|Report: Alan Branch resolves DUI case as he joins Patriots||10.29.14 at 1:26 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Alan Branch is coming to the Patriots with a clean legal slate.
Pro Football Talk, via a source, reports that the defensive tackle, who practiced for the first time with the Patriots on Wednesday, has resolved charges connected to a DUI arrest in August that led to his release from the Bills.
The resolution wasn’t critical to the Patriots but rather the NFL, which imposed a Nov. 1 deadline to all NFL players to resolve DUI charges under the new substance-abuse policy.
Branch will still be subject to a two-game fine, with a maximum forfeiture of $50,000 but, barring the unforeseen, will not be suspended.
FOXBORO — After a week of speculation and workouts, the Patriots have finally reached a deal with defensive tackle Alan Branch. The Patriots announced the move late Wednesday morning before practice. To make room on the roster, the team released rookie linebacker Deontae Skinner, who had been seeing more action lately with the season-ending injury to Jerod Mayo.
Wednesday’s news was first reported by ESPNBoston.com’s Mike Reiss. Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe first reported that Branch and the team agreed to terms on Oct. 21.
After fulfilling his rookie contract with the Cardinals, Branch a two-year contract on July 28, 2011 with the Seahawks. He played there for two seasons, including his best year in 2011 when he had three sacks and 34 tackles.
Branch played one season in Buffalo after signing a one-year contract with the Bills on April 2, 2013. On Dec. 23, 2013, Branch signed a multi-year contract extension with the Bills. He was getting ready for his second season in Buffalo when he was arrested for a DUI on Aug. 23. A day later, Branch was cut from the team.
Branch was brought in last week and worked out for the Patriots. He was assigned a locker and uniform No. 97 but there was a delay on reaching agreement on a one-year contract. Reiss reported that the details had been worked out and he was expected at Patriots practice on Wednesday as the team gets ready for the Broncos this Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
Free-agent DT Alan Branch is here at Gillette Stadium. Look for him to practice today and an official signing to be announced by Patriots.
‘ Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) October 29, 2014
|Brian Tyms on Tom Brady: ‘He’s not what everybody thinks he is’||10.13.14 at 10:14 am ET|
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Brian Tyms has heard the comments and innuendo that Tom Brady is a tough guy to impress. He’s heard the chatter that it’s very hard for rookie receivers or receivers new to the Patriots’ offense to get in sync with the quarterback.
He’s says that’s just not fair, nor true. Tyms, who made a spectacular diving catch for a touchdown Sunday, says Brady could not have been more welcoming to him as he was trying to assimilate the system in camp and get back up to speed after his four-game suspension.
“Just being around him gives you confidence,” Tyms said. “He’s not what everybody thinks he is; he is a really good guy. He’s down to earth. He will work with you. He treats everyone the same. It’s not just a select few people. Just that in itself gives me a lot of confidence. Whether I get one play or 10, I could care less. I just go out there and give full effort.”
WEEI.com’s Chris Price detailed Tyms’ battle for a roster spot with the Patriots in training camp. Part of the growth for the 25-year-old free agent out of Florida A&M is learning not to be in awe around Brady. Now in his third NFL season, with his fourth NFL team, Tyms says he’s comfortable.
“You have to get used to it,” Tyms said. “You can’t sit there in awe the whole time when there are 100,000 fans out there screaming. After a while I just got accustomed to it. He’s great so you have to match that intensity. I don’t know about everyone else, but I feel like I have to make the play because he’s done so much. Everyone on this team has done so much and I just came here so I feel like I owe that to them.”
|Rob Gronkowski: ‘Everyone was clicking on all cylinders’||10.12.14 at 7:18 pm ET|
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — When Nigel Bradham came across the middle in the first quarter and leveled Rob Gronkowski, Gronkowski got shaking his head up and down and smiling.
Why? Because he felt right at home. Not just because his family from nearby Amherst, N.Y. had made the trek to see him play but because he took a vicious hit and bounced up with the ball and a first down.
Did he feel like he handled the physical nature of the game well?
“Yes, definitely,” Gronk smiled. “It’s the game of football. I’m not stepping out on that field thinking that I’m just going to be able to go out there and not get hit. No way. Those guys are getting paid and they are all big and fast. They were giving me so lickings. All you can do is get right back up and get right back in the huddle and go on to the next play. It’s part of the game and sometimes I like getting lit up.”
Gronkowski, as Chris Price wrote extensively, was back in “Full Gronk” mode Sunday, catching seven passes on nine Tom Brady targets for 94 yards. Twice he came up with big catches on third down, including a 17-yarder on 3rd-and-16 right before the Patriots put the game away with a Brady to Brandon LaFell touchdown.
“Focus and concentration,” Gronk said of his big third down conversions and big plays Sunday. “You got to make a play to keep it going on third down. Converting on third downs is always huge. We did a great job today of converting a lot of our third downs. We didn’t get them all obviously, but we got enough. We can always improve in that area.”
Of course, all of New England held their collective breath when he went flailing for a pass just out of his reach in the third quarter. He landed awkwardly and fell on his right side. He then went to the sidelines and had the protective brace on his left arm replaced.
“I just got my wind knocked out of me,” Gronkowski said. “You can’t breathe for like two minutes when that happens but that’s all that happened so I’m all good.”
As for the brace?
“I don’t know, I think my brace broke on the play before. They have backups though.”
Gronk likes what he saw and what he felt Sunday.
“We are clicking as a team right now,” Gronkowski said. “We are clicking on offense and clicking on defense. We just have to keep it going and keep working hard. We can’t put our heads down no matter what it is or what situation it is. We just have to keep looking forward to the next week and keep working hard.”
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price detail how the Patriots overcame a slew of injuries to post a 37-22 win over the Bills Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — After losing Jerod Mayo in the first half to a right knee injury, the Patriots lost a valuable skill player to another right knee injury in the second half.
Stevan Ridley was tackled for a two-yard loss at the Buffalo 29 by Stephon Gilmore. Ridley landed awkwardly and appeared at first to injure his right ankle on TV replays. But after getting attention on the field for several minutes, he limped to the sideline and had his knee examined. He made it to the sidelines under his own power and tried walking on it on the sidelines.
But after further evaluation, he was escorted down to the Patriots locker room and ruled out with a knee injury.
Ridley’s injury came one play after Rob Gronkowski landed awkwardly on pass from Tom Brady. Gronkowski had the protective sleeve on his left arm removed but re-entered the game after Ridley left the game and appeared not to be seriously injured.
As Ridley’s injury was awas being announced, the Patriots also confirmed that starting left guard Dan Connolly would not return after suffering a head injury in the first half.
|Halftime analysis: Patriots 13, Bills 7||at 2:38 pm ET|
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The Patriots and Bills have played two quarters at Ralph Wilson Stadium, and New England holds a 13-7 lead. Here are a few quick notes:
— Tom Brady is 12-for-20 for 91 yards and a touchdown. Rob Gronkowski had three catches for 26 yards, while Stevan Ridley had six carries for 13 yards. Meanwhile, Kyle Orton is 9-for-15 for 85 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
— The Patriots lost linebacker Jerod Mayo midway through the second quarter after he suffered an injury at the end of a running play, a sequence where it appeared he suffered a knee injury. (It was later announced he would not return.) Mayo, who missed a sizable portion of last season with a pectoral injury, was injured enough where he had to be carted off. New England, which is already thin at linebacker, had to mix and match the rest of the first half with the likes of defensive back Tavon Wilson, Deontae Skinner and Chris White taking snaps in his place.
— In addition, New England also lost offensive lineman Dan Connolly, who went down late in the first half with a head injury. His return is questionable, and it caused the Patriots to shuffle things up again on the offensive line with zero success — Brady was sacked two times in the first half.
— On the same drive where Mayo went down, the Bills were able to string together their first touchdown drive of afternoon, a crisp sequence that ended with a 7-yard pass from Orton to Robert Woods over the middle that tied the score at seven late in the first half.
— The Patriots have utilized Darrelle Revis mostly in man coverage against the Buffalo’s Sammy Watkins. There has appeared to be some zone and some soft man, but more often than not, he’s waited until Buffalo has broken the huddle and started to look for Watkins, and has gotten his hands on his at the line of scrimmage.
— For the Patriots, the defensive play of the afternoon came with just over two minutes left in the half when Chandler Jones was able to get nice pressure off the edge and sack Orton deep in Buffalo territory. The Patriots were able to convert it into three points when Stephen Gostkowski connected on a 42-yarder with just under two minutes to go to make it 10-7 and end the first half.
— Second biggest play came on Buffalo’s second series when Orton was picked off by New England linebacker Jamie Collins on a ball meant for Marquise Goodwin. A poorly thrown ball, the Patriots were able to turn that around with a five-play drive that ended on a 1-yard pass play from Brady to Tim Wright with just over 13 minutes left in the first half.
— It was a rough start for the special teamers — Julian Edelman was crushed on his first punt return attempt. Meanwhile, long snapper Danny Aiken took a penalty on Gostkowski’s first field goal attempt, pushing the Patriots back five yards and leading to a miss on a 31-yard field goal attempt. It was the first miss of the year for Gostkowski, and broke a streak of 21 straight field goals made for the New England kicker.
— Edelman didn’t have the best start. There was the bungled return, as well as a false start penalty (his first of the year) and the fact that he slipped on a first-quarter route where he was wide open. He rebounded nicely in the second quarter, catching a couple of passes from Brady and drawing a key PI call early in the second that set up the Patriots first touchdown of the day, the pass play from Brady to Tim Wright. (On the first scoring drive, Edelman accounts for 60 yards, with 29 of them coming on the penalty and 21 in catches, as well as a 10-yard run.)
— The Patriots tacked on another three points at the end of the half on 53-yard Gostkowski field goal at the end of the half to make it 13-7. The three points were a gift as Devin McCourty forced a fumble by C.J. Spiller at the Bills’ 41 with six seconds left.