|Now that Tim Tebow is with Patriots, Jimmy Fallon offers a new take on ‘Tebowie’||06.13.13 at 1:26 pm ET|
In the past, late-night host Jimmy Fallon has had some fun lampooning the Tim Tebow phenomenon with “Tebowie,” a David Bowie-style parody of the quarterback. Now that Tebow is with the Patriots, Fallon put a new spin on things the other evening on his show.
|Bill Belichick cancels final day of mandatory minicamp||06.13.13 at 12:50 pm ET|
It a move tantamount to a professor canceling classes the day before the start of summer vacation, Patriots coach Bill Belichick called off the final day of practices for New England’s three-day minicamp on Thursday, setting them free for the start of a (roughly) five-week vacation before training camp opens in late July. This was the second straight year Belichick canceled the final day of minicamp practices.
Training camp is set to open in the final week of July.
|Veteran Adrian Wilson has hit Foxboro ready to work||06.12.13 at 4:42 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots secondary averages 25 years of age, so when someone like the 33-year-old Adrian Wilson walks into the room, the other players tend to take notice.
The former Cardinals defensive back, who spent 12 seasons in the desert before signing with New England this offseason, has brought an impressive resume to Foxboro. But to this point, the thing that’s impressed most of the Patriots defensive backs are his leadership skills.
“Adrian has done a good job. He’s worked hard [and is] very professional,” said Patriots coach Bill Belichick. “He has a real good attitude [and] has a lot of experience. We’ll see how the rest of it plays out.
“But, I would imagine probably what they were referring to is just the way he carries himself, the way he goes about his job. Works hard, smart guy, he’s experienced. He’s really tried to learn and buy into our program and do everything he can to find a way to contribute. I think he’s very well respected.”
Wilson made his mark on the young defensive backs fairly early in the offseason, when his oversized presence helped earn the nickname “The Incredible Hulk.” But now that he’s had a chance to get out on the field, not much has changed. In the sessions that have been open to the media, while Wilson has been deferential to the coaching staff, he’s also clearly led and worked with the younger players through positional drills, as well as 7-on-7’s and 11-on-11’s.
“I think on the field, the communication is a lot better than it is in the classroom, because you can’t call the calls out in the classroom like you can on the field,” he said. “The field work is a lot different than the class work.
“The classroom stuff is the classroom stuff. But to actually get out on the field and actually run it against live competition, it’s something different.”
Following Wednesday’s minicamp session, Wilson said the transition hasn’t been a big deal.
“It’s been good. Everybody has been out here learning, just trying to get the playbook down. Working hard through OTAs and minicamps. I think everybody is just trying to get a feel for one another,” he said. “Football is football, everywhere. I don’t really have any big transitions as far as coming from West to East. It’s just about coming out here and trying to work hard.”
The 6-foot-3, 230-pounder — who looks more like a linebacker than a safety — has always been known for his physical presence as an in-the-box, strong safety. But over the first two days of New England’s mandatory minicamp, he’s shown an ability to make some nice plays on the ball. On Wednesday, he came up with a nice pass breakup on a Tom Brady pass for wide receiver Michael Jenkins. That came on the heels of a couple of nice plays in coverage on Tuesday.
In fact, Wilson’s work in the passing game could help the Patriots fill an important void — the New England linebackers struggled at times in pass coverage in 2012 (just flip on a tape of the AFC title game and you’ll see), and even though Wilson isn’t necessarily a linebacker, he’s certainly got the build and speed when it comes to running down tight ends and running backs.
Regardless of where he ends up, Wilson said the ease that he’s had transitioning to the New England system has been made easier by the fact that there’s a good group of defensive backs around him.
“I think it’s a good mix. Guys play hard,” he said. “[These] guys have been in the system so they’re making it a lot easier on me. Those guys have already been in the system, they know the system, and just being in the classroom with those guys, being able to sit beside Steve [Gregory], sit beside Devin [McCourty], those guys … they know the playbook.”
He’s been particularly impressed with the versatility and skill set of McCourty, who figures to spend a lot of time alongside Wilson this season.
“He’s a good player,” Wilson said. “He does a lot of different things — he plays a lot of different positions. He’s really smart. He’s been in the system for a while, and so to be able to lean on him, that’s definitely a blessing.”
|Wednesday minicamp notes: Another crisp day for Patriots offense||06.12.13 at 3:06 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots held their second practice of their mandatory minicamp session on Wednesday on the fields behind Gillette Stadium. The workout ran for just over 90 minutes, and was held in shells, sweats and helmets. There was a slight uptick in intensity in the session, which included the usual 7-on-7s and 11-on-11s, as well as some positional drills. Here are a few notes on what happened:
1. The following players were not spotted on the field for the duration of the workout: wide receiver Julian Edelman, offensive lineman Nick McDonald and tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. The only major change in that group was Hernandez, who was limited through previous practices this spring as he continues to work his way back from a shoulder issue. (For what it’s worth, Edelman was spotted on the field inside Gillette on Tuesday working with a member of the support staff and catching passes, free of the walking boot he’d been in over recent weeks.)
2. Two guys who were on the field again were linebacker Brandon Spikes and cornerback Alfonzo Dennard. Spikes was limited, but he showed up toward the end of practice, while Dennard spent most of his time with a rehab group while hanging out on the sidelines. Defensive backs Devin McCourty and Nate Ebner were also part of a rehab group that also included wide receivers Josh Boyce and Mark Harrison and offensive linemen Dan Connolly and Sebastian Vollmer.
3. As was the case on Tuesday, the offense had a crisp session, with Tom Brady and Ryan Mallett getting the bulk of the reps at quarterback. (Tim Tebow‘s only time under center outside of the drills was during opportunity time at the end of practice.) There were some glitches in the workout — at one point, Brady had to remind a receiver where to line up, and Mallett overshot a few receivers on some deep pass attempts. But all in all, it was a good morning for the offense. Overall, when it came to quarterback play in the 11-on-11 drills, Brady was 11-for-19 (with Jerod Mayo coming away with a pick off a deflected ball), Mallett was 10-for-14 and Tebow was 6-for-9. (One of Tebow’s incompletes came when he fired the ball at the feet of a defensive back.) The best catch of the day came from veteran special teamer Matthew Slater, who managed to sneak between a pair of defenders to make a grab on a deep ball.
4. Bill Belichick talked a little about chemistry during his Wednesday morning press conference, and it’s clear that there is a burgeoning relationship between Brady and new receiver Danny Amendola. The two were again able to make a handful of nice connections over the middle (there were several underneath routes) and one really impressive one on a deep ball down the sidelines. And when they weren’t on the field together, they were seen chatting on the sidelines. In that same vein, veteran receiver Michael Jenkins continues to be a constant presence for the quarterback. This spring, there have been several occasions where Brady has been on the sidelines and Jenkins has spent time picking his brain, or just standing and listening to conversations the quarterback has been having with another pass catcher.
5. With Hernandez and Gronkowski both sidelined, tight ends Zach Sudfeld and Daniel Fells made the most of their chances. Sudfeld — an undrafted rookie tight end — had another impressive outing, and has certainly made his case to be in the mix when training camp opens next month. Fells also saw plenty of action, and made some nice plays while in traffic.
6. The impressive offensive display didn’t necessarily mean that there weren’t any nice moments for the defense, with most of them coming from the secondary. Marquice Cole and Aqib Talib combined for a nice pass breakup on a deep ball from Mallett for Jenkins, and for the second straight day, veteran safety Adrian Wilson came up with a nice pass breakup on a Brady ball for Jenkins. In addition, Kyle Arrington broke up a Brady pass for Amendola. And on the final play of the afternoon, Jerod Mayo came away with a nice pick off a tipped ball from Brady. (The play drew cheers from his defensive counterparts.)
7. While there’s been a lot of punt return work over the course of the spring sessions that have been open to the media, there wasn’t too much to report from the special teams portion of Wednesday’s workout, as punt block appeared to be the primary focus for the day. David Ruffer got in some long field goal work at the end of the session.
8. Because there’s precious little contact, it’s difficult getting a handle on how the offensive and defensive lines have done when it comes to the 11-on-11s. (It’s also difficult because the big guys spend most of their positional drills in the far corner of the field.) But one thing we have noticed is that new defensive lineman Tommy Kelly hasn’t been afraid to speak his mind. The former Raider has been seen talking and working with younger players on a fairly regular basis throughout the spring. It will be interesting to see his impact on the young defensive linemen, as well as the impact of Wilson on the young defensive backs.
9. With the first blush of Tebowmania having worn off, the media contingent was far less than the 80-plus individuals who were on the scene on Tuesday. Tebow did not speak with the media, but Amendola, Wilfork, Wilson, Jenkins, Mallett and Rob Ninkovich were among the players who talked to reporters. And while Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly was among the group of visitors at camp on Tuesday, there were no visiting coaches in the house on Wednesday.
|Ed Reed: Kick from Tom Brady led to offseason surgery||06.11.13 at 5:02 pm ET|
Ed Reed said Tuesday that a kick from Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in the AFC title game may have ultimately caused him to suffer an injury and undergo offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip.
Reed hinted to reporters that incident — a play where the quarterback was sliding to avoid a tackle and ended up nailing the veteran safety — led to an injury. Reed said that looking back, there’s only one play where the injury could have happened.
‘Only play I can look at is when I got kicked by a certain quarterback, but even, then I played in the Super Bowl and you saw what happened there,’ Reed told reporters. ‘Even then I had two MCL sprains, a second degree one in the left in the Super Bowl in the first quarter and played through that. So if you’ve got any questions about my heart and how I play and how I work (that’s your answer).’
The defensive back, who signed a free-agent deal with the Texans in the offseason, said Brady has since apologized for the slide. Brady was fined $10,000 for the incident.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|Patriots work out wide receiver Austin Collie||06.11.13 at 4:01 pm ET|
The Patriots worked out wide receiver Austin Collie on Tuesday, a league source confirmed.
The former Colt, who has endured three (known) concussions and serious knee surgery, has 173 catches for 1,845 yards and 16 touchdowns in four seasons in the NFL. The 27-year-old was a fourth-round pick of the Colts in 2009, and the 6-foot-1, 200-pounder had his best season with Indy as a rookie when he had 60 catches for 676 yards.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|Brandon Spikes: ‘I do things a little different from everybody else’||06.11.13 at 3:55 pm ET|
FOXBORO — While there was a big crowd gathered to talk to one former Gator following Tuesday’s minicamp session, another one who will have a far greater impact on the fortunes of the 2013 Patriots drew a far smaller group.
Linebacker Brandon Spikes — making his first appearance on the practice fields behind Gillette this offseason — was limited as he took part in Tuesday’s minicamp session. The occasionally combustible linebacker, who steered clear of the OTAs earlier this spring, appeared to be limited in what he was able to do, but jumped in as part of the 11-on-11 drills at the end of the workout.
He certainly didn’t appear to be at full strength, but when it came to explaining his absence from the spring sessions — sessions that we voluntary — he didn’t hold back.
‘I just feel like I was trying to put myself in the best position to compete for a spot on the team, and also help this team win a championship,’ the 25-year-old explained. ‘You guys know me ‘ I do things a little different from everybody else. I don’t think that’s bad or a shocker.
“Honestly, if everybody in this world was a [conformist], it would be one boring place.’
There was a school of though that said Spikes, who is heading into the final year of his contract, was trying to force the issue when it came to getting a new deal. While his absence certainly drew the attention of coach Bill Belichick — who took a minor shot at the linebacker, saying, “All of our players except one have been here regularly through the offseason up until this week” — Spikes smiled when he was asked if his absence was related to a desire for a new contract.
‘Now you know I can’t speak on that,” he said with a laugh. “Why would you ask me that? No comment, guys. No comment.’
While he was away (he was working out at Bommarito’s in Florida, a favorite spot of former Patriots receiver Wes Welker), he made sure to stay in touch with his teammates who were at the facility.
‘I stayed in contact with some guys, making sure things weren’t changing in the meeting rooms and things like that,” he said. “I just wanted to stay on top of my game and I felt like being somewhere else, being on my own I normally do better and be productive that way.
‘The guys embraced me as soon as I walked in the door. It’s cool,” he added. “‘Of course. It’s good to see all the teammates, new guys, younger guys ‘ it feels good to run around a little bit.”
A 6-foot-2, 255-pounder who has built a rep as one of the premiere run stoppers in the league, Spikes has made it a point to try and become a three-down linebacker. (He finished with a career-best seven passes defensed last year.) While it remains to be seen if he can be a linebacker who can contribute in pass coverage — an area where the New England linebacking corps struggled last season — he knows he’s entering a pivotal year. If he can prove that he’s evolved into a linebacker who can stay on the field on passing downs, he could be in line for a sizable payday.
He’s certainly started on the right foot — he said Tuesday that he’s feeling as good now as when he was a rookie.
‘I feel awesome,” he said. “I feel great. Ready to go.’
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