Patriots

Tuesday Practice Wrap: Mallett getting nod?

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Tuesday Practice Wrap: Mallett getting nod?

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO - Reading the tea leaves a little bit from Tuesday's practice, Ryan Mallett could be seeing quite a bit of time against Tampa. The rookie quarterback took nearly all the second-team reps during the Patriots morning workout. Brian Hoyer ran the scout team. Mallett, who had a very nice debut last week against the Jaguars (12 of 19 for 164 yards and a touchdown), may be making a play for something more than the third string role. The Patriots are clearly high on the rookie's promise. His size, explosive arm and early command have been eye-opening. If Mallett is creating a bigger role for himself and does challenge for the backup spot behind Tom Brady, it will be thanks to his performance rather than any shortcoming from current backup Brian Hoyer. The difference between the two is a matter of arm strength. Mallett's is rare. Hoyer's is average. If Mallett can develop similar accuracy and grow quicker with his reads, he'll be hard for Hoyer to hold off. But any leapfrogging by Mallett figures to be some time away still. This is pure conjecture but -- based on history -- Brady will likely get the start on Thursday night and play into the second quarter at least before giving way to relief. Hoyer didn't have the greatest practice. He was picked in rapid succession by safety Patrick Chung and corner Leigh Bodden. Monday's stir caused by Sergio Brown taking first-team reps next to Chung at the safety spot should be tempered some. Brandon Meriweather was back taking most of the first reps along with Chung. The recent visits from assorted free agent safeties and a sketchy camp from Meriweather has sparked speculation he's not long for New England. But, truth be told, the Patriots are currently light at the safety spot. James Sanders has been injured and hasn't practiced much at all. Meanwhile, the team still hasn't replaced Jarrad Page who left as a free agent. They need more from Meriweather, no question. But safety pairings are often mixed on this defense so the apparent elevation of Brown should be taken witha grain of salt. In the Patriots' four-man front, Andre Carter is at RDE, Vince Wilfork and Kyle Love are the tackles and Mark Anderson was the LDE. The ends are ever-changing but -- for now at least -- Wilfork and Love seem to be the tackles on first and second-down. Chad Ochocinco beat Brown like a drum on a deep post pattern. Wideout Darnell Jenkins, who appeared a little shaken up during Monday's practice, returned for the shorts and shells practice on Tuesday. So too did running back Stevan Ridley. Among those missing from the workout wereAlbert Haynesworth, Brandon Spikes (whose malady hasn't prevented him fromcontinuing to tweet barely intelligible verse throughout the day), rookie running back Shane Vereen, rookie corner Ras-I Dowling, DL Mike Wright, wideouts Julian Edelman and Taylor Price and -- for the second straight day -- defensive endLB Jermaine Cunningham. Ochocinco's optic gold and yellow cleats didn't help him on a field goal attempt near the end of practice. He missed. So too did fellow wideout Wes Welker. Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Brady enjoys 'unique experience' of road trip

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Brady enjoys 'unique experience' of road trip

While being away from home isn’t uncommon for the Patriots - just think about all those Super Bowl trips - Tom Brady believes each excursion takes on its own feel, its own flavor and - eventually - its own meaning.

Back in 2014, the Pats went from playing in Green Bay and losing to the Packers straight to San Diego for a week on the West Coast prior to a rousing victory over the Chargers. That week, many players said in the aftermath, helped propel the team to great heights,.  You’ll recall, that season ended in grand fashion, a triumph in Super Bowl 49 over Seattle, at the time - and maybe still - the greatest Super Bowl ever played.

“I think all these experiences are pretty unique,” Brady said Friday from Falcon Stadium at the Air Force Academy. “That was a very unique experience. This is different.”

Brady spoke about the number of stops the Pats have and will have to make on this trip - from Denver to Colorado Springs then on to Mexico City Saturday before a Sunday night return to Foxboro and their own beds for the first time in 10 nights.

“When you’re on the road like this, there’s less to do,” he said. “You know my family is not here, my kids aren’t here. There’s nobody telling me what I did wrong in the house. It’s just being at home and now it’s being here and trying to figure out a way to win a game.”

Brady quickly smoothed over any possible ill-will at home - why make Gisele mad? - smiling and saying “I didn’t mean that so I’ll take it back.”

Kidding aside, the 40-year old signal caller seemed pleased with the work the Patriots have put in during this long trip. A week of team-bonding can’t be a bad thing, especially for a group that seems to be hitting it’s stride both on and off the field. There’s the five wins in a row and also a locker room that has a better understanding of one another than it did during the first month of the season. But Brady is not ready to make any grand proclamations. That just wouldn’t be his style.

“I think it’s still work in progress,” he said of team chemistry. “You look at still adding a player like Marty (Bennett) last week. Things are always changing and evolving. We’re still trying to figure out what we’re doing well and after 8 or 9 weeks, you start to figure those things out. Now we have to work hard at those things, try to really own them, and use them going forward to try and win the most important games. We have a lot of important games coming up, starting with this one. Hopefully we can play our best football going forward.”

Brady said he’s been fired up for this game with the Raiders south of the border ever since the schedule was released all those months ago.

“I’ve never been to Mexico City,” he said. “It’s been a game you kind of look forward to. We’re playing against a really good football team in a pretty cool environment. It will be very memorable. I think everyone is excited.”

Patriots’ injury report: Center Andrews, WR Hogan out

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Patriots’ injury report: Center Andrews, WR Hogan out

The Patriots will be without center David Andrews on Sunday when they play the Raiders in Mexico City. Andrews, who hasn’t all practice all week with an illness, is one of four Pats listed as out on the injury report released Friday.

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Offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, who didn’t play last week against the Broncos is also out, along with wide receiver Chris Hogan and special teams captain Matthew Slater. Offensive linemen Ted Karras and Joe Thuney each took reps at center so one of them will likely start in Andrews’ absence. LaAdrian Waddle filled in for Cannon and performed well last week vs. Denver. 

Here’s the full injury report for the Patriots and Raiders: