|12.04.16 at 11:43 am ET|
Bill Belichick took some time the day before Patriots-Rams to visit with the 2001 Patriots team, who are in town being honored during Sunday’s game for the 15-year anniversary of Super Bowl XXXVI.
Belichick attended a function with the team Saturday night and snapped a rare selfie with girlfriend Linda Holliday, which was posted to her Instagram account.
|12.04.16 at 11:38 am ET|
FOXBORO — The following Patriots players are inactive for Sunday’s game against the Rams: safety Jordan Richards, running back D.J. Foster, cornerback Justin Coleman, offensive lineman LaAdrian Waddle, defensive lineman Darius Kilgo, special teamer Matthew Slater and defensive lineman Woodrow Hamilton.
Richards was ruled out on Friday after not practicing all week following getting injured in the win over the Jets last week. Slater practiced Wednesday and Thursday, but must’ve had a setback as he didn’t practice Friday. This will be his second straight game missed after injuring his foot against the 49ers.
Foster hasn’t been active since Week 6, while Waddle hasn’t been active since Week 5. It’s Coleman’s third straight inactive as it appears he’s the odd-man out in the secondary.
Despite playing one defensive snap in the last six games, cornerback Cyrus Jones is active, as is Martellus Bennett and Julian Edelman who were listed as questionable.
For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.
|12.04.16 at 10:45 am ET|
FOXBORO — It figures to be a festive day at Gillette Stadium.
The matchup between the 9-2 Patriots and the 4-7 Rams will feature a 15th anniversary tribute to the first Patriots’ Super Bowl-winning team. Several members of the team will be on the field for a halftime celebration. The reunion is the culmination of a season-long celebration of the 2001 Patriots.
Among those expected on the field are Drew Bledsoe, Ty Law, Lawyer Milloy and Antowain Smith.
As for the game itself, the Patriots will be playing their first game following the season-ending back surgery to Rob Gronkowski.
The Patriots will have the services of Tom Brady, Chris Hogan, Martellus Bennett and Julian Edelman, all of whom were questionable but are expected to play. Alan Branch will be available to play after his four-game suspension for marijuana use was thrown out on Saturday by the league after it was determined that his positive finding came from a earlier test and not his most-recent submission.
For the Rams, they are likely to be without two key pieces. On the defensive line, defensive end Robert Quinn is in concussion protocol and not expected to be cleared for the game. Offensively, wide receiver Tavon Austin is doubtful with a chest injury after not practicing this week.
The weather will be seasonably cold for the first Sunday of December. Temperatures are expected to be in the lower 40s with little wind for the 1 p.m. kickoff with no chance of precipitation.
With a win, the Patriots will clinch their 14th consecutive season of double-digit wins.
Before the game, it was reported that embattled Rams coach Jeff Fisher was given a two-year contract extension. Earlier in the week, it was Fisher, a 22-year veteran NFL head coach (Titans, Rams) who was chided on social media for not being able to name New England’s active running backs. Fisher, who also caught grief for kicking hall of fame running back Eric Dickerson off the Rams’ sideline, is three losses away from passing Dan Reeves for most losses as an NFL head coach.
The Patriots are playing the Los Angeles Rams for the first time since losing 14-0 in Anaheim on Sept. 13, 1992. Since then, the Patriots have beaten the Rams of St. Louis four times in six meetings, including Super Bowl XXXVI.
|12.03.16 at 6:10 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Dion Lewis is ready to show everybody he’s back for real.
In two games back, the running back who led the 2015 Patriots in yards from scrimmage before his ACL tear on Nov. 8, 2015, has eased his way back into the rhythm of the Patriots offense. Now with Rob Gronkowski out for the season following back surgery, it’s Lewis who might be called upon to finally get up to speed and pick up some of the slack.
Against San Francisco, he played 21 offensive snaps. Last week against the Jets, he played 23. Against the Niners, he carried the ball five times for 23 yards. In the passing game, he was targeted five times, caught three passes for 26 yards.
Last week, he carried the ball six times for 24 yards. He was targeted by Tom Brady seven times, catching four passes for 34 yards. Perhaps most telling is how Lewis has been used in the red zone. Inside the 20, he ran three times. He’s been targeted in the passing game in the red zone once each against San Francisco and the Jets.
“I think Dion has gotten better progressively each practice, each week,” Bill Belichick said. “Based on watching him practice for a couple weeks before we activated him, we felt comfortable playing him, and that’s part of his game, obviously, is his quickness, his change of direction, his acceleration. I think all of those things were evident. I think they’ve gotten better, but I think they were all evident when he returned to practice after the original – I’d say the initial break-in period.”
Lewis jokes about his 5-foot-8 stature and his ability to take the hits in the NFL game.
“I wouldn’t say survival. I would say survival for them,” Lewis joked this week. “Nah, I don’t mind getting hit but I’m not going to let somebody get me. If I can avoid getting hit, I’m definitely going to try and do that. I try to use my lower center of gravity to my advantage.”
Ironically, it wasn’t a hit that ended his 2015 season. He made a cut back to the inside on a run to the right edge against the Redskins in the first half. His left knee gave and he went down. A year later, he’s ready to finally pick up where he left off.
|12.03.16 at 6:08 pm ET|
According to our friend Sarah Wroblewski of Fox 25, it should be clear and cool for Sunday’s contest between the Patriots and Rams in Foxboro.
— Sarah Wroblewski (@sarahwroblewski) December 4, 2016
|12.03.16 at 4:57 pm ET|
The Patriots officially ended all doubt when it came to Rob Gronkowski on Saturday, placing him on injured reserve and officially ending his 2016 season.
The tight end, who suffered a back injury, finishes his year with 25 receptions for 540 yards with three touchdowns.
To take his spot on the roster, the Patriots activated running back D.J. Foster. The 23-year-old Foster was released from the 53-man roster on Nov. 28, 2016 and signed to the practice squad on Nov. 20. The 6-foot, 195-pounder, was originally signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Arizona State on May 6 and made the 53-man roster out of training camp. He played in three games and accrued 24 yards rushing on seven attempts for a 3.4 average and caught one pass for two yards.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|12.03.16 at 1:51 pm ET|
On Friday night, Rob Gronkowski posted a video on Instagram following his back surgery earlier in the day.
A day later, the Patriots tight end posted the same video to Facebook, but with the caption: Succesfull surgery!!! Went as planned. Starting rehab now. #PimpWalker
It’s expected Gronkowski will miss the remainder of the season.
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