Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola say they'll play Sunday vs. Texans


Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola say they'll play Sunday vs. Texans

FOXBORO -- Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola didn’t need to say much at Gillette Stadium Friday. As long as they said the three magic words, Pats fans would be content. 

“Good to go,” Amendola, who missed last week’s win over the Saints with a concussion and knee injury, said at his locker. 

Amendola’s confirmation that he’d play came shortly after Rob Gronkowski, who left the Saints game with a groin injury, said the same. 

“Am I good to go? Yeah, I’m good to go,” he said. “I’m ready.”

The return of both players comes at a time when Tom Brady may be without another one of his weapons. Rex Burkhead, who has 67 total yards through two games and had a receiving touchdown in New Orleans, was once again absent from Friday’s practice with a rib injury. 

Gronkowski will have his work cut out for him against the Texans. Through two games, Houston has allowed just four receptions to tight ends — second-fewest in the league behind only the Bengals — for 60 yards and no touchdowns. 

Patriots win at same rate vs. rest of NFL as they do vs. AFC East

File photo

Patriots win at same rate vs. rest of NFL as they do vs. AFC East

In his Football Morning in America column, Peter King shined a light on how much better the Patriots have been since 2003 compared to the rest of the AFC East. 

As King points out, the Patriots have gone 189-51 (.788 winning percentage) since 2003 while the Jets, Dolphins and Bills have won 109, 106 and 102 games, respectively, and have winning percentages of .454, .442 and .425.

King’s conclusion that the Patriots have been a crapton better than their divisional opponents for a 15 seasons is spot-on even if it isn’t a revelation.

But be careful of taking the next step and inferring that the Patriots have built that gaudy winning percentage because they’ve fattened up on the AFC East.


Because the Patriots have won at almost the exact same rate against the rest of the NFL as they have against their division.

The Patriots are 71-19 since 2003 in the AFC East. That’s a .788 winning percentage. Outside the division, they are 118-32 (.786).

King goes on to add that, when the league realigned in 2002, it would have been so much more competitive if the Colts remained in the AFC East instead of shipping to the AFC South.

He’s right but only to a point. Since 2001, the Patriots are 14-5 against the Colts (.736). Throwing out the last six games since 2011 that Peyton Manning wasn’t there for, the Patriots were 8-5 (.615) against Indy (8-4 if you throw out the 2008 game when Matt Cassel started for New England).

The reason it’s important to give the full context of the Patriots domination inside their division and out is because the past 20 years have been a historic run. Historic runs deserve accurate historic perspective.

And too often -- particularly around here -- you get inch-deep analysis branding the AFC East as a parade of Tomato Canzzzzz the Patriots knock down like ducks in a shooting gallery when the truth is, the whole damn league’s been ducks in a shooting gallery for them since 2003.

Anticipating the reaction of “Butbutbut . . . J.P. Losman! Cleo Lemon! Geno Smith!”, the reality is the league is loaded with bum quarterbacks and slow-twitch head coaches. It’s not an AFC East thing.


Most intense position battle: Wideouts to go at it

Most intense position battle: Wideouts to go at it

Third in our series looking ahead to the opening of Patriots training camp July 26.

Figure the Patriots will keep five wideouts (not including special teams ace Matthew Slater) when they enter into Week 1 of the regular season. Even with Julian Edelman scheduled to serve a four-game suspension to start the year, even with that slot opening up the potential for a receiver on the bubble to make the club, this figures to be one of the most competitive positions in camp. 



Chris Hogan will be relied upon thanks to his experience and versatility. And figure Cordarrelle Patterson has a place on the roster as the entire league ventures into a post-kickoff rules change world. 


After that? Hard to say. 


COUNTDOWN TO CAMP - Gimme s'more: New additions to keep an eye on


Jordan Matthews should have the inside track on a role for an offense that will likely be looking for some help on the inside. He's the most experienced slot receiver on the roster after Edelman, but Braxton Berrios and Riley McCarron could make a run themselves -- particularly if the punt-return work is up for grabs and they snatch it. 


On the outside, the competition is tougher. There may not be room for Kenny Britt, Phillip Dorsett and Malcolm Mitchell on the same roster even though their skill sets differ. Britt has the size and athleticism to make good on the potential he showed as a first-round pick in 2009. Will being paired with Tom Brady help him finally break through consistently? Dorsett's size and speed may make him the closest thing on the roster to Brandin Cooks. Do the Patriots feel there's room for him to grow now that he's back for Year 2? For Mitchell, the question is always the same: Will he be healthy?



How those three questions are answered could determine who has a place in New England and who doesn't. The way their contracts are structured, none of them are locks. It'll come down to how they look during what Bill Belichick annually refers to as a "competition camp." Spring practices were for learning. Now it's time to go.