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Patriots - News Archives for 2014-08

REPORT: Patriots QB Mallett Traded to Texans



Patriots quarterback Ryan Mallett is headed to Houston. (USA TODAY Images)

After an offseason of talk and a preseason that also had its' fair share of whispers, it appears that Ryan Mallett may finally be leaving town after all.

According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Mallett has been traded to the Houston Texans, although no terms of the trade of have been released just yet.

The move reunites Mallett with former Patriots offensive coordinator and new Texans head coach Bill O'Brien.  O'Brien also held the role of quarterbacks coach here in New England during Mallett's rookie season back in 2011.

Mallett had an up and down preseason and didn't exactly impress while he was out there, but most felt that he would remain with the Patriots during the final year of his contract, which expired after the 2014 season.  Following Saturday's cuts, it seemed that he would be backing up Tom Brady for at least another season.  Now it seems he'll have an opportunity to start in Houston.

UPDATE: According to several reports, New England will receive a conditional seventh round pick for Mallett based on the percentage of snaps he plays for the Texans this season, which could potentially turn the pick into a sixth round selection.

Monday Patriots Media Links 8/18



Receiver Brian Tyms has caught the attention of some of his teammates thanks to his play this preseason. (USA TODAY Images)
BOSTON GLOBE:

Patriots' roster competition begins to sort itself out - Ben Volin: Volin has his latest roster and practice squad projections.

BOSTON.COM:

Reports: Patriots Bolster Tight Ends Group by Re-Signing Justin Jones - Zuri Berry: Berry has an article on the fact the Patriots added another tight end after only having one healthy one on their roster.

BOSTON HERALD:

Confident Roy Finch back in running - Adam Kurkjian: Kurkjian has a good read on Ray Finch, who is finally getting a hold of his nerves after a decent performance Friday night.

Secondary takes new emphasis in stride - Karen Guregian: Guregian has a good read on the fact the games have been unwatchable thanks to the number of flags thrown and some insight from Darrelle Revis on the situation.

ESPN BOSTON:

Third-quarter review: Bad fit for Will Smith? - Mike Reiss: Reiss goes back and looks at the film and has several thoughts from Friday night's third quarter and  feels Smith looked out of place playing defensive end.

Rookie TE Justin Jones back in fold - Mike Reiss: Reiss has a report of the return of tight end Justin Jones, who had previously been released back on August 10th.

Harvard's Ott out of Pats' snapper mix - Mike Reiss: Reiss has a note on the release of Ott, which now leaves Danny Aiken as the team's lone long-snapper.

NESN:

Reports: Patriots Re-Sign Tight End Justin Jones, Release Tyler Ott - Doug Kyed: Kyed follows up on reports of the team's latest transaction.

CSNNE:

Breer: Patriots must assess if Ridley's fumbles worth it - Albert Breer of the NFL Network joined Sports Tonight and discussed Stevan Ridley, who fumbled again Friday night in the team's win over Philadelphia.

BLEACHER REPORT:

New England Patriots: What We've Learned Through Week 2 of Preseason - James Christensen: Christensen looks at a variety of things we've found out about this team so far through two exhibition games.

GLOUCESTER TIMES:

Mallett answers back; battle for backup now on - Hector Longo: Longo has article on the back-up quarterback position, which after Mallett's recent performance he feels is heating up.

TAUNTON DAILY GAZETTE:

Patriots Notebook: Tyms continues to make his case - Glen Farley: Farley files his notebook this morning, which leads off with a bit on receiver Brian Tyms, who has started catching some attention from his teammates thanks to the plays he's made.

METROWEST DAILY NEWS:

The good, bad, and ugly from Patriots camp ... so far - Glen Farley: Farley has an article looking at a variety of things that have gone right and wrong during camp so far.

DAILY MAIL:

'Unfortunately it wasn't the guy': Jets fan who punched female Patriots supporter in the face following scuffle is unrepentant after his MetLife Stadium ban is overturned - David McCormack: For those who remember the female Patriots fan who was punched in the face by this fan, who was subsequently banned from MetLife Stadium, here are more ridiculous comments from this idiot, who is also being allowed back in this year.

Notes From Friday Night's Win Over Philadelphia


Brian Tyms does a little Randy Moss imitation after his touchdown reception on Friday. (USA TODAY Images)

The New England Patriots rebounded at home with a much stronger team effort in their second pre-season game, a penalty flag-filled 42-35 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.

The game officials had thrown a lot of flags during the joint practices during the joint practices held at Foxboro during the week, they threw even more during the game. Where both teams like to push the tempo of the game, the deluge of calls really put a damper on both team’s tempo throughout the game.

Tom Brady and Darrelle Revis got their first game action of the year in and both looked sharp and ready to go for the 2014 season. The Patriots rolled up 35 first downs with a balanced attack, netting 14 passing and 15 rushing first downs while going six of seven in the red zone.

Here are some other observations from Friday night’s game:

Offensive Line Rebounds: Overall Friday’s performance was a big step in the right direction for the Patriots OL who responded after a pretty dismal performance in Washington the week before. The team used a lot of different combinations during the night, which one would expect during a pre-season game, but the one thing that stands out is the 250 yards rushing after only getting 63 the week before.

It shows that the unit was dominating the point of attack and they did throughout the night and all of the running backs got to show their stuff. It wasn’t perfect but Dave DeGuglielmo’s boys will have a lot more positives to watch in this week’s film session.

All 3 Quarterbacks Play Well: Friday night’s game had Tom Brady play most of the first quarter and then Jimmy Garappolo got to showcase his game against higher tier opposition when he came in with 5:09 remaining in the first quarter. Ryan Mallett who was banged up this week, played the entire second half. All played very well.

Brady was 8-10 for 81 yards with one TD and one INT although his pick-six to Cary Williams was more of Steve Maneri running the wrong route than a mistake by Brady. But seeing that Maneri has been on the team for all of four days, perhaps he gets a pass on that one.

Brady threw a nice touchdown to Kenbrell Thompkins on a back shoulder throw at the left sideline around the 2 yard line. Thompkins made a good catch on the ball and was able to get it in the end much to the delight of Brady. You can see that Brady is trying to get Thompkins involved a lot this summer.

Garappolo had another impressive outing going 6-12 for 72 yards and two TDs. He threw a bullet to Brandon LaFell in the back of the end zone for one of his two scoring throws and looked pretty comfortable out there playing with the ones.

Mallet went 7-11 for 92 yards with one TD pass and one TD run. He threw the ball much better this week, his decision making much quicker and showed some great touch on the ball with his 17 yard scoring pass to Brian Tyms in the corner of the end zone.

Brian Tyms and Malcom Butler Are Pushing Hard For Roster Spots: Both players at the time they were brought in were thought of as not much more than camp bodies, but they are proving to be much more. After shining in Washington in their debuts, they both turned in good second week performances.

Tyms has been making plays in practice and in games, and his catch in the end zone off of a Mallett pass was a beauty, out-leaping Curtis Marsh in the corner for the score. Tyms even did a little Randy Moss imitation as his touchdown celebration to the delight of fans. At this point of pre-season, Tyms is pushing Josh Boyce hard for one of the final roster spots at wide receiver.

Butler after shining in D.C. against the Redskins got the surprise start next to Revis at corner against the Eagles this week. Before people read too much into that, remember that the Patriots are going to be without CB Brandon Browner for the first four weeks of the season and Bill Belichick wants to see what the other players can do, (he’s said as much in pressers), however Butler looked good and was again productive.

He forced a fumble on the Eagles first play from scrimmage, ripping the ball out of Ifeanyi Momah’s hands after the huge 6’7 WR caught a quick slant and later added a fumble recovery in the second half. Belichick lauded his play in his post-game presser adding, "He competes hard," he said. "I'd say he's played a lot of snaps in these first two games and gotten a lot of snaps in practice, he competes hard every day."

Safety is Still Wide Open: It is looking increasingly like the Patriots won’t have a designated safety opposite Devin McCourty but one who’ll play depending upon the opponent being faced. Against the Eagles, the Patriots opened with slot corner Kyle Arrington playing in the strong safety spot.

Logan Ryan, Pat Chung, Nate Ebner all got a lot of looks as well. It was interesting that Duron Harmon didn’t register a lot of snaps but did a nice job of intercepting a Mark Sanchez pass. Harmon read the play well and broke on the ball just as Sanchez released it, returning it 33 yards.

Tight End Position Is A Mess Right Now: Friday consisted of Maneri and a bunch of guards coming in to block. Does anyone have Tony Gonzalez’s number on speed dial?

Defense Still Mixing: The Patriots mixed their fronts a lot on Friday, continuing to play a lot of 3-4 with Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich lining up as OLBs and the three down linemen initially consisting of  Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly and Joe Vellano. Jones is still a little ill-at-ease standing up, with Jerod Mayo out, Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins got the call as the inside LBs.  Collins seems to be a better fit outside, but as things evolve, this will be something to watch.

The team will be looking at film and then back to the practice fields to prepare for the Carolina Panthers, don’t be surprised if Belichick handles this coming week much like a regular season as they try to get into the routine. We’ll be there at practice on Monday and be sure to check out PatsFans.com for the latest updates. We also are updating the stats database and now have the PatsPicker where you can play GM and select your own 53 man roster for the Patriots.

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at stevebpatsfans@gmail.com

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcast on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.

Eagles vs Patriots: Five Thoughts on Friday's Preseason Victory


All three Patriots quarterbacks played well Friday night, carving up the Eagles in a 42-35 victory. (USA TODAY Images)
The New England Patriots hosted the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday night.

Friday night's game gave fans and analysts the chance to get an in-depth look at some of these players in a more competitive setting than on the practice field. Here are five takeaways from the 42-35 victory. -

1) Improved performance: Last week's game was ugly, but the Patriots put together a better outing Friday night. It wasn't perfect, but there were a lot more positives than the first exhibition contest. The offense was well-rounded and the defense made some plays. The score doesn't really matter in preseason, but you want to see improvement and development from week-to-week. No apparent injuries is one of the biggest positives from the night.

2) Quarterbacks Played Well: Tom Brady started, Jimmy Garoppolo followed and Ryan Mallett finished the game. All three signal-callers played well and put points on the board. I love what Garoppolo has shown through two contests, a lot of poise in the pocket and keeps his eyes downfield. Mallett was really impressive, putting some nice touch on his passes. The QB competition seems to be pushing all three players, even though the starter is set in stone.

3) Safety Position Still Unclear: If there's one position I wish we could have some clarity on, it would be the safety spot opposite of Devin McCourty. Throughout training camp and into the preseason there has been a rotation of several players.

Friday night wasn't much different. Pat Chung, Kyle Arrington, Logan Ryan, Nate Ebner and Jemea Thomas all saw time at safety. Tavon Wilson, whose also gotten reps at the position, did not dress for the game. If I had to pick a "starter" for week one right now, I might say Chung, but it's by no means a certainty. It makes you wonder how much of a personnel rotation we'll see in the regular season.

4) Dark horses Make a Push for the 53: Every year there's a player or two who sneak onto New England's roster. This year cornerback, Malcolm Butler, stands out as a guy who looks like a strong candidate. He continues to make plays in practice and in the preseason, taking advantage of his opportunities.

Wide receiver, Brian Tyms, is also starting to make a case for a roster spot. Second-year wideout, Josh Boyce, has struggled and Tyms has shown the ability to make plays downfield. I would like to see him get more opportunities with the first-team offense, particularly Brady at QB, to see if he can compete with more talented players. Something to monitor moving forward.

5) Special Teams Units Struggle: One of the biggest negatives from Friday night's game was the Patriots' special teams performance. A missed blocking assignment by rookie long snapper, Tyler Ott, led to a Ryan Allen blocked punt. Stephen Gostkowski later missed a 43-yard attempt wide left. Needless to say the unit has a tough week of practice ahead of them, starting with coach Scott O'Brien in the film room.

Three Stars:

CB Malcolm Butler -- The rookie defensive back gets the start across from Darrelle Revis, forces two fumbles and recovers one of them. He continues to stand out on the practice field and in games. The undrafted cornerback has shown the willingness and ability to tackle as well as perform adequately in coverage. He looks like he belongs on an NFL field.

QB Ryan Mallett -- With rookie, Jimmy Garoppolo, getting most of the attention coming into the contest, Mallett stepped up and delivered a big performance. He went 7-11, for 92 yards and a touchdown. Mallett's touch on his intermediate - deep passes was great to see.

RB Jonas Gray -- The Patriots wanted to establish the run and Gray carried the rock well. He rushed for 98 yards on 12 attempts, finding the holes well and finishing runs with authority. Last week he looked tentative, but he displayed some nice burst and assertiveness in this contest.

Do you have a Twitter account? Be sure to follow me: @PatriotsHaven!

5 Takeaways From Patriots vs Eagles



Jimmy Garoppolo had another strong showing on Friday night. (USA TODAY Images)
It was good to see the Patriots bounce back after a rocky start last week in Washington, beating up the Philadelphia Eagles 42-35 in a game that was shaky at times but overall showed a lot of promise as the team continues working toward getting ready for the regular season.

For the fans who were on hand, they were able to get a good look at all three quarterbacks Thursday night, with Tom Brady getting the starting nod and playing fairly well, while Jimmy Garoppolo and Ryan Mallett both followed him and also looked good while they were out there.

Taking a further look back, here are some thoughts on the victory as the team gets set for next week's match-up at home against the Carolina Panthers.

1) PATRIOTS WERE EFFICIENT MOVING THE BALL AND SCORING:

Looking at the numbers from last night's game, it's hard not to feel good about what the offense was able to do as a whole and all three quarterbacks did a good job.  They finished the night with 478 yards of total offense and one of the more impressive stats was the fact that the Patriots finished with 35 first downs and were balanced in terms of how they converted them.  They finished the night with 14 passing first downs and 15 rushing, with six more converted via penalty by the Ealges. They also converted an impressive 10-of-15 (67%) on third down.

Even more amazing was what they were able to do down in scoring territory.  They converted 6-of-7 red zone opportunities against the Eagles, with each quarterback throwing at least one touchdown pass (they finished with four passing touchdowns total) and also rushed for two scores.

2) MALLETT BOUNCED BACK AFTER ROUGH OUTING:

While it wasn't perfect, Mallett looked a little more confident than he did during last week's loss in Washington and put together a pretty good outing.  He finished the night 7-of-11 including a touchdown pass and also rushed for a touchdown.  The touchdown pass to Brian Tyms was a perfect throw, with Mallett lobbing a perfect pass that Tyms out-leaped his defender and caught the football with both feet coming down in bounds.

Those are the type of throws that show glimpses of what Mallett's capable of and it's going to be interesting to see in these final two weeks how both he and Garoppolo play out there.  If Mallett goes out and has another good night and Garoppolo continues to play well behind him, the Patriots may make the decision to move Mallett should he impress another team enough for them to want to acquire him.  Belichick has already experienced how important it is to have a capable back-up in case disaster should strike and Garoppolo still needs to show that removing Mallett from the mix would be a move they could live with.


Malcolm Butler looked impressive once again after a strong showing last week in Washington. (USA TODAY Images)
3) MALCOLM BUTLER CONTINUES TO SHINE:

Butler continues to make his presence felt and followed-up last week's performance with another good one against the Eagles.  He surprised everyone by starting opposite Darrelle Revis and was in on a forced fumble with Dont'a Hightower in the first quarter, while also forcing another later in the third quarter that he recovered.  He continues to be one of the bright spots of this preseason and is certainly making a strong case for a roster spot should he continue to play well.

4) COULD TYMS FACTOR INTO THE MIX?:

Second-year receiver Brian Tyms had another decent performance after hauling in 3 passes for 29 yards along with a touchdown and is another player making a strong case for a spot on the team.  This is a group that has a lot of speed and quickness, which is a nice change from where they were several years ago when they were comprised of older veterans. It's going to be interesting to see how he factors in if he continues to perform the way he has over these first two games.

5) FINCH MAKING A CASE FOR HIMSELF AFTER SLOW START:

Running back Roy Finch improved from his week one outing, finishing the night with seven carries for 37 yards along with a touchdown and also caught two passes for 34 yards.  We've seen a lot of growth from him throughout training camp and it was good to see it start to translate into the preseason.  Hopefully he can continue to improve over these final two weeks, which if that happens could potentially help him earn a role with this offense heading into the 2014 regular season.

Overall it was a good performance all around and this week's match-up against Carolina will hopefully be one that will see players continue to take positive steps forward before the team begins trimming the roster to 53 in the next couple of weeks.

Patriots vs Eagles: 5 Things to Watch For Tonight



Tom Brady will seemingly see his first action of the preseason tonight. (USA TODAY Images)
Friday night marks the Patriots' second exhibition game of the year and should be a night where some of New England's starters see some action for the first time in 2014.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is among players who will hopefully see time tonight, which will be the first time fans will have seen him throw a football in a live game since New England fell to Denver in the AFC Championship Game back in January.

However, the slate is clean and the outlook for this season appears to be bright given some of the players coming back from injuries, as well as some of the Patriots' offseason acquisitions.  These games may be meaningless in the standings, but the reps are valuable in terms of preparing for a long year and will be ones they'll use to iron out the kinks as they continue getting ready for the regular season.

Here's a quick rundown of some things to keep an eye on tonight:

1) WITH TOM BRADY, IT'S ALL ABOUT EXECUTION:

It appears that every offseason moving forward will center around the potential demise of Brady, with quite a few critics circling him like buzzards while looking for any weakness to suggest that he's no longer as good as he's continued to be.  For Brady, the noise doesn't matter, but this is still a key opportunity to make sure that he and his receivers are able to use this time getting more in sync so they can start better than they did in 2013, most notably in the first half over their first two games.

In the first half of the opener in Buffalo last year Brady was just 13-of-25 for 122 yards, with the only player he seemed to be on the same page with being Julian Edelman.  He was 5-of-5 for 31 yards and two touchdowns over the first two quarters when throwing Edelman's way and the offense was shaky up until the latter part of the game before he and Danny Amendola turned it on and started moving the football in the second half.

They also struggled in week two against the Jets, with Brady finishing the first half 11-of-24 for 136 yards, with the quarterback leaning once again on Edelman after completing 7-of-12 over the first two quarters.  He was just 5-of-17 overall combined for the game when targeting Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins, with Brady and Edelman clicking in the second half after catching 6-of-6 passes thrown his way.  That's something that can't happen this season and it would be great if Brady can achieve that type of precision with the other guys around him heading into this year.  That work starts tonight.


Jimmy Garoppolo looked good last week, but can he follow it up tonight against the Eagles? (USA TODAY Images)
2) CAN GAROPPOLO FOLLOW UP HIS WEEK ONE PERFORMANCE?

Rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was the lone bright spot at quarterback last week after a pretty dismal week one showing offensively for New England, but he showed enough to make the back-up quarterback position a little more interesting given Ryan Mallett's struggles in that game.  As a second round pick the expectations are already fairly high for the former Illinois standout, especially given who he's playing behind.

So far Garoppolo seems to be gaining confidence while Mallett has appeared a little tentative, which is disappointing for anyone hoping to see New England receive any value for him before he hits free agency and likely moves on. Mallett's availability for tonight seems in question, but should Garoppolo play well against the Eagles, it may set up an interesting situation over these final two weeks given their focus on having plenty of depth at other positions.  It's not out of the realm of possibility to carry three quarterbacks, but if he does play, Mallett needs to step up and finally have a strong performance.  He doesn't get many opportunities to show what he's capable of and so far, given the sample we've seen, he's definitely not taking advantage of his time on the field.

3) MALCOLM BUTLER LOOKING TO BUILD ON HIS STRONG SHOWING

As the Patriots continue trying to revamp their secondary, Butler was a player who last week was impressive and that's continued through this week during their joint sessions against Philadelphia.  The undrafted rookie finished with two passes defensed and six tackles in Washington and so far has actually looked like a player who has been in this defense for a while despite being a newcomer.  It's a group that overall is fairly crowded and Butler's presence only muddies it further, but it's a problem that New England should be happy to have given how he's played.

The bigger question now is whether or not he can remain consistent and continue to improve.  There are still three games to go and tonight's performance should hopefully be a reasonably good indication of  what direction he's headed in.  However, so far he's a player who is starting to look like a roster lock if he can keep it up.


For Kenbrell Thompkins, the time is now for him to step up and show he's a starting NFL receiver. (USA TODAY Images)
4) TIME FOR THOMPKINS TO SHINE

Kenbrell Thompkins has looked good in practice during this preseason but didn't have a strong showing during his one appearance last week in Washington.  He was targeted just twice with one reception, having played 29 offensive snaps.  For a player who is trying to re-establish himself as a starter in this offense, he needs to look like a man among boys when he's on the field.  He can't afford to be just another player and tonight is another opportunity to hopefully have a better performance.  

To this point he's seemingly slipped down the depth chart and finds himself behind Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and Aaron Dobson.  But the problem he faces now is the fact Brandon LaFell's stock has been rising, leaving Thompkins and Josh Boyce seemingly at the lower tier of that depth chart.  As a result, the time is now for the second-year receiver to show everyone what he's got.

5) HOW WILL REVIS' PRESENCE AFFECT THE GUYS AROUND HIM?

Friday night may mark the first time fans get their first glimpse of Darrelle Revis in the secondary, which should be interesting in terms of seeing that dynamic and how well he works with Devin McCourty and the rest of that defensive unit.  There were times in the past where the lack of solid play at corner has put McCourty out of position trying to help out, which was emphasized when that changed following the addition of Aqib Talib to this group.

Once Talib arrived McCourty was able to focus more on his job and having Revis there should once again allow him the same luxury. Revis' experience and calm demeanor has seemingly already had a positive effect with the other guys and so far they seem to be each working well together.

The good news is this unit already looks completely different from last year's and it seems like Revis' impact on the guys around him is having quite a positive effect.  We'll see tonight how that translates during what few snaps they ultimately play, but it should be exciting to see them in action.

It should be another interesting game, but hopefully we'll see additional players take advantage of their opportunities as the team continues the evaluation process building a roster that will hopefully see New England among the NFL's elite by the end of the season.

Patriots CB Arrington Getting Reps at Safety



Kyle Arrington has spent this week expanding his role in New England's defense. (USA TODAY Images)
One of the sure ways to solidify a role with the Patriots is to be a player who isn't afraid to fill multiple needs and it appears Kyle Arrington is getting the opportunity to increase his value to New England's defense.

Arrington has been a player who has played both inside and outside in New England's secondary since becoming a starter and has improved quite a bit in the past couple of seasons.  Now it appears he's getting some work in at safety after spending some time there this week.

Bill Belichick had some praise for Arrington this week and feels he can play anywhere.

"I think Kyle has a really good skill set to play anywhere [in the secondary]," Belichick said via the Boston Globe. "He's fast, he's tough, he's a good tackler, which your safeties need to be, but I'd say it's even more important at safety. He tackles well, he runs, he's a very athletic player."

The veteran defensive back, who is one year into a four-year deal, is in a secondary that is pretty crowded at the cornerback position and that situation only appears to be potentially getting more complicated following last week's performance by Malcolm Butler, who played well during the Patriots first preseason game.  Butler finished the night with two passes defensed along with six tackles and overall has looked pretty solid to this point during training camp.

With Arrington getting reps at safety, it gives New England some added depth in the event of injuries to Devin McCourty or Duron Harmon and it will also be interesting to see how things shake out when the team makes their final roster decisions in terms of who they keep and whether or not Arrington can fill the role of two players.

For now he's garnered enough respect from his coach and teammates for his ability to step in when called upon, with Devin McCourty noting that Arrington's experience being moved around has made him a smart player.

"I think he's smart," McCourty said via the Boston Herald. "I think he understands the defense on the whole. The way he plays, he can fit in at safety. He can fit in at corner. He's an aggressive guy. He always plays physical.

"I think him being able to play inside and outside has given him more understanding of the defense, so it allows him to do more things now that coach asks him to do."

Patriots QB Ryan Mallett: Last week's Performance in the "Rear-View"



Week one was a less than stellar performance for back-up quarterback Ryan Mallett. (USA TODAY Images)
After a rough outing in week one of the preseason against Washington, Patriots quarterback Ryan Mallett is trying to have a short memory as the team gets set for their second exhibition game of the year Friday night against Philadelphia.

Mallett, who finished the night just 5-of-12 (42%) for 55 yards along with a sack, didn't exactly look comfortable out there against the Redskins after getting the starting nod.  He was erratic while he was out there and had several errant throws, including one where he hit running back Roy Finch in the back of the head as he came out of the backfield.

Having been a back up for several seasons, Mallett had said that he feels like he's a starter, however he didn't exactly look like one last week in Washington.   They had problems moving the chains largely in part due to fact they struggled running the football, as well as the fact Mallett struggled to complete passes on early downs. He finished 0-for-3 on first down and just 1-of-3 on second down, which put him in long yardage situations throughout most of the time he was out there.

He faced nine second down plays last Thursday night, seven of which were from eight or more yards. Third down was just as dismal, with Mallett converting just three of seven for the contest, mostly due to the fact five of those seven were from 10 or more yards.

The result lead to a group that only crossed midfield twice with Mallett at the helm. They never reached any farther than the Redskins' 36 yard line and that drive ended with a missed 54-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowksi late in the second quarter.

Mallett missed a couple of sessions this week for what he called "maintenance days", which coincidentally followed what appeared to potentially be him aggravating his knee after catching his brace in the turf in Washington.  It remains to be seen if he'll see action tonight depending on his injury situation, with Mike Reiss of ESPN BOSTON suggesting he could sit this one out. Should he get the opportunity to potentially try and redeem last week's performance, he said this week he's focused on going out and having a better game, while having already put last week behind him.

"I've already moved passed it and ready for this week," Mallett told WEEI's Ryan Hannable. "Rear-view mirror kind of game right now."

Friday's Patriots Media Links 8/15



Tom Brady is expected to see action tonight against the Eagles. (USA TODAY Images)
MEDIA PRACTICE OBSERVATIONS:

ESPN BOSTON: Patriots Camp Report: Day 22 - Mike Reiss

WEEI: Thursday Practice Notes - Christopher Price

BOSTON HERALD: Practice Observations - Jeff Howe

BOSTON GLOBE:

Five areas to watch in Patriots' second exhibition game - Ben Volin: Volin has his "Five Areas to Watch" for tonight, including the quarterback rotation and he feels who every plays after Tom Brady comes out will speak volumes about their intentions.

BOSTON HERALD:

Patriots Notebook: Jerel Worthy of long look - Jeff Howe: Howe has some notes on newly acquired Jerel Worthy after he saw action on Thursday.

Patriots-Eagles: 5 things to watch for - Jeff Howe: Howe has an article on tonight's game and feels how well the Patriots' offensive line protects Tom Brady will be among some things to keep an eye on.

Borges: Dan Connolly in a battle - Ron Borges: Borges believes that Connolly is fighting for a spot on the roster this preseason, although he feels Connolly's versatility should keep him safe.

ESPN BOSTON:

Listing Patriots not expected to play - Mike Reiss: Reiss runs down the list of players he expects to sit out tonight, which includes Aaron Dobson, and he believes Ryan Mallett may potentially sit tonight as well after being limited this week.

Key areas for Patriots vs. Eagles - Mike Reiss: Reiss looks at some key areas to watch tonight, including how the defense looks as a first unit playing together.

Weekly Patriots chat recap - Mike Reiss: Reiss has a recap from his chat yesterday, which goes over a variety of topics.

Cave recalls college battles with Worthy - Patriots offensive lineman Braxton Cave talks about what it was like matching up against newly acquired defensive tackle Jerel Worthy in college.

Jerod Mayo not present for Patriots practice - Mike Reiss: Reiss has a note on the fact Jerod Mayo wasn't practice on Thursday morning.

WEEI:

Ryan Mallett: Two missed practices were 'maintenance' days - Ryan Hannable: Hannable has a quick entry on Mallett, who missed time this week with an apparent knee injuries, but appears to be OK.

Josh Boyce on Returning Kicks: 'I think I'm pretty good for it' - Ryan Hannable: Hannable has an entry with thoughts from Boyce, who believes he's a strong candidate for New England's return game.

Ryan Mallett Expects to Play Friday Night Against Eagles - Ryan Hannable: Hannable has an entry on the fact that Mallett is ready to go and he's put last week's performance in the "rear-view".

CSNNE:

Curran: What guys to watch vs Eagles - Tom Curran discusses a few things to keep an eye on and feels defensive lineman Will Smith is among several players to watch tonight.

CONCORD MONITOR:

What to look for in Patriots' preseason game vs. Philadelphia - Tim O'Sullivan: O'Sullivan has his things to watch for tonight, including whether or not Malcolm Butler can follow up his strong week one performance.

BLEACHER REPORT:

5 Things to Watch in Patriots Preseason Week 1 Matchup vs. Eagles - Erik Frenz: Boston.com's Erik Frenz looks at some things to keep an eye on tonight, including what he feels is "bordering on tragic" in regards to their tight end situation.

Patriots Acquire Packers Defensive Lineman Jerel Worthy



Bill Belichick added some depth behind Vince Wilfork on Tuesday night (USA TODAY Images)

It appears Patriots head coach Bill Belichick isn't taking any chances when it comes to defensive line depth and on Tuesday night he followed up the acquisition of Ben Bass with another move to bolster that unit.

According to his agent, Chafie Fields via Twitter, the Patriots acquired Packers' defensive lineman Jerel Worthy from Green Bay in exchange for a late round draft pick, provided Worthy ends up making the roster.

The former second round pick out of Michigan State in 2012 has gotten off to a slow start, with just 2.5 sacks in 16 career games over the past two seasons.   However, it's a situation that is a low-risk one for New England.  They acquired a talented player with a fair amount of potential and have nothing to lose if he doesn't make the roster.

He'll join a group that is hurting after losing Sealver Siliga to a hand injury that appears to be severe and has his future in doubt.  The team also saw Chris Jones suffer an ankle injury Thursday night, which may cause him to miss time.

As a result Bill Belichick appears to be trying to add depth to a group that was really thin after Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly were both lost for the season last year.  We'll see if either player can provide enough of an impact to allow them to get through 2014 a little stronger than they did last season.

Wednesday's New England Patriots Links 8/13



With Chris Jones dealing with an ankle injury and Sealver Siliga's future up in the air, the Patriots acquired two defensive linemen Tuesday night. (USA TODAY Images)
Here's a quick rundown of this morning's links:

MEDIA OBSERVATION LINKS FROM TUESDAY'S SESSION:

ESPN BOSTON: Patriots Camp Report: Day 20 - Mike Reiss

Observations from Patriots camp: Day 20 - Mike Reiss and Lee Schechter 

BOSTON.COM: Patriots Training Camp Notes: Darrelle Revis Struggles In First Joint Practice With Eagles - Erik Frenz

WEEI: Tuesday Practice Notes: Presense of Eagles Sparks Intensity: Christopher Price

BOSTON GLOBE:

Eagles, Patriots join in practice run toward Super Bowl - Ben Volin: Volin has his "On Football" column for this morning, looking at the two team's match-ups.

Darrelle Revis gets flagged down by officials - The Globe has photos from yesterday, with a good collection of images - although not really relevant to the title.

Officials help explain latest round of flag football - Shalise Manza Young: Manza Young has an article on the fact the officials who were on hand were there to help the team get a better understanding of the new rules regarding contact with defenders.

Notebook: Aaron Dobson right back in the swing - Rob Harms: Harms files his notebook this morning, which leads off a note on the return of Dobson to practice.

Patriots trade cornerback Justin Green to Dallas - Shalise Manza Young: Manza Young has details on the trade of Green to the Cowboys.

BOSTON.COM:

Aaron Dobson Back In the Mix, But Still Limited - Zuri Berry: Berry has an article on the return of Aaron Dobson, who was back at practice, albeit in a limited capacity Tuesday.

BOSTON HERALD:

Patriots Notebook: Jimmy Garoppolo takes control on the field [+Video]  - Jeff Howe: Howe writes that Garoppolo returned from Washington a new man and looked completely different on the field Tuesday against the Eagles.

After Rob Gronkowski, position precariously thin [+Video] - Karen Guregian: Guregian looks at the lack of depth at tight end as the team continues trying to bring in additional players.

Patriots take challenge, pass it on to rivals [+Video] - Jeff Howe: Howe has a note on the ice bucket challenge the team took on Tuesday before making a challenge of their own.

ESPN BOSTON:

DE Jerel Worthy heading to Patriots - Rob Demovsky: Demovsky has details on the Patriots trade for Packers defensive end Jerel Worthy.

Patriots don't want repeat of '13 at DT - Mike Reiss: Reiss has an article on the Patriots move to acquire two defensive tackles on Tuesday.

Hightower among offseason award winners - Field Yates: Yates writes that Dont'a Hightower was among the offseason award winners for the offseason workout program.

Electric atmosphere as 25k attend practice - Mike Reiss: Reiss has a report on the fact that a massive amount of fans were on hand for Tuesday's session.

Belichick to referee: Throw lots of flags - Mike Reiss: Reiss has notes on the fact Bill Belichick asked referee John Parry and members of his crew to throw flags and let the players know where they went wrong as they try and familiarize themselves with the new rules.

BLEACHER REPORT:

Breaking Down the New England Patriots' Options at Tight End - James Christensen: Christensen takes a look at the tight end depth chart along with the chances of each player making the team.

Tuesday's New England Patriots Links 8/12



Wide receiver Aaron Dobson made his return to practice for the first time on Monday. (USA TODAY Images- File Photo)

MONDAY PRACTICE OBSERVATIONS:

PATSFANS.COM: Patriots Monday, Aug 11th, Training Camp Observations - Steve Balestrieri

ESPN BOSTON: Patriots Camp Report: Day 19 - Mike Reiss

Observations from Patriots camp: Day 19 - Lee Schechter

WEEI: Monday Practice Notes: Dominque Easley, Aaron Dobson Make Training Camp Debuts - Christopher Price

ADDITIONAL LINKS:

BOSTON HERALD:

Patriots Project 53: Early look at who makes the cut - Karen Guregian: Guregian gives her roster predictions and her take on each positional group  in this entry.

Patriots Notebook: Team welcomes Easley, Dobson to practice - Adam Kurkjian: Kurkjian files his notebook this morning, which leads off with the return of rookie Dominique Easley and 2nd-year receiver Aaron Dobson to practice Monday.

5 things to watch from upcoming Patriots practices - Jeff Howe: Howe has his thoughts on some things to keep an eye on, including some key position battles.

Pats’ depth chart still a little loose at tight end - Adam Kurkjian: Kurkjian has his thoughts on the tight end position, which is a little questionable depth-wise at this stage of camp.

BOSTON GLOBE:

Patriots' new tight end trio getting along famously - Rob Harms: Harms has an article on the three newly signed tight ends by New England, who appear to be fitting in well so far.

Long shot Brian Tyms may catch on with Patriots - Ben Volin: Volin has an article on Tyms, who he feels has a chance to earn a spot.

With Eagles on deck, Patriots take it easy - Shalise Manza Young: Young has notes on Monday's session, with the team getting some light work in before the Eagles come in for joint practices.

Eagles' Cary Williams 'doesn't care' if Patriots target him - Rob Harms: Harms has comments from Williams, who after his "cheaters" remarks last week isn't worried about the Patriots going after him in practice.

BOSTON.COM:

Rob Gronkowski Feels Better After Time Off During Patriots Joint Practices With Redskins - Erik Frenz: Frenz has an article on Gronkowski, who seemingly benefited from a few days off after sitting out last week's joint sessions against Washington.

ESPN BOSTON:

Dan Connolly an offseason award winner - Mike Reiss: Reiss has a note on Connolly, who was acknowledged for his hard offseason work.

Patriots don't respond to Cary Williams - Mike Reiss: Reiss has comments from Logan Mankins and Belichick regarding Williams "cheaters" comments.

Big day on health front for Patriots - Mike Reiss: Reiss has notes on the return of a couple players on Monday and the health of the team.

Ryan Mallett misses 2nd straight practice - Mike Reiss: Reiss has notes on Mallett, who was absent for the second straight day on Monday.

Dobson, Easley practice for first time - Mike Reiss: Reiss has notes on the return of Aaron Dobson and 1st round pick Dominique Easley, who participated in practice for the first time this training camp on Monday.

WEEI:

Bill Belichick Talks Ice Bucket Challenge: "I Plan on Doing Something With It' - Christopher Price: Price has comments from Belichick's radio appearance Monday, where he responded to Giants' president John Mara's challenge to take the ice bucket challenge for ALS.

Stephen Gostkowski, Ryan Allen Give Patriots Stability on Special Teams - Ryan Hannable: Hannable has a  good read on New England's special teams group, which obviously has two terrific kickers.

Experience on Patriots Offensive Line Making Transition to Dave Deguglielmo Era Easier - Ryan Hannable: Hannable writes that the experience New England has up front in this system is making the transition following Dante Scarnecchia's retirement a little easier.

TE Ben Harstock Looks to Clear New Path With Patriots - Christopher Price: Price has a nice read on the newly signed tight end, who seems to have an idea of what he's gotten himself into by signing with the team.

CBS BOSTON:

Dobson's Return Puts Pressure On Boyce, Thompkins - Toucher and Rich spoke this morning about Dobson's return and how it potentially affects the lower-tiered receivers.

NESN:

Patriots Preseason Star Malcolm Butler Took ‘Long Route’ To NFL - Doug Kyed: Kyed has a good read on Butler, who worked hard to get where he is as he tries to catch on in New England.

NEW JERSEY STAR LEDGER:

Eagles-Patriots: 5 best potential training camp fights as teams get together for physical practices - Elliot Short-Parks: Short-Parks has his list of match-ups he feels might have the potential for a scuffle in this entry.

Patriots Monday, Aug.11 Training Camp Observations


Tyms with a fantastic effort on the sideline. (SBalestrieri photo) Brian Tyms with a fantastic effort on the sideline, hauling in a Jimmy Garappolo pass. (SBalestrieri photo)

The New England Patriots conducted their 13th practice of training camp in light shoulder pads (shells) and shorts on Monday, August 11, 2014 under sunny skies and temps hovering in the low 80s.

For the most part it was a very low-intensity workout, with little of the fireworks we’ve seen in other practice sessions. With the Eagles coming into Foxboro tomorrow for joint practices prior to their pre-season game, it was probably on the coach’s radar to do so.

MIAs: Ryan Mallett, Brandon Browner, Brian Stork, D.J. Williams, Michael Hoomanawanui, Jeremy Gallon, Kanoris Davis, Cameron Gordon and Ja’Gared Davis were amongst those who didn’t practice.

Big Returns:

The big news of the day had to be the return of both Aaron Dobson (PUP) and Dominique Easley (NFI) to the squad for the first time in 2014. This was huge news for the team as Dobson is expected to make a big jump in 2014 as the outside or “X” wide receiver.

Easley was the Patriots first draft pick in 2014 NFL Draft and is expected to be a penetrating disruptor along the defensive line. Easley did take part in the walk-thru at the beginning of practice and then both took part in only in positional drills and worked with the training staff on the side for most of the session.

Rob Gronkowski wore a red, non-contact jersey today and took part in some 7-on-7 work for the first time. Today was another big step for the Pat’s big tight end who continues to work on the side with Tom Brady and Darrelle Revis at other times. But for Gronk, he looks like he will indeed be ready to go for the opener in Miami.

I watched the new tight ends today, (Ben Hartsock, Steve Maneri and Terrence Miller) and they’re still all trying to assimilate in the Patriots offense as quickly as possible. But none did anything to stand out today.

Malcolm Butler continues to impress: Butler, who made such an impression in Washington, had perhaps the play of the day. With Brandon Browner missing, Butler got some first team reps opposite Revis. Brady threw a rocket to the left sideline intended for Kenbrell Thompkins. Butler got a great break on the ball, knocked it up into the air and seemed to haul in the ball for an interception as he went to the ground.

He also made a nice play in positional drills, hauling in a deep pass in the back of the end zone. With the log-jam at cornerback, Butler remains on the outside looking in, but is going to make the decision a tough one if he continues to play like this.

Josh Boyce had a rough afternoon, failing to hold onto a few passes that were easily catchable. One bounced up high and was eventually picked off by Nate Ebner. Another pass may have hit his hands but was picked on a nice play by Jemea Thomas.

With Ryan Mallett out, Jimmy Garappolo got a lot of snaps today and had a decent day, most of his throws were accurate and he showcased his wheels on another play of the day when rolled out left and threw a bb to Brian Tyms who made a tiptoe catch along the sideline. Those two continue to work well together and bring to mind the team work of Tebow and Sims in 2013.

James White continues to impress in the passing game and Brandon LaFell is starting to gel with Brady. With Dobson returning, LaFell is looking to find a role and he’s hauling in many more passes coming his way now in week 3.

Julian Edelman made a beauty of a catch on a deep Brady bomb right down the middle of the field. But while the crowd loved it, there was a blatant push off by Edelman with one hand, while hauling in the ball with the other.

Bob Kraft was on hand and greeted some people in the crowd which was a bit of a surprise to see the Pats owner walking up the hill during practice.

Interesting to watch edge players Chandler Jones and Michael Buchanan take some reps with the linebackers in positional drills. And for what it is worth this early, the Patriots continue to tinker with their front, sometimes 4-3, sometimes a 3-4 or a 4-3 under but it has been intriguing to watch.

The Eagles joint practice begins at 2 p.m. on both Tuesday and Wednesday, we’ll be there to cover both so stay tuned to PatsFans.

Patriots Training Camp Photo Gallery, Aug. 11, 2014


Julian Edelman hauls in a pass. (SBalestrieri photo) Julian Edelman hauls in a pass. (SBalestrieri photo)

Here are some of our best shots of Patriots Training Camp, August 11, 2014 practice:

Danny Amendola greets fans prior to practice. (SBalestrieri photo) Danny Amendola greets fans prior to practice. (SBalestrieri photo)

Dominique Easley took the practice field for the first time in 2014. (SBalestrieri photo) Dominique Easley took the practice field for the first time in 2014. (SBalestrieri photo)

Cameron Fleming, drew laughs from the crowd, by jogging out in Tom Brady's jersey. (SBalestrieri photo) Cameron Fleming, drew laughs from the crowd, by jogging out in Tom Brady's jersey. (SBalestrieri photo)[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2101" align="aligncenter" width="400"]New tight end Ben Hartsock (SBalestrieri photo) New tight end Ben Hartsock (SBalestrieri photo)

Aaron Dobson practices for the first time in 2014. (SBalestrieri photo) Aaron Dobson practices for the first time in 2014. (SBalestrieri photo)[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2103" align="aligncenter" width="600"]James Develin comes up with TD in 2 minute drills. (SBalestrieri photo) James Develin comes up with TD in 2 minute drills. (SBalestrieri photo)

Josh Boyce (SBalestrieri photo) Josh Boyce (SBalestrieri photo)

Easley took part in the walk thru only. (SBalestrieri photo) Easley took part in the walk thru only. (SBalestrieri photo)[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2106" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Gronk took part in 7-7s for the first time in camp. (SBalestrieri photo) Gronk took part in 7-7s for the first time in camp. (SBalestrieri photo)

Garappolo with a screen pass. (SBalestrieri photo) Garappolo with a screen pass. (SBalestrieri photo)

Garappolo to Boyce. (SBalestrieri photo) Garappolo to Boyce. (SBalestrieri photo)

Robert Kraft on the practice field. (SBalestrieri photo) Robert Kraft on the practice field. (SBalestrieri photo)

KT gets coached up by Josh McDaniels. (SBalestrieri photo) KT gets coached up by Josh McDaniels. (SBalestrieri photo)

Brandon LaFell with a stretch on the sidelines. (SBalestrieri photo) Brandon LaFell with a stretch on the sidelines. (SBalestrieri photo)

New TE Miller in a 1-1 drill. (SBalestrieri photo) New TE Miller in a 1-1 drill. (SBalestrieri photo)

Offense lines up. (SBalestrieri photo) Offense lines up. (SBalestrieri photo)[/caption]

Swanson with a great play to break up a pass. (SBalestrieri photo) Butler with a great play to break up a pass. (SBalestrieri photo)

Swanson hauls it in. (SBalestrieri photo) Butler hauls it in. (SBalestrieri photo)

Pass to Boyce is tipped.... (SBalestrieri photo) Pass to Boyce is tipped.... (SBalestrieri photo)

And then picked off by Nate Ebner. (SBalestrieri photo) And then picked off by Nate Ebner. (SBalestrieri photo)

Tyms with a fantastic effort on the sideline. (SBalestrieri photo) Tyms with a fantastic effort on the sideline. (SBalestrieri photo)

Monday's New England Patriots Links 8/11



So far tight end Rob Gronkowski has been yet to be cleared for contact. (USA TODAY Images)


Here's a quick rundown of this morning's links:

MEDIA OBSERVATIONS FROM SUNDAY'S PRACTICE:

BOSTON.COM: Patriots Training Camp Notes: Tom Brady Locked In With Danny Amendola - Erik Frenz

ESPN BOSTON: Patriots Camp Report: Day 18 - Mike Reiss
Observations from Patriots camp: Day 18 - Lee Schechter


PATRIOTS.COM: Mallett absent, new tight ends abound and other Patriots Sunday camp blogservations - Andy Hart

ADDITIONAL LINKS:

BOSTON GLOBE:

How the Patriots' roster could shake out - Ben Volin: Volin has his "On Football" column for this morning and offers up some scenarios about each position and how things might work out.

Rob Gronkowski getting better every day - Rob Harms: Harms files his notebook this morning, which leads off with notes on Gronkowski as he continues trying to get ready for the season opener on September.

Michael Buchanan getting a chance with Patriots - Shalise Manza Young: Manza Young has a good read on Buchanan, who is getting his fair share of opportunities so far this training camp.

BOSTON HERALD:

Rob Gronkowski's not in clear just yet - Karen Guregian: Guregian has an article on Gronkowski, who continues working hard but cautious when it comes to his knee.

Patriots Notebook: David Tyms took a lonely road - Karen Guregian: Guregian files her notebook this morning, which leads off with a bit on Tyms, who had a big performance Thursday night.

Gronk still waiting to get cleared for contact - Karen Guregian: Guregian has comments from Gronkowski, who hasn't been given the go ahead for contact yet.

ESPN BOSTON:

New England Patriots' projected roster - Mike Reiss: Reiss files his latest Roster projection, going down each position and listing his reasons behind each.

Rob Gronkowski: 'No setbacks' - Lee Schechter: Schechter has the latest from Gronkowski, who said the reason he didn't travel was to give his knee time to heal after a busy week of practice.

Source: Patriots waive three, sign three - Field Yates: Yates has notes on a transaction from yesterday, with the Patriots waiving three players including tight end Asa Watson.

MASSLIVE:

New England Patriots training camp: Humble Brian Tyms in 'awe' of chance to play with Tom Brady - Oliver Thomas: Thomas has a nice read on Tyms, who talked about the influence Randy Moss had on him when the two were together in San Francisco.

NEPATRIOTSDRAFT:

2013 Was No Flash in the Pan for Julian Edelman - Jason Cappell: Cappell has his thoughts on Edelman, who he believes will follow up his big season in 2014 with another solid year.

BLEACHER REPORT:

Patriots Rookie Tight Ends Fail to Capitalize With Gronkowski Absent - James Christensen: Christensen writes that Justin Jones and Asa Watson missed a key opportunity to earn a role with the team during their time here.

Monday's Patriots Media Links 8/11



So far tight end Rob Gronkowski has been yet to be cleared for contact. (USA TODAY Images)
Here's a quick rundown of this morning's links:

MEDIA OBSERVATIONS FROM SUNDAY'S PRACTICE:

BOSTON.COM: Patriots Training Camp Notes: Tom Brady Locked In With Danny Amendola - Erik Frenz

ESPN BOSTON: Patriots Camp Report: Day 18 - Mike Reiss Observations from Patriots camp: Day 18 - Lee Schechter

PATRIOTS.COM: Mallett absent, new tight ends abound and other Patriots Sunday camp blogservations - Andy Hart

ADDITIONAL LINKS:

BOSTON GLOBE:

How the Patriots' roster could shake out - Ben Volin: Volin has his "On Football" column for this morning and offers up some scenarios about each position and how things might work out.

Rob Gronkowski getting better every day - Rob Harms: Harms files his notebook this morning, which leads off with notes on Gronkowski as he continues trying to get ready for the season opener on September.

Michael Buchanan getting a chance with Patriots - Shalise Manza Young: Manza Young has a good read on Buchanan, who is getting his fair share of opportunities so far this training camp.

BOSTON HERALD:

Rob Gronkowski's not in clear just yet - Karen Guregian: Guregian has an article on Gronkowski, who continues working hard but cautious when it comes to his knee.

Patriots Notebook: David Tyms took a lonely road - Karen Guregian: Guregian files her notebook this morning, which leads off with a bit on Tyms, who had a big performance Thursday night.

Gronk still waiting to get cleared for contact - Karen Guregian: Guregian has comments from Gronkowski, who hasn't been given the go ahead for contact yet.

ESPN BOSTON:

New England Patriots' projected roster - Mike Reiss: Reiss files his latest Roster projection, going down each position and listing his reasons behind each.

Rob Gronkowski: 'No setbacks' - Lee Schechter: Schechter has the latest from Gronkowski, who said the reason he didn't travel was to give his knee time to heal after a busy week of practice.

Source: Patriots waive three, sign three - Field Yates: Yates has notes on a transaction from yesterday, with the Patriots waiving three players including tight end Asa Watson.

MASSLIVE:

New England Patriots training camp: Humble Brian Tyms in 'awe' of chance to play with Tom Brady - Oliver Thomas: Thomas has a nice read on Tyms, who talked about the influence Randy Moss had on him when the two were together in San Francisco.

NEPATRIOTSDRAFT:

2013 Was No Flash in the Pan for Julian Edelman - Jason Cappell: Cappell has his thoughts on Edelman, who he believes will follow up his big season in 2014 with another solid year.

BLEACHER REPORT:

Patriots Rookie Tight Ends Fail to Capitalize With Gronkowski Absent - James Christensen: Christensen writes that Justin Jones and Asa Watson missed a key opportunity to earn a role with the team during their time here.

Patriots vs Redskins: Five Thoughts on Preseason Opener


Patriots rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo impressed in the 23-6 loss to the Redskins Thursday night.   (USA TODAY Images)
The New England Patriots opened the preseason Thursday night against the Washington Redskins.

Thursday night's game gave fans and analysts the chance to get an in-depth look at some of these players in a more competitive setting than on the practice field. Here are five takeaways from the 23-6 loss. -

Ugly Team Performance: If you watched the whole game, it wasn't pretty. Overall, way more negatives than positives. It was disappointing to see the Patriots perform so poorly after some strong showings in training camp.

In all three phases of the game, the team had too many mistakes. Head coach, Bill Belichick summed it up after saying the team has "a lot of work to do" Don't cancel the season just yet, though, it's only the first preseason game. With so many unknown commodities on the field for the majority of the contest, it's a learning experience.

Offensive line Struggles: Throughout the game the offensive line struggled to protect quarterbacks Ryan Mallett and Jimmy Garoppolo. New England was not winning the one-on-one matchups.

Jordan Devey (starting at left guard in place of Logan Mankins) and Josh Kline at right guard both gave up some inside pressures and did not look in control. Something to monitor moving forward as they reshuffle the personnel up front.

Chris Jones Injury a Concern: Chris Jones carved out a nice role for himself last year and looked line a nice rotational contributor for the upcoming season. Late in the second quarter, however, he was rolled up on and limped off the field under his own power.

With fellow defensive lineman, Sealver Siliga, injuring his hand earlier in week, it would be a shame if Jones' injury caused him to miss a significant period of time. He left the game with what the team called an ankle injury and did not return.

Mallett Struggles, While Garoppolo Shines: Tom Brady watched from the sideline tonight giving Mallett the opportunity to start. The fourth-year backup was very inconsistent, which is what we have seen from him far too often at this point in his career. The offense as a whole looked abysmal and could not move the ball.

Rookie signal-caller Garoppolo stepped in for the second half and looked much better. So far in training camp Mallett had out-performed the rookie, but that was not the case Thursday night. Garoppolo did a good job keeping his eyes downfield, showing poise in the pocket and connected with wide receiver Brian Tyms on a few occasions. I liked his touch on the ball and hopefully he can build off this moving forward.

Depth an Issue: Throughout the game I thought running back, tight end, defensive end, linebacker and safety all looked thoroughly unimpressive. With many starters observing from the sidelines, it makes me question the quality of depth at each of those positions.

None of the tailbacks flashed, the tight ends were nearly invisible, the front seven struggled whether it was run or pass and several safeties took some bad angles. The opportunity was there for many of the players to take advantage and very few of them did. I will be focusing on those positions very closely next week. A lot of room for improvement.

Three Stars:

CB Malcolm Butler -- Cornerback is one of the deepest positions on the roster, but don't count out Butler just yet. The undrafted rookie from West Alabama responded well after being targeted early in the game. He plays with confidence and a good competitive edge. He could be someone to watch as a darkhorse to make the 53-man roster with Brandon Browner suspended the first quarter of the season.

QB Jimmy Garoppolo -- The rookie QB threw a few dimes on the evening, finishing up 9-of-13 for 157 yards a touchdown. After a rough start to training camp, Garoppolo showed he has some promise moving forward.

WR Brian Tyms --  He was targeted six times, hauling in 5 catches for 119 yards and a touchdown. The third-year receiver stood out, albeit against mostly third string opponents, but looked like he deserves more of an opportunity to prove himself as the preseason continues. He and Garoppolo showed great chemistry throughout the evening.

Do you have a Twitter account? Be sure to follow me: @PatriotsHaven!

Huddle Report: Friday's Patriots News and Notes 8/8



It was a rough night for Patriots QB Ryan Mallett. (USA TODAY Images)
Some notes and links following last night's loss:

JIMMY GAROPPOLO OUTPLAYS MALLETT IN DEBUT:

For all the praise Ryan Mallett received this week, it was quarterback Jimmy Garopplo who had the better outing during the Patriots 23-6 loss down in Washington Thursday night after Garoppolo finished the night completing 9-of-13 passes for 157 yards along with a touchdown in the second half.

While it hasn't shown up as much during training camp, Garoppolo looked fairly poised and even showed some great touch on the football after hitting a couple of deep plays to Brian Tyms, including a 53-yard pass on third down in the fourth quarter along with his 26 yard touchdown throw to him in the closing minutes of the game.

"I did alright," said Garoppolo after the game.  "There is a lot of stuff to improve on. It is a process. For any rookie quarterback, there is a lot to learn from and we will go watch the tape tomorrow and fix those things."

Meanwhile, Mallett finished the night 5-of-12 (42%) for just 55 yards on a night that seemed fit for him to finally be able to showcase himself following a week that saw him garner some positive remarks from members of the national media who were in Virginia watching him.

Unfortunately it didn't translate over into the game, which for now leaves Mallett the same as he's been.  He's been just O.K.  Not great, not terrible, but certainly not strong enough to be considered a starting caliber quarterback.

It's early to pile too much praise on Garoppolo, but it wasn't a bad start for the rookie.  It's just one game and he was going against players who, many of which, won't even be in the NFL one month from now.  But he made the most of his opportunity, which is about as much as he could have hoped for.

There's still three preseason games to go and plenty of snaps likely in their future.  Hopefully for Mallett's sake he's able to regroup against the Eagles this week.

STARS SIT THIS ONE OUT:

Last night was clearly an evaluation for some of the more unproven players, with a lot of New England's starters sitting out while others got some plays in to get comfortable and back into game shape.

Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and Logan Mankins were among some of the stars who sat this one out on the offensive side of the football, while Chandler Jones, Darrelle Revis, Devin McCourty and Dont'a Hightower were some notable names who were on the sidelines watching other guys take their reps on the defensive side.

However, out on the field were Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly, both of whom are coming back from injuries and needed the snaps as they continue working on settling back in.  Kelly told the Boston Globe after the game that he's still got a bit more work ahead of him to get back into shape, but he expects next week's game against the Eagles to go a little more smoothly.

"I think I have to work on it, but that's what these games are for,'' Kelly told the newspaper. "I don't see myself getting this gassed next week against Philly."

PATRIOTS SUFFER ANOTHER INJURY:

According to the Boston Globe, second year defensive tackle Chris Jones suffered an ankle injury in the first half and didn't return, which delivers another blow to a group that already lost Sealver Siliga earlier in the week with a hand injury.

Prior to the two getting hurt their depth was already shaky at best, so Jones' injury will be something to monitor, especially if the injury to Siliga is as serious as some of the recent reports have been stating.

ADDITIONAL LINKS:

BOSTON GLOBE:

Ryan Mallett unimpressive in Patriots opener - Ben Volin: Volin has his "On Football" column for this morning, which focuses on the rough night that Mallett had down in Washington.

Patriots stars missing in opener - Shalise Manza Young: Manza Young files her notebook this morning, which leads off with the fact quite a few starters sat out last night's contest.

Patriots have rocky start to preseason - Here's a collection of photos from last night's game

Ryan Mallett hype is a trick of the trade - Christopher Gasper: Gasper writes there are lobbyists in Washington who wish they could spin as favorably as the Patriots have on Mallett recently.

BOSTON.COM:

Patriots vs. Redskins Stock Report: Ryan Mallett Struggles, Malcolm Butler Shines - Erik Frenz: Frenz recaps some of the performances from last night while taking a look at some players who helped their cause.

BOSTON HERALD:

Ryan Mallett misfires - Jeff Howe: Howe has an article on the less than impressive performance by Mallett last night.

Patriots Notebook: Returning vets get little taste - Jeff Howe: Howe files his notebook, which leads off with him looking at the performances of Kelly and Wilfork in their first game action since being placed on injured reserve last year.

Brandon Browner burned early - Karen Guregian: Guregian has notes on the fact that the new contact rules hurt Browner last night.

ESPN BOSTON:

Leftover Thoughts from Patriots' Loss - Mike Reiss: Reiss has additional thoughts on last night's game, including the fact it was another step forward for Vince Wilfork.

Belichick, players react to preseason loss - Mike Reiss: Reiss has additional quotes from inside the locker room after the game.

Tale of two backup QB's for Patriots - Mike Reiss: Reiss contrasts the play of the two quarterbacks last night.

Observation deck: new England Patriots -Mike Reiss: Reiss has his takeaways from last night's game along with some additional thoughts in this piece.

Ups and Downs for the Patriots - Mike Reiss: Reiss has some players who he feels had a good night, while others didn't fare so well.

WEEI:

What we learned Thursday - Christopher Price: Price has a good read from last night's loss after how it all unfolded.

Ryan Mallett Expected to Get The Starting Nod Tonight



Ryan Mallett will play the lead role in tonight's Preseason Opener. (USA TODAY Images)
Ryan Mallett talked this week about the fact he's confident he can be a starting quarterback in this league, and it appears Bill Belichick will let him take the lead role in tonight's preseason opener.

According to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, Mallett will get the starting nod tonight, giving him an opportunity to showcase his talents during the team's first preseason game with potentially some of the first team players as he tries to continue a lot of the success he's had this week.

Mallett's received plenty of praise during these joint sessions and now that he has an opportunity to showcase himself, how he performs this preseason could potentially raise his stock high enough to give New England an opportunity to move him before the trade deadline.

Mallett said this week he believes he can be a starter in the NFL and tonight will certainly be a great opportunity for him to be able to prove it.

"I'm very excited about the opportunity to be able to play a lot," Mallett told the media this week. "I haven't really gotten too many chances during the regular season because I have a pretty good guy in front of me. Any time I get to play, I look forward to it."

Huddle Report: Thursday's News, Notes and Links 8/6



Bill Belichick helped set up a productive week for the Patriots and Redskins during their joint sessions. (USA TODAY Images)
Some news and notes this morning:

MALLETT GETS THE NOD TONIGHT:

It's been a pretty busy week during the team's joint practice sessions and after getting a look at most of the starters during their work against Washington, it appears Bill Belichick will let Tom Brady be a spectator and will start Ryan Mallett at quarterback in tonight's preseason opener.

According to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, Mallett will get the starting nod tonight which means fans may get an opportunity to see how he fares with some of the first team players as he tries to continue a lot of the success he's had this week.  Mallett's received plenty of praise during these joint sessions and now that he has an opportunity to showcase himself, how he performs this preseason could potentially raise his stock high enough to give New England an opportunity to move him before the trade deadline.

Mallett said this week he believes he can be a starter in the NFL and tonight will certainly be a great opportunity for him to be able to prove it.

"€œI'€™m very excited about the opportunity to be able to play a lot,"€ Mallett told the media this week. "€œI haven'€™t really gotten too many chances during the regular season because I have a pretty good guy in front of me. Any time I get to play, I look forward to it."

PATRIOTS AND WASHINGTON IN THE SPOTLIGHT NATIONALLY THIS WEEK:

Bill Belichick has been an innovator in the NFL with a lot of his insight and methods and this week's joint sessions in Washington appear to be yet another example of how big of an effect he's seemingly has thanks to how they approached these practices.

A lot of the national media is taking note of how the two teams worked together this week to work on different situations and how they were able to simulate so many different things over the course of the last few days.  With every game being different and unfolding in different ways, it's hard for teams to get much red zone work, two-minute drills, third down, etc. in a preseason game unless those situations present themselves in a given contest.

That's one reason why the overall thought is that a lot more value appears to be being placed on joint practices instead of preseason games, as both Belichick and Washington coach Jay Gruden took a lot of time putting together a plan to make the most out of their time on the field while orchestrating nearly tw0 hundred players into situations where they could best evaluate them.  There was plenty of work in a lot of different areas and it seems like this ended up being a very productive week for both sides and Gruden seems pleased with how it went.

"I thought it was a great experience," said Gruden.  "It exposed some things we really have to work on as a staff and it exposed some things that we have to work on as players. Overall we competed really well. I'm excited the way we came off the ball and competed in all the drills, but moving forward we know we have a long way to go but we're not as far as we think."

It seems to be a better way for teams to compete in a more controlled environment and for the most part both teams seemingly escaped with minimal injuries while getting a lot of work done.  That's about as much as they could have hoped for, and tonight's game will likely be more of an opportunity for some of the younger guys to showcase themselves as they try and give themselves an opportunity to earn a roster spot.

Following tonight's game, New England will get more work in next week when the Philadelphia Eagles visit Foxboro for another set of joint sessions.

BAD NEWS ON SEALVER SILIGA:

The Patriots have seemingly suffered their first significant injury of this preseason after Siliga suffered an injury to his left hand on Tuesday that appears to be more severe than first thought.

According to Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston, Siliga was flown back to Boston to undergo further tests on his hand and there appears to be significant concern by the team over the injury.

That's bad news for a team that doesn't have much depth up front to begin with and Siliga had been a pretty good contributor there after a strong showing last season.

One can only hope now, for his sake, is that this will be something he'll recover from.

ADDITIONAL LINKS:

BOSTON GLOBE:

Patriots, Redskins praise joint practices - Shalise Manza Young: Manza Young files her notebook this morning, which leads off with thoughts from both sides on this week's sessions.

BOSTON HERALD:

Source: Ryan Mallett to start Patriots' preseason opener tonight against Redskins - Jeff Howe: Howe reports that it will be Mallett taking the field to start tonight's game.

How offensive line protects Tom Brady key to success - Karen Guregian: Guregian has an article on whether or not there should be any cause for concern on the offensive line heading into this season.

For starters, here's what to watch - Jeff Howe: Howe has his thoughts on what to keep an eye on tonight when New England takes the field in their preseason opener.

It's Ryan Mallett time - Karen Guregian: Guregian writes that Mallett will get a good long look tonight when the Patriots battle the Redskins.

ESPN BOSTON:

Patriots not expected to play tonight - Mike Reiss: Reiss has his list of players he believes won't see action tonight and recaps some of the injuries that took place this week.

W2W4: New England Patriots - Mike Reiss: Reiss has his list of things to keep an eye on, including the Patriots' secondary's first exposure to the new rules on illegal contact and defensive holding.

WEEI:

Ryan Mallett on his Future: 'You Can't Control What you Can't Control' - Mike Petraglia: Petraglia has an article on Mallett, who is confident in his ability to be a starter in this league.

What to watch for Thursday night in Patriots-Redskins Preseason Opener - Christopher Price: Price has seven things he'll be looking for tonight, including how the interior of the Patriots' offensive line performs.

Reports: Sealver Siliga Returns to Boston For Tests on Left Hand, Will Miss Time - Mike Petraglia: Petraglia follows up on reports on Siliga's hand injury.

Week 9 showdown between Patriots-Broncos already toughest ticket - Christopher Price: Price has a note on how expensive the tickets between Denver and New England are and also on how the Patriots affect the median ticket prices for teams on the road.

FOX SPORTS:

Fan presents Brady with painting of him and 'Gazelle' - Here's a note on a local artist from Richmond, Virginia, who headed over to present a photo of Brady and his wife.  You'll have to see it to understand it.

ESPN:

Dual practice could be way of future - John Clayton: Clayton has some thoughts on joint sessions after watching the Patriots and Redskins go at each other this week and  believes that the way the two teams approached it should be a good model for other teams to follow.

CBS SPORTS:

Darrelle Revis looks revitalized in Patriots-Redskins Practice - Jason LaCanfora: LaCanfora has a terrific read with thoughts on Revis and some overall observations from his time watching these two teams.

Huddle Report: Wednesday's News, Notes and Links 8/6



Edelman and the Patriots had a long joint practice session Tuesday down in Richmond against Washington. (USA TODAY Images)
Here are this morning's links along with notes on each:
OBSERVATION LINKS: Here's a quick run down with links to media observations from yesterday's session:

BOSTON GLOBE:

 Another impressive day for Tom Brady - Ben Volin

BOSTON.COM:

Patriots Training Camp Notes: Long Practice, Mixed Results - Zuri Berry

WEEI:

Tuesday Practice Report - Mike Petraglia

ESPN BOSTON:

Patriots Camp Report: Day 13 - Mike Reiss

Observations from Patriots camp: Day 13 - Mike Reiss

PATRIOTS.COM:

Patriots offense stays hot in the Richmond heat, defense keeps hitting and other blogservations - Andy Hart

Butler getting job done at corner; Tues. joint practice notes from Richmond - Erik Scalavino

REDSKINS.COM:

#SkinsCamp Day 11: Notes & Highlights - Andrew Walker
ADDITIONAL LINKS:

BOSTON GLOBE:

Bill Belichick has always seen Tom Brady as a leader - Shalise Manza Young: Manza Young files her notebook this morning, which leads off with comments from Belichick on his first year in New England, which included the drafting of Brady.

BOSTON HERALD:

Justin Jones sees red with opportunity - Karen Guregian: Guregian has an article on Jones and writes that when he's on the field, you can't take your eyes off him.

Tom Brady still impresses and leads, bar none - Jeff Howe: Howe has an article on Brady, with humorous comments from Logan Mankins talking about the veteran quarterback.

ESPN BOSTON:

Tom Brady: We don't have all the answers - Mike Reiss: In this article Brady talks about the things they're working on and the benefits of working against Washington's defense.

Patriots tested in steamy 3-hour practice - Mike Reiss: Reiss gives his synopsis of yesterday's session, which Brady said afterwards was one of the longer practices he could remember.

Brady on 'pygmies' Edelman & Amendola - Mike Reiss: Reiss has a funny comment from Brady, who is hoping the two receivers don't get mad at him for the reference.

Belichick: 'Situational' practice important - Lee Schechter: Schechter has comments from Belichick from yesterday and the benefits of being able to work on different situations.

WEEI:

Tom Brady thanks Wes Welker for mentoring Julian Edelman, Develops Chemistry with Danny Amendola - Mike Petraglia: Petraglia has comments from Brady, who credits Welker for helping Edelman and also notes the receiver has "worked his tail off".

CBS BOSTON:

Patriots Blog: Mallett Will Get Opportunity In Preseason - Levan Reid: Reid has notes from yesterday, including comments from Belichick, who praised Ryan Mallett during his press conference.

ATTLEBORO SUN CHRONICLE:

FARINELLA: Kraft mailing probably needs fine print - Mark Farinella: Farinella has an article on another potential access road on route one and his thoughts on the situation.

MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL:

James White impresses New England Patriots - Bob Wolfley: Wolfley has a local article on White, who is a former Wisconsin Badger.

WASHINGTON POST:

On Day 2 Redskins and Patriots stress red zone, third down, two-minute drill - Liz Clarke: Clarke has notes from Tuesday, which saw the two sides work on situational football and was something Bill Belichick felt was valuable to be able to create.

Tom Brady relishes the challenge, even in practice - Jason Reid: Reid writes that Brady has looked sharp, noting that even some Redskins fans have cheered for him while watching him.

Thoughts from Patriots' Camp: Brady just as driven as ever - Mark Maske: Maske has Patriots-related thoughts in this piece, including comments from Brady on a variety of topics.

REPORT: Patriots Trying to Extend Darrelle Revis



It appears the Patriots may be trying to make sure Darrelle Revis sticks around for the foreseeable future. (USA TODAY Images)
Since arriving in New England cornerback Darrelle Revis' work ethic and his performance on the field have seemingly been a perfect fit with Bill Belichick and the Patriots' defensive system.

Now it appears Belichick may be trying to make sure Revis remains a part of it for the foreseeable future.

According to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report, the Patriots have already started trying to extend Revis' two-year contract.

"What I'm hearing from the Patriots is that Revis has been so good so far that they are privately already starting to talk about extending his contract," Cole said to Bleacher Report's Adam Lefkoe via Boston.com. "The Patriots like what they see so much — they think they see the next Ty Law and that shutdown cover corner to really get their defense going — that they'd like to extend him out. Robert Kraft, the owner of the team, has pulled Darrelle Revis aside and started to talk to him to see if they can get a long term deal worked out."

Revis originally signed a two year deal worth $32 million shortly after losing Aqib Talib to the Broncos in free agency, but the second-year option was massive (a $12.5 million roster bonus) and would leave New England in a difficult position from a salary cap perspective.  So extending him makes both financial sense and would give them a player who essentially gives them an incredible asset on the defensive side of the football.

So far the veteran appears to be enjoying himself here in New England, having also talked very positively about his relationship with Belichick.  We already know how much better Tom Brady makes this offense and Revis essentially provides a similar presence on the defensive side of the football. Having him now working with Belichick certainly seems like a terrific pairing and hopefully - if they can get something done - it will be one that lasts for a long time.

"You know, Coach Belichick is very open about football. It's football talk. He's very open about it. You can go to him about anything," said Revis last week. "You can ask him about anything. We're just trying to get ready. We're just trying to get ready and get prepared. Anything that's best for the team, that's the best position that's going to put us in a position to win. That's all we try to do: football talk. We talk all the time about what's the best position for the team for us to win."

And locking Revis up for the long-haul would certainly make winning a little easier.

UPDATE Wednesday 7:05pm:

Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald Tweeted a bit ago and refuted the report:



Cole's report had said that Kraft "has pulled Darrelle Revis aside and started to talk to him to see if they can get a long term deal worked out." It's possible that while no official negotiations may have begun between the two sides, it sounds like Kraft may have simply tried to get a feel for what it may take to get a deal done in order to keep him in a Patriots uniform.

Huddle Report: Tuesday's News, Notes and Links 8/5



So far Vince Wilfork isn't paying any attention to his Achilles and is feeling good to this point of training camp. (USA TODAY Images)
Here are some links on this Tuesday morning, including links to observations from Monday's joint practices against Washington:
MONDAY OBSERVATION LINKS:

ESPN BOSTON:

Patriots Camp Report: Day 12 - Mike Reiss: Reiss recaps day one in Washington, noting that watching Darrelle Revis and DeSean Jackson go head-to-head drew some attention.

Observations from Patriots camp: Day 12 - Mike Reiss: Reiss has additional information from Monday's session in this entry.

Patriots Training Camp Notes: Brady, Mallett Shine - Zuri Berry: Berry has notes from Monday's session, with Tom Brady and Ryan Mallett both looking impressive.

Providence Journal:

Patriots defense shuts down Griffin, Redskins in first joint practice - Eric Kolenich: Kolenich has some quick notes from Monday, which included a strong performance by the Patriots' defense.
BOSTON GLOBE:

Patriots DBs must be aware of new emphasis on rules - Ben Volin: Volin files his "On Football" column for this morning, which focuses on the fact the Patriots' defensive backs will have to learn a little more about the new rules the league is enforcing as it relates to downfield contact.

Patriots' Chris Jones building on strong rookie season - Shalise Manza Young: Manza Young has a nice read on Jones, who is keeping his success from last season in perspective.

BOSTON.COM:

Patriots Training Camp Notes: Brady, Mallett Shine - Zuri Berry: Berry has notes from Monday's session, with Tom Brady and Ryan Mallett both looking impressive.

BOSTON HERALD:

Darrelle Revis shows off his talents - Jeff Howe: Howe has an article on Revis, who put on a strong performance while showing off what he's capable of yesterday.

Patriots pin back ears on pass rush - Karen Guregian: Guregian has an article on the Patriots agressive pass rush, which they showed glimpses of yesterday.

Healthy Vince Wilfork's words carry weight - Karen Guregian: Guregian has an article on Wilfork, who looked good during his outing on Monday as he continues getting ready for the season.

Patriots Notebook: Gronk sits this one out - Jeff Howe: Howe files his notebook this morning, which leads off with the fact Rob Gronkowski stayed back in Foxboro as he continues rehabbing his knee.

ESPN BOSTON:

A few Ryan Mallett thoughts - Mike Reiss: Reiss has some thoughts on his own perspective on Ryan Mallett, who created a lot of buzz with his play on Monday.

Snapshots: Pats-Redskins practice - Some photos from Monday's session are in this entry.

RG III report: Wisdom from Tom Brady - John Keim: Keim offered up some comments from the Washington quarterback, who talked about his conversation with Brady.

Trimmer Wilfork: Achilles an afterthought - Mike Reiss: Reiss has an entry with comments from Vince Wilfork, who talked about the fact he's not thinking about his achilles injury so far this preseason.

Camp Confidential: New England Patriots - Mike Reiss: Reiss has a good read with some insight into why there's reasons for optimism and pessimism in different areas of this training camp.

MASSLIVE:

Patriots training camp notes: Vince Wilfork drops weight in return from injury; Mike Mayock calls Ryan Mallet 'a legitimate NFL starting QB' - Nick O'Malley: O'Malley recaps yesterday's events down in Richmond, Virginia.

WEEI:

Bill Belichick recalls good old days against Redskins, 'Almost my Second Home' - Mike Petraglia: Petraglia has comments from Belichick, who has a history with Washington.

Darrelle Revis: Day 1 vs. Redskins shows 'physical' Patriots 'D' ' Getting Better Every Day - Mike Petraglia: Petraglia has an article with comments from Revis, who said his team continues to improve each day.

NESN:

RGIII Appreciative Of Tom Brady's Wisdom, Hopes To Pick His Brain More - Doug Kyed: Kyed has comments from Robert Griffin III after he and Tom Brady spent some time chatting on Monday.

PROVIDENCE JOURNAL:

For Patriots, joint practice with Redskins brings back memories - Eric Kolenich: Kolenich has an article on what it was like being in Richmond against the Redskins.

Donaldson: Is Darrelle Revis better than Pats Hall of Famer Ty Law? - Jim Donaldson: Donaldson compares Revis to Law and ponders if Revis might actually be a better player.

PATRIOTS.COM:

Ask PFW: How do you feel about "bubble" players? - Erik Scalavino: Scalavino has this week's mailbag, which touches on a variety of topics including how he feels about players like Tavon Wilson, Patrick Chung, and Jake Bequette.

Patriots Defense Is Starting To Come Together



Chandler Jones joins a defense that looks like it should be much better in 2014. (USA TODAY Images)
As the team heads into another week of training camp the Patriots will be in Washington this week for joint practices as they get set for their first exhibition game of the year on Thursday night.

So far, especially defensively, this is a unit that appears to be coming together, with Jarrett Bell of USA TODAY highlighting a moment from practice last week where the defense made a major goal line stop and celebrated collectively after making the play.

Linebacker Rob Ninkovich hit running back Stevan Ridley first, with a half-dozen others joining him just after and taking Ridley down short of the goal line.

"Hell, no! We won't go! Hell, no! We won't go!" they reportedly chanted, pumping fists, high-fiving and bumping chests.  It's exactly the type of camaraderie that is great to see at this point in camp and this is a group that looks confident at this point in the preseason.

During that same series prior to their goal line stand, Darrelle Revis also stepped in front of a pass from Tom Brady and returned it for a touchdown.  That play was celebrated as well and Brady acknowledged how dangerous both Revis and newcomer Brandon Browner are, which as a quarterback, closes the margin for error for whoever they're facing.


If Tom Brady and the offense can continue their success scoring points in 2014, the Patriots revamped defense should have them poised for plenty of success.
(USA TODAY Images)
"They're both great players, so when you make a mistake, they make you pay, and I think that's the mark of a really good corner," said Brady. "As a quarterback, you're always trying to find the weak link in the defense, and neither of those guys are weak links. Sometimes, we've got to go after them, [and] we've got to try to see if we can make a play. But like I said, if you miss a little bit, they end making the play. It's great work for us, and you understand what you're up against."

Those are moments that give fans a glimpse of what may be in store for 2014.  So far this football team is showing signs that they're going to be tougher to handle this year defensively, which will hopefully allow them to hold opponents in check a little better than they've done in previous seasons.  Offensively, scoring points hasn't been that big of an issue, with the Patriots tied for second offensively in points-per-game with 27.8 in 2013. However, slowing teams down has been an area of contention after they allowed an average of 373.1 yards per game, ranking them 26th in the league.

With Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly returning and both looking strong thus far in camp, much of what ailed this team last season appears to be an area that will be better this year.  This is a team that allowed opposing teams to have success running against them last season, giving an average of 134.1 yards per game on the ground and a lot of those problems started after both Wilfork and Kelly were lost for the season early in the year.

The linebacker position also looks improved thanks to the return of Jerod Mayo, with Dont'a Hightower and second-year linebacker Jamie Collins among players who have also looked good early on.

There's still a long way to go before the season is here, but there appears to be plenty of reason to be optimistic.  This week they'll finally get a chance to start hitting opposing players, which will give Bill Belichick an opportunity to get a glimpse at how they'll potentially fare against an opponent other than themselves.

"Obviously we're not game planning for them or anything," said Belichick on Friday. "We'll just go down there, do what we do and they'll do what they do and we'll kind of figure it out as we go. It will be a good experience for us to work against Coach [Jay] Gruden's offense, Coach [Jim] Haslett's defense and see some different matchups.

"We've seen our guys go against our guys a lot and now we'll get to see them go against somebody else. I think we're all looking forward to it. I think it will be a helpful evaluation for our team."

Huddle Report: Monday's News, Notes and Links 8/4



Tom Brady and the Patriots are in Washington this week for joint sessions leading up to their first preseason game on Thursday. (USA TODAY Images)

BOSTON GLOBE:

How will Patriots employ Darrelle Revis? - Ben Volin: Volin ponders how the team may utilize cornerback Darrelle Revis in this morning's "On Football" column.

BOSTON.COM:

Duron Harmon Listed As Starting Strong Safety In Patriots First Depth Chart - Erik Frenz: Frenz looks at the depth chart released by the team, which has Harmon sitting i the top spot at strong safety.

BOSTON HERALD:

Offering a sneak peek at Patriots after 1 week - Karen Guregian: Guregian has a good read on the latest week of practices and some thoughts heading into these joint sessions.

Patriots-Redskins practices: Five things to watch - Jeff Howe: Howe has five things to watch this week, including how Brady and the receivers will fare down in Washington.

Patriots go
 without Dominique Easley - Jeff Howe: Howe has a note on the fact the Patriots went down to Washington without Easley as he continues working his way toward getting back to 100%.

ESPN BOSTON:

New England Patriots' projected roster - Mike Reiss: Reiss has a roster projection, along with notes on each position as he goes down the roster.

Patriots, Richmond excited for practices - Mike Reiss: Reiss has an article on what the environment is like down in Washington leading into this week's practice sessions.

Patriots rookie LB Skinner passes physical - Staff: Skinner reportedly passed his physical on Sunday, activating him off the non-football injury list.

WEEI:

Report: Patriots re-sign LB James Morris - Christopher Price: Price has a quick note on the re-signing of linebacker James Morris, who was previously given a "failed physical designation" and was waived.

Centers of Attention: Ryan Wendell, Dan Connolly and Bryan Stork all in Spotlight: Christopher Price: Price has an article on the centers, who are in a pretty good competition during camp so far.

USA TODAY:

Bell: Revamped Patriots defense shows renewed ferocity - Jarrett Bell: Bell looks at the defense and recaps a moment last week where the Patriots made a big stop at the goal line and celebrated the play, showing how tight this group is becoming.

BLEACHER REPORT:

What We've Learned Through Week 2 of Patriots Camp - James Christensen: Christensen has a good look at what's happened to this point in training camp.

NEPATRIOTSDRAFT.COM:

Madison to Foxboro: The Game of Patriots Rookie James White - Oliver Thomas - Thomas highlights White's growth so far in training camp, who has a similar style to Shane Vereen.

WASHINGTON POST:

Could joint practices, such as Redskins vs. Patriots, supplant a preseason game? - Liz Clarke: Clarke wonders if the addition of joint practices might cause the league to consider replacing preseason games with additional regular season games as the league tries to expand to an 18-game season.

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