The Patriots announced Monday they have claimed rookie running back Tyler Gaffney off waivers from Carolina and released veteran linebacker Josh Hull. Here’s a portion of the release from the team on the moves.

The Patriots announced Monday they have claimed rookie running back Tyler Gaffney off waivers from Carolina and released veteran linebacker Josh Hull. Here’s a portion of the release from the team on the moves.

Gaffney, 23, was originally drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft (204th overall) out of Stanford. He was injured in training camp and was released by the Panthers on July 27. The 6-foot, 220-pounder, had a productive senior season in 2013, starting in all 14 games and finishing with 330 rushing attempts for 1,709 yards and 21 rushing touchdowns. Gaffney played as a true in 2009 and then took the 2012 season off to play professional baseball in the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league system, before returning to college football for the 2013 season.

Hull, 27, is a veteran of four NFL seasons with the St. Louis Rams (2010-12) and the Washington Redskins (2013), who was signed by the Patriots as a free agent on April 24. The 6-foot-3, 245-pounder was originally drafted by St. Louis in the seventh round (254th overall) out of Penn State in 2010. He was released by St. Louis at the end of training camp in 2013 and signed with Washington as a free agent on Oct. 15, 2013. Hull has played in 39 NFL games with one start and has registered 25 total tackles. Last season with the Rams, Hull played in 11 games and finished with 14 total tackles.

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

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Leave it to the Jets to make a Patriots off-day still worth paying attention to the NFL.

Calvin Pace, here getting to Tom Brady, says the Jets have the best defense in the NFL. (AP)

Calvin Pace, here getting to Tom Brady, says the Jets have the best defense in the NFL. (AP)

Leave it to the Jets to make a Patriots off-day still worth paying attention to the NFL.

Jets linebacker Calvin Pace says his team’s defense is not only improved for 2014, he insists it’s the best defense in football, not the defending champion Seahawks, not the vastly improved Patriots or Broncos or the young and hungry Bengals. The Jets.

‘€œ[Compared to] the rest of the defenses in the NFL? S’€”, man, we’€™re the best,’€ Pace told the New York Daily News. ‘€œYou ask anybody around the league, we’€™re not the team you want to see coming in, even in a down year.’€

Why would Pace make such a statement? He believes the basis of such confidence lies in his head coach Rex Ryan.

‘€œThere’€™s a certain type of aggression when we come [play you]. You know we’€™re going to come with a lot of stuff and teams don’€™t want to see that,’€ he said. ‘€œThey want to see a vanilla defense, that just lines up and you know where they’€™re going to be. I’€™ll take these guys and Rex and this system any day.’€

Pace is hardly the first Jet to pop off this summer. After all he’s learning from the best. Ryan has already labeled David Harris the most underrated linebacker in the NFL and Ryan describing himself as ‘€œa great coach” while corner Dee Milliner says he’s the best corner in the NFL.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

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FOXBORO — The common thinking is that Darrelle Revis is going to be the next Ty Law, if not better.

Even Law admitted Monday – after getting fitted for his Patriots Hall of Fame jacket for this Friday’s ceremony – that Revis is what fans have been longing for.

The physical Brandon Browner was flagged for five penalties in eight games last season. (AP)The Seahawks' Super Bowl formula was one that is bound to spawn countless imitators. Some teams decided to supersize their secondaries with the addition of big and rangy defensive backs. Others decided to beef up their ground game. And other teams started looking for the next Russell Wilson.




FOXBORO — The common thinking is that Darrelle Revis is going to be the next Ty Law, if not better.

Even Law admitted Monday – after getting fitted for his Patriots Hall of Fame jacket for this Friday’s ceremony – that Revis is what fans have been longing for.

Law and Revis have long-established roots, dating back to Western Pennsylvania, where they both attended the football-frenzied Aliquippa High.

Now that Revis is playing for Bill Belichick just like Law did when the Patriots were winning three Super Bowl titles, Law has some specific advice for perennial Pro Bowl corner.

“It’s going to be different because it’s going to be more structured here with Coach Belichick,” Law said. “I did tell him don’t get caught up [with] the Belichick that you might see on TV because he’s not like that. He’s not going to give much but once you get to sit down and talk to Coach Belichick you understand how cool he is, how flexible he is with a player of your caliber. You’re not going to be pigeon-holed into anything. He is approachable. You can go up to coach Belichick and say, ‘Hey, I want to play this.’ He’s going to listen to you. A lot of people don’t understand that but you have to be a certain type of player to get away with it. And he is that type of player.

“I think he’s going to have a lot of fun and he’s going to be out there doing his job. What they paid him to do is taking out the best guy but you’re probably going to go inside, you’re probably going to do a little bit of blitzing. It’s just going to be a fun overall scheme for Darrelle because normally he goes into a situation where ‘This is who I have.’ You’re there all day.

“I said [to him] you’re going to do a lot more things because you’re not going to know from week to week if you’re playing a 4-3, a 3-4, you’re not going to know. That was the enjoyment as a player, when you come in and you have no idea what the hell is going to happen in the game plan and you’re looking forward to it. Sometimes, you’re going to get disappointed and say, ‘Aw man, why are we playing this?!’

“But Coach Belichick, it’s ‘In Bill We Trust’ so you’re going to have the best chance to win. And I think he’s going to enjoy it. He’s going to have a lot of fun.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia


FOXBORO — Julian Edelman knows he’s a wanted man.

Since the departure of Wes Welker, he’s become the No. 1 wide receiver target of Tom Brady and second only behind Rob Gronkowski in terms of priority passing options for the Patriots quarterback. Defenses last season began to understand this and that figures to be the case again this season as Edelman draws more and more attention.

But like Welker, Edelman’s value goes far beyond the passing game. He is one of the best weapons in the game as a punt returner – ever.

Surprised? Consider that he is tied for fourth best all-time (minimum 75 returns) with Devin Hester at 12.3 yards per return and is only a half-yard from George McAfee and Jack Christiansen for the best average in NFL history.

No one is calling Edelman’s return skills “ridiculous” as was the case with Hester but still, those are lofty numbers and explain why Bill Belichick wants to devote such important resources to give Edelman the best chance at making big plays on retuns. Sunday, he was back again receiving punts as Devin McCourty and Darrelle Revis were defending the opposing gunner while Brandon Browner was on the opposite side.

“I think it’s key just because we have a returner in Julian who can make big plays and he can score touchdowns,” McCourty said. “For us, we just have to go out there and give him a chance. We’re all guys that have been in the league. We’ve all done it before, and if we give him a chance, I think he can make big plays and that helps the team win.”

Edelman’s numbers fell a bit in 2013, averaging 10.7 yards per return with a career-high 23 fair catches.

“When you get 10 yards that’s your goal and when guys are working together you get a little more which is great,” Edelman said about the importance of the entire special teams unit. “But our number one job on that unit is to get the ball in the offense’s hand and make the right decision.”

Sunday, it paid off as Edelman thrilled the 10,000 fans in attendance by breaking free down the right sideline on one return. For Edelman, it’s part of his roots with the Patriots, something he has always enjoyed because it earned him a spot on the roster.

“That’s a part of the game that gave me an opportunity to make this team,” Edelman said. “I love returning punts. I want to do that and if they ask me to do that, I’m going to do it.”

If he doesn’t do it or is unable to perform those responsibilities, the duty will fall to Danny Amendola or possibly rookie Roy Finch, assuming his makes the team. Finch took some return reps Sunday, including a bobble, but recovered quickly.

“You guys remember when I was a rookie bobbling the ball around everywhere and getting booed by the crowd, but he’s just got to get some experience, repetition,” Edelman said, adding perspective. “You got to work on catching punts, finding the tip of the ball — if it turns over, if it doesn’t — what foot punter it is, the trajectory of the punt, what return you have — if it’s a return, if it’s not a return — the situation in the game,” Edelman said. “All that stuff. It comes with experience. I still have to try in practice every day to improve what I have to do because it’s a craft. If you don’t do it every day, it will slip away.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Despite the fact that the NFL is throwing the ball now more than ever -- one of the reasons behind the fact that the 300-carry “bell cow” appears to be dying out -- the market for fullbacks appears to be pretty robust.



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Patrick Chung is looking to bounce back for a second tour in New England in 2014. (AP)

Patrick Chung is looking to bounce back for a second tour in New England in 2014. (AP)

OXBORO — No one is happier to be camping with the Patriots this summer than Patrick Chung.

The 26-year-old safety was allowed to walk after the 2012 season, his fourth in New England, and took a three-year, $10 million deal with Philadelphia in March 2013.

But after a disappointing first year, a season in which he never connected with new coach Chip Kelly, he was released in March. There were those who wondered who would want a safety who seemed on the outs, or at least out of chances in the NFL.

Enter the Patriots. Bill Belichick, who made the decision to let Steve Gregory walk, knew something about Chung that in his mind earned him another chance. Belichick offered Chung a one-year, $1.1 million deal based on his work ethic alone. Chung has been quietly making a good impression all over agin, working mainly with the second and third teams during the first four practices, with an occasional rep with the first unit and old friend Devin McCourty.

“I love it,” Chung told WEEI.com after Sunday’s rain-shortened practice. “Love it here. Culture is good here. Fans are good here. Coaches are good here. Locker room is good here. Food is good here. I like it here, man. It’s home.”

To McCourty, it’s just good to have a football brother next to him again on the field.

“It’s good because Pat is a true pro,” McCourty told WEEI.com. “He’s a guy that comes in every day ready to work. He understands the defense. I think he’s another model citizen for the younger guys, someone they can look at and model their game, model what he does to get ready for practice and get ready to know what he’s doing. It’s been great. He’s a friend mine who was here the whole time I was here. He experienced something different for a year and now he’s back.”

What specifically does Chung bring back to the Patriots and the secondary?

“Just his work ethic, whether it’s in the weight room and being one of the stronger guys or getting ready for practice, doing different things,” McCourty added. “A younger guy can come see him get in the hot tub, or I’ll do this before practice, just to make sure I’m ready. Not just stretch before practice and go. As you get in this league, you have different aches and pains you that you need to take care of on your own.”

While McCourty has passed Chung on the safety depth chart since his departure in 2012, Chung says not much else has changed since his first four-year tour in Foxboro.

“Absolutely nothing, absolutely nothing,” Chung said. “Just work hard, stay out of trouble and take it day-by-day. Bill knows what he’s doing so pay attention.”

Chung is in a fierce competition for playing time in the secondary among safeties. In addition to McCourty, there’s Tavon Wilson, Duron Harmon, Kanorris Davis and Shamiel Gary.

“We’re all competing,” Chung said. “With a good secondary back there, we’re all competing. Everybody is working hard, learning the defense to try and get better day by day. Whoever plays is whoever plays, whether it be starting, second string, special teams, it doesn’t really matter. It’d be great if we could all get on the field at some point. We just have to work hard to get better.”

There will be those surprised if Chung makes the roster out of camp. After five seasons in the NFL, does Chung feel he has to prove he still belongs on an NFL roster?

“Everybody has a lot to prove,” Chung said, deflecting the question somewhat. “Ten-year guys, 15-year guys, first-year guys [all] have a lot to prove. You just have to stay consistent and get better on a consistent basis. Yeah, I am young and I was blessed to start [NFL] early but I’m just like anybody else, just trying to get better.

“I’m just here trying to get better and make this team so we can win these games.”

Asked if he sees his role as a mentor for younger players like Harmon, Gary and Davis, Chung provided some perspective.

“I just got back and we have some changes so I’m just trying to mentor myself a little bit,” he said. “Just stay in the playbook and get right. We’re all learning the same things, all in same meeting rooms just learning. It should be good.

“You make it as tough as you want to. You go home, you study, you make sure you know what you’re doing then things are easy. If you don’t, then things are going to be real tough for you.”

Since leaving after the ’12 season, it was old friend McCourty who stepped in and became a leader in the secondary.

“He’s good. We’re getting better,” Chung said. “He’s gotten good and he’s been good. But we’re still working hard and have a long way to go,” Chung said. “Everybody is learning. It’s actually a really good group, it’s a really good group. Everybody is funny and everybody is smart and learning. We’re just trying to get better. Everybody is competing with each other, pushing everybody else so it’s good. I’m really glad to be back. It’s a good group of people.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia