Patriots

Patriots WR coach raves about 'highly motivated' Josh Gordon, Demaryius Thomas

Patriots WR coach raves about 'highly motivated' Josh Gordon, Demaryius Thomas

FOXBORO, Mass. -- Veteran wide receivers Josh Gordon and Demaryius Thomas are back practicing, and the New England Patriots are enjoying it very much.

“They’re a lot of fun to work with, man,” Patriots wide receivers coach Joe Judge said after Monday's practice. “A lot of fun to work with. They come to work everyday with a smile on their face. They come to work everyday highly motivated. They get on the field and compete. They’re a ton of fun to be around. I’ve enjoyed every minute I’ve had to work with those guys.”

What makes Gordon, specifically, so fun to be around?

“He loves football," Judge said. "He works hard, and he competes. When you step between the lines, that’s just fun.”

It's hard to predict what the Patriots will get from Gordon and Thomas this season.

Gordon, when on the field, is a real game-changer with his ability to make tough, contested catches and stretch the field as a deep threat. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw for 56 more yards per game last season when Gordon played compared to when he didn't. Brady's passer rating and yards per attempt also were better with Gordon. The concern with Gordon is him staying out of trouble. He's been suspended multiple times in his career and has a history of substance abuse. Gordon was reinstated by the NFL earlier this month after having been suspended indefinitely since December.

Thomas has enjoyed an impressive career but is 31 years old and coming off an Achilles tear suffered in December. He's confident in his ability to produce at a high level this season, but an Achilles injury is among the toughest to come back from.

It's encouraging for the Patriots that both of these wide receivers are healthy enough to be on the field and practicing. The real fun will come if that remains the case into the regular season because if fully healthy, this group of wideouts could be among the deepest and most talented the Patriots have had in a long time.

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Patriots sign former Vikings defensive lineman to practice squad

Patriots sign former Vikings defensive lineman to practice squad

The New England Patriots are getting busy with practice squad transactions this week.

The Patriots announced Thursday they have signed defensive lineman Tashawn Bower to their practice squad.

Bower signed with the Vikings in 2017 as an undrafted free agent out of LSU and spent the last three seasons in Minnesota.

He recorded one sack over a total of seven games for the Vikings over the 2017 and 2018 seasons but was placed on Minnesota's non-football injury list in July 2019 with a torn Achilles.

The Vikings waived Bower on October 15, and the 24-year-old was a free agent until Thursday.

The Celtics now have nine players on their practice squad after adding wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo to the group Wednesday.

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Patriots will play Dak Prescott amid best stretch of Cowboys QB's career

Patriots will play Dak Prescott amid best stretch of Cowboys QB's career

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott just played the best statistical game of his career, and that's not great for the New England Patriots, who host the NFC East leaders at Gillette Stadium in Sunday's Week 12 matchup.

Prescott completed 29 of 46 pass attempts for 444 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions in a 35-27 win over the Detroit Lions. The fourth-year QB has averaged 366 yards per game with a total of nine touchdowns and two interceptions over the last three games. He's also completing 67.7 percent of his passes in 2019 and his 3,221 passing yards lead the league.

Prescott's impressive play is larger than a 4-game sample, though. Here are his stats over the last 16 games dating back to last season:

--69.3% comp pct
--104.8 passer rating 
--4,968 yards
--37 total TD
--12 INT
--8.5 YPA  
--11-5 W/L record

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick gave a glowing overview of Prescott's skill set Wednesday.

"Well we haven’t played him, so this is the first time we’ve played him. But right now, yeah, he’s super impressive," Belichick told reporters. "The way he’s going, might be more than that. Might hit six (thousand yards), I don’t know. This guy can throw the ball, he’s very accurate, he’s got great poise in the pocket, stands in there. He can extend plays and run if he has to, but he doesn’t do much of that unless he really needs to. He has great patience and poise, discipline in the pocket, gets his eyes down field. He’s a very good intermediate-to-deep ball-thrower.

"He’s got good weapons, but he’s been super impressive. Just, great, great quarterback – sideline throws, inside throws, in-cuts, posts, over routes, flag routes, you name it. Possession passes on third down, best third down team in the league, best passing team in the league, most big plays in the league – I mean, I don’t know where you want to start, they do it all. And, he does it all. He runs options, he runs read zones, keeps the ball in critical situations, tough guy to tackle, makes tough yards when he needs them, so he’s really good."

The Cowboys chose to give star running back Ezekiel Elliott a contract extension before the season and still haven't come to terms with Prescott. Elliott is a tremendous player, but the first 10 games have shown Dallas will only be as successful as Prescott. He is the Cowboys' most important player, and the Patriots' No. 1 ranked pass defense needs to slow him down or Dallas will have a good chance of leaving Gillette Stadium with a much-needed win.

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