Patriots

A birthday shoutout to a former Patriots tight end, No. 87...no, not THAT one

A birthday shoutout to a former Patriots tight end, No. 87...no, not THAT one

Before there was Gronk, there was another No. 87 Patriots tight end who was a five-time Pro Bowler, two-time first-team All-Pro and, at times, was considered nearly as unstoppable.

Happy 50th birthday, Ben Coates!

A fifth-round pick of the Pats in 1991 from then-Division II Livingstone College in North Carolina, Coates blossomed when Bill Parcells and Drew Bledsoe arrived in New England and he became Bledsoe's go-to target in Parcells' tight-end heavy offense.

His 96 catches in 1994 were a record for a tight end at the time. He's third on the Patriots all-time list in touchdown catches with 50, behind Stanley Morgan (67) and Rob Gronkowski (79), sixth all-time in Patriots history for both catches (490) and yards (5,471) and second all-time for Pats tight ends to Gronk's 521 catches for 7,861.

The birthday tweet and video serve as a reminder that the 6-foot-5, 245 Coates was a force for the pre-dynasty Pats.

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K.J. Hill's recap of meeting with Patriots included interesting coaching nugget

K.J. Hill's recap of meeting with Patriots included interesting coaching nugget

It's sometimes interesting to hear what players talk about when they meet with teams at the NFL Scouting Combine.

In K.J. Hill's case, what's interesting was who he talked to.

The Ohio State wide receiver prospect recently met with the Patriots and apparently had a productive conversation with the team.

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"It went well," Hill said, via NESN.com's Zack Cox. "Mainly, we were talking about plays. I did a lot of similar things [to] their offense, and they were just trying to pick my brain about what we did. And come to find out, it was mostly the same plays.

" …[We talked about] motioning, seeing if it was man or zone, using option routes — definitely what (Julian) Edelman was doing. I was talking to the receivers coach about that."

According to our Phil Perry, the "receivers coach" Hill referred to was Troy Brown, who's not listed on New England's coaching staff but helped the Patriots' wide receivers in an unofficial capacity last season.

New England has been without a wide receivers coach since Joe Judge took the New York Giants' head coach job, but if Brown is interviewing receiver prospects at the NFL Combine (who think he's the team's receivers coach), does that mean he's in line to succeed Judge?

That's speculation, but Brown seems well-suited for the role. The three-time Super Bowl champion -- who spent his entire 15-year playing career in New England -- was a presence at Patriots training camp last year and worked closely with rookie wideout N'Keal Harry.

Recently-hired assistant Jedd Fisch (whose role is still unclear) also could be a candidate for Patriots wide receivers coach: He worked with the Denver Broncos' wide receivers in 2008 and the Michigan Wolverines' receivers in 2015 and 2016 and most recently served as the Los Angeles Rams' assistant offensive coordinator.

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LSU tight end admits to being 'kinda scared' in meeting with Patriots

LSU tight end admits to being 'kinda scared' in meeting with Patriots

The New England Patriots don't fool around.

They are all about winning and will work harder than anyone else to make sure those objectives are met. These elite levels of dedication and preparation are among the reasons why the Patriots have enjoiyed an unprecedented run of success for the last 20 years, which includes six Super Bowl championships.

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This worth ethic was not lost on LSU tight end Stephen Sullivan, who admitted to being "kinda scared" meeting with the Patriots at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis this week.

Tight end is among the primary needs for the Patriots, and Sullivan is one of the top 10 players at the position in this draft class. 

Sullivan tallied 12 receptions for 130 yards in six games for the undefeated and national champion Tigers last season. He also impressed at the combine by running the second-fastest 40 time of all the tight ends. 

Sullivan's speed and size (6-foot-5 and 248 pounds) make him an intriguing target for teams in need of a tight end. He's likely to be drafted on Day 3, which is when rounds four through seven take place.

He's not the only tight end who the Patriots made an impression on this week. Vanderbilt tight end Jared Pinkney revealed the Patriots said one of his answers in an interview with the team was a "loser's mentality."

Whether it's Sullivan, Pinkney or someone else, it wouldn't be surprising if the Patriots select at least one tight end in April's draft. They need much better offensive production from their tight ends than what they received in the 2019 season.

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