It Is What It Is
NEED TO KNOW
Follow WEEI.com football writer Christopher Price at twitter.com/cpriceNFL. In addition, get the latest WEEI.com updates at twitter.com/WEEI.
A WEEI.com Patriots Blog
WEEI.com Blog Network

Poll: How should Patriots split reps at quarterback in Friday’s preseason game against Panthers?

08.28.15 at 12:18 am ET
By   |   Comments

How should the Patriots split the reps at quarterback in the third preseason game Friday against Carolina?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

No weather worries for Patriots-Panthers Friday night in Charlotte

08.27.15 at 11:00 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Sarah Wroblewski of Fox 25 says that when New England and Carolina kick off in Charlotte Friday night in the third regular-season game for both teams, weather won’t be an issue.

Clete Blakeman, who had key role in Deflategate drama and oversaw disputed 2013 finish, will work Patriots preseason game Friday

08.27.15 at 10:37 pm ET
By   |   Comments
Clete Blakeman will work Friday's Patriots-Panthers game. (Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Clete Blakeman will work Friday’s Patriots-Panthers game. (Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Clete Blakeman will work as the referee for Friday’s Patriots-Panthers preseason game in Charlotte, according to Footballzebras.com.

Blakeman has a bit of a past with New England, to put it mildly. He was the alternate official for the 2014 AFC title game between the Patriots and Colts, and is mentioned prominently in the Wells Report as the official who took the air pressure measurements in the footballs before the game.

In addition, he was the referee on a disputed non-call in a November 2013 contest between the Patriots and Carolina in Charlotte. On the play — which was really the jurisdiction of the back judge and the umpire — Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly grabbed tight end Rob Gronkowski in the end zone on a pass attempt, a play that should have been whistled for defensive holding, or simply pass interference. Back judge Terrence Miles threw a flag, but it was waved off by Blakeman. The no-call fundamentally ended the contest — a 24-20 win for the Panthers — and as Blakeman ran off the field, Tom Brady cursed out the official. (For a complete breakdown of the play, click through to this explainer.)

For more on Blakeman’s record as an official, check out his page at Pro Football Reference. For the complete list of officiating assignments this week, click through to to our friends at Football Zebras. And for more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

DraftKings Kick off this football season with the biggest fantasy football contest ever on DraftKings! Prizes worth $10 million are up for grabs, including $2 million for first AND $1 million for second! PLAY IN THE WEEK 1 MILLIONAIRE MAKER, CLICK HERE.

Read More: Clete Blakeman, Deflategate,

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen doubles down on Deflategate story with Arizona radio station

08.27.15 at 9:52 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Chris Mortensen continues to make headlines when it comes to Deflategate.

The ESPN reporter, who backed out of a planned interview with WEEI earlier this month when he was invited to join Dennis & Callahan to discuss his Deflategate coverage, appeared on 98.7 FM in Arizona on Thursday. Mortensen didn’t back down from his initial report, but said that it was Patriots coach Bill Belichick who implicated Tom Brady. He also said Robert and Jonathan Kraft had reached out to him to apologize “for just the way this thing has gone down.”

Mortensen was asked about his initial tweet, which seemed to fan the flames back in January.

“Where I get into trouble is the fact that I tweet the 2 pounds under,” Mortensen said. “We clarified and simply went to significantly underinflated. By the way, it was 11 of 12 footballs. The Princeton professor who was hired to disprove the Ted Wells report agreed on which gauge was used, so even then we’re talking about five balls in the 10 [PSI] range, another five that were in the low 11 range. And not only that, we also know the league itself didn’t even get it right when they sent the notification letter to the Patriots and said that one ball was as low as 10 PSI.

“I will add this, and I’ll let it be,” he added. “[I] never implicated Tom Brady. Never had a source implicate Tom Brady in the original report. And also, didn’t even suggest that the balls were tampered with. … The first person who ever implicated Tom Brady — it was a non-media type and it wasn’t me. It was Bill Belichick.”

Mortensen acknowledged he could have been clearer, ultimately said he will “stand by [his] story” when it comes to the disputed Tweet.

“Two pounds under PSI — listen, if I could have changed the tweet, and I should have changed the tweet, simply to the dialogue I used [in the story], which was 11 footballs — that was my focus — not the PSI, 11 footballs were in fact confirmed to be underinflated. And you can argue whether they were significantly underinflated or not. But I stand by that story.”

He added: “In the meantime, I understand the passion of the fanatical nation that is in New England, and certainly anybody who’s going through this. I’ve had both Krafts — Robert Kraft and Jonathan Kraft — call me and apologize for just the way this thing has gone down.”

However, that last point seems to be in dispute.

For more Patriots news check out weei.com/patriots.

DraftKings Kick off this football season with the biggest fantasy football contest ever on DraftKings! Prizes worth $10 million are up for grabs, including $2 million for first AND $1 million for second! PLAY IN THE WEEK 1 MILLIONAIRE MAKER, CLICK HERE.

Read More: Chris Mortensen, Deflategate,

Patriots place Jake Bequette on injury waivers, roster down to 84

08.27.15 at 5:52 pm ET
By   |   Comments
Jake Bequette

Jake Bequette

The tight end experiment of Jake Bequette is over, for now.

The 6-foot-5 255-pound defensive end-turned-tight end was placed on injury waivers Thursday by the Patriots. The move, combined with the release of Antonio Johnson, Cameron Gordon and Mark Asper, brings the roster down to 84 players, with the 75-man limit set for Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET.

As was the case with Brian Tyms on Tuesday, if no one claims Bequette off waivers by 4 p.m. ET Friday, Bequette can be reclaimed and placed on the team’s injured reserve.

The 26-year-old University of Arkansas product started 42 of 48 games in college from 2007 to 2011, recording 140 tackles and 23.5 sacks. As a senior he was a first team All-SEC selection. Bequette was named the Defensive MVP of the 2012 Cotton Bowl, helping Arkansas defeat Kansas State, 29-16. Bequette finished the game with five tackles and three sacks.

Bequette was selected in the 3rd round by the Patriots in the 2012 NFL Draft. He was released by the team on Aug. 30, 2014 as part of final roster cuts. He re-signed with the team’s practice squad shortly after the 2014 cuts. Bequette earned a Super Bowl ring for the Patriots in 2014, though he spent the entire season on the practice squad.

Before the 2015 season, the Patriots switched Bequette from defensive end to tight end, switching from No. 92 to No. 85. Bequette worked with the tight ends starting in spring OTAs before getting work in during minicamp. His career took a bad turn early in training camp with an undisclosed injury and he was unable to get on the field for the first two preseason games.

DraftKings Kick off this football season with the biggest fantasy football contest ever on DraftKings! Prizes worth $10 million are up for grabs, including $2 million for first AND $1 million for second! PLAY IN THE WEEK 1 MILLIONAIRE MAKER, CLICK HERE.

Read More: Arkansas, Jake Bequette, New England Patriots,

Patriots waive OT Mark Asper, LB Cameron Gordon, cut DT Antonio Johnson

08.27.15 at 5:17 pm ET
By   |   Comments
Antonio Johnson, seen here recovering a fumble for the Colts in 2010, was cut by the Patriots on Thursday. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Antonio Johnson, seen here recovering a fumble for the Colts in 2010, was cut by the Patriots on Thursday. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — The Patriots made several moves Thursday before leaving for Charlotte and Friday’s preseason game against the Panthers.

The team waived offensive tackle Mark Asper and linebacker Cameron Gordon, a move Gordon’s agent announced earlier in the day. Additionally, the team released veteran defensive tackle Antonio Johnson.

The first roster cut down comes next Tuesday, when NFL rosters must be pared to 75. Final cutdown comes on Sept. 5, when rosters must be trimmed to 53.

Asper, 29, originally entered the NFL as a sixth-round draft pick (178th overall) by the Buffalo Bills in the 2012 NFL Draft out of Oregon. The 6-foot-6, 321-pounder, was released by Buffalo following training camp in 2012 and was claimed off waivers by Minnesota.

Asper was inactive for the first 14 games of the 2012 season with the Vikings before being released and claimed off waivers by Jacksonville. He played in one game for the Jaguars, mainly on special teams. After being released by Jacksonville on Aug. 25, 2013, he was signed by Buffalo to the practice squad. Buffalo signed him to the 53-man roster on Oct. 13, 2013, and he played in six games for the Bills that season. Asper was released by Buffalo at the end of training camp in 2014 and spent time on the practice squad of the New York Giants, Denver Broncos and Miami Dolphins in 2014. He signed with the Patriots on Aug. 6, and appeared in both preseason games as a reserve.

Gordon, 24, originally signed with New England on May 12, 2014, as a rookie free agent out of Michigan. The 6-foot-3, 237-pounder suffered an injury during training camp and spent his entire rookie campaign on injured reserve. He was released by New England on May 18, 2015, and re-signed on Aug. 4. He appeared in both preseason games as a reserve and posted four tackles on defense.

Johnson, 30, is a veteran of six NFL seasons with Indianapolis (2008-2012) and Tennessee (2013). The 6-foot-3, 328-pounder originally entered the NFL as a fifth-round draft pick (152nd overall) by Tennessee out of Mississippi State in the 2007 NFL Draft. Johnson began his rookie season on the Tennessee practice squad before being signed to the Indianapolis 53-man roster.

He re-signed with Tennessee as an unrestricted free agent in the 2014 offseason but was released by the Titans prior to the start of the regular season. Johnson spent last season out of football before signing a future contract with the Patriots on Feb. 6, 2015. He has played in 83 NFL games with 52 starts and has accumulated 143 total tackles, 4½ sacks and three passes defensed.

DraftKings Kick off this football season with the biggest fantasy football contest ever on DraftKings! Prizes worth $10 million are up for grabs, including $2 million for first AND $1 million for second! PLAY IN THE WEEK 1 MILLIONAIRE MAKER, CLICK HERE.

Read More: 2015 Patriots Training Camp, Antonio Johnson, Cameron Gordon, Mark Asper

Patriots TE Scott Chandler glad to rejoin team at practice

08.27.15 at 1:58 pm ET
By   |   Comments


FOXBORO — As the season opener is now two weeks away, players who have missed portions of training camp and recent practices are starting to return.

Julian Edelman returned to practice on Tuesday and so did tight end Scott Chandler, who has missed significant time with a lower body injury.

“Just trying to get through this training camp grind, taking it a day at a time — get back out there and try to get back in the swing of things,” Chandler said.

Chandler, 30, was signed by the Patriots this offseason after he spent the last five seasons in Buffalo with the Bills. Last year he finished with 47 catches for 497 yards and three touchdowns after catching six touchdowns in both the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

Entering his eighth season in the league, Chandler knows what it takes to get his body ready, so he didn’t label the time missed as a setback.

“I don’t know. We’ll see,” he said. “There are a lot of days ahead of us, and we have to go out there and take it one rep at a time and one day at a time.”

With the addition of Chandler, the Patriots will now have one of the better tight end tandems in the league with Rob Gronkowski and Chandler, especially in the red zone when teams focus on Gronkowski. This will free up the 6-foot-7 Chandler to make a few plays against smaller defenders.

Chandler has seen a different side of Gronkowski since joining the Patriots this spring.

“You don’t get to see the kind of work that guys put in day-in and day-out,” he said. “That’s kind of the whole scheme here, guys come to work every day and Rob’s no exception.”

With the Patriots’ third preseason game Friday and final preseason game a week from Thursday, Chandler was asked if he expects to play in any of those games in preparation for the Sept. 10 opener against the Steelers.

“I think something that you’€™ve learned is that you’€™ve got to control what you can control,”€ Chandler said. “Don’€™t let something that you can’€™t do affect what you can do.”

DraftKings Kick off this football season with the biggest fantasy football contest ever on DraftKings! Prizes worth $10 million are up for grabs, including $2 million for first AND $1 million for second! PLAY IN THE WEEK 1 MILLIONAIRE MAKER, CLICK HERE.

Read More: Scott Chandler,
Latest on Twitter
Draft Kings
Player News
Patriots Headlines
NFL Headlines
Tips & Feedback

Verify