Branch: Patriots had a productive bye week


Branch: Patriots had a productive bye week

FOXBORO -- The Patriots concluded their self-evaluation week on Thursday, and are now rewarded with three days off, thanks to a first-round playoff bye.

Not many went too in-depth with their descriptions of what went down on the practice field over the last two days, as expected, but veteran wide receiver Deion Branch confidently expressed, after Thursday's practice, that the Patriots got plenty accomplished.

"We did a lot," said Branch. "I think this was a very important week, and we took full advantage of it. We got a lot out of it, which is a plus for us. There's only so many teams that have the opportunity to do this well. And I think we took advantage of it."

Branch shot down the notion that it would maybe be easy for a player to slack off this week, acknowledging that coach Bill Belichick is in full control of the situation.

"Well, it's easy because he makes sure we're in the building," said Branch. "Trust me, he's doing a great job of finding things for us to do and for us to get done, all the tests and things that we have to get done. He does a great job with our schedule. There's no worries with that part, as far as preparation."

Patriots-Falcons practice report: Gilmore, Rowe absent


Patriots-Falcons practice report: Gilmore, Rowe absent

Wednesday's practice participation/injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Falcons game:


CB Stephon Gilmore (concussion/ankle)
LB Harvey Langi (back)
LB Elandon Roberts (ankle)
CB Eric Rowe (groin)

RB Rex Burkhead (ribs)
WR Chris Hogan (ribs)
G Shaq Mason (shoulder)


K Matt Bryant (back)

OLB Vic Beasley Jr. (hamstring)
LB Jermaine Grace (hamstring)
LB Deion Jones (quadricep)
DE Takk McKinley (shoulder)
LB Duke Riley (knee)
WR Mohamed Sanu (hamstring)
DL Courtney Upshaw (ankle/knee)

Morning Skate: Issues with gambling and Vegas Golden Knights?


Morning Skate: Issues with gambling and Vegas Golden Knights?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while still in disbelief at what happened to Gordon Hayward last night.

*Interesting piece on the connection between gambling and the NHL in Las Vegas where they’ve just kicked their new expansion franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights.

*Would you like a Providence Bruins game-worn jersey and give to a great cause at the same time? Here are the Pink the Rink Bruins jerseys up for auction on eBay with the money earmarked for cancer research and treatment.

*Some interesting stuff from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Elliotte Friedman in his 30 Thoughts about the start that Malcolm Subban is off to with the Vegas Golden Knights and whether that’s in any way a reflection on the way goalies are being developed with the Bruins.

*So, the Ottawa Senators clearly didn’t miss Erik Karlsson given the start that they got off to, but there’s no doubt hockey fans did as he makes his return from offseason surgery.

*Nikita Kucherov just keeps on improving for the Tampa Bay Lightning after a Hart Trophy-level season last year.

*For something completely different: I don’t understand why there’s anything controversial about somebody saying In ‘N Out Burger is overrated. While it’s a perfectly fine West Coast fast food chain, it is absolutely overrated at this point. The fries are average at best, and the burgers are merely okay compared to all of the other burger joints out there.