Patriots

Hardworking, tough, professional: Guy has earned Belichick's respect

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Hardworking, tough, professional: Guy has earned Belichick's respect

FOXBORO -- Lawrence Guy doesn't have quite the same frame as someone like Alan Branch or Malcom Brown, but the Patriots clearly don't mind using him at some of the same spots where those players typically hunker down.

At 6-foot-4, 305 pounds, Guy is large enough to fill your standard door frame. But in the modern NFL -- and particularly in the Patriots defense -- players who play on the interior in running situations tend to run at least 15-20 pounds heavier. Brown is listed at 320 pounds. Branch, whose size is rare even for professional football, checks in at 350. 

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But with good length and power, and with the savvy to be able to play multiple spots in Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia's front, Guy has been the team's most durable and consistent interior defensive lineman this season. He's at his best as a five-technique, but he's kicked inside and even spent some time at nose tackle against the Chargers in Week 8.

Color Belichick impressed.

"Lawrence is out there every day," Belichick said on Wednesday. "He's a hardworking guy, he's tough, very professional, comes to work every day, works hard, wants to know what you want him to do and tries to do it the best that he can and works very hard at it."

The former Ravens lineman has played in 55 percent of Patriots snaps this season, which would be a career-high percentage-wise for him. In five seasons in Baltimore, Guy, 27, never cracked the 50-percent mark. His 294 total snaps are most among Patriots interior linemen, ahead of Brown (278), Branch (152) and Vincent Valentine (injured reserve). 

If Brown continues to miss time with an ankle injury he suffered in Week 7 against the Falcons -- he did not play against the Chargers and he missed Wednesday's practice -- Guy will be one of the players the Patriots continue to count on inside. The Patriots signed Ricky Jean-Francois this week in order to help supplement what they have on the interior, but Guy's dependability has clearly earned him a sizable weekly role.

"I have a lot of respect for him and the way he's approached everything all year -- new team, new situation, but he's embraced it and has really given us a great effort every single day," Belichick said of Guy. "Not just on Sunday, but every day he's come in and done everything he can do to be a better player to try to help the team."

Decker may get benefit of the doubt early on as he transitions to Patriots offense

Decker may get benefit of the doubt early on as he transitions to Patriots offense

FOXBORO -- It's been well-documented. Eric Decker had a rough early portion of practice on Monday. He dropped a pass in one-on-ones. He dropped two more in a side session with Tom Brady. 

He wasn't thrilled with himself. He punched his own helmet. He hung his head briefly. 

During the session, in response to a tweet from NESN's Doug Kyed, former NFL receiver Andrew Hawkins (who had a brief stay with the Patriots last year) tried to shed some light on what exactly Decker is going through at the moment as the new guy in town. 

Some players never fully grasp what they're being told and never get the chance to play at full speed. Decker, who has some background in the offense thanks to his time under Josh McDaniels in Denver, says he's getting close. But Monday's start was a sign he was still a ways off.

Bill Belichick said on Tuesday that it's his job to properly assess the mistakes made by a player in transition.

"I think you always have to account for the transition of a player who joins your team at some point during the season, training camp, midseason, whatever it is," he explained. "I don't think there's any set formula on that. Just evaluate it, engage it. The more time you have, the easier it is to make the right decision."

Decker finished Monday with a handful of catches in the 11-on-11 period, including one deep down the sideline with corner Jonathan Jones on him tight. That sort of bounce-back didn't surprise Decker, but both he and the team know that there's only a limited number of opportunities for him left before they have to make a decision as to whether or not he deserves a roster spot. 

"The more you know about the player and his fit on the team, his role, so forth, how well he can do, sometimes that takes time," Belichick said. "We only have the time we have. Whatever it is, it is. Just have to make the most of it. [We] would like to have more in all situations, but that's not always possible. Sometimes you have to make a decision with less information than you'd like to have."

The subject of Decker came up when Brady met the media at camp later Tuesday.

"I've watched him play a lot of football over the years," Brady said. "He's always been on great offenses. He's got to use his skill set, the one he's learned and used for a long time. He knows how to get open. Now, it's just about learning about what we do and how we do it. 

"He's worked hard. He's been out here every day. You can tell he's a real pro and hopefully, he can add something to the group." 

Decker should be able to provide the Patriots with more information on Thursday night against the Eagles. He played just six snaps against Washington last week but could be in line for more in preseason game No. 2. That may mean more reps with Brady. The quarterback told reporters at camp Tuesday that he plans to play in that game.

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Eagle fan continues trolling Patriots with billboard near Gillette

Eagle fan continues trolling Patriots with billboard near Gillette

It's been over six months since the Patriots and Eagles squared off in Super Bowl LII, but fans on their way to Gillette Stadium for the teams' week two preseason matchup will have trouble getting the memory out of their heads.

According to Sports Illustrated, Eagles fan Gina Lewis, who lives in Massachusetts, placed a bet with her coworker over the amount of traction one of her tweets could get. The reward for surpassing her mark? A billboard outside Gillette Stadium reminding Patriots fans of their defeat at the hands of Nick Foles and the Eagles.

After launching a GoFundMe page to pay for the billboard, Lewis had a Philadelphia-based artist named Jordan Spector design it, which is now up at the intersection of Route 1 and North Street.

While the billboard will surely draw the ire of New England fans, it's hard to be too mad knowing that five is greater than one.