Doug Kyed, NESN – 8/02/19

“Michel is getting more and more reps in the passing game, which is a positive development after he was a non-factor as a pass-catcher in his rookie season.” – Matt Dolloff, 98.5 The Sports Hub – 8/02/19

“This was a busy day for running backs in the passing game. And Sony Michel appears to be making progress in that department. In a 7-on-7 drill, Michel made a nice catch from Tom Brady on an out route, fully extending to secure the ball. On another rep, Michel caught a pass in the flat and immediately dodged the first defender, exhibiting impressive agility.” – Kevin Duffy, Boston Herald – 8/02/19

“Sony Michel continues to see more involvement in the passing game. And he looks pretty smooth doing it. We’ll see if that carries over to the regular season.” – Kevin Duffy, Boston Herald – 8/05/19

“Overall it was a good day for the Patriots so this could have been a number of players but Michel looked vintage tearing through huge holes and, as a bonus, he continues to be more involved in the passing game and caught a RZ TD from Brady.” – Greg Bedard, Boston Sports Journal – 8/05/19

“Michel caught a red zone TD from Brady.” – Greg Bedard, Boston Sports Journal – 8/05/19

“Running back Sony Michel fumbled a toss from Jarrett Stidham during 11-on-11s. Overall, this was a sloppy day on offense.” – Kevin Duffy, Boston Herald – 8/06/19

“We haven’t seen much from rookie running back Damien Harris this summer. Harris did not play in the first preseason game, and he hasn’t received many practice reps over the past week. On Monday, Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead, and Brandon Bolden handled the bulk of the reps. As always, James White was on the field as a pass-catching specialist. There’s plenty of time left for Harris to show something. At the moment, though, it’s clear that Sony Michel is the team’s top ballcarrier.” – Kevin Duffy, Boston Herald – 8/12/19

“Despite competition from a group of strong backs, running back Sony Michel continues to be the top running back on the depth chart.” – Henry McKenna, USA TODAY – 8/13/19

“Brady spent time working in a group with Sony Michel, James White, Ben Waston and Phillip Dorsett early in practice when most of the team was involved in positional drills. Interesting to see the work in two-back sets, something that will be worth watching as the preseason moves on.” – Paul Perillo, Patriots.com – 8/13/19

“Lots of work for the running backs in today’s practice. The final period of 11-on-11s featured two Sony Michel runs, a James White carry, a Brandon Bolden carry, and a pair of screens to Rex Burkhead. Rookie Damien Harris participated, but wasn’t heavily involved.” – Kevin Duffy, Boston Herald – 8/14/19

“Brady completed passes to nine players and targeted 12: Rex Burkhead (4 of 4), Dorsett (2 of 3), Jakobi Meyers (2 of 3), Maurice Harris (2 of 3), Ben Watson (2 of 2), James White (2 of 2), Braxton Berrios (2 of 2), Sony Michel (1 of 1), Dontrelle Inman (1 of 1), Lance Kendricks (0 of 1), Damoun Patterson (0 of 1), Ryan Davis (0 of 1).” – Jeff Howe, The Athletic – 8/14/19

“Brady’s targets: Braxton Berrios (5 of 7), Jakobi Meyers (4 of 4), Sony Michel (2 of 2), Rex Burkhead (2 of 2), Gunner Olszewski (1 of 3), James White (1 of 3), Dontrelle Inman (1 of 3), Ben Watson (1 of 2) and Damoun Patterson (1 of 1). Brady also had one throwaway.” – Jeff Howe, The Athletic – 8/15/19

You can see more players at our 2019 Patriots Training Camp Player News Database, updated each night during camp.