Patriots

Stephon Gilmore on Antonio Brown: 'competitive, smart, can do it all'

Stephon Gilmore on Antonio Brown: 'competitive, smart, can do it all'

FOXBORO — Members of the media had an opportunity to see Antonio Brown catch a pass in a Patriots practice jersey for the first time on Thursday.

Immediately after the stretching-and-warmup period, Brown ran a fade to the back corner of the end zone. He faked an inward breaking route, moved to the outside, leaped and plucked a Tom Brady pass at the highest point he possibly could. Assistant Troy Brown shoved a pad up through Brown's hands as soon as the ball arrived, but Brown still appeared to come down with it.

That was about all members of the media had an opportunity to see. 

Teammates, meanwhile, have seen much more from the player who wore No. 17 at Thursday's workout. Brown has now had two full practices with the Patriots. 

"AB’s AB," Duron Harmon said. "We all know what he brings to the table. We’re excited to have him here."

"You see it," explained Stephon Gilmore. "He's a great player. Competitive. Smart. He can do it all. I'm happy to have him on our team."

It looks as though — barring any further information being released about Brown and the lawsuit he's facing in Florida — the Patriots will have their newest wideout available to them if they want when they take on the Dolphins on Sunday. The NFL could still place him on the commissioner's exempt list, but their investigation into the matter might not be comprehensive enough to take that step. (You can read about what being placed on the commissioner's exempt list entails here.)

If Brown is on the field, there are a variety of ways in which he'd be able to contribute Sunday even after just a few days in New England. It was less than a year ago that the team brought Josh Gordon aboard. He was held out of his first game as a member of the Patriots and then played in Week 4 against the Dolphins to catch two passes on two targets for 32 yards.

Harmon indicated that it's not all that unusual to see a new player come in and be inserted into the Patriots offense after having only known that player as an opponent for years. 

"But we did the same thing for Josh last year, and when Marty [Bennett] came," Harmon said. "There are new guys that come to our team each and every year. And a lot of great players. I mean, you see why they're great. You see how hard they work and you see why it carries over to why they've had success before."

Even if Brown doesn't play Sunday, it sounds as though he's provided the defense with a new challenge these last couple of days. There's typically a competitive atmosphere between the offense and defense during practice periods pitting the two sides against one another, and Harmon smiled when he was asked how the defense did against an offense that now was able to deploy someone of Brown's talent level.

"Eh, we did good," Harmon said. "We had some opportunities we got to go against the guys. We did good. But those guys are definitely making it hard on us and making sure that we come to work each and every day."

 

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Patriots Report Card: Pats make Jets lives miserable

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

Patriots Report Card: Pats make Jets lives miserable

The Patriots did enough early on Monday night that they made their jobs a little bit easier later on. They jumped out to a commanding early lead by scoring on three of their first four drives with varied personnel packages. They confounded Sam Darnold early and forced him to play spooked to the point that he made mistakes even when he wasn't pressured into them. 

It wasn't perfect. And the grades reflect that. But it was yet another dominant effort from Bill Belichick's point as they get closer to the season's midway point. 

Click here to read Phil Perry's full Patriots Report Card>>>

Bill Belichick reacts to Mohamed Sanu trade, calls new Patriots WR 'a talented player'

Bill Belichick reacts to Mohamed Sanu trade, calls new Patriots WR 'a talented player'

The Atlanta Falcons made the Mohamed Sanu trade with the New England Patriots official Tuesday, but the defending Super Bowl champs have not yet acknowledged the move.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick didn't have anything to say about the trade during his morning conference call with reporters, but he was a little more forthcoming on WEEI's "Ordway, Merloni and Fauria" show Tuesday afternoon.

“Well, I think we are working through that," Belichick said. "We'll see. We’ll put (Sanu) in and see how it goes. He’s a talented player. He’s got a lot of experience. He’s done different things, so we’ll see how it all fits for us.”

The Patriots gave up a 2020 second-round draft pick for Sanu, which is a fairly steep price, but he's not a rental. The 30-year-old wide receiver is signed through the 2021 season.

Sanu's addition upgrades the team's depth at wide receiver, which has been a concern throughout the season amid injuries and roster turnover. He's been quite durable over the last six seasons with only two games missed over that span. Sanu also was among Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan's top targets, tallying at least 66 receptions, 700-plus yards and four touchdowns in each of the last two seasons.

The Patriots did not practice Tuesday but they'll be back at it Wednesday, when Sanu is expected to make his first appearance in New England colors. His first game action with the Patriots should come Sunday afternoon when the Cleveland Browns visit Gillette Stadium for a Week 8 matchup. 

What Sanu said after Tom Brady's Super Bowl LI heroics>>>

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