05/25/2009 - 9:35pm
The Patriots have always done a nice job finding gems in the unlikeliest of places, with many unheralded contributors over the years finding their way to Foxborough as undrafted or rookie free agents. New England could have another handful make the roster this season -- Jermail Porter, Brian Hoyer and Antonio Appleby are among those who were impressive enough during rookie minicamp to be asked back for the organized team activities.
05/21/2009 - 11:47pm
Traditionally, when a pro athlete sees Boston in their rearview mirror, there’s little chance they’ll return. Only a few can say they’ve enjoyed a second act on the New England stage -- Ellis Burks and Antoine Walker are among a handful of players who have launched their professional careers here, left, and then returned again.
05/20/2009 - 10:27pm
Until last season, the role of Tom Brady’s backup always came with a cloak of anonymity. Whether it was Jim Miller, Damon Huard, Vinny Testaverde, Rohan Davey or Matt Cassel, Brady’s durability -- he had the third-longest streak of consecutive starts entering last September -- and his sheer star power often left the backup feeling like the invisible man.
05/15/2009 - 11:36pm
Don’t expect Nathan Hodel to be doing any snow angels this winter.
The new Patriots’ long snapper calls former New England long snapper Lonie Paxton “great,” but he has no interest in trying replicate Paxton’s trademark celebration “snow angel” move he made famous during the 2001 postseason.
05/14/2009 - 10:55pm
Alex Smith majored in economics at Stanford, but the newest Patriots tight end appeared to be a real student of history when he was asked if he was aware what it meant to wear No. 80 in New England.
05/13/2009 - 10:38pm
Just get it right. It’s a simple phrase, but one that’s at the heart of the Patriots’ scouting system.
According to director of player personnel Nick Caserio -- who spoke to fans Wednesday night at the Hall at Patriot Place -- the phrase is essential when it comes to the scouts’ role in the overall team-building process. From the most veteran scouts to the newcomers, the goal is the same.
“To get it right,” Caserio said. “It doesn’t matter who found them. Just get it right.”
05/13/2009 - 12:22am
Kevin Faulk thought Troy Brown was crazy.
Well, maybe not crazy. But he still wasn’t sure why Brown, a former Patriots star, did some of the things he did in the twilight of his career to get his body ready to play. Back in the day, it was simple for Faulk: You just go out and play, right? The body will take care of itself.
05/06/2009 - 11:23am
The Patriots have had a few guys pick up a surfboard the last few years.
Junior Seau. Tom Brady. And now, long snapper Jake Ingram. The Hawaiian native, who was picked in the sixth round of the NFL Draft late last month, is an avid surfer. But he’ll gladly set aside the board while he helps the Patriots try and find out if there’s life after Lonie Paxton.
05/04/2009 - 10:58pm
With Patriots’ rookie minicamp completed, here are the Top 5 questions remaining about New England’s 2009 rookie class.
05/03/2009 - 7:42pm
This week marks the halfway point of the Patriots’ offseason.
It’s been just over four months since the end of New England’s 2008 season, and it’s roughly four months before the 2009 regular-season opener against Buffalo. How have things changed for the Patriots since they walked off the field at Buffalo’s Ralph Wilson Stadium after beating the Bills, 13-0, in Buffalo back on Dec. 28, 2008? And how do they look with the 2009 season looming on the horizon?
05/01/2009 - 10:05pm
If an NFL career is like a journey, then Friday morning, many rookies took their first steps on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium.
Thirty players -- 12 of whom were drafted last weekend by the Patriots, plus a handful of rookie free agents and assorted players there to fill out the minicamp roster -- got a taste of NFL life under the watchful eye of the New England coaching staff as part of the Patriots’ rookie minicamp.
05/01/2009 - 12:35am
When he first met Tyrone McKenzie, Wally Burnham was skeptical.
The former defensive coordinator at South Florida wondered why the school was taking a chance on a guy like McKenzie, who had already left Michigan State and Iowa State and was talking to him about playing at USF as a junior. For a coach, one transfer usually raises a red flag. Two transfers, and you might as well slap a “radioactive” sticker on a guy.
04/28/2009 - 8:47pm
Plenty of young football players who make the NFL can usually point to a career-defining moment in high school, a singular event where they cement their status as a future pro.
Not Patrick Chung. Chris Van Duin, Chung’s coach at Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) High School, remembers a high schooler who steadily advanced up the depth chart with hard work and dedication. A relatively undersized youngster who started his high school football career at age 12, there were no highlight-reel hits, no trail of college coaches beating a path to Rancho Cucamonga to see him play.
04/27/2009 - 10:49pm
On a team that’s traditionally been stocked with veterans, players right out of college haven’t been asked to make sizable contributions in New England -- last year’s first-round pick Jerod Mayo was the exception rather than the rule. The 2003 rookie class was the last to make a serious mark as a group in its first year, as Ty Warren, Eugene Wilson, Asante Samuel and Dan Koppen all saw extended action their rookie season.
04/26/2009 - 11:39pm
Where to start? How about the seven deals? The trade of veteran cornerback and return man Ellis Hobbs to Philadelphia? Or the fact that in a Bill Belichick draft, the Patriots took just as many long snappers as they did linebackers?
It was an exhausting weekend, chock full of surprises. In the end, New England added 12 new draftees -- the most ever since Belichick arrived in Foxborough as the head coach in 2000 – and picked up two more second-rounders in 2010, which right now, means the Patriots four picks in the first two rounds next year.
04/26/2009 - 1:00am
Well, no one can accuse Bill Belichick of being wasteful.
04/23/2009 - 11:33pm
Tom Petty was right: The waiting is the hardest part.
This weekend will be alternately thrilling and terrifying for hundreds of college football players, most of whom will be sitting and waiting at home for their name to be called by Roger Goodell or any one of the other lower-level NFL executives who handle the later rounds of the NFL Draft.
04/22/2009 - 11:47pm
1. Detroit. QB Matthew Stafford, Georgia. The only reason the Lions would pass on Stafford is if they had questions about his signability. If they can come to an agreement on the money, there’s no reason to think Stafford won’t go to the Lions. No matter who goes here, the thing I’ll miss most over the debate about No. 1 is the months of on-air skirmishes between Mel Kiper and Todd McShay. It’s like the Lincoln-Douglas debates, only with better hair ... and if one of them was arguing from a sports bar.
04/21/2009 - 8:30pm
Bill Belichick and the Patriots always execute deals on draft weekend. Some of them are seismic in nature -- Randy Moss and Drew Bledsoe, for example. Some of them are for future considerations -- the deals that secured Ty Warren and Jerod Mayo fall into this category. And some of them are smaller deals that really don’t end up making much of an impact.
04/20/2009 - 11:03pm
Predicting what the Patriots will do in the NFL Draft the last few years has been a difficult task -- they’re famous for keeping their cards close to the vest, and the annual two-day team-building exercise in April is no exception. But over the years, they have provided a few hints as to the kinds of players they like and where they like to take them. If you’re a New England football fan, consider this week’s edition of The Hot List a GPS for a journey through draft weekend.
04/19/2009 - 6:12pm
With all due respect to Matt Cassel, no one can bring it like Tom Brady.
Patriots running back Sammy Morris was reminded of that during a recent workout in Foxborough. Brady was throwing passes to Morris, and got a quick reminder that even after last year’s knee injury, No. 12 is unlike anyone else.
“He threw me a ball, and you could still hear that little whistle on the ball,” Morris said recently in between workouts at Gillette Stadium. “It’s been a while since I heard that.
04/16/2009 - 8:00pm
Jerod Mayo isn’t getting too comfortable. Not yet, anyway.
Just because he’s coming off a first season in the pros where he was named Defensive Rookie of the Year, became one of the cornerstones of the New England defense and led the Patriots in tackles, it doesn’t mean he’s settled into what he’s calling “veteran status.”
04/15/2009 - 6:53pm
1. Detroit. QB Matthew Stafford, Georgia. The Lions and Stafford appear to be a compatible mix. Everything suggests that the Georgia product has the mental wherewithal to handle the pressure of being a No. 1 pick, and Detroit needs someone to deliver the ball to wide receiver Calvin Johnson on a regular basis. While he probably won't start the season as the No. 1 quarterback — "Don't you know who I am? I'm Daunte Culpepper! I made the Pro Bowl! You can't bench me!" — he'll likely be under center by the end of the year.
04/13/2009 - 11:10pm
Everyone knows about the first-round studs that have had long and successful careers in New England -- Richard Seymour, Vince Wilfork, etc. But despite what Forbes Magazine may lead you to believe, the Patriots have had more than their share of success throughout all stages of the draft, including in the late rounds. And with the understanding that a true late-round success story can only come from pick No.
04/06/2009 - 10:16pm
I got a ton of mail about last week’s edition of The Hot List, which looked at the top five first-round flops in Patriots’ history. Everyone from Tony Eason to Ken “Game Day” Sims to Gerhardt Schwedes and Ron Sellers was called into question.