Patriots

Friday Bag: How will addition of Floyd help make up for loss of Gronk?

Friday Bag: How will addition of Floyd help make up for loss of Gronk?

Every Friday Tom E. Curran, Mike Giardi and Phil Perry will take your Patriots questions (Giardi is sitting this one out) on Twitter and answer them as a joint mailbag -- or a Friday Bag, as they call it. 

Got questions? Tweet the guys using the hashtag #FridayBag. Let's get to this week's . . .

TC: Great question, Sull. I would say we need to read the tea leaves on that and make some logical inferences. Why do they want Jacoby Brissett to practice with the team down the stretch? Why have they taken him on road trips even while he was on IR? Why did they use their IR return on Brissett? They must think that Brissett is not just a “someday” option but perhaps a “sooner rather than later” option. And that tells me that the Patriots foresee an offseason in which they move Jimmy Garoppolo. I don’t think the Patriots will trade Garoppolo just to do it. They’ll want to get fair return on him and if they don’t, they can still keep him through training camp and into the regular season. The Patriots don’t have to sweat it. But if some team gets a pile of adversity dumped on it at the quarterback position – like happened with the Minnesota Vikings when Teddy Bridgewater went down and Minny traded for Sam Bradford – then the Pats are in a position of real strength, Garoppolo goes and Brissett becomes the No. 2.

https://twitter.com/IKON_INC/status/809526264511991808

TC: John and Andy, really interesting to watch the upper body strength and handfighting ability of Floyd while the ball is in the air. He is a big, strong kid. Not the most graceful receiver and – from what I learned from people covering the Cardinals – not the greatest blocker. There’s no reason to overthink it, though, and try to make Floyd work in a tight end role. He’s an outside receiver primarily who can work the deep middle. A long-strider like him is unique in some ways. He won’t have the change of direction ability that Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell have, but he’ll have greater top-end acceleration than they do as you can see in his clips. Long story longer, Tom Brady mentioned a couple of weeks ago after Gronk went down that it’s not always about having 1-for-1 replacements when somebody goes down but finding the right mix of five skill guys on the field now that one has been taken out.

TC: Hello, Ed . . . The Patriots don’t normally box themselves in too much in terms of setting an expectation before they’ve had a chance to see how many checkpoints a player can pass. If Floyd walks in, grasps the offense and concepts, gains the trust of Tom Brady and Josh McDaniels in a wide-range of routes and responsibilities, then he’ll be more than just a safety net or a player who can execute just a handful of plays. If not, then he’ll be relegated. I imagine he’ll get some chances to show his capability in the final two weeks of the regular season. Then, with a likely bye week in the first week of the playoffs, he’ll have a further chance to bone up. I think there’s potential for a handful of impact plays from Floyd before 2016 ends, yes.

https://twitter.com/claaky23/status/809544500959907841?lang=en

TC: Weis was on Friday morning with Kirk & Callahan. He said he hasn’t spoken to Floyd since his Monday arrest. Weis did say that Floyd will understand 75 percent of the Patriots offense and language from the time he spent playing for Weis at Notre Dame. I’m sure that if Belichick hadn’t spoken to Weis prior to this week about Floyd (and Belichick wouldn’t reveal if he did on Friday morning) he has at some point so that he’s comfortable Floyd can have upside for the team despite his off-field issues.

PP: Hey, David. I'd guess it'll fall to either Julian Edelman or Patrick Chung. At this point, I'd be surprised if Cyrus Jones continued to be run out there. I think everyone would. But he had a history of ball-security issues before last week, and they continued to go to him. Did his Monday fumble finally cross the line for the Patriots, or will they take the same approach with him in Denver? I'm not expecting it, but just be prepared (physically, emotionally, etc.) to see him there again. They clearly want him to succeed in that role, and they've already given him multiple chances. What's one (or several) more if they think he just needs a boost of confidence?

PP: I think they would have by now if they felt like they could use him, Big E. Looks like they're prepared to roll with Martellus Bennett, Matt Lengel and Cameron Fleming in that role for the remainder of the year. At this point, the Patriots have plenty of receiving options in the passing game so Pettigrew would have a hard time fitting in. However, if Bennett were to miss any time down the stretch, that'd be a different story and maybe they'd give him a look. 

PP: Probably had him signed up for a full course load as early as yesterday, Boomstick. Kidding aside, Floyd is no Randy Moss. That's obvious. But he does provide the Patriots with a physical, outside-the-numbers receiver the likes of which Brady has really never played with before. Moss' skill set was so unique that the Patriots shaped their offense around him, which won't be the case with Floyd, but Floyd's uniqueness will make his fit in New England a fascinating one to track.

PP: Seems unlikely Faneto. Curran reported on Thursday that there was nothing imminent between Hester and the Patriots. Call it a tire-kicking. Hester is 34 years old and has five fumbles this season, making him not much in the way of an upgrade over Jones. 

PP: Hey, Tyler. I know on the defensive side of the ball, when new players come in, they're often only asked to learn that week's game plan and then progress on a week-to-week basis that way. Without the benefit of OTAs or training camp, there's simply not enough time to digest everything. I'd think a similar philosophy applies to the offensive side of the football, though there's verbiage and concepts there that a receiver would have to figure out before taking the field. Luckily for Floyd, he should have a head-start on understanding the playbook -- at least if you believe what his college coach has to say

PP: In 2014, the Patriots beat the Broncos in their regular-season matchup, 43-21. But you should feel better about the offensive line this year versus last year, Colin. While Scarnecchia's return is a big reason for why you should be more confident, he's only part of the equation. Credit has to be given to Marcus Cannon, Shaq Mason and David Andrews for having improved over the course of the season. The unit's health and continuity over the course of the year has been immensely important to their success as well. Nate Solder's presence on the left side after missing most of 2015 will be especially key in keeping Von Miller from becoming a game-wrecker. Those two have had their share of battles in the past, and while Miller is one of the toughest assignments in the league, New England is better suited to deal with him this year than they were last year when Solder was on the shelf and an injured Sebastian Vollmer took his place.

PP: Mr. Q, Edelman is the kind of guy who won't need much in the way of reaming-out when it comes to his hands. When it comes to fumbles, that's something the team harps on regardless of how well they're doing in that category, and Edelman understands how important ball-security is to his club's overall success. In terms of his drops, he has 9 this season on 118 targets. According to Pro Football Focus, that's a drop rate of 10.23 percent (drops relative to the number of catchable passes thrown his way), putting him sixth from the bottom among receivers who've played at least 50 percent of their team's snaps. Not where he wants to be. 

Patriots-Dolphins injury report: Cutler out for Dolphins

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Patriots-Dolphins injury report: Cutler out for Dolphins

The injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Dolphins game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

OUT
C David Andrews (illness)
OT Marcus Cannon (ankle)
WR Chris Hogan (shoulder)

DOUBTFUL
TE Martellus Bennett (shoulder/hamstring)

QUESTIONABLE
WR Danny Amendola (knee)
DT Malcom Brown (ankle)
S Patrick Chung (ankle)
CB Eric Rowe (groin)
WR Matthew Slater (hamstring)

OFF INJURY LIST
QB Tom Brady (Achilles)
TE Rob Gronkowski (illness)

MIAMI DOLPHINS

OUT
G Jermon Bushrod (foot)
DE William Hayes (back)
QB Jay Cutler (concussion)

QUESTIONABLE
T Laremy Tunsill (illness)
LB Stephone Anthony (quadriceps)
S Maurice Smith (illness)

OFF INJURY LIST
RB Senorise Perry (knee)
S Michael Thomas (knee)
DT Ndamukong Suh (not injury related)

Tom Brady: Achilles injury 'nothing to worry about'

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Tom Brady: Achilles injury 'nothing to worry about'

FOXBORO — Within 30 seconds of his Friday press conference beginning, Tom Brady was talking about biscuits. That should tell you how small a deal he considers the Achilles tendon issue that kept him out of Wednesday’s practice. 

Brady practiced for the second consecutive day Friday, after which he confirmed that he will be good to go Sunday against the Dolphins. 

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“I feel great. Ready to go, so I’ll be excited for Sunday and it feels good to get a little extra treatment,” Brady said. “I’m feeling great this time of year. It will be a fun week. Nothing to worry about.”

After that, Brady spoke about the aforementioned Thanksgiving biscuits of which he posted pictures on Instagram. He said they were good. Rob Gronkowski said he wanted some and that there would be “problems” if Brady didn’t bring any in for him. Everyone got a real kick out of it. 

It’s hard to imagine Brady’s status for Sunday actually being up in the air. He has gone 134 consecutive regular-season games without missing time due to injury. His only absence in that span came in the form of last season’s four-game suspension for Deflategate.