Patriots

Michael Bennett on what led to Patriots suspension: 'It's America, you can voice your opinion'

Michael Bennett on what led to Patriots suspension: 'It's America, you can voice your opinion'

FOXBORO — Michael Bennett returned to the Patriots locker room this week after serving his team-imposed one-week suspension. The time off didn't seem to do much for his peace of mind.

"I didn't take away nothing," Bennett said when asked if he'd taken anything away from the incident that got him a week of unpaid leave. "I got suspended. Lost money. What am I supposed to take away from that? I mean it's no love lost. It's just how it is."

Bennett released a statement on Oct. 15 that said, "On Friday, I had a philosophical disagreement with my position coach that has led to my suspension. I apologize to my teammates for any distraction this may have caused.”

That Friday would've been the day after the Patriots beat the Giants at Gillette Stadium. Bennett played three first-half snaps and only four snaps total before a 35-14 Patriots win was in hand. Bret Bielema, Patriots defensive line coach, would've met with players the following day, which is when Bennett said their disagreement occurred. 

Bennett was asked Wednesday if he's been put in situations by the Patriots that he wasn't put in as a member of the Eagles or Seahawks in recent years. 

"What do you think," he asked? CLNS Media's Evan Lazar said he thought that was the case. "Well then you answered your question."

It's pretty clear that Bennett has been asked to take on a different role within the Patriots defense than the ones he occupied previously in his career. The schemes in Seattle and Philadelphia encourage more one-on-one play and more freelancing, according to one league source. The Patriots, meanwhile, stress the importance of synchronized plans up front in both running game and pass-rush situations. 

Not only is the style of defense something Bennett has had to adapt to, but his individual role has also changed significantly. We took a close look at how Bennett has been used week-to-week, and what we found — beyond his decreasing snap counts — was fascinating. 

Bennett played more than 70 percent of his plays on the edge for the Eagles in 2018. This year, he's been used as an interior player — over opposing offensive tackles, guards and centers — over 70 percent of the time. His last nine snaps against the Giants, with the game in hand, were his first of the season as a wide 9-technique end playing outside of tight ends.

The Oct. 29 NFL trade deadline is looming, and the Patriots could be looking to deal Bennett after trading for him this offseason and then giving him a raise before training camp. Asked if he'd like to be traded, Bennett deflected.

"It's up to them," he said. "It's up to the team, how they feel about it. I like playing here."

But asked moments earlier if he was happy in New England, he said, "It is what it is."

Bennett didn't shed much light on his disagreement with Bielema, but he did say, "I don't know, you gotta ask them," when asked if he felt like he was on good terms with the coaching staff. 

"I mean, it's America," he said. "You can voice your opinion about how you feel about certain situations. That's what I did."

Earlier on Wednesday morning, Bill Belichick was asked if he'd moved on from Bennett's suspension and was ready for a fresh start. 

"Yeah. We're on to this week," Belichick said. "We've moved past a lot of things this year. We're on to the Browns."

But will Bennett be moving onto the Browns game Sunday with his team? Still, after a week away, Bennett clearly wasn't thrilled about his situation with the team. 

"Be myself," Bennett said of his mindset moving forward. "Can't really bite your tongue. Nobody else bites their tongue around the league. Everybody says how they feel. Just say how I feel and move on from it. We're just all human. We all go through our own situations. You can have conversations and move on from it. That's how I feel about it."

Has it been hard to be himself, he was asked? 

"It's not hard to be yourself," he said. "I mean, Playing is always one thing. Not playing is always another thing."

Bennett said he is expecting to play Sunday, but given the way his workload has been trending — and given how well the Patriots defense has performed without him — it could be another disappointing weekend for him on the snap-count front. 

Unless he somehow ends up on another roster in need of a pass-rusher between now and then. 

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LeBron James compares himself to Tom Brady: We'll play 'until we can't walk no more'

LeBron James compares himself to Tom Brady: We'll play 'until we can't walk no more'

Tom Brady is arguably the greatest quarterback of all-time. LeBron James is arguably the greatest basketball player of all-time.

But the similarities don't end there, according to James.

When asked about his NBA future Friday, James brought up the Patriots quarterback in relation to his own eventual retirement.

"I'm not at the end of my story," said James. "Me and Tom Brady are one and the same. We're going to play until we can't walk no more."

Laugh if you want, but both future Hall of Famers are still going strong deep into their respective careers.

Brady, who has consistently said he'd like to play until he's 45, explained that goal this week on WEEI.

“I think I have always said 45 just because that’s a good goal to set because that is one that has been pretty hard to get to for most guys."

Brady's success at 42 is already unprecented, having led the Patriots to the league's best record through 10 weeks, throwing almost 282 yards per game with 14 touchdowns and five interceptions.

While Brady is still going strong in his 20th career season, James is still one of the NBA's most dominant players in his 17th year. The 34-year-old is averaging 23.9 points, 8.0 rebounds, and a career-high 11.1 assists.

"We've been friends for a long time. I've always admired him. He's a great athlete, player," Brady said when apprised of James's comments Friday. "I think he loves the sport, he loves basketball, he loves the competition. I feel the same way about football."

And while neither player is ready to hang 'em up anytime soon, there's still one major difference between their careers.

While LeBron has won three NBA championships — with a 3-6 record in the Finals — Brady is 6-3 in his nine trips to the Super Bowl.

Advantage: Brady.

 

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Patriots-Eagles Week 11 injury report: Seven players questionable for New England

Patriots-Eagles Week 11 injury report: Seven players questionable for New England

The New England Patriots are prepared for a difficult matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday afternoon, and injuries could play a major factor for both teams.

New England released its final Week 11 injury report Friday -- and no one is listed as out or doubtful. While wide receiver Julian Edelman has often been listed as questionable ahead of each week with a chest injury, he is nowhere to be found on the report. Safety Nate Ebner, running back Damien Harris and wide receiver Gunner Olszewski have been added as questionable, while Patrick Chung, Matt LaCosse, Danny Shelton and John Simon remain on the list (all are questionable). 

As for the Eagles, they'll be without wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, as well as running back Darren Sproles, who has been ruled out for the remainder of the season. The only player listed as questionable for Philadelphia is running back Jordan Howard.

Here is the final Week 11 injury report:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (8-1)

OUT
No Players Listed

DOUBTFUL
No Players Listed

QUESTIONABLE
S Patrick Chung, Heel/Chest (Limited participant Friday)
S Nate Ebner, Ankle/Back (LP)
RB Damien Harris, Hamstring (LP)
TE Matt LaCosse, Knee (LP)
WR Gunner Olszewski, Ankle/Hamstring (LP)
DT Danny Shelton, Ankle (LP)
DE John Simon, Elbow (LP)

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (5-4)

OUT
LB Nigel Bradham, Ankle (Did not practice)
WR Alshon Jeffery, Ankle (DNP)
RB Darren Sproles Quadricep (DNP)

DOUBTFUL
No Players Listed

QUESTIONABLE
RB Jordan Howard, Shoulder (LP)

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