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Some thoughts on the Patriots acquisition of linebacker Bobby Carpenter

04.06.12 at 12:18 am ET
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The Patriots added linebacker Bobby Carpenter to the roster on Thursday, and it likely represents a fresh start for the Ohio State product who has struggled to match the expectations that come with being a first-round draft pick.

The 28-year-old Carpenter was taken in the first round of the 2006 draft by the Cowboys, but was never able to make it work in Dallas. The 6-foot-2, 249-pounder played in 58 games for Dallas over four seasons, making three starts. He was dealt to St. Louis in May 2010, but did not make the Rams’ 53-man roster. He spent time with Miami and Detroit in 2010, and played 16 games last season in Detroit (three starts), recording 29 tackles.

At this point, he likely faces an uphill battle for playing time, but Carpenter does have some positional versatility, as he has played inside linebacker in the 3-4 base defense and outside linebacker in a 4-3 scheme over the course of his career, and has also served as a special teamer.

(Carpenter’s father Rob was a fullback with the Giants from 1981 to 1985 — during that stretch, Patriots coach Bill Belichick was an assistant coach in New York.)

In a move that might not be unrelated, Patriots linebacker Gary Guyton will visit with the Dolphins in the next week, according to a league source. Guyton, a free agent, slipped down New England’s depth chart over the course of the last year. While it’s not likely that Guyton’s departure would open up a lot of snaps for a potential replacement, it would create a possible roster opening that could be filled by someone like Carpenter going forward.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Bobby Carpenter, Gary Guyton,

Sterling Moore still can’t watch the final quarter of Super Bowl XLVI

04.05.12 at 9:00 pm ET
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Unlike some of his teammates, Patriots defensive back Sterling Moore has gone back and watched Super Bowl XLVI. Well, most of the game, anyway.

‘€œI’€™ve watched the first three quarters of the game — I refuse to watch the last quarter,’€ Moore said Thursday when asked about February’€™s loss to the Giants. ‘€œThat’€™s just me — that’€™s just my opinion. Of course, people want to talk about the game all the time and what happened on that last drive.

‘€œIt’€™s tough, but I have no problem talking about it. I can watch the first three quarters, but I can’€™t watch the last quarter, especially that final drive. Of course, I know my view is a little different than some of my teammates, but to each his own.’€

The 22-year-old defensive back had a whirlwind 2011, going from Oakland’€™s practice squad to playing a major role in New England’€™s secondary. Even after he joined the Patriots, he remained a relatively anonymous face for several weeks: There was the famous story of him shopping at Best Buy and being mistaken for an employee, and in his first start against the Jets in a nationally televised game in November, NBC didn’€™t have footage of him for their intros, and so they had to use a headshot.

But he finished the year with three starts, seven tackles, two passes defensed and two interceptions in the regular season. And he found himself in the thick of things in the postseason — he broke up what would have been a sure touchdown pass in the waning moments of the AFC championship game when he knocked the ball away from Ravens’€™ receiver Lee Evans. And he had a pair of passes defensed and three tackles in the Super Bowl loss to the Giants.

Now, with the season three months in the rearview, he’€™s allowed himself a little time to look back on a memorable year, both for himself and the Patriots’€™ secondary.

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Read More: Lee Evans, Sterling Moore,

Patriots reportedly fail to tender Bret Lockett

04.05.12 at 3:51 pm ET
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The Patriots have failed to tender restricted free agent safety Bret Lockett, according to Rotoworld, which leaves the 25-year-old an unrestricted free agent.

The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Lockett, an undrafted free agent out of UCLA, has suffered three season-ending injuries in three consecutive years. In 2009, he played 10 games and finished with seven tackles and a forced fumble, his finest season in a New England uniform. (It ended when he was injured late in the season.) He suffered a chest injury in August 2010 which left him on the shelf that year, and a torn groin this past preseason left him on IR for the duration of the 2011 campaign.

In his career in New England, he was more well-known for this, as well as this. He also recorded a single and made a video:

Read More: Bret Lockett,

Checking out the NFL schedule for the next five months

04.05.12 at 8:14 am ET
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Here’€™s a look at the NFL schedule for the next six-plus months:

Mid-April: Offseason programs begin (teams can hold a maximum of 10 OTAs during the offseason).
Late April: 2012 NFL schedule is announced.
April 26: First round of 2012 NFL draft.
April 27: Second and third rounds of 2012 NFL draft.
April 28: Rounds 4-7 of 2012 NFL draft.
Late July: Training camps across the league begin.
Early August: 2012 preseason begins.
Sept. 5: 2012 NFL regular season begins.

Mock draft 4: Two new picks for Patriots

04.05.12 at 2:28 am ET
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The draft is less than a month away, and with teams getting better looks at players at Pro Days, speculation as to who will go where is heating up.

The big shakeup early on in the latest mock draft begins at No. 9, where Michael Floyd‘s status has risen enough to make him a potential top-10 pick. His selection by the Panthers sets off a string of four straight new picks, with Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly also winding up in a different destination than mocks past.

1. Indianapolis (2-14), Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

Robert Griffin III has made a hell of a case to be the first overall pick with strong performances at the combine and at his Pro Day, but that just isn’€™t happening. Luck remains a near-lock to go first overall, and for good reason. Interesting that Griffin declined a private workout with Indianapolis.

2. Washington [from St. Louis (2-14)] Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

The Redskins won’€™t have first-round picks in the next two years, and their cap situation is a bit of a mess, but all that matters right now is that they’€™re finally getting a franchise quarterback. They won’€™t make their second pick of this draft until the third round, but they’€™ve done a decent job of putting together a good supporting cast for RGIII by signing receivers Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan.

3. Minnesota (3-13), Matt Kalil, OT, USC

If the Vikings want, they can demand quite a bit for this pick. They wouldn’€™t get nearly the haul that the Rams got, but they would still get still quite a bit. The more logical choice might be to stay put and take Kalil, giving Christian Ponder this draft’€™s best left tackle to protect him for years to come.

4. Cleveland (2-14), Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

Sorry, but the talk that the Browns would really take Ryan Tannehill fourth overall after not trading up to get RGIII sounds pretty bogus. With that being said, the pick should come down to Richardson, Morris Claiborne or Justin Blackmon. While there may be better value in taking a wide receiver prospect in the top 5 over a running back, Blackmon isn’€™t on that Calvin Johnson/Larry Fitzgerald level, and Richardson is the best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson.

5. Tampa Bay (5-11), Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

A four (out of 50) on the Wonderlic test? People can say that doesn’€™t matter on the football field, but that’€™s alarming. The last notable player to bomb the test and go in the top 5 was Vince Young, who got a seven before going third overall in 2006. The Eric Wright signing means the Bucs don’€™t necessarily have to go with a corner, but Claiborne is the best available player here.   Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2012 NFL Draft, Andrew Luck, Harrison Smith, Robert Griffin III

Some familiar foes dominate Patriots preseason schedule

04.04.12 at 10:47 pm ET
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The Patriots revealed their preseason schedule for the 2012 season on Wednesday, and there are some familiar foes. They’ll open the preseason slate with a home date against the Saints (date to be determined), and follow that up with another home game against the Eagles on Monday, Aug, 20, at 8 p.m. New England will then hit the road for the final two preseason games — one at the Bucs (TBD) and the last preseason game at the New York Giants, reportedly on Aug. 29.

Despite the fact that they have played in the preseason fairly regularly, the biggest surprise is probably the appearance of New Orleans on the schedule. (We guessed at the other three correctly, with our fourth guess being Detroit.) The Patriots last opened the preseason at home against the Saints in 2010, when New Orleans was coming off its first Super Bowl victory. New England also engaged in some joint training camp practices that year in the days before the Patriots-Saints preseason game that year, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see that happen again. (And wouldn’t be interesting if Bill Parcells steps in for a suspended Sean Payton and returns to New England?)

Both Philadelphia and the New York Giants are fairly regular preseason opponents (this will mark the eighth year that the Patriots will meet New York in the preseason finale.) As for the Patriots and Eagles, they have been frequent preseason opponents with 19 previous preseason matchups. (The Patriots first-ever game at Gillette Stadium was on Aug. 17, 2002, a 16-15 win over the Eagles.) The last preseason meeting came in 2009 when the Patriots opened the preseason with a 27-25 win at Philadelphia on Aug. 13, 2009.

In addition, New England has frequently faced Tampa Bay in the preseason — including last year when the Patriots traveled to Florida to clash with the Bucs — and the fact that Greg Schiano (a friend of Bill Belichick) is now in charge in Tampa Bay makes that game a no-brainer. It’s also worth noting that the third preseason game is usually the one where the starters play the most, and so if you’re looking to get a handle on where the New England starters are heading into the regular season, Patriots-Bucs will be the game to circle on your calendar.

The full regular-season schedule will be announced later this month.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Greg Schiano,

Rob Gronkowski advances in Madden cover showdown

04.04.12 at 12:12 pm ET
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Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski defeated Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen in Round 2 of the voting in the Madden ’13 Cover Vote Competition, and will advance to face Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson in the third round.

Gronkowski defeated Allen, 65 percent to 35 percent, the largest margin of victory in second-round action. (Gronkowski beat his new teammate Brandon Lloyd in the first round, 85 percent to 15.)

Gronkowski and Johnson are two of the eight remaining candidates for the cover, a group that includes Carolina quarterback Cam Newton, Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, San Francisco linebacker Patrick Willis, New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Baltimore running back Ray Rice.

For more information and to vote, click HERE.

Read More: Brandon Lloyd, Rob Gronkowski,
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