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Adam Schefter on D&C: ‘I just get a sense that we’ll see Gronk this week’ 10.07.13 at 9:46 am ET
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ESPN’€™s Adam Schefter joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday to talk Patriots and other news from around the NFL.

New England dropped its first game of the season Sunday as the Bengals defense stifled the Tom Brady-led offense in Cincinnati’€™s 13-6 win.

Brady went without a touchdown pass for the first time in 52 games. His poor performance (18-of-38, 197 yards, one interception) has reignited the debate that Bill Belichick and the New England organization has not surrounded him with enough weapons for a deep playoff run this season.

‘€œThe first week we say to these guys that Zach Sudfeld was supposed to be great, and Kenbrell Thompkins, and Josh Boyce, and all these guys, and they say, ‘€˜No, no, no. It’€™s not just that easy to step in, you don’€™t surround Tom Brady with guys who are automatically going to play at the level of Wes Welker,’ that was their thinking,’€ said Schefter.

The Patriots cut the rookie undrafted tight end Sudfeld last week, and rookie wide receivers Boyce, Thompkins and Aaron Dobson, who were supposed to fill the void for the loses of former wide receivers Brandon Lloyd and Welker, combined to catch five passes for 65 yards against the Bengals.

Schefter mentioned Josh Gordon of Cleveland and Kenny Britt of Tennessee as wide receivers on the trade market, but noted the unlikeness of New England completing a trade before the Oct. 29 deadline.

‘€œI don’€™t think the Patriots wind up making a move for a wide receiver, I just don’€™t see that happening. Now, I’€™m not going to tell you that something doesn’€™t change, they get another injury, they change their thinking,’€ said Schefter. ‘€œBut I just think that when you look at right now, they went that route and they gave up some draft picks for some veteran players and I think they’€™d rather have not made those moves now. And I think they’€™re just going to sit tight and let these youngsters grow and mature and hopefully develop for their sake and be good players.’€

The Pats offense could receive a boost with the possible return of tight end Rob Gronkowski next Sunday against the Saints. Gronkowski has been sidelined for the first five games of the season after surgeries on his back and forearm.

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Read More: Aaron Dobson, adam schefter, Bill Belichick, Josh Boyce
Jets reportedly claim Zach Sudfeld off waivers 10.04.13 at 5:04 pm ET
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Zach Sudfeld has a new home in New York. One day after being released by the Patriots, their rival in the AFC East claimed the rookie tight end Friday, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun and Ravens Insider.

Sudfeld impressed during training camp and preseason as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Nevada. But Sudfeld ran into hamstring problems in the season opener and couldn’t get regular snaps thereafter in filling in for Rob Gronkowski.

Ironically, the one game Sudfeld missed due to his hamstring was against the Jets.

Sudfeld, who stands 6-foot-7 and weighs 260 pounds, had no receptions in three games but is considered a prospect with good hands and route-running skills.

Wilson also reported that the Patriots worked out former Chiefs defensive end Marcus Dixon and former Titans defensive tackle DaJohn Harris.

Read More: New England Patriots, New York Jets, nfl, Zach Sudfeld
Patriots put Vince Wilfork on IR, sign Austin Collie and release Zach Sudfeld 10.03.13 at 4:38 pm ET
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The Patriots announced Thursday they have placed defensive lineman Vince Wilfork on Injured Reserve and signed veteran free agent wide receiver Austin Collie. In addition, the Patriots released rookie tight end Zach Sudfeld.

Collie, 27, is a veteran of four NFL seasons with the Indianapolis Colts (2009-12) after originally entering the NFL as a fourth-round draft pick (127th overall) of the Colts out of Brigham Young in 2009. The 6-foot, 204-pounder was signed by the 49ers as an unrestricted free agent on Aug. 2, 2013, but was released by the 49ers on Aug. 31.

Collie has played in 42 NFL games with 16 starts and has registered 173 receptions for 1,845 yards and 16 touchdowns. His best statistical season was as a rookie in 2009 when he caught 60 passes for 676 yards and seven touchdowns. Last season, Collie was limited to just one game for the Colts due to a knee injury.

Sudfeld, 24, originally joined the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Nevada on May 3. The 6-foot-7, 260-pounder played in three of the first four games of the 2013 season as a reserve tight end and on special teams.

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Read More: austin collie, Vince Wilfork, Zach Sudfeld,
Tom Brady Confidence Index, Week 3: Rookie risers include Kenbrell Thompkins, Aaron Dobson 09.23.13 at 1:10 pm ET
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This preseason, we debuted the Tom Brady Confidence Index, a by-the-numbers look at the comfort level the quarterback had with the rest of the skill-position players when it came to the passing game. Because of the reaction we got, we decided to make it a semi-regular feature and expand it to include overall offensive touches (receptions and carries, with more weight to carries in clutch situations) and how comfortable the quarterback might appear to be with some of his teammates when it came to trusting them in certain situations.

As always, we rate each of the skill-position players and their relationship/comfort level with Brady on a scale of 0 (Taylor Price) to 100 (Wes Welker) on their body of work to this point in the season.

(Disclaimer: While most aspects of this blog deal in mathematical specifics as it relates to football, this entry is more of a tongue-in-cheek approach to Brady and how he relates to the rest of the New England offense. Bottom line? Don’€™t take the rating system too seriously.)

WIDE RECEIVER JULIAN EDELMAN: 90 (last week: 89)

Season stats: 27 catches, 34 targets, 201 yards, two touchdowns

In the wake of the step the rookie receivers appeared to take Sunday against the Bucs, it’s easy to forget that Edelman kept up a remarkable pace — he had seven catches on seven targets and now is just 10 receptions from matching his career high (37, set as a rookie in 2009). Heading into the Sunday night game, he’s tied with Atlanta’s Julio Jones for the league lead in catches, but in a weird statistical quirk, he has 201 yards receiving — that’s 7.4 yards per catch. Of all receivers who have at least 15 catches, only Dallas’€™ DeMarco Murray (7.3 yards per catch), rookie Tavon Austin in St. Louis (6.6) and old pal Danny Woodhead (6.4) are behind Edelman. To this point, not many receivers have had the kind of start in the New England system that Edelman can boast — over the last decade, only one other receiver had as many catches after three games as Edelman has this year (Welker, who started the 2011 season with 31 catches through the first three games).

RUNNING BACK BRANDON BOLDEN: 70 (last week: N/A)

Season stats: 3 rushes, 51 yards, 17 YPC; five catches on six targets for 49 yards

The numbers are a big skewed because he was able to hit on two big plays, but the second-year back out of Ole Miss — who missed the first two games because of a knee issue — was able to provide an impressive multidimensional threat against the Bucs. He showed a niftiness as a pass catcher (it’s important to remember he had 76 receptions as a collegian) as well as a good between-the-tackles toughness. (He also offered a smart mea culpa after he stopped running on a pass attempt from Brady down the Tampa sideline, saying he was “hard-headed.”) Not saying he’s an answer to Shane Vereen being on the shelf, but as he showed last year, he can serve as a good get-you-over guy who can do a lot of things well in a pinch.

WIDE RECEIVER KENBRELL THOMPKINS: 65 (last week: 62)

Season stats: nine catches, 28 targets, 130 yards, two touchdowns

The undrafted rookie clearly is showing progress. From the season opener against the Bills to Sunday’s performance against the Bucs, there’s more confidence and sharper routes displayed, and it’s starting to pay off for the New England offense. He had two touchdown catches on Sunday. On the first one, he showed a nice flair for picking up some good yardage after the catch, zig-zagging through the Tampa Bay secondary to pick up the final few yards on the way to the end zone. In all, it was a good day for Thompkins, who was matched up for much of the afternoon against Darrelle Revis. Another step forward for the rookie.

WIDE RECEIVER AARON DOBSON: 64 (last week: 50)

Season stats: 10 catches, 20 targets, 108 yards, one touchdown

One of our two big movers this week, the Marshall product had his best week of the season. If you want a show of confidence, Brady went to Dobson on several occasions in key moments early — including a fourth-down attempt that ultimately helped swing momentum in the Patriots’ favor. Four of his seven catches Sunday went for first downs, and he showed assuredness and confidence when it came to running his routes. A good week for the rookie.

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Read More: Aaron Dobson, Brandon Bolden, Danny Amendola, James Develin
Tom Brady Confidence Index, Week 2: Julian Edelman on the rise 09.15.13 at 4:22 pm ET
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This past preseason, we debuted the Tom Brady Confidence Index, a by-the-numbers look at the comfort level the quarterback had with the rest of the offensive skill position players when it came to the passing game. Because of the reaction we got, we’€™ve decided to make it a semi-regular feature, and expand it to include overall offensive touches (receptions and carries, with more weight to carries in clutch situations) and how comfortable the quarterback might appear to be with some of his teammates when it came to trusting them in certain situations.

As always, we rate each of the skill position players and their relationship/comfort level with Brady on a scale of 0 (Taylor Price) to 100 (Wes Welker) on their body of work to this point in the season.

(Disclaimer: While most aspects of this blog deal in mathematical specifics as it relates to football, this entry is more of a tongue-in-cheek approach to Brady and how he relates to the rest of the New England offense. Bottom line? Don’t take the rating system too seriously.)

Wide receiver Julian Edelman: 89 (last week: 75) season stats: 20 catches, 27 targets, 157 yards, two touchdowns. Despite the fact that he wasn’t immune from Brady’s wrath, he was the only receiver Thursday night who displayed anything close to a working chemistry with the quarterback, finishing with 13 catches (on a whopping 18 targets) for 78 yards. (He now has a rather unique record as a result.) Through two games, he leads the team in receptions (20), yards (157) and touchdowns (two). Provided he stays healthy, he will be absolutely essential to the New England passing game, particularly if Amendola is on the shelf for anything more than two weeks.

Wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins: 62 (last week: 61) season stats: six catches, 21 targets, 89 yards. The only reason this isn’t lower is because it’s clear Brady will be going to him again and again in hopes of developing some sort of connection with the rookie. Going back and rewatching the tape from Week 2 as opposed to Week 1, there was some improvement there, even though Thompkins went from four catches against the Bills to two against the Jets. First, he was facing a higher level of competition against New York (he was matched frequently with Antonio Cromartie) and second, there was more confidence and precision in his routes against New York than their was against Buffalo. It will be interesting to see how he responds this week, as he will likely face All-World cornerback Darrelle Revis when New England meets the Bucs.

Running back Stevan Ridley: 51 (last week: 22) season stats: 25 carries, 85 yards, 3.4 YPC, five negative plays, one fumble lost. He didn’t fumble this week — which, given the rainy second half and the fact that he was facing a front seven that was better than we maybe gave them credit for — is a good sign for the running back. The final numbers weren’t terrific (16 carries, 40 yards), but given the week he had and the body of work he’s already assembled, it’s an improvement from Week 1.
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Read More: Aaron Dobson, Danny Amendola, James Develin, Julian Edelman
Danny Amendola, Rob Gronkowski, Zach Sudfeld all inactive for Patriots 09.12.13 at 7:01 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The Patriots will be without their top two tight ends and their top receiver when they take on the Jets Thursday night as Zach Sudfeld (hamstring), Rob Gronkowski (back/forearm) and Danny Amendola (groin) are all inactive.

Amendola is missing the game after re-injuring his groin last Sunday while Gronkowski is out again as he recovers from offseason back and forearm surgeries.

Rounding out the list is running back Brandon Bolden (knee), rookie linebacker Steve Beauharnais (healthy), offensive lineman Will Svitek (knee) and newly-added defensive lineman Chris Jones (healthy).

On Tuesday, the Patriots placed running back Shane Vereen on injured reserve with a broken left wrist. He will be unavailable until Week 11.

Amendola will likely miss 2-6 weeks, according to a report from the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

One player returning Thursday will be rookie receiver Aaron Dobson, who missed the opener and did not travel to Buffalo because of a hamstring injury. Dobson figures to see action behind Kenbrell Thompkins and Julian Edelman.

For the Jets, wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (concussion) and linebacker Quinton Coples (ankle) are out.

Read More: Danny Amendola, New England Patriots, New York Jets, nfl
Report: Zach Sudfeld (hamstring) inactive at 6:26 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The Patriots will be without Zach Sudfeld for Thursday night’s game against the Jets, according to a report from Ben Volin of the Boston Globe.

The rookie tight end strained his hamstring during last Sunday’s 23-21 win over the Bills in Buffalo and was listed as limited all week during walkthroughs.

Sudfeld made big headlines in training camp and the preseason when he caught eight passes for 101 yards and a touchdown. Last week Sudfeld was targeted once on a pass from Tom Brady that ended up in an interception.

With Sudfeld inactive and Rob Gronkowski (back/forearm) likely out again, the tight end burden falls on Matthew Mulligan and Michael Hoomanawanui.

Read More: New England Patriots, New York Jets, nfl, Zach Sudfeld
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