In non-Deflategate news, according to multiple reports, free agent linebacker and former Patriot Brandon Spikes is at Gillette Stadium for a visit on Tuesday.

In other Deflategate news, according to multiple reports, free agent linebacker and former Patriot Brandon Spikes is at Gillette Stadium for a visit on Tuesday.

The linebacker was drafted by the team in 2010. He spent four years with the team and was not re-signed following the end of the 2013 season. He reportedly did not have a good end to his time in New England, as he and Bill Belichick had their disagreements. He was placed on injured reserve at the end of the 2013 season, but Spikes maintained he was not injured and could have played.

In one season with the Bills, Spikes recorded 54 tackles playing in all 16 games.

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

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Defenders of the Patriots are focusing on the fact that NFL investigator Ted Wells took more than 100 days to produce a 243-page report that concludes only that it’s “more probable than not” that Pats staffers deflated footballs before the AFC championship game after the urging of Tom Brady.

Much of the rest of the nation is looking at it differently, taking the circumstantial evidence to show that the Patriots clearly cheated and Brady lied when he implied after the game that he knew nothing about it.

Indianapolis Star columnist Gregg Doyel, not surprisingly, was quick to weigh in on the situation and condemn the Patriots, as he has been one of the most vocal critics of the team — and specifically Bill Belichick.

Although the Wells Report indicates that there is no evidence Belichick had any knowledge of what was going on, Doyle wonders how Belichick still is allowed to coach the team, especially after the Spygate controversy in 2007 proved him to be a rule-breaker.

Wrote Doyel in a column on the IndyStar website: Why did Belichick cheat? Ask him, or go with this: Because he’s a cheater.

Seven years later, the Patriots cheated the Colts — well, it is more than probable that they did — and I’ll be a son of a …

Bill Belichick is still the coach of the Patriots.

Could be a coincidence. No, really. It could. The Wells Report can’t tell you what to believe, because it never really came out and told us, definitively, what it believes. It only told us what is more than probable.

And it’s more than probable the Patriots cheated the Colts.

A cheating scheme that brazen[ly] was dreamed up by two attendants in the locker room?

I’m more than doubtful.

Elsewhere, there are calls for Brady to be suspended.

Wrote Bob Pompeani, sports director at Pittsburgh’s KDKA: Based on the #Deflategate investigation, Tom Brady deserves a suspension. He knew. He cheated. Season Opener=No Bell-No Brady.

Joked ESPNDallas’ Tim MacMahon: Tom Brady paid good money to watch Mayweather-Pacquiao. He’s been punished enough.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

The following is the full text of a statement from Patriots owner Robert Kraft made after the Wells Report was issued Wednesday afternoon:

The following is the full text of a statement from Patriots owner Robert Kraft made after the Wells Report was issued Wednesday afternoon:

“When I addressed the media at the Super Bowl on January 26 — over 14 weeks ago — I stated that I unconditionally believed that the New England Patriots had done nothing inappropriate in this process or in violation of the NFL rules and that I was disappointed in the way the league handled the initial investigation. That sentiment has not changed.

“I was convinced that Ted Wells’ investigation would find the same factual evidence supported by both scientific formula and independent research as we did and would ultimately exonerate the Patriots. Based on the explanations I have heard and the studies that have been done, I don’t know how the science of atmospheric conditions can be refuted or how conclusions to the contrary can be drawn without some definitive evidence.

“What is not highlighted in the text of the report is that three of the Colts’ four footballs measured by at least one official were under the required psi level. As far as we are aware, there is no comparable data available from any other game because, in the history of the NFL, psi levels of footballs have never been measured at halftime, in any climate. If they had been, based on what we now know, it is safe to assume that every cold-weather game was played with under inflated footballs. As compelling a case as the Wells Report may try to make, I am going to rely on the factual evidence of numerous scientists and engineers rather than inferences from circumstantial evidence.

“Throughout the process of this nearly four-month investigation, we have cooperated and patiently awaited its outcome. To say we are disappointed in its findings, which do not include any incontrovertible or hard evidence of deliberate deflation of footballs at the AFC Championship Game, would be a gross understatement. In addition, given our level of cooperation throughout the process, I was offended by the comments made in the Wells Report in reference to not making an individual available for a follow-up interview. What the report fails to mention is that he had already been interviewed four times and we felt the fifth request for access was excessive for a part-time game day employee who has a full-time job with another employer.

“While I respect the independent process of the investigation, the time, effort and resources expended to reach this conclusion are incomprehensible to me. Knowing that there is no real recourse available, fighting the league and extending this debate would prove to be futile. We understand and greatly respect the responsibility of being one of 32 in this league and, on that basis, we will accept the findings of the report and take the appropriate actions based on those findings as well as any discipline levied by the league.”

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

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

The league has released the Wells Report, a 243-page document investigation into the matter of Deflategate, and at first glance, it appears to implicate quarterback Tom Brady

The league has released the Wells Report, a full 243-page document investigation into the matter of Deflategate, and at first glance, it appears to implicate quarterback Tom Brady, as well as Patriots staffers Jim McNally and John Jastremski.

“For the reasons described in this Report, and after a comprehensive investigation, we have concluded that, in connection with the AFC Championship Game, it is more probable than not that New England Patriots personnel participated in violations of the Playing Rules and were involved in a deliberate effort to circumvent the rules. In particular, we have concluded that it is more probable than not that Jim McNally (the Officials Locker Room attendant for the Patriots) and John Jastremski (an equipment assistant for the Patriots) participated in a deliberate effort to release air from Patriots game balls after the balls were examined by the referee. Based on the evidence, it also is our view that it is more probable than not that Tom Brady (the quarterback for the Patriots) was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities of McNally and Jastremski involving the release of air from Patriots game balls.”

By all indications, Patriots owner Robert Kraft isn’t happy. He released the following statement concurrent with the release of the report:

“When I addressed the media at the Super Bowl on January 26 — over 14 weeks ago — I stated that I unconditionally believed that the New England Patriots had done nothing inappropriate in this process or in violation of the NFL rules and that I was disappointed in the way the league handled the initial investigation. That sentiment has not changed.

“I was convinced that Ted Wells’ investigation would find the same factual evidence supported by both scientific formula and independent research as we did and would ultimately exonerate the Patriots. Based on the explanations I have heard and the studies that have been done, I don’t know how the science of atmospheric conditions can be refuted or how conclusions to the contrary can be drawn without some definitive evidence.

“What is not highlighted in the text of the report is that three of the Colts’ four footballs measured by at least one official were under the required psi level. As far as we are aware, there is no comparable data available from any other game because, in the history of the NFL, psi levels of footballs have never been measured at halftime, in any climate. If they had been, based on what we now know, it is safe to assume that every cold-weather game was played with under inflated footballs. As compelling a case as the Wells Report may try to make, I am going to rely on the factual evidence of numerous scientists and engineers rather than inferences from circumstantial evidence.

“Throughout the process of this nearly four-month investigation, we have cooperated and patiently awaited its outcome. To say we are disappointed in its findings, which do not include any incontrovertible or hard evidence of deliberate deflation of footballs at the AFC Championship game, would be a gross understatement. In addition, given our level of cooperation throughout the process, I was offended by the comments made in the Wells Report in reference to not making an individual available for a follow-up interview. What the report fails to mention is that he had already been interviewed four times and we felt the fifth request for access was excessive for a part-time game day employee who has a full-time job with another employer.

“While I respect the independent process of the investigation, the time, effort and resources expended to reach this conclusion are incomprehensible to me. Knowing that there is no real recourse available, fighting the league and extending this debate would prove to be futile. We understand and greatly respect the responsibility of being one of 32 in this league and, on that basis, we will accept the findings of the report and take the appropriate actions based on those findings as well as any discipline levied by the league.”

Here’s the statement from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on the matter.

“I want to express my appreciation to Ted Wells and his colleagues for performing a thorough and independent investigation, the findings and conclusions of which are set forth in today’s comprehensive report.

“As with other recent matters involving violations of competitive rules, Troy Vincent and his team will consider what steps to take in light of the report, both with respect to possible disciplinary action and to any changes in protocols that are necessary to avoid future incidents of this type. At the same time, we will continue our efforts vigorously to protect the integrity of the game and promote fair play at all times.”

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

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Safety Jordan Richards was taken 64th overall by the Patriots. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Jordan Richards was taken 64th overall by the Patriots. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Trying to find draft patterns in regards to the Patriots can occasionally be a fruitless exercise, but one idea we feel pretty good putting some stock in is the fact that when it comes to measuring defensive backs and wide receivers, they love to use the 3-cone drill as an indication of how that prospect might do in their system.

While it’s certainly not the be-all and end-all when it comes to assessing a prospect — and with the understanding that anything under 6.8 is considered extremely quick — it’s easy to draw a line between the 3-cone and the Patriots scoring process. They wound up with three of the top 10 finishers in the drill from the 2013 combine — third-round pick Logan Ryan (6.69), fourth-rounder Josh Boyce (6.68) and undrafted free agent T.J. Moe (6.53).

Going back a few years, Julian Edelman, Wes Welker, Deion Branch, Nate Ebner, Malcolm Butler and Devin McCourty all posted excellent 3-cone times as collegians (Welker and Butler were the only two who exceeded seven seconds in the drill), and while all weren’€™t necessarily considered elite prospects coming out of college, all have managed to find some level of success with New England.

With that in mind, it was interesting to see that the only two defensive backs selected by the Patriots this past weekend — Stanford’s Jordan Richards and Marshall’s Darryl Roberts — both excelled in the 3-cone drill as collegians. Richards had the ninth-best 3-cone time of any prospect at the combine with a 6.74. Meanwhile, Roberts didn’t get an invite to the combine, but his 6.66 time at his pro day would have been the fastest of any cornerback in Indy.

After he was picked by New England, Richards was asked how his excellent 3-cone time reflects in the way he plays.

“It’s change of direction,” he said. “In playing defensive back, there are a lot of different things (going on).”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Trey Flowers takes down LSU's Zach Mettenberger in a 2013 game between the Razorbacks and Tigers. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Trey Flowers takes down LSU’s Zach Mettenberger in a 2013 game between the Razorbacks and Tigers. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Arkansas coach Bret Bielema isn’t a man prone to hyperbole, but when asked to compare new Patriots’ draft pick Trey Flowers approach and attitude to someone currently in the NFL, he invoked one of his former Wisconsin players.

“I will say this — I’m cautious to compare anyone to J.J. Watt, but Trey’s mentality and his work ethic and his attitude is like J.J.,” Bielema said Tuesday when asked about Flowers, who was taken in the fourth round (101st overall) in this year’s NFL draft by the Patriots. “They have a similar approach to the game. Trey just goes hard, especially when the situation is biggest.”

Even though it was more about worth ethic and desire than on-field production, the Watt comparison is high praise from anyone, especially Bielema, who coached Watt for two seasons as a collegian at Wisconsin. (Maybe it’s because while as a collegian, Flowers used to make some ridiculous feats look mundane, like this box jump.) Regardless, it’s clear the Patriots might have landed an intriguing prospect in Flowers, a 6-foot-2, 266-pound defensive end who led Arkansas in tackles for loss (15.5 for 95 yards), sacks (six for 71 yards) and quarterback hurries (nine) last season.

Working in one of the toughest college football conferences in America, Pro Football Focus had Flowers as one of the five best edge defenders in the 2015 draft class, and he provided three of the four pressures that elite tackle La’€™el Collins of LSU surrendered in the entire season. As a result, he was named 2014 All-SEC second team, 2013 All-SEC second team (coaches) and 2011 Freshman All-SEC team.

“(He was a) real productive player at Arkansas,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said of Flowers shortly after the pick was made on Saturday. “(He) played mainly on the edge, a little bit inside. But a he’s a young player that I think has got a lot of good football in front of him; a lot of great qualities in terms of leadership, toughness.”

Toughness and versatility seem to be Flowers’ calling cards. A tweener who spent time at multiple spots and in multiple schemes, both Flowers and Bielema said his strength is in stopping the run and being physical, with his old coach calling him “country strong.”

“It’s just something I take pride in — just really being physical with the offensive linemen and setting point of attack and just really wanting to be dominant as far as putting the hands on them,” Flowers said. “When the time permits — say third down or a certain type of formation or a certain type of tendency appears — I can get after it with a good pass rush.”

“I told coach Belichick that whatever you want him to do, that’s what you’re going to get,” Bielema said. “When Trey was here, we had him to a bunch of stuff — rush the passer, come out of that c gap, cover pass catchers in the flat. I believe he can do it all.”

Bielema said Flowers is a smart and funny guy who wasn’t surprised to hear Flowers get off a Bobby Boucher reference in his first conference call with the New England media shortly after he was picked by the Patriots last weekend.

“Yeah, he doesn’t have too many bad days, I can tell you that,” Bielema said with a laugh.

While Flowers gave a Bobby Boucher comparison, from a straight on-field perspective, Bielema said that Flowers is reminiscent of defensive end O’Brien Schofield, who also played for Bielema at Wisconsin. Schofield, a defensive end now with the Seahawks who was taken in the fourth round of the 2010 draft by the Cardinals, has 13.5 sacks in five years in the NFL.

Meanwhile, before the draft, analyst Jon Gruden told ESPN’s Mike Sando that he’d compare Flowers to veteran linebacker LaMarr Woodley when Woodley was coming out of Michigan, praising Flowers’ versatility and instincts and echoing Bielema’s scouting report.

“He physically can play the run,” Gruden said of Flowers. “He could be an outside linebacker and stand on his feet. He has the ability to move on a zone blitz, read the quarterback, break on the ball and intercept it. He is instinctive, he is physical and he is relentless. A lot of times, teams are forcing you to play nickel all the time, anyway, and the outside linebacker in a 3-4 plays defensive end in the nickel. I need a guy who can play both positions. Flowers can do that.”

Ultimately, Bielema understands he’s biased, but believes the Patriots landed a “special player” in Flowers.

“Trey comes from an incredible family — he has nine brothers and sisters,” Bielema said. “He’s a really great kid, not a smarter-than-you type of player. He’s just really laid back, a nice kid and a hard worker. He’s earned everything he’s gotten, and he’ll work as hard as he can when he gets to New England, I know that.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

The Patriots are among the NFL teams showing interest in undrafted offensive lineman La’el Collins, according to Nick Underhill and Ross Dellenger of The New Orleans Advocate.