Patriots

Dontrelle Inman could be Chris Hogan-type signing for Patriots

Dontrelle Inman could be Chris Hogan-type signing for Patriots

The Patriots have brought aboard another big body at wide receiver. Dontrelle Inman, who spent last season with the Colts, was signed to a one-year deal on Friday.

The news was first reported by Ian Rapoport. I did some checking to make sure Ian wasn’t lying. He wasn’t.

What are the Patriots potentially getting in the 30-year-old? A 6-3, 205-pounder who was at his best for the Chargers in 2016 when he had 58 catches for 810 yards and four scores.

After getting boxed out on the Chargers depth chart in 2017 by Tyrell Williams, Travis Benjamin and rookie Mike Williams, Inman was traded to the receiver-needy Bears in October of that year. He languished with Mitch Trubisky as his quarterback during the tail end of Trubisky’s rookie year. He wound up with 25 catches in eight games for the Bears.

Inman spent 2018 in Indianapolis and was pretty productive on a per-game basis with 28 catches (on 39 targets) in nine games.

Inman isn’t blazing fast and he’s not exceptionally strong (he had 11 reps on the bench at his Pro Day when he came out of Virginia in 2010).

Back in 2017, this was the detailed scouting report an AFC West scout gave Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune when the Bears acquired him:

“Good size,” the scout said. “He was hurt in training camp so he didn’t do much at all this year. Solid. Reliable. Dependable. He’s realistically a fourth (wide receiver), a teams guy. But considering their depth, gosh he’s better than (Josh) Bellamy. He’s better than better Tre (McBride). Kendall Wright is obviously more talented but it’s a trade that works for both ends in an ideal world. His reps were declining even more with Mike Williams coming back in the mix now. Travis Benjamin making some plays.

“He’s not going to wow you. In an ideal world, like I said, he’s probably a fourth. In their situation, he’s going to climb up the chart. I like the (Tanner) Gentry kid. I think they need to keep that guy. Off the preseason tape, I thought there was some stuff to him. It takes time. They’ve got a young quarterback and they need to find a guy for him to develop a relationship with. We’ll see. They’re hurting so bad. I don’t know what the market looks like on teams’ practice squads right now. So the trade works for both.”

Inman also played in the CFL and won a Grey Cup with the Toronto Argonauts. So he’s well-traveled, well thought-of and versatile. Realistically, he could be a Chris Hogan-level player for the Patriots, which is to say useful at times but not jaw-dropping.

With the addition of N’Keal Harry during the draft and the release of Bruce Ellington earlier in the week, the Patriots receiver corps is Julian Edelman, Phillip Dorsett, Demaryius Thomas, Maurice Harris, Harry and Inman. Second-year player Braxton Berrios, rookies Jakobi Myers, Xavier Ubosi, Damoun Patterson and Ryan Davis round out the other hopefuls. Suspended wideout Josh Gordon may also be in the mix at some point but that figures to be a very involved process.

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Stephon Gilmore aptly captures Bill Belichick's insane attention to detail

Stephon Gilmore aptly captures Bill Belichick's insane attention to detail

Those best equipped to describe Bill Belichick's football genius are the players he shares that genius with.

Take it from Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who's developed into one of the best defensive backs in the league since coming to New England in 2016.

In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated's Conor Orr, Gilmore recalled a detail Belichick shared with him prior to a 2018 game that may go overlooked on other coaching staffs.

"He said, ‘When the ball is traveling in this certain direction, the wind is blowing hard enough where you should probably trail the receiver just a little bit because the ball isn’t going that deep,' " Gilmore told Orr.

"I mean, nobody looks at those kinds of things. It’s the little things like that. You listen to him."

Gilmore seemingly reaped the benefits of Belichick's extra insight, too. As Orr points out, both of Gilmore's interceptions in 2018 came in outdoor stadiums -- Week 1 vs. Houston Texans, Week 11 at New York Jets -- on underthrown deep balls. (You can see them at the 0:01 and 6:17 marks of the video below).

 

Gilmore's anecdote shouldn't surprise you: Belichick is famous for leaving no stone unturned and makes a habit of surveying the field several hours before a game to gauge everything from wind speed to field conditions to the position of the sun.

But every once in a while, a player like Gilmore gives us a reminder that Belichick's relentless preparation hasn't changed as he enters his 20th season as Patriots head coach.

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How Eagles' Brandon Graham uses Tom Brady to cheer himself up on bad days

How Eagles' Brandon Graham uses Tom Brady to cheer himself up on bad days

If you're in a bad mood, it helps to recall happier times.

It just so happens that one of Brandon Graham's happiest moments came at the expense of the New England Patriots.

The Eagles defensive end famously recorded a strip sack on Tom Brady with 2:21 remaining in Super Bowl LII, a crucial play that thwarted New England's comeback attempt and helped Philadelphia score a 41-33 upset.

According to NBC Sports' Peter King, Graham relives that play quite often. From King's "Football Morning in America" column Monday:

Graham told me he has a video of him strip-sacking Tom Brady in the biggest moment of Super Bowl (LII) on his phone, and when he’s having a bad day, he’ll watch it.

Brady and the Patriots probably never want to see that play again. But they found a different way of cheering themselves up by rebounding to win Super Bowl LIII the following year, as Brady now has shining moments from six Super Bowl titles to look back on should he ever need a pick-me-up.

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