FOXBORO — Another week, another crowded injury report for the Patriots.

Only Dominique Easley missed Wednesday’s practice, as he was placed on injured reserve, but 12 other Patriots players were limited as the team prepares for Sunday’s game against the Jets at MetLife Stadium.

FOXBORO — Another week, another crowded injury report for the Patriots.

Only Dominique Easley missed Wednesday’s practice, as he was placed on injured reserve, but 12 other Patriots players were limited as the team prepares for Sunday’s game against the Jets at MetLife Stadium.

Julian Edelman (thigh/concussion) headlines the limited players, as a concussion was added to his name — in previous weeks it was just his thigh. LeGarrette Blount (shoulder) was also limited and was the first time he’s appeared on the injury report this season. Kyle Arrington left Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury and was a limited participant in practice.

Long snapper Danny Aiken was also added to the injury list, as after recovering from a concussion a few weeks ago, he now has a finger injury. Rob Ninkovich (heel) and Cameron Fleming (ankle) remain on the injury report, both limited in the session.

Quarterback Tom Brady (ankle) was a full participant.

Here is a complete practice report:

Did not participate

DL Dominique Easley (injured reserve)

Limited participation

LS Danny Aiken (finger)
CB Kyle Arrington (hamstring)
RB LeGarrette Blount (shoulder)
OL Dan Connolly (ankle)
WR Julian Edelman (thigh/concussion)
OL Cameron Fleming (ankle)
LB Dont’a Hightower (shoulder)
DE Chandler Jones (hip)
WR Brandon LaFell (shoulder)
DE Rob Ninkovich (heel)
RB Shane Vereen (ankle)
LB Chris White (ankle)

Full participation

QB Tom Brady (ankle)

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Dominique Easley

Dominique Easley

1. Even before the start of the season, it was fairly evident that the Patriots 2014 rookie class was going to face an uphill battle for playing time. Entering camp, the roster was clearly pretty well stocked with entrenched veterans, and when midseason acquisitions like LeGarrette Blount, Alan Branch, Jonathan Casillas and Akeem Ayers showed up, it pushed several of the ones who initially made the cut at the start of the season even further down the depth chart. That’s why, from this viewpoint, the decision to place first-round pick Dominique Easley on season-ending injured reserve isn’t a colossal issue. You never want to lose out on the services of any of your top picks for the season, but because the Patriots have good depth up front with the postseason looming (Branch, Ayers, Vince Wilfork, Sealver Siliga, Chris Jones, Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, etc. etc.), it doesn’t represent a seismic loss for the franchise at this point in the year. Easley was on and off the field throughout the spring and into the summer, and saw limited playing time throughout the year because of the knee issues. When he was healthy, he certainly showed the sort of disruptive skill set that the Patriots crave at the defensive line position. Going forward, once whatever knee procedures that need to take place have occurred, it’s on him to take a postgraduate year at Vince Wilfork University. He should keep your eyes open and his mouth shut, follow Wilfork around and learn what it takes to succeed in the NFL. Then, come back in the spring ready to go for 2015.

2. The addition of Steve Maneri to the active roster — taking the place of Easley — is interesting on a couple of levels. First off, Maneri has a background as both a tackle and tight end, and could figure prominently in those heavy sets the Patriots have run so effectively with Cameron Fleming over the course of the year. His versatility and skill set suggest he might be better suited to the job that some of the other options the Patriots have, at least right now with Fleming on the sideline. And second, this could tell us something about the overall state of Fleming’s health. The rookie out of Stanford has been missing since Week 12 because of what the team is calling an ankle injury, and the addition of Maneri could be a sign that the team feels it’s the sort of injury that could have the 6-foot-6, 325-pounder on the shelf for an extended stretch. (It could also be seen as a roundabout sort of challenge to fellow tight end Michael Hoomanawanui.) Ultimately, Maneri is a familiar face who presumably won’t need a lot of time to get up to speed, so if you’re a Patriots fan, that’s a good thing if he’s pressed into service in rapid fashion.

3. And last — but not least — the Patriots went and added another quarterback to the mix in Garrett Gilbert, who landed on the practice squad. The 6-foot-4, 221-pounder out of SMU was on the Rams practice squad — he was a sixth-round pick of St. Louis this past spring — before being cut loose in October. Gilbert had an up-and-down college career — after being recruited to Texas, he struggled in his three years with the Longhorns, playing 24 games and throwing 13 touchdowns, 23 interceptions and completing just 50.9 percent of his passes. Things picked up for him after transferring to SMU, and he posted career-best numbers across the board last year with the Mustangs, throwing for 3,528 yards and 21 touchdowns to go with seven interceptions and an impressive 66.5 percent completion rate. It had been known that the Patriots were in the market for a third quarterback — they were interested in Chicago rookie David Fales before he was promoted to the active roster. However, at this point, Gilbert projects to be a practice squad/scout teamer who could be in the mix as a camp arm in the spring. Here’s some video of his college work while at SMU:

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

FOXBORO — Darrelle Revis said Wednesday it was “kind of sad” when it came to his former coach Rex Ryan and what he’s been going through this season in New York.

Revis, who played with the Jets from 2007 to 2012, was asked on a conference call Wednesday if he was shocked that the Jets were 3-11.

Darrelle Revis sounded downbeat when talking about his old coach Rex Ryan on Wednesday. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Darrelle Revis sounded downbeat when talking about his old coach Rex Ryan on Wednesday. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Darrelle Revis said Wednesday it was “kind of sad” when it came to his former coach Rex Ryan and what he’s been going through this season in New York.

Revis, who played with the Jets from 2007 to 2012, was asked on a conference call Wednesday if he was shocked that the Jets were 3-11.

“I don’€™t know. I don’€™t know. Like I said, they have a lot on their plate over there in that situation this year,” he said. “It’€™s kind of sad for the position that Rex is in right now. But at the same time [the record is] something that they’€™ve got to change.

“Me and Rex have a lot of history, and we all know that,” he added. “Some of those guys are dear to my heart and everything, but like I said, I’€™ve got to focus on the things that I am doing here and I wish Rex the best.”

Revis, who played under Ryan from 2009 through 2012 with New York, said it’s a different experience playing on the other side of the rivalry.

“It’€™s two different schemes,” he explained. “Rex is more aggressive with his approach and up here it’€™s a mixture of man coverage and zone too. So it’€™s just two different systems that I’€™ve played with two different cultures that have two different styles of defenses.”

Revis was asked several times by the New York media about possibly returning to the Jets — or reuniting with Ryan — next year, but he wouldn’t comment on the possibility.

“Right now, my focus is playing against the Jets,” he said. “I’€™m not really thinking about the offseason right now. I’€™m thinking about focusing on the next game and the rest of the season.”

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

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

FOXBORO — Earlier in the week, Rex Ryan said Bill Belichick was

Sunday could be the last meeting between Rex Ryan and Bill Belichick as Ryan as head coach of the Jets as Ryan could be fired at the end of the season. (Ron Antonelli/Getty Images)

Sunday could be the last meeting between Rex Ryan and Bill Belichick with Ryan as head coach of the Jets as Ryan could be fired at the end of the season. (Ron Antonelli/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Earlier in the week, Rex Ryan said Bill Belichick was a first ballot Hall of Famer. On Wednesday, Belichick was appreciative of the comment, but even with all the possible outside distractions Sunday’s game possesses, he’s focused on the game and nothing else.

“It’€™s a very flattering comment, but it sounds like Rex is just buttering me up,” Belichick said on a conference call with the New York media Wednesday. “I know they’€™re working hard, like they always do, play us very competitively. We’€™ve really had a hard time with them, including the last time we played them. We’€™re going to have to do a good job getting ready to go here stopping a team that runs the ball well, that stops the run well, that’€™s got a lot of explosive guys in the kicking game, that’€™s well coached, that’€™s tough, that beat us down there last year. We have our work cut out for us.”

Asked if he has any memories of games between the two over the years, Belichick wouldn’t get into them as he is focused on getting his team to 12-3 and a step closer to the overall No. 1 seed in the AFC.

“Well of course, they’€™re one of our AFC East rivals,” said Belichick. “This is really about this game, not about some other game. We’€™ve played a lot of games against a lot of teams in the past. Right now the only one that matters is this one on Sunday. That’€™s really where all my focus is. [I’€™m] trying to do the best I can to help our team prepare for Sunday’€™s game.”

“I have a lot of respect for Rex as a coach,” Belichick added. “I think he’€™s a great competitor and his teams have always given us very competitive efforts. We’€™ve won some, they’€™ve won some, but they’€™re always a hard team to play against. They play us well. They’€™re a good football team. They played well again last week. Like I said, they’€™re tough, they run the ball, they stop the run [and] they’€™re very good in the kicking game. This will be a big, big challenge for us this week. Their players, their coaching staff, we’€™re going to have to do a good job in order to be competitive.”

With the two coaches coaching against one another for the past six seasons, Belichick has a lot of respect for Ryan, but because they are in the same division he hasn’t been able to spend much personal time with him.

“We never really get a chance to spend a lot of time with him or in all honesty, any other coaches in our division. That’€™s the situation we’€™re in. it’€™s a competitive situation. It’€™s the same thing I said when I was the head coach at Cleveland and Bill Cowher was at Pittsburgh. Once that changed then our relationship changed. I told you I respect Rex, I respect the job and I respect their team. That’€™s what we have to do this week is getting ready to play the New York Jets. That’€™s what we’€™re going to do. That’€™s what this is about, nothing else.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

FOXBORO — Dominique Easley was not at Patriots practice on the lower field at Gillette Stadium Wednesday in advance of Sunday’s game against the Jets. Easley was placed on injured reserve officially by the team on Wednesday afternoon.

Dominique Easley

Dominique Easley

FOXBORO — Dominique Easley was not at Patriots practice on the lower field at Gillette Stadium Wednesday in advance of Sunday’s game against the Jets. Easley was placed on injured reserve officially by the team on Wednesday afternoon.

Tight end Steve Maneri, who was with the team in training camp, was seen in the locker room before practice and present at the session. He was officially signed to the active roster and he will take Easley’s place on the active 53-man roster.

Quarterback Garrett Gilbert was also present at the session, as he was signed to the practice squad on Wednesday. Gilbert takes Casey Walker’s place on the practice squad, who was signed by the Ravens on Tuesday.

Practice squad player, offensive lineman Caylin Hauptmann was not at practice.

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

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable


FOXBORO — He understands the records are what they are heading into Sunday’s Week 16 showdown, but Tom Brady doesn’t want to see the Patriots biting their nails heading into the final minute if they can help it. Brady recalls, of course, the 27-25 escape against the Jets on Oct. 16 at Gillette Stadium, when Chris Jones saved the day with a blocked field goal at the end.

He also recalls last year at MetLife Stadium when the Patriots raced out to a 21-10 halftime lead, only to allow the Jets back in the game and lose in overtime when Jones was called for an illegal play at the line of scrimmage on a field goal attempt.

This year, Brady is hoping for something a little different. More like the “Butt Fumble” game of Thanksgiving 2012 when the Patriots feasted on Rex Ryan‘s Jets, 49-19.

Brady is taking no comfort in New York’s 3-11 record or the fact they’ve lost by two touchdowns in five of their 11 losses.

“I don’t know why those scores go the way they do against other teams,” Brady said. “Against us, they always seem to be close. You just don’t want to go down there and have a bunch of poor execution like we’ve done in the past. I think we really have to focus on our execution and try to go out there and play good for once. I think that’s kind of what we’ve been talking about, playing our style of football for 60 minutes and see what that looks like because we haven’t done a great job against the Jets doing that.

“It’s a great rivalry. We’ve always had some pretty interesting games against them. A lot of them come down to the wire, especially recently. They’ve got a real good defense. They’re good up front, do a great job against the run. We’re going to have to go out and play really well. I know the records are what they are but we don’t look at it like that. I think it’s a good challenge for us. We lost going to the Meadowlands last year. So, we’re anticipating getting their best game.”

The Patriots, of course, are 11-3 and looking for the top seed in the AFC, which they will get with a win over the Jets and a Denver loss in Cincinnati Monday night. But the Patriots QB knows the offense needs to get back to getting off to fast starts, a trademark during their seven-game win streak.

“It’s frustrating for all of us when we’re not scoring the type of points we’re capable of doing,” Brady said of the struggles against the Dolphins in the first half last Sunday. “I just have to focus on what I’ve got to do better, and I can certainly do better in that area, making better decisions, better throws. We’re going to need it this week against this team because they challenge you in a lot of ways. They’ve got a multitude of things that they do. They’ve always done that. They really test your communication. Certainly, execution is something that we look at all the past games we’ve played against them and think, ‘God, our execution just wasn’t very sharp.’ We have to be very sharp this week.”

Will part of the offensive game plan and execution include another great scamper against Jets Sunday at MetLife, like his 17-yarder against Miami in the second half last Sunday?

“I don’t know if I’d characterize it as a great scamper,” Brady said. “I think if those opportunities present themselves then I’m going to try to take advantage. Maybe there’s a little more awareness now than there has been in the past. Once you make a couple of them, you kind of get a feel for it. If that’s what we need to do, then that’s what we need to do. If they’re not going to account for that, then that’s kind of an easy play to make.

“You just have to have to have awareness and be able to do it. It’s a mental thing, it’s a physical thing. Mentally, hopefully I’m ahead of where I’ve been in the past. However, we need to convert third downs and stay on the field and score points, is going to be something I’m trying to do to help us win.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia