Patriots

Belichick: Defensive tackle position as deep as I can remember

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Belichick: Defensive tackle position as deep as I can remember

FOXBORO -- It's safe to say Bill Belichick likes the overall depth of his 90-man roster.

Over the last few weeks, the Patriots coach has praised the top-to-bottom competition at receiver, tight end and safety. The defensive tackle spot was the latest to be publicly praised as one of the deepest groups he's had over the course of his years in New England.

"It's competitive. It's as much depth as we've had at that position as I can remember," he said. "Good competition. We have some young guys, have some guys with experience . . . We have some different play styles in there so it's not quite apples-to-apples with each comparison, but they've all been productive. They can all do something pretty well to keep them in a competitive situation. One guy may do something better than another player [and] vice versa. But in the end, everybody's been able to do enough to keep going in there and keep it competitive."

The interior of the defensive line has been manned primarily by last year's first-round pick Malcom Brown, Alan Branch, Terrance Knighton, Markus Kuhn and third-round rookie Vincent Valentine. Joe Vellano, Woodrow Hamilton and Anthony Johnson have also factored in and received reps in training camp. 

One reason that position group may come into focus this week is because the Bears are in town for three joint practices, and the Patriots lost one of their top contributors at defensive tackle to Chicago this offseason. Akiem Hicks, acquired by the Patriots in a mid-season trade last year with the Saints, became a free agent after playing in all 13 regular-season games and both postseason games while on the New England roster. He recorded three sacks, four quarterback hits and 15 quarterback hurries in a Patriots uniform and then signed a two-year deal with the Bears.

In order to help make up for the loss inside, the Patriots added Knighton and Kuhn as veteran free agents and drafted Valentine. In terms of build, none of those players checks in with the same kind of measurements as Hicks (listed at 6-foot-5, 336 pounds). Valentine (6-foot-3, 320 pounds) and Kuhn (6-4, 315 pounds) may come closest, but players like Hicks are hard to come by.

"I'd say it's just supply and demand. Guys that have a lot of length in there and are able to play in there, a player like Richard Seymour, the guy was the sixth pick in the draft," Belichick said. "A lot of players playing that position just don't have those kinds of qualities. They have other qualities: Size, maybe quickness, maybe height's not one of them. But I think if you could get that in there -- if you could get a bunch of 6-5 defensive tackles that are as athletic and powerful as you want them to be -- there's probably not too many teams that would turn those guys down. They're usually drafted pretty high, but there's not as many of them. The Vince Wilfork's and Malcom Brown's are a little more, I'd say, common. They just come out more like that than they do like some of those 6-5 guys, 6-6 guys."

Hicks, a third-round pick of the Saints in 2012, may have one of those rare frames -- and the Patriots will be re-introduced to him this week -- but it sounds like Belichick wouldn't change a thing about the defensive tackle group he has on his roster at the moment. 

In a surprise move, Chiefs sign Darrelle Revis

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In a surprise move, Chiefs sign Darrelle Revis

KANSAS CITY -- The Kansas City Chiefs needed help in their leaky defensive backfield.

Darrelle Revis was ready to provide it.

So the AFC West leaders signed the seven-time Pro Bowl cornerback on Wednesday, a surprising midseason move involving a big-name player. Revis played for the New York Jets last season, but his massive salary cap number combined with a decline in performance led to his release in late February.

Still, the Chiefs were desperate to find a cornerback to play opposite Marcus Peters. Terrence Mitchell, Kenneth AckerSteven Nelson and Phillip Gaines have all failed to hold down the spot.

"He's ready to go now," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said in a conference call with reporters. "He was coming off the wrist (injury) and that he had last year, you know - this is when he was ready to go. We felt the same way. So it was a nice, mutual agreement that took place and here we are."

Reid did not rule out Revis playing Sunday against Buffalo, either.

Four days is typically a quick turnaround for a player to get acclimated to a team, especially one that hasn't played a snap since the end of last season. But Revis has a few things going for him: He has a vast amount of experience from which to draw, he is already familiar with defensive coordinator Bob Sutton's system having played for him with the Jets, and the Chiefs really have nothing to lose.

They enter the game with the 28th-ranked pass defense in the league, hemorrhaging more than 250 yards per game. That includes a 417-yard performance by Oakland's Derek Carr a few weeks ago.

"We've had some young guys trying their hearts out and doing a nice job for us, too," Reid said. "It's a win-win. You get a veteran guy and you have some young guys that will continue to grow."

Perhaps coincidentally, the Chiefs visit the Meadowlands to face the Jets on Dec. 3.

Revis at one point was considered the best cornerback in the league, picking off 29 passes over 10 seasons with the Jets, Buccaneers and Patriots. He won a Super Bowl ring with New England.

He parlayed that into a five-year, $39 million contract to return to the Jets, but a wrist injury slowed him down a couple of years ago. Revis struggled most of last season, looking as if the 32-year-old had lost a step for the first time, and the Jets made the decision to let him go.

He's spent the past summer and fall keeping in shape.

"He's been around awhile. He looks great physically," Reid said, "but time does that, time will take a step away from you. But he's a smart guy, knows how to play the game and that becomes important at this point in his career. I'm not telling you he can't still run, he can run."

Good enough to help the Chiefs (6-4), who had dropped four of their past five?

"Darrelle is a proven player in this league and we are excited to add him," first-year Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said in a statement. "He's had a Hall of Fame career and his leadership and playing experience will be valuable to our defense."

That may be where he is most beneficial: His experience. The Chiefs have little veteran presence in their secondary after safety Eric Berry was lost to a season-ending injury.

"You're talking about one of the all-time great players at that position," Reid said. "It's just a matter of getting him back in the swing of things and seeing where he's at. He's excited to be here. We are excited to have him. I would think his role would be to step in and be a starter."

Patriots-Dolphins injury report: Tom Brady sits out with Achilles injury

Patriots-Dolphins injury report: Tom Brady sits out with Achilles injury

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski both sat out of the entirety of Wednesday's practice at Gillette Stadium. 

Brady is dealing with an Achilles injury, per the injury report released by the Patriots. The Boston Herald has reported that Brady will play despite the issue. It's unclear when exactly Brady suffered the injury, but Brady was hit low by Raiders pass-rusher Khalil Mack in the fourth quarter on Sunday, and Mack was called for a roughing-the-passer penalty.

Gronkowski, like teammate David Andrews, is dealing with an illness. Patrick Chung, who left Sunday's game briefly, has an ankle issue. 

Here's the full injury report for both the Patriots and Dolphins . . . 

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
C David Andrews (illness)
QB Tom Brady (Achilles)
OT Marcus Cannon (ankle)
S Patrick Chung (ankle)
TE Rob Gronkowski (illness)
WR Chris Hogan (shoulder)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
WR Danny Amendola (knee)
TE Marellus Bennett (shoulder/hamstring)
DT Malcom Brown (ankle)
CB Eric Rowe (groin)
WR Matthew Slater (hamstring)

MIAMI DOLPHINS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
LB Stephone Anthony (quadriceps)
G Jermon Bushrod (foot)
QB Jay Cutler (concussion)
DE William Hayes (back)
T Laremy Tunsill (illness)

FULL PARTICIPATION
RB Senorise Perry (knee)
S Michael Thomas (knee)