It Is What It Is
NEED TO KNOW
Follow WEEI.com football writer Christopher Price at twitter.com/cpriceNFL. In addition, get the latest WEEI.com updates at twitter.com/WEEI.
A WEEI.com Patriots Blog
WEEI.com Blog Network
Laps and lessons for Jimmy Garoppolo in first NFL training camp 07.26.14 at 1:34 pm ET
By   |  1 Comment

FOXBORO –€” Jimmy Garoppolo can either be frustrated or determined, and he’€™s choosing the latter with a smile.

In his first few days of training camp, the second-round pick has looked like exactly what he is: a rookie quarterback who has a lot to learn.

Garoppolo was intercepted three times during Saturday’€™s practice and a mistake during goal-line work caused him to a run a lap for a second straight day. Yet speaking after Saturday’€™s practice, he spoke of the “next play mentality” that he’€™s learned from Tom Brady. Think less of an I’€™m-struggling mindset and more I’€™ve-got-this.

“€œJust picking up the offense one day at a time, really,”€ he said of the early going of camp. “€œLittle bits and pieces here and there. It’€™s a process. There’€™s going to be bumps along the way, but you’€™ve just got to learn and improve on that.”

Those bumps are common for any young quarterback, but there’€™s a difference between getting to know a new league and system (which would describe Garoppolo’€™s situation) and appearing physically incapable, which also happens (2010 seventh-rounder Zac Robinson come to mind).

It’€™s clear that, despite the misplaced passes and laps run, Garoppolo doesn’€™t feel incapable. It’€™s hard now, but with improvement it will be easier. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Jimmy Garoppolo, Ryan Mallett, Tom Brady,
Saturday notes: Danny Nickerson celebrates belated birthday with Patriots 07.26.14 at 12:34 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off

FOXBORO — The Patriots held their third training camp session of the summer Saturday, practicing for roughly two and a half hours in pads.

Here are a few notes on the session:

– The highlight of the practice came at the end, with Foxboro resident Danny Nickerson coming onto the field for a belated birthday celebration. Nickerson, who turned six on Friday, has an inoperable brain tumor and received 100,000 birthday cards from around the world.

– Defensive lineman Tommy Kelly was on the field in pads, meaning the veteran was activated from the Physically Unable to Perform list.

– Saturday appeared to be Julian Edelman appreciation day, as he was thrown several deep balls and received major cheers with each catch. Edelman reeled in four deep passes from various quarterbacks on the day. He also had a diving catch in double coverage later in the practice.

– It wasn’€™t all good for Edelman, however, as he and Tom Brady fell victim to Darrelle Revis multiple times. Revis intercepted Brady on a pair of passes that were intended for Edelman during drills in addition to breaking up passes.

– Rookie quarterback Jimmy Garappolo threw three interceptions and ran the only lap of the session with an unknown flub (it was on the other end of the field; likely a fumble or botched snap) during goal line work. Two of the second-round pick’€™s interceptions were tipped before being snagged, with the other one being a clean pick on a deeper pass. Garappolo got a break from the crowd when he connected on a deep pass with tight end Justin Jones.

– It wasn’t the prettiest day for Kenbrell Thompkins, who had a pair of drops. The second-year receiver dropped a pass over the middle from Brady during 7-on-7 work and later failed to secure a pass along the sidelines during passing drills.

– Defensive back Malcolm Butler was beaten by a pair of receivers in 1-on-1 drills. First he was burned by Josh Boyce on a deep pass from Brady and then he was shaken by Edelman on an intermediate route.

Read More: Julian Edelman, Tom Brady, Tommy Kelly,
Where the draft picks stand as Patriots roster takes shape 08.27.13 at 12:54 pm ET
By   |  5 Comments

With the Patriots roster slowly but surely taking shape as cuts come into the picture, it’s worth taking another look at the team’s 2013 draft class and where each of the rookies stand as the the regular season approaches. Here’s a quick look at the group, which did not feature a first-round pick.

Jamie Collins, OLB, Southern Miss (second round, 52nd overall)

Collins has done some of the expected and some of the unexpected in his first camp. He was brought in to add a pass-rusher to the team’s rotation at linebacker, but he’s also seen some time playing inside (he even started in Jarod Mayo’s place against the Lions). His best performance of the first three games came against the Buccaneers, as he led the team with six tackles (three solo and one of which was for a loss).

It would seem given that he’s played both outside and inside that the Patriots are kind of letting him feel his way around and find a spot, something Bill Belichick hinted at when they drafted him. Assuming he ends up playing mostly outside, the Pats can use two of a group of Dont’a Hightower, Rob Ninkovich and Collins.

Aaron Dobson, WR, Marshall (second round, 59th overall)

The Patriots have thrown to Dobson a ton in the preseason — 21 times, to be exact — and he hadn’t done much with it in the first two weeks. Targeted a total of 13 times in the Philadelphia and Tampa Bay games, Thompkins had just four catches for 65 yards. He nearly matched that production in the next game against the Lions, reeling in four catches for 50 yards.

All in all, Dobson hasn’t been bad, but undrafted free agent Kenbrell Thompkins has been better. With that being said, expect both rookies to be lined up outside for the Pats when the season starts, but Thompkins should be considered to contribute ahead of the higher profile Dobson.

Logan Ryan, CB, Rutgers (third round, 83rd overall)

Ryan had a good week when the Patriots practiced with and played against the Buccaneers, as he had a pick-six against Bucs starter Josh Freeman and practice and returned another interception for a touchdown in the game, the latter of which was against Mike Glennon.

The Patriots have their starters at corner with Aqib Talib, Alfonzo Dennard and nickel Kyle Arrington, but Arrington appears to have played himself into the backup slot corner role behind Arrington. Ras-I Dowling would probably be more likely to play outside than Ryan, but that could change, as the 2011 33rd overall pick remains unproven.

Duron Harmon, S, Rutgers (third round, 91st overall)

Harmon was the biggest head-scratcher of the draft at the time, as he was ranked as the 26th-best safety (good enough to make someone an option as an undrafted free agent), but he ended up being the ninth safety taken.

The Patriots know that Devin McCourty will be one of their starting safeties, and even if Adrian Wilson is on the bubble, they have lots of bodies at the position with Steve Gregory and 2012 second-round Tavon Wilson. Belichick was as complimentary of Harmon as he could be about a rookie recently when he said that he has had “a good camp.” So there’s that.

Josh Boyce, WR, TCU (fourth round, 102nd overall)

A foot injury kept him off the field in rookie minicamp, but the injury suffered at the combine is in Boyce’s rearview mirror now. He’s production in games has increased has been greater in the second and third preseason games, as he had no catches (one target) against the Eagles, three grabs on four targets against the Bucs and two catches on five targets against Detroit.

Michael Buchanan, DE/OLB, Illinois (seventh round, 226th overall)

Buchanan finds himself in a battle with the likes of Jake Bequette, Jermaine Cunningham, Justin Francis and Marcus Benard for a job as a defensive end. Given that he probably isn’t a serious candidate to make a big impact as a rookie, he might be better off redshirting in some way, shape or form.

Steve Beauharnais, LB, Rutgers (seventh round, 235th overall)

Beauharnais looks to be a smart special teams guy for now, with the potential that he could at some point contribute as a linebacker. It’s hard to see him making it to the practice squad if they waive him, as some team would surely grab him.

Read More: Aaron Dobson, Jamie Collins, Logan Ryan,
Report: Randy Moss close to TV deal with Fox 08.09.13 at 3:14 pm ET
By   |  13 Comments

According to Pro Football Talk, former NFL receiver Randy Moss is close to a television deal with Fox. Moss, 36, last played for the 49ers after sitting out the 2011 season.

The 21st overall pick of the 1998 draft by the Vikings, Moss’ most memorable season came in 2007, when he had 1493 receiving yards and set the NFL record for touchdown receptions with 23 as a member of the Patriots. Moss spent parts of four seasons with the Patriots before being traded to the Vikings in a season that saw him play for three teams, as the Titans claimed the troubled receiver after he was waived by the Vikings.

In his career, Moss has played for five teams: the Vikings (twice), the Raiders, the Patriots, the Titans and the 49ers. He was a six-time Pro Bowl selection and four-time All Pro.

Read More: Randy Moss,
Friday afternoon practice notes: Julian Edelman leaves early 08.02.13 at 5:57 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off

FOXBORO — While Gillette Stadium was filled with American Idol hopefuls, the Patriots returned to practice for their seventh day of training camp.

– As far as attendance went, Ras-I Dowling, Marcus Cannon, Kevin Haslam, Rob Gronkowski, Jermaine Cunningham and Armond Armstead were all absent. Devin McCourty once again participated but did so in a red (non-contact) jersey.

Asked prior to the practice about his players who have been off the field, Bill Belichick was predictably tight-lipped.

‘€œWe have a lot of guys in the day-to-day category,” he said. “We’€™ll go out there and see what they can do.’€

– One guy the Pats probably don’t want to see missing any more time is Julian Edelman, who left practice early after suffering some sort of ailment on a pass from Ryan Mallett late in practice. He didn’t participate in any more drills and could later be seen talking to a trainer with no shoes on. Friday was Edelman’s second day of practice this preseason, and prior to it Belichick said the veteran receiver had “a long way to go” before he was up to speed.

Prior to ending his day early, Edelman muffed a punt pretty badly but was able to recover it.

– McCourty, who has moved around within the Patriots’ secondary over the last two seasons, was used as a cornerback in Friday’s practice.

– Edelman aside, the major focus of this preseason is the team’s group of receivers, and there was some good and bad to come from the crop on Friday. Fourth-round pick Josh Boyce had some trouble holding onto the ball in drills that focused on quick five-yard passes but later made a nice catch in the corner of the endzone with Alfonzo Dennard in coverage.

Second-rounder Aaron Dobson had a bad bobble and subsequent drop on a pass from Tim Tebow, though he later made up for it with a nice catch on a pass from Ryan Mallett following a flea-flicker. Dobson’s best moment on the day came when he beat Aqib Talib clean en route to hauling in a pass in the end zone.

Free agent signing Danny Amendola also had his bright and not-so-bright spots. He had back-to-back ugly plays when he dropped a screen and then fumbled following catch over the middle.

– Not surprisingly, free agent signing Michael Jenkins has not been working with the receivers, but hanging out elsewhere on the field during receiver drills. Despite all of the turnover at the position in the offseason, it was hard to imagine Jenkins being a serious candidate to make the team.

– Talib picked off Tom Brady during drills with paddles being held up at the line of scrimmage.

– There were some big names in local sports as Boston college hockey coach Jerry York, Athletic Director Brad Bates and director of hockey operations John Hegarty were on the field Friday taking in practice.

Read More: 2013 training camp, Julian Edelman,
Rookie Refresher: Josh Boyce 07.23.13 at 3:56 pm ET
By   |  2 Comments

In the days leading up to training camp, WEEI.com will reopen the book on the team’€™s 2013 draft class. The Pats, who traded their first-round pick to the Vikings, brought in seven players via the draft.

Josh Boyce

Wide receiver, TCU

Drafted: Fourth round (102nd overall)

Height/weight: 5-foot-11 1/8, 1206 pounds

Why they drafted him: Boyce crushed it at the combine, and he did so with a broken bone in his right foot. He was the only receiver to rank in the top four in both the 40-yard dash (4.38 seconds) and bench press reps (22). He also finished third in the broad jump (10-foot-11).

As the Patriots have learned over the years with speedsters like Bethel Johnson and Chad Jackson, combine performance can often mean very, very little when it comes to determining whether somebody is an NFL quality player. Boyce led TCU in both receiving yards and receiving touchdowns in each of last two college seasons, and he did so with shaky quarterback play after the departure of Andy Dalton. His best season came as a sophomore in 2011, when he hauled in 61 passes for 998 yards and nine touchdowns.

What to expect from him as a rookie: Boyce’s right foot injury limited him this offseason. He was not one of the players the Pats placed on the active/physically unable to perform list, so he should be able to hit the ground running as camp opens.

That’s good for Boyce because given the Pats’ situation at receiver, there is potential playing time to be earned. Boyce will compete with fellow rookie Aaron Dobson for the outside position left vacant by the release of Brandon Lloyd. Dobson should have the upper hand given that he’s bigger and is a much better pass-catcher than Boyce, but the Pats are clearly intent on developing receivers who can make long-term contributions. That means Boyce shouldn’t be counted out to make an impact going forward.

Boyce was not a return man at TCU, so don’t expect him to be in the NFL.

Read More: Josh Boyce,
Rookie Refresher: Duron Harmon 07.23.13 at 3:00 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off

In the days leading up to training camp, WEEI.com will reopen the book on the team’€™s 2013 draft class. The Pats, who traded their first-round pick to the Vikings, brought in seven players via the draft.

Duron Harmon

Safety, Rutgers

Drafted: Third round (91st overall)

Height/weight: 6-foot-0, 198 pounds

Why they drafted him: Because it was hilarious? Nobody expected Duron Harmon to be drafted. If they had to be honest, Mike Mayock, Mel Kiper and Todd McShay will probably say they had never heard of him. He was the 26th-ranked safety by ESPN Scouts, Inc. (23 safeties were drafted, and he was the ninth selected), and when Harmon was announced as the 91st overall pick, neither the NFL Network nor ESPN had highlights of him to show.

But he’s a Rutgers guy, and nobody watches Rutgers like Bill Belichick, who at this point appears to be obsessed with defenders who played under Greg Schiano. Harmon had a good sense of humor about it when he was drafted, as he certainly didn’t sound like someone who thought he was going in the third round.

What to expect from him as a rookie: Harmon is a strong safety, a position at which the Patriots are currently set with Adrian Wilson. Despite Wilson’s years of success in this league, you have to consider that he’s 33 and won’t be in the league forever. Perhaps the Pats view Harmon as something as a project who can eventually take over and play alongside Devin McCourty once Wilson’s playing days are done, but he’ll have to compete with Tavon Wilson for that role.

In the meantime, Harmon can contribute on special teams, where people probably expected him to play when they were projecting him to be a fringe NFL prospect. The jury is still out on Tavon Wilson, another safety the Patriots took earlier than expected (second round in 2012), so either the Patriots see something that other teams don’t or they just really like reaching when it comes to safeties.

Read More: Duron Harmon,
Latest on Twitter
Patriots Box Score
Patriots Schedule
Patriots Headlines
NFL Headlines
Tips & Feedback

Verify