By: Steve Balestrieri
Good morning, here are Sunday’s Patriots news notes and what’s happening around the division:
Patriots Cut Three Players: The Patriots announced on Saturday that they had cut three players; defensive backs Justin Green and Derek Cox as well as linebacker D.J. Lynch.
Green was originally signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent in 2013 and had a couple of stints on the practice squad as well as the 53 man roster. He was traded during training camp to Dallas for DE Ben Bass last August. But he was released by the Cowboys in September and was re-signed to the Pats practice squad in December.
Cox hasn’t played in the NFL since 2013 and played for the Jaguars and Chargers. After being released by San Diego, Cox signed with Minnesota and later Baltimore but was released before the season began by each.
D.J. Lynch was signed by the Patriots as an UDFA out of Bowling Green. He was hurt in Friday’s practice and limped off the field. His release is probably injury related.
Back to Football, Camp Begins and the Team Looks Forward: With all the off-the-field distractions this spring with the overblown Deflate-gate saga and Tom Brady’s suspension as well as his upcoming court case, getting back to football is a priority.
The message uttered by Bill Belichick has resonated with the players. The Super Bowl was last season, as well as the Deflate-gate distractions. The team and the coaches will only talk about looking forward to this day’s practice and not let their sights get too far ahead or behind.
This is one of the little things that Belichick does that strikes home with the players. And when you listen to any of them speak to the media, the message is always the same. So many people question whether the Brady suspension will be a distraction for the team. While his absence would be a definite detriment to the offense and the team in general, Belichick won’t let any of it distract the 53 men in the locker room.
Blount gets out of the doghouse quickly: What a difference a day makes. On Thursday and Friday, running back LaGarrette Blount wasn’t on the field for apparently failing his conditioning runs. We heard unconfirmed rumors that the running backs have to complete 50 yard dashes under a certain time in sets of 12. Blount supposedly could only manage nine.
Well he passed them on Friday and was in uniform on Saturday and was running like a man possessed. He was very impressive, especially in the goal line situations, showing very good initial burst and even looks a tad leaner.
Already facing an opening game suspension, the last thing Blount needed was to miss significant time at the beginning of camp due to not being in proper condition. Now he’s back, and healthy which is good news for the Patriots offense.
Richards Gets Early High Marks: After uttering a collective groan when Jordan Richards’ name was called by the Patriots in the 2nd Round of the 2015 NFL Draft, Patriots fans weren’t expecting much. Richards was thought to be a sixth or seventh round choice and not much more.
It may be time for fans to re-evaluate that original thought. Richards was known as “Coach Richards” at Stanford due to his intelligence and football intellect. And he’s proving those evaluations correct. Despite missing most of the spring OTAs due to academic requirements at school, Richards is proving to be a very fast learner.
Both Bill Belichick and Devin McCourty have raved about his ability to pick up the Patriots defense so quickly and his instinctive play, which was supposed to be lacking is proving to be an asset. He’s had some very good plays on the field and now he’s trying to put it all together.
While it is still very early in the process, with only three days of training camp under his belt, Richards is already ahead of the learning curve. He’ll be an intriguing player to watch as camp continues along and the pre-season games begin.
Patriots Release Deflate-gate E-mails: Just when you thought it was safe to read about just football related material, the Patriots produced a number of emails between Stacey James and the NFL’s attorney Jeff Pash. The emails show the Patriots frustration with the erroneous information being leaked to the media, supposedly by the league office.
Pash in the emails steadfastly refused to believe that the league would release any information that would detrimental to the Patriots case even after ESPN, who was the publisher of the original piece stated that their source was from the NFL front office.
This case just keeps getting weirder by the day, now we’re reading the two sides are negotiating a settlement prior to going to court on August 12. Isn’t that what the appeal was supposed to be about in June?
East Bound and Down…Notes Around the AFC East:
Richardson In More Hot Water for Jets, Smith Breaks Ribs: The beginning of training camp didn’t go too smoothly for the Jets. Defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson, already facing a four-game ban for violating the league’s substance abuse policy was arrested on July 14.
Richardson was street racing, and was clocked by police going 143 mph and resisting arrest. Now the team isn’t going to commit to the talented lineman past his 2016 contract. With a deep DL, the Jets could work a trade in the near future.
During the first training camp practice, rookieWR Devin Smith from Ohio State came down awkwardly after making a catch and broke his ribs. He was kept in the hospital as a precaution and is expected to miss most of training camp.
Dolphins’ Landry/Suh Among Standouts In Camp: With the Dolphins first day in pads on Saturday, WR Jarvis Landry was the player to watch during the Dolphins practice. Landry was snagging everything thrown his way including a one-handed grab in 11-on-11 work.
Ndamukong Suh, Miami’s big DL signed this off-season was also impressive according to reports coming out of camp. Miami is giving Brice McCain extended looks at RCB early in camp and experimenting moving Jamar Taylor into the slot.
Early Bills Reports Say Taylor getting QB Nod: While there is only three days in the books for the Buffalo Bills, early report suggest that Tyrod Taylor is outplaying both E.J. Manuel and Matt Cassel.
ESPN’s Mike Rodak and Vic Carrucci are both reporting that both QBs (Manuel/Cassel), struggled on Saturday. Rodak reported that the combined stats for Manuel and Cassel were only 1-8 in 11-on-11 work.
Taylor, the more mobile QB was scrambling around, throwing shorter passes according to Rodak and completed 3-4 in later 11-on-11 work. This will be an issue to monitor in the coming days as the Bills are still searching for their 2015 QB.
Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcast on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and
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