When New England selected Trey Flowers in the fourth round of the 2015 draft, the early thinking was that he could be a pass rusher with power and contribute on passing downs. The 6’2, 266 pound defensive end is not as large as some of the prototypical pass rushers in the NFL, but he uses his length as well as anyone and makes plays with his strength.

The Patriots have quite a bit of depth in terms of pass rushers with Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Jabaal Sheard, and Dominique Easley all ahead of Flowers on the depth chart. When asked what he felt his role could be in such a crowded group, Flowers said he was eager to contribute any way he could.

“I’m just coming out here and working hard. I want to be that guy who can get his reps when he can, who is attentive, who listens to all the coaches, and contribute wherever I need to be,” Flowers said.

One of the best ways for Flowers to get on the field early is to be as versatile as possible. He had opportunities both inside and outside along the defensive line in practice.  The rookie felt that being able to do both was important for him and for his teammates.

“It’s definitely a way that I can help the team the fastest that I can. Being able to go out to in and things like that…like I said, I’m just trying to establish a role and if that’s what the coach wants me to do, go inside sometimes and outside I’m all for it.”

Flowers is making the most of his opportunities in camp thus far. He has looked explosive in several drills and has been around the football in full team work. At this point, he has had most of his chances with backups and will likely see extensive time in the preseason as he tries to climb his way up the depth chart. Playing at Arkansas in the SEC, Flowers is no stranger to big games or strong competition. In one week he will have his first taste of NFL action as the Patriots host the Packers in the team’s first preseason game. Flowers is looking forward to the chance.

“I’m just looking forward to going against someone other than my teammates. Camp can be long, going against the same people each and every day, but I’m looking forward to going against someone else. I wouldn’t say there are any nerves, it’s all football. I’m just trying to go out there and do it as best I can.”

If Flowers can produce in the preseason as well as he as at times during camp, he will continue that climb up the depth chart.


Tags: ,

The Patriots held their seventh training camp practice of 2015 on Thursday. The practice had a heavy situation-focus as well as an “official” element to it. The following are my observations from day seven:

NFL referees are in town for three days of practice, which began today. The officials were part of the entire practice, officiating drills as well as 11 on 11 work. Bill Belichick was asked prior to practice about the presence of officials and felt that it was good for the Patriots to get an understanding of how they would be making calls. He also noted that it helps the team know what to be ready for when facing an opponent and how that will be called by officials. Several players drew flags on both sides, with the focus being on offensive and defensive pass interference.

With officials present, there was a heavy amount of situation and late game work in 11 on 11s. The team also turned the music volume up to force players to communicate in a loud environment. The team  simulated late game field goals and having to run the field goal unit onto the field as time ticked down. The defense had to run laps at the conclusion of the work, with the offense getting the better of them.

Rookies Tre Jackson and Trey Flowers continue to be impressive in camp. Both of them have been winning battles and Tre Jackson had a strong performance overall today. Brandon Gibson also turned in one of his strongest performances in camp. Despite being flagged by officials for an offensive interference, he had several great catches including one down the sideline that drew cheers from the crowd.

Dominique Easley had several inside rushes that disrupted plays or won drills. The second year pro was solid in limited action last season and looks poised to take on a larger role in 2015.

Aaron Dobson was missing from practice. He was part of a group of several players out, including Julian Edelman. When asked about Edelman’s status, Belichick called it “day to day.” The Patriots will practice again on Friday with the schedule for the weekend still to be determined.


Tags: ,

Tom Szczerbowski / Getty Images North America

The Patriots set themselves up for a bright future with Rob Gronkowski by allotting the big tight end a preseason $4 million of his $10 million dollar contract option. The contract option is due to Gronkowski by the end of February 2016, and exercising said option keeps him from becoming an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

By New England giving a little less than half of the money early, they show Growkowski their intention to keep him with the organization and honor his current contract, a six-year extension to his rookie deal which will pay him $54 million through the year 2019. Continue reading Pats Pay Gronk, Plan to Lockdown for the Future »


blount 8-1

“You want to be out there.”

That’s how LeGarrette Blount described his feelings after his first day at practice. Blount missed the first two days of practice due to a failed conditioning test. When he finally got onto the field on day three, he was New England’s best running back. He was physical and bruising as well as quick. He also got goal line carries during full team drills and appeared as though he hadn’t missed a beat for a Patriots offense that was glad to have him back.

When talking with reporters after practice, Blount was mostly evasive when speaking about his failed conditioning test, saying only that the test consisted of “conditioning” and that “I was out there the first day.”

When asked about the uncertainty surrounding Tom Brady, Blount took the cue from teammates and coaches and said that he could only worry about himself. He was also evasive when talking about his own suspension for the team’s first game stemming from a 2014 incident while he was a member of the Steelers.

With the departures of Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen via free agency, the Patriots will likely need Blount to shoulder a heavy load this season. James White, Tyler Gaffney, and Jonas Gray could all contribute, but Blount is the most experienced of the group and despite his suspension week one, will still probably get the most carries especially later in games. Blount will turn 29 during the season, which is old for a running back. Durability hasn’t been an issue in Blount’s time with the Patriots but it will be something to monitor especially later in the season.

His one game suspension could open the door for another back, but it appears as though Blount will get every opportunity from the coaching staff to secure the lead back role. If today is any sign, he is going to take advantage.


Day three of Patriots training camp was the first day in pads for the team and there were also a few fresh faces on the practice field. Defensive tackle Dominique Easley practiced for the first time and running back LeGarrette Blount was on the field for the first time this camp, evidence that he passed his conditioning test sometime within the past day. Linebacker Dont’a Hightower was wearing a red “no contact” jersey as he works his way back from offseason surgery.

The Patriots focused on special teams at several points. The kickoff team took the field at two separate points in practice and coach Bill Belichick concluded practice by having the field goal unit practice in full. Belichick also worked with punter Ryan Allen during practice.

Defensively, Logan Ryan and Jamie Collins stood out. Collins forced a fumble when he plastered Aaron Dobson during 11 on 11 drills, causing the offense to take a lap. Ryan had several impressive pass break ups in positional drills and 11 on 11 work. JaBaal Sheard also had some strong plays and rookie Trey Flowers looked explosive coming off the line during pass rushing drills. Malcolm Butler is looking like a player who is poised to start this season; he had several impressive plays and was a vocal member of the secondary. Rookie Malcom Brown also had a goal line stop during full team work.

Blount’s first practice was a good one as he showed his trademark physicality as well as good quickness and elusiveness. Dobson asserted himself on several occasions despite the fumble including a leaping catch in the corner of the end zone during drills and an impressive grab over rookie Darryl Roberts during 11 on 11s. As has occurred in the past, assistant coaches held large paddles up in front of the quarterbacks during drills to simulate long-armed defensive linemen with their hands up. Scott Chandler continues to show that he can be a great complement to Rob Gronkowski at tight end.

With it only being the third practice of camp and the first one in pads, much has yet to be determined for the 2015 Patriots. One thing that Patriots fans will be happy to hear is there appears to be no Super Bowl hangover in Foxboro. At this stage, health is the biggest thing and the Patriots are still working some key players back.

Tags: ,

In a surprising move, Robert Kraft stepped to the podium before coach Bill Belichick on Wednesday and came out strong against  a league office that he believes unfairly punished his team as well as Tom Brady. When Belichick stepped to the podium, he deflected all questions related to ball deflation or Brady, saying that he was on to training camp. Video of Kraft in full is below as well as Belichick deflecting Brady questions.


Tags: , , ,





Tom Brady is the obvious choice to wrap the five most important Patriots heading into training camp series. The quarterback is entering this season amid something he has never dealt with before, a swirl of controversy. He is currently under a four game suspension and will sue the league in Federal Court to attempt to get the suspension wiped out. Even if he is exonerated in court and plays all 16 games, this story will not leave him anytime soon.

If he does have to serve any time. focus will switch to second year back-up and potential Brady heir Jimmy Garoppolo. If that situation occurs, Brady will have to help prepare Garoppolo while also coming to terms with the fact that he is guilty in the court and public’s eyes and will have to miss time. Brady is also cognizant of how he got his job in the first place, replacing a quarterback who could not play when Drew Bledsoe was injured in 2001.

Brady will have to deal with all this while also attempting to lead his team to a repeat as Super Bowl Champions. He also no longer has Shane Vereen or Stevan Ridley as well as a question mark at left guard. He is also one year older and not far removed from the September 2014 talk of his physical and performance decline. Of any quarterback in league history, Brady has done the most with less. However, 2015 will be his biggest test.

Tags: ,

Recent Comments