Nick Caserio

Nick Caserio

With only two quarterbacks — Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo — active in training camp so far through four practices that has meant more reps for the two and even the team having scouts and director of player personnel Nick Caserio throw a few passes.

“We had two or three of our scouts step in there and Nick Caserio — pulled Nick out of the bullpen, got him out there throwing passes to the backs,” Bill Belichick joked when he was on SirusXM radio Sunday.

“Yeah, I think that they feel like they are getting good work out there once they get warmed up and ready to go,” he added. “Once you’re warmed up and ready to go you might as well throw, not till it drops, but get in the reps that you need. A lot of work these last two days have been on the running game as well. Given that the first two days were not in pads we did more work in the passing game so there’s a lot of run snaps out there.”

Third-string quarterback Matt Flynn, who the team signed this offseason, was placed on the active/non-football injury list and hasn’t seen the field yet. Belichick expects to get the veteran back on the field soon.

“Hopefully we’ll get [Matt] Flynn back out there soon,” Belichick said. “I think he’s pretty close to returning, we’ll take it day-by-day, but hopefully it’s not a long-term thing. That will give us three guys.”

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

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

If second-year quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is forced to start any games this season because of a potential Tom Brady suspension, it seems he has the backing of a number of his teammates, including running back LeGarrette Blount.

Jimmy Garoppolo

Jimmy Garoppolo

If second-year quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is forced to start any games this season because of a potential Tom Brady suspension, it seems he has the backing of a number of his teammates, including running back LeGarrette Blount.

Appearing on SirusXM radio Sunday, Blount gave a vote of confidence to Garoppolo.

“I’m not here speaking for the other guys, but I feel Jimmy can hold his own,” Blount said. “I feel like he can go in there and hold his own. He’s playing under the greatest quarterback. You can’t do nothing but learn from him.”

In limited action last season, Garoppolo went 19-for-27 for 182 yards and a touchdown.

“I like Jimmy a lot and I think he takes his job very seriously and he also has fun with it,” Blount said. “I feel like if he goes in there he’s going to be productive and I think he’s going to be good. I don’t think he’s going to go out there and do anything crazy. I think he’s going to go out there and do exactly what they tell him to do. I am going to go out there and try and help him as much as I possibly can in the run game, which will help him even more. I think Jimmy is going to be good. I think he’s going to be successful whenever he gets a chance to play.”

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

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

The Patriots are taking care of their tight end.

The Patriots are taking care of their tight end.

According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the Patriots have converted a $10 million option bonus due after this season for Rob Gronkowski into two parts — $4 million now and $6 million later. ESPN’s Adam Schefter adds the idea behind it was to get money distributed more equally over next two years.

Gronkowski’s base salary for this season is $4,750,000, the seventh-highest in the NFL. His current contract goes through the end of the 2019 season. NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport adds the team would have to pick up Gronkowski’s $6 million bonus due after this season for the deal to extend through 2019, which it’s expected will happen.

In five seasons he’s caught 308 passes for 4,379 yards and 54 touchdowns.

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

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

ESPN football reporter Chris Mortensen joined the Dan Le Batard Show on Monday to discuss Deflategate and one of his tweets early on in the Patriots’€™ ball-deflating scandal.

Mortensen incorrectly reported that 11 of 12 game balls for the AFC championship were underinflated by two pounds per square inch.

Rex Ryan is a big fan of what his team has done this offseason. (Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

Rex Ryan and the Bills still have no idea who their starting quarterback will be. (Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

With NFL training camps roughly a week in the books, now is a good chance to catch up with the rest of the AFC East to see what they are up to as preseason openers for all teams are just over a week away.

Buffalo Bills

— The Bills still don’t have a starting quarterback as neither EJ Manuel, Tyrod Taylor or Matt Cassel have done anything to separate themselves from the other two.

— Offensive line coach Aaron Kromer will avoid legal punishment for the incident last month when he allegedly punched a boy in the face and threatened to kill his family following a dispute over beach chairs, but the team announced he will be suspended six games. — It didn’t take long for Richie Incognito to make an impact on coach Rex Ryan as he already named the troubled offensive lineman the team’s starting left guard.

— Off the field, new running back LeSean McCoy made headlines with a party he posted on Instagram for woman 21-and-over. “I felt like it was like a thing I do every year with teammates. It’s something I bring together with teammates, but I didn’t do it this year,” McCoy said to clarify what happened. “It got too wild. I should never have posted it, and I take blame for it.”

New York Jets

— In their first season without Rex Ryan, things have been much more calm with the Jets during camp with Todd Bowles leading the way. Quarterback Geno Smith has seen the majority of snaps with the first team, so it would seem he’s on track to the starting job over Ryan Fitzpatrick.

— Sheldon Richardson was arrested July 14 and charged with resisting arrest after leading police on a high-speed chase in St. Louis. He was already facing a four-game ban for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. General manager Mike Maccagan didn’t have much to say on the matter. “At this point in time, we’ll see how it progresses,” Maccagnan said. “It’s not about words right now, it’s about actions — not actions on the football field. It’s how he handles himself.”

— Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, in negotiations for a long-term contract extension, left practice early Sunday with a hamstring injury. “I don’t think it’s serious,” Bowles said. “If it loosens up a bit, it should be OK. He shouldn’t be out long.” Regardless of the severity, it’s never good to have an injury this early in camp.

— One of the best matchups to watch with the Jets so far throughout camp has been wide receiver Brandon Marshall against cornerback Darrelle Revis. Video was posted of the plays — who is better, you be the judge.

Miami Dolphins

— Their biggest offseason acquisition, defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh, has been very impressive with his new team. “It’€™s good for everybody, [Suh] needs to get himself fully comfortable in our system and his timing and his rhythm down as a D-lineman and it’€™s going to be a great experience for our offensive players to go against him,” said head coach Joe Philbin. “He’€™s got an outstanding motor, which is good.’€

— As the Dolphins attempt to reach the postseason for the first time since 2008, arguably the biggest player who controls that fate is quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The No. 8 overall pick in the 2012 draft has shown steady improvements each season and if he can limit his mistakes, the Dolphins could potentially make a run at the Patriots for the AFC East crown.

— Owner Stephen Ross made headlines last week when he supported Roger Goodell’s ruling on Deflategate. “I have a lot of confidence in Roger and the league offices,” Ross said. “I dealt with them, as you know, with our controversy not too long ago, and they’€™re very objective. I don’€™t have all the facts. I don’€™t think any of us have all the facts. But I think the league takes everything into consideration, and I have a lot of faith in what the league ruled.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Jake Bequette

Jake Bequette

After being drafted in the third-round by the Patriots in 2012, three years have passed and Jake Bequette has played in just eight games, spending the majority of his time on the practice squad.

In order to try and get the most out of Bequette and him on the field, the team has moved him from his defensive end position to tight end. The 26-year-old was sporting a new number last week — No. 85.

‘€œI’€™m not really sure that was my choice,’€ Bequette said about his new number. ‘€œI just walked out here, see a jersey in my locker, and I just go with it.’€

He spent all of last season on the practice squad — making his eight appearances in 2012 and 2013. It’s only been a few months, so Bequette knows there’s a lot to learn, but he’s already shown he can make a few plays, as he made a few nice catches last week.

‘€œIt’€™s a daily process,’€ Bequette said. ‘€œI’€™m making process and getting in that comfort zone, making it feel like you’€™ve always done that. I’€™m not there yet. There’€™s going to be a long way to go before I get there, but every day I make improvements. There are different things I see on film that give me confidence, and I think you’€™ll see that as I progress.’€

It isn’t a totally new position as he played it high school and sparingly at Arkansas.

The 6-foot-5, 265-pounder may have a better shot at making the roster as a tight end rather than a defensive end, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a competitive group. He’s likely competing with Michael Hoomanawanui, Jimmay Mundine and AJ Derby for a spot, as Rob Gronkowski and Scott Chandler are locks.

Bequette knows he has his work cut out for him to make the team.

‘€œIt’€™s a competitive unit, competitive team, competitive offense, and we have a lot of good players,’€ Bequette said. ‘€œIf I’€™m going to find a role, I’€™ve got to do some things that other guys may not do as well, and hopefully in the run game, I can bring something to the table there.’€

Whether he makes the team as a tight end or not, it won’t be for a lack of effort. Between OTAs and training camp, Bequette was catching passes and seeking advice from anyone he could fine.

‘€œI had anyone and everyone out there throwing to me,’€ Bequette said. ‘€œI was running routes in multiple states and locations just trying to get a better feel for the position and trying to get the point where I wasn’€™t totally rusty after five or six weeks off.

‘€œEveryone from my brothers to high school quarterbacks. People in Fayettville (Ark.), Little Rock (Ark.), everyone.’€

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Even though the Patriots were off Monday, that didn’t stop them from making some roster moves.

The team released offensive lineman Kevin Hughes and rookie free agent defensive lineman Vince Taylor. In addition, the team announced the signing of guard Harland Gunn off waivers and after linebacker Cameron Gordon officially gets added to the roster (his agent said Gordon has re-signed with the team) the Patriots’ roster will be at 87 players, meaning they have three openings.

Here is a portion of the release on Monday:

Gunn, 25, is a veteran of three NFL seasons with the Atlanta Falcons (2012-14). The 6-foot-2, 310-pounder, was released by Atlanta on Aug. 1, 2015. He originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent out of Miami by the Dallas Cowboys in 2012. After being released by Dallas at the end of training camp, Gunn began his rookie season on the New Orleans practice squad. He was signed to the Atlanta Falcons 53-man roster from the Saints’€™ practice squad on Nov. 20, 2012, but was inactive for the final six games of the season and both postseason games. Over the last two seasons with the Falcons, Gunn has played in 13 games with one start.

Hughes, 26, was signed by the Patriots as a free agent on May 11, 2015. The 6-foot-4, 315-pounder, originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with the St. Louis Rams on July 29, 2011, out of Southeastern Louisiana. He began his rookie season on the Rams’€™ practice squad before being signed to the 53-man roster on Nov. 19, 2011. Hughes played in three games that season as a reserve on the offensive line. He was released by St. Louis on Aug. 27, 2012, before being signed to the San Diego practice squad on Nov. 21, 2012. He then signed with Green Bay on Feb. 1, 2013, but was released on Aug. 31, 2013. Hughes signed with Carolina on Feb. 4, 2015 but was released on March 10, 2015.

Taylor, 23, was signed by the Patriots on May 8, 2015 as a rookie free agent out of Vanderbilt. The 6-foot-2, 305-pounder, played in 49 games with 12 starts at Vanderbilt and finished with 87 total tackles, 1½ sacks and three fumble recoveries.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

In a move that should surprise no one, Tom Brady will appear in person for a court-mandated Deflategate settlement hearing Aug.