Patriots

Tom Brady on Mohamed Sanu: 'We're definitely going to have some fun working together'

Tom Brady on Mohamed Sanu: 'We're definitely going to have some fun working together'

FOXBORO -- For Mohamed Sanu to have picked up the Patriots offense to the point where he was able to execute a game plan like the one Josh McDaniels deployed on Sunday, he had to have put in all kinds of work beforehand. 

He was targeted 14 times -- catching 10, including a touchdown -- on the road as part of a hurry-up Patriots attack. That kind of production served as proof that Tom Brady liked what he'd seen from Sanu in the time they'd worked together up to that point.

"He's done a great job," Brady told Scott Zolak for WBZ's Patriots All-Access. "Any time someone's forced in, in a short period of time, it's really hard to learn an entire offense that most guys are starting in March and then installing and picking up these things. And every team has nuances. I certainly have a way that I like the receivers to play. It's hard to get someone up to speed in a very short period of time. 

"He's someone that's done everything we could expect and more. Him having the targets the other night, making the plays, not only his hands, his run-after-the-catch, his toughness, we're definitely gonna have some fun working together the second half of the year as he gets more comfortable, confident in what we're doing and we gain more of a shared vision of how we see things. I think our chemistry is going to keep improving."

That may be the shiniest of silver linings to take away from New England's first loss of the season. While Baltimore gashed the Patriots on the ground, while they came away with turnovers to slow down Brady and his teammates, the fact that the Patriots clearly have another usable weapon to lean on in critical spots could be one of the most significant developments of their season. 

Not only should Sanu's role in the offense help prevent Julian Edelman from being overused in the slot -- though Edelman was busy catching 10 passes against the Ravens -- he should also give Brady a dependable player on third downs and in the red zone outside of Edelman and James White. 

The Patriots are squarely in the middle of the pack in the NFL as the 15th offense in football when it comes to third-down conversions (39.7 percent). They're 21st in red-zone conversions, making good with touchdowns on 50 percent of their chances inside an opponent's 20-yard line.

It's hard to know how exactly the Patriots will up those numbers following this week's bye. Will rookie first-rounder N'Keal Harry have a say? Will the running game improve on first and second down, making their third-down opportunities more manageable?

One thing that became clear after Sanu's second game with the Patriots is that he should figure heavily into any improvement the Patriots make offensively during the second portion of their schedule.

"At this point now we've got the group we've got," Brady said. "I think guys are learning and establishing their roles. We're going to try to make the most of those as we move forward."

Julian Edelman praises 'unbelievable teammate' Mohamed Sanu>>>

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Roger Goodell gives update on Patriots investigation, Antonio Brown and more

Roger Goodell gives update on Patriots investigation, Antonio Brown and more

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell met with reporters Wednesday at the league meeting in Dallas and provided updates on several different topics, including the ongoing investigation into the New England Patriots.

Here are the answers to some of the questions Goodell was asked.

On the Patriots-Bengals investigation...
The New England Patriots are being investigated by the NFL after a video crew taped the Cincinnati Bengals' sideline at last Sunday's Week 14 game in Cleveland. The Patriots said in a statement that the video crew was set there to shoot footage for an upcoming episode of their "Do Your Job" web series. 

There is no set timetable for when the investigation will be concluded, according to Goodell.

"I've actually been down here almost the entire time," Goodell said. "I only had an opportunity to spend some time with a couple of our staff. Obviously, it's under review. We're going to be thorough. We'll take our time and make sure we look at everything that's pertinent here, and then we'll make a decision."

Will the Patriots' history of illegal videotaping (a.k.a. Spygate) play a factor in this current investigation?

“Of course. That's a factor,” Goodell said. “But I think the key things are the new information that we have — that (old) information, we obviously already had. I think the issue is what information do we have from this incident.”

Does Goodell anticipate a conclusion to the investigation by the end of the season?

"I don't have any anticipation," he said. "We're going to be thorough. We're going to get all the facts. We'll go from there."

On the Antonio Brown investigation...
The investigation into the allegations made against former Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown has not concluded. Goodell noted investigators still have more work to do before giving the league an update.

“They still have not completed the investigation,” Goodell said. “The investigators did; I did not meet with Antonio. They have more work to do. They are following up on that. I will get an update when they have more information.”

Brown was released by the Patriots on Sept. 20 after a brief 11-day tenure in New England.

On the possibility of reseeding in the playoffs...
It's looking increasingly likely that the winner of the NFC East -- the Dallas Cowboys or Philadelphia Eagles -- will finish with a losing record, but based on the current playoff format, that division winner probably will host a team with 10-plus wins (likely the NFC West runner-up) in the Wild Card round. Should the league reseed in the playoffs to not give teams with losing records a home playoff game just because they won their division? Goodell admitted it's not something being discussed right now.

"This is not the first time this conversation has occurred, or the situation has occurred," Goodell said. "Teams go into the season and the first objective is to win the division. That's what they work on -- we win the division and we get in the playoffs. That is something that we've considered over the years. I have not heard that this year. I don't anticipate hearing it again. It's been discussed in the past, but I don't see that as an issue. If it comes up, we'll certainly have the conversation. I don't anticipate it."

These stats paint ugly picture for Patriots offense>>>

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Patriots add kicker, two other new players to practice squad

Patriots add kicker, two other new players to practice squad

The NFL's roster merry-go-round never stops, and the Patriots kept busy on the transaction wire Wednesday by signing three players to their practice squad: DE Eric Lee, DB Adarius Pickett, and K Josh Gable.

Gable's addition is the most out-of-the-box, as Phil Perry explained earlier Wednesday afternoon.

The 28-year-old never played college football, but made a name for himself with compilations of trick shot videos on YouTube. Gable most recently played for the Tucson Sugar Skulls of the Indoor Football League, where he went 6-for-16 on field goals and 50-for-57 on extra points.

The Patriots had brought him in for a workout earlier this season, but ultimately signed Mike Nugent, who only lasted four games.

As for Lee, this marks his second stint in Foxboro. New England signed the 25-year-old late in the 2017 season, and he racked up 2.5 sacks, four quarterback hits, and an interception in his first two games.

He played in Super Bowl LII against the Eagles, but didn't survive roster cuts for the 2018 season. He bounced on and off the Lions active roster and practice squad over the last two seasons.

Pickett, the final practice squad addition, is an undrafted rookie out of UCLA who spent some time with the Bears and Chargers earlier this year.

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