|07.14.14 at 3:57 pm ET|
The revelations were unearthed in documents filed in Fall River Superior Court. The filings, which were made public on Monday, list the evidence prosecutors in the Odin Lloyd murder case have turned over to Hernandez’s defense lawyers in advance of the trial. It includes the fact that Belichick and Kraft have made statements to authorities, as well as the fact that detectives have also interviewed director of football Berj Najarian and strength coaches Harold Nash and Moses Cabrera.
In addition, the filings revealed that prosecutors have turned over 33 pages of text messages between Belichick and Hernandez from February 2013 to May 2013.
Hernandez, who played for the Patriots from 2010 through 2012, faces two more murder counts in a July 2012 drive-by shooting in Boston.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|07.14.14 at 7:00 am ET|
As training camp approaches, we’ll offer a position-by-position breakdown of the 2014 Patriots. We open with a look at wide receiver.
Depth chart: Julian Edelman (105 catches, 1,056 yards, 6 TDs in 2013), Danny Amendola (54 catches, 633 yards, 2 TDs), Brandon LaFell (49 catches, 627 yards, 5 TDs with Carolina), Aaron Dobson (37 catches, 519 yards, 4 TDs), Kenbrell Thompkins (32 catches, 466 yards, 4 TDs), Josh Boyce (9 catches, 121 yards), Jeremy Gallon, Jeremy Johnson, Wilson Van Hooser, Reese Wiggins
Overview: The wide receiver position was in a massive state of flux last year, as quarterback Tom Brady faced the challenge of incorporating a ton of new faces into the mix, all while Rob Gronkowski shuffled in and out of the starting lineup because of injury. Edelman did the best job stepping into the void, putting together one of the finest seasons of recent vintage — his first month was as good statistically as almost any receiver Brady has ever had. Amendola struggled with health, and while he had two terrific games (the opener against Buffalo and the loss against the Dolphins in Miami), there were times when he dropped off the radar screen. Meanwhile, Dobson, Thompkins and Boyce progressed about as well as could be expected — but while they had their moments early, all three had problems down the stretch: Dobson played in two games after Dec. 1, due in large part to a foot injury that has cast his availability for training camp into doubt. Meanwhile, Thompkins caught just nine passes after Halloween, and Boyce’s season ended prematurely with a foot injury. Going forward, the group is joined by newcomer LaFell, a versatile presence known for his dependability and blocking skills, as well as a host of younger possibilities.
THREE THINGS WE KNOW
1. Julian Edelman is the closest thing the Patriots have to a No. 1 receiver.
Edelman caught a combined 69 passes his first four years in the league, then had 105 in 2013, becoming just the third receiver to catch at least 100 passes in a single season from Brady. (Troy Brown and Wes Welker ae the other two.) He was absolutely integral to the success of the New England offense last season, and the passing game in particular. While Edelman should get more help this season than last because of the addition of LaFell and the (presumed) development of the second-year receivers like Dobson, Thompkins and Boyce, he’ll be lead option in the passing game, at least until Gronkowski is back to something approximating 100 percent.
2. Danny Amendola is a bit of a mystery.
Amendola was terrific in some games, and absolutely nowhere to be seen in others. The Patriots probably wouldn’t have beaten Buffalo in the opener if he didn’t come away with 10 catches (almost 20 percent of his total for the season) against the Bills in September. He was banged up in that one, and a groin issue plagued him for much of the rest of the year. After a really impressive 10-catch outing in a December loss to the Dolphins in South Florida, he had six catches over the final four games of the season — three in the last two regular-season games and three in the postseason. (In the AFC title game, Matthew Slater was targeted as many times as Amendola.) It sparked questions as to whether or not the quarterback had lost faith in him. A strong summer, good health and a good start to the season would make a lot of those questions disappear, and give Brady another dependable target.
3. Brandon LaFell is a pretty good blocker.
As a member of the Panthers for four seasons, LaFell distinguished himself as a relatively dependable target who was versatile enough to play different spots. (Expect him to do some of that with the Patriots.) But the one thing that really stood out when talking about what he brings to the field are his blocking skills. Speaking at the owners meetings this past spring, Panthers coach Ron Rivera was effusive in his praise of LaFell and his blocking skills. “I love his tenacity. He’s a willing blocker. He’s a want-to blocker. He wants to block,” Rivera said of LaFell, who signed a three-year, $9 million deal with New England. “He won’t block because he has to. He’ll block because he has to. He’ll block because he wants to.” It will be interesting to see how the Patriots utilize that aspect of his game this year.
Read the rest of this entry »
|07.07.14 at 10:10 pm ET|
Aaron Hernandez will be moved from the Bristol County House of Correction in Dartmouth to a jail closer to Boston, a judge ruled Monday.
The former Patriots tight end attended the hearing and gestured to his mother and brother in the courtroom.
Prosecutors revealed last week that they would not object to the request to move Hernandez so that he could be closer to his lawyers. However, they dismissed accusations that Hernandez’s privacy and due process rights were violated by the jail administrator — claims that were not addressed in court Monday.
Bristol County Judge Susan Garsh also said that she was concerned that the tentative trial date of Oct. 6 for the murder of Odin Lloyd is not realistic due to the amount of evidence as well as motions she expects to be filed. She set the next hearing for Aug. 11.
Hernandez also is charged with double-murder for a 2012 shooting in Boston. He has pleaded not guilty.
|07.07.14 at 1:31 pm ET|
Giants linebacker and former Boston College star Mark Herzlich joined Middays with MFB on Monday morning at his charity golf tournament at the Pinehills Golf Club in Plymouth to discuss his battle with cancer, his road to the NFL and the criticism that Eli Manning deals with on an almost daily basis. To listen to the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Herzlich, who missed the entire 2009 college football season after being diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer known as Ewing’s sarcoma, is in his fifth year of hosting the Liberty Mutual Invitational celebrity golf tournament. Proceeds from the event go to Uplifting Athletes, a non-profit that funds sarcoma research.
“It was all kind of a whirlwind,” Herzlich said. “The first year I was back, I said, ‘OK, we want to do something to give back,’ so Jayme Parker at NESN was very helpful throughout the process and so Jayme said, ‘Let’s do a golf tournament.’ … Liberty Mutual jumped in and said, ‘OK, we’ll be your sponsor,’ and since then it’s just been rolling and this is our fifth one.”
After his playing days at Chestnut Hill, Herzlich signed with the Giants as an undrafted free agent on July 26, 2011. Herzlich has recorded 84 combined tackles during his three seasons in New York. While the former ACC Defensive Player of the Year has carved out a solid career for himself in the NFL, he admitted that returning to the gridiron after missing a whole year battling cancer was a long and trying process.
“The first year I was back, it was night and day,” Herzlich said. “My brain was saying, ‘You can do this,’ and my body was saying, ‘You can’t do this.’ I was going in drops and breaking and missing tackles and luckily I had Luke Kuechly behind me to make all the rest of the tackles that I was missing. … Now I feel like I’m as good or better than I was then.
Tom Brady‘s supposed decline has been a hot topic across New England this season. While Herzlich said he still believes Brady is an elite-level signal caller, he also noted that Giants fans would not come to Eli Manning‘s defense the same way Patriots fans have for Brady.
“I think that there are Eli lovers and Eli haters. There’s no one who’s like, ‘Yeah, Eli is pretty good, or whatever.’ … He does know when he has a bad game, and the problem is that every single person in New York and across the country knows he has a bad game, too, because they let him know. It’s tough, and he’s very strong-minded to get over that stuff, but I couldn’t imagine.
“Some of the stuff that’s on Twitter — he doesn’t have Twitter, and I’m glad he’s not on Twitter. As far as Brady not being an elite quarterback, that’s kind of ridiculous to me.”
|07.04.14 at 11:24 am ET|
It’s no surprise New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski enjoyed himself at the Beyonce-Jay Z concert Tuesday night, but it was somewhat surprising who joined Gronkowski dancing in the crowd at Gillette Stadium — Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
If it wasn’t clear in that video, Gronkowski was in the blue shirt dancing alongside Kraft.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|07.03.14 at 6:17 pm ET|
Seventh-round picks by the New England Patriots have actually panned out fairly well with Patrick Pass (2000), David Givens (2002), Tully Banta-Cain (2003) Matt Cassel (2005), Julian Edelman (2009), Brandon Deaderick (2010) and Alfonzo Dennard (2012).
This season, the Patriots selected Michigan wide receiver Jeremy Gallon in the seventh-round, No. 244 overall. Being versatile, athletic and having a tremendous work ethic, Gallon could be the latest Patriots success story coming from their final pick in the draft.
“He was our rock,” said Jeff Hecklinski, the Michigan wide receivers coach in a phone interview. “He was the guy that you were shocked when Jeremy didn’t make a play or didn’t make a block. He was a guy that wouldn’t come off the field. I gave the guy his rotation and he said, ‘Coach, I’ll handle my rotation.’ I said, ‘When you’re tired, you let me know,’ and he would never let me know. He is a coaches dream.”
Working primarily as an outside receiver at Michigan, Gallon improved each year during his four years as a Wolverine and finished his senior season totaling 1,373 yards receiving, which broke the school record for receiving yards in a season, previously held by Braylon Edwards.
“I think at first he had a lot of skill and didn’t really understand the game of football, he just played the game on a lot of instinct,” Hecklinski said. “I think as he grew at understanding the game — the techniques and fundamental’s of being able to see coverages, understand coverages and really understanding the total concept of the game — how people are trying to defend, what they are trying to defend and how do I get open within that coverage. I think by the time he became a senior, he could work within the system and the coverages to find openings and get open.”
Going from 450 yards receiving his sophomore season to 1,373 yards receiving didn’t come easy — he put in the work. Often spending extra time with his coaches in the meeting room and extra sessions in the weight room, the 24-year-old turned into one of the better players on the entire Michigan roster.
“The one thing about Jeremy, is Jeremy is going to work,” Hecklinski said. “He doesn’t know anything different. To him this is his job now and he will be there from 7:30 in the morning to whenever, as late at night as he needs to be. He is a gym-rat in those regards and I think that’s one of the things I loved most about him. He is one of those guys. He loves being in the office and the weight room, he loves being on the field.”
|07.02.14 at 12:31 pm ET|
Tom Brady will turn 37 years old in a month, but that doesn’t mean the quarterback is losing any respect among top league insiders.
In an ESPN poll (insider only), NFL Insider Mike Sando anonymously polled 26 league insiders, including eight general managers, two former general managers, four pro personnel evaluators, seven coordinators, two head coaches, two position coaches and a top executive to get their ranking on each of the projected 32 starting NFL quarterbacks. The rankings were given on a 1-5 scale, with one being the best and five the worst. Sando then was able to separate the quarterbacks into tiers, 1-4.
Brady came out at the top with a 1.04 average rating, tying Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. Those four and Andrew Luck (1.5 average ranking) made up the first tier. Only one voter did not put Brady in the top tier as that pro personnel evaluator only had Manning in tier 1.
“Brady did a lot of good things with limited resources, but I saw holes when they put the onus on him to carry it all, as you saw when Denver beat him,” the personnel evaluator said. “Brady has to have more of a running game at this stage. He cannot line up with five wides and win it as consistently as before. I still think Brady is a top-five quarterback, but I would not say he is the best right now.”
Another veteran offensive assistant doesn’t see things the same way and said Brady, Manning and Brees were all pretty much interchangeable.
“Brady might be the best because he does it with the least every year, just about,” the offensive assistant said. “To me, there is no falloff with that guy. If he played with what Rodgers and Peyton and Brees have played with, it would not even be close. He has not had an outside guy since Randy Moss. These other guys have outside guys coming out of their ears, especially Peyton and Rodgers. It is such a difference when you have outside guys that can stretch, like Manning had in Indy. Then he’d kill you with the inside guys. Brady doesn’t have half the skill players that Manning has. The thing that is scary is that sneakily, the Patriots were pretty good last year anyway.”
Latest from Bleacher Report
- NFL Power Rankings: Breaking Down Sunday's Action Ahead of Week 7
- Patriots vs. Bengals: Full Report Card Grades for New England
- Rob Gronkowski Illness: Updates on Patriots TE's Status and Return
- Tom Brady Elects Not to Comment When Asked About Donald Trump's Leaked...
- Cincinnati Bengals vs. New England Patriots Betting Odds, Analysis, NFL...
- Martellus Bennett, Chris Hogan, James White Post-Week 5 Fantasy Advice
- Patriots vs. Browns: Full Report Card Grades for New England