The Patriots added undrafted University of Tennessee offensive lineman Kyler Kerbyson to the roster on Friday, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

Kerbyson is a 6-foot-4, 306-pounder who started 26 consecutive games the last two years for the Vols. He has experience at both tackles spots, as well as guard, and was named All-SEC second team as a senior.

With training camp set to start next week, the addition of Kerbyson means New England currently has 88 players on its active roster.

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

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Tom Brady is our choice as the most important guy on the Patriots roster. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Tom Brady is our choice as the most important guy on the Patriots roster. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

As the countdown to training camp begins later this month, we’re looking at the 20 most important members of the Patriots heading into 2016.

1. Quarterback Tom Brady

Height: 6-foot-4
Weight: 225 pounds
Age: 38 (will turn 39 on August 3)

Resume: Not sure there’s enough bandwidth on the Internet to list all of Brady’s accomplishments, but we’ll try and sum it up here: At this point in his career, even the most ardent Deflategate truthers have to admit that the two-time MVP is one of the top two or (maybe) three quarterbacks of all-time. The former sixth-round pick out of Michigan has managed to put together a consistently high level of play well into his thirties — from this viewpoint, he’s the best thirtysomething quarterback in the history of the game. He’s at or near the top of every major statistical category in league history when it comes to quarterback play. He’s won four Super Bowls and been on the big stage six times, a ridiculous prospect in the salary cap era. Bottom line? Even if Deflategate ends up being part of his ultimate legacy, it’s awfully hard to say he doesn’t at least belong on the short list as one of the greatest in the history of the game, and the best player in the history of the franchise.

Why we ranked him here: This is probably the least surprising end to any list ever, so we’re not sure how much we have to defend the choice of Brady as the most important guy on the roster going into the 2016 season. But even at the age of 39, he will be expected to lead the offense for the bulk of another year. And while Brady is now surrounded with difference-makers like Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Martellus Bennett and Dion Lewis, once again, it’ll be Brady’s level of performance that will ultimately decide the fate of the 2016 team. (One more note: After we started this series at the beginning of the month, Brady gave up on his Deflategate appeal, which means — at least presumably — Jimmy Garoppolo will start the first four games of the season in Brady’s place. So we thought about tinkering with the rankings and giving Garoppolo at least a portion of this spot because of his anticipated importance over the first four games of the season. But while Garoppolo deserves a mention as being important because of what will likely transpire over the first four games of the year, we’re going to keep Brady by himself at No. 1.)

Quote: “I’ve said many times there is no quarterback I’d rather have than Tom Brady. He’s my quarterback. So I’ll stand by that.” — Bill Belichick on Brady, 3/22/16

Random Note: If Brady plays out his latest contract extension, that will take him through the 2019 season, and give him 20 consecutive years with the same franchise. Only Jackie Slater (Rams, 1976-1995), Lou Groza (Cleveland, 1946-1967), Jason Hanson (Detroit, 1992-2012) and Darrell Green (Washington, 1983-2002) played 20 or more years with the same franchise.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Dennis Green, who served as a head coach for 13 seasons in the NFL, passed away Friday at the age of 67 as a result of cardiac arrest.

Dennis Green, who served as a head coach for 13 seasons in the NFL, passed away Friday at the age of 67 as a result of cardiac arrest.

Green went a combined 113-94 while coaching the Vikings (97-62, 10 seasons) and the Cardinals (16-32, three seasons). That included a 15-1 regular-season mark with Minnesota in 1998, a year that saw the Vikings lose the NFC title game in dramatic fashion to the Falcons.

Green gained a small measure of fame for a 2006 postgame rant where his Arizona team lost to Chicago. After the Cardinals blew a 20-0 halftime lead and lost, Green shouted from the coaches podium after the game that the Bears “are who we thought they were. And we let ’em off the hook!”

Green also was the head coach at Northwestern and Stanford. 


Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
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Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Thursday’s decision to cut loose veteran long snapper Christian Yount means there’s some clarity to Joe Cardona’s situation this coming season.

While there was some question this offseason as to Cardona’s expected availability for 2016 — that being the primary reason for the addition of Yount, a four-year veteran, this past spring — a report from ESPN indicates Cardona has been transitioned to the Navy Reserve and will thus be at the start of Patriots training camp July 28.

The 6-foot-2, 241-pound Cardona was a fifth-round pick of New England out of Navy in 2015.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Patriots special teamer/defensive back Nate Ebner was on “The Dan Patrick Show” Thursday morning to talk about his quest for Olympic glory as a part of the USA Rugby 7’s Olympic team. He discussed whether football or rugby is tougher, and Patrick asked him how Rob Gronkowski might do when it came to rugby.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

The Patriots announced Thursday they have released rookie free agent linebacker C.J. Johnson and veteran long snapper Christian Yount. The following is a portion of the statement issued by the team on the moves.

Johnson, 24, was signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent on May 6, 2016 out of Mississippi. The 6-foot-2, 235-pounder began his college career at Mississippi as a defensive end before moving to middle linebacker for the 2015 season. Johnson played in 51 games and finished with 180 tackles, 13½ sacks and three interceptions during his college career.

Yount, 28, was signed by the Patriots as a free agent on April 22, 2016. The 6-foot-1, 245-pounder, is a veteran of four NFL seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2011) and the Cleveland Browns (2011-2014). He was released by Cleveland in May 2015 and did not play last season. Yount originally entered the NFL with Tampa Bay as a rookie free agent out of UCLA on July 27, 2011. He made the 53-man roster out of training camp and played in seven games before being released. Yount then signed with Cleveland, where he remained through the 2014 season. He has played in 60 NFL games.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Rob Gronkowski is already one of the best tight ends in the recent history of the game. (Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images)

Rob Gronkowski is already one of the best tight ends in the recent history of the game, and he’s only 27. (Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images)

As the countdown to training camp begins later this month, we’re looking at the 20 most important members of the Patriots heading into 2016.

2. Tight end Rob Gronkowski

Height: 6-foot-6
Weight: 265 pounds
Age: 27 (will turn 28 on May 14)

Resume: Where to start? When Gronkowski been healthy, this second-round pick out of Arizona has been one of the most dominant offensive options in the game since he arrived in the NFL in 2010. Over the course of his six-year career, he has 380 catches for 5,555 yards and 65 touchdowns, which includes a career-high 90 catches in 2011 and 82 in 2014. As a red-zone threat, a blocker or as a pass catcher with one of the largest catch radiuses in the NFL, he’s the best and most complete tight end in the game today, and is well on his way to becoming one of the best at his position in the history of the game. The big fella had a nasty two-year stretch where he struggled with injury, but aside from an occasional scare as of late, he’s held up well since the start of the 2014 season, playing in 30 of a possible 32 regular-season games in that span. He’s been named a first-team All-Pro by the AP on three different occasions (2011, 2014. 2015), and four times by Pro Football Focus.

Why we ranked him here: Everything is different when he’s not on the field. Everything. When he’s healthy, the field tilts in New England’s favor. He’s an elite offensive option who can put pressure on opposing defenses from multiple spots, including split wide, in the slot, flush against the tackle or even out of the backfield. If they double- or triple-team him, it opens things up for the likes of Julian Edelman, Dion Lewis or any one of the other pass catchers. When he’s not out there, Tom Brady loses a target with a world-class catch radius, an extraordinary football IQ (more on that in a second) and the sort of occasionally nasty streak that has helped make him an underrated blocker. There are about eighty billion examples of his importance over the last six years, but maybe the best one is last year’s AFC title game. His whole game was a clinic, but his catch on fourth down to keep the chains moving late in the contest and his astounding touchdown reception with less than two minutes left were the sorts of game-changing plays Gronkowski has become known for. Frankly, he’s not just one of the two most important players on the New England roster, he’s one of the faces of the league, and someone who will be fitted for a gold jacket in Canton before it’s all said and done.

Quote: “He’s a smart football player. He understands leverage, he understands position, he understands technique. He understands the concept of what you’re trying to do. … Probably other than the quarterback, the tight end position on our offense is the hardest to play. You have all the protections, all the [work in the] running game, and you have routes from sideline to the middle of the field to occasionally even in the backfield. There are really no plays off mentally for that position. His work ethic, his ability to work with his teammates, whether it’s the quarterback, the offensive tackles, the other tight ends or even with the defensive players, is good.” — Bill Belichick on Gronkowski, 9/23/15

Random Note: Gronkowski ended 2015 with 379 career regular-season catches via Brady, which now puts him second on the all-time list of receptions from New England’s veteran quarterback. (Gronkowski is 184 catches behind the all-time leader, Wes Welker, who finished his time in New England with 563 catches from Brady). Deion Branch is third overall with 328 career catches from Brady, while Troy Brown is fourth with 323 receptions via No. 12.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams doesn’t care who is under center for the Patriots for the first four games of the season.