FOXBORO — The following players were absent from Patriots practice Monday afternoon on the backfields of Gillette Stadium: V’Angelo Bentley, Tom Brady, Patrick Chung, Dion Lewis, Jonathan Cooper, Shaq Mason, Sebastian Vollmer, Rob Gronkowski, Jabaal Sheard and A

Patrick Chung

Patrick Chung

FOXBORO — The following players were absent from Patriots practice Monday afternoon on the backfields of Gillette Stadium: V’Angelo Bentley, Tom Brady, Patrick Chung, Dion Lewis, Jonathan Cooper, Shaq Mason, Sebastian Vollmer, Rob Gronkowski, Jabaal Sheard and Alan Branch.

The media was only permitted to view 20 minutes of the session as training camp is now over.

There were only a few surprises, with the biggest being Chung. The other being Sheard, as he hasn’t been at practice in over a week. Chung played in Thursday’s preseason game against the Bears and didn’t appear to be injured.

Bentley was released, according to ESPN’s Mike Reiss. Lewis, Cooper, Mason, Vollmer were not surprises as they have known injuries or remain on PUP. Branch reportedly is suspended by the team, Brady reportedly was excused and Gronkowski hasn’t practiced since last week when he left practice early.

Although they were present, Tre’ Jackson and Danny Amendola (PUP) were in shorts and t-shirts, while the rest of the team was in full pads. Logan Ryan had his red, non-contact jersey removed.

Going down to the lower fields after stretching were Shea McClelin (he missed all of last week), Amendola, Jackson, Donald Brown, Rob Ninkovich and Malcolm Mitchell.

Running back D.J. Foster looked to be a full participant for the first time in a few weeks, which is a good sign for him potentially playing on Thursday. The same goes for Keshawn Martin and tight end Bryce Williams.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

FOXBORO — What’s the latest on Tom Brady and how will Marcus Cannon fill the void for Sebastian Vollmer? WEEI’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price have your report from Foxboro.

Blog Author: 
WEEI

FOXBORO — If you expected Bill Belichick to offer up more details on why Tom Brady reportedly missed Sunday and Monday practices with an excused absence, you thought wrong.

Tom Brady

Tom Brady

FOXBORO — If you expected Bill Belichick to offer up more details on why Tom Brady reportedly missed Sunday and Monday practices with an excused absence, you thought wrong.

“I don’t comment on any personal situations,” Belichick said when asked directly if he could confirm the report.

Brady didn’t play in the second preseason game last Thursday night against the Bears after reportedly cutting his thumb with scissors prior to the game. He was seen leaving the stadium about 30 minutes before the game, which is customary for players not playing in preseason games.

After the game Belichick said he made the decision Brady wouldn’t play.

With Brady not playing in any of the first two preseason games, it appears there’s a chance he doesn’t play in the preseason at all. The coach doesn’t appear to be concerned.

“We’ll just take it day-by-day, week-by-week,” he said.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower checked in with Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Monday talking about taking on more of a leadership role this season.

Dont'a Hightower

Dont’a Hightower

Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower checked in with Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Monday talking about taking on more of a leadership role this season. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.

With Jerod Mayo retiring, Hightower is now the oldest player in the Patriots’ linebacker room and he acknowledged he’s taken on more of a leadership role with getting some of the younger players ready for the season.

“I’m always looking for that new wrinkle, just being here,” Hightower said. “I am blessed and definitely glad to be here. Sometimes I am starting [get to know] what is coming around. It feels good being one of the older guys and help mentor some of the younger guys in getting the guys ready and ready for the season.”

One of the other leaders on defense is Rob Ninkovich, who is currently sidelined with a triceps injury. Despite the injury he’s been on the field almost every day to keep up on his conditioning. It’s something the other players have noticed and is just what type of player he us.

“Absolutely. I think that is more Rob being Rob,” Hightower said. “It isn’t necessarily for anyone to say, ‘Look at him.’ Rob has always carried himself that way — just knowing his background and his career and what he’s went through and overcame to be is a great football player. The guys out there miss him out there and what he brings to the field.”

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
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Marcus Cannon speaks to reporters Monday at Gillette Stadium.

FOXBORO — These are interesting times for Nate Solder and Marcus Cannon.

The pair of offensive tackles are now front and center on the offensive line with the news over the weekend that Sebastian Vollmer could miss significant time or even the season with a bad hip.

“I love Sebastian,” Solder said. “Whatever he needs or whatever it is, I’ll always be there for him. Sebastian is an awesome guy. He’s one of my best friends. There’s so many things but as a group, we just have to move forward.”

What the Patriots need from Solder and Cannon will be consistency. With Solder slotted at left tackle, Cannon steps into right tackle, a position has had held down since the start of camp since Vollmer has not been able to actively practice at all.

“Wherever they want you to go, they have trust in you and you trust them,” Cannon said. “That’s what it is. If they want you play, that must mean they have trust for you to play in that position, wherever they put me.”

That consistency started to show last Thursday against the Bears with a good effort that produced a solid run game to complement Jimmy Garoppolo, especially in the second quarter.

“I think we definitely made an emphasis of it that week and going forward, there’s a lot of things we need to emphasize and improve on. I think that’s one of the steps where we improved and hopefully, we can continue to improve going forward,” Solder said. “We’ve had some pretty exciting games, I think. I know I’ve been excited to be back in some games. It’s been fun the whole preseason. We’ve taken it pretty seriously.

“There may have been but we’re never satisfied because we have a long ways to go. The way we practice, the way we play, whoever is out there, we’re ready to go. That’s kind of our philosophy on that.”

That philosophy will be tested this Friday as they face the defending NFC champion Carolina Panthers in their first road preseason game of the year.

“Their front seven, they’re great,” Cannon said of the Luke Kuechly-led group. “They’re probably the best in the NFL, and we’ve got to do our due diligence this week of studying them and understanding them and working hard to continue to do good. It’s going to be a challenge.”

“We have to build off that,” Solder said Monday of the solid effort against the Bears. “One brick at a time, we kind of build the foundation of what we’re trying to do here. So, this is another brick we have to put on there. It takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of preparation. We have to play well.”

The Patriots also played Carolina on the road in Week 3 last preseason and came away with a 17-16 win.

“We’ve played them a few times,” Solder said. “There’s some new things here and there we have to be ready for. It’s just a matter of refreshing ourselves, getting ready physically to play well when the time comes.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

FOXBORO — The Patriots have released veteran tight end Bear Pacoe, per a league source.

The 30-year-old Pascoe was signed last month as a free agent. The 6-foot-5, 265-pounder has spent seven seasons in the league, having suited up for the Giants, Falcons and Lions. He has 40 career catches for 336 yards and two touchdowns.

FOXBORO — The Patriots have released veteran tight end Bear Pacoe, per a league source.

The 30-year-old Pascoe was signed last month as a free agent. The 6-foot-5, 265-pounder has spent seven seasons in the league, having suited up for the Giants, Falcons and Lions. He has 40 career catches for 336 yards and two touchdowns.

The move also likely clears the way for youngster AJ Derby and veteran Clay Harbor to continue their battle for the role of third tight end on the roster.

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

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price