Patriots

Belichick seeing the positive in rookie Bolden

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Belichick seeing the positive in rookie Bolden

Preseason Game 2: Eagles.
With several starters sitting, and the all-important Game 3 just four days away in Tampa, a big opportunity was laid out for rookie Brandon Bolden.
Stevan Ridley went into the preseason as the guy to beat for the No. 1 running back spot. Shane Vereen, back from the injury that plagued him last season, showed well against New Orleans.
Bolden's spot on the roster is less secure. But with some special teams work there could be one to win, according to Bill Belichick.
On a Tuesday evening conference call, New England's bench boss said Bolden and the other backs will have to fight it out.
"I can't control how the players play -- that's up to them. What we can do is coach them, and teach them to the best of our ability, and prepare them for when they do play. In practice, getting them repetitions and making sure they understand their assignments But the players have to go out and perform.
"I can't tell you how that competition's going to work out, whether it's going to be a couple guys, or a few guys bunched up close together, or if somebody's going to separate from the group or not."
Bolden getting several reps against Philadelphia is part of the process.
"We tried to play those guys last night and, in a lot of cases, just left them in the game, so they played on first, second, and third down. In a lot of cases, it wasn't a third down substitution. We did it more by groups that had practiced together rather than by down to try to help ourselves evaluate those players on all three downs and not necessarily pigeon-hole them into one situation."
The undrafted rookie finished with seven rushes for 14 yards. The number would have been higher if he hadn't run backwards on a red zone draw for a loss of seven.
In the second quarter, Bolden muffed a punt. Philadelphia recovered both the ball and the game's momentum, taking the ball from New England's 24 into the end zone on three plays.
Bolden failed to recognize a fair catch situation on his next punt return try and got bulldozed.
It wasn't all bad. But those plays mentioned can't be ignored when evaluating personnel. To Bolden's credit, Belichick noticed more of the positive.
"I think Brandon competed well and he definitely showed up with some positive plays in the kicking game and also offensively. We'll take a look at different people doing different things, trying to see what kind of depth and versatility we have with some players before we decide for sure to lock in to one particular spot or we use that person's versatility in a couple different spots. I think that's what we need based on the make-up of our roster.
"There are a lot of things that he can learn from and will probably execute better next time," Belichick concluded. "Overall, I think, a positive performance. But not perfect."
Bolden has to hope, in the end, it's good enough.

Belichick: Karras stepping in an illustration of why Patriots are good

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Belichick: Karras stepping in an illustration of why Patriots are good

Is it Tom Brady? Is it Bill Belichick? Well, yes and yes. But there are other reasons for why the Patriots are 8-2, obviously, and Belichick highlighted one of them by lauding one of the most unsung players on his 53-man active roster.

What Ted Karras did on Sunday -- filling in against the Raiders as the starting center in place of David Andrews -- was just one of many examples of a player making the most of an opportunity presented to him, Belichick explained.

PATRIOTS 33, RAIDERS 8

"Ted always works hard," he said after the Patriots beat the Raiders, 33-8. "Nobody spends more time at the facility than he does. Training. Preparing. He had an opportunity, and he stepped up and did the most with it. That's what we needed. That's why we have a good team. We have a lot of guys who do that."

Andrews came down with an illness last week and missed the team's final two practices at the Air Force Academy. As the primary fill-in at all three interior offensive line spots, Karras was tapped as the replacement, and he played all 60 offensive snaps for the Patriots in what was his first start since filling in for Shaq Mason during the 2016 season-opener. 

Karras had played just nine snaps going into the game -- all in a blowout against the Broncos the week prior -- but was part of an effort in the trenches that allowed Tom Brady to remain relatively clean for the vast majority of the game. On 38 drop-backs, Brady was pressured just seven times, he was hit three times, and he was sacked only once. And for the second consecutive week, Brady's offensive line was not penalized. 

Considering that Karras wasn't the only fill-in used, the offensive line's performance was all the more impressive. LaAdrian Waddle continued to be the primary replacement for Marcus Cannon, who is dealing with an ankly issue, and when Waddle left Sunday's game briefly on two different occasions then Cameron Fleming took his place. 

"They did a great job to step in like that . . . [Waddle] was battling out there, going against some really good players," Brady said. "It was a great team win. Great by the offensive line. They've really done a great job with the penalty situation, moving the line of scrimmage and so forth. Great protection. We just have to keep it going."

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Former Patriots wide receiver Terry Glenn killed in car crash

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Former Patriots wide receiver Terry Glenn killed in car crash

Terry Glenn, the Patriots' top draft pick in 1996 who had a tumultous six-year career with the team -- and who also caught the first NFL touchdown pass ever thrown by Tom Brady -- died early Monday morning in a one-car accident in Irving, Texas. He was 43.

Glenn wound up playing 12 years in the National Football League, joining first the Packers and then the Cowboys after leaving the Patriots in controversy in 2001. Glenn was involved in a pay dispute with the team during training camp, had issues with the coaching staff, and was deactivated by Bill Belichick after the fourth game of the year. He wasn't given a Super Bowl ring after the Pats beat the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI.

He had earlier clashed with Bill Parcells as a rookie, with Parcells famously referring to Glenn as "she" when he was sidelined with a minor injury. He caught 90 passes for 1,132 yards and six touchdowns in '96 to help the Patriots advance to the Super Bowl for the second time in franchise history; they were beaten by Green Bay in Super Bowl XXVI.

Glenn and Parcells reunited in Dallas in 2003 after Glenn had spent one yeat with the Packers, and he played the remainder of his career with the Cowboys. He had two 1,000-yard receiving seasons in Dallas.

According to reports, Glenn was with his fiance at the time of the accident. She's being treated at a local hospital for unspecified injuries.

He played college football at Ohio State.