|12.17.14 at 5:18 pm ET|
FOXBORO — It was a bittersweet game last Sunday for Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington.
The sixth-year cornerback returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown in the opening minutes of the game — his fourth career touchdown — but then later left the game with a hamstring injury. Arrington said leaving the game was frustrating.
“I’d say so,” said Arrington. “You always want to be out there with your guys. This is what we do for each other. We’re a very close group, not just the defense — offense, defense, special teams in the locker room all 61, including the practice squad. To not be able to finish it’s a little frustrating. Unfortunately it’s part of the game.”
Although he didn’t return to the game, and was limited in practice on Wednesday, he is talking like the injury isn’t a huge issue.
“I guess that is a question for Bill [Belichick] and Jim [Whalen] (head athletic trainer) and our trainers. I don’t know. I guess I feel as good as you look,” he joked.
Although Arrington raced 62 yards for a touchdown, he gives all the credit to Jamie Collins, the guy who blocked the 41-yard Caleb Sturgis field goal attempt. It was was the third blocked field goal of the season for the Patriots, which ties a franchise record.
“To be honest, I was just the fortunate recipient of an outstanding block by Jamie [Collins],” Arrington said. “I mean you put that guy anywhere on the field, he could probably block it anywhere. He’s a freak athlete and I am glad we have a guy like that on our team.”
Arrington celebrated the score in style by doing a flip into the end zone, which got some good-natured teasing from his teammates when watching the film following the game.
“I’m thinking of trademarking that, I don’t know,” Arrington said. “I’m going on YouTube for some things and see where I can improve. Do a couple of somersaults here and there. I might go in front and sideways at the same time next time, I don’t know we’ll see.”
As a cornerback, it’s not a sure-thing to find the end zone another time.
“Wishful thinking, more wishful thinking,” he laughed.
|12.17.14 at 4:49 pm ET|
FOXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price preview the Week 16 battle between the 11-3 Patriots and 3-11 New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. With a win against the Jets and a Denver Broncos loss to the Cincinnati Bengals Monday night in Cincinnati, the Patriots will clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
|12.17.14 at 4:23 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Like everybody who watches the Patriots, Tom Brady has seen the fun-loving side of Rob Gronkowski on and off the field.
But Brady also gets a chance to see the more mature side of the Patriots all-world tight end. On Wednesday, Brady said he’s seen his 6-foot-6, 250-pound tight end mature into one of the hardest workers on the team.
“He’s grown up a lot over the last five years,” Brady said. “It’s been a lot of fun to see it. His football IQ and understanding of what it takes to be a professional and consistently and dependably be that type of player for our offense that he’s become, has been fun to see. He’s got the size advantage, the speed advantage, and he’s really becoming so aware out there of different coverages and things they’re trying to do to stop him.
“Now, after this time, he and I are really getting on the same page with a lot of things that are adjustments to adjustments to adjustments and that type of thing. It’s just been great playing with him. He’s a huge part of our offense, really gets us going. He’s a threat on third down, he’s a threat in the red area, he’s a threat on big plays any time in the game. He’s a great player.”
What Gronkowski doesn’t always get credit for is his attention to detail in practice and in games. Part of that comes from spending time together after practice and some of it comes from the time Gronk puts in on his own.
“Yeah, it’s a lot of communication. After practice and so forth, we do a lot of things after practice with a lot of guys and you’re always trying to work on things that you didn’t maybe get a chance to work on during practice,” Brady said. “Gronk typically gets a lot of balls in practice, so it’s usually for a lot of the other guys who don’t usually get a lot of balls in practice.
“But he’s always there willing to work on whatever he needs to work on for us to be a better team. Whether that’s a new type of route or a new type of concept that we’re trying to run, that’s what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to get on the same page so you can really anticipate each other and then you can make those plays that end up being really critical. We’ve had a bunch of them this year. The little things always become big things, and to identify what those little things are and make corrections before you get to the game day is what’s really important.”
|12.17.14 at 4:16 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Another week, another crowded injury report for the Patriots.
Only Dominique Easley missed Wednesday’s practice, as he was placed on injured reserve, but 12 other Patriots players were limited as the team prepares for Sunday’s game against the Jets at MetLife Stadium.
Julian Edelman (thigh/concussion) headlines the limited players, as a concussion was added to his name — in previous weeks it was just his thigh. LeGarrette Blount (shoulder) was also limited and was the first time he’s appeared on the injury report this season. Kyle Arrington left Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury and was a limited participant in practice.
Long snapper Danny Aiken was also added to the injury list, as after recovering from a concussion a few weeks ago, he now has a finger injury. Rob Ninkovich (heel) and Cameron Fleming (ankle) remain on the injury report, both limited in the session.
Quarterback Tom Brady (ankle) was a full participant.
Here is a complete practice report:
Did not participate
DL Dominique Easley (injured reserve)
LS Danny Aiken (finger)
CB Kyle Arrington (hamstring)
RB LeGarrette Blount (shoulder)
OL Dan Connolly (ankle)
WR Julian Edelman (thigh/concussion)
OL Cameron Fleming (ankle)
LB Dont’a Hightower (shoulder)
DE Chandler Jones (hip)
WR Brandon LaFell (shoulder)
DE Rob Ninkovich (heel)
RB Shane Vereen (ankle)
LB Chris White (ankle)
QB Tom Brady (ankle)
|12.17.14 at 4:01 pm ET|
1. Even before the start of the season, it was fairly evident that the Patriots 2014 rookie class was going to face an uphill battle for playing time. Entering camp, the roster was clearly pretty well stocked with entrenched veterans, and when midseason acquisitions like LeGarrette Blount, Alan Branch, Jonathan Casillas and Akeem Ayers showed up, it pushed several of the ones who initially made the cut at the start of the season even further down the depth chart. That’s why, from this viewpoint, the decision to place first-round pick Dominique Easley on season-ending injured reserve isn’t a colossal issue. You never want to lose out on the services of any of your top picks for the season, but because the Patriots have good depth up front with the postseason looming (Branch, Ayers, Vince Wilfork, Sealver Siliga, Chris Jones, Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, etc. etc.), it doesn’t represent a seismic loss for the franchise at this point in the year. Easley was on and off the field throughout the spring and into the summer, and saw limited playing time throughout the year because of the knee issues. When he was healthy, he certainly showed the sort of disruptive skill set that the Patriots crave at the defensive line position. Going forward, once whatever knee procedures that need to take place have occurred, it’s on him to take a postgraduate year at Vince Wilfork University. He should keep your eyes open and his mouth shut, follow Wilfork around and learn what it takes to succeed in the NFL. Then, come back in the spring ready to go for 2015.
2. The addition of Steve Maneri to the active roster — taking the place of Easley — is interesting on a couple of levels. First off, Maneri has a background as both a tackle and tight end, and could figure prominently in those heavy sets the Patriots have run so effectively with Cameron Fleming over the course of the year. His versatility and skill set suggest he might be better suited to the job that some of the other options the Patriots have, at least right now with Fleming on the sideline. And second, this could tell us something about the overall state of Fleming’s health. The rookie out of Stanford has been missing since Week 12 because of what the team is calling an ankle injury, and the addition of Maneri could be a sign that the team feels it’s the sort of injury that could have the 6-foot-6, 325-pounder on the shelf for an extended stretch. (It could also be seen as a roundabout sort of challenge to fellow tight end Michael Hoomanawanui.) Ultimately, Maneri is a familiar face who presumably won’t need a lot of time to get up to speed, so if you’re a Patriots fan, that’s a good thing if he’s pressed into service in rapid fashion.
3. And last — but not least — the Patriots went and added another quarterback to the mix in Garrett Gilbert, who landed on the practice squad. The 6-foot-4, 221-pounder out of SMU was on the Rams practice squad — he was a sixth-round pick of St. Louis this past spring — before being cut loose in October. Gilbert had an up-and-down college career — after being recruited to Texas, he struggled in his three years with the Longhorns, playing 24 games and throwing 13 touchdowns, 23 interceptions and completing just 50.9 percent of his passes. Things picked up for him after transferring to SMU, and he posted career-best numbers across the board last year with the Mustangs, throwing for 3,528 yards and 21 touchdowns to go with seven interceptions and an impressive 66.5 percent completion rate. It had been known that the Patriots were in the market for a third quarterback — they were interested in Chicago rookie David Fales before he was promoted to the active roster. However, at this point, Gilbert projects to be a practice squad/scout teamer who could be in the mix as a camp arm in the spring. Here’s some video of his college work while at SMU:
|12.17.14 at 2:53 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Darrelle Revis said Wednesday it was “kind of sad” when it came to his former coach Rex Ryan and what he’s been going through this season in New York.
Revis, who played with the Jets from 2007 to 2012, was asked on a conference call Wednesday if he was shocked that the Jets were 3-11.
“I don’t know. I don’t know. Like I said, they have a lot on their plate over there in that situation this year,” he said. “It’s kind of sad for the position that Rex is in right now. But at the same time [the record is] something that they’ve got to change.
“Me and Rex have a lot of history, and we all know that,” he added. “Some of those guys are dear to my heart and everything, but like I said, I’ve got to focus on the things that I am doing here and I wish Rex the best.”
Revis, who played under Ryan from 2009 through 2012 with New York, said it’s a different experience playing on the other side of the rivalry.
“It’s two different schemes,” he explained. “Rex is more aggressive with his approach and up here it’s a mixture of man coverage and zone too. So it’s just two different systems that I’ve played with two different cultures that have two different styles of defenses.”
Revis was asked several times by the New York media about possibly returning to the Jets — or reuniting with Ryan — next year, but he wouldn’t comment on the possibility.
“Right now, my focus is playing against the Jets,” he said. “I’m not really thinking about the offseason right now. I’m thinking about focusing on the next game and the rest of the season.”
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|12.17.14 at 2:25 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Earlier in the week, Rex Ryan said Bill Belichick was a first ballot Hall of Famer. On Wednesday, Belichick was appreciative of the comment, but even with all the possible outside distractions Sunday’s game possesses, he’s focused on the game and nothing else.
“It’s a very flattering comment, but it sounds like Rex is just buttering me up,” Belichick said on a conference call with the New York media Wednesday. “I know they’re working hard, like they always do, play us very competitively. We’ve really had a hard time with them, including the last time we played them. We’re going to have to do a good job getting ready to go here stopping a team that runs the ball well, that stops the run well, that’s got a lot of explosive guys in the kicking game, that’s well coached, that’s tough, that beat us down there last year. We have our work cut out for us.”
Asked if he has any memories of games between the two over the years, Belichick wouldn’t get into them as he is focused on getting his team to 12-3 and a step closer to the overall No. 1 seed in the AFC.
With the Jets entering the game with a record of 3-11, it seems likely Ryan will be fired at the end of the season, as the Jets will miss the playoffs for a fourth straight season.
“Well of course, they’re one of our AFC East rivals,” said Belichick. “This is really about this game, not about some other game. We’ve played a lot of games against a lot of teams in the past. Right now the only one that matters is this one on Sunday. That’s really where all my focus is. [I’m] trying to do the best I can to help our team prepare for Sunday’s game.”