|09.06.11 at 6:53 pm ET|
The Patriots have claimed linebacker A.J. Edds off waivers from the Dolphins, according to multiple media outlets. The 6-foot-4, 244-pounder played at Iowa, and was a fourth-round pick of Miami last year who spent all of 2010 on injured reserve after tearing his the ACL in his right knee training camp. The 23-year-old Edds led the Dolphins in tackles this preseason with 18 (with one sack), and could also serve as a long snapper in a pinch.
|09.06.11 at 4:36 pm ET|
If you’re worried about Deion Branch‘s lack of production in the preseason, don’t be, says Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Belichick acknowledges the veteran wide receiver didn’t catch a single pass in the preseason, but Belichick said the 32-year-old has had a “pretty good camp,” and hinted that part of it could be age.
“We had to manage him a little bit in practice but he was, I think, in good condition,” Belichick said of Branch, who had 61 total catches between Seattle and New England last season. “He took certainly his share of reps out there in training camp and I thought he looked good doing it. I think he’s in position, based on what I’ve seen so far and what he has done in training camp and preseason, I think he’s ready to have a good year.
“[He] works hard, gives us good leadership at that position, very smart player, instinctive player, knows what to do, does the right thing and is very dependable. I think everybody in the organization feels good about counting on Deion. He’s a very consistent guy every day. Every time the ball is snapped he almost always does the right thing, does it the way you want him to do it.”
Once reason for Branch’s reduced role in the preseason could be because the Patriots are being proactive about getting younger receivers (like Julian Edelman, Taylor Price and Matthew Slater) and newcomers (like Chad Ochocinco) more acclimated to the New England passing game with more in-game action.
Asked about Branch’s preseason production, Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien didn’t sound concerned.
“There has been production with each guy, each day with maybe one more than the other on a certain day or [in] a certain game,” O’Brien said. “But as we go forward here Deion will be ‘ as with all the receivers on the roster: Deion, Wes, [Chad Ochocinco], Slater, Julian, Taylor, those guys are all going to be looked to, to contribute to the game on a weekly basis.”
|09.06.11 at 1:44 pm ET|
It appears that the Patriots have either signed or about to sign the brother of New England’s Rob Grokowski, Dan Gronkowski.
According to multiple tweets from the Gronkowski brothers, the 6-foot-5, 255-pound Dan will join the Patriots. An initial Tuesday afternoon tweet from younger brother Glenn Gronkowski (who plays at Kansas State) wrote that Dan was officially a New England Patriot! Gronkk bros tearing up NE! However, that was quickly deleted. Minutes later, that was followed up by a tweet from brother Chris Gronkowski that echoed the same theme: There will now be two gronks in new England!
Dan is a 26-year-old tight end out of Maryland who was originally taken in the seventh round of the 2009 draft by the Lions, and was traded to Denver in September 2010. Last year with the Broncos, he had eight catches for 65 yards, but was part of Denver’s final cuts last weekend.
Rob admitted on Monday that this was a very difficult weekend for his family, as two of the three were cut by other teams, with Chris picked up by the Colts. There’s no official word that Dan has signed with the Patriots, but it would be an added bonus for brother Rob.
“Yeah, they’re my brothers,” Rob said. “I was just talking to them the whole time. My one brother got picked up on waivers by the Colts. I’m glad for him. I’m definitely always cheering for my brothers. The other one is still out there. He’s definitely a good tight end and I believe he’s going to be picked up somewhere, too, and we’ll all be playing somewhere this whole season.
“It’s definitely a tough time, you see your friends go, your family go. You just have to stay positive.”
Asked if it will be strange to have brother Chris playing for an AFC rival in the Colts, Rob said it just adds to the fun.
“As long as he’s playing, I don’t care what team he’s on. It makes it more fun playing versus him,” Rob Gronkowski said.
The Patriots came out of cutdown weekend with just two tight ends — Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez — and so the acquisition would certainly make sense from a personnel standpoint.
Mike Petraglia contributed to this report.
|09.06.11 at 12:58 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Whether or not he is voted a captain by his teammates this week, Patrick Chung already carries himself like a leader on the Patriots.
He speaks like one but more importantly, he acts like one.
Of course, the most obvious example of this was following one of the more painful losses in recent memory. He was the middle “protection” man on the punt team who audibled to an ill-fated fake punt late in the first half of the Patriots playoff loss to the Jets last January.
He was the one who stepped up immediately after the game and took full blame and responsibility.
Now, with James Sanders and Brandon Meriweather gone from the Patriots secondary, he and Leigh Bodden are the elder statesmen of secondary. But more importantly, he has become someone other safeties are looking toward for on-field guidance and off-field instruction.
Consider that last year, Mayo was also 24 when he ascended to the role of captain as one of the young, talented and composed players of the Patriots defense.
He’s already carrying the torch, speaking like a leader. On Monday, he was asked about the departure of Meriweather, a fellow safety who helped bring him along when he was drafted in 2009. What are his thoughts on Meriweather’s departure?
“That’s not a question for me,” he responded. “The guys we have here, we’re going to work with the guys we have here, period. Now we know who we’re going to be playing with. This is our family now. That’s a decision for them. They keep the guys they want here and you play with the guys you’ve got. That’s not my say to talk about.” Read the rest of this entry »
|09.06.11 at 12:36 pm ET|
Running back Danny Woodhead joined the Mut & Merloni show Tuesday as the Patriots continue to prepare for their season opener against the Dolphins next Monday night.
Woodhead talked about the differences, or lack thereof, between preparing for a regular season game compared to a preseason game.
“We really are just trying to work hard every day,” Woodhead said. “Is it different? I don’t know if it’s necessarily different. … We try to approach every game the same.”
While there may not be much difference between preparing for a regular season game versus a preseason tilt, Woodhead said that the team is looking forward to getting the season started.
“We’re excited for the task at hand,” Woodhead said. “We’re excited to work every day, to prepare, and to do everything can do to get better and do everything we can do to make sure we’re hundred-percent prepared.”
Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
On his comfort level after having a full year of experience with New England: “Last year, I wouldn’t say I was thrown into it, but it was very quick. It’s definitely a better feeling knowing the locker room a little bit better and knowing the coaches. It’s not as much of a cram session, but there’s a lot of things I need to get better at. I’m just trying to do my best every day to make sure I’m ready whenever my name’s called.”
On playing with recently-released running back Sammy Morris: “He was a great guy, a great help for me, and it was a lot of fun playing with him. But we trust coach on every decision he makes.”
On Tom Brady’s leadership: “I think he’s a leader every single day. I don’t know if his leadership changes. That’s probably something about him, he’s willing to work hard every day and that’s what our team tries to do. We’re not going to change things, we’re going to do everything we can to get ready for this game, just like we always do for all games.”
On fantasy football: “My brother said that he was going to select me [in a draft], but he said he was going to wait until the last second because he didn’t know if I was worth it or something (laughs). I honestly don’t follow that stuff, though. I’ve got a job to do and I stay pretty busy with that.”
|09.06.11 at 10:28 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had his weekly phone conversation with Dennis & Callahan Tuesday morning as New England prepares for its opener against the Dolphins next Monday night. Brady discussed a wide range of topics, including whether it would surprise him if he got to play with recently retired wide receiver Randy Moss again.
“Would it surprise me? I mean, you never know in the NFL,” Brady said. “I talked to Randy just before training camp started. I love Randy. He’s one of the greatest receivers in the history of the game, one of the greatest players I’ve ever had a chance to play with, and I love the guy.”
Brady said that he would support a decision to bring Moss back to the league and back to New England.
“Unfortunately, I don’t make personnel decisions,” Brady said. “I’d still have all my friends here. Troy [Brown] would still be here. David Patten would still be here. Deion [Branch] would never have left. a great friend of mine. I’ve seen so many guys move on over the years, and then guys come back. So, who knows? Who knows? You never know what situation we’ll be in here next week, for that matter. … But I love [Moss]. He’s a great friend of mine. If he ever did have the opportunity to come back, I’d certainly welcome him with open arms.”
Following is the transcript of the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Is baseball too slow for you these days?
Anything slow is tiresome when you’re sitting there as a spectator. I think that’s why football has been so popular because it’s non-stop action, and even on TV, with all those replays. When you watch baseball, it can be a little slow. I love the game so I enjoy watching it, and I enjoy golf. But there’s nothing worse than slow golf or slow baseball.
|09.05.11 at 8:58 pm ET|
FOXBORO ‘ Less than 48 hours after the Patriots released safety Brandon Meriweather, it was clear both sides were putting the relationship in the rear view mirror: there was someone else at Meriweather’s old Gillette Stadium locker and a new person wearing his old No. 31. Meanwhile, Meriweather was meeting the media in Chicago and talking about a fresh start.
On Monday morning, Patriots coach Bill Belichick addressed Meriweather’s departure for the first time since New England decided to part ways with the former first-round pick as part of Saturday’s cutdown to 53 active players.
‘I think each year is a new year, and I just don’t think you can pick teams, or pick your players based on what’s happened in the past,’ Belichick said. ‘You have to pick them based on what you think is going to happen this year, and that’s relative to the competition, to the make of your team, and player’s performance. All of those are obviously a part of it.
‘Brandon played a lot of good football for us. We kept the players this year that we felt would be the best make up for the 2011 team. It’s not the 2009 team; it’s the 2011 team, so those are the players that we’ve selected.’
Meanwhile, in his first day with the Bears, Meriweather told reporters that it felt ‘tremendous’ to come in and be a part of Chicago’s defense.
‘All the guys showed me a lot of love when I got here,’’ said Meriweather. ‘To be playing with an old teammate like Devin Hester [at the University of Miami], it just feels great.’’
In his four seasons in New England, Meriweather was a two-time Pro Bowler with 12 picks in four seasons, and the 5-foot-11, 200-pounder played in all 64 games with 40 starts over his first four NFL seasons with the Patriots. His best year likely came in 2009, when he earned his first Pro Bowl berth after finishing with career highs with 83 tackles and five interceptions.
Despite all that, he had what can best be described as an eventful career with the Patriots. The Miami product was a lightning rod for critics, who assailed him for his style of play (he admitted he liked to freelance) and his predilection for taking unnecessary risks.
However, despite the baggage, it was seen as something of a surprise because New England was perceived as being thin at the position when it made the move. The Patriots cut veteran safety James Sanders the week before, and are now left with just four safeties on the active roster: Patrick Chung, Sergio Brown, James Ihedigbo and Josh Barrett, and only one of them (Chung) have more than one year experience in the Patriots’ system.
Meriweather said he wasn’t shocked at the decision.
‘’That’s between me and coach,’ Meriweather told reporters. ‘I have a lot of respect for that organization. I have a lot of respect for Bill and the rest of the staff there. But that’s behind me now and I’m focused on being a Bear.’’