The Patriots practiced outside in the cold on the grass fields behind Gillette Stadium on Thursday in advance of Sunday’s game with the Lions. Chandler Jones (hip), Dominique Easley (knee) and Cameron Fleming (finger/ankle) all missed the session.

Dominique Easley

Dominique Easley

The Patriots practiced outside in the cold on the grass fields behind Gillette Stadium on Thursday in advance of Sunday’s game with the Lions. Chandler Jones (hip), Dominique Easley (knee) and Cameron Fleming (finger/ankle) all missed the session.

Jones hasn’t practiced since suffering the hip injury in Week 7, while Fleming didn’t practice Wednesday after leaving late in last Sunday’s game against the Colts with an ankle injury. It was Fleming’s first action since suffering a finger injury Week 4 against Kansas City, which he is still said to be dealing with. Easley missed the practice after being limited on Wednesday. It is worth noting that Wednesday’s practice was a walkthrough and Thursday’s was held in full pads.

Offensive lineman Ryan Wendell (knee) was removed from the injury report.

On a side note, Sealver Siliga was spotted at Wednesday’s walkthrough, but his 21-day window of coming off short-term injured reserve has not started yet.

For the Lions, running back Joique Bell was limited in practice after not practicing at all on Wednesday. Wide receiver Calvin Johnson and defensive lineman Nick Fairley once again did not practice.

Here is the complete Patriots practice report:

Did not practice

DL Dominique Easley (knee)
OL Cameron Fleming (finger/ankle)
DE Chandler Jones (hip)

Limited participation

OL Marcus Cannon (hip)
S Nate Ebner (finger)
WR Julian Edelman (thigh)

Full participation

QB Tom Brady (ankle)

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Tony Corrente will work as the lead official for Sunday's Patriots-Lions game. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Tony Corrente will work as the lead official for Sunday’s Patriots-Lions game. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Tony Corrente has been assigned to work the Sunday game between the Patriots and Lions at Gillette Stadium, according to FootballZebras.com. Sunday will mark the second Patriots game of the season for Corrente, a veteran official who also served as the lead referee for the Patriots-Vikings game in Minnesota on Sept. 14.

Here’€™s a look at who has worked as the lead official for each New England game this year, and the corresponding penalties for each game, not counting the flags that were offset or declined.

Sept. 7 at Miami: Walt Anderson –€” 9 penalties, 100 yards (Dolphins –€” 4 penalties, 26 yards)
Sept. 14 at Minnesota: Tony Corrente –€” 15 penalties, 163 yards (Vikings — 7 penalties, 58 yards)
Sept. 21 vs. Oakland: Pete Morelli — 6 penalties, 59 yards (Raiders –€” 6 penalties, 49 yards)
Sept. 29 at Kansas City: John Parry –€” 3 penalties, 30 yards (Chiefs –€” 4 penalties, 35 yards)
Oct. 5 vs. Cincinnati: Jerome Boger — 12 penalties, 114 yards (Bengals –€” 4 penalties, 37 yards)
Oct. 12 at Buffalo: Walt Coleman –€” 9 penalties, 60 yards (Bills –€” 8 penalties, 107 yards)
Oct. 16 vs. Jets: Bill Leavy –€” 9 penalties, 64 yards (Jets –€” 7 penalties, 70 yards)
Oct. 23 vs. Bears: Brad Allen –” 7 penalties, 38 yards (Bears –€” 5 penalties, 41 yards)
Nov. 2 vs. Denver: Walt Anderson — 9 penalties, 71 yards (Broncos –€” 10 penalties, 72 yards)
Nov. 16 at Indy: Pete Morelli — 5 penalties, 53 yards (Colts — 4 penalties, 27 yards)
Nov. 23 vs. Lions: Tony Corrente

For more on Corrente’s work as an official, check out his page at Pro Football Reference. And for all of this week’€™s officiating assignments, check out Football Zebras.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

NFL Network analyst and former Patriots fullback Heath Evans joined Middays with MFB Thursday to talk about the upcoming Patriots game against the Lions, the signing of LeGarrette Blount and other Patriots matters.

NFL Network analyst and former Patriots fullback Heath Evans joined Middays with MFB Thursday to talk about the upcoming Patriots game against the Lions, the signing of LeGarrette Blount and other Patriots matters. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Patriots will be taking on the Lions Sunday at Gillette Stadium with the Lions entering with a 7-3 record and having one of the best defenses in the NFL, allowing a league-low 15.6 points per game. They are led by their front-four, but Evans says they are not a smart group and can be beat.

“The truth is this defensive front gets away with a lot of stupid football because I don’t think there are a lot of great offensive minds that take advantage of dumb defensive line play,” Evans said. “We praise [Ndamukong] Suh for all these different things, but if you compare Suh to J.J. Watt, there’s no comparison in the way that these guys — in the head game — play defensive line. We still see Suh get taken advantage of on scheme plays and really [Kyle Van Noy], I think he’s had a really good year for a younger player that hasn’t played a lot of football, but there’s still a lot of mistakes and I always think it comes back to offensive coaches saying, ‘Hey, yeah they do this well, this well, and this well. They stink and this, this and this, and we’re going to take full advantage of that.’ Do I expect a 45-point showing on this defense, no, but would I be surprised at all if they put up 30? I mean, no, not at all.”

LeGarrette Blount was signed by the Patriots on Thursday after being released by the Steelers Tuesday — the day after walking off the field in the middle of Monday’s game against the Titans because he was upset about playing time.

With Jonas Gray’s monster game last Sunday, some have wondered if Blount will take Gray’s place as the lead back, but Evans doesn’t believe that will be the case, and if Blount causes any issues Bill Belichick will have no problem cutting him.

“I don’t think he’s going to be the guy,” said Evans. “I think they know what he is capable of and I think they also know the knuckle-head that exists in the guy. I think LeGarrette knows well enough the Patriot way doesn’t put up with any of that nonsense, so Pittsburgh shows to deal with it a certain way and they cut him and released him. Obviously you hear the chatter coming out of the locker room and it must have been more significant than the stuff we’ve heard about. You don’t get away with that stuff in New England. However the contract is worded, he messes up once Bill can kick him out the door and not pay him another dime. It doesn’t hurt them financially and you just move on. Players come to New England knowing what to expect — even if they haven’t played there before — but, the truth is LeGarrette has been in house. He knows the rules. He knows the code of conduct that is expected and I assume he will get here and do what he is told to do.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

On why he chose not to see pictures of Adrian Peterson‘s son: “On the picture basis, honestly there was no reason behind it, I just never saw them. People said there was marks on the kids testicles, obviously he pulled his pants down. There were a lot of things that seems like child abuse. Was Adrian raised that way? Probably. Do I know kids that were raised that way? Yeah. Do I know kids that were beat that way, so to speak growing up? Absolutely. Does it make it right? Not a chance.”

On what worries him with the Patriots going forward and overreactions early in the season: “I know the O-line issues earlier in the year. I know after the Kansas City game, Willie McGinest and I were on air basically calling everyone idiots because everyone’s panicking, ‘Oh the Brady era, Bill Belichick era is over and done with.’ I’m like, you people call yourself analysts and it’s honestly disturbing to see what we see on tape and you guys see and feel totally different.

“The only thing that scares me about this team is injuries to the O-line because when Brady has the ability to manipulate protections at the line of scrimmage, change whatever plays he wants at the line of scrimmage, and then ‘€¦ when there is protection and guys smart and in-tune enough up front, there is not a lot you can do with this offense. They can beat you in a lot of ways. Bill will probably hate me saying that, but the truth is the truth. We praise [Peyton] Manning and all these other quarterbacks for their phenomenal feats, but people have no clue what Tommy does in and throughout a 60-minute operational system of a game to create the offensive firepower that they create.

“Defensively, you just need timely pressure on quarterbacks and then you need that one or two turnovers a game. If you give ’12’ an extra possession or two down the stretch in big games versus great teams, like Denver or Green Bay or other teams I think have the potential to hang with them, I think you win every game.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

According to multiple reports, Sealver Siliga, Dominique Easley, Cameron Fleming and Chandler Jones were absent at the start of Patriots practice Thursday afternoon. Newly signed running back LeGarrette Blount was present and wore No. 60 (very-much temporary).

Easley (knee), Fleming (finger/ankle) and Jones (hip) all did not practice on Wednesday, while Siliga was spotted at Wednesday’s practice, he in fact has not been taken off of the short-term designated for return list, so his 21-day clock has not yet been started.

The Patriots are getting ready for Sunday’s matchup against the Lions Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

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

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

The Patriots officially announced the return of LeGarette Blount and the release of Casey Walker  Thursday morning. Here’s a portion of the release issued by the team:

Blount was originally acquired by the Patriots from Tampa Bay in a trade on April 27, 2013, in exchange for RB Jeff Demps and a 2013 seventh-round draft selection. The 6-foot, 250-pounder originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with Tennessee out of Oregon. He was released by Tennessee following training camp and claimed off waivers by Tampa Bay. Blount has played in 67 NFL games with 28 starts and has 2,977 yards rushing and 22 touchdowns. He played in 11 games with Pittsburgh this season and had 266 yards and two touchdowns on 65 rushing attempts.

Last season with the Patriots, Blount played in 16 games with seven starts and finished with 772 yards and seven touchdowns. In the postseason win vs. Indianapolis on Jan. 11, 2014, Blount set ran for 166 yards and set a franchise record with four rushing touchdowns.

Walker, 24, was signed by the Patriots from the Carolina practice squad on Sept. 27. He originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with Carolina out of Oklahoma on April 30, 2013. The 6-foot-1, 340-pounder spent part of the 2013 season on the Carolina practice squad and went to training camp with Carolina this past summer. He was released on Aug. 30 and signed to the Carolina practice squad on Aug. 31. Walker played in five games with one start for the Patriots and accumulated 10 total tackles and one sack.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Things didn't work out for LeGarrette Blount in Pittsburgh. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Things didn’t work out for LeGarrette Blount in Pittsburgh. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

After walking off the field in the middle of Monday night’s game against the Titans, Steelers running back LeGarrette Blount was released the next day.

It didn’t take long before he was scooped by another team, as the Patriots reportedly signed him on Thursday. This comes after Blount played a part in the Patriots getting to the AFC Championship game last year.

The Steelers weren’t exactly upset with Blount being released.

“You know what, man, we have a good team,” center and team captain Maurkice Pouncey said via the Pittsburgh Post Gazette on Tuesday. “If you don’t want to be here, don’t be here. At the end of the day, you have your decision to make as a man, and he made it.”

“We’re fine,” Pouncey added. “We have our starting running back. It’s probably a good thing that it happened. At the end of the day, if it was a cancer, he ended up leaving on his own. That’s a blessing for us. At the end of the day, we’re good. We don’t need him.”

Blount had just 65 carries for 266 yards and two touchdowns this season with the Steelers, as Le’Veon Bell has turned into the lead back with Blount seeing very limited action. Bell has 195 carries for 951 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, while adding two receiving.

“We’re grown men and we need to act like grown men,” defensive end Cam Heyward said. “If you’re not on the field, that shouldn’t be a problem. If you’re not on the field, you have to make other contributions. We’re a team. If you don’t want to be a part of the team, don’t be a part of the team. We’re trying to win, and that’s not going to be acceptable.”


Wide receiver Antonio Brown said he spoke to Blount Tuesday morning and considers him a friend.

“I hate to see him do something like that and have to cause the result,” Brown said. “As a competitor, he let his emotions get the best of him. He got outside the grand scheme of things that are really important. What’s important is we play as a team; you embrace your teammates, you ride together. When we win, it should be positive.”

Blount now joins the Patriots’ backfield, which currently has Jonas Gray and Shane Vereen. In 16 regular-season games last year he had 153 carries for 772 yards and seven touchdowns.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

LeGarrette Blount, who was released earlier this week by the Steelers, is set to sign with the Patriots, according to ESPN’s Josina Anderson.

LeGarrette Blount, who was released earlier this week by the Steelers, is set to sign a two-year deal to return to the Patriots, according to ESPN.

Blount, who starred down the stretch for New England last season before signing a free-agent contract in Pittsburgh, was cut loose earlier this week by the Steelers. He played in each of Pittsburgh’€™€™s 11 games in 2014, rushing for 266 yards on 65 carries with two touchdowns and added six catches for 36 yards.

In 2013, Blount played a sizable role in the Patriots success down the stretch, rushing for 772 yards for New England and helping power the Patriots to the AFC title game.

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

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price