Game notes: Patriots vs. Browns


Game notes: Patriots vs. Browns

A quick look at the information you need to know about today's Patriots-Browns game:

TEAM RECORDS: Patriots 3-1, Browns 0-4



TV ANNOUNCERS: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green and Jamie Erdahl



LOCAL RADIO NETWORK: Anchored by WBZ-FM (98.5 The Sports Hub)

LOCAL RADIO ANNOUNCERS: Bob Socci and Scott Zolak

ALL-TIME SERIES BETWEEN THE TEAMS: Patriots lead, 6-2 (total does not include games against old Cleveland Browns franchise, now the Baltimore Ravens)

LAST MEETING: Patriots 27, Browns 26 on Dec. 8, 2013 at Gillette Stadium

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-- Since 2003, the Patriots are 40-6 (.869) following a loss.

-- This is the first of three straight games the Patriots will play against AFC North opponents. They will host the Bengals on Oct. 16 and play at Pittsburgh on Oct. 23.

-- The Patriots are 4-8 overall in games played in Cleveland. They are 2-2 in games at FirstEnergy Stadium, all of which were played against the current Browns franchise. They were 2-6 in Cleveland against the current Ravens franchise.

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-- If Tom Brady plays today, he will become the franchise leader in seasons played with the team. This will be the beginning of his 17th season, breaking the record of 16 he shares with Steve Grogan (1975-90).

-- If Brady plays today, he will tie the NFL record for most seasons by a quarterback with one team. The record, 17, is held jointly by John Brodie (49ers) and Dan Marino (Dolphins).

-- Bill Belichick has 226 regular-season career wins as a head coach and is tied with Curly Lambeau for fourth place on the all-time NFL list. One more victory moves him into sole possession of fourth place, with Tom Landry (250) ahead of him in third. The coach with the most regular-season wins is Don Shula (328), followed by George Halas (318).

-- Rob Gronkowski has 66 overall touchdowns and needs two to tie Stanley Morgan (68) for the franchise record.

-- Gronkowski has 65 receiving touchdowns and needs two to tie Morgan (67) for the franchise record.

-- Gronkowski has 5,566 receiving yards and needs 160 to tie Irving Fryar for fourth place on the franchise's all-time receiving yardage list.

Reports: Patriots among NFL teams taking a look at Manziel

File photo

Reports: Patriots among NFL teams taking a look at Manziel

Johnny Manziel said 10 days ago, "I'd go to New England in a heartbeat," when asked about the Patriots as a potential landing spot.

That seemed like wishful thinking at the time, but they're taking a look at him...along with 12 other NFL teams, according to ESPN's Eric Williams. 

Tom Brady's current backup Brian Hoyer is, like Manziel, an ex-Cleveland Browns quarterback. Manziel would again be competing with Hoyer for the Pats' No. 2 job should New England take a chance on "Johnny Football", the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner from Texas A&M, who's been out of football the past two years because of substance abuse and emotional problems.

FOX Sports' Bruce Feldman had it at 12 teams watching Manziel work out at the University of San Diego and said the Patriots gave Manziel a weigh-in.


Patriots re-sign offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle

Patriots re-sign offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle

The Patriots have agreed to re-sign offensive lineman LaAdrian Waddle, his agent Scott Casterline confirmed on Twitter.  Waddle hit unrestricted free agency when the new league year began and made a visit to the Cowboys earlier this week. In the end, though, he chose to return to the team that claimed him off of waivers at the end of the 2015 season.

Waddle, who turns 27 in July, appeared in 12 games last season for the Patriots. He was the first right tackle the Patriots turned to when Marcus Cannon suffered an ankle injury mid-season against the Chargers. He ended up playing 51 snaps against the likes of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram without allowing a sack. He then started the next three games against the Broncos, Raiders and Dolphins and held star rushers Von Miller, Khalil Mack and Cameron Wake -- all of whom rush primarily off of the offensive right -- without a sack. 

Injuries forced Waddle (380 snaps on the season) to split the right tackle position with Cameron Fleming (543 snaps), but he was the primary backup when healthy. Waddle started the Divisional Round playoff game against the Titans but suffered a knee injury and was removed for Fleming. 

Both Fleming and Waddle visited the Cowboys this week, and the fact that Waddle has re-signed with the Patriots may impact Fleming's decision moving forward. 

The Patriots went to great lengths to build tackle depth last season, and adding Waddle to the roster helps them retain some of that depth after losing their left tackle, Nate Solder, to the Giants via free agency. Waddle could be an option on the left side, but the vast majority of his work since entering the league as an undrafted rookie in 2013 has been on the right side. 

The Patriots now have Fleming, Marcus Cannon, Cole Croston, Tony Garcia and Andrew Jelks on their depth chart at tackle. Croston, Garcia and Jelks are all headed into their second years as pros. Croston remained on the 53-man roster all season -- an indication that the Patriots liked him enough not to expose him to the waiver system -- but did not see meaningful snaps. Garcia and Jelks both missed the entirety of the 2017 season on reserve lists. 

Once the Patriots lost Solder to the Giants, it seemed to be of paramount importance that the Patriots re-sign either Waddle or Fleming. Behind Cannon, there were simply too many question marks not to have one return. The Patriots could opt to draft a tackle, but this is considered an average year at that position in that there are few ready-made NFL players and several developmental types.

Before the Super Bowl last season, I asked offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia how the team was able to manage offensively with backups at right tackle for much of the season. 

"It's not like [Fleming and Waddle are] not good players," Scarnecchia said. "They are good players. Their skill set seemed to fit that position pretty well. They have the traits that we covet. And they're both really smart guys, very willing learners, and they're both driven to be good and they want to play good. And I think all those things have manifested themselves when they've been out there playing. And we've been very, very pleased with what they've done for us this year, essentially splitting that position."

Asked about the aspects of the game the Patriots worked on with both Waddle and Fleming last year, Scarnecchia said, "For us it transcends everything. Obviously run-blocking and pass-blocking. They're both good at those things. Are they great at those things? No. But they've been able to steadily improve over the last two years to the point where we put them out there and no one's worried. And it's been that way the whole season after Marcus got hurt. Yeah they've done a nice job for us."