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Patriots make room for TE Evan Landi by waiving DL Jason Vega

08.13.13 at 5:37 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The Patriots announced Tuesday that to make room on the roster for tight end Evan Landi they have waived defensive lineman Jason Vega.

Landi, 23, was originally signed by Tampa Bay as a rookie free agent out of South Florida on April 29, but was released on June 4. The 6-foot-3, 236-pounder, played in 46 games at South Florida with 26 starts and finished his career with 72 receptions for 846 yards and three touchdowns. Landi played receiver and quarterback as well during his college career.

Vega, 26, was originally signed by the Patriots on Feb. 19. Vega is a native of Brockton and played college football at Northeastern. The 6-foot-4, 255-pounder, played for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League in 2011 and 2012, registering 66 tackles and 12 sacks in two seasons.

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Tim Tebow: ‘I’m feeling more comfortable every day’

08.13.13 at 3:41 pm ET
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FOXBORO — After getting a chance to take a look at film of his first preseason action against the Eagles, Patriots third-string quarterback Tim Tebow sounded encouraged by the way things went down, but acknowledged that there’s still a long way to go.

“Some things were good, some things you have to work on,” he said Tuesday after practice. “I’m trying to do everything the other guys are doing and obviously learn as we go. But I’m feeling more comfortable every day.”

Tebow, who finished 4-for-12 for 55 yards passing to go along with four carries for 31 yards, was pressed into action quickly late in the second quarter after backup Ryan Mallett went down. He said it was a challenge to be throw into the action that quickly, but something he’s gotten used to.

“Just physically getting loose. Being ready to go physically — you’re just standing there for a while. That’s something that I’ve had some practice with. You try and get ready,” he said. “[But] you have to be ready to go in this league. You never know when your number is called. You have to get loose fast and get ready to go.”

Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Tuesday morning that he wasn’t ready to talk about Tebow as a finalist for the 53-man roster, adding, “there’€™s a lot of competition out there. We’€™ll see how it all plays out.’€ For his part, the former Heisman winner said that right now, his focus is about taking advantage of the opportunities that are placed in front of him and “enjoying the process and having a lot of fun doing it.”

“It’s going well. Just trying to work hard every day, improve. Every time you get a rep, learn from it. When you don’t, try and get mental reps watching a great one out there. You get a lot of mental reps,” he said.

“I’ve really enjoyed it. I love the offense. Being able to learn from a great quarterback — one of the best ever to play. To be able to learn from coach McDaniels and work with coach Daboll and coach [Scarnecchia] and everybody who has been in this offense, it’s been a pleasure for me.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Tim Tebow,

Darrelle Revis still thinks Tom Brady, Peyton Manning are ‘both great’

08.13.13 at 3:22 pm ET
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FOXBORO — When he was with the Jets, Darrelle Revis had some of that swagger that came with playing for Rex Ryan. But one thing is for sure, he always had respect for Patriots superstar quarterback Tom Brady.

That, apparently, hasn’t changed.

Speaking after Tuesday’s practice, one in which he was limited to 7-on-7 drills due to his recovery from left ACL surgery, Revis made it clear that he still respects the quarterback who once gave him fits in the AFC East.

Asked if he still thinks Brady is one of the best, Revis didn’t hesitate.

“Oh yeah, it’s between him and Peyton Manning, but it’s a good race between both of them,” Revis said. “They’re both great. I played against both of them. They’re awesome quarterbacks. They’re tough, they’re tough to game plan against as well.”

That makes one think what he thinks of Atlanta’s Matt Ryan, New Orleans’ Drew Brees and Carolina’s Cam Newton, all of whom he’ll face twice a season in the NFC South.

Tuesday was a big day for Revis, who was back in pads for the practice but is being guarded carefully by head coach Greg Schiano, who indicated that there’s a possibility that Revis won’t play in any of Tampa Bay’s four preseason games but still be ready for the season opener Sept. 8 against his former team at MetLife Stadium.

Revis said he received words of encouragement from Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who was on hand for the joint practice.

“The New York Jets-Patriots, that’s a crazy rivalry, it really is. It’s almost like a hatred but now I’m a Buccaneer and this is something new for me, being in camp with another team. I’m just taking it in in stride. It was funny because Mr. Kraft came up to me and said some encouraging words and some good words. So, it just shows you how much respect you have with another team when you’re not on that side of the ball.”

The Bucs and Revis open the season Sept. 8 on the road against his former team at MetLife Stadium before visiting the Patriots in Week 3.

“It’s fine, it’s fine,” Revis said. “The schedule is what the schedule is going to be and we know we have them Week 3. It’s something new for me. I’m just trying to take it in stride. It’s kind of weird watching 1-on-1s and seeing Tom throw at our DBs. I wish I could be out here to practice because that would give me some tips if I could be out here in 1-on-1s and go against Tom because it’s good competition at the end of the day.”

Speaking of Brady, it was the Patriots quarterback who had to come back from left ACL surgery when Bernard Pollard hit him in the 2008 season opener against Kansas City. Brady came back and led the Patriots to the playoffs in 2009. That’s inspiration enough for Revis.

“Yeah, I think I’ll be fine,” said Revis, who injured his knee Sept. 23, 2012 against the Dolphins. “At the end of the day, you have to go through the ACL process and waiting, and let’s do this and do these drills, let’s do these exercises, let’s be patient, let’s not get on the field yet, let’s get on the field so, I’ll be fine. Trust me, I’ll be fine. I’m working. I’m back to my old self. I’m getting there. It’s just the confidence and getting that knee drive and breaking on balls.”

Read More: Cam Newton, Darrelle Revis, Drew Brees, Greg Schiano

Tuesday practice notes: Patriots, Bucs engage in high-intensity workout

08.13.13 at 3:01 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The Patriots and Bucs had the first joint practice of the week Tuesday, and in a full pads session that ran for roughly two hours, had an energetic workout in a light (and slightly chilly) rain. Here are a few quick notes:

‘€¢The following players were not spotted on the field: wide receiver Mark Harrison, offensive lineman Marcus Cannon, tight end Rob Gronkowski and defensive linemen Jermaine Cunningham, Armond Armstead and Jason Vega. Meanwhile, the following players were on the field, but extremely limited: cornerbacks Alfonzo Dennard and Ras-I Dowling, wide receiver Michael Jenkins, offensive linemen Dan Connolly, Markus Zusevics, Tyronne Greene and Kevin Haslam and safety Nate Ebner.

‘€¢It was one of the most intense workouts of the summer for the Patriots. The pads meant there was some good, crisp hitting going on, but there were no cheap shots or pushing and shoving after the whistle. (Not sure how much was because there were officials on the field monitoring the workout.) It was a little sloppy at times for everyone — rookie receiver Aaron Dobson appeared to be affected by the wet weather with at least four drops (by my count), and the stress of working against another team at a high pace added to some of the issues. Plus, the Patriots cranked up the noise, with some Guns N’ Roses coming on at full volume during the 11 on 11 work. But all in all, a good workout.

‘€¢The two sides were apart for positional drills, but came together shortly after the start of practice with some one-on-one work and special teams drills before jumping into lots of 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 work.

‘€¢Offensively, as has been the case for much of the summer, quarterback Tom Brady looked pretty sharp. He appeared to overthrow Danny Amendola on one pass play for the end zone and ended up missing on the connection (which drew a frustrated yell) and looked a little angry with the fact that tight end Zach Sudfeld failed to hit the ground fast enough after a reception during a hurry-up/end-of-the-half situation. But other than that, it was all good for the quarterback, who was able to connect with a wide variety of receivers throughout the day.

‘€¢In 7-on-7 work, Brady hooked up with Kenbrell Thompkins on a pass for the end zone, a play where Thompkins made a sweet one-handed grab over a Tampa defender. Josh Boyce had a nice catch in the end zone. And for his rough outing, there was still a lot to like about Dobson, with his high point coming when he went up and over a Bucs cornerback on a pass from Brady in 11-on-11 work, competing for the ball at its’ highest point against the defender and still coming away with possession. A nice play on an otherwise forgettable afternoon for the rookie.

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Bill Belichick says he’s ‘not ready to talk about’ Tim Tebow on 53-man roster

08.13.13 at 12:20 pm ET
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FOXBORO — In a continuation of what he told Salk & Holley on WEEI Monday afternoon, Bill Belichick said Tuesday he’s not ready to confirm whether Tim Tebow has a spot guaranteed on the Patriots’ 53-man roster when the season starts Sept. 8 in Buffalo.

“That’s not anything we’re ready to talk about right now,” Belichick said Tuesday. “There’s a lot of competition out there. We’ll see how it all plays out.”

Belichick was asked if he felt Tebow had made significant progress since the start of training camp.

“Absolutely,” Belichick answered. “I’d say every player that’s been out there has improved, that includes everybody. That’s what training camp is for. If we’re out there every day and we’re not improving, then that’s really not good. I would say that about every player that’s had a chance to get out there and participate on a regular basis, that they’ve all improved a great deal.

“Certainly, some are a different stages of their career and the improvement may be at different rates at different times but I’d say that individually and as a team I’d say we’ve definitely come a long way from where we were in July. I’d certainly hope so.”

Longtime nemesis and All-Pro corner Darrelle Revis did not take part in Tuesday’s practice as he is still recovering from ACL surgery. Tampa Bay acquired him from the Jets in an offseason trade.

“He’s one of the top corners in the league,” Belichick said. “He does everything well.”

As for his close relationship with Bucs coach Greg Schiano, Belichick said he and Schiano learned a lot from last year’s joint practice in Tampa.

“We just try to organize them so we can get the most out of them, understand what we’re trying to do on each drill and work cooperatively to have productive practice, similar to what we would do if we were practicing with ourselves, and what we did last week with Philadelphia.

“We worked with them last year so I feel like we have a pretty good experience on how things went. We made a couple of adjustments last year. Hopefully, those will be smooth this year. I’m not expecting any problems.”

Between the two teams, there are 18 players on the field who attended Schiano’s former employer Rutgers University.

“They should be here. You can get them all at once, right? Get some alumni donations going, not to mention all the coaching staff members [with Rutgers ties].”

The Patriots, of course, have two players who were on the opposite side of the scrimmages last summer, as Aqib Talib and LeGarrette Blount played with Tampa Bay in 2012.

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Read More: 2013 training camp, Bill Belichick, Darrelle Revis, Greg Schiano New England Patriots

Patriots sign TE Evan Landi

08.13.13 at 11:38 am ET
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FOXBORO — According to his agent, former South Florida tight end Evan Landi has signed with the Patriots. The rookie was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Buccaneers in April before being waived on June 4.

Landi stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 240 pounds and appeared in nine games in his senior season at South Florida. He started four games and appeared at tight end and on special teams.

Landi also served as the backup QB for the final two games, caught 10 passes for 120 yards and had an 18-yard reception vs. Chattanooga. He also made two catches for 30 yards against Florida State. In 2011, he appeared in all 12 games, starting nine, at tight end and on special teams while posting 29 receptions for 297 yards and a TD.

Landi’s agent David Canter made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday morning.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick confirmed that the team would have a roster transaction to announce later in the day but did not confirm the move at his press conference Tuesday morning before the first joint practice with the Buccaneers.

Read More: 2013 training camp, David Canter, Evan Landi, New England Patriots

Preseason fantasy football rankings: Quarterbacks

08.13.13 at 11:20 am ET
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Given the historical abundance of quarterback talent in the NFL this year, It makes sense that your fantasy team should have a good quarterback, and I want you to aim for just that — but not at any cost. To give yourself the best chance to win your league, you’€™ll want to get a top performer, but you’€™ll also want to get that player at a good price. This will allow you to compete and win at all the positions.

The running back position, for example, is very important to address early in drafts due to the scarcity of top-level options and the reality that most leagues require at least two of them in your starting lineup. The relative worth of receivers is a big consideration too. You’€™ll need at least three of them on a weekly basis … and don’€™t forget the bye weeks and injuries that will almost always pop up.

Rotobahn’€™s 2013 QB rankings certainly give props to the HOF arms that top the rankings, but our comments reinforce that burning too early a draft choice on a quarterback will negatively affect your week-1 lineup, and your overall team depth. I’€™m advocating a time-tested approach that is more valid in 2013 than ever. It’€™s virtually impossible to get shut out in a draft. Keep these things in mind as you go through these rankings.

In the coming days, I’€™ll be back with rankings at the other primary positions along with a take on the rookies you should be considering in drafts this year. Understand that we use a 12-team league with non-PPR scoring and a flex position as a baseline for our rankings. For a more in-depth look at all things fantasy football, check us out at

1. Drew Brees, Saints

Like with Tom Brady, Brees’€™ young receivers are actually underrated. Kenny Stills is one of our favorite rookie sleepers. He also gets head coach Sean Payton back to run the show. Brees is an elite fantasy option for sure, but he is overpriced right now with an ADP of 14. Let somebody else pay that price while you add an elite receiver or perhaps a back like Matt Forte or Stevan Ridley.

2. Aaron Rodgers, Packers

A near lock for elite production, but his ADP of 11 makes him a poor choice. Taking a quarterback in the first round is among the worst possible ways to build a fantasy team, especially in 2013.

3. Peyton Manning, Broncos

His arm strength has returned and he has established receivers with top-flight skills. I don’€™t doubt Peyton, but I am balking at his price tag with an ADP of 21. He’€™s a better value than Brees or Rodgers, but it’€™s still too soon.

4. Cam Newton, Panthers

He’€™s been a top four fantasy quarterback since the day he stepped on the field, so there’€™s little reason to doubt him in 2013. Newton is the prototypical dual-threat, scoring points with his arm as well as his feet. That makes him very dependable for fantasy purposes. Having said that, I’€™ll pass on Cam at his current ADP of 28.

5. Matt Ryan, Falcons

Ryan has the best outside weapons in the NFL and he has a tight end destined for Canton. With Steven Jackson now in the backfield behind him, Ryan is one of the safest bets in fantasy. His current ADP places him in the fourth round in 12-team formats. If you must get a QB early, this is a guy to target.  Read the rest of this entry »

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