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Patriots quarterbacks, Rob Gronkowski limited for 2nd straight day

09.29.16 at 3:47 pm ET
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Rob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski

FOXBORO — There was no changes to the Patriots’ practice report from Wednesday.

Both quarterbacks — Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett — were limited in the Patriots’ walkthrough on Thursday. The same goes for Rob Gronkowski and Dont’a Hightower.

The team will practice again Friday in preparation for Sunday’s matchup with the Bills.

Here is the complete Patriots practice report:

LIMITED PARTICIPATION

QB Jacoby Brissett (thumb)
OL Marcus Cannon (calf)
OL Jonathan Cooper (foot)
LB Jonathan Freeny (shoulder)
QB Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder)
TE Rob Gronkowski (hamstring)
LB Dont’a Hightower (knee)
CB Eric Rowe (ankle)

Read More: Dont'a Hightower, Jacoby Brissett, Jimmy Garoppolo, Rob Gronkowski

Rex Ryan responds to Wednesday conference call: ‘We’re here in Buffalo, nobody likes anything in Boston’

09.29.16 at 2:35 pm ET
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Rex Ryan apparently isn't a fan of the New England media. (Timothy T. Ludwig/USA Today Sports)

Rex Ryan apparently isn’t a fan of the New England media. (Timothy T. Ludwig/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — On Wednesday, Rex Ryan got testy on his conference call with the New England media, as he didn’t like a question that referred to him saying he is an “above-average” coach.

On Thursday, he responded by saying it’s not the first time he’s gone back-and-forth with the New England media, while adding “nobody like anything in Boston.”

“I don’t even care. It’s like whatever,” Ryan told reporters, courtesy of ESPN’s Mike Rodak. “That doesn’t bother me at all. Let’s face it, we’re here in Buffalo, nobody likes anything in Boston.”

Including reporters, a reporter asked?

“Pretty much,” Ryan said.

The coach was then asked if the New England media is trying to get under his skin.

“Oh, please,” Ryan said. “It’s not the first time — it’s like seven or eight years. It’s the same every time you talk to them. So you have fun with them. Going back and forth.”

Ryan is 4-11 against the Patriots, including one playoff game.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Rex Ryan,

Why dealing with Kyle Williams is critical to keeping Patriots ground game running

09.29.16 at 1:32 pm ET
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Sep 25, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) is tackled by Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams (95) during the second half at New Era Field. Bills beat the Cardinals 31-18. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Williams has been a force for Buffalo defense early on in the 2016 season. (Kevin Hoffman/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — The Patriots have been running the ball better than any team in the NFL through three weeks.

If that’s to continue this week, they will have to contain one of the best interior lineman in football.

Kyle Williams is in his 11th season with the Bills as the anchor of their defensive line. He was a stud the moment he came in as a fifth-round pick out of LSU in 2006. He was limited to six games last season because of torn meniscus in his left knee.

With Williams back this season, Buffalo is allowing just 98 yards per game and 3.4 yards per carry. The Jets ran for 123 yards in the 37-31 win on Sept. 15, and that’s what the Patriots will try to copy. But the Bills were also able to hold the Ravens to 83 yards and the Cardinals to 88 yards. In three games, Williams has 13 tackles and 1.5 sacks for the Bills.

The Patriots come into Sunday’s game with the leading rusher in the NFL and AFC offensive player of the month. LeGarrette Blount leads all of football in yards (298) and carries (75). But what sticks out the most to Williams is how physical the line in front of Blount is playing with Dante Scarnecchia back as offensive line coach.

“The thing is, you know I’ve played against them a number of years, you see the same things that you saw a decade ago,” Williams said. “Physical offensive line that plays hard and doesn’t make mistakes, a running back that hits things downhill, a tough runner. So it’s going to be a great test for us. There’s no doubt about it. Coach Scarnecchia always does a great job with his O-line and they don’t beat themselves. So just be on top of our jobs and be ready a physical football game on Sunday.”

Williams, at 6-foot-1, 305 pounds, is not considered the typical two-gap, run-stopping force in the middle of the line.

“I think Kyle is just a great player,” his coach Rex Ryan said in a conference call. “You know it’s as simple as that. He’s much different than a Vince Wilfork but he’s more of a penetrating one-gap player. But he can do it all. He’s got great pass rush from the inside.”
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Read More: Buffalo Bills, Kyle Williams, LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots

Tom Brady’s latest Facebook post gives fans chance to drink beer with QB, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck

09.29.16 at 12:35 pm ET
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Want to have pizza and drink beer with three of the biggest celebrities in the world?

Tom Brady’s latest Facebook post gives fans a chance to have pizza and beer with Brady, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. All fans have to do is give a donation which will benefit Eastern Congo Initiative, Water.org and the TB12 Foundation. The more money donated gives better odds to win.

Check it out, along with a pretty great video.

Read More: Tom Brady,

Perfect attendance at rare Patriots Thursday walkthrough

09.29.16 at 12:14 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The Patriots had perfect attendance at a rare Thursday walkthrough in advance of Sunday’s game against the Bills. Typically the team waits until later in the week to hold walkthroughs, but the team did get an extra day of practice this week with last week’s Thursday game.

Quarterbacks Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett were present, but unlike Wednesday where the media saw the two throwing, Thursday the media only saw the players walk in.

The two were listed as limited on Wednesday, which was a full padded practice.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Jacoby Brissett, Jimmy Garoppolo,

LeGarrette Blount named AFC offensive player of the month for September

09.29.16 at 9:50 am ET
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LeGarrette Blount celebrates one of his two touchdowns Thursday night. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

LeGarrette Blount celebrates one of his two touchdowns against Houston. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

LeGarrette Blount was the answer to the question how would the Patriots cope without Tom Brady.

And like Brady, Blount took his game to a new level to help the Patriots off to a fast start.

The Patriots 29-year-old running back leads the NFL in rushing yards (298) through three weeks and has chipped in with four touchdowns over the 3-0 start, helping him earn AFC offensive player of the month honors announced Thursday.

But more than the yardage is the load Blount has carried with Brady serving his four-game suspension. He leads the league with 75 carries through the first three weeks. That’s accounts for 37.5 percent of New England’s 200 offensive plays from scrimmage.

Against the Cardinals, he ran 22 times for 70 yards and a touchdown. Against the Dolphins, he ran 29 times for 123 yards and another score. Then, against the Texans, Blount carried the ball 24 times for 105 yards and two scores. What makes his last six quarters so impressive is that he helped take some of the burden off Jacoby Brissett against the Dolphins when Jimmy Garoppolo went down and then helped Brissett again against the Texans as the rookie made his first NFL start.

Blount’s four rushing touchdowns in the first three games ties Marion Butts (1994) and Corey Dillon (2005) for the most for the Patriots in the first three games.

Brady claimed the same honor last September, as the Patriots also opened 3-0 on their way to a 10-0 start. Brady has earned the honor eight times in his career. This is a first for Blount.

This is also the third honor for the Patriots this season, as Stephen Gostkowski was AFC special teams player of the week for Week 1 and Ryan Allen, off his amazing performance against the Texans last Thursday, was AFC special teams player of the week for Week 3.

There is still one game left on the AFC calendar for the month as the Dolphins play in Cincinnati on Thursday night football, kicking off Week 4.

 

Read More: Jacoby Brissett, Jimmy Garoppolo, LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots

Why Mike Lombardi remains one of Bill Belichick’s most trusted sources

09.28.16 at 5:08 pm ET
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Michael Lombardi

Michael Lombardi

FOXBORO — There are few people in the NFL with a background as varied and experienced as Mike Lombardi. And there are few people Bill Belichick trusts more.

So, when defensive lineman John Hughes became available this week after being released by the Browns, the Patriots head coach knew right where to go to see if he might be a good fit with the Patriots.

Hughes 27, is just the latest member of Lombardi’s Browns from 2013 that has found a spot on the Patriots. Jabaal Sheard and Dion Lewis joined the Patriots last year and both had very productive seasons until Lewis tore his ACL in November.

This year, there was the addition of linebacker Barkevious Mingo in the third week of preseason. Why such an active pipeline of talent?

“Mike has been a good source of information on a lot of levels but certainly players that he is familiar with, like guys that were on that team,” Belichick said. “I mean he gives you insight into guys that you don’t get if you’re not there.”

Lombardi and Belichick have a well-chronicled relationship that goes back to 1992, when Lombardi was promoted to Director of Player Personnel in 1992. He actually started with the Browns in 1987 but it was under Belichick (who arrived in 1991) that Lombardi’s role increased. He was responsible for all college and pro personnel decisions, managed salary cap and player personnel issues, oversaw staff of 13 college and pro scouts and handled all player contracts and advised head coach on all football matters.

That’s a lot of responsibility that earned the respect of Belichick. When Lombardi left the Browns in 1996, he moved onto the Rams and Eagles before landing with Al Davis and the Raiders in 1998. It was there where he helped Davis rebuild the Raiders into one of the forces in the AFC, reaching the AFC title game in 2000, losing to the Patriots in the ’01 Snow Bowl and falling to Tampa Bay in Super Bowl XXXVII.

He then spent the next six seasons spreading his wisdom in the media before re-joining the Browns as general manager and VP of player personnel in 2013.
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Read More: Bill Belichick, Cleveland Browns, Mike Lombardi, New England Patriots
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