Patriots

Shelton runs toward his target weight in Pats offseason program

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Phil Perry

Shelton runs toward his target weight in Pats offseason program

FOXBORO -- When Patriots center David Andrews was asked about his first impressions of new teammate Danny Shelton, acquired from the Browns this offseason via trade, Andrews answered quickly. 

"Big guy," he said. "He's a very big guy."

Shelton's working on that. The defensive tackle said he's shrinking a bit as he goes through the Patriots offseason workout program - and that's the goal. 

Shelton plans to play at 335 pounds, a number he still has yet to reach after gaining some weight starting at the end of last season. He explained that the fluctuations in his weight have become sort of his annual routine: Add some in the winter; shed it in the spring when workouts are underway. 

Since arriving in Foxboro, he said the changes to his body have been noticeable as he's embarked on an intensive conditioning plan unlike any he experienced in Cleveland. 

"My body's adjusting to all the running, man," he said. "It's pretty crazy. But I like it."

What the Patriots have Shelton doing is a radical departure from what he experienced in the first three years of his pro career. 

"Oh yeah. Definitely," he said. "I think any other team would say the same thing. Then again, I've only been on one team and I've only done one offseason program. Now that I'm here, it's pretty cool to change it up a bit and just watch my body change."

Shelton called the early portion of the Patriots program "a struggle," but he knows it has the potential to get even tougher since has yet to be introduced to the hill that rolls off the back of the team's practice fields.

"Not yet. I wave by it," he said. "Just getting my mind ready for it. We haven't gotten to that part. It is deceiving. It doesn't look too tough. But just hearing from some of the guys, it's not something you want to mess with."

Shelton figures to play a significant role in the middle of the Patriots defensive line in 2018. He has the ability to play as a true nose tackle and is expected to be a run-stuffing force on early downs. He was the No. 12 overall pick in the 2015 draft and considered a true blue-chip tackle in that year's class. 

His fifth-year option for 2019 was not picked up earlier this offseason - neither was the option for teammate Malcom Brown - which Shelton said, "sucked at first." But he's trying to think of it as an opportunity to show what he can do this year and put himself in a good position moving forward. 

Shelton knows that part of putting himself in a good position will be to be in good condition so that he can make plays in critical moments for his new team. 

"That's what I'm more focusing on," he said, "and that's what I like about the change is that my body will be more trained for the endurance and trained for fourth quarter, overtime."

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Bill Belichick about to make Patriots pay for lackluster play in two consecutive losses

Bill Belichick about to make Patriots pay for lackluster play in two consecutive losses

This will not stand. 

Bill Belichick isn’t going to watch good players playing badly on Sunday night and shrug.

He’s not going to hear about Rob Gronkowski answering a question about offseason machinations after a convincing loss on the road and not react, no matter how honestly and timely (thanks to a Sunday morning report from ESPN) the answer may have been.

He’s not going to respond to Chris Gronkowski’s morning tell-all on WEEI’s Kirk & Callahan by putting his hands up and saying, “Family . . . what can ya do?”

You know how Belichick has said in the past that you’d rather be early than late personnel-wise? Same thing goes with grabbing a team by the scruff of its neck when it’s performing like these Patriots are and making completely preventable mistakes. Or giving us media jackals content.

Sunday night, we saw Shaq Mason get destroyed on a third-and-one by Ricky Jean-Francois, resulting in a one-yard loss and the Patriots third straight three-and-out. Mason didn’t seem to know the snap count.

We saw tight end Dwayne Allen get rolled by a defensive back on a third-and-one that ended up losing two.

We saw Duron Harmon let Marvin Jones traipse through the secondary uncovered for a touchdown.

We saw Dont’a Hightower get cleared out of holes with stunning ease.

We didn’t see any real resistance from Malcom Brown on the defensive line.

The Patriots have played two non-competitive performances on the road and have an upcoming game against a 3-0 team. Belichick knows the Dolphins aren’t going to look at the tape of those games and say, “Ohhhh, they’re just a play away on offense and the outcome would be so different . . . ” Miami will look at the tape and see a team ripe for the picking on both sides.

For a long time, Bill Belichick has been doing what he’s doing better than anyone who’s ever done it.

The “why” of the Patriots struggles doesn’t really matter right now.

Sony Michel’s running the ball so much because Dion Lewis left, Jeremy Hill got hurt and Mike Gillislee got cut? So?

Tom Brady’s throwing punts because Danny Amendola left, Brandin Cooks got traded and Julian Edelman got suspended? So?

The defense is slow because no linebacker speed was imported or drafted? So?

Gronk’s still miffed and his family is even miffeder? Get over it.

Gronk got fined in 2017 for carrying Brandin Cooks off the field after a touchdown. So which is more incendiary to the head coach, a piggy-back ride or Chris Gronkowski seemingly speaking for his brother and lacerating the offensive talent? Even though there wasn’t a false word in what Chris said, I would imagine Belichick won’t care about that either.

I don’t know if we’ll see the fallout in the form of reduced playing time or benchings. But on the field and off, based on years of prior observation, it feels like the stuff is threatening to hit the fan.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE


 

Will Josh Gordon quick learn Patriots system? Josh McDaniels says yes, Tom Brady not so sure

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USA Today Sports Photo

Will Josh Gordon quick learn Patriots system? Josh McDaniels says yes, Tom Brady not so sure

One week after it was announced that the Patriots acquired Josh Gordon in a trade, Tom Brady is still not ready to pin his hopes on the new guy. 

Brady spoke to Jim Gray during Westwood One's Monday Night Football broadcast less than 24 hours after falling to the Lions -- a game where the Patriots could've used some receiver help.

"I'm not gonna make any projections or expectations," Brady said when asked about Gordon. "I just met him a week ago. He's working to learn. He's working to [learn] how we do things. Whenever he's back healthy and out there, that's when we get to work and see what we're all capable of when we're out there. It's just a work in progress. We're working through a lot of things."

Gordon was limited in practices last week with a hamstring injury. He was ruled inactive before Sunday night's game in Detroit, watching from the sidelines as Brady was able to complete just 14 of 26 passes for 133 yards, one touchdown and one interception. 

Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said in a conference call on Monday that he wasn't concerned about Gordon's ability to figure out what exactly the Patriots are doing offensively, even though he's new to the building. 

"I’m not worried at all about Josh’s ability to pick up our system," McDaniels explained. "He’s already demonstrated an ability to do that. I think he’ll be fine, and the guys we have are doing the same thing. They’re working hard each week, and we have enough variance in our system to tweak it based on the opponent that we play and that’s our job."

If Gordon can get involved, it might help relax some of the double-teams that have faced Rob Gronkowski through three weeks of the regular season and bogged down the Patriots passing game.