Marcus Cannon (left) is ready to shoulder the load of the offensive line with Josh Kline (center) and Nate Solder (right). Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)FOXBORO -- The moment of truth has arrived for Marcus Cannon. And for the Patriots, too.



MIKE PETRAGLIA

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Patriots coach Bill Belichick joined Dale & Holley with Thornton on Monday to discuss Jimmy Garoppolo and the Patriots as they gear up for the third preseason game Friday night in Carolina.

Bill Belichick

Bill Belichick

Patriots coach Bill Belichick joined Dale & Holley with Thornton on Monday to discuss Jimmy Garoppolo and the Patriots as they gear up for the third preseason game Friday night in Carolina. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Tom Brady has been excused from practice both Sunday and Monday for reportedly a non-injury reason. Belichick didn’t offer much for when he would return.

“When that clears up, I guess,” he said.

Some call the third preseason game a “dress rehearsal” for the regular season, but Belichick doesn’t really see the comparison as there isn’t much game planning that goes into the game.

“I don’t. I don’t know what that means,” Belichick said. “In terms of playing time it might be a little different, but in terms of game-planning and strategy, what we see in the regular season compared to what we see the in third preseason game I don’t even think you’re in the same universe. We’re still running our basic plays and we’d expect our opponents would run their basic plays. You get to the opener and start to get to game-planning and scheme, I mean you’re in a totally different ballpark, in my opinion. I don’t see any comparison at all. It’s too far away, I don’t see how you could compare them, from that standpoint.

“1-on-1 matchups, letting the players play, yeah, I would say you have a better matchup of guys like that, but it’s nothing compared to what we’re going to see in the regular season from a total scheme situation standpoint.”

Belichick also discussed Jimmy Garoppolo and how he didn’t have much notice in getting the start in the second preseason game last Thursday. He made an analogy to a relief pitcher years ago when they didn’t know what type of situation they would enter the game with.

“It’s the second preseason game and I think you could say the same about him as you could say about everybody else,” Belichick said. “There were some good things. There were some things that could have been better. You could say that about that about the coaches. That is what the preseason is for — go out there and compete and none of us have played in more than two games or coached in more than two games. We are still trying to get ourselves in an area of refinement that is as good as it can be. I don’t think any of us are there yet.

“Look, for any quarterback, I know in baseball now we have every relief pitcher goes in a certain inning, but there was a time when a relief pitcher was just a relief pitcher. I think that is kind of — if you’re not the starting quarterback, you don’t know if you’re going to play in the second play of the game, in the second quarter, in the third quarter, or it could be the last play in the game. You don’t know when you’re going to get called in so that’s a tough job, but your job for that game if that is what it is. You don’t know when you’re going to go in, if you are going to have a two-touchdown lead, or you could be behind by two touchdowns. Again, I know in baseball we have it all locked in to who goes in when we’re ahead, who goes in when we’re behind in which inning — but if you just had one relief pitcher and that is all you had that guy wouldn’t know if he was going in to close the game out in the ninth or try and keep a team in the game that is down by five runs in the third. That is what the backup quarterback position is — there are no curveballs, every ball is a curveball.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

FOXBORO — The following players were absent from Patriots practice Monday afternoon on the backfields of Gillette Stadium: V’Angelo Bentley, Tom Brady, Patrick Chung, Dion Lewis, Jonathan Cooper, Shaq Mason, Sebastian Vollmer, Rob Gronkowski, Jabaal Sheard and A

Patrick Chung

Patrick Chung

FOXBORO — The following players were absent from Patriots practice Monday afternoon on the backfields of Gillette Stadium: V’Angelo Bentley, Tom Brady, Patrick Chung, Dion Lewis, Jonathan Cooper, Shaq Mason, Sebastian Vollmer, Rob Gronkowski, Jabaal Sheard and Alan Branch.

The media was only permitted to view 20 minutes of the session as training camp is now over.

There were only a few surprises, with the biggest being Chung. The other being Sheard, as he hasn’t been at practice in over a week. Chung played in Thursday’s preseason game against the Bears and didn’t appear to be injured.

Bentley was released, according to ESPN’s Mike Reiss. Lewis, Cooper, Mason, Vollmer were not surprises as they have known injuries or remain on PUP. Branch reportedly is suspended by the team, Brady reportedly was excused and Gronkowski hasn’t practiced since last week when he left practice early.

Although they were present, Tre’ Jackson and Danny Amendola (PUP) were in shorts and t-shirts, while the rest of the team was in full pads. Logan Ryan had his red, non-contact jersey removed.

Going down to the lower fields after stretching were Shea McClelin (he missed all of last week), Amendola, Jackson, Donald Brown, Rob Ninkovich and Malcolm Mitchell.

Running back D.J. Foster looked to be a full participant for the first time in a few weeks, which is a good sign for him potentially playing on Thursday. The same goes for Keshawn Martin and tight end Bryce Williams.

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

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

FOXBORO — What’s the latest on Tom Brady and how will Marcus Cannon fill the void for Sebastian Vollmer? WEEI’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price have your report from Foxboro.

Blog Author: 
WEEI

FOXBORO — If you expected Bill Belichick to offer up more details on why Tom Brady reportedly missed Sunday and Monday practices with an excused absence, you thought wrong.

Tom Brady

Tom Brady

FOXBORO — If you expected Bill Belichick to offer up more details on why Tom Brady reportedly missed Sunday and Monday practices with an excused absence, you thought wrong.

“I don’t comment on any personal situations,” Belichick said when asked directly if he could confirm the report.

Brady didn’t play in the second preseason game last Thursday night against the Bears after reportedly cutting his thumb with scissors prior to the game. He was seen leaving the stadium about 30 minutes before the game, which is customary for players not playing in preseason games.

After the game Belichick said he made the decision Brady wouldn’t play.

With Brady not playing in any of the first two preseason games, it appears there’s a chance he doesn’t play in the preseason at all. The coach doesn’t appear to be concerned.

“We’ll just take it day-by-day, week-by-week,” he said.

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

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower checked in with Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Monday talking about taking on more of a leadership role this season.

Dont'a Hightower

Dont’a Hightower

Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower checked in with Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Monday talking about taking on more of a leadership role this season. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.

With Jerod Mayo retiring, Hightower is now the oldest player in the Patriots’ linebacker room and he acknowledged he’s taken on more of a leadership role with getting some of the younger players ready for the season.

“I’m always looking for that new wrinkle, just being here,” Hightower said. “I am blessed and definitely glad to be here. Sometimes I am starting [get to know] what is coming around. It feels good being one of the older guys and help mentor some of the younger guys in getting the guys ready and ready for the season.”

One of the other leaders on defense is Rob Ninkovich, who is currently sidelined with a triceps injury. Despite the injury he’s been on the field almost every day to keep up on his conditioning. It’s something the other players have noticed and is just what type of player he us.

“Absolutely. I think that is more Rob being Rob,” Hightower said. “It isn’t necessarily for anyone to say, ‘Look at him.’ Rob has always carried himself that way — just knowing his background and his career and what he’s went through and overcame to be is a great football player. The guys out there miss him out there and what he brings to the field.”

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

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable