Tag Archives: Ted Karras

Players To Watch Patriots-Packers Week 9 SNF

Steve Balestrieri
November 3, 2018 at 7:49 am ET

“Once More unto the Breach”

The New England Patriots return home and face off next against the Green Bay Packers in yet another primetime game this Sunday night. Remember when the Patriots played on Sunday afternoons? This primetime stuff is getting ridiculous.

A lot of the fun of watching two future Hall of Fame QBs with Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers going head to head against one another is lost when the ridiculous “who’s better” crap gets injected into the equation ad nauseam. Like our politics of today, neither side is going to budge, so just sit back and enjoy the offenses of each doing their thing on Sunday and revel in it. These matchups aren’t going to be around much longer.

This is an important game for both teams, the Patriots have won five in a row and are right in the mix for one of the top teams in the AFC and an all-important first-round bye in the playoffs. The Packers are a much better team than their 3-3-1 record and need to get on a roll. They nearly pulled off a huge upset last week against the undefeated Rams. So, how they react this week will have a lot to say about the rest of their season.

So, from a Patriots perspective if we can tear ourselves away from the Red Sox celebration for a moment, here are our Players to Watch on Sunday:

Stephon Gilmore:

The Patriots very talented corner has been outstanding all season and is now facing arguably his toughest test of the season. Davante Adams is Rodgers go-to guy and he’s having an outstanding season. He’s caught 52 passes for 690 yards and 6 TDs thru just the first seven games of the season. He’s on pace for 118 catches, 1,577 receiving yards, and 13 touchdowns.

Gilmore will have his hands full with the speedy Adams who said this week, he doesn’t believe anyone can cover him. And he may be right, the Patriots may have a plan for Gilmore to cover him underneath with safety help over the top. It would seem to be the normal Patriot M.O of trying to limit the top weapon of the opposition. If it isn’t Adams, Gilmore would draw Randall Cobb, not much of a break there is it?

But regardless, Gilmore has been outstanding since the first OTA session this spring. He should garner some serious Pro Bowl consideration this winter. The soft-spoken Gilmore has drawn Sammy Watkins of the Chiefs, Allen Robinson of the Bears and Kelvin Benjamin of the Bills the past three games. Those receivers combined for a total of five catches for 67 yards in those three games. Opposing QBs have only completed 28 percent of the passes targeting WRs Gilmore is covering. This should be a great matchup.

Trey Flowers:

The Patriots best player on the front seven had a tremendous game against the Bills on Monday night. Six tackles, two tackles for loss, two QB hits and he should have had an interception of Derek Anderson but couldn’t hold on.

This week the stakes and the quarry are much, much tougher. The Patriots remember what Aaron Rodgers did to them in Green Bay a few years ago. The front seven will have to play a very fine balancing act. They have to be able to pressure Rodgers enough to get him to get rid of the ball asap but do so in a way that keeps him contained in the pocket. If he breaks containment, very bad things will happen and all of them will happen to the defense.  

They’ll need a big effort from everyone on the defensive front seven but a lot of the pressure will be on Flowers to lead the way. Flowers coming out party as a rookie featured a sack of Rodgers in Gillette several years ago in preseason. The Patriots will be hoping to see much more of that on Sunday night.

Trey Flowers (74) beats David Bakhtiari and sacks Rodgers in preseason action as a rookie. (SBalestrieri photo)

Ted Karras:

The Patriots will be minus Shaq Mason on the interior of their offensive line this week and Ted Karras who subbed in for Mason when he first got hurt in Buffalo on Monday night. Mason hurt his calf against the Bills and didn’t return.

Karras is the Patriots top backup at all three of the interior offensive line positions but is probably best suited for the center position but he’ll be at right guard this week. And his job will likely entail matching up with Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark, both of whom are having very solid 2017 campaigns.

This will be a big test for Karras, he hasn’t played in a ton of games thus far in his career and the Packers will be looking to test not only his skill but his communication with the other offensive linemen when the Packers stunt, or blitz. There’s no pressure on Karras…right? He’s just on the stage with the two of the best QBs in any era and it is on national television to boot.

James White:

The Patriots Swiss Army Knife has a lot of pressure on him since the injury epidemic has hit the New England running back position hard. Jeremy Hill is gone for the year with an ACL tear, Rex Burkhead is on IR with multiple concussions and isn’t eligible to return until Week 14. And Sony Michel seemed to avert serious injury in Chicago when his knee got twisted during a tackle.

White has been just outstanding out of the backfield catching 55 passes for the Patriots for 459 yards and six touchdowns. His career high is 60 and he could possibly break that on Sunday night with another big game. The Packers at times play a lot of dime packages on defense and they may opt to try to take White away in the passing game by putting a defensive back on him rather than a linebacker which is a mismatch.

But with Michel’s status up in the air this week, (he’s questionable, but we doubt he’ll play this week), the onus will be even heavier on White to produce. We’d expect to see Brady look his way often on Sunday, especially if the Packers begin blitzing.

Julian Edelman:

With Michel’s status in doubt and even Rob Gronkowski who is battling ankle and back injuries this week and is questionable to play, Edelman’s value as a circled member of trust with Tom Brady will no doubt play a big role this week.

With Pettine’s defense which uses the old Rex Ryan overload schemes and multiple blitz packages, there will be times where Brady will be forced to make a decision and get the ball out very quickly. And in the past several years, he and Edelman have been outstanding at working in sync doing just that. Many times they’ll both recognize a look presnap and with just a look between the two, they’ll know right where they plan to go.

Edelman had a big game in Buffalo and this game in Gillette against the Packers could be a tailor-made game for #11. Look for Brady to call his number early and often.

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.

The 2018 New England Patriots On Social Media

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

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

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

Ryan Allen 

David Andrews

Ja’Whaun Bentley

Braxton Berrios

Brandon Bolden

Tom Brady

Kenny Britt

Rex Burkhead

Marcus Cannon

Patrick Chung

Adrian Clayborn

Duke Dawson

Phillip Dorsett

Eric Decker

Nate Ebner

Julian Edelman

Danny Etling

Trey Flowers

Marquis Flowers

Mike Gillislee

Stephon Gilmore

Rob Gronkowski –

Lawrence Guy

Duron Harmon

Dont’a Hightower

Jeremy Hill

Chris Hogan

Jacob Hollister

Brian Hoyer

Cyrus Jones

Jonathan Jones

Ted Karras

Harvey Langi

Brandon King

Devin Lucien

Shaq Mason

Jason and Devin McCourty

Sony Michel

Malcolm Mitchell

Cordarrelle Patterson

Derek Rivers

Elandon Roberts

Eric Rowe

Christian Sam

Danny Shelton

Joe Thuney

Vincent Valentine

Kyle Van Noy

LaAdrian Waddle

James White

Deatrich Wise

Isaiah Wynn

New England Patriots Training Camp Primer – Offensive Line

Steve Balestrieri
July 3, 2018 at 8:21 am ET

Health is the Biggest Question Mark

The Patriots head into training camp in just about three weeks now and as we’ve been saying, the competition this year at a number of positions will tell the tale on who goes and who remains. This has been a tumultuous offseason in many different ways. The Patriots lost a lot of key veteran players and all of the off-field hoopla surrounding Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski have been non-stop.

Soon that will all be behind us as the players get back on the field and we start talking about football again. In the next segment of our 2018 Patriots Training Camp primers is the Patriots Offensive Line.

The team lost left tackle Nate Solder this spring as he signed a big money contract with the Giants. He’s protected Tom Brady’s blind side for several years and done it well. Replacing a trusted veteran like Solder who was as good off the field for the team as well as on it.

So, with that in mind who are locked in and who’s on the bubble?

Roster Locks: Trent Brown, Isaiah Wynn, David Andrews, Shaq Mason, Marcus Cannon

The Patriots traded for Brown with the 49ers this spring, giving up a 3rd round draft pick in return. Although he’s played mostly right tackle in the NFL, he says he can play anywhere and the team may move him to left tackle.

Brown is a mammoth-sized human being. Listed at 6’8, 359 pounds, he’s every bit of that and possibly even bigger. But for a very large man, he has surprisingly good footwork. And he’s just 25 years old. Brown got some great kudos from Denver’s Von Miller who said this about the new Patriot:

“He’s the best right tackle in the National Football League,” Miller said of Brown. “And he may even be a top-five tackle, period, in the National Football League. There’s not another tackle who’s that tall, that big and can move the way he moves.”

The team used a 1st round draft pick (#23 overall) on Wynn and although he played left tackle for the Bulldogs, he projects to be a left guard in the NFL. Wynn is short for a tackle, 6’2, 302 but both he and Brown were competing for the left tackle spot but during the spring, they lined up next to one another with Wynn at left guard.

Andrews, Mason, and Cannon have been starters and remain solid pieces who have performed very well. The only questions with the locks revolve around health. Brown and Wynn are coming off of shoulder surgery, while Cannon was placed on IR late last season.

If this unit is the starting five on Week 1 and we believe that they will be, the team should be in a very good position for the offensive line play to start the season. Cannon’s availability physically is the only question. Will he be ready to go? Or will he begin camp on the PUP?

Near Roster Locks: Joe Thuney, LaAdrian Waddle

Thuney missed the spring minicamp with an injury and his spot was taken by Wynn. It will be interesting to note if Thuney is healthy for training camp, he may a fight on his hands to get back his starting left guard spot from the talented rookie from Georgia.

There is a possibility that Thuney will start training camp on the PUP if he’s still not ready to go. Health is the only possibility we’d see with him not making the 53-man roster.

Waddle is a valuable swing tackle who they brought back during free agency despite his getting feelers from other teams. He can play either side and has performed well when called upon. And with the long season that the team faces, he’ll be called on again this year.

On the Bubble: Cole Croston, Jason King, James Ferentz, Andrew Jelks, Ted Karras, Matt Tobin, Luke Bowanko, Ulrick John

The Patriots have several players vying for one or possibly two spots along the OL. Our feeling here is that Croston nails down one of those slots. We penciled him in for first 53-man roster projection. He’s versatile and can fill in at guard or tackle if needed.

But his spot will have to be earned so, the competition factor again will come into play. The team brought back King this spring, so that speaks highly for him. Karras has made the team as a backup and can play guard or center.

What may open the door for one or two more of these players is if Thuney or Cannon or maybe both are placed on PUP to start training camp. But with the demanding and outstanding OL coach Dante Scarnecchia back in the fold for another year, one thing is for certain. He’ll get the very best out of this group.

While as a whole, they have to improve but in pass blocking and in the running game, Coach Scar made it clear back in the spring, “I really like the guys we have here right now,” he said during the OTAs.

So physical questions aside, the Patriots offensive line may be very different, at least on the left side this year but they also have the potential to be very good and better than the 2017 unit as well.

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

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

Patriots Spend Evening At Tom Brady’s Annual Best Buddies Event

Robert Alvarez
June 4, 2018 at 5:44 pm ET

Tom Brady was back on the football field Friday night.

Brady and a few current and former Patriots teammates took to the field at Harvard Stadium for Brady’s 19th annual Best Buddies Tom Brady Football Challenge fundraising event.

Over the course of the evening, Brady was scrambling out of the pocket away from a defensive line filled of kids while throwing touchdown passes koppto Julian Edelman, Troy Brown, and even ESPN NFL Analyst Adam Schefter.

Other notable Patriots in attendance were Tedy Bruschi, James White, Chris Hogan, Christian Fauria, Dan Koppen, Jason McCourty, Devin McCourty, Ted Karras and Scott Zolak.

When asked about the events importance, James White told Patriots.com, “It’s always a special time, meeting the buddies again, seeing them run around and have fun, putting a smile on their faces,” James said. “It’s a great turnout, a great cause.”

The game ended in a highly competitive 112-112 tie.

Check out some of the best sights and sounds below.

Always good seeing old friends and making new friends with @bestbuddies !

A post shared by James White (@sweetfeet) on

New England Patriots Training Camp Primer Offensive Line

Steve Balestrieri
July 16, 2017 at 12:00 pm ET

Continuity and Preparing for 2018 are Keys

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

Bill Belichick likes to say that the spring’s OTAs and Minicamp is a learning exercise and that the real competition begins in training camp. With a roster of 90 players and no cuts needed before the final 53-man roster cut down, there will be plenty of time for evaluation.

So we’re going to take a look at the Patriots Offensive Line. One of the keys to the 2016 success and part of the struggle down the stretch in 2015 had to do with continuity. The Patriots five starters played together nearly wire-to-wire last year and their performance showed. In 2015 injuries decimated the unit and the team couldn’t get any kind of cohesiveness going.

The good news is that five starters return as well as some of their top backups. But the team didn’t neglect their offensive line this offseason. With an eye to the future, they drafted two tackles in the 2017 NFL Draft, Tony Garcia, and Connor McDermott. Garcia in particular looks to have been drafted with 2018 and beyond in mind.

Although the team lost RT Sebastian Vollmer to retirement this spring, he missed the entire 2016 season with an injury and with the ascendance of Marcus Cannon, the team looks to be in good shape there.
So, with that in mind who is locked in and who’s on the bubble?

Roster Locks: Nate Solder, Marcus Cannon, Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Shaq Mason, Tony Garcia
The starting five returns, seem to be healthy and are locked on the roster this summer. Solder returned from IR in 2015 to play very solidly last year. He’s in the last year of his contract and with that in mind, the team has drafted two possible replacements.

Moving up and using multiple picks to draft Garcia, he’s obviously someone who Dante Scarnecchia feels can be a left tackle of the future. With Solder in place for at least 2017, there is no pressure on Garcia to produce early. This will be a red-shirt type of year for him to learn the system and develop under the tutelage of Coach Scar.

Cannon came out of the doghouse to play very well in 2016. Guards Mason and Thuney are young and physical and should only improve. Andrews is an undersized but smart center and he’s not going anywhere.

Unless there is an injury somewhere, I see no changes happening along the starting lineup for the Patriots offensive line in 2017.

Near Roster Locks: Cameron Fleming, Ted Karras
Last season both Fleming and Karras were the top backups for the tackles and the interior line last year. They both have the inside track for the top backup positions again as well. Karras has the versatility to play either guard or back-up the center David Andrews. He’s not the most athletic guy but he’s physical and tough.

Fleming was the swing tackle last year and will be trying to hold off the rookies Garcia and McDermott from taking that job away from him. He’s versatile and can fill in at either left or right tackle, something that is easier said than done.

On the Bubble: LaAdrian Waddle, Conor McDermott, Cole Croston, Andrew Jelks, Max Rich, Jamil Douglas, Chase Farris, Jason King, James Ferentz
The Patriots have plenty of depth at the backup positions and these players are likely to be fighting for reps in training camp and a most likely only one or two slots.

Waddle has been a backup tackle and a blocking tight end but with the depth, at that position, he’ll be pushed hard for a roster spot. McDermott is another intriguing prospect. He’s a guy that the Patriots used a pair of picks to get, albeit in the sixth round of the draft. Would he pass thru waivers if the team tries to stash him on the practice squad? That would seem to be his best bet to make the roster, at least this summer, unless the inevitable injuries occur.

With a lot of bodies in camp, this will be an intriguing group to watch. They’ll have the entire preseason to make a case for sticking, so staying healthy and on the field, will be of primary importance.

Our next primer will have the Patriots defensive line… stay tuned.

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

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

Stock Up, Stock Down for Patriots After Preseason Win vs. Panthers

Lee Schechter
August 27, 2016 at 10:14 am ET

The Patriots shined defensively in their 19-17 win over the Carolina Panthers in Week 3 of the preseason. But, some of the defensive showing was credited to Cam Newton and the Panthers’ struggles.

New England delivered on offense at the right time with Tom Brady and it was enough to hold onto a win.

Here’s the stock report for players from Friday night:

Stock Up:

Chris Long, DE

Long showcased his impressive motor and excellent awareness despite being a seasoned veteran. Throughout the preseason, Long has shown he has a lot left in the tank. He deflected a pass that led to a Devin McCourty interception. Long also was a presence in the pass-rush and in run defense. He had an all-around great night.

Cyrus Jones, CB/PR

Second-round pick Cyrus Jones seemed to solidify his spot as the No. 3 cornerback in the secondary even though he was frozen by speedy veteran Ted Ginn Jr. on a screen play. Though it was on special teams where Jones made his presence. Jones made a sharp cut, turned on the jets, crossed to the opposite side of the field and evaded multiple tackles en route to a 59-yard punt return. As one of college football’s top return specialists in 2015, Jones picked up where he left off and that talent is translating perfectly in the NFL.

Chris Hogan, WR

The newcomer in the wide receiving core is looking like he is finding his place. Tom Brady connected with Hogan for a perfectly executed 33-yard touchdown pass over-the-shoulder. Sure, Brady made an absolutely perfect throw that dropped in on a dime, but Hogan ran a nice route, located the football and hauled it in with ease. Hogan also looked to have a good connection with Jimmy Garoppolo as he caught four passes from him.

Tyler Gaffney, RB

Gaffney once again looked like he will be a solid contributor out of the backfield. Gaffney ran with decisiveness and purpose as he continued to gain his “sea legs” and burst through gaps. The offensive line looked shaky with blocking after his quick start, which ruined his night a bit.

Logan Ryan, CB 

Ryan had one interception where he gained position on the bigger Kelvin Benjamin and then went up for the football on a sub-par Cam Newton throw. Ryan stuck with Benjamin through most of his snaps and drew an offensive pass interference call. And to top it all off, Ryan started the “Rutgers Pick Party” as McCourty and Duron Harmon also recorded interceptions.

 

Stock Down

Terrance Knighton, DT

It’s probably not a good thing that “Pot Roast” didn’t record a single defensive snap in the game. Knighton was in on a field-goal block early in the game. Anthony Johnson and even undrafted rookie Woodrow Hamilton played instead of Knighton. Knighton appears to have one foot out the door and the other foot is about to cross the line, too.

Geneo Grissom, DE

Grissom really needed to come out and make the most of his snaps with the new addition of Barkevious Mingo who is likely to steal Grissom’s spot. Grissom had to convince the Patriots that he is worth having as an extra roster spot, but right now that extra defensive roster spot should belong to the cornerbacks or safeties/special teamers.

Ted Karras/Nate Solder, OL

It’s not entirely fair to toss Karras and Solder in here as the offensive line had various struggles throughout the night. But, Karras was outmatched and botched a run block and appeared to give up a sack. Solder also gave up a sack.

Aaron Dobson, WR

Dobson did have a 37-yard catch over the middle where he had room to run. But, that still isn’t the most gratifying play. Dobson was shaky making the grab, then looked scared to take a hit. He always seems complacent and doesn’t attack the football at the high point to catch it. He’s tentative and has had too many chances. Dobson didn’t help his case with this performance.

Stephen Gostkowski, K

Who replaced Gostkowski with Robert Aguayo (who actually had a good game on Friday)? There’s no reason to panic, but Gostkowski’s missed FGs, mainly the 30-yard attempt, were ugly.

Patriots Training Camp Primer – Offensive Line

Steve Balestrieri
July 18, 2016 at 6:00 am ET

Return of Scarnecchia and Health Two Biggest Issues

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

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

So next on deck are the big bodies on the Offensive Line. The team is banking heavily on the return of positional coach Dante Scarnecchia who was retired for two years. He’s a tough taskmaster who demands the most from his charges. The health of this group is a big question mark; injuries ravaged them and the protection of QB Tom Brady steadily got worse as the season progressed.

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


Dante Scarnecchia returns to be the Pats OL coach after he retired two years ago. (USA TODAY Images)

Roster Locks: Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer, Joe Thuney, Shaq Mason, David Andrews, Jonathan Cooper
Health is the key here, Solder was lost in Dallas Week 5 for the season with a torn bicep. Vollmer battled injuries throughout the campaign and has knee and back issues. But if both are healthy they’ll be your starting tackles. One would have thought that the tackle position would have been addressed in either free agency and the draft but it was not. We’ll see how that turns out later this year.

The Pats didn’t draft Thuney to sit on the pine, and with Mason, Jackson and Kline MIA this spring, he took the starting reps at left guard whenever Brady or Garoppolo was on the field. He even took a few at center. Mason finally appeared in the last spring workout and had 10 starts as a rookie. Coming from the running game of Georgia Tech, he’s an excellent drive blocker but as one would expect, had issues with his pass blocking.  Andrews, who started all the games early last season and played fairly well is undersized but tough. In a surprise move, he was getting the starting reps over Bryan Stork this spring…something to keep an eye on.

Cooper was a top draft pick for the Cardinals before injuries derailed his career there. With the aforementioned players out this spring, he got the starter’s reps at right guard. The Pats are hoping that Scarnecchia can rekindle his professional career.


Nate Solder returns after going on IR after Week 5 in 2015. (USA TODAY Images)

Near Roster Locks: Bryan Stork, Marcus Cannon, LaAdrian Waddle
Stork, who played so well as a rookie at center, missed the first six weeks of the season on IR-Designated to Return and struggled as he had health issues of his own last year. Stork even played at right tackle against the Giants as Cameron Fleming and Marcus Cannon struggled. It will be interesting to watch the competition between Stork and Andrews this summer. With Thuney providing added insurance, the pivot position should be in good shape.

Cannon, is the ultimate head scratcher for this team, but Bill Belichick and Scarnecchia love this kid.  He was ineffective last season when pressed into starting duty and was just abused in the AFC Championship Game in Denver. As the saying goes, we’ll see how it plays out on the field.

Waddle has the opportunity to seize the swing tackle position. He too was hurt against the Cowboys and his shoulder injury sidelined him. But the Patriots gave him a two-year contract this offseason and he also has the capability to be an extra blocking tight end in short yardage.

On the Bubble: Tre’ Jackson, Josh Kline, Cameron Fleming, Ted Karras
Jackson was a rookie draft pick (4th Rd, 111th overall), a year ago and had nine starts while appearing in 13 games. Prior to coming out in the 2015 NFL Draft, he had knee issues and he missed time with those during the season as well as missing both playoff games. If he’s healthy he’ll compete for the right guard spot, where he saw all of his action a year ago. But he missed all of the spring, so his status will bear watching once training camp begins.

Kline is a guy who the Patriots traditionally love, an undersized but tough player. He too missed all of the spring. With the additions of Thuney and Cooper along the interior of the line, he may find himself on the outside looking in.

Fleming flopped as a swing tackle a year ago, like Cannon was ineffective when pressed into service. But the last offseason, the Patriots fiddled with the idea of moving him to guard. He was training to do just that, cutting down on his weight a bit and improving his quickness. We saw the video of his workouts last spring and it seemed he was destined to move inside.

But the team drafted Mason and Jackson last spring and Fleming went back outside. The results were not good. Perhaps with a full offseason with Scarnecchia, Fleming can get his game back together. The swing tackle position will again go thru Cannon, Waddle and Fleming.

Karras is a tough kid that has a lot of upper body strength, completing 32 reps on the bench press at his Pro Day this spring. The 6th round draft pick has an NFL pedigree and is a good pass protector but isn’t very athletic and may find himself a practice squad candidate unless he can shine in limited opportunities.

Outside Looking in…. Longshots: Chris Barker, Keavon Milton
Both of these players have been let go in the past and face long odds of making the roster out of training camp.

Barker was originally claimed off of waivers from the Miami Dolphins in the 2013 season and appeared in four games. During the 2014 season, he split time between the practice squad and the active roster and appeared in two games. Last season he was signed to the active roster for the Week 10 game against the Giants before being released and signed back to the practice squad.

Milton was a UDFA in 2013 and was signed by the New Orleans Saints. He was among the final cuts of the Saints and was signed by the Browns and appeared in eight games with no starts that season. He then was released by the Browns at the end of training camp in 2014 and signed to Seattle’s practice squad. Released in September 2015 he was signed by the Patriots to their practice squad in November. The 6’4, 320-pound Milton was a blocking tight end at Louisiana-Monroe who made the transition to tackle

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.

Selection of Karras Brings Some Intensity to the Patriots Offensive Line

Ian Logue
May 2, 2016 at 9:10 am ET

(Portions of this entry appeared in Monday’s daily rundown)

The selection of Ted Karras will go down as one of the more interesting selections during the 2016 Patriots draft, primarily because it’s always fun to have guys who are a little out there, bringing attitude and a bit of an edge with them.

It’s always nice to see a little intensity added to the locker room and Karras certainly brings that. The former standout from Illinois is known for his pregame rituals, where he pours water over his head and yells “like a Viking”, but the thing that was interesting listening to him during his press conference is the fact he’s a guy who has enjoyed what he’s been doing from a young age.

From the time he was young Karras has loved his position and worked hard to grow and bulk up in order to play it well. He spent his days drinking a gallon of milk each day heading into high school as he tried to add weight and put himself in position to continue the family tradition.  Karras had seven family members play football in the Big Ten, with four more making it to the NFL.  Karras’ achievement this weekend made him number five.

He loves football.  He’s tough, and he loves being an offensive lineman.  Those are exactly the traits you look for at that position, which should make him a fun guy to follow in the coming months.

“We’re a tough family. We’ve all played and everyone’s an interior lineman,” said Karras during his conference call.  “That’s kind of been our MO throughout me growing up. I knew I was going to be a lineman early and they’ve been giving me tips throughout each stage of my career and I’ve been able to deliver so far.”

Playing up front doesn’t exactly get guys a lot of glory, but being a quarterback or a running back never entered Karras’ mind.  That’s something you don’t expect to hear from a player, but from the time he started playing at eight years old in third grade, His mind was made up.

“Never. I never had the fantasy of being a quarterback,” said Karras when he was asked about it over the weekend.  “I knew from an early age I was going to be a lineman. My first position was nose guard. My first [jersey] number was in the 60s, so it was pretty predetermined for me. I knew what my role was going to be on a football field.”

In a lot of ways he’s sort of reminiscent of former offensive lineman Logan Mankins, who brought a toughness and attitude that made him a great asset during his time in New England.  Mankins was a first-round pick while Karras was obviously a late-round selection. The two are obviously very different players, but Karras seems to bring a similar drive.

“I felt I was a leader. I felt I brought a hard-nose attitude,” said Karras.  “I worked every day, maybe not considered the most elite athlete but I got the job done and excelled at the job. I not only got the job done but did the job well. That’s kind of how I’ve always been.”

So what he says he lacks in athleticism, he makes up for in hard work and determination.   You’ve got to love having a player like that on this football team, and hopefully he’ll be as good or even better than Mankins.  In a league where guys who work hard often outlast those who don’t, that should give Karras an opportunity to be successful at the next level.

Patriots Fourth And Two Podcast: Patriots Draft Review

Russ Goldman
at 6:15 am ET

In this episode, we analyzed all of the Draft Picks for the Patriots. This is my favorite espisode ever of Patriots Fourth And Two, because we give you the type of talk and analysis I had hoped for when we started this show over four and a half years ago. I invite you to listen!

Patriots 2016 Draft Picks – Recapping Every Selection

Ian Logue
May 1, 2016 at 6:00 am ET

The NFL Draft is done and the Patriots picked up a pretty good mix of players across the board, although they came away without a running back. However, there’s a common theme within this group of Patriots 2016 draft picks, with several having traits that seem to make them great fits with this club.

Needless to say, it sets up what should be an interesting stretch heading into training camp, and here’s a quick rundown of the players taken this weekend:


1) CB CYRUS JONES:

Cyrus Jones is among the Patriots 2016 draft Picks who should give the Patriots defense help in their secondary.
Cyrus Jones should be a great addition to the Patriots’ secondary.

Name: Cyrus Jones
Position: CB
Round: 2
Selection: 60th Overall
College: Alabama
Summary: An athletic cornerback with terrific cover skills and closing speed, who despite his size at 5’10” is tough and not afraid to come up and make the tackle in the ground game.  He’s also a dynamic punt returner who should be able to help take some pressure off of new teammate Julian Edelman.


2) OL JOE THUNEY:


Joe Thuney adds versatility to the Patriots offensive line.

Name: Joe Thuney
Position: OL
Round: 3
Selection: 78th Overall
College: North Carolina State
Summary: A solid offensive lineman who played both guard and tackle in college and should give Tom Brady some additional help up front as he joins a group that didn’t exactly perform well last season, and struggled in the AFC Championship Game.


3) QB JACOBY BRISSETT:


With the uncertainty surrounding Tom Brady, Jacoby Brissett gives the Patriots depth at quarterback.

Name: Jacoby Brissett
Position:
QB
Round: 3rd
Selection: 91st Overall
College: North Carolina State
Summary: Brissett was a decent passer in college and joins his fellow college teammate Joe Thuney, showing good accuracy while also having done a good job reducing his touchdown to interception ratio as his collegiate career went on and improving his ability to take care of the football.  With the uncertainty with Brady heading into the season, Brissett gives New England some depth behind Jimmy Garoppolo, but he’ll also have the opportunity to learn and develop behind one of the best in the game in Brady.


4) DT VINCENT VALENTINE:


Valentine’s selection adds to a revamped Patriots defensive line.

Name: Vincent Valentine
Position: DT
Round: 3rd
Selection: 96th Overall
College: Nebraska
Summary: Valentine is an interesting prospect, and at 6’4″, 329-pounds he’s a big presence who is yet another addition to the Patriots revamped defensive line.  He’s a disruptive player and despite battling through injuries during his junior season finished with 4 tackles for a loss along with 3 sacks.  He’s a player with a lot of potential and having played for a school like Nebraska, he’s certainly no stranger to playing in big games.


5) WR MALCOLM MITCHELL:


The Patriots may have finally found themselves a playmaker in Mitchell. (USA TODAY Images)

Name: Malcolm Mitchell
Position: WR
Round: 4
Selection: 112th Overall
College: Georgia
Summary: The addition of Mitchell appears like it could give the Patriots the playmaker they’ve been looking for to strengthen their offense. He’s listed at 6’0″ which gives Tom Brady a taller receiver to target and also ran a 4.40 40-yard dash during private workouts. The interesting thing about Mitchell is that he’s also spent time at cornerback, which gives him the advantage of having some familiarity with how defenders will play him. He also has great body control and has shown a great ability to adjust to the football, and he’s also one of those guys who isn’t afraid to fight for the football. Overall, he should be fun to watch in training camp and adds to what is already a pretty competitive group.


6) LB KAMU GRUGIER-HILL:


Grugier-Hill gives the Patriots another athletic player in their defense. (USA TODAY Images)

Name: Kamu Grugier-Hill
Position: SS/LB
Round: 6th
Selection: 208th Overall
College: Eastern Illinois
Summary: The Patriots grabbed a teammate of Garoppolo with Grugier-Hill’s selection, adding an athletic linebacker who was certainly a play-maker during his senior season.  He finished the season with an incredible 16.5 tackles for a loss along with 6.5 sacks, and also had an interception and a fumble recovery.  He’s certainly an intriguing player and should be a fun one to keep an eye on.


7) ILB ELANDON ROBERTS:


Roberts was a solid player during his collegiate career in Houston.

Name: Elandon Roberts
Position: ILB
Round: 6th
Selection: 214th Overall
College: Houston
Summary: Roberts is great story, having had a solid career for the University of Houston and turning himself from a good player into an NFL-ready prospect.  His coach, Tom Herman, called Roberts a “self-made man”, which obviously shows you the type of work ethic and respect the former Houston linebacker had as a member of his program.  The theme of what New England was looking for seems to fit the mold of what Roberts provides, with the linebacker finishing with a breakout season, amassing 142 tackles, including six sacks, 19 tackles for a loss, an interception, and two forced fumbles.


8) OG TED KARRAS:


Ted Karras should bring plenty of attitude and intensity to the Patriots’ offensive line.

Name: Ted Karras
Position: OG
Round: 7th
Selection: 221st Overall
College: Illinois
Summary: One of the biggest things missing up front on New England’s offensive line was some nastiness and intensity last season, and the selection of Karras is going to be one of the more interesting ones to watch during training camp.  He’s an intense player, to the point where his pregame preparations are one of the more unique ones out there.  Ryan Hannable of WEEI pointed out that before each game, Karras pours two bottles of water over his head and yells like a Viking, and you have to love having a guy like that on your offensive line and in your locker room.  That type of approach and attitude tends to be infectious and if that ends up being the case, we should see a big improvement from this group in 2016.


9) WR DEVIN LUCIEN:


Devin Lucien was considered to be one of the biggest sleepers in the draft.

Name: Devin Lucien
Position: WR
Round: 7th
Selection: 225th Overall
College: Arizona State
Summary: It’s hard to explain exactly what the reason is, but 7th round picks seem to offer the most intrigue compared to other rounds and Lucien certainly falls into that category.  He was a solid receiver for ASU and Pro Football Focus actually named him the No. 1 sleeper in the draft a couple weeks ago.  Some scouting reports seem to believe that Lucien was the victim of a talented draft class that simply forced him down the board, and given his strong hands and his ability to adjust his body to the football, he seems like he could be yet another player to keep an eye on.

There seems to be a common theme among these players and overall it’s one of the more intriguing drafts in recent memory.  For now, this one’s in the books and now we’ll see in the coming months which players emerge as potential play-makers for the Patriots this season.