Patriots

Brady gets hit, but hits back in leading Patriots over Dolphins

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Brady gets hit, but hits back in leading Patriots over Dolphins

FOXBORO -- Here are five quick-hitting thoughts from the Patriots' 35-17 victory over the Dolphins Sunday:

PATRIOTS 35, DOLPHINS 17

1) The Dolphins defensive line got to Tom Brady enough in the first half that the threat of another blow may have helped force Brady into his third interception of the season. Ndamukong Suh got Brady on New England's second drive. Cameron Wake got him hip-to-hip in the second quarter, and later on the same drive Charles Harris got his lick in after getting to Brady unblocked. Late in the second quarter, Kiko Alonso got to Brady. Two plays later, Brady was picked by Bobby McCain when Brady wasn't able to step into his throw. Brady was hit seven times, four of which came courtesy of Wake. Despite the pounding, he threw for four touchdowns, including a quasi-handoff to Brandin Cooks in the fourth quarter. 

"They got some good shots on me," Brady acknowledged after the game.

2) For the second straight week, the Patriots defense got a key turnover deep in their own territory. Last week it was Marquis Flowers punching the football loose when Seth Roberts got careless near the goal line. This week it was Stephon Gilmore in the end zone, intercepting a Matt Moore floater intended for DeVante Parker. Gilmore was targeted just three times in the game and allowed one catch for five yards. 

3) Nate Ebner left the game in the first quarter with a knee injury and he was quickly ruled out for the remainder of the game. If he's forced to miss time moving forward, as it seems he will, the Patriots will have a significant void on their special-teams units. Ebner is widely regarded as one of the best in the business when it comes to his work in the kicking game. On the punt team, he serves as the personal protector, which is where he was just before he was injured. Fielding the direct snap from Joe Cardona, he ran around the right edge for a first down but was injured before he fell out of bounds. Jordan Richards replaced him as the personal protector. 

4) Dion Lewis continued to run effectively as the team's primary back, picking up a career-high 112 yards on 15 carries. He showed his typical blend of elusiveness near the line of scrimmage, and then once getting into the secondary, he finished strong, running through arm tackles. Mike Gillislee was a healthy scratch yet again in this one, and if Lewis remains healthy and continues to run this well, it may be hard for Gillislee to get back in. 

5) Ebner was the only injury the Patriots suffered on the day. Trey Flowers left the game in the third quarter with a rib injury. LaAdrian Waddle injured his ankle in the fourth and left the game. Trevor Reilly left the game after a violent collision on a kickoff, and Kyle Van Noy came out with a leg injury after recording a sack in the fourth quarter. The Patriots training staff had its hands full. 

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Ex-Patriot Chris Long rips NFL's new National Anthem policy

Ex-Patriot Chris Long rips NFL's new National Anthem policy

On Wednesday, the NFL announced a new policy on players protesting during the National Anthem.

The new policy permits players to stay in the locker room while the anthem plays, but requires them to stand if they come on to the field.

Former Patriots defensive end Chris Long, now with the Eagles, shared his thoughts on the controversial change via Twitter:

His teammate, Malcolm Jenkins, ripped the new policy on Twitter as well.

Devin and Jason McCourty showed their support for Long and Jenkins' statements by reposting them on their Twitter account:

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Source: Tom Brady not at TB12 while teammates next door at OTAs

Source: Tom Brady not at TB12 while teammates next door at OTAs

A source confirms that Tom Brady was not working out at his TB12 sports medicine facility at Patriot Place in Foxboro while his teammates were on the field at OTAs as was previously reported by the Boston Herald.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski, the other notable absence from OTAs, has been at the TB12 facility on the days his teammates were on the field practicing and wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell, who participated in the first day of OTAs, has also been at TB12, according to the source.

The Herald's Karen Guregian reported on Tuesday that both Brady and Gronkowski were at TB12 on Monday, which is right next to Gillette Stadium, where the Patriots were practicing. 

Former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak of 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Zolak and Bertrand" show said Brady likely wasn't even in the country this week.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft said Wednesday that Brady and Gronk are expected to participate in the mandatory mini-camp at Gillette June 5-7.

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