|09.25.16 at 12:48 pm ET|
It appears there won’t be any further clarity on the Patriots quarterback situation until the middle of the week.
During his conference call on Sunday, head coach Bill Belichick would not elaborate on the injuries to Jimmy Garoppolo (right shoulder) or Jacoby Brissett (right thumb).
“We’ll give our injury report on Wednesday, as we always do, as we’re required to do,” Belichick replied when asked if there might be an update on where the quarterback situation stands. “Based on where things are at that point, that’ll be represented in the report.”
The Patriots will have to get through one more game without Tom Brady and that will come next Sunday at Gillette Stadium against the Bills.
Garoppolo reportedly sprained the AC joint in his right shoulder with five minutes remaining in the first half against the Dolphins.
Brissett sprained his right thumb against the Texans on the first drive of the second half on Thursday night. The initial fear that surgery might be required is subsiding while the team see how it responds this week.
Adam Schefter reported Sunday that team sources say Garoppolo is “definitely making progress” in an effort to be ready next Sunday.
As for Brissett, the team is waiting to see how the thumb responds, and is also hopeful, based on his play after the injury, that he might be ready to take the field against the Bills if needed.
|09.25.16 at 5:00 am ET|
1. My colleague Ryan Hannable artfully laid out the reasons why the Patriots 3-0 start with two different quarterbacks is a tribute to the work of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels in this piece here. But McDaniels’ work over the first three games also begs the question: Will it lead to another head coaching offer? Provided the Patriots continue down their current path, it’s almost a certainty that he’ll be considered a head coaching candidate again following the 2016 season, and as is the case every year, expect a handful of intriguing jobs to open up. While McDaniels might not have his pick, he should get an offer. However, this is where it gets dicey: McDaniels was a washout in Denver, and so theoretically, this might be his last real shot at a big time NFL job. He can’t fail this time around, or he’ll likely be relegated to assistant/coordinator status the rest of his life. (There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that — it’s just the reality of the situation.) But McDaniels will almost certainly be courted by other teams with vacancies at the end of the season. And if a team with a former Patriots’ front office staffer has a year where things go south (Detroit? Atlanta?), it would only make sense for them to at least inquire about McDaniels and his status.
2. On Thursday night, LeGarrette Blount became just one of 19 backs to break the 2,000-yard barrier while in a New England uniform, moving into 18th place overall in franchise history with 2,054 regular-season rushing yards. While Bill Belichick has never had a running back finish with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, if Blount is able to stay on his current pace — which is a longshot, given the fact that the offense figures to change dramatically when Tom Brady returns — he would finish with the second-highest rushing total for any back of the Belichick era over a combined two-year span. This year, Blount is on pace for 1,589 rushing yards, which would be second in franchise history for a single season behind Corey Dillon’s 1,635 yards in 2004. But you add last year’s 703 rushing yards, it would give him a two-year total of 2,292, just a few off Dillon’s mark from 2004-05 (2,368 yards), the best two-year total of the Belichick era in New England. In addition, if Blount can hit the 1,000-yard mark, it would represent just the second time he crossed that plateau in his career. He’d also be just the second back in franchise history age 29 or older to hit the 1,000-yard mark. (Antowain Smith did it first in 2001.)
3. The possible Brady-to-Jimmy Garoppolo succession plan has been a thing since Garoppolo first showed up as a second-round pick out of Eastern Illinois in the spring of 2014. But one underrated aspect of the whole conversation is that they’re both repped by the same agent, Don Yee. Yee has always played a big role in New England’s team-building process because he’s handled Brady, but he’ll take on greater importance going forward. In the best possible scenario, he’d be the guy to assist in facilitating a smooth transition from one to the other. At the very least, with Yee’s involvement, the Patriots would be able to avoid the sort of murkiness that plagued the Broncos’ quarterback position this past offseason as they started the post-Peyton Manning era.
4. Devin McCourty, as well as teammates Martellus Bennett and Chris Long, have helped spark conversation locally regarding Colin Kaepernick and his protests. Speaking with the NFL Network this past week, McCourty — who could be seen raising his fist at the end of the anthem in the season opener — said he plans on taking the next step sooner rather than later. “I’m going to have a chance with the extended weekend to hopefully talk to someone in Boston, a police officer, and see how as players how we can help out, how we can bridge the gap and try to avoid some of these things,” McCourty said while referencing the recent riots in Charlotte. He also added that he’s tired of the #sticktosports hashtag. “I think it’s very important. I think the whole motto of just shut up and play football is ridiculous,” he said of his involvement in social issues as an athlete. “For many of our athletes in the NFL, before we’re athletes, before we’re football players we’re African-Americans. For everyone, we’re Americans, we’re humans. To look out there and see treatment of people that you wouldn’t want of yourself, I think you have to take a minute and look at that and say this is wrong.” Check out more from McCourty’s interview here.
5. The elections for team player reps have been ongoing throughout the month, and while no official announcement has been made, it would be a surprise if Matthew Slater isn’t going to be this year’s player rep for the Patriots again. New England’s special teams captain has held the position for a few years now, and is one of the more respected guys in the locker room. He’s been vocal on NFLPA issues, including his recent statement saying there’s “room for improvement” when it comes to the NFL’s drug policy. Expect an announcement on the election and outcome in the coming weeks.
|09.24.16 at 1:47 pm ET|
With just over a week left in his Deflategate suspension, Tom Brady has got out of the country.
TMZ obtained pictures of Brady and wife Gisele Bundchen at a restaurant on the island Capri in Italy called Aurora Friday night.
Brady can return to the Gillette Stadium facility a week from Monday — October 3. Last weekend, the quarterback and his son Jack went to the University of Michigan where Brady was the honorary captain.
Tom Brady & Gisele — Jet to Italy Because … Best Suspension Ever!! (PHOTO GALLERY) https://t.co/utAj3iUphz
— TMZ Sports (@TMZ_Sports) September 24, 2016
|09.24.16 at 9:31 am ET|
Bill Belichick has always been a huge proponent of emphasizing the significance of special teams.
On Thursday, that attention to detail paid off in huge dividends as Ryan Allen pinned the Texans inside their 15 six times with punts and the kickoff coverage team forced two turnovers that led to two of New England’s three touchdowns on the night.
“Tremendous, tremendous. Field position was phenomenal,” Belichick said immediately after the game. “It seemed like they had to go 90 yards every time they had the ball. Our kickoff team, once again, came up big with field position; two turnovers. That’s a very aggressive unit. I think Joe [Judge] and Bubba [Ray Ventrone] have done a great job.
“They have a lot of leadership on that unit, a lot of pride. We punted well, we covered well, we covered our kicks well, we had a couple of chances in the return game, we converted our scoring opportunities. The entire special teams unit, the coaching staff, they did a tremendous job tonight. We obviously needed that tonight and they really delivered it.”
Allen knew coming in that with rookie Jacoby Brissett starting, one way to take some pressure off would be flipping the field and making the Texans go a long ways while keeping the field shorter for the Patriots. It worked. Houston’s average starting field position was its own 16. New England’s was its own 40. Playground slides aren’t tilted that much.
“Really at the end of the day there has been times where I, I think I’ve learned that. Steve and I have talked a little bit about that,” Allen said. “You never really know how games are going to go. There’s sometimes at the beginning of the game we’ll make a comment or two about how we feel, where we’re at as a team right before we play and we’re totally wrong most of the time. So you just really like assume you never really that’ll get you anywhere and you have to just be prepared and when you’re called go out there and do the best you can. So I think it was a good collective effort tonight.”
|09.23.16 at 7:13 pm ET|
FOXBORO — It was an exciting Patriots locker room following their 27-0 win over the Texans on Thursday night with rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett leading the way.
Owner Robert Kraft was one of the first to congratulate Brissett.
“That was awesome,” Kraft said. “That was great. Very proud. You stayed cool.”
With the short week, Bill Belichick was proud of his team and the mental toughness they showed.
“Congrats men. I’ll tell you what, that’s everything we wanted to do, you did it — 60 minutes,” Belichick said. “Showed a lot of mental toughness. A lot of discipline just keep doing it over and over again. We talked about that running game breaking open in the fourth quarter — that was a hell of a run LG [LeGarrette Blount]. Great job. Defense, you can’t do any better than that. No points. Big plays in the kicking game.
“We got another one. Where is [Jacoby Brissett]?”
Belichick then handed the game ball to the rookie quarterback and then asked for assistant quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski, who has worked extensively with Brissett since training camp.
“Where’s Jerry? Great job,” Belichick said.
Lastly, before the team broke down its huddle, captain Matthew Slater said, “How do we feel about being 3-0 when they said we couldn’t go 3-0?”
For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.
|09.23.16 at 4:57 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The first two weeks of the season didn’t go well for the Patriots defense, particularly in the secondary.
The Patriots entered Week 3 24th in the league in terms of total defense and 27th in terms of passing defense, but they responded in a big way by shutting out the Texans, 27-0 Thursday night at Gillette Stadium.
Cornerback Malcolm Butler acknowledged the secondary used the previous week as motivation against Houston.
“Most definitely. Finish the game,” Butler said.
“Finish the game” was referring to the second half against Miami when they allowed 21 points (24 unanswered going back to the end of the first half), 310 total yards, 16 first downs and allowed Ryan Tannehill to go 22-for-27 with 273 yards and two touchdowns.
New England saw a 31-3 lead get all the way to 31-24, before a last second Duron Harmon interception in the end zone saved the game.
“That’s just the theme here. You always have to finish,” Butler said. “You don’t want to end the game like that. You don’t want to blow a big lead like that. We carried that motivated to this week and it turned out alright.”
Personally, Butler had one of his worst games as a professional as Jarvis Landry had 10 catches for 135 yards in Week 2. The third-year cornerback responded by having his best game of the year limiting rookie Will Fuller to just three catches for 31 yards.
“The standards are high around here,” he said. “It’s most definitely high for myself. That’s how I look forward to play. Long season. Anything can change in a matter of seconds. Just got to keep working, enjoy the win and keep moving.”
Butler and the Patriots will get a few extra days rest before hosting the Bills on October 2 at Gillette Stadium.
“It feels good to get a little rest,” Butler said. “Going to need it. You have to come back in here next week and be ready to go. We have a division game next week.”
|09.23.16 at 3:16 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Jacoby Brissett is the latest Patriots quarterback dealing with an injury.
A source tells WEEI.com that the Patriots quarterback suffered a torn ligament in his throwing thumb in Thursday’s win over the Texans. The need for surgery at this point is uncertain, though likely to completely stabilize the thumb.
It’s not clear exactly when the injury occurred, but he was having his thumb examined on the sideline in the third quarter, with a broken nail clearly visible.
Brissett was tackled from behind by Vince Wilfork on the opening drive of the second half. On the play, Brissett scrambled off left guard for four yards into open space but didn’t slide. As he fell, Wilfork landed on him at the Texans’ 38.
That drive ended when Edelman dropped a Brissett pass in the back of the end zone. The Patriots settled for a 25-yard field goal, while trainers looked at Brissett’s right thumb on the sideline.
Brissett finished 11-of-19 for 103 yards while gaining 48 yards on eight carries, including his 27-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Patriots are hopeful that Jimmy Garoppolo (with his injured AC joint from Week 2) can be ready for the Bills game on Oct. 2. But it’s too early to tell.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted that the Patriots do not consider Brissett’s injury to be serious but are monitoring their options and are expected to add a quarterback.
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