|Alfonzo Dennard says his life is ‘all about football now’||07.30.14 at 4:01 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Third-year cornerback Alfonzo Dennard says he is now fully committed to his football career. It’s a career that is on life support after multiple run-ins with the law.
All of it began the weekend he was drafted in the seventh round by the Patriots in 2012. In his final game at Nebraska in 2011, Dennard was ejected for fighting with South Carolina receiver and current Chicago Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery. In the same month, he had a not-so-great Senior Bowl in front of scouts and coaches, causing his stock to plummet.
Then things got really messy.
Dennard was arrested in April 2012 for assaulting a police officer in Lincoln, Neb. and found guilty in February 2013, and the conviction carried a 30-day jail sentence to begin March 1, 2014 and two years of probation. Dennard was arrested again in July 2013 for suspicion of driving under the influence, which was ruled as a violation of his probation, and he was given an extra 30 days in jail and another year of probation.
Dennard was released after 38 days for good behavior after spending 35 days in the Lancaster County Adult Detention Facility in Nebraska this year.
On Wednesday, his second day back on the practice field after missing spring OTAs and minicamp, Dennard spoke to the media for the first time since he was released from jail in April.
“It’s a very good feeling,” Dennard said. “Just move forward, just moving forward. It’s all about football now. Just trying to provide for my family.”
Dennard began training camp on the physically unable to perform list before getting cleared to practice on Tuesday. He only practiced for an hour Wednesday before working on his conditioning. He admitted that he is still a ways from being a full-go in practice.
“It’s been very tough because I just want to go out there and compete with my teammates and learn from the older guys,” Dennard said. “I’m just taking it one day at a time. I’m feeling better and better every day.”
Does watching Wednesday’s on-field scuffle between Brandon Browner and Kenbrell Thompkins get his juices going?
“Oh yeah,” Dennard said. “That’s part of football and part of our secondary. That’s what the coaches are always bragging about, trying to be a physical defense. That’s what we’re trying to get done.
“Everybody is competitive on D. That’s what coaches look for so everybody is competitive.”
This is an important time for Dennard, who is likely battling Logan Ryan for a starting corner job in the first four weeks as Browner serves his four-game suspension. When does Dennard think he’ll be back part of the competition?
“I can’t say right now,” Dennard said. “It’s just a day-by-day process. Just trying to take it day-by-day, just trying to get better and better every day. Hopefully, it plays out just [right].”
|Report: Patriots add Dominique Easley to NFI list, while Alfonzo Dennard and Aaron Dobson will start camp on PUP||07.21.14 at 5:27 pm ET|
With camp looming later this week, the Patriots reportedly made some procedural roster moves Monday designed to allow some of players who are injured or coming off offseason surgery more time to rehab before they get on the field.
According to Field Yates of ESPN, defensive lineman Dominique Easley, running back Roy Finch, linebacker Deontae Skinner and tackle Chris Martin have been placed on the non-football injury list.
Meanwhile, cornerback Alfonzo Dennard; wide receivers Aaron Dobson and Jeremy Gallon; defensive tackle Tommy Kelly and special teamer Matt Slater were placed on the physically unable to perform list. Most of the players in this grouping were either limited (working with a rehab group) or not present during the media portion of the spring workouts.
In both cases — the active/physically unable to perform list as well as the active/non-football injury list — they can come off the list and return to practice at any time after they have been cleared by the team’s medical staff.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|Mike Petraglia, Chris Price break down Jimmy Garoppolo, Patriots in rain-soaked OTAs||06.05.14 at 9:55 pm ET|
FOXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price assess the ups and downs from the second week of Patriots OTAs that concluded in the heavy rain Thursday outside Gillette Stadium. Jimmy Garoppolo made his debut in front of the media on the field while Logan Mankins returned to the field. Rob Gronkowski and Vince Wilfork were also on hand while Aaron Dobson and Alfonzo Dennard were not.
|Resetting Patriots depth chart in secondary||03.18.14 at 1:42 pm ET|
To this point in the offseason, no position in New England has undergone more of a change than the secondary. The Patriots have lost cornerback Aqib Talib and strong safety Steve Gregory, but they’ve added Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner. Here’s a look at New England’s current depth in the secondary.
Darrelle Revis: The veteran corner, signed earlier this month, figures to fundamentally step into Talib’s old spot as the No. 1 corner who will face off against the lead pass catcher on the other side of the ball. If Revis is that guy, he will face an impressive roster of receivers over the course of the 2014 season, including Mike Wallace (Miami), Reggie Wayne (Indy), Keenan Allen (San Diego), A.J. Green (Cincy), Demaryius Thomas (Denver) and Brandon Marshall (Chicago).
Brandon Browner: As of this point, the veteran figures to be in the mix for the No. 2 cornerback spot. Because of suspensions and health problems, he’s only played 20 games the last two seasons, and so he could be a little rusty out of the gate, especially considering that he’ll be getting adjusted to a new team, as well as the fact that he’ll sidelined the first four games of the 2014 season because of a ban for violating the league policy on PEDs. However, providing he stays healthy, there’s no reason to think he shouldn’t be a part of the rotation by the midway point of the season.
Alfonzo Dennard: He’s currently in the home stretch of his jail term in Nebraska, and his future when it comes to playing time could be fluid, with much of it tied to Browner’s situation. With Browner out for the first four games, however, he figures to be the No. 2 corner, at least for the short term.
Kyle Arrington: Many of his critics were hopeful that with the acquisition of Browner and Revis, the Patriots were going to get rid of Arrington. No dice — he remains one of the better slot corners in the game, and the pickup of Revis allows him to stay in the slot, a position he’s become suited to over the years. Barring injury, look for him there again in 2014.
Logan Ryan: For the most part, the Rutgers product had a very good rookie season, finishing with five picks (best on the team) and looking very comfortable over the course of the year. (He was overwhelmed a bit in the AFC title game against the Broncos, but even with his maturation, was probably playing a little over his head in that contest anyway.) With Revis and Browner in the picture, he figures to get most of his work as the nickel back and in sub packages, at least early on. The good thing is that the Patriots spent the majority of the season with five defensive backs on the field, so he should still get some significant snaps, even if he is bumped down the depth chart.
Read the rest of this entry »
|Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard reports to jail to begin serving sentence for assault||03.01.14 at 2:37 pm ET|
Alfonzo Dennard reported to a Lincoln, Neb., jail on Saturday to begin his 60-day term for a 2012 assault on a police officer, according to the Associated Press.
According to corrections officers with the Lincoln facility, the 24-year-old Dennard was at the Lancaster County Adult Detention Facility Saturday morning. After credit for good behavior and the three days he’s already spent in jail, he will have to serve at least 35 days in the wake of the incident involving a police officer outside a Lincoln bar, which took place days before the 2012 draft.
In April, a judge sentenced Dennard to two years’ probation, 30 days in jail and community service for the 2012 incident. However, the judge later extended his probation to three years and doubled the jail time after Dennard was again arrested in Lincoln in July, this time on suspicion of drunken driving. That charge was later dismissed in exchange for Dennard’s no contest plea for refusing to submit to a chemical test. He was fined $500 and placed on probation for the incident.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|Tuesday’s NFL combine schedule||02.25.14 at 6:30 am ET|
Here’s what’s on tap Tuesday at the combine:
– Media availability is completed for players, coaches and GMs.
– Workouts for defensive backs highlight the last day of the combine. Nationally, the big names worth keeping an eye on are Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard (the cousin of New England cornerback Alfonzo) and Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert, as well as safeties Calvin Pryor (Louisville) and Ha-Ha Clinton Dix (Alabama). It’s not expected that the Patriots will invest heavily in a defensive back in the draft, but from a New England perspective, the biggest drill we’ll be keeping an eye on is the 3-cone, a workout that measures agility and quickness. The Patriots have often shown an affinity for defensive back prospects who pop in the 3-cone — Devin McCourty, Nate Ebner and Logan Ryan have all done well in the drill the last few years.
|Patriots position-by-position breakdown: Cornerbacks||02.07.14 at 6:00 am ET|
With the Patriots done for the season, we’ve got an end-of-the-year position-by-position breakdown of where the roster stands. We’ve focused on special teams, wide receivers, tight ends, running backs, quarterbacks, offensive line, defensive line and linebackers. Now, it’s the cornerbacks.
Roster (stats taken from coaches film review): Aqib Talib (44 tackles, 4 interceptions, 13 passes defensed, 1 forced fumble), Alfonzo Dennard (42 tackles, 1 interception, 8 passes defensed), Kyle Arrington (60 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 quarterback hits, 1 interception, 12 passes defensed), Logan Ryan (41 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 quarterback hits, 5 interceptions, 1 touchdown, 10 passes defensed, 1 forced fumble)
Overview: For the first four games of the season, Talib was a bona fide Defensive Player of the Year candidate, and while it wasn’t quite man coverage on a weekly basis as some would have you believe, he revealed himself to be the best pure corner the Patriots have had since the days of Ty Law. He was able to do a terrific job against some of the best pass catchers in the league, including Tampa’s Vincent Jackson, Buffalo’s Stevie Johnson, New Orleans’ Jimmy Graham and Atlanta’s A.J. Green. He was hobbled, missing four games in the middle of the season before coming back (maybe too quickly) and being embarrassed by Carolina’s gritty slot receiver Steve “Ice up, son” Smith. He finished strong — right up until the first half of the AFC title game, where he was knocked out in the early going when Wes Welker crashed into him coming over the middle.
As for the rest of the group, it was a good year when they were slotted into the appropriate spots. Dennard was more than competitive as the No. 2 corner, while Arrington held up well in the slot. Meanwhile, Ryan did well to kind of cover all the bases as a rookie — while none of the interceptions were especially worthy of a highlight reel, he made the plays when it counted and ended up leading the team in picks with five. The problems arose when Talib went down, and the group as a whole was forced to step up. (Dennard into the role of lead corner, Arrington out wide and Ryan wherever needed.) That was especially the case in the AFC title game, when they appeared wholly unprepared for the offensive onslaught that Peyton Manning and the Denver passing attack unleashed on them.
This will be an interesting offseason. There’s a question as to whether or not Talib — a free agent — will return for 2014 and beyond. Meanwhile, Arrington is set to undergo groin surgery this week, while the team hopes that Dennard and Ryan continue to progress. Regardless of what happens to Talib, the feeling here is that New England needs a little more depth at this position going forward.
Best moment: Talib provided plenty of terrific moments over the course of the year, but his best was probably against the Saints, where he worked against Graham in fundamentally man coverage for most of the afternoon and didn’t allow a catch. A close second was his pass breakup late in the win over the Falcons — as well as his pose on the bench afterward, which turned into an Internet meme.
Worst moment: Talib going down early in the AFC title game for the second consecutive season, and the inability of the rest of the corners to step up in his place.
2014 PATRIOTS DRAFT PICKS
2014 NFL DRAFT
Latest from Bleacher Report
- How Big of an Impact Will Easley Make for Pats?
- Patriots' Top Offseason Moves
- Assessing Every Patriots UDFA's Chances of Making the Roster
- Projecting Patriots' Roster Battles This Offseason
- Ranking Pats' Remaining Offseason Priorities
- Early Projections for Patriots' Final 53-Man Roster
- In-Depth Look at Each Pats Draft Pick