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Bill Belichick: Tim Wright played ‘pretty well’ in Patriots debut 08.29.14 at 3:53 pm ET
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One day after his Patriots’ debut, Bill Belichick said tight end Tim Wright “handled the situation [Thursday] pretty well” for someone who had two days of practice with his new team.

Wright, who had four catches for 43 yards in the preseason finale, was acquired from the Bucs earlier in the week in exchange for offensive lineman Logan Mankins.

“I think the big thing for him and for the rest of the team, for us, is just that chance we had to get him to actually play in our system,” Belichick said of the Rutgers product. “Even though it was an abbreviated way of doing it, it’€™s a lot better than next week being the first time that all those things happen. So that was good.

“I think he learned a lot. We saw some things that for him ‘€“ in other words, what are going to be the biggest differences? What are things that are going to be things that are pretty similar, pretty familiar, not really a problem? What are going to be some things that are going to be a little bit more of a learning curve for him? And a lot of that really crystalized [Thursday[ night that he can feedback for us and we can see in working with him that he’€™s pretty far along on these things and maybe not as far along on maybe something else, so I think that was the benefit last night for that particular player.”

After the game, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo called Wright a “very intelligent player.” Belichick acknowledged Friday that Wright was able to do well when it came to absorbing a lot of information in a relatively short time.

“I mean, it certainly wasn’€™t perfect,” Belichick said. “But he picked all that up pretty quickly, and when he got into the game, didn’€™t forget it.

“Sometimes it’€™s one thing to sit in the meeting and go over it and feel like yeah, you’€™ve got it, and OK, you hear this you’€™re going to do that. It’€™s another thing to actually go out there and do it at full speed in a game situation. He handled quite a bit of information in a short amount of time pretty well, so that was good. Now this week, obviously, he’€™ll be starting at the beginning like everybody else will in terms of our game plan and preparations for Miami, so we’€™ll just take it day by day and see how it goes. But I thought he handled a lot of information pretty well.”

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

 

Read More: Bill Belichick, Jimmy Garoppolo, Logan Mankins, Tim Wright
Jerod Mayo on MFB: ‘It’s tough to lose a brother’ in Logan Mankins at 12:45 pm ET
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Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo joined Middays with MFB on Friday, following the team’s final preseason game of the season Thursday night. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The big news around the team this week was the trade of stalwart offensive lineman Logan Mankins to the Buccaneers.

“It’s always tough when you lose a brother like Logan, a guy who’s been here his entire career,” Mayo said. “At the end of the day, we still recognize that it’s a business, and decisions have to be made. Coach [Bill] Belichick obviously felt that was the best thing for this team for now and for the future.

“It’s tough. Anytime you go through multiple training camps, multiple seasons with a guy, it’s tough to lose a brother.”

Mayo communicated with Mankins after the trade.

“Obviously he was hurt a little bit,” Mayo said. “Like I said, we’re a family here. As his teammates we stick together through thick and thin. But he also recognizes that it’s a business. Sometimes moves have to be made, and we all have a time. NFL they always say stands for ‘Not For Long.’ We have to enjoy these moments that we have with each other, because you never know when it’s your last.”

The team must reduce the roster to 53 players by 6 p.m. Saturday. Despite his status as one of the veteran leaders, Mayo said he still gets uncomfortable when a staff member walks through the locker room to contact players who will be cut.

“Honestly, and I know you guys will probably think I’m full of it, since my rookie year I’ve always had this: Anytime a guy goes around grabbing people, I never look him in his eye. Because you never know when your time’s up. You never know when your time’s up,” he said. “I just always keep my head down and go to work every day and try to go out there and do my job, man, and hopefully everything falls into place.”

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Read More: Jerod Mayo, Jimmy Garoppolo, Logan Mankins, Tom Brady
Logan Mankins speaks fondly of Patriots in introductory Buccaneers press conference 08.28.14 at 5:49 pm ET
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Buccaneers guard Logan Mankins confirmed in his introductory press conference that the Patriots had asked him to restructure his contract before trading him and that the sides “€œcouldn’€™t come to a common ground.”€

Mankins spoke fondly of his time with the Patriots and took no shots at the team, noting that he’€™s spoken to most of his former teammates since being traded.

“I’€™ve talked to Tom [Brady]. I’€™ve talked to probably 99 percent of the team,” Mankins said. “I’€™m not going to get into what we said. … I’€™ll miss Tom for sure, and I’€™ll miss a lot of those guys. I had a lot of good friends, a lot of coaches I was good friends with.”

As for the trade, Mankins said that he wasn’€™t shocked by the move because he’€™s aware of the business side of the league.

“€œOnce you’€™ve been around this business long enough, you know anything’€™s possible,” he said. ‘€œ’€… If you don’€™t understand that it’€™s a business, you’€™re lying to yourself.”

Since the trade, Mankins’€™ dip in performance last season has received plenty of attention. Asked during the press conference whether he thought he was on the decline, the 32-year-old offered a guess that he was.

“I might be in a little decline. I don’€™t know how many play 150 games and are still on the upswing,”€ he said. “I’€™ve played in a lot of games, a lot of snaps, and I still feel I have something to give this game.”

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

Read More: Logan Mankins,
Setting the scene: Patriots wrap up preseason at MetLife against Giants at 3:53 pm ET
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A sunlit MetLife Stadium awaits the Patriots as they conclude the preseason against the Giants. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

A sunlit MetLife Stadium awaits the Patriots as they conclude the preseason against the Giants. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — As it has been the last three days in New England, it will be sunny and warm come kickoff Thursday night here at MetLife Stadium as the Patriots wrap up the preseason in their annual exhibition against the Giants.

The forecast calls for sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 70s for the 7:30 p.m. kickoff. There could be a bit of a breeze to deal with as the forecast also predicts winds out of the northeast at 13 MPH but those could be lessened somewhat by the elevated and closed structure of MetLife Stadium.

As for who will play in this game, the biggest news figures to be the debut of second-year wide receiver Aaron Dobson for the first time since a screw was placed in his left foot during offseason surgery in March.

The Patriots have been steadily giving him more and more reps during practice but this will be his first game action, according to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. His roster spot is likely not in any jeopardy but he has lost time in the all important battle for reps with receivers Brandon LaFell and Kenbrell Thompkins, as the Patriots continue to search for downfield targets for Tom Brady.

WEEI.com’s Chris Price notes that it’s usually not a good sign for veterans if they play more than 10-15 snaps but that rule of thumb could be altered somewhat with the trade of Logan Mankins this week, as Bill Belichick and company look to firm up the starting left guard position.

The initial candidates figure to be Josh Kline, Jordan Devey and Marcus Cannon.

Rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will get the start and, barring injury, will likely play the entire game. The reason for that is twofold. There is no reason to expose Tom Brady to any potential injury and the Patriots would like to protect Ryan Mallett since he could be on the trade market before the regular season, especially since St. Louis lost starting quarterback Sam Bradford to a torn ACL last week against the Cleveland Browns.

Tim Wright, the tight end acquired in the Logan Mankins trade, could make an appearance with the Patriots on the sidelines but might figure to stay there all night at the Patriots protect him for the regular season and since he is still acquainting himself with a new playbook.

While he won’t play, Brady is still a sidelight to this game, as he reportedly was “very upset” by the trade of his longtime starting left guard on Tuesday. Several players admitted they were stunned by the news when informed by Belichick before Tuesday’s practice.

Giants quarterback Eli Manning is expected to play from 15 to 18 snaps along with his starting unit, as Tom Coughlin doesn’t want his starters sitting for 18 days between their last preseason game last Saturday against the Jets and their season opener Monday, Sept. 8 in Detroit.

Patriots players will have Friday off, and possibly the weekend, before returning to work next week in preparation for the Sept. 7 opener in Miami against the Dolphins. While players have Friday off, the coaches will be hard at work making decisions on final roster cuts. The Patriots, and all 32 NFL teams, must get down to the 53-man limit by 6 p.m. Saturday evening.

Read More: Jimmy Garoppolo, Josh Kline, Logan Mankins, Tim Wright
Report: Tom Brady ‘very upset’ with Logan Mankins trade 08.27.14 at 4:45 pm ET
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In a video on BleacherReport.com, veteran NFL reporter Jason Cole said that the trade of Logan Mankins to the Buccaneers for Tim Wright and a draft pick was not well-received by Patriots players. In particular, he said, Tom Brady was “very upset”€ with the move.

Tom Brady had a very emotional reaction to what happened yesterday. He was not happy with this move,” Cole said. “There’€™s usually a very special bond that you have between offensive linemen and quarterbacks; quarterbacks depend on those guys so much. That relationship can get very rough at times, they’€™ll talk to each other in very harsh terms because everything is so on the line, they’€™re so nerve-wracked about it, but I will say Brady, initially, he was very upset with this trade. We’€™ll see how he reacts going forward; he usually finds his calm after a day or two.”

“€œOther players on the team were also a little bit concerned about what is the direction necessarily. I think there is some understanding that the team needed a tight end, but why would you necessarily give up a player of his caliber for a short-term fix at tight end?”

As has been reported, Cole said that the Patriots had asked Mankins to take a pay cut after the Pro Bowl in February. He also said that the savings from trading Mankins had nothing to do with trying to sign other players such as Darrelle Revis.

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

Read More: Logan Mankins, Tom Brady,
With Logan Mankins gone, what now for Patriots offensive line? 08.26.14 at 10:53 pm ET
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Could Josh Kline be the replacement for the departed Logan Mankins? (Getty Images)

Could Josh Kline be the replacement for the departed Logan Mankins? (Getty Images)

FOXBORO — In the space of 10 months, the Patriots have lost their longtime offensive line coach to retirement and their heart-and-soul offensive line captain to NFL economics.

The question now is, what will the Patriots do without Dante Scarnecchia and Logan Mankins? Part of that question has already been answered as new offensive line coach Dave Duglielmo has had a full spring and summer with the players he hopes will keep Tom Brady clean, healthy and upright all season.

But the second part of that equation is a big TBD.

Ask Nate Solder and he has no doubt that Duglielmo, Bill Belichick will find an answer from those offensive linemen left behind in the Patriots locker room.

“We have a lot of guys with a lot of good experience, like Dan Connolly and Ryan Wendell and Sebastian Vollmer and there’s a whole list of guys who know what they’re doing. We can definitely get by,” Solder said.

Obviously, the Patriots are looking for much more than just getting by when it comes to keeping No. 12 upright. They’re not looking for the next Pro Bowler per se, but rather someone who will give them consistent play from the left guard position that they’ve gotten for the past nine seasons from Mankins.

And while Connolly and Wendell could be options at left guard, there are other names to consider who could step in immediately. Jordan Devey, Josh Kline and Marcus Cannon. All three have played the interior line at some point in their time in New England, with Devey and Kline getting the most reps during games while Cannon has played primarily tackle, filling in at right tackle last season when Sebastian Vollmer went down with a season-ending broken leg.

Then, late in the season, against the Ravens in Baltimore, Belichick provided some possible foreshadowing of life without Mankins at left guard. With Solder out with a concussion, the team shifted Mankins to left tackle. It was the 24-year-old Kline who filled in for Mankins at left guard, making his first career NFL start.

Whoever gets the call at left guard, Solder is completely confident that he can help lead the new group into the 2014 season.

“A ton of confidence,” Solder said. “Those guys work so hard and they’re awesome people. I have a ton of confidence. That’s why they’re here. The way I kind of view leadership is to do my job the best that I can. If that influences people, I hope it does, but that’s kind of the role I see myself in.”

Read More: Dante Scarnecchia, Jordan Devey, Josh Kline, Logan Mankins
Mike Petraglia breaks down trade of Logan Mankins to Tampa Bay for Tim Wright at 9:02 pm ET
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FOXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia breaks down the details of a blockbuster trade that sends six-time Pro Bowl starting left guard Logan Mankins to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for second-year tight end Tim Wright and a 2015 fourth-round draft pick.

Read More: Logan Mankins, New England Patriots, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tim Wright
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