Patriots down three starters to start Wednesday's practice


Patriots down three starters to start Wednesday's practice

FOXBORO -- The Patriots took the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium on Wednesday without three starters.

Marcus Cannon, Chris Hogan and Malcom Brown were all missing from the start of the workout, which was the team's second of the week. Cannon has an ankle injury, which he aggravated against the Chargers in Week 8. Hogan is dealing with a shoulder issue that occurred at the end of the win over the Chargers two weeks ago. Brown has an ankle ailment, and he has not practiced since suffering the injury in the second half against the Falcons in Week 7. 


How would the Patriots fill in if they were to be without any of those three for this weekend's game in Denver?

* LaAdrian Waddle would likely be the choice to play right tackle should Cannon miss time. He subbed in for Cannon against the Chargers and performed admirably, according to offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia. Waddle and Cameron Fleming are the team's two swing tackles, but Waddle has earned the nod over Fleming most recently. 

* If Hogan can't play, that could mean more work for Phillip Dorsett. The former Colts wideout has drawn solid reviews from both Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels this week, and because the Patriots lean so heavily on their 11-personnel packages that could mean Dorsett finds himself heavily involved as the team's No. 3 receiver. 

* Brown missed the win over Los Angeles, leaving more work on the interior of the defensive line for Lawrence Guy and Alan Branch. The Patriots recently signed Ricky Jean-Francois to their active roster, and he could provide some interior presence for Belichick and Matt Patricia moving forward.

Report: Bortles receives 3 year, $54m contract extension

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Report: Bortles receives 3 year, $54m contract extension

The Jaguars had plenty of talent last season, especially on defense.

But question marks remained due to some of their offensive players.

Could Blake Bortles play well enough to support the strong play of the Jacksonville defense?

He delivered this past season and helped bring the team to the AFC Championship. 

Now he will be in Jacksonville for several years to come.

According to a report from NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport, Bortles and the Jags have agreed to a new 3-year contract worth $54m. 

Adam Schefter of ESPN confirmed the extension, adding that Bortles can earn up to $66.5m with incentives. The contract includes $26.5m guaranteed. 


Anyone care to interpret this Rob Gronkowski tweet?

Anyone care to interpret this Rob Gronkowski tweet?

As he contemplates retirement to either become a wrestler or an action movie hero, Rob Gronkowski appears to be contemplating more than that.

OK, that's great. So, are you coming back to catch to touchdown passes from Tom Brady or not? 

Not quite as easy to translate as Gronk's famous "pay cut" tweet from spring 2016, is it?

The tweet doesn't shed much light on it and whether the retirement talk is for real or a "contract ploy", the Gronk question looms over the Patriots' offseason as much as the Malcolm Butler mystery. It's actually more impactful since Butler's days in Foxboro are over. Are Gronk's?

As NBC Sports Boston Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran put it this week: 

They can’t just sit with their hands folded in their laps and wait until Gronk gets around to deciding. They need to know is he in or is he out? Or if he’s completely ambivalent, at which point, would trading him be a horrific idea?

"...your destiny will be not just be reached, it will just be starting." Hmmm.