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Sunday 7: Only his growing family could force Chris Hogan to take few days off from training this offseason 04.09.17 at 6:00 am ET
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Chris Hogan has stayed busy this offseason. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

Chris Hogan has stayed busy this offseason. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

1. There hasn’t been much time to rest this offseason for wide receiver Chris Hogan. Just weeks after winning Super Bowl LI, Hogan’s wife Ashley gave birth to twins — Chase and Parker. Despite the hectic life at home now, it hasn’t stopped the wide out from training for next season. Well, except for a few days. “I’ve been training. I never stop training,” Hogan said Friday night at Mohegan Sun after he signed an honorary contract with the New England Black Wolves of the National Lacrosse League. “For me, it’s 24/7 other than the three days we were in the hospital with my kids and my wife. I am constantly always trying to work on my game.” With all the 28-year-old has gone through to establish himself in the NFL, he was ecstatic to contribute to a Super Bowl winning team and is looking to ride the momentum. “This whole season was incredible,” Hogan added. “Having a dream come true. Being able to play in a Super Bowl and everything that comes with it — I probably wouldn’t be here today if that didn’t happen. It’s pretty neat. It’s exciting for me. Hopefully I can keep it going.”

2. With the addition of Brandin Cooks to the offense, it likely will decrease the role of some of the other Patriots pass-catchers. Hogan may see the biggest decrease in playing time, as Julian Edelman will still get the majority of snaps in the slot, but then in two-wide receiver sets Cooks will likely get the nod over Hogan on the outside. Hogan led the NFL in yards per catch last year with 18.4, but look for Cooks to take some of those deep routes away from him this coming season. Hogan still is No. 3 receiver on the depth chart, ahead of Malcolm Mitchell, so he will still see a lot of time, particularly in three-wide receiver sets. While Hogan may not see as many overall snaps as he did in 2016, with Tom Brady at quarterback who loves getting every receiver involved in the passing game, Hogan should still be capable of having a big second season in New England.

3. According to CSNNE’s Mike Giardi, there is an offer on the table from the Patriots to LeGarrette Blount. Both sides want to come to an agreement, but money matters. We’ve documented this a number of times over the last several weeks noting how the Patriots still need a power back and Blount seems to be the best option. The biggest hurdle in making a deal work may be the contract the Patriots gave free agent running back Rex Burkhead. He signed a one-year deal worth just over $3 million. The Patriots never pay running backs that much money, and certainly Blount took notice of that after he had an NFL-leading 18 touchdowns in 2016. For a comparison, the 30-year-old received $1.5 million in 2016. This seems like a case of the two sides needing to meet in the middle for a deal to happen, which given the lack of interest for Blount on the free agent market, seems like a good possibility to happen.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Belichick, Brandin Cooks, Brandon Bolden, Chris Hogan
Does Brandon Bolden impact how Patriots approach rest of offseason at running back? 04.06.17 at 10:25 am ET
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Feb 2, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; LeGarrette Blount laughs during the New England Patriots media availability at the J.W. Marriott team hotel in Houston. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

LeGarrette Blount could still return to New England. (Michael Madrid/USA Today Sports)

After the Patriots added running back Brandon Bolden on Wednesday, the team has a pretty full group at the position.

Along with Bolden, New England has Dion Lewis, James White, Rex Burkhead and D.J. Foster on the running back depth chart. Five players is a decent amount, but that does not mean the Patriots cannot add another, especially a power back which they still need.

Adding a power back to the mix can still be done since there’s no guarantee Foster makes the roster and potentially Bolden and Burkhead could be viewed as core special teams players, which the Patriots are willing to make roster spots for.

Also, there’s no guarantee Bolden makes the final roster. Some speculated he was in danger of getting cut at the end of training camp last summer.

Given the state of the running back position, there still isn’t a lead power back. Some have noted Burkhead could be that guy, but from this viewpoint he’s not a player who can be depended on to carry the load, especially be the No. 1 back in goal-line situations. A power back is desperately needed.

LeGarrette Blount remains a free agent and seems like a real possibility to return, it’s just a matter of the two sides working out a deal. Blount hinted he wants to return Wednesday night at the Celtics-Cavs game, per Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Mannix.

After the game, Blount weaved through the media and turned around and said, “See, tell them I still got it. Give me some money.” The running back also gave Patriots owner Robert Kraft a hug during the game.

Money does remain a bit of an issue since the Patriots gave Burkhead just over $3 million for one season, and Blount made $1.5 million last year. Coming off of a 18-touchdown season, it can be seen why Blount would want more money than Burkhead, but it doesn’t seem like something the Patriots would be willing to do.

Some may see the number of backs on the roster as a sign the Patriots may be done with signing running backs, but that shouldn’t be the case given how much special teams value Bolden and Burkhead have, and then there being no guarantee of Bolden and/or Foster making the final roster.

Read More: Brandon Bolden, LeGarrette Blount,
Patriots continue to add depth at running back by re-signing Brandon Bolden 04.05.17 at 5:55 pm ET
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Brandon Bolden is back with the Patriots. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Brandon Bolden is back with the Patriots. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

It isn’t the biggest move by any means, but the Patriots re-signed one of their own free agents on Wednesday.

The team announced it has re-signed running back Brandon Bolden. He has been more of a special teams player, but does give the team some depth at the position.

Bolden, who was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2012, has played in 67 regular-season games with six starts and has registered 203 rushing attempts for 845 yards and six touchdowns and has caught 46 passes for 366 yards with two touchdowns.

The running back depth chart now has Rex Burkhead, Dion Lewis, James White, D.J. Foster, along with Bolden. There is no guarantee Bolden makes the final roster, as some thought his spot was up in the air last summer, but he has a better chance than a player just joining the organization who is on the bubble.

It still appears the team needs to add a power back and LeGarrette Blount remains available.

While not a huge deal, Bolden certainly gives the team depth on special teams and thus was a deal that needed to be made.

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

Read More: Brandon Bolden,
Martellus Bennett (ankle) misses practice, among 7 questionable, Jamie Collins, Brandon Bolden full go 10.28.16 at 5:05 pm ET
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Martellus Bennett

Martellus Bennett

FOXBORO — One half of the dynamic duo of Patriots tight ends is suddenly a big question to play Sunday in Buffalo.

Martellus Bennett was in the locker room Friday getting dressed but sporting a white plastic brace on his right ankle as he got up to leave.

Bennett was spotted Friday leaving practice as the team was beginning stretching exercises before practice. Bennett initially injury his right ankle when he fell awkwardly on a red zone play in the first quarter of the game against Cleveland Oct. 9.

He kept playing in that game and caught Tom Brady’s first three touchdown passes of the season. Then he served mainly as a blocking tight end in wins over Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. Bennett, who was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday before missing practice Friday, has just six catches on seven targets in the last two weeks for 53 yards and no touchdowns.

In another development, linebacker Jamie Collins (hip) and Brandon Bolden (knee) were removed from the injury report and are execpted to be available for the game. Nickel corner Jonathan Jones was also added to the injury report Friday, as he was limited with a hip injury.

For the Bills, safety Aaron Williams (neck) and receiver Marquise Goodwin (concussion) have been ruled out while running back LeSean McCoy (hamstring) is doubtful.

Here is Friday’s complete Patriots practice report.

DID NOT PARTICIPATE

TE Martellus Bennett (ankle) QUESTIONABLE

LIMITED PARTICIPATION

CB Jonathan Jones (hip) QUESTIONABLE
LB Elandon Roberts (ankle) QUESTIONABLE
DL Woodrow Hamilton (shoulder) QUESTIONABLE
WR Malcolm Mitchell (hamstring) QUESTIONABLE
DL Vincent Valentine (back) QUESTIONABLE
WR Julian Edelman (foot) QUESTIONABLE

Read More: Brandon Bolden, Buffalo Bills, Jamie Collins, LeSean McCoy
3 up, 3 down following Patriots 27-16 win over Steelers 10.23.16 at 7:39 pm ET
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LeGarrette Blount

LeGarrette Blount

At first glance, here’s a quick look at who’s up and who’s down for the Patriots after their win over the Steelers Sunday in Pittsburgh.

3 UP
Running back LeGarrette Blount: The big running back returned to face his old team, and ran with a purpose for much of the afternoon. He finished with two touchdowns while adding 24 carries for 127 yards. It was the 13th career 100-yard game for Blount.

Quarterback Tom Brady: The veteran was sizzling out of the gate, connecting on his first nine passes without an incompletion. He wasn’t as hot the rest of the way — he finished 19-for-26 for 222 yards and a pair of touchdowns — but it was still good enough to lead the New England offense to another strong outing.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski: It took a while to get him cranked up — he wasn’t targeted on New England’s first scoring drive — but Gronkowski finished with four catches for 93 yards and a third-quarter touchdown. His touchdown allowed him to tie Stanley Morgan for the team’s all-time touchdown reception mark.

3 DOWN
Running back Brandon Bolden: The backup back and special teams ace dropped a pass that would have gone for a first down. In addition, he committed a special teams gaffe that meant a punt that would have been downed inside the Pittsburgh 5-yard line was a touchback instead.

Cornerback Eric Rowe: He was in coverage on the Steelers first touchdown, a ball that as lofted by Pittsburgh quarterback Landry Jones for Darrius Hayward-Bey that made it 14-7. He got turned around on the play.

Kicker Stephen Gostkowski: The veteran missed his second extra-point attempt of the season. (You could also put Julian Edelman here, as he had a bad drop on a pass play that would have gone for a first down — a play that was later negated by a penalty — and he later muffed a punt.)

Read More: Brandon Bolden, Eric Rowe, LeGarrette Blount, Stephen Gostkowski
Brandon Bolden not spotted at Friday Patriots practice 10.21.16 at 12:28 pm ET
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Brandon Bolden

Brandon Bolden

FOXBORO — Brandon Bolden was the only player standing between the Patriots and three straight days of perfect attendance at practice in advance of their Sunday showdown with the Steelers in Pittsburgh.

The running back and special teams core member was not spotted at shorts and shells practice on the upper grass fields Friday, after being limited on Wednesday and Thursday.

Bolden injured his knee against the Bills on Oct. 2 and has missed the last two games.

Practice squad linebacker Trevor Reilly, who replaced wide receiver Shaq Evans, was at practice for a second straight day. Reilly had played 29 games over the last two seasons with the Jets.

Dion Lewis, Tre’ Jackson and Sebastian Vollmer (all still on PUP) were again absent from the session. They did not practice at all this week. The PUP players could begin practicing again next week and then have 21 days to be activated to the active roster. They have until Week 11 to start practicing.

The Patriots play the Steelers at Heinz Field at 4:25 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

Read More: Brandon Bolden, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers,
Jamie Collins (hip) added to Patriots injury report; 12 players limited Thursday 10.13.16 at 4:47 pm ET
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Jamie Collins

Jamie Collins

FOXBORO — Like last week, another star Patriots player has shown up on the injury report mid-week.

This week it’s linebacker Jamie Collins, who was listed as limited in Thursday’s session with a hip injury. Collins was not listed on Wednesday’s injury report.

Shaq Mason returned to practice after missing Wednesday’s because of a non-injury, while tight end Greg Scruggs, running back Brandon Bolden and linebacker Jonathan Freeny missed Thursday’s session.

There were a total of 12 players listed as limited, which is certainly something to watch going into Sunday’s meeting with the Bengals at Gillette Stadium.

Here is the complete practice report.

DID NOT PARTICIPATE

RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Jonathan Freeny (shoulder)
TE Greg Scruggs (knee)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION

TE Martellus Bennett (ankle)
RB LeGarrette Blount (hip)
OT Marcus Cannon (calf)
WR Julian Edelman (foot)
QB Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder)
TE Rob Gronkowski (hamstring)
LB Dont’a Hightower (knee)
LB Shea McClellin (concussion)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (hamstring)
LB Jamie Collins (hip)
OL Joe Thuney (shoulder)
DT Vincent Valentine (back)

Read More: Brandon Bolden, Jamie Collins, Jonathan Freeny, Shaq Mason
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