|Report: RB Felix Jones works out for Patriots||05.08.13 at 8:30 pm ET|
File this one under “due diligence.”
Despite the fact that the Patriots have a fully-stocked collection of backs, including Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Brandon Bolden, Leon Washington and (the recently acquired) LeGarrette Blount, the Patriots are reportedly kicking the tires on veteran running back Felix Jones this week, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.
The 5-foot-10, 215-pounder has shown some ability to be a multidimensional threat over the course of his career — the 26-year-old had a career-best 48 catches for the Cowboys in 2010, and has rushed for 4.8 yards per attempt since entering the NFL in 2008. For his career, he’s rushed for 2,728 yards and 11 touchdowns, and has 127 receptions for 1,062 yards and 11 touchdowns.
An unrestricted free agent who has also worked out for the Eagles and Bengals, he’s coming off a season where he was nagged by injuries, and finished with a career-low in games played (six), rushing yards (266), receptions (two) and receiving yards (10).
|NFC scout on Patriots draft: 4 players could contribute immediately||05.08.13 at 1:49 pm ET|
While the grades are starting to trickle in on how the Patriots fared last month in the NFL draft, one NFC scout said he was impressed by what New England was able to do, saying the Patriots picked up at least four players who will be able to contribute as rookies.
“The Patriots seemed to have a solid draft,” he told WEEI.com on Wednesday. “They went out and picked potential playmakers that have the ability to contribute immediately.”
On offense, the selection of wide receivers — Aaron Dobson in the second round and Josh Boyce in the fourth round — defined New England’s draft, as far as he was concerned. While his team had some questions about Dobson as a collegian, he feels that the Patriots will be able to develop Dobson into a “solid player.”
“Dobson is a size/speed wide receiver that has tools to develop into a solid pro,” he said. “However, he does have some motor and contested-catch inconsistency in college but if Patriots can get it out of him, he can be a solid player. Boyce could also be a solid contributor as a developmental wide receiver and special teams player in his first year in the league.”
While several people have raved about the football IQ of both Dobson and Boyce, the two receivers are unlike most receivers the Patriots have targeted in the draft the last few years in that they are bigger, more physical types: Dobson is a 6-foot-3, 203-pounder out of Marshall (tied with P.K. Sam as the tallest receiver Bill Belichick ever drafted) who ended up with 165 receptions, 2,398 receiving yards and 24 touchdown catches. Meanwhile, the 5-foot-11 Boyce electrified the combine after recording 161 catches for 2,535 yards and 22 touchdowns in his three seasons at TCU.
“The Patriots seem to view wide receivers differently,” the scout said, “as they are willing to take a chance on size/speed guys and are willing to admit mistakes and move on if they don’t fit the bill.”
|Michael Jenkins aiming to make his mark with Patriots||05.08.13 at 12:38 pm ET|
When it comes to veteran receivers hoping to revive their careers in New England, there’s been no shortage of candidates over the last decade-plus. Sometimes, it works (David Patten, Donte’ Stallworth, Jabar Gaffney) and sometimes, not so much (Joey Galloway, Chad Johnson).
Into this mix comes Michael Jenkins, who will start his 10th season in the league this year, and his first with the Patriots. The 30-year-old, who caught 40 passes for 449 yards and two touchdowns last season with the Vikings, is a 6-foot-4, 214-pounder out of Ohio State who spent seven seasons with the Falcons and the last two with Minnesota. His best years came in 2007 and 2008, when he caught a combined 103 passes for 1,309 yards and seven touchdowns.
Jenkins is well aware of both the successes and failures that veterans have had when it comes to getting acclimated to the New England passing game. And while he can’t speak to why some of his predecessors failed — instead, he can only control what he can control.
“I can’t say why they’ve struggled before. I just try to do my part in studying, kind of be well-rounded, knowing all the positions within the receiver position, and just fit in where I can,” he told reporters earlier this week. “You’ve seen stuff, [but] you never know what’s going on internally; I’ve always considered myself a quick learner and being able to pick it up, so hopefully that continues to happen for me and I can pick it up.”
The New England receiving corps is in a state of flux, as there’s only one receiver (Julian Edelman) currently on the roster who caught a pass from quarterback Tom Brady last season. Jenkins is part of a group of newcomers at the receiver position that includes former Bills receiver Donald Jones and ex-Rams wideout Danny Amendola, as well as a group of rookies that includes second-round pick Aaron Dobson and fourth-round selection Josh Boyce.
Jenkins is the oldest receiver on the roster right now.
“It’s different,” he said of being the veteran. “All of a sudden a couple of years ago in Minnesota I was the oldest guy in the room. But we got a lot of great guys here, willing to work, and I’ll just help out the young guys when I can and do my job.”
Jenkins has no illusions as to what might await him, other than the fact that he hopes to be a “contributor” to the New England passing game.
“Everybody’s competing, everybody’s working together now to get stronger, get faster in the weight room,” he said. “I have no predictions on what that may be, so just knowing my stuff and knowing what I need to do and get those things done, and we’ll what happens.
“It’s a great organization obviously; being in the league for a long time you see what they’ve done over the years, and I’m just hoping I can come in and help,” he added. “It’s been great, still learning names, trying to remember everybody, from medical staff to the trainers and everybody. But it’s been good so far; everybody’s been real receptive and I’m glad to be here.”
|Report: Rob Gronkowski will need fourth surgery on arm||05.08.13 at 11:38 am ET|
Rob Gronkowski will need a fourth operation to replace the plate that secures the broken bone in his forearm, according to the Boston Herald.
While the surgery is not unexpected — and if everything goes well, would leave him ready for the start of the season — if doctors find that the tight end still has infected tissue in his forearm, Gronkowski would need a fifth operation. That would jeopardize his chances when it comes to starting the regular season on time.
Gronkowski suffered the initial break in a Week 11 win over the Colts, and later re-broke his arm in the postseason against the Texans. The 23-year-old caught 55 passes for 790 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Patriots in 2012.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|Patriots claim Akeem Shavers off waivers, place Quentin Hines on injured reserve||05.07.13 at 5:07 pm ET|
The Patriots made a couple of relatively minor personnel moves on Tuesday, according to the league transaction wire.
First, the team claimed former Purdue running back Akeem Shavers off waivers from Tampa Bay. Shavers, a 5-foot-10, 198-pounder, gained 871 yards for Purdue last season. He suffered a knee injury in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on New Year’s Day, which likely affected his overall draft status.
Second, running back Quentin Hines reverted to injured reserved from waived-injured. Hines, 22, began his college career at Cincinnati in 2008 and appeared in one game in 2009 after redshirting in 2008. The 5-11, 190-pounder missed the 2010 and 2011 seasons before finishing his career in 2012 at Akron. He Tweeted Monday that he would be placed on injured reserve because of an injury he suffered in the recently concluded rookie minicamp practice sessions.
|Report: Julian Edelman in walking boot because of right foot injury||05.07.13 at 4:51 pm ET|
Julian Edelman is in a walking boot after reinjuring his right foot, according to The Boston Globe. The 26-year-old wide receiver, who ended last season on injured reserve because of a right foot injury, reportedly will miss on-field organized team activities later this spring. According to the Globe, one source said there is an outside chance he will be able to participate in minicamp June 11-13, but it would be on a limited basis.
The 5-foot-10, 200-pounder, who was a seventh-round pick of the Patriots in 2009, has spent the last four seasons with New England and has 69 catches for 714 yards and four touchdowns as a pro. Edelman was a free agent this offseason but agreed to a one-year deal with the Patriots last month. He’s the only receiver currently on the roster who caught a pass from quarterback Tom Brady last season.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|Is Adrian Wilson biggest safety Patriots have ever had?||05.07.13 at 1:57 pm ET|
A Twitter conversation regarding safety Adrian Wilson with a few followers Tuesday afternoon sparked this question: Is Wilson the biggest safety the Patriots have ever had — or, at least, the biggest safety the Patriots have signed since Bill Belichick became coach?
The 33-year-old Wilson is a 6-foot-3, 230-pounder who is the biggest defensive back currently on the New England roster. Nicknamed “The Incredible Hulk” by his new teammates, he brings a more physical presence to the Patriots secondary. But to give you some sort of idea as to just how big a guy he is, consider the fact that he compares favorably not with the defensive backs, but with the linebackers. Dane Fletcher is 6-foot-2 and 245 pounds, while Jerod Mayo is 6-foot-1 and 250 pounds, Dont’a Hightower is 6-foot-2 and 270 pounds and Brandon Spikes is 6-foot-2 and 255 pounds.
A quick check of some old rosters reveals that, at least when it comes to defensive backs, Wilson is the biggest the Patriots have acquired since Belichick became coach before the 2000 season. However, there are a few guys who have come close. Tank Williams, who was in Foxboro for parts of two seasons (2008 and 2009) but never was 100 percent because of a knee injury, was probably closest in terms of size to Wilson, as the former Stanford product checked in at 6-foot-2 and 223 pounds. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Josh Barrett was a safety out of Arizona State who had similar struggles with injury — he played just one season with New England (2011). And safety Brandon McGowan, who spent the 2009 season with the Patriots and made a name as a fearless hitter, was 5-foot-11 and 210 pounds.
(For what it’s worth, in his playing days Rodney Harrison was 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, and Tebucky Jones, who was taken in the first round by the Patriots in 1998, was 6-foot-2, 220.)
The feeling here is that Wilson — like many of the oversized safeties who have come through Foxboro in years past — projects as something of a hybrid defender. The spot, more commonly defined as the “money” position on the New England defense, works as an extra defensive back on passing downs in place of a linebacker, and is also plays close enough to the line to provide support in the running game as well as an occasional rep as a pass-rusher. (For more on the background of the “money” position and how it relates to a Belichick defense, click here.)
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