The New England Patriots held a full pads practice this morning as they prepare to host the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. This morning Bill Belichick discussed the signing of Andre Carter, as well as the impact his young linebackers have made. Tom Brady talked about his throwing mechanics and predicted that the Boston Red Sox will win the World Series. Meanwhile, Danny Amendola returned to practice as he recovers from a concussion.
Talib, Amendola return
Cornerback Aqib Talib and wide receiver Danny Amendola both returned to the practice field for the New England Patriots. However, defensive tackle Tommy Kelly and kick returner Leon Washington continued to sit out. Kelly has been dealing with a knee injury, while Washington is hampered with an ankle injury.
Reports out of Foxboro say that Talib still isn't moving around very well as he continues to deal with a hip injury. On the bright side, it's good to know that Amendola participated. He was cleared from his concussion to practice, but still needs to be cleared again in order to play on Sunday.
Carter wearing number 96
Freshly signed defensive lineman Andre Carter will wear number 96 with the Patriots. Back in 2011, he wore number 93, but Tommy Kelly currently wears that number. The last player to wear number 96 was Jermaine Cunningham. It is unknown if Andre Carter will play on Sunday.
Armstead making his way back?
Nick Underhill of MassLive.com says that defensive lineman Armond Armstead was working out on a side field, but Doug Kyed of NESN.com reports that he was only seen walking through the parking lot, though he may have worked out on the side field. Either way, it's good to know that Armstead is in Foxboro. The team could use him sooner rather than later.
Vereen eligible to practice
Running back Shane Vereen was placed on the short-term IR after his wrist injury and is eligible to return practice this week. However, he was not seen on the field today and Bill Belichick says he is "day-to-day."
Quotes of the day
Carter wants to retire a Patriot
Andre Carter's experience with the New England Patriots in 2011 obviously left a lifelong imprint on him. He spoke today about how he was only considering signing with the Patriots. He says, "After I did my workout with the Patriots, I had talked to my family and my mindset was ‘it was either the Patriots or retirement.' That's where it was. Fortunately the Patriots called."
While nobody knows for sure if he'll play Sunday, Carter says he hopes to be ready. As he approaches the end of his career, Carter later went on to say, "This is it. At the end of the day, for me personally, I want to retire as a Patriot." Hopefully he can do that as a Super Bowl Champion.
Gronk will wear cast all year
I thought Rob Gronkowski looked like a cyborg with that jumbo-sized cast on his left arm. It's almost supehuman-like, even though casts proves that Gronk is only a man. Either way, that cast is there to stay, at least for the rest of the season, says Gronk, "Yeah, that'll be all year, probably."
Brady predicts Red Sox in five
Tom Brady talked about the Boston Red Sox almost as if they had the personality that he'd like to see from his New England Patriots. He says, "They obviously have a lot of mental toughness and it's a great thing to see, a great thing to watch, to go from last place or where they were last year to playing for the World Series." As the season progresses, it's possible we see that identity develop from this young team. As Brady left the podium, he was asked his prediction for the series. He smiled and said, "Red Sox in five. We'll give them one."
TB feels good about his mechanics
Quarterback Tom Brady had an interesting conversation with the media about his throwing mechanics and said that he "feels really good" about where they are. In the past Brady has said he needed to revise his mechanics, so it was a bit surprising to see his positive response considering his inconsistent performance.
Brady was more specifically questioned about the choice to either "drive" or "lob" the ball, because it appears that he seems to be driving it a lot more this season. Brady said, "There's definitely times I need to put a little more arc on the ball. Sometimes it's decision making, other times it's execution." He explained. "It's more about what the coverage is, and how do you envision the ball getting to the receiver."
Could the Pats use more 3-4?
Belichick only touched on the 3-4 defense very briefly, but when asked about how Andre Carter was used with the Pats in 2011 compared to the Raiders win 2012, Belichick said, "Yeah. We played some 3-4 when he was here in '11 and played 4-3 and he played probably more 4-3 out there, but similar."
As per usual, Belichick didn't go too in-depth with his thoughts, but it's worth noting that the Patriots spent the entire first drive of Sunday's game against the Jets in 3-4. If the team does make more of a move towards a hybrid-defense, I would expect to see Rob Ninkovich line up as the fourth linebacker. Andre Carter's run defense would allow Ninkovich more freedom to roam the field.
BB praises young linebackers
A lot of fans seem worried about Dont'a Hightower's performance on Sunday, but Belichick was impressed. "Dont'a is smart kid, worked hard. I thought he really worked hard last week, spent a lot of extra time as the signal caller." He continued, "I thought he handled all the communication well. I don't think that was an issue in the game. I think it will be better in succeeding weeks."
Rookie linebacker Jamie Collins also received increased reps on Sunday and Bill Belichick was happy with his performance. "I thought he played hard, made some plays, played aggressively, played with good power. We know he's athletic, but I thought that other parts of his game showed up." Much of what was said about Hightower also applies here in terms of the importance of continuing to improve, "He works hard, he's out there every day, practices well, prepares well. He just keeps getting better and that showed up a little bit in the game next week. Hopefully it will continue to show up through the course of the year."