Change

Blog

Patriots make move of Dominique Easley to IR official, shuffle up practice squad

In addition to making the move of defensive lineman Dominique Easley to injured reserve official, the Patriots announced a series of practice squad transactions, signing running back Montee Ball and wide receiver DeAndre Carter to the practice squad and released wide receiver Austin Hill and defensive lineman Kelcy Quarles from the practice squad. The following is a portion of the release issued by the team on the moves:

Ball, 25, is a veteran of two NFL seasons with the Denver Broncos (2013-14). The 5-foot-10, 215-pounder, originally entered the NFL as a second round draft pick of Denver (58th overall) in the 2013 NFL Draft out of Wisconsin. He appeared in 21 regular-season games with three starts over his two years in Denver, totaling 731 yards and five touchdowns on 175 carries. Ball added 28 carries for 96 yards in three postseason games in 2013. He was released by Denver on Sept. 6, 2015.

Carter, 22, originally signed with the Baltimore Ravens as a rookie free agent out of Sacramento State on May 8, 2015. The 5-foot-8, 188-pounder, was released by the Ravens on Aug. 31, and joined the Oakland Raiders practice squad on Sept. 16. He was released by the Raiders practice squad on Dec. 1.

Hill, 24, has had two separate stints on the New England practice squad in 2015. He originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with the Oakland Raiders on May 5, 2015, out of Arizona. The 6-foot-3, 212-pounder, was released by the Raiders on May 27 and was signed by the New York Jets on July 28. He was released by the Jets on Aug. 30.

Quarles, 22, spent time with New England in 2014 and was signed to the practice squad this season on Dec. 2. The 6-foot-4, 310-pounder, was claimed off waivers by the Patriots from the New York Giants on Aug. 31, 2014, released on Sept. 3, 2014, and then signed to the practice squad on Sept. 6. Indianapolis signed him to the 53-man roster from the New England practice squad on Sept. 16 and he rotated between the Colts 53-man roster and practice squad for the rest of the season, seeing action in two games and finishing with two total tackles. Quarles was released by Indianapolis at the end of training camp this past summer and spent one week on Cleveland’€™s practice squad. He was originally signed by the Giants as a rookie free agent out of South Carolina on May 12, 2014.

DraftKings DraftKings has your shot to play for FREE in the $1 Million Fantasy Football Contest THIS SUNDAY! First place takes home $100,000! FOR FREE ENTRY, CLICK HERE.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Afternoon Delight: ‘Japanese Gift Wrapping Hack Explained’

I may have not invented the art of bad gift wrapping, but I earn my masters in it. If I had to wrap this box it would take me an entire episode of “House of Cards,” go through a half a roll of Scotch Tape, have about 100 cubic feet of unused paper left over and end up with a gift the shape of a football.

This video is already up to four million views, and it’s inspiring me. I’m still not sure I can pull this off, but I won’t rest until I’ve done it at least once. Then probably just go to gift bags. Who am I kidding?

 

@JerryThornton1

DraftKings DraftKings has your shot to play for FREE in the $1 Million Fantasy Football Contest THIS SUNDAY! First place takes home $100,000! FOR FREE ENTRY, CLICK HERE.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton

Report: Dominique Easley placed on injured reserve

Dominique Easley

Dominique Easley

FOXBORO — According to CSNNE’s Tom E. Curran, the Patriots have placed defensive tackle Dominique Easley on injured reserve. He left Sunday’s game against the Texans with a thigh injury in the third quarter and didn’t return.

This is the second season in a row Easley has been placed on injured reserve. Last season was with a knee injury, which comes after suffering two torn ACL’s while at the University of Florida. Easley was selected in the first-round of the 2014 draft by New England.

Easley was having a solid season with 15 tackles and two sacks.

The Patriots now have an open spot on their 53-man roster.

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

DraftKings DraftKings has your shot to play for FREE in the $1 Million Fantasy Football Contest THIS SUNDAY! First place takes home $100,000! FOR FREE ENTRY, CLICK HERE.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Bill Belichick preparing for Marcus Mariota: ‘Definitely an interesting guy to watch’

The Patriots will try to wrap up  Marcus Mariota like the Jets did last week. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

The Patriots will try to wrap up Marcus Mariota like the Jets did last week. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

Marcus Mariota has been as advertised in his rookie year with the Tennessee Titans. He’s produced some unforgettable highlights and some forgettable games.

In between, the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner out of Oregon has experienced the typical growing pains of a rookie quarterback in the NFL. In eight of thirteen games this season, Mariota’s Titans have scored 14 points or less (all losses). In three games, they’ve scored in single digits.

The trick for Bill Belichick this Sunday will be to make sure they don’t let Mariota do to the Jaguars what he did two weeks ago, when his 87-yard touchdown run right up the middle in the fourth quarter swung momentum late and handed the Titans a 42-39 win over Jacksonville.

Mariota also broke onto the scene in Week 1 with one of the most memorable performances by any rookie quarterback in NFL history. In the game against Tampa Bay, he posted a perfect quarterback rating of 158.3, completing 13-of-15 passes for 209 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in a 42-14 win over Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers.

“Mariota has been definitely an interesting guy to watch. I’€™d say he’€™s improved over the course from preseason all the way through to the regular season, obviously very athletic, is completing a good percentage of his passes, has had good production, 2-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio,” Belichick said in a conference call Tuesday.

Mariota has completed 62.4 percent of his passes for 2,786 yards, 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while leading rebuilding Tennessee to a 3-10 record. What’s more impressive is that Mariota has kept his poise as he has had to cope with a head coaching change midway through the season, with Mike Mularkey taking over for the fired Ken Whisenhunt.

“Like anything else, he’€™s a young player that is learning and getting better, but he’€™s smart, he’€™s athletic in the pocket, he brings another dimension to the game,” Belichick said, before mentioning the run that will no doubt be broken down in the film room as case study on what not to do when defending the most effectively mobile quarterback they’ve faced to date, and that includes Tyrod Taylor.

“The run he had against Jacksonville, you’€™d have to look a few years to find a play comparable to that. Terrell Pryor went 93 yards in Oakland against somebody, ran through half the team, but kind of the same play that Marcus had last week. For a player to do that at that position is pretty special, but I would say overall in the passing game, he’€™s developed and continues to improve and has the ability to throw the ball inside, outside, down the field and take advantage of the matchups. He’€™s a smart player, has some responsibility at the line of scrimmage, so I don’€™t think that’€™s too much for him. He does a pretty good job of getting the team into the right play or out of a bad play, things like that.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Patriots reportedly sign RB Montee Ball to practice squad

FOXBORO — The Patriots have another running back in town.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Patriots have signed running back Montee Ball to the practice squad. Ball had a locker at Gillette Stadium Tuesday afternoon. He was a college teammate of James White at Wisconsin.

“It’s good. He’s a good player and good to have him around,” White said. “He was a roommate of mine in college so we’re pretty good friends.”

“He’s a downhill runner. He’s going to run hard. He runs physical,” he added.

Ball was a second-round pick by the Broncos in 2013. In two seasons in Denver he ran for 731 yards and five touchdowns. Ball was cut by the Broncos following training camp, but was never signed by another NFL team.

LeGarrette Blount went down with a hip injury Sunday and reportedly is on crutches. Besides Blount and White, the Patriots have only Brandon Bolden on the active roster for running backs. The team also has Trey Williams on the practice squad.

It’s a possibility if Blount’s injury is serious, the team could look to promote Ball to the active roster.

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

DraftKings DraftKings has your shot to play for FREE in the $1 Million Fantasy Football Contest THIS SUNDAY! First place takes home $100,000! FOR FREE ENTRY, CLICK HERE.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Why Patriots trust Brandon Bolden to replace LeGarrette Blount

Brandon Bolden scores a TD against the Broncos. (Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Brandon Bolden scores a TD against the Broncos. (Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

If LeGarrette Blount is out for an extended period of time, the Patriots have no hesitation about giving Brandon Bolden a chance to fill that void in the running attack.

Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels made that very clear Tuesday in a weekly conference call when he pointed to Bolden demeanor and work ethic as qualities that make him the perfect choice to move forward with the run game. Bolden has been paying his dues as one of the most valuable core players on the special teams unit while spelling Blount when needed. Now, with Blount nursing a significant hip injury, it’s Bolden’s time to shine.

“I think that comes with maturity,” McDaniels said. “It’€™s hard to stay focused maybe when you’€™re real young and you’€™re not playing a whole lot in a specific role to understand how valuable your preparation is and how close you really are to playing. That’€™s a challenge for everybody. There are a lot of players that back people up and I think the more they mature, the more they understand how close they are to playing [then] the easier it is to prepare and get ready to play like you’€™re going to be in there on every snap. I think we have a lot of guys in our locker-room that are ready if their numbers called and are ready if something should happen and they’€™re called to duty and Brandon is definitely one of them.”

Bolden had 11 carries for 29 yards after Blount left with a hip injury Sunday night. While those numbers are certainly not eye-popping, his work as a core member of special teams and his ability to pop a big run at key times are facets of his game that catch the attention of the coaching staff.

Facing a third-and-8 at the Patriots 33 and the team wanting to run out the clock, Bolden hit the left side for 11 yards and a first down.

“We trust him to be in the game in those critical situations when you get a lot of different looks from the defense,” McDaniels said. “He studies hard. He’€™s a guy that comes to work and prepares well. There’€™s always been a lot of talent with Brandon and his dependability and his ability to do a lot of different things within our offense has just improved with each year that he’€™s been here. Brandon’€™s a good runner and he does a lot of things that are really valuable to our football team whether it be on offense or in the kicking game. We’€™ll try to certainly do the best thing we can here going forward in terms of how we use him among the rest of our backs.”

“The play that he made at the end of the game last week in Houston was a really good cut, good play on his part,” Bill Belichick added. “I don’€™t think we had the play blocked for the kind of yards he made on that play. He got six or seven yards with his vision and getting the ball into space on the cut back and probably made another four or five yards just with his running strength and balance to knock over a couple tacklers and pick up the first down. Probably a little over half that yardage came on his vision, his run instinct and then a few extra yards came on his physical running style and balance. I think that run is a good indication of all those things being a part of his playing style and effectiveness.”

On another third down in the second quarter, Bolden, initially split out wide right, ran a type of jet sweep across to the left end and gained 11 yards.

Several times this year, it’s been Bolden, not James White, who has served as the change-of-pace back in the backfield when Blount has needed rest on the sideline. It’s been Bolden’s number that has been called on runs to the outside on several occasions.

“Brandon has got a real good skillset,” Belichick said. “He has been a valuable guy for us on all four downs, so whether it’€™s carrying the ball, making tough yards, playing as a sub back and playing in the kicking game, he’€™s shown a lot of versatility and given us a lot of quality plays in all those situations. I think his skillset is really, really good. He’€™s got good quickness. He’€™s got the ability to break tackles in space with his playing strength but he also has quickness to make guys miss out there, too. He’€™s got good run vision, sees the holes and sees where there is space.

“He was a good runner in college, and he’€™s done that for us I’€™d say throughout his career here.”

While his yards per carry has dipped to 3.1 this season, Bolden has averaged 4.3 over his four years in New England out of Ole Miss. He’s also quite capable of catching the ball, as he demonstrated on the 63-yard wheel route for a touchdown against Denver. He caught four passes that night for 84 yards.

“Brandon’€™s a talented guy. He’€™s had a lot of different situations come up during the course of his career here whether through injury or otherwise,” McDaniels said. “He’€™s really done a nice job for us coming in and filling in and he’€™s gone over 100 yards a couple times, he’€™s had some big runs, he’€™s carried the ball in cold, sloppy weather and protected it for us as he’€™s matured and grown in our system. He’€™s a dependable guy. We trust him to blitz pick-up.”

There’s no bigger word in the Patriots vocabulary than trust and now, more than ever, the team will place it in Bolden going forward.

DraftKings DraftKings has your shot to play for FREE in the $1 Million Fantasy Football Contest THIS SUNDAY! First place takes home $100,000! FOR FREE ENTRY, CLICK HERE.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Report: Brewers sign former Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks to minor league deal

Former Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks, designated for assignment by the Padres on Dec. 2, has signed a minor league deal with the Brewers, according to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune on Twitter.

Middlebrooks, 27, is coming off a disappointing season in San Diego. He hit just .212 with a .602 OPS in 83 games, losing his starting job in July and spending the final two months of the season at Triple-A. He made his last appearance in the big leagues on July 21.

The move signals a further fall from grace for the right-handed hitter, who looked like a potential middle-of-the-order regular as a Red Sox rookie in 2012, when he hit .288 with 15 homers and an .835 OPS in 75 games. His average plummeted to .227 a year later and though he hit a career-high 17 homers, his OPS dropped to .696 and he was supplanted by rookie Xander Bogaerts in the playoffs.

After hitting just .191 in 2014, Middlebrooks was traded to the Padres for backup catcher Ryan Hanigan.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

Epic Dolphins fans argument (NSFW, language)

 

(NSFW, language)

Poor Miami Dolphins fans. Another year with big hopes and high expectations swirling the drain before their eyes. Another season where they shelled out big money to sign sexy free agents in order to … wait for it … close the gap on New England will end without as much as a playoff berth. And all that’s left is to prattle on again about the undefeated season 43 years ago and want to scratch each others’ eyes out.

I’ll say this though: I like the cut of this foul-mouthed woman’s jib. If Joe Philbin had half her moral authority or if Ndamukong Suh showed any of her fight, they’d be going for the number one seed in the conference instead of a high pick in the draft.

@JerryThornton1

DraftKings DraftKings has your shot to play for FREE in the $1 Million Fantasy Football Contest THIS SUNDAY! First place takes home $100,000! FOR FREE ENTRY, CLICK HERE.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton

Epic Dolphins fans argument (NSFW, language)

 

(NSFW, language)

Poor Miami Dolphins fans. Another year with big hopes and high expectations swirling the drain before their eyes. Another season where they shelled out big money to sign sexy free agents in order to … wait for it … close the gap on New England will end without as much as a playoff berth. And all that’s left is to prattle on again about the undefeated season 43 years ago and want to scratch each others’ eyes out.

I’ll say this though: I like the cut of this foul-mouthed woman’s jib. If Joe Philbin had half her moral authority or if Ndamukong Suh showed any of her fight, they’d be going for the number one seed in the conference instead of a high pick in the draft.

@JerryThornton1

DraftKings DraftKings has your shot to play for FREE in the $1 Million Fantasy Football Contest THIS SUNDAY! First place takes home $100,000! FOR FREE ENTRY, CLICK HERE.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton

Monmouth basketball team has best benchwarmers ever

I’m not ashamed to admit that I road the bench for the St. Francis Xavier CYO team back in my middle school days. But now that I’ve seen this I’m deeply ashamed that all I did was sit there and cheer for the guys who did play. These Monmouth guys have not only brought bench warming to the next level, I think it’s fair to say they’ve perfected the art. While others are content to sit their wallowing in their lack of talent, these Hawks non-players are doing groundbreaking work, turning the coach’s dog house into a theater and unathleticism into a performance piece.

More importantly, they’re Monmouth hoops into must-see television. Bravo, scrubs. Bravo.

@JerryThornton1

DraftKings DraftKings has your shot to play for FREE in the $1 Million Fantasy Football Contest THIS SUNDAY! First place takes home $100,000! FOR FREE ENTRY, CLICK HERE.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton