|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.
|Matt Patricia, Patriots coaches can stop ‘staring at each other’ and get back to working with players||05.03.16 at 4:27 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Now the fun really begins for the Patriots’ coaching staff.
Ever since the day the Patriots lost to the Broncos in the AFC championship in Denver, Bill Belichick, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and the entire staff has been working on putting together a new roster to hit the ground running with in the spring so they get get started with on-field prep for the 2016 season.
This week, in the days immediately following the draft, the Patriots’ staff can finally move on from the first offseason phase, which has included free agency, trades, veteran workouts and the draft.
“For us, the focus is really, right now, is [this week],” Patricia said during an offseason media availability at Gillette Stadium. “[This week] is Phase 2 of the offseason program where now we’ve got the guys out on the field. We can actually go out and see the new guys that we have in, see the guys coming back from being away. That’s really kind of our focus.”
The “guys” Patricia is referencing are veterans already on the roster or newcomers like defensive ends Chris Long and Frank Kearse, nose tackle Terrance Knighton and linebackers Shea McClellin and Ramon Humber and defensive back E.J. Biggers.
“Every year is a new year for us,” Patricia said. “We have to start over every year. You take the guys that come in as veteran players, guys that have gone from first-year rookies to now second-year players, the progression that they have to make, along with free agents you’ve signed that have to now kind of incorporate along with the eventual rookies and draft picks and free agents, when we finally get those guys in. So, for us it’s just a process. Basically, just starting from scratch, starting over, getting everybody back in, starting to work the offeseason program, the running and the conditioning, the [weight] lifting, all that stuff right now.
“We’ll get into the information part of it here where we’ll start learning a little bit about the defense and what we do and things like that. It’s exciting for me, it’s exciting for us as a staff to kind of have everybody back. [Coaches] sit in rooms for a couple of months and stare at each other. When the players finally get back, that’s really what’s exciting, is when we get those guys back and now we get the opportunity to get back to football.”
|Josh McDaniels on Jimmy Garoppolo: ‘I feel comfortable that Jimmy knows what we’re doing’||05.02.16 at 6:49 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Josh McDaniels on Monday sounded like a coach who isn’t the least bit worried about the possibility of Jimmy Garoppolo starting the season as the Patriots quarterback in Arizona.
McDaniels met with quarterbacks Tom Brady and Garoppolo on Monday and went over some material as they begin the long process of working up toward a game plan for the coming season.
Of course, part of that game plan might include Garoppolo calling signals for the first four games if Brady isn’t successful again in restoring his eligibility, which was taken away by the Second Circuit Appellate Court.
“Today, it was a short period of time. I feel comfortable that Jimmy knows what we’re doing,” McDaniels said Monday. “He’s confident and I think the guys are confident in Jimmy. He’s in third year now. He has those qualities. That’s a big part of the reason why you draft a quarterback, is that they demonstrate those things in college. We expect to see those from him and Jacoby and Tommy and anybody else that would be in that room.
“Like most quarterbacks that I’ve ever had a chance to work with, the first year you never feel like you catch up. It’s in some ways overwhelming. He works his butt off. He works hard every day. He cares about football. He loves the game. He wants to be good. This is his passion. And in Year 2, it was better. We’d expect him to take another step forward this year, too. But a lot of that is up to the player. We’re going to push hard and he’s reciprocated with the same level of hard work that we saw from him when he was a rookie. I’m eager to see how he continues to improve this year.”
Garoppolo has appeared in 11 games in his career, but, except for the Bills game at the end of the 2014 season, never with the outcome in question. He attempted only four passes last season, all in the season finale at Miami, completing his only pass of the 2015 season in the game.
|Joe Thuney sees himself ‘more of an interior guy’ on Patriots O-Line, looks forward to Dante Scarnecchia||04.30.16 at 1:20 am ET|
FOXBORO — As the Patriots learned last season, versatility along the offensive line can come in real handy.
In an effort to stockpile depth along the offensive line and to stay younger, the Patriots took one of the more versatile quality offensive linemen available with their second pick of the night on Friday. They selected Joe Thuney out of North Carolina State.
How versatile was the talent worked out by Dante Scarnecchia before the draft? He started four of the five positions on the offensive line, with center being the only position missing from his impressive resume. The Patriots covered that angle by having Thuney snap some balls for Scarnecchia during the workout.
Where does Thuney (silent ‘H’) see himself fitting in?
“I think I see myself as more of an interior guy: more as guard, center. If it gets to a pinch in the game, I can go at tackle but it’s really wherever coach wants me to play. And I have experience at all five so wherever he sees me best, I think that’s the best fit for me,” Thuney said.
“Just on the interior, I feel more comfortable. I don’t have the typical length of a typical NFL tackle but I feel like I move and pull and have the leverage on the interior”
“Throughout college I’ve always been open to whatever position the coaches needed. I’ve never had a set position in mind. As the process has gone on further and further, I’ve kind of realized where my strengths lie as a player and I think that the interior probably is where the coaches see that.”
Thuney, who said he hasn’t been told where he’ll play exactly, enters an environment where he’ll be competing against the likes of Shaq Mason and Tre’ Jackson for playing time along the interior line.
|Can ‘very confident’ Steven Daniels follow in the footsteps of Luke Kuechly in the NFL?||03.18.16 at 2:19 pm ET|
CHESTNUT HILL — Steven Daniels has a good deal in common with Luke Kuechly.
They both played at Cincinnati St. Xavier High School, a football powerhouse program in the Midwest. They were recruited and starred at Boston College. And they both played inside linebacker.
The question now for scouts and NFL personnel evaluators to determine, could Daniels make the same type of impact at the next level that Kuechly has in his career?
While that question alone implies extraordinary expectations, Daniels feels very confident he can make it on Sundays.
“Oh yeah, for sure. I’m a very confident person,” Daniels said. “Just the work that I’ve put in makes me this confident.”
Daniels is listed at 5-foot-11 and that has prompted some concern among NFL evaluators. But the three-year starter for the Eagles is a big-time thumper in the middle. The NFL.com evaluation calls Daniels a “Downhill daddy,” a linebacker that can apply force up the middle as a solid run-stopper. As a freshman, he made 25 tackles and one start at Will linebacker.
As a sophomore, he graduated to the first team (88 tackles, 6.5 for loss, three sacks, three pass breakups). Daniels had 72 tackles, 1.5 for loss, as a junior before really catching scouts’ eyes as a senior in 2015. The first-team All-ACC selection led B.C. with 82 stops, 16 for loss, and six sacks as the Eagles ranked first in the FBS in total defense. It was last year that some started to see a BC comparison between Kuechly and Daniels.
Kuechly made a huge impact with not just his tackling but his ball skills with the NFL’s Panthers, becoming the first player in NFL history with interception returns for scores in consecutive playoff games against Seattle and Arizona. On Wednesday, at BC’s Pro Day, Daniels was busy showing off his ball skills during pass coverage drills.
|Jonathan Cooper out to show his ‘nasty’ side with Dante Scarnecchia, Patriots O-Line||03.17.16 at 4:01 pm ET|
Jonathan Cooper is out to prove he is not just a thinking man’s offensive lineman – he’s a nasty one, too.
The 6-foot-2, 312-pounder came into the NFL with high expectations as a first-round (seventh overall) selection of the Arizona Cardinals in 2013 out of North Carolina.
A broken leg in his rookie year slowed his development but there was something else slowing his growth, at least in the eyes of some NFL talent evaluators. He lacked a nasty side that all interior offensive linemen need to cope in the trenches.
“I do have that. It’s one of those things that you learn when you’re bigger than everybody when you’re younger, that you should be gentle, be nice,” Cooper said in a conference call Thursday. “It’s one of those things that you kind of have to learn that it’s nothing personal, it’s just business. So when you finish somebody at the whistle, at the end of a play, it’s nothing personal. It’s in the rule books. It’s just those little things that show that ‘he’s nasty, you don’t really want to mess with him,’ and I do feel like I have that.”
Helping to foster and channel that nastiness will be returning offensive line guru Dante Scarnecchia.
“I haven’t had too much interaction with him prior to this point,” Cooper said of his 68-year-old line coach. “But what I have heard is nothing but good things from him, even going in training today with other players, they say he’s such a great coach and he’s old school and he’ll get on you a little bit but guys love him, and you won’t have a better teacher.”
Cooper is a self-professed student of the game, taking pride in his classroom and thinking man’s approach to the trenches.
“As a player, I’d my strengths are literally strength. It’s one of my biggest strong points, as well as being a cerebral player and working to become more cerebral,” he said. “Working with the Cardinals, learning the playbook, got it down and now I’m looking to really become even more [cerebral], learning different things that I may not necessarily need to get my job done but it’ll make my life easier in the long run, and just become a better professional. Speed and agility are also strong points that I have, and it’s just a fact of putting it all on display on the field.”
After missing his entire rookie season in 2013 due to the broken leg, Cooper appeared in 10 games with two starts at left guard in 2014.
“It was definitely a learning experience,” Cooper said of the broken leg. “I’m a firm believer that God has a perfect plan for everybody. It happened and now I’m here. It’s one of those things it happened and it was kind of an unfortunate [thing]. But, now I’m here with the Patriots and have a great opportunity to kind of almost transcend that. It’s almost like redemption, kind of turning it all around.”
Last season, Cooper played in 14 games with nine starts at right guard. He was a reserve in both of the Arizona postseason games. Cooper started a school record of 48 games for North Carolina and was a three-time All-ACC selection and earned All-America honors as a senior.
Now a new chapter on Jonathan Cooper’s career begins thanks to the trade of Chandler Jones to the Cardinals.
“My reaction is that I’m excited,” Cooper said. “I’m coming into a great organization, a great situation and I’m just super-excited about the opportunity to play and learn so much from such a great coaching staff. I’m really excited just to take advantage of this opportunity.”
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