|Report: Aaron Hernandez underwent offseason shoulder surgery||04.16.13 at 10:59 am ET|
The tight end position has been an eventful one this offseason for the Patriots — mostly because of Rob Gronkowski and his arm surgeries — and on Tuesday, the news got a lot more interesting, as it was revealed that Aaron Hernandez underwent shoulder surgery this offseason.
The news, which was first reported by Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, means that Hernandez will be out of action for OTA’s and spring minicamps. However, Rapoport indicates that Hernandez will likely be ready for training camp. Hernandez, who has been dogged by ankle and knee injuries over the course of his three seasons in the NFL (he’s missed 10 games the last two years), has yet to be healthy enough to play a full 16-game season in the league. He told the Boston Herald last week his goal for this season was to play all 16 games in 2013.
In addition, the team officially announced that restricted free agent Michael Hoomanawanui had signed his tender with the Patriots. Hoomanawanui will make $1.323 million next season after receiving an original round tender, which means the Pats would have received a fifth-round pick if anyone signed the tight end away. The 24-year-old Hoomanawanui, was signed by New England as a free agent on Sept. 5, 2012 and played in 14 games with six starts and finished with 5 receptions for 109 yards, a career-long 41-yard reception vs. San Francisco on Dec. 16, and two special teams tackles.
|Free agent updates on Wes Welker, Michael Hoomanawanui||03.12.13 at 5:02 pm ET|
Five Patriots-related notes as free agency starts to kick into high gear:
• According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, wide receiver Wes Welker is expected to test the market, and Schefter said Tuesday afternoon that it “may take a little time” for a deal to come together for the slot receiver. Earlier on Tuesday, the NFL Network reported that Welker was waiting on a first offer from the Patriots.
• The Patriots have tendered restricted free agent tight end Michael Hoomanawanui at $1.323 million, according to Field Yates of ESPN Boston.
• Defensive lineman Paul Kruger has signed a five-year deal with the Browns for roughly $40 million, according to various reports. The 27-year-old Kruger broke through in a big way for the Ravens this past season with nine sacks and six passes defensed for the eventual Super Bowl champions. The 6-foot-4, 270-pounder will fit nicely with the Browns — it’s not believed that the Patriots were ever seriously interested in acquiring the Utah product.
• Buffalo has cut quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Harvard product — you guys know he went to Harvard, right? — signed a big deal with the Bills in 2011, but it never happened for him in Buffalo. The 30-year-old Fitzpatrick finished the 2012 season with a 61 percent completion rate, to go along with 24 touchdowns, 16 picks and 3,400 passing yards, but now becomes the best free agent quarterback available, which could potentially affect the trade market for Patriots backup quarterback Ryan Mallett.
• Wide receiver Mike Wallace has reportedly agreed to a five-year deal with the Dolphins. The 26-year-old Wallace, who spent the last four seasons with the Steelers, has 235 career catches for 4,042 yards (an impressive 17.2 yards per catch average) and 32 touchdowns. Now, he’ll face the Patriots twice a year, and in two career games against New England, he has 18 catches for 206 yards and two touchdowns.
|Poll: How much does losing Rob Gronkowski hurt Patriots Super Bowl chances?||01.13.13 at 10:26 pm ET|
FOXBORO — According to various reports, Rob Gronkowski needs another surgery after re-injuring his left forearm early in Sunday’s game and is done for the playoffs.
Gronkowski fell hard on the left forearm making a catch out of bounds on New England’s second drive. He immediately went to the bench and was examined by team doctor Tom Gill. He then made his way to the team tunnel and had X-rays which revealed the break.
Gronkowski initially injured the arm blocking on an extra point try on Nov. 18 and had surgery the next day. He came back and played against the Dolphins in the season finale before playing Sunday.
The Patriots suffered a number of injuries in addition to Gronk. Another tight end – Michael Hoomanawanui – was spotted with a big pack of ice on his left knee and left the locker room after the game with a pronounced limp. Chandler Jones injured his ankle late in first half and didn’t play again. Danny Woodhead injured his left thumb on the first offensive play of the game and did not return. WEEI.com’s Chris Price reported Woodhead left with a very large ice pack on his left hand after the game and did not speak with reporters.
|Setting the scene: Patriots-Broncos||10.07.12 at 1:10 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Steady rain and temperatures in the mid-50s are expected for the late afternoon kickoff between the Patriots and Broncos at Gillette Stadium.
It figures to a be a raw afternoon at Gillette but wind should not play a major factor with only a light 5 mph breeze out of the west expected.
The Patriots enter the game with 12 players listed as questionable, including tight end Rob Gronkowski, who is battling a hip issue that reportedly has become more and more serious in the last two weeks. If Gronkowski can’t play, the Patriots could be extremely thin at tight end as Michael Hoomanawanui (concussion) did not practice on Wednesday and Friday and Aaron Hernandez (right ankle) has missed the last two games before returning to practice on Thursday.
Receiver Julian Edelman (left hand) and safety Steve Gregory (hip) have already been ruled out.
The Patriots are playing their first 4:25 game of the year, 10 minutes later than last year to allow networks additional time for early games to finish before switching to a national game. Next week, the Patriots play at 4:05 p.m. ET in Seattle but the game is not a national game.
The Patriots are playing just their second home game in the first five weeks of the season after back-to-back road games in Baltimore and Buffalo. The Patriots have just three home games in the first two months of the season.
Of course, the main storyline today is Peyton Manning returning to New England for a matchup with Tom Brady and the Patriots. Brady holds a 8-4 advantage over Manning, including 6-3 in the regular season.
Manning is 2-8 lifetime in New England, with his only wins coming in back-to-back seasons in 2005 and ’06.
Belichick is 9-5 against Manning, having split with him in 2000, the only year in the Belichick era the Patriots played Manning without Brady at the helm. The 9-5 mark does not include last year when the Patriots beat the Colts, 31-24, at Gillette, when Manning was on the sidelines for the Colts and missed the entire 2011 season.
In the Brady-Manning era, Manning has 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions and a completion rate of 60.7 percent against the Belichick-coached Patriots. Brady has 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions and a completion rate of 67.8 percent against the Manning-led Colts.
As is the case around the NFL, the Patriots and Broncos will be wearing various pieces of pink equipment and uniform apparel to commemorate breast cancer awareness month. (Note the second “A” in the GAMEDAY program in the inset photo).
|Michael Hoomanawanui getting up to speed in the Patriots offense||09.06.12 at 12:55 pm ET|
FOXBORO — It’s been a hectic few days for Michael Hoomanawanui.
The tight end out of Illinois appeared to make the final cut with the Rams, and was cleared to be a part of the St. Louis opening day roster, only to be released on Sept. 2. He was quickly scooped up by the Redskins, made his way to Washington … only to be cut a couple of hours later.
The Illinois product was on the move again, this time to New England — the Patriots added to their growing list of tight ends on Wednesday when they signed him to a one-year deal.
“It’s been a little hectic,” Hoomanawanui said Thursday before practice. “Getting let go from St. Louis, being in Washington for a couple of hours, and then getting on the flight here … I’ve definitely seen the business — the whole business — in the last 48 hours. In the end, I’m glad to be here. I’m thankful for the opportunity and I’m ready to get going.”
The 6-foot-4, 263-pounder out of Illinois has played two seasons in the league, both with the Rams. Known more as a blocker in the mold of Rob Gronkowski (as opposed to the longer, leaner Aaron Hernandez), he has 20 catches for 229 yards and three touchdowns in 16 games. The 24-year-old, who was selected in the fifth round of the 2010 draft, is the fourth tight end currently on the New England roster, joining Gronkowski, Hernandez and Daniel Fells. (Visanthe Shiancoe is on IR for the year.)
While he’s undergoing a crash course in the New England offense, Hoomanawanui has a couple of things in his favor, including the fact that there are plenty of familiar faces from his days with the Rams, including former teammates Fells and Greg Salas. In addition, Josh McDaniels got a chance to see Hoomanawanui operate last season while he was the offensive coordinator in St. Louis.
“It’s great, especially having guys like Fells here, Salas, coach McDaniels. Some other guys that I know from around the league. It’s a great team atmosphere. All business here. I’m loving it so far,” he said. “[My background with Josh] helps tremendously, coming in here and being thrown in the fire right away. It definitely helps knowing him, knowing the offense from last year, a little different terminology. But in the end, it’s all pretty much the same.”
Hoomanawanui, who met Gronkowski and Hernandez at the 2010 combine, says that as a tight end, you can’t help but be excited to join the New England tight ends, saying it’s “fun to be a part of the group,” both on and off the field.
Read the rest of this entry »
|Some thoughts on Michael Hoomanawanui, the Patriots’ no-huddle and the first injury report of the season||at 12:24 am ET|
Four Patriots-related thoughts to wrap up Wednesday:
1. Asked around the league after the Patriots made the Michael Hoomanawanui signing official on Wednesday, and while he’s a good receiver (20 catches for 229 yards and three touchdowns in two seasons with the Rams), the one thing that came up on each occasion was the fact that he is a better-than-average blocker. Our pals over at Pro Football Focus have Hoomanawanui rated as a +2.7 pass blocker (ninth-best among all tight ends last season) and a +2.2 run blocker in 2011, putting up those numbers in 401 snaps last season with the Rams. By way of comparison, PFF had Aaron Hernandez at -0.3 in pass blocking and -0.5 in run blocking and Rob Gronkowski at -1.0 in pass blocking and +10.9 in run blocking. With the Patriots likely to use at least two tight end sets on several occasions, it will be interesting to see how many reps Hoomanawanui gets right out of the gate, particularly as a pass blocker.
2. When it comes to keeping it vanilla in the preseason, it’s worth noting that the Patriots — who went no-huddle on 242 of its 1,082 snaps during the 2011 regular season, a rate of 22 percent — didn’t run a single play in the no huddle over the course of the 2012 preseason. Of course, they didn’t run anything in the no huddle in the 2011 preseason, and then came out and went no huddle for 27 of 71 plays (38 percent) of the time in the regular-season opener against the Dolphins. Titans coach Mike Munchak was asked about the difficulties of trying to simulate the Patriots’ uptempo offense on Wednesday.
“You’re never going to quite get in that pace out here. You’re going to get used to what they like they do. Obviously, you can’t see those things on tape. You do your best to get ready for it, and you have to see how well you adjust on Sunday. The main reason — thing — is (so) there’s no surprises and you’re expecting a quick-tempo game,” Munchak said. “It’s not all hurry-up, but obviously if they’re having success and having their way, then you’re going to get a lot more hurry-up, and if they feel they have (exposed some) confusion or if they feel like they found something that they’re exploiting, there’s no doubt that they’re going to speed up and keep attacking what they think is working.”
3. One interesting note when it came to the injury reports, as noted by our pal Adam Caplan: across the league, no quarterbacks were listed on the injury report on Wednesday, not even Michael Vick (ribs).
4. We weren’t able to use a couple of quotes from veterans about their “Welcome to the NFL” moment as part of this story, but they were still good enough to pass along. First, Gronkowski: “That was training camp, one of the first practices my rookie year. It was crazy,” he said with a grin. “[I was] trying to block Vince Wilfork. I went flying backwards.” Second, Matt Slater: “I had plenty of those moments my rookie year. I remember coach saying, ‘The bigger they are, the harder they hit.’ And I took a couple of serious shots, and there were several moments over the course of my rookie year where I realized I wasn’t in college anymore.” And third, Steve Gregory: “It was just coming in the locker room after cuts and just seeing all the guys around, seeing LaDainian Tomlinson, Shawne Merriman. All those guys I remember watching, and just thinking, ‘Wow. This is really it.’ And then, getting out on the field and lining up against guys like that was definitely a ‘Welcome to the NFL’ type of moment.”
|Bill Belichick on Patriots roster: ‘Where is that sweet spot?’||09.05.12 at 5:29 pm ET|
FOXBORO — By his own admission Wednesday, Bill Belichick knows there are a lot of “moving parts” on the Patriots 53-man roster and the practice squad.
Forget the rookies drafted back in the April. Guys like Chandler Jones, Dont’a Hightower and Jake Bequette have had a full session of OTAs, rookie camp, mini camp and training camp and a preseason to learn the “Patriot Way.”
The players Belichick is careful not to overwhelm are the newest members of the roster. Players like tight end Michael Hoomanawanui and fullback Lex Hillard joined the Patriots at practice on Wednesday, just four days before practice.
What is the fine line between giving a new player the information he needs to perform and running the risk of overwhelming them just four days before the season opener?
“That’s definitely a concern,” Belichick said. “I think you want to err on the side of not overloading him because then that could not work out well. You probably would limit his role to what you feel confident that he can do and then build into something else the following week or whenever you think the player is ready. I think that’s definitely and concern and it’s something that you have to manage. At the same time, I think it’s more important to get your roster set now in the best possible way you can get it, whatever that is, going forward over a 16-game regular season schedule then to be short-sighted about one game and then cost yourself or your team the opportunity to have a stronger roster through the remaining 15 games.
“Everybody wants to win the first game but it’s a long season and there are a lot of games after this one. There are considerations this week, there are considerations for next week, there are considerations for the entire 16-game season. There’s some balance that you’re always trying to find there. Where is that sweet spot? I don’t know. Sometimes you’re not as good now as you are later; sometimes you’re better now than you are later. I think you want to try to give yourself an opportunity to develop and improve and grow as a team and don’t put a roadblock in front of it that this is the high water mark and everything is downhill after that. I don’t think you want to position your team like that, at least I don’t, I don’t like that.” Read the rest of this entry »
2013 PATRIOTS DRAFT PICKS
2013 NFL DRAFT
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- USA Today: Gronkowski Dealing With Back Issue, Could Face (Another)...
- Patriots Sign Second-Round Pick Jamie Collins
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- Rapoport: Gronkowski Forearm Surgery 'Imminent'; Likely To Be Monday
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- On Kyle Love