|04.16.16 at 8:00 am ET|
Saturday marks the 16th anniversary of the Patriots selection of Tom Brady in the 2000 draft. In the wake of the pick — 199th overall — New England coach Bill Belichick met the media to talk about the 2000 draft class, and offered this up in the way of his new quarterback:
“The value board at that point really just clearly put him as the top value. [Tom] Brady is a guy who has obviously played at a high level of competition in front of a lot of people. He’s been in a lot of pressure situations. We felt that this year, his decision-making was improved from his junior year after he took over for [Brian] Griese and cut his interceptions down. [He’s] a good, tough, competitive, smart quarterback that is a good value, and how he does and what he’ll be able to do. … we’ll just put him out there with everybody else and let him compete and see what happens.”
|04.15.16 at 5:19 pm ET|
The Patriots announced Friday they have released defensive linemen Chris Jones and Ishmaa’ily Kitchen. Here’s a portion of the statement from the team on the moves:
Jones, 25, is a veteran of three NFL seasons with the Patriots. The 6-foot-1, 295-pounder, originally entered the NFL as a sixth-round draft pick (198th overall) of the Houston Texans out of Bowling Green in the 2013 NFL Draft. He was released by Houston at the end of training camp and was claimed off waivers by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After being released by Tampa Bay after being on the roster for one game, he was claimed by New England. Jones played in 28 games with 23 starts over his first two seasons with the Patriots and totaled 83 tackles and nine sacks. He added nine tackles and one sack in four postseason games. Last season, Jones spent the entire year on the reserve/physically unable to perform list.
Kitchen, 27, was signed by the Patriots as a free agent on Dec. 16, 2015, was inactive in the win against Tennessee on Dec. 20, was released on Dec. 22, and re-signed on Dec. 30. The 6-foot-1, 300-pounder, saw action in the season finale and was inactive for both postseason games with the Patriots. He played three seasons with the Cleveland Browns (2012-14) and spent two games with the Detroit Lions in 2015 after being released by the Browns prior to the start of the regular season. Kitchen originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with the Baltimore Ravens in 2012 out of Kent State. He was released by the Ravens at the end of training camp and was claimed off waivers by Cleveland. Kitchen has played in 42 NFL games with three starts and totaled 90 tackles.
|04.15.16 at 12:06 pm ET|
The 2016 NFL schedule was released Thursday night and people began to plan out their fall schedules and maybe even a road trip or two. The Patriots will open the season on the road in Arizona against the Cardinals on Sept. 11. Last night, Chris Price had five quick takeaways on the schedule and now here are 10 things to know about the schedule from a Patriots perspective:
1. Of the six Super Bowls the Patriots have reached under Bill Belichick, the team has opened on the road in five of those seasons. The only season they didn’t open on the road was in 2004 when they were the defending champions and defending champions always open the year at home.
2. New England will play three of its first four games at home this season. That has only happened once before under Belichick (2009).
3. Some might circle the Seahawks game as the toughest home game on the schedule, but the team has one thing going for them — it’s coming after its bye. Since 2000, the Patriots are 12-4 in games following their bye.
4. The Patriots’ schedule appears to be front-loaded. Of the final seven games of the season, just one opponent made the playoffs last year (Broncos on Dec. 18). It is worth noting some of these teams likely will be better than last year, but still is something to note.
5. To that point, for the second season in a row, the Patriots will end the season in Miami — a place that hasn’t been too kind to New England of late. The Patriots have lost three straight in Miami and Tom Brady is 7-7 in Miami for his career.
6. The Patriots are 6-0 in season openers that are in primetime.
7. The Dec. 18 game in Denver will be a tough one for the Patriots as it’s one of the worst places to play for Brady. For his career (including the postseason), he’s 2-7 in Denver.
8. This game will be made even tougher as the Patriots will have a shortened week since they will be playing on Monday night the week before at home against Baltimore. This is similar to last season when the Patriots played in Denver after playing on Monday night against the Bills. Including the loss last year, since 2010 the Patriots are 11-2 in games played on a shortened week.
9. From a network perspective, the Patriots will have just one game on FOX this year (Dec. 4 vs. Rams).
10. Oct. 30 against the Bills and Nov. 27 against the Jets should be kind to the Patriots as those are the second of back-to-back road games for the team. Under Belichick, the Patriots are 22-7 in closing out road trips.
|04.15.16 at 10:20 am ET|
With the 2016 regular-season schedule unveiled Thursday, here are the 10 NFL games we’re most looking forward to seeing this year.
Panthers at Broncos, 9/8 — Week 1: Thursday, September 8 at 8:30 p.m. on NBC
The Super Bowl rematch will open the season in Denver. This one has to be better than the one the two teams played back in February.
Browns at Redskins, 10/2 — Week 4: Sunday, October 2 at 1 p.m. on CBS
The return of RG3 to DC. Provided he can stay healthy, the former Washington quarterback will undoubtedly relish the chance to dump his old team.
Texans at Broncos, 10/24 — Week 7: Monday, October 24 at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN
Another case of quarterback revenge: Brock Osweiler goes back to Denver as a member of the Texans with a shot at making his old mates look bad.
Cardinals at Panthers, 10/30 — Week 8: Sunday, October 30 at 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Arizona was crushed in last year’s NFC title contest — the Cardinals will try and gain some redemption.
Seahawks at Patriots, 11/13 — Week 10: Sunday, November 13 at 8:30 p.m. on NBC
A rematch of Super Bowl XLIX and the return of Pete Carroll to Foxboro for the first time since he was let go as head coach of the Patriots following the 1999 season? Yes, please.
Cowboys at Steelers, 11/13 — Week 10: Sunday, November 13 at 4:25 p.m. on FOX
The names and faces have changed, but seeing the two most iconic franchises on the field at the same time is always compelling theatre.
Panthers at Seahawks, 12/4 — Week 13: Sunday, December 4 at 8:30 p.m. on NBC
Seattle didn’t take too kindly to the Panthers assuming the NFC throne this past season. In the wake of a dramatic playoff contest last January in Carolina, the Seahawks will get a shot at some payback in Seattle in December.
Patriots at Broncos, 12/18 — Week 15: Sunday, December 18 at 4:25 p.m. on CBS
There will be no Brady-Manning, but like Dallas-Pittsburgh, New England and Denver is almost always must-see TV.
Steelers at Bengals, 12/18 — Week 15: Sunday, December 18 at 8:30 p.m. on NBC
These two teams will meet twice in the regular season, but we picked the showdown in Cincinnati as the one to watch, as both teams will be returning to the place of their bitterly contested playoff game from last January and linebacker Vontaze Burfict — who was in the middle of the conflagration in that contest — will miss the first meeting because of a three-game suspension.
Cardinals at Seahawks, 12/24 — Week 16: Saturday, December 24 at 4:25 p.m. on FOX
The two best teams in the NFC West meet on Christmas Eve in Seattle in a game that should have major playoff implications.
|04.15.16 at 9:48 am ET|
WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2016 NFL draft. Here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection. Although the Patriots do not own a first-round pick due to their punishment for Deflategate — and there are restrictions on their ability to trade up — we will include likely first-round picks in case someone slips or the Pats are able to swing a deal.
Position: Offensive lineman
School: Kansas State
Weight: 309 pounds
Achievements: 2015 All-Big 12 first team, 2015 honorable mention Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year, 2015 All-Big 12 academic first team, 2015 team captain, 2014 All-Big 12 second team, 2014 All-Big 12 academic second team, 2012 Freshman All-American, 2012 Big 12 honorable mention
What he brings: Whitehair plays with an extremely high motor off the line. His coaches and teammates say he brought the same intensity every day in practice, to the film room or to the weight room at Kansas State, where he was a four-year starter. Whitehair is as versatile as they come, with the ability to play anywhere on the line. NFL.com writes that he is “almost always in complete control of his body thanks to outstanding core strength and balance.” He uses his massive hands to his advantage on the line, engaging defenders and knocking them back with brute force. Whitehair is the ultimate competitor and is revered as a great locker room leader. He was voted team captain by his teammates for his senior year.
Where the Patriots could get him: Whitehair is projected to go in the first half of the second round, so the Patriots likely would need to move up a bit in order to select him.
Notes: At the NFL combine Whitehair ran his 40-yard dash in 5.08 seconds, completed 16 reps in the bench press, had a 110-inch broad jump, ran his three-cone drill in 7.32 seconds (among the best at his position) and completed his 20-yard shuttle in 4.58 seconds.
One thing that has helped him prepare for NFL speed is the pace at which most Big 12 teams play. “Just the physicality and the speed of it,” Whitehair said at the NFL combine. “Coming from the Big 12, it is pretty fast, guy are strong, but this is a whole another level. But I think I can handle the transition very well.”
Related articles: NFLDraftScout.com: Meet the Prospect: Kansas State OL Cody Whitehair
|04.14.16 at 8:38 pm ET|
The 2016 regular-season schedule dropped Thursday night, and here are five way too early thoughts about what it all means for the Patriots:
1. We’ve said this in the past, but it certainly bears repeating: It’s always dangerous to try to measure the strength of the upcoming schedule based on win-loss records from the previous year — the draft and free agency can dramatically alter the look of the schedule from one season to another. But going on last year’s marks, the Patriots have the ninth-toughest schedule for 2016. New England’s opponents went 134-122 this past season for a winning percentage of .523. (By way of comparison, the Niners and Falcons are tied for the toughest schedule, as their opponents had a .555 winning percentage last season. Meanwhile, the Packers are at the other end of the spectrum, as their 2016 opponents had a winning percentage of .457 in 2015.) In 2016, six of the Patriots 16 games will come against teams that made the playoffs in 2015, including the Super Bowl champs from Denver. (Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Houston, Arizona and Seattle are the other five.) In addition, eight of their 12 games will come against teams that finished .500 or better in 2015, including the regular-season opener in Arizona against the Cardinals.
2. The Patriots will have their bye in Week 9, which is just about as good as you can hope for. Other than last year’s Week 4 bye, New England has actually gotten pretty lucky with the bye over the last decade or so. Since 2000, their average bye has been Week 8. This season, it’ll give them more time to prep for a Nov. 13 Sunday night game against the Seahawks at Gillette Stadium.
3. It’s no surprise, but for the fourth straight year, the schedule-makers have assigned five prime-time games to the Patriots. (Last year, the Patriots had five primetime games when the schedule was initially announced, but had a sixth game — a December clash on the road against the Texans — later flexed into prime time.) That’ll include a Week 3 matchup at home against the Texans, a game where it appears New England will get the chance to take part in “Color Rush.” Hoo boy. For the record, the Patriots were assigned five night games in 2013 and 2014, four prime-time games in 2012 and 2010, and three in 2011 and 2009.
|04.14.16 at 8:06 pm ET|
Here’s a look at the Patriots 2016 regular-season schedule:
Sunday, Sept. 11: at Arizona, 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 18: vs. Miami, 1 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 22: vs. Houston, 8:25 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 2: vs. Buffalo, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 9: at Cleveland, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 16: vs. Cincinnati, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 23: at Pittsburgh, 4:25 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 30: at Buffalo, 1 p.m.
Week 9: Bye
Sunday, Nov. 13: vs. Seattle, 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 20: at San Francisco, 4:25 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 27: at New York Jets, 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 4: vs. Los Angeles, 1 p.m.
Monday, Dec. 12: vs. Baltimore, 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 18: at Denver, 4:25 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 24: vs. Jets, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 1: at Dolphins, 1 p.m.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
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