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In Focus: Charting the offensive opportunities for Patriots skill position players

08.21.13 at 1:02 pm ET
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Every week over the course of the regular season, we’€™ll present a list of the Patriots’€™ ‘€œoffensive touches,’€ a running tally of which one of the offensive skill position players is getting the most looks. Like our look at targets, it can occasionally be an inexact stat, but it remains a good barometer of how confident the coaches (and quarterback) are when it comes to the skill position players at their disposal. Two weeks into the 2013 preseason, here’€™s a breakdown of the New England offense when it comes to offensive opportunities:

RB LeGarrette Blount: 15 (14 carries, 1 reception)
RB Shane Vereen: 13 (7 carries, 6 catches)
RB Stevan Ridley: 13 (13 carries, 0 receptions)
RB Brandon Bolden: 11 (10 carries, 1 reception)
QB Tim Tebow: 10 (10 carries, 0 receptions) 3 sacks and 2 kneeldowns
WR Danny Amendola: 7 (0 carries, 7 receptions)
WR Julian Edelman: 7 (0 carries, 7 receptions)
WR Kenbrell Thompkins: 5 (0 carries, 5 receptions)
WR Aaron Dobson: 4 (0 carries, 4 receptions)
WR Josh Boyce: 3 (0 carries, 3 receptions)
TE Zach Sudfeld: 3 (0 carries, 3 receptions)
TE Daniel Fells: 3 (0 carries, 3 receptions)
FB James Develin: 2 (2 carries, 0 receptions)
WR Kamar Aiken: 2 (0 carries, 2 receptions)
TE Michael Hoomanawanui: 1 (0 carries, 1 reception)
RB George Winn: 1 (1 carry, 0 receptions)
QB Ryan Mallett: 1 (1 carry, 0 receptions)
RB Leon Washington: 1 (0 carries, 1 reception)

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Chicopee woman sues Patriots over death of husband at 2010 game

08.21.13 at 9:27 am ET
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A woman from Chicopee is suing the Patriots, the NFL and Gillette Stadium personnel, accusing them for being responsible for the death of her husband at a Patriots game in 2010 following a dispute with a security guard.

Kimberly Chartier is seeking at least $10 million in the civil suit filed in Hampden Superior Court, according to a report in the Springfield Republican. Stadium operator NPS and security service provider TeamOps also are named in the suit.

Jeffrey Chartier died after suffering a heart attack at the 2010 home opener, which he was attending with his 6-year-old son. According to the suit, the 40-year-old Chartier was invited by two game officials to let his son, Tedy, onto the field before the contest. However, a security guard identified as Arthur Sherman confronted Chartier because the boy did not have a field pass. After a confrontation lasting about 15 minutes, Chartier returned to his seat and had a heart attack, which the suit alleges was caused by the stress.

According to the filing: “Jeff Chartier died as a result of cardiac arrest that was precipitated by agitation and stress caused by an interaction with a security guard at Gillette Stadium who inappropriately and unnecessarily confronted Jeff Chartier and his son Tedy in a harsh, unprofessional, confrontational, disrespectful and antagonistic manner.”

Said Chartier lawyer George W. Marion: “We had a situation which in our view should have been easily resolved. It’s a day that really started off with the excitement of a father bringing his 6-year-old son to an opening day.”

Jeff Chartier, a longtime Patriots fan who first bought season tickets in 2000, was recognized by the team with a moment of silence prior to the ensuing home game. The team also donated an autographed Tom Brady jersey for an auction to raise funds for the family.

Patriots’ 53-man roster projection, Version 3.0

08.20.13 at 11:27 pm ET
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With the preseason halfway done, we have decided to take another stab at a 53-man roster projection. Feel free to take a look at our first and second attempts at putting together a final list.


Quarterback (3): Tom Brady, Ryan Mallett, Tim Tebow

The first two are undeniable. As for Tebow, I believe there’s more long-term value there — think 2014 and beyond. The Patriots have had players essentially take redshirt seasons their first year in Foxboro — Jake Bequette was on the 53-man roster last year and played in just three games, and the same was true for wide receiver Taylor Price, who made it past the final cuts but played in just one game as a rookie in 2010. In both cases, the idea was to keep them around and develop them for the long term. (For what it’s worth, both haven’t worked out, at least to this point.) That being said, Tebow is holding on to the roster by the skin of his teeth — at this point, he’s the 53rd guy on a 53-man roster.

Offensive line (8): Nate Solder, Logan Mankins, Ryan Wendell, Dan Connolly, Sebastian Vollmer, Marcus Cannon, Will Svitek, Markus Zusevics

Essentially the same group we’ve seen since the start of camp — potentially one of the finest in the league — but we have added Zusevics with the idea that the team needs to increase depth at tackle if Svitek continues to spend more time at guard. This group is helped by the fact that it has several guys who can play multiple positions.

Tight end (3): Jake Ballard, Zach Sudfeld, Michael Hoomanawanui (Rob Gronkowski on PUP)

The tough cut here is Daniel Fells, who has struggled to stay healthy over the last week or so but has otherwise displayed nice chemistry with Brady and done everything that’s been asked of him. If the Patriots do decide to toss Tebow overboard between now and the start of the season, Fells is one of the guys who could benefit. Hoomanawanui’s versatility allows him to stick around ahead of fullback James Develin.

Wide receiver (6): Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce, Matthew Slater, Kenbrell Thompkins

No changes here since our last projection.

Running back (5): Stevan Ridley, LeGarrette Blount, Brandon Bolden, Shane Vereen, Leon Washington

Bolden makes it in just under the wire, but he is one of a handful of players who could play himself off the roster in the next two weeks in favor of someone like Fells. Washington will work as a special teamer and a backup to Vereen.
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Bucs coach Greg Schiano starting to get annoyed with ex-Patriots running back Jeff Demps

08.20.13 at 8:23 pm ET
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Considering that LeGarrette Blount has looked pretty good through two preseason games and Jeff Demps is off running track in Russia, that April swap looks pretty good right now for the Patriots.

In fact, when it comes to Demps — who spent the entire 2012 season with New England on injured reserve, only to raise some eyebrows in Foxboro when he talked about wanting to run track and play professional football — Tampa coach Greg Schiano is starting to sound a little exasperated.

‘€œSupposedly he’€™s coming. I don’€™t know. We’€™ll see,’€ Schiano said Tuesday, via ‘€œI don’€™t worry about guys that are not here, you know? So he’€™s not helping us get better right now. He’€™s out there running track somewhere. So, if he’€™s going to do that ‘€” if he gets here and helps us win he will be part of it. If he gets here and can’€™t help us win, he can go back and run track. We are here to win games.’€

The Patriots sent a seventh-round pick to Tampa along with Demps in exchange for Blount.

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Bill Belichick will play his regulars into second half ‘if that’s possible’

08.20.13 at 5:00 pm ET
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FOXBORO — According to most NFL conventional wisdom and thinking, the third preseason game is the most significant game in the preseason because that’s when NFL coaches play their regulars into the second half to give them more reps and the chance to simulate halftime adjustments.

Bill Belichick said Tuesday that he’ll do his best to make that happen for his team Thursday night at Detroit’s Ford Field against the Lions.

“I think there’€™s still a lot to be said for playing a game prior to the start of the regular season where the players play, come in at halftime, go back out and play again, if that’€™s possible,” Belichick said. “I don’€™t think it’€™s like an absolute must, but I think it’€™s a good experience if they can experience it. We’€™ll see how it goes.”

Belichick was asked Tuesday if the games mean more in the preseason than the practices, in terms of evaluating a player who is trying to make the team out of camp.

“We look at everything. I couldn’€™t really tell you how it would break down,” Belichick said. “Again, there are a lot of things that happen in preseason games that could be an aberration, one way or another.

“I’€™m not saying they’€™re not important. They are an important part of the evaluation and if it’€™s a good evaluation, it might be the most important. If it’€™s a good evaluation, then it might be the most important thing. I’€™m just telling you that just because you put a guy out there in a preseason game doesn’€™t mean you’€™re getting a great evaluation. He may not be competing against somebody that’€™s relevant or what they’€™re doing may not really be indicative of what his skills are or aren’€™t. I just couldn’€™t make a blanket statement like that.”

The Patriots are 2-0 this preseason, trying to go 3-0 for the first time since 2003. That year, the Patriots finished a perfect 4-0 in the preseason, en route to a 14-2 season and their second Super Bowl title.

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Read More: 2013 training camp, Bill Belichick, detroit lions, New England Patriots

Danny Amendola misses second practice, Bill Belichick says he’s ‘day-to-day’

08.20.13 at 2:48 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Patriots receiver Danny Amendola missed his second straight practice on Tuesday. Patriots coach Bill Belichick termed the receiver “day-to-day” with an undisclosed injury. After practicing in full pads Monday, the team worked out in shorts and shells on Tuesday outside Gillette Stadium.

Amendola took a blow to the back of the head in the first half of last Friday’s game against the Buccaneers but’s Tom Curran quotes a source as indicating that is not the reason for the absence this week and that it’s not a long-term injury. In the preseason, the NFL does not require practice or injury reports.

Amendola caught six passes on seven targets for 71 yards and a touchdown last Friday and figures to start the season as one of Tom Brady‘s top targets in the passing game.

Amendola’s status for Thursday’s third preseason game in Detroit is likely in question after he missed the two practices this week. The team will have a walk-through on Wednesday before leaving for Detroit and the game against the Lions.

Amendola had one catch on one target for six yards in the preseason opener on Aug. 9 in Philadelphia.

Additionally, WR Mark Harrison, CB Brandon Jones, Rob Gronkowski, DL Armond Armstead, and DE Jermaine Cunningham all missed their second straight day of practice.

TE Daniel Fells, DL Justin Francis, WR Kamar Aiken, CB Alfonzo Dennard, CB Ras-I Dowling and OL Marcus Cannon all on practice field to work with trainer after stretching and were limited.

Read More: 2013 training camp, Danny Amendola, detroit lions, New England Patriots

Aaron Hernandez update: NFLPA reportedly will file grievance over bonus money

08.20.13 at 11:33 am ET
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The Patriots released Aaron Hernandez after he was arrested and charged with murder, but they might still have some money left to pay him.

That is because the NFL Players Association is expected to file a grievance because the Patriots did not pay Hernandez an $82,000 workout bonus that was scheduled to be paid on Aug. 1, according to a report from Fox Sports writer Mike Garafolo.

Hernandez satisfied the requirements to receive the bonus by participating in the Patriots’€™ offseason workout program this spring. However, the Patriots did not pay Hernandez his check when it was due this month, according to the report.

This could be just the beginning in a battle between the NFLPA and the Patriots, as Hernandez is owed a $3.25 million payment in March ‘€” which is the final piece of a $12.5 million signing bonus he was set to receive after signing a contract extension last summer. According the collective bargaining agreement, the Patriots forfeited the right to recoup future signing bonus money when they released him in June.

The battle for Hernandez’€™s expected $3.332 million will be decided by an arbitrator’€™s decision — a process that will start soon.

‘€¢ Meanwhile, the gun used in a 2012 double homicide in Boston that is allegedly connected to Hernandez was found in Springfield, according to a report from CBS 3 Springfield.

The weapon was found in the car of Jailene Diaz-Ramos, a 19-year-old from Briston, Conn., after she was involved in an accident in June. It is unclear whether or not Diaz-Ramos is connected with Hernandez, but she told police the gun was among belongings left in her car after she gave a ride to some ‘€œfootball players’€ whose names she didn’€™t know, according to court documents.

The report also said that Diaz-Ramos told police the gun belonged to a friend, who she would only refer to as ‘€œChicago.’€

Ballistics tests show the gun is the same one used in 2012, when Daniel Abreu and Safiro Furtado were fatally shot outside a Boston club, according to the the CBS 3 report. Police also are reportedly waiting on a search warrant for a safe that was found in the trunk of Diaz-Ramos’€™s car.

‘€¢ Another letter from Hernandez was leaked to the press Monday, when a letter from Hernandez addressed to ‘€œCollin’€ appeared on It is the third letter from him to be released since Hernandez has been in jail.

Hernandez said in the letter that his ‘€œbiggest fear’€ is that his daughter won’€™t ‘€œknow daddy,’€ also adding that she said ‘€œDaDa’€ for the first time to him in jail.

He adds that he is a ‘€œgreat dude’€ in the postscript, and ended the letter by telling ‘€œCollin’€ to keep it private.

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