Jonathan Kraft

Jonathan Kraft

FOXBORO — Just minutes after Bill Belichick told Scott Zolak on the Patriots radio pregame show that Tom Brady would play, Patriots team president Jonathan Kraft announced that there had been a last-minute change.

Asked if Brady would play, Kraft told the show, “I don’t believe so.”

This followed Bill Belichick telling the program that “you’ll see all three out there.”

Kraft declined to get into the reason for the change.

“I’ll let Bill Belichick address the on-field player situation,” Kraft said.

Jimmy Garoppolo did get the start as he readies for Sept. 11 in Arizona.

“I think Jimmy is a confident guy. He’s a confident guy,” Kraft said. “He’s also a humble guy. I think Tommy has that characteristic also. Tom was always extremely confident in his own abilities. It wasn’t expressed in a way that caused his teammates or others to be turned off to it. I think it’s very much something that draws people into him.

“Jimmy’s personality – he’s confident but also in a way where he’s humble and confident at the same time. If you can be like that, and much like Tom, he works incredibly hard. I’ve seen other backup quarterbacks who were sort of resigned to the fact that they were going to be the backup and probably not get on the field. You can almost sense [his] readiness. Guys in the past in the locker room, if they saw [a backup] like I’ve seen in the past, you could kind of sense that guys might not feel the same way about him [as they do Brady] just because of the way they carry themselves in the building. It’s tough. If you’re going to be the back up to Tom Brady, trying to be a combination of as good as Tom Brady and know you’re not going to play, it’s tough. It requires a special skill-set. I’ve definitely seen other back-ups who haven’t had that and Jimmy definitely does appear to have it.”

Kraft brought up the fact that Garoppolo is learning quickly and a good quarterback understudy, just like Bears back-up Brian Hoyer, who was in New England from 2009-11.

“I think early on, you meet him, and you saw as a rookie, he was very focused on improving,” Kraft said of Garoppolo. “And a lot of rookies come in with that attitude. But there wasn’t a resignation in him. I think he almost enjoyed the fact that he was Tom Brady’s backup, to sit in the room and be with Tom Brady, like Brian Hoyer.

“He just has a great attitude. He’s a great guy and he’s very focused on becoming a better quarterback and having the respect of his teammates. I think you can absolutely see that.”

Another topic addressed was the potential for HBO “Hard Knocks” coming to New England and the popularity of the Patriots on social media.

“I haven’t seen it but I will watch it on demand,” Kraft said of Hard Knocks.

Might the Patriots be featured in the upcoming years?

“[Laughter] Not in the next few years. We don’t fit the criteria,” Kraft said. “The only way they can force you is if you volunteer. But probably not happening. I personally have no interest in being on the show, not that they’d find me that interesting. I’d say for the team, it’s probably not happening.”

How might the fans get an “inside” look at the Patriots? Social media is the best bet for now.

“Follow us on Snapchat, Instagram or even Twitter, you get some of that [inside look],” Kraft said.

“In all seriousness, we’re the No. 1 team on Instagram, we’re the No. 1 team on Twitter. We’re No. 1 on Snapchat. We’re No. 2 on Facebook. Our engagement, it’s not just our followers, our engagement level is higher than any other teams. And we hear from those [social media] companies. Cecily Faenza, who does our social media, those companies talk to her all the time and say, ‘You’ve got to give lessons to other teams as to how they can get this type of engagement.’

“In all seriousness, if you want to see behind-the-scenes stuff and get content you can’t get anywhere else as a Patriots fan that’s interesting, I think you’ll enjoy it.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

FOXBORO — There were a number of players not spotted on the field prior to Thursday’s preseason game against the Bears: wide receiver Julian Edelman, quarterback Tom Brady, wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell, cornerback Logan Ryan, running back D.J.

FOXBORO — There were a number of players not spotted on the field prior to Thursday’s preseason game against the Bears: wide receiver Julian Edelman, quarterback Tom Brady, wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell, cornerback Logan Ryan, running back D.J. Foster, running back Dion Lewis, running back Donald Brown, tight end Bryce Williams, linebacker Rob Ninkovich, linebacker Shea McClellin, offensive lineman Tre’ Jackson, offensive lineman Jonathan Cooper, offensive lineman Shaq Mason, offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer, wide receiver Danny Amendola, wide receiver Keshawn Martin, tight end Rob Gronkowski, defensive end Jabaal Sheard and defensive lineman Alan Branch.

Brady was reportedly playing, but it appears things have changed at the last minute. Team president Jonathan Kraft said on the Patriots Radio Network pregame show that it’s unlikely he would play.

Mason is a surprise as he was a full participant in practice all week. Nate Ebner is dressed in full pads and looks like he will play after missing the first few weeks of training camp because of the Olympics.

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

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

FOXBORO — There were a number of players not spotted on the field prior to Thursday’s preseason game against the Bears: wide receiver Julian Edelman, quarterback Tom Brady, wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell, cornerback Logan Ryan, running back D.J. Foster, running back Dion Lewis, running back Donald Brown, tight end Bryce Williams, linebacker Rob Ninkovich, linebacker Shea McClellin, offensive lineman Tre’ Jackson, offensive lineman Jonathan Cooper, offensive lineman Shaq Mason, offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer, wide receiver Danny Amendola, wide receiver Keshawn Martin, tight end Rob Gronkowski, defensive end Jabaal Sheard and defensive lineman Alan Branch.

Brady was reportedly playing, but it appears things have changed at the last minute. Team president Jonathan Kraft said on the Patriots Radio Network pregame show that it’s unlikely he would play.

Mason is a surprise as he was a full participant in practice all week. Nate Ebner is dressed in full pads and looks like he will play after missing the first few weeks of training camp because of the Olympics.

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

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

FOXBORO — The Patriots now might also be without a starter on the defensive side of the ball to start the season.

Alan Branch

Alan Branch

FOXBORO — The Patriots now might also be without a starter on the defensive side of the ball to start the season.

According to Doug Kyed of NESN.com, defensive tackle Alan Branch has informed Patriots teammates that he’s been suspended.

Branch was expected to anchor the middle of the Patriots defensive line, along with Terrance Knighton and second-year Texas product Malcom Brown.

Branch signed a 1-year deal on Oct. 21, 2014 with the Patriots. The team officially announced the signing eight days later.

Branch became an important part of the Patriots interior line with Vince Wilfork. He helped the Patriots stabilize their run defense on the way to a Super Bowl XLIX win over the Seahawks.

Branch is in the final year of a two-year contract worth $6.6 million, after re-signing with the Patriots on March 15, 2015.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Alan Branch

Alan Branch

FOXBORO — The Patriots now might also be without a starter on the defensive side of the ball to start the season.

According to Doug Kyed of NESN.com, defensive tackle Alan Branch has informed Patriots teammates that he’s been suspended.

Branch was expected to anchor the middle of the Patriots defensive line, along with Terrance Knighton and second-year Texas product Malcom Brown.

Branch signed a 1-year deal on Oct. 21, 2014 with the Patriots. The team officially announced the signing eight days later.

Branch became an important part of the Patriots interior line with Vince Wilfork. He helped the Patriots stabilize their run defense on the way to a Super Bowl XLIX win over the Seahawks.

Branch is in the final year of a two-year contract worth $6.6 million, after re-signing with the Patriots on March 15, 2015.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

FOXBORO — The weather should be ideal as Tom Brady is expected to start in the second preseason game as he makes his final Gillette Stadium appearance before Week 6 against Cincinnati.

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Ideal conditions are on tap for the second preseason game between the Patriots and Bears. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — The weather should be ideal as Tom Brady is expected to start in the second preseason game as he makes his final Gillette Stadium appearance before Week 6 against Cincinnati.

The forecast is calling for clear skies and 79 degrees for the 8 p.m. kickoff at Gillette. There’s no rain in the forecast with only a slight breeze out of the south at 5 MPH.

While there will be a relative humidity of 50 percent, it will be far more comfortable than this week’s joint practices of Monday and Tuesday and last Thursday night against the Saints.

Brady, who will be suspended for the first four games of the season by the NFL, did not play a single snap against the Saints in the preseason opener last Thursday against the Saints.

Brady has looked sharp in training camp, getting the most out of reps with both the first and second-team offensive line groups.

What’s more uncertain is how much, if at all, Julian Edelman will play. Edelman tweaked his foot on Aug. 8 but returned to full pads practice this week and looked sharp undressing Bears linebackers and defensive backs in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills in the red area.

Rob Gronkowski is nearly certain to miss his 15th straight preseason game dating back to 2012, as he appeared to tweak something in his lower body on Monday and did not participate in joint practices the rest of the week.

Chris Price has more on what to look for from tonight’s second preseason game.

The Bears, who engaged in lots of yelling and hits after the whistle this week in the joint practices, are looking to rebound from last week’s 22-0 humiliation at home at the hands of the defending Super Bowl champion Broncos. Unlike Brady, Jay Cutler did see time in last week’s preseason opener, going 3-for-4 for 18 yards but was sacked twice behind a porous offensive line.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

This year’s botched Hall of Fame game could have some interesting ramifications for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.