Tom Brady isn’t as good on the golf course as he is on the football field.

So the quarterback took to Facebook to ask Jordan Spieth, a fellow Under Armour member, for golf advice on Friday with a video of Brady hitting a shot out of the woods.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

The Patriots announced Friday they have released tight end Michael Williams.

The Patriots announced Friday they have released tight end Michael Williams.

Williams, whop reportedly suffered a torn ACL in minicamp on Wednesday, was acquired by the Patriots from Detroit in a trade for an undisclosed draft pick on Aug. 26, 2015. The 6-foot-6, 304-pounder, originally entered the NFL as a seventh round draft pick (211th overall) by Detroit in the 2013 NFL Draft out of Alabama. After spending his rookie season on injured reserve, Williams spent the 2014 season on the Detroit practice squad while converting from tight end to offensive tackle.

Last season with the Patriots, the 25-year-old played in 15 games with nine starts, primarily as a blocking tight end. He registered three receptions for 26 yards. Williams also played in both postseason games with one start but did not record any statistics.

Provided Williams clears waivers, he’ll revert to injured reserve.

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

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Devin McCourty speaks Thursday after mini-camp practice at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Devin McCourty speaks Thursday after mini-camp practice at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — For Devin McCourty, this is a great time to be a leader in the Patriots’ secondary.

After spending the last several weeks and mini-camp this week with first and second-year members of the defensive backfield, the newlywed veteran safety is pumped up about what he’s seeing.

In addition to working with second-round pick Cyrus Jones, the eight-year pro McCourty has been playing alongside the likes of Darryl Roberts (2015 pick from Marshall), Jordan Richards (2015 pick from Stanford) and Brock Vereen (third year pro from Minnesota). Malcolm Butler and Justin Coleman are also entering just their third NFL season.

The natural question after Thursday’s final day of mini-camp was to get a feel for how Jones, a projected slot corner, has adapted from Alabama to the Patriots secondary.

“He’s another one of the smart guys from Alabama,” McCourty said with his trademark smile. “Between him and [Dont’a] Hightower, he knows his stuff. It’s been good. He’s been out there. He’s been trying to learn. [He’s] a younger guy so things happen fast but I think he’s been able to adjust and adapt. When he makes mistakes, he’s still out there playing hard. He’s correcting them. He’s a young guy that’s really working hard.”

But then unsolicited, McCourty raved about what it’s been like for veterans like Chung and him to work with a new generation of defensive backs, which now includes Butler, Jones, Richards and Roberts.

“The exciting thing is that we have a ton of rookies in that corner group that have been out here making plays, mini-camp, OTAs, those guys are really learning and they’re not making a ton of mistakes,” McCourty added. “I think it’s really exciting to see them as a group, DBs, safeties and corners.”

While Richards garnered a lot of attention last year and Butler stole the show in Super Bowl XLIX, Roberts was someone who caught the eye of McCourty in mini-camp and OTAs last summer before a wrist injury ended his season in training camp.

“He was a guy last year the same way. He got out there,” McCourty said of the second-year player from Marshall. “He knew his stuff. He worked hard. As a rookie, obviously you’re not going to know everything. You’re going to need veterans get out there to help you and give you little hints. He’s another guy that was on top of it. I think as a veteran, it’s always exciting to see rookies that, if you say one word to them, it correlates and they understand it.

“It means they’re going home, they’re studying. I remember those days, going home, staying up for two, three hours, trying to understand just so when you get out there with the older guys, you know. You might not see it right away and someone might have to yell something to you but you want to know what they yelled to you and all those guys, these young guys, have really worked hard and I think are putting in a ton of work to get to that level because it’s not easy.”

The rookies and second-year players know the standard for intelligence in the secondary has been set very high by the likes of McCourty, Chung, Duron Harmon, Nate Ebner and Logan Ryan.

“I think all those rookies have come in, whether we’re giving them a one [word]-code and they know what we’re talking about,” McCourty said. “It’s not always like that. You come in and they throw a lot of stuff at you, and to handle it and to go home and study, I think shows maturity and that these guys want to be here.

“I’ve had a ton of guys come up to me, watching film, ask me to watch them. They understand. I think the good thing is we have a good group on this team of older guys that have come in and gone through a lot in this league, some undrafted, some late rounds. We have a mix of everybody that can help out and pitch in and their words of advice and be someone the rookies can follow.”

Mixing those guys together has been the job of Steve Belichick (who earlier this spring said he’s looking forward to the challenge). McCourty has been impressed with the defensive assistant-turned-safeties coach, repeating a message he delivered at the start of OTAs.

“He’s been good,” McCourty said Thursday. “I think we have a good group, especially once Nate gets back [from U.S. Rugby], a group that we have some we have some experienced players, some young players and I think Steve’s been able to kind of mesh it together. I think with him being in his first year, he’s a younger guy that can really relate to all of us. So, it’s been fun. On the field, he’s been out here on the field for a couple of years now, so I don’t feel like it’s anything new to him or new for him. We have a good relationship so always just talking and trying to keep a good handle on the group. So far, I think we all love Steve.”

McCourty was also asked about another Nate, who is with the team right now. Nate Washington is entering his 13th NFL season and his first in New England. McCourty has liked what he’s seen from the veteran receiver, whom he’s known from his days in Tennessee, when he played with Devin’s twin Jason McCourty.

“I’ve gone against Nate a couple of times. I’m talked to him a bunch of times just from being with my brother down in Tennessee,” McCourty said. “He was kind of friend. I talked to him even before he came here. I always do what I can.”

Did Devin recruit Washington?

“I always do what I can,” McCourty said. “I always do what I can.”

Does he think Washington will make the team?

“I don’t know. That’s above my pay grade,” McCourty said. “He’s done well. He’s a veteran guy so it looks like it wasn’t hard for him to kind of understand and catch on to what they were talking about on offense because he’s been out there a ton. He’s been able to make plays. He’s an older guy but he looks young out here.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Discovery in ‘Bullygate’ defamation case underscores why Jeff Pash testimony was needed in #Deflategate: pic.twitter.com/cdQc61h0ZK

— Daniel Wallach (@WALLACHLEGAL) June 9, 2016

Since a good rookie year, Aaron Dobson has dropped off the radar screen. (Chris Humphreys/USA Today Sports)FOXBORO — Aaron Dobson is a pretty self-aware guy, so he’s got to understand the fact that the clock is ticking.



FOXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price break down the 2016 Patriots mini-camp, which finished up Thursday on a wild and windy day at Gillette Stadium. Patriots receivers Aaron Dobson, Malcolm Mitchell, Nate Washington, Chris Hogan and Keshawn Martin all had impressive days, with Dobson and Mitchell standing out.

Blog Author: 
WEEI

FOXBORO — This week in minicamp has been a chance for the receivers behind Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola to step up.

According to Bill Belichick after the final mini-camp practice on Thursday, that’s exactly what they’ve done.

Bill Belichick speaks after mini-camp Thursday. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Bill Belichick speaks after mini-camp Thursday. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — This week in minicamp has been a chance for the receivers behind Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola to step up.

According to Bill Belichick after the final mini-camp practice on Thursday, that’s exactly what they’ve done.

The quintet of Aaron Dobson, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell, Keshawn Martin and Nate Washington have looked good without the pads on.

All five of those receivers made big plays over the three days, including Dobson and Mitchell, both of whom made acrobatic catches in the end zone for touchdowns. Belichick was taking note.

“Our receivers have been good. We have good competition at that position and they’ve all showed up and made plays down the field, caught the ball well. It’s been good,” Belichick said.

And while Washington is new to the team he’s not new to the type of offense the Patriots run. His experience with former Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien in Houston showed up this week, as he looked like a receiver comfortable with the routes.

“[With] Nate, they played it in Houston, so he’s kind of familiar with it,” Belichick said. “Those guys have done a good job. I think our receiver group overall has done well – gotten open, caught the ball. Nate and Keshawn have both done a good job.”

Belichick, meanwhile, surprised no one when he didn’t offer an update on the status of tight end/tackle Michael Williams. The Globe’s Jim McBride reported Thursday that Williams suffered an ACL tear on Wednesday and might be headed to injured reserve.

“I don’t think we’re doing injury reports here,” Belichick said. “Maybe the league will require us to do those.”

One of those who might step forward with Williams out is newcomer Clay Harbor.

“Professional. Works hard. He’s a versatile guy,” Belichick said of Harbor. “He’s done a lot of different things. Philadelphia and Jacksonville, he did the same thing, special teams and offense. Hopefully a number of roles if he can do them and get an opportunity to do them.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Malcolm Mitchell chats with the media after Thursday's workout. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com photo)

Malcolm Mitchell chats with the media after Thursday’s workout. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com photo)

FOXBORO — There were several notable offensive skill position players absent from this week’s minicamp workouts, but of the receivers who did take part, rookie Malcolm Mitchell distinguished himself as a relatively steady and consistent performer who showed impressive flashes over the course of the three sessions.

Mitchell’s finest moment may have come in Thursday’s finale when he went up for a one-handed touchdown grab on a nicely throw ball from fellow rookie Jacoby Brissett. The quarterback showed a nice touch lofting a ball for the end zone, and Mitchell did an excellent job going up to get the ball with a defender on him.

However, Mitchell, a fourth-round pick out of Georgia, said he’s not sure if he looks at that catch as some sort of confidence builder.

“I don’t know. I have to get back and make sure I know the next play,” he said with a laugh.

“I’m just glad I knew what to do on the play.”

In the infant stages of his career in the NFL, the 5-foot-11, 198-pound Mitchell is taking everything in stride.

“It’s all about knowing what you’re doing. After that, it’s about playing football,” he said shortly after Thursday’s workout wrapped up. “But the first step for me as a rookie is to know exactly what I’m doing and make the most of every opportunity.

“I think for me right now it’s coming in every day and learning. And I trust how the coaches are installing the plays. I trust the amount of plays they have put in for us to learn. And after that, it’s not really up to them anymore. It’s our responsibility to make sure that we wake up an extra hour early to make sure we know everything coming in. I think once you get your priorities straight in that area, you’ll come in and you’ll know what you’re doing. You’ll still have a lot of room to grow and a lot to learn.”

Mitchell got reps with all three quarterbacks, but from this viewpoint he seemed to be especially comfortable working with Brissett.

“I would say right now me and Jacoby’s job is to do the best we can,” he said. “Right now, for him and myself — and I don’t want to speak for him — but I think he would allow me to say that right now we’re just focused on doing the best we can out there.”

For his part, he’s fully aware that no matter how sweet a catch he makes, it’s the result of several different players successfully executing their job.

“There’s a lot that has to go right before you even touch the ball in the air — from everybody. Not just the receiver,” he said. “If somebody makes the catch, the quarterback needs time to throw the ball. He has to throw a good ball. You have to be in the right spot at the right time. There’s a lot that goes into making the catch.”

In the end, however, he understands why the focus is on him. And after a successful college career where he finished with 174 receptions — including a career-best 58 last season with the Bulldogs — he acknowledges he’s starting all over again with the Patriots.

“Right now, for me, it’s about coming in every day with a fresh slate. Because there’s something new every day, right now. There’s no repeat stuff for me as there might be for a veteran who ran the plays before, who did the installs before,” he said. “For me the most important thing is to come in every day, ready to learn.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price