Patriots

Postcard from Patriots Training Camp: Isaiah Wynn takes a step in the right direction on Day 8

Postcard from Patriots Training Camp: Isaiah Wynn takes a step in the right direction on Day 8

FOXBORO — The Patriots were back in shells and shorts on Friday after a couple of competitive practices in full pads on Wednesday and Thursday. Here’s what we saw…

ROLL CALL

No significant changes here. Julian Edelman and Yodny Cajuste (NFL) as well as Demaryius Thomas, Nate Ebner and Ken Webster (PUP) remained out. Lance Kendricks, who left Wednesday’s practice early, was also out.

QUARTERBACK PERFORMANCES

In 7-on-7 work, none of which was very competitive, Tom Brady went 6-for-8. That included two completions to Sony Michel, who saw more work as a receiver on Friday. In 11-on-11 work, Brady went 6-for-12. The defense ratcheted up the intensity late in a hurry-up period and Brady went 3-for-7, with two of his completions going to Jakobi Meyers. 

Brian Hoyer went 4-for-6 in 7-on-7 work but one of his incompletions was due to a Dontrelle Inman drop. Hoyer only got four attempts in 11-on-11 work and went 0-for-4. Two of his passes were batted away by safety Terrence Brooks. One was broken up by J.C. Jackson. (Jackson also broke up a Hoyer pass to Phillip Dorsett in 7-on-7.)

Jarrett Stidham got a little extra work today — perhaps with joint practices, and potentially fewer chances for the rookie, facing the Lions next week — and went 2-for-2 in 7-on-7 work. In 11-on-11, he went 6-for-9 with a nice fade completed to Braxton Berrios, who had to dive in the corner of the end zone to reel it in.

OBSERVATIONS OF NOTE

Perhaps the most important note of the day was that Isaiah Wynn saw an increased workload. Again, no pads Friday. But to see Wynn working across from a defensive lineman — not someone holding a blocking pad — and absorbing some contact is something we haven’t seen this summer. He made another step in his progression, which is a good sign for a team that still has plenty of questions at left tackle. Wynn took second-team reps with Dan Skipper continuing to get the first-team work. 

Sony Michel saw more work as a receiver on Friday than we’d seen all throughout camp. Would the Patriots saddle him with more of a pass-catcher’s workload in Year 2? He was essentially a non-factor in the passing game as a rookie after a few attempts to him early in the season yielded little. If he can catch the football consistently — he had 64 catches in four seasons at the University of Georgia — he’d provide the Patriots offense with a measure of unpredictability that really only Rex Burkhead provides at the moment from the running back spot. 

Patrick Chung continues to wear a red non-contact jersey, but he was among those returning punts in practice Friday. Berries, Gunner Olszewski and Maurice Harris also took punt-return reps. Late in practice, after the team ran The Hills, Berrios took a few more reps and muffed a couple. 

Rough day for the two punters on the roster. The special-teams periods were short, but they focused on the punt game and there was one stretch of four punts — between both Jake Bailey and Ryan Allen — where three were certifiable ducks. Makes it hard to run an efficient drill that way. Special teams coach Joe Judge appeared none too pleased after the drill and spoke to both punters before moving onto the next practice period.

Obi Melifonwu continues to stand out through eight days of camp. He’s made plays on the football when he’s had the opportunity, making a nice interception on Hoyer early in camp. He scooped up a James White fumble the next day. This week, he was on the field in a goal-line period and helped stuff a run. On Friday he got some reps with other starters. His size and athleticism are rare, and he appears to be stacking solid days. That’s resulted in the coaching staff giving him a few more reps, seemingly. 

In a lighter moment that had the crowd in attendance chuckling, Brady lobbed a Hail Mary into the end zone late in practice. Because players were conscious of not getting their legs tangled with someone else’s on a light-intensity day, no one really jumped for the pass. Jamie Collins ended up catching it. He then very nicely handed it to Maurice Harris.

Curran: Ty Law never embodied the hokey 'Patriot Way'

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NFL Rumors: Patriots, RB Lamar Miller agree to one-year contract

NFL Rumors: Patriots, RB Lamar Miller agree to one-year contract

The New England Patriots added a veteran running back to their roster on Monday.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, ex-Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans RB Lamar Miller reached an agreement with the Patriots on a one-year contract.


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Miller, 29, missed the entire 2019 campaign after suffering a torn ACL in the preseason. In 2018 with Houston, he rushed for 973 yards and five touchdowns in 14 games and was named to the Pro Bowl.

Miller's most productive NFL season came in 2014 with Miami when he tallied 1,099 rushing yards and eight touchdowns.

With Miller now in the fold, he joins a Patriots running back depth chart that also consists of Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead, James White, Damien Harris. Michel underwent foot surgery in May and was placed on the PUP list earlier this month.

Fantasy football 2020: Projections for Tom Brady, other Bucs players

Fantasy football 2020: Projections for Tom Brady, other Bucs players

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski leaving the New England Patriots to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn't just send a shockwave through the NFL. It also altered the fantasy football landscape.

The fantasy values of both the Patriots and Bucs' skill players will be much different in 2020 following Brady and Gronk's departure from Foxboro. We've gone over what to expect from the go-to guys in New England's offense, so now it's time to go over Tampa's weapons.

The obvious benefactors -- at least one would think -- of Brady becoming a Buc are his primary wide receivers Chris Godwin and Mike Evans. But will their numbers, along with Brady's, see a significant increase as expected, or should we pump the brakes on the hype?

And then there are the running back and tight end positions. Can Tampa's intriguing rookie running back take over the starting job? What can we really expect out of Gronk after a year off from football?

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Here are our projections for the Bucs' key offensive players with Brady and Gronk in the fold:

Tom Brady, QB
Projected Stats
: 4,300 yards, 29 TD, 9 INT
Projected Draft Round: 5-7

Brady is set up to be a really solid starting quarterback in fantasy football this year. That being said, those who expect Brady to put up elite numbers and draft him any higher than Round 5 are just asking to be disappointed. There are going to be some growing pains in Bruce Arians' offense. Sure, having his old pal Gronk around as a security blanket will help, but it's going to take time for the six-time Super Bowl champ to get comfortable down in Florida. There's little doubt Brady's numbers will be better in nearly every category now that he has some real weapons at his disposal, just make sure you don't reach when plenty of other QBs will do just fine in the middle rounds.

Ronald Jones II, RB
Projected Stats
: 650 yards, 4 TD
Projected Draft Round: 7-9

Jones was an OK flex play at points last season, but overall he simply hasn't been the running back Tampa Bay has hoped for these last few seasons. That led to the Bucs selecting Vanderbilt product Ke'Shawn Vaughn on Day 2 of this year's NFL Draft. Jones is the No. 1 guy heading into camp, though it doesn't look like that will be the case throughout the 2020 campaign. Wait until the mid-to-late rounds to take Jones, and maybe even consider passing entirely to take Vaughn if you're so inclined to take a Bucs RB.

Ke'Shawn Vaughn, RB
Projected Stats
: 550 yards, 3 TD
Projected Draft Round: 8-10

Speaking of Vaughn, he could be a major difference-maker for the Bucs in Brady's offense this season. He rushed for 1,028 yards and nine touchdowns for Vandy last season and was pretty effective through the air too, tallying 270 yards and a TD. It's always tough to count on a rookie, but it's worth the risk and the ceiling definitely seems to be higher with Vaughn than it is for Jones. The addition of McCoy, however, makes Vaughn's fantasy outlook a bit murky.

LeSean McCoy, RB
Projected Stats
: 400 yards, 3 TD
Projected Draft Round: 8-10

It's impossible to now as of right now how the Bucs backfield is going to shape up in 2020. Although McCoy is a shell of what he once was, Bruce Arians definitely should find some sort of role for the 32-year-old veteran. The obvious question is whether that role will be more significant than Jones' or Vaughn's. If you're really that compelled to draft a Bucs running back, something I'd avoid entirely, it's a total toss-up and a matter of personal preference.

Mike Evans, WR
Projected Stats
: 75 receptions, 1,250 yards, 7 TD
Projected Draft Round: 2-3

There's no question the Brady-to-Evans connection is going to excite people heading into the new season. However, I'm somewhat skeptical about how their playing styles will mesh. Brady isn't one to take many risks, and Evans made a living out of catching Jameis Winston's ridiculous jump-balls downfield. It really is impossible to know how that'll work itself out, but nonetheless we're believers in Evans' elite talent and project him as a solid WR1 again in 2020.

Chris Godwin, WR
Projected Stats
: 90 receptions, 1,350 yards, 10 TD
Projected Draft Round: 2-3

Godwin was the breakout star of the 2019 fantasy football season as he put up absolutely ridiculous numbers with Jameis Winston under center. Now, the question is whether he can do it again with Brady. That may seem like a silly question, but again we have no clue what to expect from Brady in Arians' offense and how it will differ from what Godwin thrived in a year ago. Regardless, he definitely should be one of the first WRs off the board.

Rob Gronkowski, TE
Projected Stats
: 50 receptions, 700 yards, 5 TD
Projected Draft Round: 6-8

How do you make stat projections for a guy who took a year off from football to party in Miami and join the WWE? With injury concerns to boot, that makes drafting Gronk in fantasy football an extremely risky move. Obviously, with that high risk could come high reward as Tampa's offense has the potential to be one of the best in the entire NFL and Brady is going to look to Gronk early and often as a security blanket. Draft the former Pats tight end in the middle rounds, long after guys like Travis Kelce, George Kittle, and Zach Ertz are off the board.

O.J. Howard, TE
Projected Stats: 25 receptions, 450 yards, 3 TD
Projected Draft Round: 8-10

The Bucs are going to run two-tight end sets in 2020, so don't think that Gronk's presence will limit Howard's production. In fact, it could even help it. Howard was a huge fantasy disappointment in 2019 and is out to prove he isn't a bust this year. There's also still a chance he gets traded to a TE-needy team and benefits from a change of scenery. Either way, you could do worse than Howard in the later rounds of your draft.