Curran: 17 Patriots thoughts in 34 lines


Curran: 17 Patriots thoughts in 34 lines

By Tom E. Curran Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran 1. Zoltan Mesko was seen Monday afternoon walking without a limp around aFoxboro-area shopping plaza. Good sign for the punter, who got his left legcrumpled Sunday afternoon. 2. As of late Monday, the final diagnosis on Aaron Hernandez' knee wasn't in. He's out this week but the severity of the MCL injury will either keep him down for a game or two or - if it's as banged up as suspected - down for at least four games. 3. With Hernandez down, I think Chad Ochocinco is poised fora breakout week against the Bills. The third-down catch he made while being interfered with that went for 15 yards was a brilliant play. 4. I'm not sure what bus Eric Weddle was running to catch on the30-yarder to Ochocinco. The big-money safety was headed in the exact wrong direction as the pass came in. 5. Weddle had a very long day dealing with Rob Gronkowski. Not impressive for a guy being paid 40 million over eight years with 19 million in guarantees. 6. (Special extra lines!) Bill Belichickon Tom Brady trying to steal the third-down conversion on third-and-four that led to the Pats facing fourth-and-four early in the fourth: "I think everybody was doing what they thought was best. They were trying hard. I dont think there were plays where we were just asleep and just got caught napping or something like that. We tried to do what we thought was best. It didnt always work out. Maybe it wasnt always the best decision myself included but I think we all were trying to do the right thing, trying to do the best thing. But when youre playing a good football team like that, it doesnt always work out." In other words, nice try but not what we were looking for there. 7. "We just sit there and look dumb like everybody else and then they come back and say it was a touchdown or if it wasnt, they tell us it wasnt." That's Belichick on the review of the Chargers final touchdown or the extra point - couldn't tell which. 8. If Andre Carter gets fined for his takedown of Philip Rivers in the second quarter in addition to the 15-yard penalty that was called, it will be a disservice to the sport of football. Asking these guys to unlearn what they were taught since they were 7-years-old is absurd. 9. With Patrick Chung now in a cast as well, the Patriots' two starting safeties - Chung and Josh Barrett - have two good hands between them. The Bills figure to attack them with 6-foot-7, 263-pound tight end Scott Chandler on Sunday. 10. Danny Woodhead had just six touches on Sunday. Aside from last year's regular-season finale when he got hurt and his first game with the Pats, that's tied for his fewest chances (126 vs. New York; 1114 vs. Pittsburgh). 11. With 15 catches for 222 yards, Deion Branch is off to the most productive start of his career. In 2005, he had 15 catches for 159 yards; he's never had more than nine catches in his first two games other than this year and 2005. 12. ESPNBoston's Mike Reiss documented that second-year, second-round linebackerDE Jermaine Cunningham was on the field for a grand total of one defensive snap. A kind way of phrasing this disuse would be that he's trying to establish a role.13. Taylor Price has now been active for a grand total of one NFL game. The wideout created such a preseason stir but an injured hamstring and the fact that better, veteran players are ahead of him (or are more important on special teams) has kept him down. 14. Some would say the Patriots don't do a great job developing young wide receivers. Between Brandon Tate, Chad Jackson and - so far, Price - I would agree with them. 15. There's a ton of concern right now about the Patriots defense and why it's been so permissive. My suspicion is that it's very, very far from being at its highest compete level and will be very good come midseason. 16. Devin McCourty has shown in the first two games that the title "shutdown corner" doesn't yet fit him. But he'll be happy this week to be away from beasts like Brandon Marshall and Vincent Jackson. 17. Lions wideout Nate Burleson wants to fashion himself into "the black Wes Welker."I'm looking to become the paler Mike Giardi.
Tom E. Curran can be reached at Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.

Gronkowski advises Hayward to treat rehab like anything else -- dominate

Gronkowski advises Hayward to treat rehab like anything else -- dominate

FOXBORO -- Rob Gronkowski's never suffered a break like the one Gordon Hayward did on Tuesday night, but he has been through enough to know what lies ahead as the Celtics forward stares at a lengthy recovery period.

"I saw it. I mean, I wish him nothing but wellness," Gronkowski said on Wednesday. "Hopefully he heals ASAP. You never want to see that with a player in any sport. When my friend showed me that last night, you get that feeling in your body, like, your heart drops. I wish him well.

"I can't wait to see him back. I know he's going to bounce back. Being here in Boston, he's going to be a hard worker it feels like. I can't wait to see him back."


Multiple back surgeries, a plate in his arm, a surgically-repaired ACL . . . Gronkowski has put in his share of rehabilitation work. Asked if he'd give Hayward any advice as he embarks on his road back to normalcy, Gronkowski's message was simple.

"Just go into rehab just like you go into anything else. Dominate it," Gronkowski said. "Come back when you feel ready. Come back when you're 100 percent . . . He wouldn't be where he is now if he wasn't a hard worker. I don't know the guy. Never met him. But it's not something you want to see as an athlete happen to anyone else."

Gronkowski acknowledged that in his experience, one of the biggest hurdles following an injury like that is the mental one. You quickly go from being a powerful athlete to a patient in need of help with even the smallest of tasks. 

"There is a big mental challenge, definitely, with that," Gronkowski explained. "It's not just not being able to be with your teammates and all that. It's outside of football, too. Because it takes away your whole life, going out like that . . . You can't do anything. You can't walk. You gotta have people do [things for you]. You get really frustrated. You just want the people around you to help you out and keep you in the best mindset throughout the whole process."


Patriots-Falcons practice report: Gilmore, Rowe absent; Hogan added


Patriots-Falcons practice report: Gilmore, Rowe absent; Hogan added

FOXBORO -- Chris Hogan only had one catch for 19 yards against the Jets. He very nearly had a second grab in the second quarter, but Tom Brady's throw was off the mark, and Hogan's ribs were exposed for rookie safety Marcus Maye to hammer. The pass fell incomplete and Hogan crumpled to the turf. 

He didn't leave the game, but Hogan did end up on Wednesday's injury report as a limited participant in practice due to a ribs injury. He was one of three players added to this week's injury report. Linebacker Elandon Roberts has an ankle injury and did not participate in Wednesday's workout. Guard Shaq Mason has a shoulder issue and was limited. 

Eric Rowe and Stephon Gilmore, neither of whom were spotted at the start of the session, did not participate.

Here's Wednesday's full 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)