|Patriots reportedly trade Michael Hoomanawanui to Saints for DE Akiem Hicks; Cut Kenbrell Thompkins, 3 others||09.30.15 at 6:29 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The last day before the four-day bye was a busy one for the Patriots.
The team traded veteran tight end Michael Hoomanawanui to the Saints, according to a report from the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin. The Saints have been struggling on offense and are still trying to make up for the loss of tight end Jimmy Graham in an offseason deal to Seattle.
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports that the Patriots are receiving defensive end Akiem Hicks in return from New Orleans. The Patriots got an up close and personal look at Hicks in August when the Patriots and Saints held two days of joint practices in West Virginia prior to their game on Aug. 22. Hicks started that game at left defensive end and had one tackle.
The 27-year-old Hoomanawanui is in his sixth NFL season and played the last three seasons with the Patriots. The big blocking tight end was inactive last Sunday against the Jaguars. It had become apparent that Michael Williams had passed him on the depth chart. The Patriots now have three tight ends on their active roster in Williams, Rob Gronkowski and Scott Chandler.
Suddenly, the Patriots have become wheeler-dealers at the trading table. If it goes through (the trade was not on the NFL wire as of the close of business Wednesday), the deal will be the team’s second of the week, having acquired linebacker Jon Bostic from the Bears on Monday afternoon for a sixth-round pick.
The Patriots dealt for offensive lineman Ryan Groy from the Bears on Aug. 10 for linebacker and 2015 draft pick Matthew Wells. Groy was cut before the season began. The Patriots also acquired Williams from the Lions on Aug. 25 for a seventh round pick in 2017.
In addition to the trade, the Patriots cut veteran linebacker Dekoda Watson from the active roster and released receiver Kenbrell Thompkins, offensive lineman Chris Barker and defensive lineman Joe Vellano from the practice squad.
|Jon Bostic on coming to Patriots: ‘I’m just getting started’||09.29.15 at 3:41 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Jon Bostic is all about fresh starts.
After getting traded from the 0-3 Bears to the 3-0 Patriots on Monday for a sixth round pick, a fresh start is exactly what the 24-year-old linebacker and special teamer has in Foxboro.
“One thing they tell you coming in, it’s a business. You can’t be surprised by anything. You just really have to keep looking ahead. Get in and learn the philosophy, special teams playbook, defensive playbook and keep moving,” Bostic said Tuesday, after attending his first series of positional meetings with the defense and special teams. After chatting with reporters, Bostic spent several minutes with special teams assistant coach Ray Ventrone at his locker going over plans for the next two days of the bye week.
It’s been a whirlwind two days for Bostic, who headed to New England Monday evening, hours after being informed that he had been traded.
“I just got here. I haven’t looked at too much,” Bostic said. “I went to a couple of meetings so far but I’m just getting started.”
Bostic wasted no time making an impact. In the second preseason game against the Chargers in 2013, Bostic laid out Chargers receiver Mike Willie. The hit earned him high fives from his teammates but also a $21,000 fine from the league for lowering his head while hitting a defenseless receiver. In Week 11 against the Ravens, Bostic recorded his first career interception, the first Bears rookie linebacker to do so since Lance Briggs in 2003. Bostic ended the 2013 season with 57 tackles, two sacks and one interception.
Bostic was a second round pick (50th overall) by the Bears in 2013 after an impressive career at Florida. The Gators are a team that the Patriots have traditionally tapped into for talent, with players like Dominique Easley, Brandon Spikes and Jermaine Cunningham. Bostic was very aware of the lineage from Gainesville to Foxboro.
“They came down to Florida,” Bostic said of his first encounter with the Patriots. “I knew obviously they were a team that definitely liked Florida guys so you never knew. At some point in your career, whether it’s at the beginning, the middle or the end, they could be interested. That’s every team. You’ve got to be ready for every team. If they decide this is a guy we like, then you have to go with it.
|Report: Patriots add to OL depth by acquiring Ryan Groy from Bears||08.10.15 at 12:24 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots have beefed up their offensive line with some insurance.
According to the NFL Network, the Patriots acquired offensive lineman Ryan Groy Monday in a trade with the Chicago Bears. The Patriots traded linebacker Matt Wells in the deal. Wells was drafted in the sixth round (178th overall) by the Patriots this spring out of Mississippi State.
The left guard started three games for the Bears in 2014. According to Pro Football Focus, he totaled 237 snaps over the four games and graded out positively in two games, but he earned a -3.8 rating in his final start against the Vikings in Week 17.
The 24-year-old lineman known as “Yorg” was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2014 and appeared in four games in his rookie season for the Bears. He played collegiately at Wisconsin.
At Wisconsin, Groy redshirted in 2009, and set a school record by playing all 54 games of his career. He played 13 games in 2010, starting two at fullback. In 2011, he played 14 games, starting four (three at left guard, one at center). He started all 14 games in 2012 (12 at left guard, two at left tackle), and all 13 games at left guard in 2013.
Groy was signed as an undrafted free agent to the Chicago Bears on May 11, 2014. He was then moved to the practice squad on Sept. 1. In November, he was promoted to the active roster.
|Fun-loving Rob Gronkowski helps get everyone in Patriots offense ‘clicking’||10.26.14 at 11:49 pm ET|
“It’s pretty sweet,” Brady said. “He was a big-time player today. It was great to get him going like that. Certainly running the ball was great. The guys up from played awesome. A lot of guys contributed. We got great play defensively. There were a lot of big plays and we got a lot of momentum, so it was a fun day. Those don’t happen like that very often.”
Don’t just take Brady’s word for it. Brandon LaFell had a career high 11 catches for a career best 124 yards and a touchdown. With Gronkowski covered in the second quarter, Brady found the other tight end – Tim Wright – racing the other way across the back line of the end zone for an easy touchdown.
Nothing symbolized Gronkowski’s dominance on Sunday than his 46-yard ramble through the Bears secondary for his third touchdown of the day. He disposed of three would-be tacklers on his way to pay dirt.
“Sometimes you see Gronk go out there and make a play like he made and you turn into a fan real quick, so it was a lot of fun today,” LaFell said.
It would be his last catch of the day as he left with dehydration. “Just have to drink more,” Gronkowski said with a wide smile that broke into a giggle when he realized the delicious irony of his words.
|Mike Petraglia, Chris Price break down an epic game from Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Brandon LaFell||at 8:06 pm ET|
FOXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price break down Patriots romp over Bears, as Tom Brady throws for 354 yards and five touchdowns in a 51-23 win at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots are now 6-2, and face Peyton Manning and the 6-1 Denver Broncos next Sunday for the top spot in the AFC.
FOXBORO — When the doors opened to the Bears locker room following their embarrassing 51-23 loss to the Patriots, many expected a lot of yelling and screaming — especially after last Sunday’s scene following their loss at home to the Dolphins.
Instead it was a much different one — players with their heads down at their lockers, speechless at what just happened, as the Bears fell to 3-5 on the year.
Following last week’s loss, Brandon Marshall called it “unacceptable.” But, he wasn’t going there this week.
“That’s last week, brother,” he said. “That’s last week.”
What about this week?
“We lost. I hope that answers your question, bro. But, that’s last week.”
Marshall kept his cool for the most part this Sunday, but did become agitated towards the end of the interview when asked if it was an injury or fatigue leading to him coming out on a fourth-and-10 in the fourth quarter after running a deep route up the sideline.
“I love football and I want to play, so you can take that,” Marshall said. “I don’t give up, I’m a fighter, I’ve always been a fighter. I’ve fought my whole life. Whatever you’re trying to refer to, it’s wack to me. It’s wack, bro. It’s wack. It’s one play. I probably came out six times this game.
“I will say this you want to be on the field every single play, but it’s almost impossible to do that. You go out there and give it your all, a lot of exertion. Mentally, physically. Bad timing.”
|Setting the scene: Patriots battle Monsters of the Midway in pre-Halloween contest at Gillette||at 9:48 am ET|
FOXBORO — Mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-50s are expected for the 1 p.m. showdown between the Patriots and Bears in the last game before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. NFL trade deadline, and the last game before Halloween. Wind could be a factor as the forecast calls for a gust out of the north, northeast at 16 MPH.
The Patriots have been Jekyll and Hyde this season, showing their typical scary potential on offense in wins over the Bengals and Bills. They have also looked ghoulish in near-home losses to arguably the two worst teams in football, the Raiders and Jets.
Still, the Patriots are riding a three-game winning streak entering their match against the “Monsters of the Midway,” who have been hit-and-miss themselves this season.
The Bears enter the game with a 3-4 record and are coming off a hideous 27-14 home loss to the Dolphins last Sunday in Chicago. The Bears, when they don’t shoot themselves in the foot and turn the ball over, are one of the most explosive teams in the league, featuring Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffrey and the NFL’s leading receiver Matt Forte. And, of course, they have one of the most unpredictable quarterbacks in the game in Jay Cutler.
Their defense still has the ability to rush the passer, with names like Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston.
The Patriots will be without their leading pass rusher Chandler Jones, who is out with a hip injury for at least six weeks and could be gone for the season. Shane Vereen is officially questionable after missing Friday’s practice with an illness.
Tom Brady is facing the Bears for the fourth time in his career, having won the previous three meetings.
Of all the impressive statistics the Patriots have compiled in their time at Gillette Stadium, their record in their last 43 games might be most impressive. New England is 40-3 in their last 43 games in Foxboro. They also own the NFL’s longest home winning streak at 12 games. They also have won 70 straight home games when leading at the half. The last time the Patriots lost a game when leading at halftime was in Bill Belichick‘s first season in New England, a 27-24 loss to the Dolphins on Christmas Eve 2000 at old Foxboro Stadium.
New England’s 84-15 record in 99 regular season games at Gillette is the highest win percentage in the NFL since the 1970 merger.