|Report: Patriots work out Vinnie Sunsieri, WIlliam Moore||05.20.16 at 12:40 pm ET|
The Patriots continue to look to add depth to their secondary.
According to ESPN’s Adam Caplan, the team worked out Vinnie Sunsieri last week, a fifth-round pick by the Saints in 2014 out of Alabama.
The Patriots, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, also recently worked out former Falcons safety William Moore.
Sunseri has a history of knee issues. In his final year at Alabama, he tore his ACL. He missed all of last season with another torn ACL. In his rookie year with the Saints, he had five tackles in nine games before being placed on injured reserve with an arm injury.
The 6-foot, 210-pound safety recorded 20 tackles with two interceptions and four passes defended in six games at Alabama in 2013. Adding to his potential value with the Patriots is the fact that he was a special teams star at Alabama.
Moore, 31, has 16 career interceptions, including two last season with the Falcons before being released. He signed a 5-year, $32 million deal to stay with the Falcons in March 2013.
The Patriots are currently at the 90-man limit on their roster, with OTAs set to begin next week. Nate Ebner is on leave from the team to try out for the U.S. Olympic rugby team. The Patriots also have Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Duron Harmon, Jordan Richards, Brock Vereen and Cedric Thornton on their safety depth chart.
|Sebastian Vollmer: ‘We don’t need extra motivation for anything’||05.17.16 at 4:22 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Sebastian Vollmer wasn’t about to take the bait.
The 34-year-old veteran offensive tackle took time out from his offseason workout Tuesday at Gillette Stadium and spoke about the process of moving on and building something new for the coming season.
When last we saw the right tackle entering his eighth season in the NFL, he was playing left tackle on a make-shift offensive line that was manhandled by the defensive front of the eventual Super Bowl champion. It was a performance that precipitated the departure of offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo and ushered in the return of Dante Scarnecchia.
Did the way the season ended last year (losses in Miami and Denver) factor into inspiration for this year?
“It’s a new year. I feel like we don’t need extra motivation for anything,” Vollmer said. “I think we come out here and try to better yourself as a player, as a team, as a group, all that stuff. Putting in these hours and working toward the common goal. Now, it’s getting ready for OTAs next week and then we have training camp coming up and all that stuff. So, it’s a long road ahead. But it’s just doing what we’re told to do and grinding it out, really.
“It’s good. There’s a lot of new teammates, obviously,” Vollmer said of the re-worked offensive line. “It’s exciting for us to get to know them and all get on the same page with OTAs starting next week. Exciting times.”
Exciting indeed. Naturally, everyone wanted to get a feel for what it’s like to have Scarnecchia back in the budiling.
“Obviously, had him my first five years. Excellent coach. Can’t praise him high enough. So obviously, us as players we’re asked to do to the best of our abilities. We’re going to keep that approach the same. Expecting good things. I think he expects the best of us and himself. I think just the way he coaches, detail-oriented. He just gets the best out of you.”
Vollmer downplayed the familiarity aspect of Scarnecchia.
|Rookie LB C.J. Johnson: ‘Everything here is pretty much straight to a T’||05.12.16 at 8:51 pm ET|
FOXBORO — C.J. Johnson and Woodrow Hamilton go way back.
They played against each other in high school, when Johnson was a star from Philadelphia, Mississippi and Hamilton starred as a defensive lineman in high school in nearby Raleigh, Miss.
Both caught the eyes of coaches at Ole Miss and both decided to stay home and play college ball for the Rebels. Now, both have been reunited in the NFL thanks to the Patriots, who signed both undrafted players to rookie free agent deals. Johnson was assigned No. 47 and appropriately, Hamilton’s number is transposed at No. 74.
Johnson’s observations shed some fascinating insight to the mindset of a rookie trying to jump on the moving train in Foxboro.
“Just getting adjusted to how they do things,” Johnson said. “It’s a whole lot different and you have to be up to speed. You have to make sure you’re on top of everything because our coaches are always quizzing us on the fly, making sure we know our assignments and stuff like that. You’ve just always got to help each other and stay on top. You can’t really leave a guy behind.
“Everything here is pretty much straight to a T. They have a certain way of that they do things here and we understand that. We have to buy into that. That’s why we’re here. Everything so far has been great. The adjustment has been a little bit tough at times but we’re so far behind all the other guys that they can’t really stop teaching the other guys to try to help us and hold our hand along the process. So we’ve just got to continue to get better every day, continue to help each other. Over time, that camaraderie will build with each other.”
Johnson, a linebacker, admitted Thursday that the two knew of each other in high school but it wasn’t until the pair went to Oxford to play for Hugh Freeze.
“I really didn’t know him that well,” Johnson said. “We played against each other in high school, but watching him on tape, I just knew he was going to play in college, but I didn’t know where he was going. Later on, after we both signed with Ole Miss, we kind of got to know each other and had great careers together. Shortly after I signed and found out I was coming here, I saw he was coming, and I couldn’t be more excited.”
The Gronk legend keeps getting bigger.
EA Sports announced Thursday that it has chosen Patriots all-world tight end Rob Gronkowski for the cover of “Madden NFL ’17.”
This might call for a celebratory “Gronk” spike.
The announcement came Thursday night on the 6 p.m. edition of SportsCenter. Earlier Thursday, Gronkowski landed another big cover as the front man of the June issue of GQ.
Gronkowski, who turns 27 Saturday, is the first tight end chosen for the “Madden” cover and is also the first Patriots player to be selected.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 12, 2016
“My rookie year [in 2010], it was just an honor to be in the game, just using yourself as a player, throwing yourself the ball every single time you can at home, just playing the game,” Gronkowski told SportsCenter. “Now it’s a dream come true, going into my seventh season and being on the cover.
“When I first found out, I was blessed. It was a surreal moment. It’s been a great day.”
|Jacoby Brissett on his role as a quarterback: ‘I’m a rookie. I just got here’||05.11.16 at 9:58 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Just one minute into his first media scrum with reporters Wednesday at Gillette Stadium, Jacoby Brissett was hit with the Tom Brady questions.
Does he see himself competing with Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo at the quarterback position?
“I’m a rookie. I just got here. I’m trying to learn as much as I can and when my chance comes, it’ll come,” the quarterback out of North Carolina State told the horde.
What are his impressions of being in the same room with No. 12?
“Just the way he carries himself. Obviously, he’s a great player,” he added. “Just excited to have this opportunity to learn from him.”
How much is he looking forward to learning from Brady and Garoppolo?
“They’re great,” Brissett added. “They’re teaching me a lot now and [I] just continue to learn from them and try to be the best player that I can.”
Brissett, who is the only drafted rookie on the roster who hasn’t signed his contract, said he’s not worried about his contract but rather learning the playbook and what Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels expect from him.
“Definitely, definitely. They’re great coaches and I’m excited to be a part of the organization and get to learning,” Brissett added.
Much was made of Brissett’s pre-draft work with Bill Parcells, who said that Brissett would be a developmental quarterback, not quite ready to play right out of the gate.
“Right now just to take it all in and understand that it’s a great learning experience, a great opportunity to learn from some great people,” Brissett said. “We’re all still learning so we’re learning the ins and outs and what we’re supposed to do.
“It’s been great because a lot of those guys – we’re all learning – so it’s like nobody has a heads up on each other, so it’s been exciting.”
For the most part, Brissett’s answers were short and to the point, in keeping with most rookies who come through the Patriots system in their first year.
“It’s been a great experience. Learning every day and excited to be here,” Brissett said. “It’s been a great opportunity for all of us to get around this team and see why they do so well.”
|Malcolm Mitchell on surviving as a Patriots rookie: ‘The more you know, the better off you are’||at 9:06 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The latest group of Patriots rookies sound like they’ve gotten the message loud and clear about how to be rookies.
“As far as being on a team, people helping each other [to] be the best that they can be,” receiver Malcolm Mitchell said Wednesday.
Mitchell, who didn’t like to read when he was younger, made a name for himself at Georgia by starting a book club to promote reading and even penned a children’s book as he was rehabbing from an ACL tear. But now in Foxboro, the feel-good stories of the draft have turned to focus on learning the playbook and showing the coaching staff that this group is ready to compete and push some veterans for playing time.
“College is college,” Mitchell continued. “This is now. These are all new experiences. For everybody, this is the first time. It’s just new so you do the best you can at learning about what’s going on now and not too much worried about what happened back then [in college].”
Bill Belichick has always told his rookies that before you can compete you need to learn the playbook and show the coaching staff you belong on the field before OTAs, mini-camp and training camp even begin.
“It’s been a learning process,” Mitchell said. “I know I say that a lot. I can’t be more honest in saying it’s all about learning. Learning, learning, learning. The more you know, the better off you are.
“That is my approach. I think that’s the approach to anything, though. If you go into anything not knowing anything about it, you’re probably setting yourself up for failure. To Coach’s point, if you don’t know anything, how could you possibly compete?”
So, now is not about the book club but rather about another type of reading, the playbook.
“The focus is different in each area,” Mitchell said. “[In] football the focus is football. The book club is about reading. This is just about doing what’s best for the team in every area, regardless of if that’s on the field or talking to the media. Football is completely different than a book club in hundreds of different ways, but it’s all team. I feel that in both places.”
FOXBORO — Jacoby Brissett came out with the seven other rookie offensive players on Wednesday at Gillette Stadium and basked in the sunshine as he met with reporters for the first time.
Perhaps it was that sunshine or just the fact that he’s on an NFL roster now, but the rookie quarterback sounded confident when he was asked one of the first tough questions: What about his contract?
The Patriots announced last week that eight of their nine draft picks had signed on the dotted line. The only draftee not to sign his deal yet is the rookie out of North Carolina State.
The third-round pick decided to not immediately take on an agent and instead wait out the process. The Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe reports that former NFL safety Abram Elam is advising Brissett in the process but still no deal is signed. Brissett, who was wearing his No. 7 jersey Wednesday, is not prohibited from working out with the team and going through OTAs and team meetings.
“That’s a personal matter and right now my main focus is on the team and getting better and just doing what I can to make myself better and just understand that I’m part of an organization now,” Brissett explained.
“It’s a personal matter that I’m handling away from here. It’ll get done.”
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