7-30-14: Rob Gronkowski has come along a lot quicker than many expected, as the New England Patriots star tight end has been fully cleared to practice with the team and is on target for a week one return. Gronkowski is tentatively expected to he held out for most (if not all) of the preseason this year, but has publicly stated he intends on playing “the whole season” for the first time since 2011. That’s music to every Patriots fan’s ears. Wide receiver Aaron Dobson hasn’t been so lucky in his own rehab, as the second-year wideout has reportedly regressed is his recovery from a foot issue. He has started training camp on the PUP list. The Patriots also lost wide receiver Greg Orton to a knee injury, although Orton wasn’t a lock to make the team. New England also snagged former Panthers running back Tyler Gaffney off of waivers. He tore his ACL in Carolina’s camp and will fight for a roster spot in New England in 2015.
7-15-14: The New England Patriots continue to take positive strides toward full health on offense, as star tight end Rob Gronkowski is even further along in his rehab from a torn ACL. The Gronk is now tentatively expected to be ready for week one of the 2014 NFL season. Wide receiver Aaron Dobson is also beating expectations, as he’s set to return from a foot injury in time for New England’s camp, which begins on July 23rd for veterans. Vince Wilfork is also on track to be fully ready for the defensive side of the ball. From a schematic perspective, newly signed receiver Brandon LaFell could have a bigger role than many suspected, as he could potentially take over Aaron Hernandez’s old “move” position within the offense.
6-5-14: New England Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski is reportedly progressing well from last year’s torn ACL, as he and the Pats remain hopeful he can return to the team at full health in week one. The Gronk’s health is certainly no sure thing as evidenced by injuries the past two years, however, which has prompted the team to take a close look at former Green Bay Packers tight end, Jermichael Finley. James Anderson is New England’s lone big name addition since the draft, as the veteran linebacker was brought on to increase competition in the linebacking corps.
5-19-14: The New England Patriots dealt with a lot of bad luck on offense in 2013, leading many to believe they’d start off the 2014 NFL Draft with a stud tight end or wide receiver. That wasn’t at all the case. Instead, they opted for help on defense. Let’s get a better idea of what the Pats did to get better on draft day as we break down their key selections:
Round 1. Pick 29 Dominique Easley, DT, Florida
Round 2. Pick 30 Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois
Round 4. Pick 05 Bryan Stork, OL, Florida St.
Round 4. Pick 30 James White, RB, Wisconsin
Round 4. Pick 40 Cameron Fleming,T, Stanford
Round 6. Pick 03 Jon Halapio, OG, Florida
Round 6. Pick 30 Jemea Thomas, DB, Georgia Tech
Round 7. Pick 29 Jeremy Gallon, WR, Michigan
New England ignored the media’s cry about tight ends and wide receivers, although it remains to be determined if they were right or not to do so. Regardless, they got a beast defensive tackle in Dominique Easley in the process. Easley was a legit first round talent and an arguable steal at 29 overall, but slid due to a knee injury.
The Pats then snagged rising quarterback prospect Jimmy Garoppolo, the would-be future replacement of Tom Brady. We’ll see over time how that pick pans out, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry under center.
New England didn’t make many huge splashes elsewhere, but did fill needs on the offensive line, at running back and in the secondary.
5-9-14: The New England Patriots entered the 2014 NFL Draft with some key needs on defense, while many speculated they could draft a tight end. With Rob Gronkowski (knee) on the shelf at the moment, someone like Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro would have made sense and probably would have pleased the fans. However, Amaro wasn’t even taken in round one, which shows the Pats can probably still snag a quality tight end in the second or third round. Ultimately, they went with defensive lineman Dominique Easley, out of Florida. Easley’s stock slipped due to a knee injury and the Pats took advantage of it, securing an athletic and versatile d-lineman to help patch up their often injured d-line.
4-28-14: The New England Patriots endured immense struggles in 2013, yet overcame countless injuries to win the AFC East and even advance to the AFC title game. To make sure they don’t repeat the same rough journey, though, they’ll want to address some issues in this year’s NFL Draft. With star tight end Rob Gronkowski returning from a knee injury and no one else behind him, tight end has to be something the Pats look to improve on in 2014. Landing a guy like Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro or Washington’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins could really open up the offense. On the defensive side, the Pats could take a look at the safety position, while starting to think about left after Vince Wilfork at the defensive tackle position.
Tom Brady and co. will get their 2014 NFL season going on the road in Washington when they take on Robert Griffin III and the Redskins in week one of the preseason. Washington will also have new offensive weapon DeSean Jackson on full display, while the Pats will get to test out new star corner Darrelle Revis right away. The New England Patriots schedule brings it back home for solid matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles and Carolina Panthers the next two weeks, before closing out the preseason on the road versus the New York Giants.
4-7-14: One of the biggest weaknesses for the New England Patriots in 2013 was an inconsistent defense, accompanied by a rash of tough injuries. With injuries being something that can’t be controlled, the Pats looked to fix their problem areas on the open market. With Aqib Talib jetting for Denver, New England made arguably the biggest splash of free agency with a one-year deal with cornerback Darrelle Revis, while also bringing in extra secondary help in Brandon Browner and Patrick Chung. The best work might have been in simply retaining some of their own top talent, though, as the Patriots held onto slot machine Julian Edelman and reworked defensive tackle Vince Wilfork’s deal to keep him in town.
3-21-14: The Patriots suffered through 2013 with an inconsistent offense, thanks to major turnover via injuries and departed weapons. Going into free agency this offseason, making sure Tom Brady had the right options to throw to was at the top of the list of things to do. New England made sure that happened quickly, as they re-signed slot demon Julian Edelman and brought in Brandon LaFell. While the Pats aren’t likely done improving their offense just yet, their biggest splash came on the defensive end, where they let Aqib Talib sign with Denver and actually nailed down an upgrade by landing stud corner Darrelle Revis on a massive one-year deal. The team had to part ways with stud run defender Vince Wilfork, but overall had a winning run in free agency. If their draft ends up being anything like their early work in free agency, New England should be as good as normal, if not better in 2014.
Tom Brady threw one touchdown pass and scored another on the ground to make things interesting late in New England’s AFC title game, but it was a case of “too little, too late” as the Patriots fell to the Denver Broncos, 26-16.
Former Patriots wide receiver rocked New England Patriots corner Aqib Talib’s world on a screen block, rendering him useless for the rest of the game. From that point on, Peyton Manning and Demaryius Thomas had their way with the Patriots pass defense, en route to 400 passing yards for Manning, as well as 134 yards and a touchdown for Thomas.
The Patriots oddly went away from their ground game in this one, as LeGarrette Blount went from rushing for four touchdowns and well over 100 yards a week ago, to a complete after-thought with just five carries for six yards. Much of that can go to Denver’s ability to stuff the run, but New England was still far too pass-happy, with Tom Brady attempting 38 passes and dropping back 40 times, total.
While their season didn’t end as they had hoped, Patriots fans can at least take solace that New England did as much as they could this year, despite numerous off-season casualties and injuries. Star tight ends Aaron Hernandez (released) and Rob Gronkowski (injuries) were mostly unavailable, while the Pats had to endure the loss of 75% of Tom Brady’s completions from a year ago. To be specifics, New England badly missed reliable intermediate options Danny Woodhead and Wes Welker in the clutch, and didn’t get a full season out of the injury-proned Danny Amendola.
Ultimately, though, many will regard this season as a success. Bill Belichick and co. were under-manned throughout 2013, yet they still finished 12-4, won the AFC East, nearly secured the top overall seed, and made it within a win of their second Super Bowl in three years.
1-14-14: Tom Brady didn’t throw a single touchdown and dropped back to pass just 27 total times, yet the Patriots still beat the visiting Indianapolis Colts easily, 43-22. How? LeGarrette Blount; that’s how. Blount continued his unlikely campaign, rushing for 166 yards and a whopping four touchdowns, while backup running back Stevan Ridley chipped in two more rushing scores of his own. The New England defense did the rest, picking off Andrew Luck four times to help seal the deal.
The win puts New England back in the AFC title game for the second year in a row, where they’ll head to Denver to take on the Broncos. It’s another epic showdown between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning after the two battled earlier in the year and put up a combined 65 points in an overtime clash that the Patriots won.
12-31-13: When week 17 ended, the Patriots didn’t have the top seed in the AFC playoffs. Instead, they had to settle for the number two spot, and had LeGarrette Blount’s huge 189-yard rushing day to thank for it. Blount also added two rushing touchdowns and over 100 kick return yards and he kept the Patriots locked into a bye and helped them earn their 12th win of 2013.
12-24-13: Tom Brady wasn’t amazing, but he threw a touchdown and played mistake-free football as the New England Patriots leaned on their rushing attack and defense to get a week 16 win. New England forced Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco to throw two picks and sacked him four times in a huge 41-7 road win to help claim the AFC East division.
12-17-13: The Patriots clearly missed tight end Rob Gronkowski in week 15, as the offense struggled it’s way to a 24-20 loss on the road to the division rival Miami Dolphins. The Pats had a chance to win the game late deep in Miami territory, however, but saw a Danny Amendola touchdown be denied and Tom Brady’s final attempt get picked off in the end-zone.
12-10-13: The Patriots lost tight end Rob Gronkowski to a knee injury and needed to overcome a horrible first three quarters of football, but were able to do just that in a thrilling 27-26 win at home. Tom Brady overcame a slow start to top 400 passing yards as New England earned their 10th win of the year and all but locked up the AFC East.
12-3-13: The New England Patriots could not stop Ben Tate in week 13. Luckily for them, the Houston Texans couldn’t stop Tom Brady, either. Brady threw for 371 passing yards and two touchdowns as he dug the Pats out of a 17-7 hole to finish off Houston on the road in a thrilling 34-31 win.
11-26-13: The Patriots committed three straight turnovers to start their week 12 matchup with the Denver Broncos, the exact thing they couldn’t do in a huge clash of elite AFC teams. They defied all logic in the second half, though, as Tom Brady topped 300 passing yards and threw three touchdowns to escaped a 24-0 hole and win in overtime, 34-31.
11-19-13: New England welcomed back versatile offensive weapon Shane Vereen in week 11, as the Patriots took it to the Panthers in Carolina. Tom Brady connected with tight end Rob Gronkowski for a touchdown in the second half, but could not do so late in a 24-20 loss. Brady’s pass to Gronkowski on the final play of the game was wrapped up in controversy due to a non-called pass interference call, but ultimately the referees decided the pass was not catchable and the game was declared over, dropping New England to 7-3 on the season.
11-5-13: The Pittsburgh Steelers showed up for the first three quarters in week nine, as they entered the final quarter down just three points to the New England Patriots, 27-24. Then they lied down in the fourth quarter. Pittsburgh would score just one more time, as Tom Brady and the Pats were flawless through the air, ending with a 28-7 run in the final period to give them a 55-31 blowout home victory.
10-30-13: Tom Brady threw a bad interception early to help dig the Patriots into a 17-3 hole at home, but the Patriots pounded the ball and scored two touchdowns on the ground to score 24 unanswered points to get the home win. New England ascended to 6-2 with the week eight win, putting them in sole possession of first place atop the AFC East.
10-22-13: The return of Rob Gronkowski wasn’t enough to stop the New England Patriots from losing their second game of 2013, as they fell to the division rival New York Jets in overtime, 30-27. Gronkowski was stellar in his return, racking up 114 yards on eight catches in his 2013 debut, but dropped a would-be touchdown late that could have won the game for the Pats, while showing clear rust throughout the day. Tom Brady failed to pass for a touchdown for the second time in three weeks and New England wasted a 21-10 lead to split the season series with Gang Green.
10-15-13: Tom Brady still has some heroics up his sleeve, after all. He needed some help from the New Orleans offense via some stalled drives late, but he got it and made his magic happen. With just five seconds left, Brady fired the game-winning touchdown pass to Kenbrell Thompkins in the left corner of the end-zone, erasing two previous poor decisions on offense and giving New England a 30-27 home win and sending them to 5-1 on the year.
10-8-13: Despite New England being blessed with the return of slot receiver Danny Amendola, a feisty Cincinnati Bengals defense ended up being too much to handle. The Bengals were so good on defense, in fact, that they put an end to Tom Brady’s 52-game streak of games with a touchdown pass, while holding the future Hall of Famer under 200 passing yards and the Patriots offense to just six points on the day. To add to the horror, Brady completed under 50% of his passes, was sacked four times, and threw an interception in a game where his potential final heroics were arguably affected by untimely/unlucky rain late in the fourth quarter of a 13-6 loss.
10-1-13: The New England Patriots continued their unblemished march through the early part of their 2013 schedule, despite being severely under-manned on offense due to injuries. Despite yet again not having Rob Gronkowski or Danny Amendola at his disposal, Tom Brady tossed for 316 passing yards and two scores, while not taking any sacks or turning the ball over. Brady and co. needed every bit of efficiency in this one, as they held on late to stay perfect (4-0) and send the Atlanta Falcons to 1-3 on the road. Kenbrell Thompkins stepped up in a big way in this one, as he hauled in six of 11 targets for 127 yards and a touchdown. The New England rushing attack combined their efforts in this one, as well, helping to grind out the clock late while amassing over 120 total rushing yards.
9-18-13: In what was arguably the ugliest game of week two, the New England Patriots somehow hung onto a narrow 13-10 win against the Jets. Tom Brady was plagued by terrible drops, poor routes and shaky awareness from his wide receivers all night, as he had to endure a starting lineup that boasted slot man Julian Edelman as his top target. On Sunday, the Patriots will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
9-10-13: Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were supposed to march into Buffalo and drop 40 points on the Bills. Instead, Tom Terrific didn’t really show up until the final drive, which culminated in a game-winning field goal by Stephen Gostkowski to give the Pats a narrow 23-21 win. Next week, the Patriots open up their home schedule with an AFC East clash against Geno Smith and the New York Jets.
9-4-13: Here's a full list of the Patriots final roster cuts: QB Tim Tebow, TE Jake Ballard, TE Daniel Fells, P Zoltan Mesko, DE Marcus Benard, WR Johnathan Haggerty, LB Mike Rivera, OL Luke Patterson, FB Ben Bartholomew, DL Gilbert Peña, OL Matt Stankiewitch, DL Scott Vallone, DE Jermaine Cunningham, DT Marcus Forston, RB George Winn, DE Justin Francis, LB Ja'Gared Davis, S Kannoris Davis, LB Jeff Tarpinian, DL Marcus Forston, OL Chris McDonald, DB Stephon Morris, WR Quentin Sims and RB George Winn.
8-31-13: Tim Tebow has been released by the Patriots. This preseason, Tebow completed 11 of 30 passes for 145 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also ran 16 times for 91 yards.
8-20-13: So much for any concerns about Tom Brady's injury. The future Hall Of Famer put all those fears to bed last weekend against the Bucs, completing 11 of 12 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown as the Patriots improved to 2-0 on the preseason with a 25-21 win over Tampa Bay. Backup Ryan Mallett was also solid, completing 12 of 20 passes for 137 yards and a TD. Tim Tebow saw limited action at QB and was an ugly 1 of 7 with an interception. He did run the ball 6 times for 30 yards. Rookie DB Logan Ryan also returned an interception 53 yards for a TD.
The Patriots head to Detroit this week for a Thursday night match-up with the Lions.
8-15-13: Tom Brady injured his knee yesterday in practice after getting knocked to the ground following a pass attempt.
The team doesn't believe it's serious and an MRI on Brady's knee came back clean.
8-11-13: The Patriots opened their preseason with a 31-22 victory over the Eagles. Tom Brady led two 80-yard TD drives Backup Ryan Mallett was 9 of 18 for 97 yards. Tim Tebow also saw some action, but completed just 4 of 12 passes for 55 yards. He also ran four times for 31 yards.
8-3-13: The Patriots have signed wide receiver Lavasier Tuinei.
7-10-13: The New England Patriots enter 2013 with loads of questions marks for the first time in years. They still have their trusty duo of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, but have been dealt a litany of blows over the course of the off-season. Wes Welker and Danny Woodhead left in free agency, Rob Gronkowski is healing from back surgery and Aaron Hernandez is in prison. Needless to say, as elite as the Patriots have been, they could be entering 2013 on shaky ground for the first time in a very long time.
6-12-13: Tom Brady and co. enter 2013 with Super Bowl expectations, per usual, but will be heading down that road without the likes of Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd or Danny Woodhead in 2013. Welker is obviously the biggest loss, but in all, those three guys made up for a ton of New England’s offense, and all will be sorely missed. While the Patriots may miss some free agency losses, they could be eradicated by the gain of versatile wide receiver Danny Amendola. If Amendola can replace Welker and help open up the offense even more, the Patriots will look extremely smart, and could also be putting themselves in the position to get back to the Super Bowl. They also recently signed for Bronco and Jet, Tim Tebow. It's not known what role, if any, he'll have once the season begins.
2013 Patriots Draft Overview:
Round 2, Pick 20 (from Minnesota): Jamie Collins, LB, Southern Miss
Round 2, Pick 27: Aaron Dobson, WR, Marshall
Round 3, Pick 21 (from Minnesota): Ryan Logan, CB, Rutgers
Round 3, Pick 29: Duron Harmon, S, Rutgers
Round 4, Pick 5 (from Detroit through Minnesota): Josh Boyce, WR, Texas Christian
Round 7, Pick 20 (from Chicago through Tampa Bay): Michael Buchanan, DE, Illinois
Round 7, Pick 29: Steve Beauharnais, LB, Rutgers
1-20-13: The Patriots bid for another AFC title and trip to the Super Bowl ended at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens, who beat them 28-13 in the AFC Championship game.
1-9-13: The Patriots, once again won what is arguably the worst division in football, the AFC East. However with an improved defense and good efforts against other top NFL teams, one has to consider them as title contenders yet again. Tom Brady had another great year, earning his team a bye week as they gear up for the Houston Texans this week. The Patriots won 12 games and were undefeated within their division to no surprise. They have been comfortable at home where they have only lost twice this season and Sunday against Houston they will look to continue that winning trend.
12-4-12: New England has already clinched the AFC East title with a 9-3 record and also remains a perfect 5-0 in divisional games. With a marquee matchup on Monday Night against the Houston Texans it will be interesting to see how they fare against the NFL elite. Many will say the Pats benefit from a weak division so this week’s upcoming game will be telling. The Patriots will close out their season by playing three of their last four games at home.