FOXBORO -- After being benched for all but 16 snaps in the fourth quarter during a Week 16 win over the Jets, Malcom Brown responded with a strong week of practice.
The Patriots announced on Wednesday that Brown was one of eight practice players of the week for Week 17. Joining Brown were rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett, rookie running back DJ Foster, defensive lineman Geneo Grissom, fullback Glenn Gronkowski, tight end Matt Lengel, rookie linebacker Elandon Roberts and offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle.
Brown did not start in New England's second-to-last game of the regular season against the Jets, giving way to rookie Vincent Valentine, who saw a season-high 41 plays in the victory. Brown also came off the bench against the Dolphins on New Year's Day, but he was effective in 37 plays and out-snapped Valentine (20 plays).
Brissett has been working as the scout-team quarterback since his return off of injured reserve, but his recent contributions have extended beyond the practice field. He was praised by receiver Michael Floyd for helping tutor Floyd in the ways of the Patriots offense, and their work together sees to have paid off. Floyd caught three passes for 36 yards, including one touchdown in Miami. Floyd also made several positive plays as a blocker, and his bone-jarring hit on Dolphins defensive back Tony Lippett stood out as one of the highlights of the afternoon.
In an audio recording obtained by the New York Times of the contentious October meeting between NFL owners and players over protests during the national anthem, Patriots owner - and friend of President Trump - Robert Kraft blasted Trump.
“The problem we have is, we have a president who will use that as fodder to do his mission that I don’t feel is in the best interests of America,” the Times quotes Kraft as saying. “It’s divisive and it’s horrible.”
Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie cautioned the players not to be baited by Trump, who earlier in the fall had called NFL players sons of bitches for kneeling during the anthem before games. Lurie called the Trump presidency "disastrous."
"We've got to be careful not to be baited by Trump or whoever else," Lurie said.
Many of the players told the owners that ex-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who initiated the kneeling protest, was being blackballed by the owners.
"We all agree in this room that he should be on a roster," said former Patriots linebacker Chris Long, who recently retired after winning a Super Bowl with the Eagles.
The Patriots-picking-Lamar-Jackson rumors Thursday night in the first-round of the draft are bound to heat up in the next 24 hours after a report by Jenny Vrentas of Sports Illustrated's MMQB that the Louisville quarterback had a second workout for the Pats - this one a private session in South Florida for offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
Jackson, the Heisman Trophy winner in 2016, previously made a visit to Foxboro, where he even got a laugh out of Bill Belichick.
The Patriots, with picks No. 23 and 31 in the first round, would likely have to trade up to get Jackson, whose mobility is one of his key assets. Our Phil Perry has him going 15th to the Arizona Cardinals in his latest mock draft.
Speaking at the site of the draft in Dallas on Wednesday, Jackson, via NFL.com's Jeremy Bergman, sounded excited at the prospect of New England trading up to get him and he's sticking by his mother as his manager.
Jackson already has kind of an endorsement from Brady via Instagram earlier this month. And click here for our Mike Giardi on Jackson from our "Next Heir Up" series on possible Pats future QBs.