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.
03/31/2009 - 12:12pm
By Drew Scott
With a little less than two weeks until the end of the NHL regular season, WEEI.com goes one-on-one with the man who will be guarding the net for the Bruins throughout the playoffs, goaltender Tim Thomas.
03/30/2009 - 11:17pm
The Patriots haven’t really swung and missed on a first-round pick in several years, but history tells us that when they’ve missed, they’ve missed badly. Here’s our list of the five worst first-round picks in franchise history:
03/30/2009 - 1:02am
Item No. 1: New Denver coach Josh McDaniels allegedly seeks out a trade for Matt Cassel before speaking with incumbent Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler. Cutler feels alienated, lashes out at organization and demands a trade. Angry Denver fans launch www.savejaycutler.com and www.keepjayfiremcdaniels.com.
03/24/2009 - 7:27pm
(The second in an occasional series that looks at college players who could be selected by the Patriots in next month’s draft.)
Clay Matthews III has heard it all his life.
Most 5-foot-7, 120-pound high school freshmen aren’t entertaining thoughts of life in the NFL. They’re not even thinking about playing high school football. They’re more concerned with not getting stuffed into a locker. Football? Really? Maybe you want to give something else a try. I hear the chess team is having tryouts tomorrow.
03/23/2009 - 9:36pm
The Patriots will open their 2009 training camp in just over four months. With the understanding this list may need to be tweaked between now and the last week of July because of personnel decisions, here’s our take on who’s going to be drawing extra attention when the heat is on this summer.
03/22/2009 - 8:42pm
Jamie Silva no longer feels like a stranger in a strange land.
The former Boston College safety grew up in New England as a Patriots fan, but after a year with the Colts, he’s right at home in Indianapolis.
03/17/2009 - 10:29pm
Jason Taylor could be the next player to attempt a career renaissance under Bill Belichick. Since the coach first took over in New England before the 2000 season, several other players have been rejuvenated with the Patriots. In no particular order, here’s our Top 5:
03/17/2009 - 12:00am
After making a big move at the end of last month where they traded away Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel, the Patriots could be on the verge of another blockbuster deal.
A report yesterday from Vic Carucci of NFL.com indicated New England and Carolina are discussing a deal that would send Julius Peppers to the Patriots for the 34th overall pick in next month’s draft, a selection New England got from Kansas City in exchange for Cassel and Vrabel. According to Carucci, the deal would be done between the league meetings on March 22-25 and the NFL Draft on April 25.
03/14/2009 - 1:58am
While in New England, Troy Brown and Mike Vrabel resisted labels: Under Bill Belichick, they were wide receivers or linebackers in names only. In truth, they were football players who could be moved from offense to defense and back again at a moments notice.
Is Connor Barwin the evolution of the species? Some believe the 22-year-old — a defensive end/linebacker/tight end from the University of Cincinnati who will almost certainly be taken on the first day of next month’s NFL Draft — is Mike Vrabel for a new generation.
03/03/2009 - 1:00am
The lightning bolt that came of the clear blue sky this past weekend — Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel to Kansas City for a second-round draft pick — got us thinking about the biggest deals in Patriots history. In no particular order, here’s our list of the five biggest trades in the history of the franchise, and how they worked out for New England: