Robert Kraft came out in defense of his Patriots' family Wednesday. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)FOXBORO -- The NFL is about to find out why you don't mess with the Kraft family. Especially not the patriarch.

You don't double-cross Robert Kraft without some consequences.



MIKE PETRAGLIA

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How will the snaps be distributed between Jimmy Garoppolo and Tom Brady this summer?</span></p>
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The Patriots placed running back LeGarrette Blount, defensive lineman Alan Branch and offensive lineman Caylin Hauptmann on the non-football injury list on Wednesday, according to the NFL transaction wire.

LeGarrette Blount was placed on the NFI list Wednesday, according to the NFL transaction wire. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

LeGarrette Blount was placed on the NFI list Wednesday, according to the NFL transaction wire. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

The Patriots placed running back LeGarrette Blount, defensive lineman Alan Branch and offensive lineman Caylin Hauptmann on the non-football injury list on Wednesday, according to the NFL transaction wire.

No reason was given for the move, but players who have been placed on NFI prior to the start of camp in year’s past have often found themselves there because they have failed the conditioning test and/or their physical. (Players on the non-football injury list are there because they are classified as unable to practice as a result of conditions unrelated to football. They are eligible to return to the practice field at any time.)

In addition, the transaction wire revealed that the Patriots came to terms with exclusive rights free agent James Develin. The fullback has been with New England the last three seasons. And the team officially announced the signing of veteran cornerback Tarell Brown. The 30-year-old Brown is a veteran of eight NFL seasons with the Niners (2007-13) and Raiders (2014). The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder has played in 114 games with 61 starts and has tallied 295 total tackles, 11 interceptions with one returned for a touchdown, 59 passes defensed and two fumble recoveries.

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

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

John Dowd, attorney, former special counsel to ex-MLB commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti and author of the Dowd Report that led to Pete Rose’s lifetime ban from baseball, joined the Dale & Holley show Wednesday to give his take on Tom Brady‘s situation. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Dowd read the Wells Report and said he had trouble nailing down what the report itself was saying.

“As they say in the ‘Seinfeld’ show, it’s all about nothing,” Dowd said. “I just could not figure out what it was about, and I read the Wells Report, and I read the subsequent studies that sort of shredded the science in the report, but I couldn’t find anywhere where Tom Brady directed anybody to do anything. So I’ve sort of been troubled watching this thing and how it’s been put together and so I’ve not seen a basis for the punishment of Tom Brady, and I didn’t think the Wells Report was very well done.”

He also said the way the league has thus far handled the issue of Brady destroying his cell phone was an “ambush,” and that the NFL “blindsided” him.

“[Brady] explained, as I understand it, that he couldn’t turn over his phone, but he would do everything else to cooperate and that was apparently acceptable to Wells,” Dowd said. “I mean, Wells noted in his report it was not helpful, but he didn’t charge him or recommend he be charged with failing to cooperate with the commissioner, which can be a big deal. You don’t cooperate with the commissioner in baseball, and you’re going to sit down, you’re not going to play ball, so it’s a very serious charge, which was not made. So Tom went up on appeal and continued to cooperate, continued to try to get the messages. They had already concluded that they had enough so I don’t understand.

“And apparently in some conversation, he described how his assistant handled his phone, and my own theory is that they had taken such a beating on the Wells Report, that it had been shredded by all kinds of experts, that they had to grab something to save face. And as you know, this commissioner has had great difficulty with his disciplinary decisions, and so that’s just my theory. I don’t know if that’s a fact or not, but I do know one thing. It was very unfair to cite that phone and its destruction as evidence of consciousness of guilt or obstruction of justice. He was never charged with that, and fair play and due process require that you receive notice of that and you have a chance to answer that, so that’s what struck me.”

Dowd noted that everything regarding the phone read as though the NFL was just looking to find a way to get to Brady.

“It appears that they were trying very hard to find something adverse to Tom, and because of the weak standard, the weak facts, the lousy science, etc.,” he said. “The other thing, if I were commissioner, or counsel to the commissioner, and given how controversial that Wells Report was, I would make sure the public got an answer and a response about all the science, but it doesn’t look like Goodell looked at that critically at all, and that’s troubling to me.

“The one thing we did in the Rose case was everything we did that was recorded was handed over to the Rose lawyers and to the public, including all of my notes and all my colleagues’ notes. There was nothing that wasn’t put out there, because a lot’s riding on it, particularly the confidence of the public and the fans who are so important to this game.”

Dowd took issue with the fact that the standard for this case is “more probable than not” when his report was based on the standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt” as well.

“The idea that you would injure someone’s career or affect it in some way, some adverse way based on more probable than not is nonsense,” he said. “I don’t know such a standard in the law or anywhere else so that was very troubling to me.”

He added that as he understands it, “Every team in the league was doing what the Patriots were doing.” Dowd offered that if the league is really this concerned about how footballs are taken care of, it should follow in baseball’s footsteps and have officials be the only ones touching the balls.

Blog Author: 
Judy Cohen
How will the Patriots replace Vince Wilfork? (Elsa/Getty Images)

How will the Patriots replace Vince Wilfork? (Elsa/Getty Images)

As training camp approaches, we’€™€™ll offer a position-by-position breakdown of the 2015 Patriots. We started with the offensive side of the ball and now we’€™ve shifted to defense with the cornerbacks, linebackers and safeties, now we take a look at the defensive line.

Depth chart (regular-season stats via Pro Football Reference): Rob Ninkovich (53 tackles, 8 sacks), Jabaal Sheard (25 tackles, 2 sacks), Chandler Jones (37 tackles, 6 sacks) Dominique Easley (6 tackles, 1 sack), Sealver Siliga (21 tackles, 2.5 sacks), Alan Branch (14 tackles), Jake Bequette, Chris Jones (16 tackles, 3 sacks), Joe Vellano (4 tackles, 1 sack), Zach Moore, Malcom Brown (rookie), Trey Flowers (rookie)

THREE THINGS WE KNOW

1. It’s a different group than a year ago. While they may have lost only one player, it was their leader Vince Wilfork. Without Wilfork it will surely be a different group and they will need someone to step up and take on a leadership role, which will likely be Ninkovich. The team also went out and signed Sheard, who was a free agent after spending last season with the Browns. While they will be without the biggest guy in the middle, the talent is still there to keep up the success.

2. Rob Ninkovich, Chandler Jones, Jabaal Sheard will be good. The Patriots could have one of the best outside pass rush grouping in the entire league with these three. Ninkovich has had eight sacks in three straight seasons, Jones had six in an injury-plagued 2014 season and Sheard will benefit from having the other two players with him. These three rotating in-and-out will likely create matchup problems for opposing defenses and allow the Patriots to get constant pressure on opposing quarterbacks when they choose.

3. They will need to make more of an impact. Last season the secondary was the group which led the defense and this year it will be the front-seven with the departures of Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner and Kyle Arrington in the secondary. It will likely be the opposite of things from last year, as this year it will be the front-seven taking some pressure off of the secondary rather than the other way around like last season.

THREE QUESTIONS

1. How will they replace Vince Wilfork? This is the biggest question with this group. While not one player can replace the leader that Wilfork was and have the impact that he had in the locker room, Ninkovich is as close as you can get. A soft-spoken player by nature, but he has the experience and work ethic it takes to be considered a leader. It is also a group of players who will all work together to make up for the loss of Wilfork in the middle, although Branch and Siliga specifically will need to step up and play a bigger role in stopping the run.

2. What kind of impact will Dominique Easley have? After playing in only 11 games last year and starting this season on PUP, it will be interesting to see what kind of impact Easley has. The 2014 first-round pick has plenty of upside, but is still working his way back from his ACL injury he suffered at Florida. At 6-foot-2, 285 pounds, Easley has plenty of potential, but the biggest key for him is staying healthy.

3. How fill Malcom Brown fit in? For the second straight season the Patriots used their first-round pick on a defensive lineman. The Texas product has the potential to make an impact right away if he can learn the system and adjust to the NFL quickly. He could be another guy, if he picks things up quick, to fill Wilfork’s place on the middle of the line. It’s unlikely he steps in and starts right away, but he could potentially see a good number of snaps this season.

By the numbers: 6. The Patriots allowed six rushing touchdowns in 2014, which was the second-fewest in the entire NFL.

Key new player: Sheard. The former Cleveland Brown could make a huge impact in his first season in New England. Provided he can learn the system, he will be a major piece on the Patriots defense when it comes to getting after the opposing quarterback. And with more of an emphasis on the front-seven, Sheard was just the player the team needed to get this offseason.

The skinny: While the biggest thing to monitor is the loss of Wilfork, the unit should be just fine. Ninkovich, Jones, Sheard and Branch will be good players for Brown and Easley to look up to. As has been mentioned, the front-seven will be asked to do more than last year and will be asked to come up big in the red zone once again, as holding teams to field goals instead of touchdowns will go a long way with winning a number of games this year.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

In a lengthy interview with CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, Tom Brady‘s agent Don Yee gave more details into the Deflategate case, specifically Brady

In a lengthy interview with CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, Tom Brady‘s agent Don Yee gave more details into the Deflategate case, specifically Brady’s cell phone.

When it relates to what is next in the case, it seems a federal court battle is on the horizon.

“We’re still trying to digest this decision and determine the best course of action at this point,” Yee said. “The decision is very disappointing. It’s misleading subterfuge, and it actually insults the intelligence of fans and the media. I will give them credit for completely shifting the focus from psi, and they have invented a new shiny object for everybody to look at and be distracted by. Notice how we’re not even talking about psi anymore. The league essentially admits this through this decision and its media leaks — the psi issue is dead and their science is junk.”

Yee said Brady offered to provide detailed records to the NFL from AT&T that indicated where every call and text message were sent, which would have given them access to see if he communicated with Jim McNally and John Jastremski.

“Tom’s phone billing record from this timeframe shows that he never spoke on the phone or texted with [Jim] McNally, ever,” Yee said. “Tom’s phone billing record shows that nearly every communication with Jastremki was already in possession of Wells’ team with exception of three texts between Tom and Jastremski on Feb. 7. Every other communication he ever had with [John] Jastremski in that time period was already in the hands of Wells’ team. They also had any communication between Tom and the equipment manager (Dave) Schoenfeld.”

Yee said Brady got a new phone prior to his meeting with investigator Ted Wells and it is regular practice for him to delete text messages and emails from the phone.

“Given Tom’s public status, to ever lose phone and have texts and emails on there would be significant consequences from a publicity standpoint,” he said.

Brady got a new phone after the Super Bowl — early March to be exact.

“I don’t know why we had access to that one phone, but he normally cycles through phones regularly and upgrades phones, but keeps the same phone account for billing purposes,” Yee said. “Why did Tom happen to cycle through another phone the first week of March? He just got back into the country after celebrating a Super Bowl victory and I believe he wanted a new phone and the iPhone 6 had just come out shortly before that.”

The agent said it wasn’t until Feb. 28 that an associate of Wells’ sent an email request for information from Brady’s phone. They said they didn’t need the actual phone and Yee pointed back to Wells’ conference call with the media where he said he didn’t need Brady’s actual phone. It was then on March 2 Brady’s team told the investigators he would not be turning over his phone or information from it, which meant Wells knew that week Brady would not turning over any copies of texts or anything else on the phone. He said Brady did not decide to destroy his phone as a reaction to having to speak with Wells.

“They knew four days prior to Tom’s interview they weren’t going to get the phone anyway,” Yee said.

Yee was not pleased to hear the NFL had already filed a preemptive lawsuit in New York.

“It is virtually unheard of for party in the position of the NFL in a dispute like this to file a preemptive lawsuit simultaneously with the issuance of the decision,” Yee said. “That demonstrates tremendous weakness. The inference is that they do not believe that their evidence and reason could withstand scrutiny in any jurisdiction in America.”

 

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

The NFL Players Association announced Wednesday that it would file a lawsuit in federal court in Minnesota challenging the four-game suspension commissioner Roger Goodell gave Tom Brady.

The NFL Players Association announced Wednesday that it would file a lawsuit in federal court in Minnesota challenging the four-game suspension commissioner Roger Goodell gave Tom Brady.

The NFL, meanwhile, attempted to beat the union to the punch — and keep the case out of labor-friendly Minnesota — filing its own suit in New York Federal Court asking for the suspension to be upheld.

The NFLPA released a statement after Tuesday’s confirmation of the suspension that read in part:

The fact that the NFL would resort to basing a suspension on a smoke screen of irrelevant text messages instead of admitting that they have all of the phone records they asked for is a new low, even for them, but it does nothing to correct their errors.

The NFLPA will appeal this outrageous decision on behalf of Tom Brady.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar