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Rob Gronkowski returns as Patriots have perfect attendance at Tuesday practice 09.06.16 at 1:14 pm ET
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FOXBORO — It appears the Patriots are relatively healthy going into Week 1.

After missing Sunday’s practice, Rob Gronkowski and Barkevious Mingo both returned to the field Tuesday as the team practiced on the back fields of Gillette Stadium in shorts and shells.

Tom Brady and Rob Ninkovich were not in attendance as they are suspended the first four games. Neither was offensive lineman Josh Kline, who reportedly was traded to the Eagles earlier in the day.

Offensive lineman Shaq Mason had a big cast on his hand, while Malcolm Mitchell had a brace on his elbow.

Danny Amendola appeared to be a full participant after coming off PUP and being included on the 53-man roster over the weekend.

The team will issue their first injury report of the week and season on Wednesday.

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

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Rob Gronkowski, Barkevious Mingo absent, Danny Amendola makes practice debut 09.04.16 at 4:34 pm ET
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IMG_0354

Jimmy Garoppolo fires a pass Sunday in practice as rookie Jacoby Brissett (7) looks on. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — As the Patriots took to the upper practice fields Sunday for essentially a walkthrough, there were two notable absences at the start.

Missing were tight end Rob Gronkowski and linebacker Barkevious Mingo. Gronkowski did not play last Thursday at MetLife Stadium in the preseason finale and missed the entire preseason slate of games for a fourth straight season.

Mingo made his Patriots debut against the Giants, playing most of the game and impressing with six tackles, five solos and two forced fumbles.

Making his debut at the shorts and shells practice Sunday was Danny Amendola. The wide receiver was activated off PUP, placed on the 53-man active roster and is eligible to start the season.

Tom Brady and Rob Ninkovich were not in attendance, as both began serving their four-game suspensions on Saturday. Neither player is allowed to be around the team during the suspensions.

In addition, there were six other players spotted on the field as the Patriots began building their practice squad. Among those spotted were defensive lineman Geneo Grissom and receiver Devin Lucien.

The Patriots will return to practice on Tuesday after a day off on Monday, getting ready for the Cardinals on Sept. 11 in Arizona.

Read More: Barkevious Mingo, Danny Amendola, New England Patriots, Rob Gronkowski
Barkevious Mingo hunts down his prey in Patriots debut, curious to see ‘what [he] can do in this defense’ 09.02.16 at 12:43 am ET
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Sep 1, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA;  New York Giants cornerback Michael Hunter (39) fumbles the ball while being tackled by New England Patriots Barkevious Mingo (51) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Barkevious Mingo forces one of two fumbles Thursday night. (Ed Mulholland/USA Today Sports)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The way Barkevious Mingo played Thursday night, it was pretty clear that he had gotten over his “huge culture shock” of moving from Cleveland to New England.

The linebacker came on in the first quarter after Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower got their work in.

He lined up on the outside on most of his snaps and it didn’t take long to pay off.

He hunted down Giants quarterback Ryan Nassib for a strip sack that was recovered by the Giants. But not to be discouraged or deterred, on the very next play, he helped Justin Coleman strip the ball from Paul Perkins. That fumble was recovered by Anthony Johnson.

In all, Mingo was credited with six tackles, including five solos, a tackle for a loss and two hits on the quarterback in his debut for the Patriots in the 17-9 loss to the Giants at MetLife Stadium.

“I knew I needed some reps to get a feel for the defense and just get comfortable every day,” Mingo said. “It’s a new team and these guys want to see what I can do. I want to see what I can do in this defense.”

Bill Belichick praised Mingo for the work he put in to get ready for the game.

“He lived at the facility for the last week,” Belichick said. “He didn’t go back to Cleveland. He came from Tampa, where (the Browns) were practicing, went to Charlotte, came back with us. When players had an off-day he spent the whole day in the facility with the coaches, going through material to get caught up. He showed a lot of commitment to trying to pick up the new information, understand what we were doing and watching film…It’s obviously going to be a work in progress here. It’s only been a week. But he’s smart, he learns well, and he works hard. So check all those boxes.”

Mingo played all four quarters, his first action in two weeks after playing for the Browns against Atlanta on Aug. 18.

“There is still a lot more to go but I feel like I got a good jump start and I am ready to get back into it for this week,” Mingo said. “It felt real good, just to be out there and help the team and do what I can to help us be victorious at the end of the day.”

The victorious part will have to wait until Sept. 11 in Arizona.

Read More: Barkevious Mingo, Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots,
Mike Petraglia talks Tom Brady’s first half as Patriots drop preseason finale to Giants 09.01.16 at 11:37 pm ET
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Tom Brady played the whole first half, Barkevious Mingo shines in debut and DJ Foster impresses in 17-9 loss to Giants. WEEI’s Mike Petraglia has the report from inside MetLife Stadium.

Read More: Barkevious Mingo, Mike Petraglia, New England Patriots, New York Giants
Stock Watch: Who’s up, who’s down for Patriots after preseason finale against Giants at 10:22 pm ET
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New linebacker Barkevious Mingo was all over the field Thursday night against the Giants. (Ed Mulholland/USA Today Sports)

New linebacker Barkevious Mingo was all over the field Thursday night against the Giants. (Ed Mulholland/USA Today Sports)

Taking a quick look at who was up and who was down for the Patriots in Friday’s preseason game against the Giants

UP
Linebacker Barkevious Mingo — Mingo had six tackles (five solo) and was all over the field in his preseason debut with New England, looking very impressive while playing deep into the contest. Frankly, if it wasn’t for Tom Brady, Mingo’s performance would have been the biggest story of the night. It’s debatable how much he’ll be able to bring to the table once the regular season gets underway, but he was certainly a big positive in Thursday’s preseason finale.

Linebacker Jamie Collins — You can pretty much name anyone on the defense at the start of the game, but we’ll go with Collins here, who was flying past everyone else on the New York side of the ball in the early going. The Human Cheat Code finished with four tackles and a sack for 10 yards. There’s a lot to like about the state of the New England defense heading into the season, but the Collins/Dont’a Hightower combo at linebacker is maybe the best part. (Related: Hightower had a sack of his own on the night in limited action.)

Running back D.J. Foster — The rookie out of Arizona State finally got on the field, and showed a really nice skill set. He was OK between the tackles (nine carries for 22 yards), but flashed some really nice ability in the passing game with nine catches on 10 targets for 110 yards, all of which were game-highs. It wasn’t all great for Foster, as a second-quarter fumble put the brakes on a New England drive. But his performance will force the New England coaching staff to make some tough decisions when it comes to cuts at the running back spot.

Punt returner Cyrus Jones — Jones had a sharp-looking punt return in the fourth quarter for 34 yards. It was his second impressive return of the summer, and another sign that this should be his job — at least on a part-time basis — sooner rather than later.

The offense at the end of the first quarter — Tom Brady’s second-quarter scoring drive was the peak of the evening for the New England offense. The sequence ended with a nifty 7-yard pass play from Brady to Keshawn Martin for a touchdown, but included nine plays for 67 yards and took 3:39. On the drive, Brady went 6-for-7 for 64 yards and completed a 30-yard pass to Foster and a 20-yard pass to Julian Edelman along the way.

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Read More: Barkevious Mingo, Clay Harbor, Cyrus Jones, D.J. Fluker
Tom Brady plays entire 1st half, Barkevious Mingo lights it up as Patriots drop preseason finale vs. Giants at 10:07 pm ET
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Sep 1, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA;   New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) scrambles against  New York Giants defenders during first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady was under pressure early and often Thursday night at MetLife Stadium. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Tom Brady certainly got his chance to throw the ball in the preseason finale Thursday night at MetLife Stadium.

The Patriots quarterback, making his final game appearance of any kind until Oct. 9, attempted 26 passes, completing 16 of them for 166 yards for a touchdown and an interception in a 17-9 loss to the Giants. Brady attempted 19 passes alone in the first quarter.

Jacoby Brissett played the entire second half while Jimmy Garoppolo, who is slated to the start the season opener Sept. 11 in Arizona, suited up but did not play.

The Patriots finished the preseason 3-1 and now look ahead to Saturday’s cutdown to 53 players by the 4 p.m. deadline.

The game also featured the impressive debut of linebacker Barkeviovs Mingo, acquired Aug. 24 in a trade with the Browns. The linebacker forced fumbles on consecutive plays and had a three-yard tackle for a loss on another as he made his debut a strong one in the first half.

Aaron Dobson and D.J. Foster also had big moments in the first half, with Dobson making a spectacular 38-yard leaping grab in the second quarter to set up the Patriots in the red zone. Foster caught a 30-yard pass to set up Brady’s only touchdown pass of the night.

Foster finished with nine catches on 10 targets for 110 yards, plus nine carries for 22 yards.

[Click here for a complete box score].

Brady started his night by targeting Julian Edelman three times. He completed one for minus-3 yards. The first drive ended when Dobson appeared to stop short and the short pass over the middle was intercepted by Trevin Wade. Brady moved the ball to the Patriots 44 before the drive stalled.

Brady’s third drive was one play. He completed a pass to Martellus Bennett for two yards before Bennett coughed it up for a fumble and turnover.

Brady finally got rhythm on the fourth drive, completing six of seven passes, including a 7-yarder to a wide-open Keshawn Martin in the right flat for a touchdown. Brady even rambled 10 yards up the middle for a first down.

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Patriots LB Dont’a Hightower on OM&F: ‘We definitely feel like we’ve got something special’ on defense 08.31.16 at 12:50 pm ET
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Dont'a Hightower

Dont’a Hightower

Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower called in to the Ordway, Merloni & Fauria show on Wednesday to discuss the defense and other team news. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.

Hightower recently got some extra defensive help, as the Patriots traded for former LSU linebacker Barkevious Mingo from the Browns. Mingo, listed at 6-foot-4, 240 pounds, might not look like an average linebacker, but Hightower said that the former Brown ‘has a great skill set’ that can help the defense in many ways.

A University of Alabama product himself, Hightower said he had heard of Mingo during his college days. The Crimson Tide and the Tigers may be rivals, but Hightower says there is no beef to squash with him and Mingo.

“I think it’s more of a mutual respect,” Hightower said. “Back in college, both defenses had a lot of highly recruited guys. … We both know each other or whatever, but most of that stuff is passed and [we’re] just trying to get him caught up and speed things up so he can get on the field and help us out.”

With 10 defensive starters returning this season, and plenty of new faces expected to make an impact, this Patriots defense has the chance to do something special. Hightower acknowledged that feeling during his interview.

“Everybody has definitely been more hands-on about it,” Hightower said. “Definitely feel like we’re making a lot of great strides in the right direction. We definitely feel like we’ve got something special, and we try to take advantage of that every day, whether it’s in the meeting rooms or on the field.”

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