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Patriots will reportedly waive DL Joe Vellano

10.06.14 at 4:36 pm ET
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Joe Vellano

Joe Vellano

As a way to clear roster space for wide receiver Brian Tyms and cornerback Brandon Browner, the Patriots have waived defensive lineman Joe Vellano, according to Shalise Manza-Young of the Boston Globe.

The 25-year-old Vellano, a 6-foot-2, 300-pounder out of Maryland, filled in admirably as a defensive lineman last year when New England saw Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly go down, had six tackles and a sack this season.

Last season, Vellano played in all 16 games as an undrafted rookie, starting eight contests while recording 54 tackles and two sacks.

If he makes it through waivers, he could be resigned to New England’s practice squad.

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

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Raiders claim ex-Patriots WR Kenbrell Thompkins

10.06.14 at 4:26 pm ET
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Kenbrell Thompkins

Kenbrell Thompkins

When the Patriots released second-year wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins on Saturday, there was hope he would clear waivers and the team could bring him back.

That didn’t prove to be the case as Thompkins was claimed by the Oakland Raiders on Monday. The news was first reported by Albert Breer of NFL Media.

The Raiders had one of the first claims in the league as they are winless on the year. Oakland also faced the Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Week 3, so they had a first-hand look at Thompkins just a few weeks ago.

Thompkins, 26, was in his second pro season out of the University of Cincinnati and had six catches for 53 yards in two games this season before the Patriots put him on waivers late last week.

Last year in 12 games as a rookie Thompkins had 32 receptions for 466 yards with four touchdowns. He seemed to have the trust in both quarterback Tom Brady and Bill Belichick going into the season.

“It’€™s fun to be out there with him. I have a lot of confidence in him, a lot of trust,” Brady said this July. “He’€™s a great guy. It’€™s fun to be out there with him.”

“Hard-working kid, one of our hardest workers,” Belichick added at the open of training camp. “He really tries hard to do everything right. Very attentive, very coachable and he’€™s very hard working.”

After the Patriots added Brian Tyms to their active roster Monday, the Patriots now have Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Brandon LaFell, Aaron Dobson and Tyms as the receivers on the active roster.

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Report: Patriots will activate Brandon Browner, Brian Tyms

10.06.14 at 4:22 pm ET
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According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, the Patriots will activate both cornerback Brandon Browner and wide receiver Brian Tyms on Monday. Both coming off four games suspensions, the Patriots had until Monday at 4 p.m. to officially activate the players.

Browner was suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, while Tyms failed a performance-enhancing drug test back last year while with the Browns.

The Patriots will now have to make two roster moves to accommodate Browner and Tyms. Stay tuned.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

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Rob Gronkowski ‘good to go’ regarding his health: ‘Probably shouldn’t be a question ever again’

10.06.14 at 3:21 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Rob Gronkowski is getting tired of the questions.

For the second time in less than a week, Gronkowski said he was fed up with the questions about his health as the tight end has now played in all five games this season after tearing his ACL last December.

“I’€™m good to go. Probably shouldn’€™t be a question ever again,” he said after Sunday’€™s win. “I’€™m feeling good. I’€™m out there playing whenever the coaches call me in — if they want to call me the whole game, if they want to call me half the game — I’€™m going to go in whenever the coaches call my name.”

And if Sunday night was any indication, based on his play on the field, there shouldn’€™t be many more questions, as per Pro Football Focus Gronkowski played 68 of a possible 87 snaps, by far the most number of snaps he’€™s played in a game this season. His previous high was 46 in Week 3 against Oakland.

Also standing out Sunday was the number of plays he was a run blocker on — 31 of his 68 snaps were run blocking. Prior to Sunday, Week 3 against the Raiders was the only other game where he was a run blocker for more than 12 plays as he run blocked on 16 plays, also per Pro Football Focus.

At the beginning of the season, it appeared the Patriots were monitoring the plays he was in on, as it was mostly third downs and passing plays. In Week 1 in Miami, he played 38 snaps with only eight of them having him serve as a run blocker.

Gronkowski is now focused on making sure he will be on the field for the full 16 games in the regular season, something he hasn’€™t been able to do since 2011.

“I’€™m just working hard on whatever I can do, whatever the coaches and training staff ask me to do,” said Gronkowski. “I just have to keep on rehabbing, staying strong and work so I can be strong the whole season.”

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Cincinnati DL Devon Still offers ‘big thanks’ to Patriots for video tribute to his daughter

10.06.14 at 2:56 pm ET
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The Patriots paid tribute to the daughter of Cincinnati defensive lineman Devon Still — who is battling cancer — during Sunday night’s game at Gillette Stadium. Still expressed his appreciation after the contest, and followed that up with an Instagram message on Monday.

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This really caught me off guard yesterday. Big thanks to the Patriots organization and the cheerleaders for showing amazing support. We may not have won the game last night but putting a smile on my daughters face as she watched this definitely helps her to win her battle! #MoreThabFootball #PrayForLeah

View on Instagram

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ESPN’s Chris Mortensen insists ‘tensions were there’ between Tom Brady, Patriots coaches: ‘There’s a little trouble in paradise’

10.06.14 at 2:02 pm ET
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Chris Mortensen

Chris Mortensen

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, who reported that Tom Brady was having “tension” with the Patriots coaching staff, checked in with Middays with MFB on Monday afternoon to offer more information and analysis of the quarterback situation in Foxboro. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

“I was fascinated last night by the Patriots’ passion,” Mortensen said. “I also was fascinated by the fact that it looked like some of the issues which people I spoke with talked about, that Brady’s input, which had been significantly diminished and that he normally had in previous years, that those things seemed to be implemented. You saw passion. You saw passion out of Tom, you saw the offensive line blocking, you saw obviously the implementation of Tim Wright, who they acquired in the Logan Mankins trade. So we saw all that passion.

“I also was fascinated by the Bengals not stepping up again. Because we perceive to be the Bengals as maybe the team to beat in the AFC.”

Added Mortensen: “I looked at the story and I said hey, what it does is there’s an unsettling picture here. There has been tension between Brady and the staff. I didn’t identify which members of the the staff, but everything I reported was true and it was not a personal opinion. The only personal opinion really was about the fact that if they beat the Bengals things are going to be calm.”

Whose version of the Tom Brady situation is closer to the truth?

  • Tom Brady -- There's nothing to the report (66%, 460 Votes)
  • Chris Mortensen -- The story has legs, despite Brady's denial (34%, 234 Votes)

Total Voters: 694

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There have been complaints about the play-calling, but Mortensen said with Brady struggling and the new receivers yet to catch on, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was limited in what he could do.

“I had one person just suggest that, hey, listen, it hasn’t been good with Tom, he’s going to have to pick it up, too,” Mortensen said. “But I had one team source that told me that the conservative approach had been necessary and calls for everybody just to calm down and be patient while they get everybody on the same page.

“There’s circumstances here that have created the tension. At the same time, not having the same input — do you think if Peyton Manning didn’t have the same input as he has at other places that he would not have significant tension with the coaching staff? I know that he would. Certainly Tom has.

“At the same time, what I found interesting is that two people who I believe are pretty much in tune say that listen, drafting Ryan Mallett or even a Kevin O’Connell is one thing in the third round, when they drafted Jimmy Garappolo, they were drafting Tom’s successor. Now, they didn’t say that would happen this year, but that is something certainly as we go forward that we’re going to monitor. … But I wasn’t burying Tom Brady. It was just painting a picture that there’s a little trouble in paradise. And last night a win kind of calmed things down, which I anticipated that a win against the Bengals would calm things down. I was impressed with the passion I saw from the Patriots as a whole.”

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Bill Belichick: Patriots ‘stuck together as a team and supported each other’

10.06.14 at 1:20 pm ET
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Emotion can often be a false flag when it comes to forecasting the success or failure of a football team, but it certainly appeared that it played a sizable role for the Patriots on Sunday night.

In the wake of last Monday’s drubbing at the hands of the Chiefs, there was a palpable sense of energy surrounding New England. Whether it was provided by quarterback Tom Brady (who played as if his hair was on fire for much of the early going), the Gillette Stadium crowd (one of the loudest in recent memory) or the collective efforts of a team trying to erase the memory of one of the worst losses in recent franchise history, it was in abundance for the Patriots in the 43-17 win.

Coach Bill Belichick wasn’t surprised to see his team respond like it did.

“When you had the result that we had Monday night as a team, I think everybody rallied around each other. I mean, who else is there to rally around?” he asked on a conference call with the media Monday morning. “That’€™s all we have: guys that can go out there and play and make a difference. Nobody else is going to make any plays unless we go out and make them ourselves.

“Of course they stuck together as a team and supported each other. That’€™s what any team should do.”

To Belichick’s point, there was more fire on Sunday night than the team had all season long. That emotion and energy level manifested itself several ways, including their best start of the year, with touchdowns on the first two scoring drives of the night.

“I thought they played hard. I think we’€™ve played hard a lot this year, but we were able to execute things a little bit better,” Belichick said. “Get off the field on third down, convert some third downs, or fourth downs, as the case may be. So, of course there was more emotion and energy as we were making plays, especially in the first — well, throughout the game, but especially in the first quarter.”

Belichick not only praised the play and preparation up and down the roster, but also had kind words for his coaches for their ability to not only digest the Chiefs’ loss and put it in the rearview quickly, but to create a game plan for a Bengals team that came into the game as only one of two unbeaten teams left in the league.

“I just think it’€™s tough when you play on the road Monday night,” Belichick said when asked about the performance of the coaches. “Get back here at whatever it was, five in the morning and then you go through the tape of the game, which was obviously a painful process. Then get ready for an undefeated team, a team that had given up three points in the first half of their first three games and been pretty dominant. To turn around and get a game plan ready and address some of the problems that we had in Kansas City and all that.

“It’€™s handling the preparation for all the situations ‘€“ with only three games, a lot of that is going back and digging through key games and situations from last year to look at tendencies or look at plays you want to run. Again I just think as a staff they did a good job of doing those things on a short week against a good football team that’€™s well coached that gives you a lot of problems on every down and every situation. I thought they worked hard and they did a good job; as did the players.”

Here are a few other highlights from his Monday Q&A:
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Read More: A.J. Green, Bill Belichick, Bryan Stork, Darrelle Revis
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