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LB Jerod Mayo’s absence from Wednesday practice not injury related 09.17.14 at 5:59 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Jerod Mayo‘s absence from Wednesday practice was not injury related, according to the team.

The veteran linebacker was not spotted during the media portion of practice on Wednesday, and was identified as missing the session — however, the team noted on the injury report that it was not the result of an injury issue. In addition to Mayo’s absence, the only other player who was noted as out from today’s practice was safety Don Jones, who reportedly has a hamstring issue.

The Patriots also listed nine players as limited, including tight end Rob Gronkowski (knee), linebacker Jamie Collins (thigh) and offensive lineman Ryan Wendell.

Here’s a look at the complete report:

Did Not Practice
LB Jerod Mayo (not injury related)
S Don Jones (hamstring)

Limited
DE Michael Buchanan (ankle)
LB Jamie Collins (thigh)
OL Dan Connolly (knee)
CB Alfonzo Dennard (shoulder)
WR Julian Edelman (back)
TE Rob Gronkowski (knee)
DT Sealver Siliga (hand)
RB Shane Vereen (shoulder)
OL Ryan Wendell (knee)

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

Read More: Dan Connolly, Don Jones, Jamie Collins, Jerod Mayo
Jamie Collins, Michael Buchanan, Ryan Wendell all downgraded to out against Vikings 09.13.14 at 9:20 pm ET
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Jamie Collins

Jamie Collins

The Patriots announced Saturday night that linebacker Jamie Collins, defensive end Michael Buchanan and center Ryan Wendell have been downgraded to out for Sunday’s game against the Vikings.

Collins is in his second season, and the Southern Miss product has evolved into one of the more versatile defenders on the team. However, the 6-foot-3, 250-pounder popped up on the injury report late this week with a thigh injury, and will miss the first game of his career as a professional Sunday against the Vikings. The Patriots shuffled the back end of the depth chart at linebacker on Saturday, releasing Darius Fleming and adding Deontae Skinner from the practice squad — Skinner could be in for a lot of snaps come Sunday in Minnesota.

Also in his second year, the 6-foot-6, 255-pound Buchanan has struggled with an ample injury since the start of the season. The backup defensive end will miss his second game of the 2014 season as a result.

The 6-foot-2, 300-pound Wendell, who will sit with a knee problem, has been the starting center for the last two years, but was pushed this summer by fellow offensive lineman Dan Connolly. With the offensive line already in a bit of a state of flux, Connolly and rookie Bryan Stork (if he’s 100 percent) will likely share pivot duties on Sunday against the Vikings. That will also likely mean Marcus Cannon, Jordan Devey and Josh Kline will share work at guard.

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

Read More: Jamie Collins, Michael Buchanan, ryan wendell,
Ryan Wendell, Rob Gronkowski among 5 limited on Patriots injury report 09.10.14 at 4:28 pm ET
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Ryan Wendell

Ryan Wendell

Five players were listed as limited on the Patriots injury report on Wednesday, including tight end Rob Gronkowski (knee) and center Ryan Wendell (knee).

Gronkowski, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last December, is still working to get back to 100 percent, while Wendell apparently left the game late Sunday with a knee issue that required attention.

However, three notable players who were not listed include quarterback Tom Brady, who popped up on the injury report last week with a calf issue, and wide receiver Aaron Dobson, who sat out the opener last week against the Dolphins with a foot problem, one that has dogged him all the way back to last year. In addition, it appeared late in Sunday’s game that cornerback Darrelle Revis was being worked on on the sidelines — Revis later said was a cramping issue and not a hamstring problem.

Here’s the complete injury report:

DE Michael Buchanan (ankle)
TE Rob Gronkowski (knee)
DL Chris Jones (ankle)
DL Sealver Siliga (hand)
C Ryan Wendell (knee)

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

Read More: Chris Jones, Rob Gronkowski, ryan wendell, Sealver Siliga
What to watch for in Thursday’s Patriots-Giants preseason finale 08.28.14 at 7:30 am ET
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Jimmy Garoppolo

Jimmy Garoppolo

Here are seven things we’ll be looking for Thursday night when the Patriots meet the Giants in the preseason finale for both teams.

WHO DOESN’T PLAY

When it comes to the preseason finale, it’s just as important to figure out who doesn’t play as opposed to who does play. As we detailed here, if you’re a starter — or even a veteran — and you find yourself on the field for anything more than 10-15 snaps on Thursday night, it’s a bad sign. (The only area where this might be an exception is along the interior of the offensive line, for reasons we will address shortly.) Based on the work the Patriots were able to put in last week against the Panthers when they looked mostly razor sharp on both sides of the ball, don’t expect many of the starters to see the field against the Giants, despite the fact that we know New York is going to roll out its starters for between 15-18 snaps.

THE ROOKIES

A good chunk of this relates back to the first point — we know quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is going to start and get the bulk of the snaps. But given the fact that history tells us those who don’t play are likely to have a secure roster spot, we’ll be keeping an eye on a few first-year players and monitoring their playing time. Cornerback Malcolm Butler and running back James White have been among the rookies who have played well enough to land a roster spot over the course of the summer — if they end up sitting Thursday night, it’s a good bet they’ve made the roster.

JIMMY GAROPPOLO

Thursday will be the first professional start for Garoppolo, and he’€™ll get a chance to show what he can do against a No. 1 defense for the first time in the preseason. The New England coaching staff will be interested in seeing him in as many different situations as possible: two-minute, end-of-half, under pressure from a steady rush, as well as a potential four-minute offense situation. Everything is on the table when it comes to evaluating Garoppolo. From this viewpoint, Ryan Mallett still is the No. 2 quarterback on the roster, but the rookie will get his opportunity to show what he can do come Thursday evening in North Jersey.

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Read More: Brian Tyms, Bryan Stork, Dan Connolly, James White
QB Tom Brady talks about butts 08.14.14 at 7:30 am ET
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Tom Brady has a lot of respect for his centers.

The quarterback talked Wednesday about just how much he’s appreciated the work of Dan Connolly and Ryan Wendell over the last few seasons and the chemistry he’s enjoyed with them. The result was an out-of-context smirkfest.

“I’€™ve got confidence in those guys,” Brady said. “I love both Dan and Wendy. I love those guys. They work so hard.

“The center-quarterback relationship is a pretty special one. I’€™ve got my hands on their butts probably more than their wives, so it’€™s a pretty unique trust and relationship you have.”

Clearly, we’ve reached the dog days of training camp.

Read More: Dan Connolly, ryan wendell, Tom Brady,
Centers of attention: Ryan Wendell, Dan Connolly, Bryan Stork all in spotlight 08.04.14 at 7:00 am ET
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One of the more interesting positions over the first week-plus of Patriots training camp has been center, where Ryan Wendell, Dan Connolly and Bryan Stork have all gotten plenty of work.

Wendell enters the 2014 season as the incumbent, having served as the No. 1 center for the better part of the last two years. A favorite of both Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, he’s played almost more snaps than anyone else in the league since the start of the 2012 season.

It’s been a long journey for the 28-year-old Wendell, who signed as an undrafted free agent in 2008, got his first series of starts along the interior in 2010 and moved into the starting center position in 2012.

“When Ryan first got here, he couldn’€™€™t even make our practice squad,” Belichick recalled earlier this summer when asked about the 6-foot-2, 300-pound Wendell. “He was a camp player [and] wasn’€™€™t on our practice squad at the beginning of the season. We brought him back to the practice squad during his first year.

“€œI’€™€™d say it’€™€™s been about as big of a progression as really any player could have, any player I’€™€™ve had or any player could have — maybe Steve Neal. But it’€™€™s the same kind of thing — guys [who] weren’€™€™t even on the practice squad that eventually became starting players in the NFL. That’€™€™s a pretty big jump. It took a lot of time, a lot of hard work and he’€™€™s certainly done his part and worked hard. He’€™€™s a very smart football player, and doesn’€™€™t have many missed assignments.”

At the same time, he figured to be pushed by the 23-year-old Stork, a rookie with a peerless college resume — he won the Rimington Award last year as the best center in college football in 2013, and was a captain for the national champions from Florida State.

“Bryan was a pretty durable player,” Patriots personnel chief Nick Caserio said of the 6-foot-4, 313-pound Stork, who started 41 games as a collegian with the Seminoles. “He played a lot of football. He played against good people.

“Smart guy, tough, good playing strength, had a good playing style, good demeanor. He did a lot of good things, and there was a lot to like about him.”

However, one player who has really emerged has been the 31-year-old Connolly, a part-time center who has really made his bones the last few years as the starting right guard. When Stork went down with an undisclosed injury — he’s missed three of the eight practices this summer as a result — the 6-foot-4, 305-pound Connolly stepped in as the backup, while Marcus Cannon took many of the reps at right guard. The move appeared to be a chance to take some of the reps from Wendell and give the starter a bit of a rest. But to this point, Connolly has performed well, and has added some more spice to the mix.
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Read More: Bill Belichick, Bryan Stork, Dan Connolly, Jon Halapio
Bill Belichick says he’s seen ‘a lot’ of improvement from Ryan Wendell 07.29.14 at 9:24 pm ET
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FOXBORO — To many who paid close attention to the Patriots offensive line in 2013, it was not a season to remember for Ryan Wendell. His quarterback – Tom Brady – was sacked 40 times in 2013, one shy of his career high of 41 in his first full season of 2001. Many of those pressures came over center where Wendell is not only responsible for calling out protections but helping to protect the middle of the line.

Even Wendell, a man of few words, acknowledged as much Tuesday when asked about it after the team’s third padded practice this summer.

“There’€™s always room for improvement,” Wendell said. “There’€™s more than two things, but I think you need to ask coach Belichick about what I need to improve on.”

Bill Belichick obliged Tuesday.

“I think every year you start all over again,” Belichick said when asked about Wendell’s 2013 season. “We all do. Within any year certainly we all have our moments that are good and we have some that aren’€™t so good that we’€™d like to have back. So, I’€™m sure you could find good and bad plays from all of us that have participated ‘€“ players, coaches, every position, every year.

“I think when you look at the overall performance, the overall projection of where you think the player is going to be based on whatever ‘€“ his age, his experience, his work ethic, his training or age, whichever way it’€™s going, there’€™s a certain projection there but you wait and let it play out. I think that’€™s where we are in training camp now for really all the players. They’€™ve all trained, they’€™ve all been through the spring. They’€™ve all worked to put themselves in this position. Now we go out there and let them compete and see how it unfolds. I don’€™t know how it’€™s going to happen.

“Certainly if we would have projected Ryan Wendell and Steve Neal their rookie years; none of us would have thought [Tom] Brady for that matter. His rookie year, he didn’€™t do anything either. None of us would have thought that those guys would be the contributors they ended up being. That’€™s why we go out there and have training camp. That’€™s what competition is about. Sometimes you find out things differently.”

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Read More: 2014 training camp, New England Patriots, nfl, ryan wendell
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