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New England's defense in 2012 is looking like it could be quite a bit better than years past.
Chandler Jones is the real deal. So much for the "he might need some seasoning" chatter that was so prevalent at the draft. The first-round draft choice seized the opportunity for additional reps at right defensive end when Rob Ninkovich was sidelined for a few days early in camp, and now looks like a permanent fixture there (with Ninkovich moving to the left side). While Jones has impressed on the field, he's also made an impression on his teammates off the field as a humble rookie who is willing to carry veterans' shoulder pads on his way off the field.
For the latest on the Patriots, check out Pats Pulpit.
Olympic silver-medalist and former Florida Gators running back Jeff Demps has signed with the New England Patriots. Demps is the only athlete in school history to win national championships in two sports, football and indoor/outdoor track.
Donte' Stallworth was brought into training camp with the idea of being a serviceable piece for Tom Brady and the offense. So far, head coach Bill Belichick is pleased with Stallworth's progress, according to ESPN.com.
"I think Donte' has had a solid camp," Belichick said. "He's shown that he still has his speed. Athletic. Gets down the field well. And he's tough, he comes in and blocks. Is good with the ball in his hands. I think he's been very competitive with that group."
Stallworth, 31, was previously a member of the Patriots back in 2007, when the team went 16-0 before ultimately losing to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII.
In that season, Stallworth hauled in 46 receptions for 697 yards and three touchdowns.
New England Patriots veteran wide receiver Jabar Gaffney left practice on Wednesday with what appears to be a hamstring injury. Gaffney pulled up during practice and received treatment on his right hamstring on the sidelines from the Patriots' athletic training staff. However, Gaffney did not go to the locker room after receiving treatment and there is no official word from the team on the severity of the injury.
In addition to the Gaffney injury news, tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez were both back in full pads for practice on Wednesday after missing recent practice sessions. Gronkowski had missed three practices, while Hernandez missed the last two practices.
The New England Patriots added a couple of open roster spots Monday when they waived/injured linebacker Dane Fletcher and wide receiver Britt Davis. Both players were injured during New England's preseason opener against the New Orleans Saints on Thursday.
Fletcher tore his ACL during Thursday's game and was expected to miss the rest of the season. He was entering his third season with New England after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent in 2010. He played in 10 games for the Patriots last season including five starts. During his two-year career in New England, he racked up 55 tackles and intercepted one pass.
Davis was released with an injury settlement after he suffered a shoulder injury in Thursday's game. He caught one pass for three yards in the contest. Davis played three games for the Denver Broncos in 2010 and signed to the Patriots practice squad late in 2011.
The New England Patriots might be close to adding some depth and experience along the offensive line ,as 12-year veteran Chad Clifton is heading to New England to visit the Patriots and take a physical this week, according to a report from NFL.com.
Clifton spent his entire career with the Green Bay Packers, but was released in April after he failed a physical. Clifton started six games for Green Bay last season but first tore his hamstring, then later injured his back, which caused him to miss the rest of the season.
If healthy, Clifton could provide New England with some vital insurance along the offensive line. Left tackle Nate Solder struggled in New England's first preseason game, while right tackle Sebastian Vollmer has battled ankle and back injuries. The Patriots already lost some offensive line depth when Robert Gallery abruptly retired in early August.
Clifton has played in 165 games in his career, starting 160 of those.
For more on the Patriots, visit Pats Pulpit.
The New England Patriots sat both Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez for practice Monday, according to Greg A. Bedard of the Boston Globe. The team gave no reason for their absence. Gronkowski also sat out Sunday's light session with an "unknown ailment."
Hernandez joins Gronkowski as being out of this practice.— Greg A. Bedard (@GregABedard) August 13, 2012
Hernandez was able to participate Sunday, and both players caught passes in Saturday's preseason opener against the New Orleans Saints. Unfortunately, Bill Belichick is still Bill Belichick, so don't count on much concrete information coming to the surface if the reason isn't a long-term issue. Considering the fact that Brandon Lloyd is out as well, there's a chance that the Pats are simply giving the players a day off. That, or New England's receiving corps has been quietly decimated.
Of course, the Patriots have no shortage of tight ends. Visanthe Shiancoe is a more than capable target if either Gronkowski or Hernandez were to miss extended time somehow.
Plaxico Burress is reportedly working out with the New England Patriots on Sunday, per ESPN. Burress, a member of the New York Giants' 2007 Super Bowl team that upset the previously undefeated Patriots, is a 35-year-old free agent.
Burress spent 22 months in prison serving time for a gun charge in New York back in 2008 and would not return to the NFL until the 2011 season, when he played with the New York Jets. Last season, Burress played in all 16 games and recorded 612 receiving yards and eight touchdowns on 45 receptions.
Before joining the Jets, Burress spent four seasons with the Giants, racking up 3,681 receiving yards and 33 scores in 57 games. Burress began his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, playing in 71 games and amassing 4,164 receiving yards and 22 touchdowns.
New England currently has ten wide receivers on its active roster.
Being Tom Brady's backup might be the most anonymous job in all of New England. Nevertheless, the battle to backup Brady has raged through the early weeks of the Patriots training camp. Second-year quarterback Ryan Mallett was once seen as a sure bet to leap Brian Hoyer on the depth chart, but the early reviews have some questioning that prediction.
Tom Curran of CSN New England did not have a positive update on the former University of Arkansas star.
"Ryan Mallett has an opportunity to lay claim to being the heir apparent to Tom Brady, and he just hasn't done it."
The Patriots play their first preseason game on Thursday night against the New Orleans Saints. Mallet and Hoyer should both get plenty of snaps to try and cement their case.
The New England Patriots were without one of their more promising young players on Monday morning.
Brandon Spikes was absent from the practice, with no reason yet known, according to ESPN.com. It's puzzling considering he isn't suffering from any known injury, but then again it could be just about anything from an illness to a precaution. The Patriots are usually tight-lipped about situations like this.
Spikes was a key contributor last season, posting 47 tackles but taking on a much more important role as the season went on. Coming into 2012, Spikes is expected to be the starting middle linebacker and one of the players to help Dont'a Hightower and Chandler Jones make the transition from college.
So far, Spikes has had a quiet but productive camp from all accounts, with his only notoriety coming from a scrape on Friday with second-year teammate Nate Solder.
For now, it's expected that Spikes will be back in action shortly.
Bill Belichick spent a significant portion of Monday morning's practice session working on situational football, according to a Tweet from WEEI.com's Chris Price, as the team readies itself for the preseason opener against the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA.
Pats work almost exclusively on situational football throughout session. Prep work for preseason opener on Thursday.— Christopher Price (@capeleaguer) August 6, 2012
The team is in its second week of camp, and all reports indicate that the Pats are looking as good as many expected them to. New England has a relatively soft schedule, some say the weakest in the league, and with the addition of speedy wideout Brandon Lloyd and the return of a (hopefully) healthy Rob Gronkowski, there is no reason to think that the Patriots won't wind up making another deep postseason run.
As a No. 2-overall pick in the NFL Draft, many thought offensive lineman Robert Gallery was headed to the Hall-of-Fame. Instead, the 32-year-old's steady, yet, no-so-prolific career ended Saturday as he retired at New England Patriots training camp.
In March, Gallery, the Oakland Raiders top choice in 2004, signed as an unrestricted free agent after being released by the Seattle Seahawks, an organization he spent just one season with. The former Iowa Hawkeye spent his first seven seasons with the franchise that originally drafted him.
Gallery, 6-foot-7, 320 pounds, may not be headed to Canton, Ohio, but he can hang his hat on a solid career, which featured 104 games and 103 starts. Gallery played at both guard and tackle during his eight-year career and never made a Pro Bowl.
Donte Stallworth has had his ups and downs, but the one constant is his love of football and New England. Stallworth took time to speak with Jen Royle of SB Nation Boston about his return to the Patriots in an exclusive interview.
The New England Patriots announced on Sunday that the team will not practice on Monday (via WEEI). The Patriots completed their second practice in full pads and fourth practice overall on Sunday. The team announced an attendance record (14,000+) at practice for the third time out of the first four practices on Sunday as well.
During Sunday's practice the duo of quarterback Tom Brady and new receiver Brandon Lloyd were in sync. Brady found Lloyd on a 45-yard touchdown strike before hitting Lloyd in the in the back of the end zone later in practice. The veteran wideout is looking to return to the form he showed during his break out season of 2010 for the Broncos (77 receptions, 1,448 yards, 11 touchdowns).
Injuries finished the day early for Defensive end Rob Ninkovich, tight end Visanthe Shiancoe and offensive lineman Jamey Richard. Rookie cornerback Alfonzo Dennard was out again with a hamstring injury. Linebacker Tracy White also did not practice. Rookie free agent defensive lineman Justin Francis returned to practice (via ESPN Boston).
The Patriots will return to the practice field on Tuesday from 1:30 to 4 p.m. The practice will be open to the public.
With the New England Patriots at training camp preparing to defend their 2012 AFC Championship, one piece to the puzzle has been missing.
Brian Waters still isn't at camp, and it's unclear as to why he's a no-show. There has been rampant speculation about the possibility Waters will just retire at the age of 35, but that's not substantiated.
On Saturday when Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio talked to reporters, he reiterated the Patriots stance on Waters, according to Boston.com.
"I don't have any updates on it at this point," Caserio said. "[There's] really no change at this point from the other day."
It would be odd to see Waters step away from the game now, after having the opportunity to retire for months following the loss in Super Bowl XLVI to the New York Giants.
Then again, Waters has been absent throughout all of the minicamps and perhaps just needs more time to make a decision. Either way, New England is in a holding pattern until the potential Hall-of-Famer decides.
The New England Patriots wrapped up their second practice of training camp on Friday at Gillette Stadium. Again, ten players were held out of practice as they were on Thursday.
Here is a list of players who did not participate in practice:
Tight end Aaron Hernandez worked out with the tight ends on Friday after working through drills with the receivers on Thursday. In addition to position drills, Hernandez fielded some punts along with Julian Edelman and Deion Branch (via Boston Herald).
The Patriots also signed a player on Friday, offensive tackle Darrion Weems. Weems (6-5, 318) was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Minnesota Vikings, but he was cut before camp began (via WEEI).
New England Patriots' starting right guard Brian Waters has been missing since the start of training camp, but his absence has been excused by head coach Bill Belichik according to Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald
When asked about Waters' absence, Belichik wasn't too concerned about Waters missing time,
"We’ll just take it day to day. There’s no long-term plan."
While there are rumors of a possible retirement decision for Waters, Belichik would not go into detail with reports when asked,
"I couldn’t comment on anybody else’s career — playing, not playing or anything like that. That’s for them to talk about, not me."
The 35-year old Waters also missed the team's mandatory minicamp in June, but his absence there was excused by Belichik as well..
Waters declined to clarify the reason why he was not in camp, saying:
"I'm not really talking about it, you'll have to talk to the Patriots about it. At this moment, I'm not really discussing the situation. Right now I'm just handling things between me and the team. If they want to talk to you, that's fine but I'm not really talking about it.
"You're just going to have to talk to the team. I'm allowing them to handle all the media stuff right now. We're going to do it this way, because it's the best way to do it."
Waters' agent also directed all questions to go to the team. The veteran guard is expected to return to the team and could have an agreement with New England about when he can report to camp.
The New England Patriots announced the signings of defensive lineman Tim Bulman and tight end Visanthe Shiancoe and the release of running back Joseph Addai on Wednesday. Terms of the contracts of the signed players were not disclosed.
Bulman is a seven-year veteran lineman who signed with the Arizona Cardinals out of Boston College in 2005. Bulman has played in 49 games (2 starts) in his career and has 57 tackles and four sacks. Shiancoe is a nine-year veteran who has played for the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings during his career. He has made 243 catches for 2,677 yards and 27 touchdowns for his career.
Addai had been signed by the Patriots as a free agent on May 10, 2012, after he had been released by the Indianapolis Colts. Addai had played for the Colts for six seasons and had 4,453 yards on 1,095 carries and 39 rushing touchdowns. He also had 191 receptions for 1,448 yards and nine touchdowns.
Shiancoe worked out for the Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday and was reportedly deciding between the Eagles and Pats. Shiancoe will be the fourth veteran tight end on the New England roster along with Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Daniel Fells.
Shiancoe made 36 receptions for 409 yards and three touchdowns for the Minnesota Vikings last season. He was targeted 70 times by Vikings quarterbacks in 2011 which ranked him 22nd in the NFL. The former third-round NFL Draft pick of the New York Giants (2003) played for the Giants and Vikings during his nine-year career. Shiancoe has 243 receptions for 2,677 yards and 27 touchdowns for his career.
Mankins had surgery in February to repair a torn ACL in his left knee. Following the surgery it was uncertain if he would be able to return in time for training camp, which begins on Thursday. Being placed on the active/PUP list means that Mankins can be removed at any time. The team still has a month to decide if Mankins needs to go on the reserve/PUP list. If he makes the reserve/PUP list, Mankins would miss at least the first six regular season games.
In addition to Mankins, linebacker Brandon Spikes, offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer, defensive tackle Myron Pryor, and tight ends Daniel Fells and Jake Ballard were on the active/PUP list. Tight End Rob Gronkowski was not on the list for his injured ankle which is good news regarding his ability to start training camp on time.
The New England Patriots announced on Friday that they will hold joint practices with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before the teams play their preseason game on Aug. 24 at Raymond James Stadium (via ESPN Boston).
The joint practices are scheduled for Aug. 22 and Aug. 23 at Tampa Bay's practice facility at One Buc Place. Both practices will be closed to the public unlike the Patriots' joint practices with the New Orleans Saints at Gillette Stadium on Aug. 7 and Aug. 8. The preseason game between the Pats and Buccaneers will be the third for both teams.
New England will have little time to rest before the Tampa Bay game. The Patriots' second preseason game will be played against the Philadelphia Eagles at Gillette Stadium on Aug. 20.
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