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Patriots officially add Matt Mulligan to roster, as well as pair of practice squadders

09.03.13 at 11:28 am ET
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The Patriots announced Tuesday they have signed veteran tight end Matthew Mulligan to the 53-man roster and added rookie offensive tackles Jordan Devey and tackle R.J. Dill to the practice squad.

Here’s a portion of the release issued by the team:
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Robert Kraft on Tim Tebow: ‘Who’s to say he won’t get his opportunity?’

09.03.13 at 9:44 am ET
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Patriots owner Robert Kraft, during a Tuesday appearance on “CBS This Morning” to promote the start of the NFL season, continued to rave about recently released backup quarterback Tim Tebow and added to speculation that the Patriots will consider bringing him back at some point this season.

“Who’s to say he won’t get his opportunity?”  Kraft said. “To have a guy like that in the locker room, the kind of person he is, the way he conducts himself ‘€¦ I’d love to be his agent.”

Asked about the Aaron Hernandez situation, Kraft said: “That’s one of the saddest things that happened in my tenure of ownership. I think we’ve said a lot on the issue. Everything I ever saw about him was first-class in the building. It’s a very sad thing, and it’s something that I’ve said everything I’m going to say about it.”

Kraft also touched on the controversy about one of his Super Bowl rings, which is in the possession of Russian President Vladimir Putin, on display in the Kremlin. Kraft has said he was showing it to Putin during a 2005 trip to Russia, and Putin put it in his pocket and walked off with it. When Kraft recounted the story at an awards show in June, a Putin spokesman insisted it was a gift and that Putin would make a new ring for Kraft. The Patriots owner said he would welcome that gesture.

“I had the great opportunity when my friend Sandy Weill and I were in St. Petersburg to show him the ring, and it worked out that I gave it to him as a present,” Kraft said. “And you know, I understand that he has said he’s making a ring for me, and I’d like to invite him right here to come and present it to me at a CBS-presented game.”

Kraft avoided a follow-up question from host Norah O’Donnell about whether he was pressured by the White House to say the ring was a gift in an effort to avoid causing friction in U.S.-Russian relations.

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Tom Brady on D&C: Tim Tebow ‘really a great person and a great player’

09.03.13 at 8:41 am ET
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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning, as the Pats continue preparations for Sunday’s regular-season opener against the Bills in Buffalo.

One of the Patriots’ final cuts Saturday was backup quarterback Tim Tebow. There’s been speculation that the team might look to bring back the former Bronco and Jet this season, which Brady implied would be fine with him.

“I enjoy being around him very much,” Brady said. “He’s a very talented football player. To have a chance to spend a couple of months with him and kind of become a friend of his, was a great thing. We were yesterday talking about a lot of the quarterbacks that have been through our team over the years. Everyone brings a unique skill set and attitude to the table.

“I really enjoyed being with him. And you never know. Maybe, things in the NFL always — who knows, he could be back on the team at some point this year. I wish him nothing but the best. He’s really a great person and a great player.”

The Patriots went 3-1 in the preseason and stayed relatively healthy, and now Brady is ready to see the team in a meaningful game.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Brady said. “It’s been a lot of hard work, a lot of preparation. There’s a lot of guys that have really bought in to the way that coach [Bill] Belichick tries to coach the team. We’ll see how it goes on Sunday. That’s really when we’ll know how prepared we are, when you actually face real live NFL competition with everything on the line.

“You certainly gain a lot from the preseason and the experience of playing, but nothing’s like regular-season football. It’s just a whole different thing. It’s a whole different level of competition. It’s great to be able to game-plan for a particular team and see tendencies and see things that you really like and want to attack, and that’s what this week’s all about. Hopefully, we’re at our best on Sunday.”

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Pressure Points: Which Patriots defenders did the best job of getting to the quarterback in the preseason?

09.03.13 at 8:30 am ET
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In the 2013 preseason, the Patriots had 20 quarterback hits and 13 sacks as a team. Based on gamebooks, here’€™s a quick look at some pass-rush numbers for the Patriots from the recently concluded preseason:

Quarterback hits
Michael Buchanan 3
Chandler Jones 3
Dane Fletcher 2
Brandon Spikes 2
Rob Ninkovch 2
Marcus Benard 2
Justin Francis 1
Joe Vellano 1
Tommy Kelly 1
Marcus Forston 1
Jeff Tarpinian 1
Scott Vallone 1

Buchanan 2.5 (11.5 yards)
Benard 2 (17 yards)
Spikes 2 (11 yards)
Kelly 1.5 (9.5 yards)
Ninkovich 1.5 (9.5 yards)
Vallone 1 (9 yards)
Vellano 1 (7 yards)
Jones 1 (4 yards)
Tarpinian 0.5 (3.5 yards)

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Tracking opportunities in Patriots preseason passing game

09.03.13 at 7:45 am ET
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Targets have been compiled by the NFL since the start of the 2009 season, and while it remains a vaguely imperfect stat ‘€” a badly thrown ball from a quarterback can often go against the record of the receiver as opposed to the quarterback ‘€” it remains a good indication of the confidence level a passer might have in his pass catcher. Here’€™s a look at the target breakdown for the New England passing game through the 2013 preseason:

WR Kenbrell Thompkins: 15 catches on 25 targets
WR Aaron Dobson: 11 catches on 29 targets
WR Julian Edelman: 10 catches on 12 targets
TE Zach Sudfeld: 8 catches on 11 targets
RB Shane Vereen: 7 catches on 11 targets
WR Danny Amendola: 7 catches on 8 targets
WR Josh Boyce: 7 catches on 12 targets
TE Daniel Fells: 5 catches on 5 targets
WR Quentin Sims: 4 catches on 6 targets
RB Leon Washington: 3 catches on 5 targets
FB James Develin: 3 catches on 4 targets
TE Michael Hoomanawanui: 2 catches on 5 targets
RB Brandon Bolden: 2 catches on 4 targets
WR Kamar Aiken: 2 catches on 3 targets
RB LeGarrette Blount: 1 catch on 3 targets
RB Stevan Ridley: 0 catches on 1 target
TE Evan Landi: 0 catches on 1 target
WR Johnathan Haggerty: 0 catches on 2 targets
TE Jake Ballard: 0 catches on 2 targets

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Patriots reportedly expected to add TE Matt Mulligan

09.03.13 at 12:31 am ET
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The Patriots are expected to sign free agent tight end Matt Mulligan after working him out on Monday, according to several reports. His addition would get the active roster back to 53 after Tuesday’s release of fullback James Develin.

The 6-foot-4, 257-pounder out of Maine played with the Jets from 2009 through 2011, and spent last season with the Rams. He was one of the final cuts in Green Bay over the weekend. Known more for his blocking skills, his best year came in 2012 with St. Louis, when he played in all 16 games (with nine starts) and came away with eight catches for 84 yards and a touchdown.

In all, the native of Bangor has registered 14 catches, 144 receiving yards, and a touchdown in five seasons in the NFL.

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Patriots release fullback James Develin

09.02.13 at 5:20 pm ET
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The Patriots released fullback James Develin on Monday.

Develin, 25, spent the majority of the 2012 season on the New England practice squad and four weeks on the 53-man roster, seeing action in one game vs. San Francisco on Dec. 16.

The 6-foot-3, 255-pounder originally joined the Cincinnati practice squad for the final five games of the 2010 season after playing for the Florida Tuskers of the United Football League. A former college defensive end at Brown University, Develin spent the entire 2011 season with Cincinnati on the practice squad and signed with New England’€™s practice squad on Sept. 1, 2012 after being released by the Bengals.

The active roster now stands at 52.

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