|Jets sign Ras-I Dowling to the practice squad||10.23.13 at 10:41 am ET|
Former Patriots second-round pick Ras-I Dowling has a new home. The Jets signed the cornerback to their practice squad on Wednesday morning.
Dowling, who was chosen in the 2011 NFL draft, played two games for the Patriots in the 2011 season before injuring his hip in Week 2 against San Diego. On Oct. 29, 2011, the Patriots placed him on injured reserve, ending his season.
Dowling seemed to be on track and healthy in the summer of 2012 but on Oct. 26, 2012, he was placed on injured reserve with a torn thigh muscle, ending his 2012 season.
Dowling did not have an apparent injury this summer during training camp but on Aug. 28, 2013, the Patriots released Dowling as part of their roster cutdown to 75. Over two seasons, Dowling had 10 tackles, no interceptions and no sacks.
Dowling attended the University of Virginia. As a freshman in 2007, Dowling played in 12 games recording 44 tackles and two interceptions. As a sophomore in 2008 he started nine of 11 games. He finished the season with 43 tackles and a team leading three interceptions.
In 2009, Dowling was voted All-ACC second team. He was also awarded ACC Defensive Player of the week vs. Indiana with nine tackles and the first sack of his career. He ended the season with three interceptions. Dowling was voted 2010 Pre-season All-ACC selection and second team All-American for the first time in his career.
Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun reports Dowling had workouts with the Texans and Chiefs before signing with the Jets on Wednesday.
|Patriots cut cornerback Ras-I Dowling||08.28.13 at 4:50 pm ET|
The Patriots have released cornerback Ras-I Dowling. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Dowling, who was the first pick of the second round of the 2011 draft, has struggled with injury in his two seasons in the NFL, having ended both seasons on injured reserve. His best year was 2012, when he played in seven games and finished with seven tackles and one pass defensed.
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|Patriots practice Monday: Danny Amendola misses his first practice||08.19.13 at 2:41 pm ET|
FOXBORO — After catching six passes for 71 yards and a 26-yard touchdown grab on Friday night against Tampa Bay, wide receiver Danny Amendola was not spotted at the start of Patriots full pads practice on Monday outside Gillette Stadium.
The team is not required to announce practice reports until the season begins so there will be no official word from the Patriots if injury was the reason for the absence.
The injury-plagued Amendola is in his first season with the Patriots. He has played in just 12 of 32 games in the past two seasons, including nine starts.
Last October, Amendola suffered a dislocated clavicle. The clavicle popped in and came millimeters from puncturing his trachea and aorta, which could have killed him. Rams’ medical staff called around the league for information but no teams had ever had players suffering a similar injury.
Amendola was anesthetized before popping the clavicle back into place. He was able to recover after just three weeks and recorded 11 catches for 102 yards in a tie with the San Francisco 49ers.
Returning to the practice field Monday was corner back Ras-I Dowling after missing practice time last week and missing his second preseason game on Friday.
In a rookie hazing tradition, the grass at the far end of the practice field was soaked with a water hose to prepare for the annual slip-and-slide, when veterans spray the rookies as they run through and slide on the ground.
The Patriots will practice again on Tuesday before a walk-through Wednesday, after which the team leaves for Detroit and their third preseason game Thursday night against the Lions.
|Camp Confidential: At midway point of preseason, here are five up and five down for Patriots||08.18.13 at 11:56 am ET|
Two weeks into camp and with two preseason games complete, here’s a look at five players who are on the rise, and five players who need to have a good week to bounce back in the wake of Friday’s game against Tampa Bay.
Brandon Spikes: The electric linebacker, who is always interesting, gave the New England defense an early jolt on Friday night with some big plays. He was extremely disruptive in the running game — as usual — but also showed a nice flair for getting to the passer Friday night. While both of his sacks came on non-traditional pass rush situations, Spikes, who has one career regular-season sack, created havoc in the backfield which led to negative plays for the Bucs. He upended Doug “Muscle Hamster” Martin on one play where the undersized back tried to block him, and that ended up in a sack. He added another later in the first half. If he can continue his evolution from two-down linebacker to more of a complete threat (and stay healthy), he could be in for a truly great year.
Zach Sudfeld: The undrafted rookie out of Nevada has gone from anonymous free agent to quaint underdog story to someone who is continuing to put together consistent performances. He had a pair of catches Friday against Tampa, including a touchdown grab on a pass from Ryan Mallett and a reception from Tom Brady on a two-point conversion that was a really sweet pickup. While he still is a work-in-progress when it comes to his blocking on the NFL level, at this point, it would be unfathomable if he didn’t make the roster. He’ll face another challenge in his development next week against the Lions.
Tom Brady: Frankly. the quarterback has been stunning in his two preseason outings. In 39 snaps, he’s a combined 18-for-20 for 172 yards, two touchdowns and no picks — about as well as you could play, considering the massive turnover at the offensive skill positions. On Friday against Tampa, he orchestrated a masterful opening scoring drive that went 15 plays and 80 yards and took 6:48. Along the way, Brady and the Patriots were able to overcome a pair of penalties on the New England offensive line (Logan Mankins and Ryan Wendell), and ended up punching it in on an impressive 26-yard pass play from Brady to Danny Amendola. His performance must be taken with a grain of salt because the calendar hasn’t yet turned from August to September, but if there were any questions about his physical well-being (no problem with the left knee on Friday, his mental health (after losing his favorite target in Wes Welker) and overall passion for the game (just ask the offensive linemen who got cussed out after the penalties), the quarterback has left no doubt: He’s all in.
Logan Ryan: The rookie defensive back out of Rutgers continues to climb the depth chart, and had one of the best moments of the preseason for any first year player when he picked off a pass Friday night against the Bucs. It was similar to a situation in practice earlier in the week when he was able to read the play and jump the route, a nice play that displayed vision and ball skills. He’s not quite a starter, but he’s certainly done enough to rise to the level of backup, and a good, consistent series of practices — as well as two more good outings in the preseason — should cement a spot with the No. 2 defense on the depth chart by the start of the regular season.
Danny Amendola: While the rookies like Sudfeld, KenBrell Thompkins, Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce have gotten most of the headlines this summer for their work, Amendola has been the best and most consistent wide receiver for the team since the start of camp. He had an impressive outing in the Friday’s win over the Bucs, catching six passes for 71 yards and a touchdown. It’s clear that even though he and Brady are continuing to build chemistry, there’s no reason to think Amendola won’t catch at least 80 balls if he stays healthy.
|Patriots re-sign Matt Stankiewitch, Mike Zupancic, undecided on Tom Brady, prepare for Philadelphia||08.05.13 at 10:49 am ET|
FOXBORO — In preparation for joint practices this week in Philadelphia with the Eagles, the Patriots re-signed two players to fill their roster back to 90 players.
Bill Belichick announced Monday before the team’s ninth training camp practice that the team had re-signed center Matt Stankiewitch and long snapper Mike Zupancic.
Stankiewitch played for Penn State from 2008 to 2012, including a redshirt season in 2008. He started two games at left guard in 2009. In 2010, Stankiewitch played in six games before missing the rest of the season due to illness. He was able to remain healthy throughout 2011 and 2012, finishing his career having made 15 career starts at guard and 12 career starts at center.
The Patriots signed him as a rookie free agent on April 28, just after the draft.
A week later, on May 3, the team signed Zupancic as another undrafted free agent. Zupancic was released on Friday before the team brought him back on Monday.
The Patriots held practice Monday morning before preparing to leave for Philadelphia later in the day. Devin McCourty, who was back in a normal jersey for the first time during Saturday’s scrimmage, was back in a non-contact red jersey on Monday.
Three players, receiver Michael Jenkins, offensive lineman Marcus Cannon and defensive back Ras-I Dowling were not spotted on the field at the beginning of practice.
Belichick said the team had not decided yet just how much Tom Brady will quarterback the first unit in Friday night’s preseason opener in Philadelphia.
“We haven’t even had those discussions yet,” Belichick said. “We’ll have those discussions as we get closer to the game.”
“It was a great experience. I’ve never been there for that before,” Belichick said, referring to the fact that he has coached several times in the game but never been part of the induction ceremony and the gala that goes with it.
“I’d never been to that part of it. I’ve been through the Hall, although they’ve redone it. It was always great but it’s even better now. They’ve redone it and it’s very ‘ they have some amazing displays. Then we’ve played in the game a couple times or I’ve coached in the game I should say, a couple times but again, you’re there with your team and you’re kind of doing your thing so you’re not really part of that. So this is the first time I’ve ever been through that.”
|Friday camp notes: Pats shut down helmet-cam (for now) while Julian Edelman ‘has a long way to go’||08.02.13 at 3:08 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Like a new toy or fad, the quarterback helmet-cam was touted as the latest, greatest teaching tool in NFL training camps this summer.
The Patriots have used them for the first week but appear to be lukewarm to it and have not been using in the last couple of days.
Bill Belichick was asked about the benefit of the camera before Friday’s practice and why the team has not been using them.
“There’s a lot of different things that we use to try and help to teach our players, different ways to use instruction and gain information in practice, different camera angles, different things like that,” Belichick said.
“There’s some aspects of it that’s good. It certainly doesn’t give you the whole picture. I’ve coached 38 years without them. I don’t think it’s an absolute necessity but you’re always looking for something that will help you be a little bit better. Maybe it’s something that will help a guy or help you gain something. I think there’s a place in certain areas that they’re beneficial, other areas I don’t know. I’m not sure.”
“It depends on what you’re using them for, what you’re trying to get out of them,” Belichick said. “There are some things I think they can be helpful with. There are other things I’m not really sure how much that adds.”
Belichick on Julian Edelman‘s return Thursday to training camp practice after breaking his foot last December and having a subsequent setback:
“Long way to go. Been a long time since he played football. He’s got a long way to go,” Belichick said.
Asked if being around the team helps, as Edelman indicated Thurdsay, Belichick said, “I’m sure it helps some. It’s better that he’s been here and done some of the things and knows how to do them than not. But he still has a long way to go. Missed all of spring, missed all of training camp. He’s got a long way to go.”
Defensive lineman Jermaine Cunningham, defensive back Ras-I Dowling and offensive linemen Dan Connolly and Marcus Cannon were all missing on Thursday: “We have a lot of guys in the day-to-day category. We’ll go out there and see what they can do.”
|10 most intriguing veterans on Patriots roster||05.07.13 at 12:43 pm ET|
This spring, there are several notable names on the Patriots roster who are starting an important period in their careers for one of four reasons. One, because they might be on the hot seat this year as part of a looming positional battle. Two, they’ve been on the shelf for an extended stretch and are a question mark when it comes to how much they might be able to contribute. Three, they have yet to take a snap in the Patriots system, which makes it difficult when it comes to gauging how they might fit in Foxboro. And four, they are entering a contract year and could have their fortunes down the road tied to their performance in 2013.
With that in mind, here’s our list of this spring’s 10 most intriguing veterans on the New England roster.
Cornerback Aqib Talib: Talib, who was acquired from the Bucs in a November trade, wasn’t an elite corner by any stretch, but his presence allowed the Patriots to move Devin McCourty to safety and install Kyle Arrington in the slot. With that personnel combination in the secondary, the Patriots pass defense had great improvement across the board. (The continuity of having the same five guys at the same spots in the defensive backfield also helped, and with his return, should help going forward.) Despite some injury issues — his departure in the AFC title game, combined with New England’s lack of a coverage linebacker, left the Patriots struggling to defend against Joe Flacco — Talib became a key part of the defense. He re-signed with the Patriots on a low-cost, one-year “prove it” deal that creates incentives for both him and the team. If he has a terrific year, he gets to return to the open market with a chance to really cash in, and the team gets a top-level corner for a year at relatively low cost.
Tight end Jake Ballard: The former Giant was plucked off the New York roster last June and spent the entire 2012 season on the shelf after suffering a knee injury in Super Bowl XLVI against the Patriots. A 6-foot-6, 275-pounder, he was undrafted out of Ohio State in 2010 but turned himself into an effective downfield threat in 2011 with New York (38 receptions for 604 yards and four touchdowns). Ballard is intriguing for a couple of reasons. One, he hasn’t been on the field for a year, and remains a bit of an unknown commodity because of his inactivity. And two, if Rob Gronkowski is on the shelf for any amount of time, Ballard (provided he’s healthy) should see an increase in reps, as his game has some elements of Gronkowski.
Defensive lineman Armond Armstead: One of the most intriguing veteran prospects the Patriots have brought in this spring, this CFL import — who stands 6-foot-5, 300 pounds — could provide a boost to the New England pass rush. The 22-year-old, a USC product, was a three-year star for the Trojans in college. After a junior year spent at defensive end ‘ where he had 43 tackles, six of which were for a loss (three sacks) ‘ he was set to open his senior year at defensive tackle but suffered a heart attack before his senior season and never was cleared to practice. As a result, he went undrafted last spring and ended up with Toronto of the Canadian Football League, where he led the team with 44 tackles and six sacks to help the Argonauts to a Grey Cup championship. (Armstead and Jason Vega are the two CFL imports who joined the New England roster this offseason.)
(When it comes to making the transition from the CFL to the NFL, Marc Trestman — a former CFL coach who was named coach of the Bears this offseason — thinks it can be done. “There are some players up there certainly that have shown they can play in the NFL, that’s been proven over time. There haven’t been many, but the guys who have shown up down here did a pretty good job of fitting in,” he said. “Players up there are very similar to the guys down here in terms of their character. They want to master their craft, they want to be the best they can be, and some of them have had the opportunity south of the border and have done well. These guys love football up there and have dreams of wanting to do it down here, and those who can, will give it a try. Those who can’t have experienced a lot of exciting football up there.’)
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