Patriots

What’s Patriots’ most glaring need? How do they address it?

What’s Patriots’ most glaring need? How do they address it?

Every Friday, Tom E. Curran, Phil Perry and Mike Giardi answer your Patriots questions in a joint mailbag, or FridayBag as they call it. After a Super Bowl loss, there’s plenty on the readers’ minds. Curran sits this one out but Perry and Giardi are here with the answers.

Got a question for the trio? Tweet them using the hashtag #FridayBag. Now, on to the Super postmortems:

From Twitter user @MikeParentLEAPWhat is the Pats most pressing needs and how will they be addressed? BBs bargain basement routine has left glaring holes in this team.

PP: The Patriots have plenty of needs, but I think their most pressing needs are offensive tackle, linebacker and...quarterback. Best way to address the tackle spot is to re-sign Solder. Linebacker could potentially be addressed in free agency. Would the Patriots be interested in Philly's Nigel Bradham, who can cover? Quarterback isn't a need for 2018, obviously, but it's probably time for the Patriots to start searching for the next guy. In what's expected to be one of the best quarterback classes in years, now may be the time to draft one. 

From Twitter user @RBeaginWho, in your eyes, is the most interesting free agent available for Pats and who is the most likely Pats target?

PP: I'd say before we start digging into this year's available free-agent crop, we all should be looking at New England's free-agents-to-be. The Patriots have a few potential holes that I'm not sure can be filled immediately by free-agent help. For instance, their best shot at having a good left tackle next year is, in my opinion, re-signing Nate Solder. With Malcolm Mitchell coming off of a knee injury that sapped his entire 2017 season, Danny Amendola still makes all kinds of sense as the team's No. 4 receiver. Those kinds of moves might be the most important ones they make. As far as free agents from around the league? Niners defensive end Aaron Lynch has great size and length and could fit as an end to mix into the rotation with Trey Flowers and Deatrich Wise. Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry gets praised up and down by Bill Belichick twice a year every year, and he could be the team's slot of the future, but he'll be looking to break the bank. 

From Twitter user @TheHucklebuckDo you know anything about Sr. Kyle Lauletta, QB Richmond? Dad is former QB at Navy?

PP: Haven't had a chance yet to really watch a whole lot of any of the quarterback prospects just yet, but I know Lauletta impressed at the Senior Bowl. That'll help give his draft stock an early boost. The common knock on him right now is that he doesn't have much in the way of arm strength. That may not be a game-changer for the Patriots if they feel like he'll be helped by having some time to develop as a pro. But typically, in New England, where the most important games of the year are played in the cold, snow and wind, you want someone whose passes can cut through the conditions. On the plus side, he's thought to be a good decision-maker and accurate. He was 8-for-12 for 198 yards and three scores in the Senior Bowl.

From Twitter user @JoeNestor56Which current or former Patriot is most likely to join the XFL?

PP: Has to be Tim Tebow, right? He told SI.com that "2020 is a long way from now" and that he's focused on spring training with the Mets . . . But I'm pretty sure Vince McMahon would make it worth Tebow's while even if he doesn't throw a single football in the next two years. Dark horse: Jon Halapio. He was a sixth-round pick of the Patriots in 2014, and he's had two separate stints in the now-defunct Fall Experimental Football League, also known as the FXFL. And you know what? it worked out for him. He has a roster spot with the Giants. I think the XFL might actually be a spot where fringe guys like Halapio can keep their names circulating in the hopes of earning a shot in the league. 

From Twitter user @Badseedz187Will pats focus on size speed strength in drafting defensive guys this year or rely more on versatility?

PP: They'll continue to focus on both. The fact of the matter is, some of the biggest, strongest and most athletic guys are the most versatile. The Patriots have parameters that they look for when they're drafting so they won't stray from those. The character aspect is something that Bill Belichick has maybe emphasized a little more in recent years -- Urban Meyer's "I want to coach guys I like" quote from last spring is an indication of that -- and I don't see that stopping just because his defense let him down in the Super Bowl. The Patriots need NFL-caliber athletes but don't expect Belichick to suddenly devalue character or versatility as he approaches free agency and the draft. 

MG: Excellent question Andrew, and only Josh knows the answer. My thing here with Josh is there is no way he should have verbally agreed to be the Colts coach and get assistants in place and whatnot if he had even a shred of doubt. That concerns me. Can’t have a boss be that wishy-washy. Maybe he’s best served as a coordinator and nothing more. Certainly, that side of it is a huge benefit for the Pats. Not only Josh not leaving, but then Joe Judge and Jerry Schuplinski sticking around instead of going to Indy with McD. 

As for looking back on that loss as a good thing…man, they gotta find the next quarterback because even though TB12 is playing like he’s still in his prime, eventually Father Time wins. He always does. Get that guy and success will follow.

MG: Stephen, Bill loves all aspects of the job but I think when he’s done coaching, he’s done period. I think internally, the Pats would love to keep Nick Caserio and Josh McD together for the long term. They know each well, and no one knows more about the Pats operations than Nick. 

MG: You know and I know and everybody knows that he’s the greatest QB of all-time. Therefore Deflategate or no Deflategate, he’d be rolling in dough and headed for the Hall of Fame. Come on, Goose. You’re better than that.

MG: I’m not sure I’d be keen on trading for Sherman considering he blew out his Achilles. For a corner, that seems like a really crappy injury to suffer, especially now that he’s 30 or so. Plus, the idea of paying 10 million or more for Sherman and 15 or so for Gilmore seems like something the Pats wouldn’t do. A lot of people I talked to though Talib’s play slipped last year. What’s the cost in picks? Could you re-work his deal? 

MG: Hard to say because obviously salary demands and potential cap casualties/extensions haven’t become known yet but as I peruse the preliminary list, there are a few names that jump out. DE/OLB Trent Murphy of the Redskins could be a target and be budget friendly as he missed all of 2017 with a torn ACL. He’s on pace to be ready for camp and had 9 sacks in 2016. KC’s Dee Ford is also in that mold. He struggled with a back injury a year after recording double-digit sacks. A one-year prove your healthy deal? 

How about Eagles OLB Nigel Bradham? He’s a three-down backer who isn’t a liability in coverage. He might cost though.

Arizona’s Kareem Martin is another one of those edge guys (DE/OLB). Not spectacular. But considered a sound player in NFL scouting circles. 

There’s also the potential need for a corner because Butler is going, going, gone and Jon Jones and the injury he suffered at the end of the season. Jonathan Joseph is 34 but he can still play. One-year deal potential.

MG: Mike! It’s Solder to me because there is no succession plan in place. They drafted Tony Garcia but he was on the non-football injury list all year and by all accounts lost a considerable amount of weight during the course of the season (260 was a number I heard thrown away more than once). You don’t want to flip Marcus Cannon, in my opinion, and I’m not sure you can view LaAdrian Waddle as the next guy. When you draft late in the first round, that also doesn’t seem like the ideal spot to find a left tackle for now. 

As you well know, I might be the President of the Dion Lewis fan club. He is a game-changer. A stud. But I’m still not sure I’d ever give a running back a ton of guaranteed money. I might just be content to try and bring Burkhead back on short money, go with Gillislee for the final year of his deal and, of course, Jimmy White. 

I don’t foresee Alan Branch surviving after being a healthy scratch for the playoffs. Would think Dwayne Allen is a goner too.

https://twitter.com/Ronnie_Idaho/status/961971322552225793

MG: For starters, are we sure Jamarcus isn’t 350 pounds? And if he is, why not pair him with the Pillsbury Throwboy, Jared Lorenzen? Think of the buffet line. RG3 was walking around radio row at the Super Bowl politicking for a job. I believed in Manziel the player coming out of college (I didn’t know he had substance issues). I’d love to see him circle back.

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Will Britt put 'dependability is more important than ability' adage to the test?

Will Britt put 'dependability is more important than ability' adage to the test?

FOXBORO -- Kenny Britt was among the most impressive Patriots during OTAs. Then, on the first day of minicamp, he pulled up lame. Hamstring. 

At the time, it wasn't considered overly serious, according to ESPN's Mike Reiss. Yet more than two months later, Britt still isn't able to participate fully in Patriots practices. 


On Sunday I asked Britt if he'd had a setback at some point between then and now. He said, "not really," which makes his inability go all-out in practice even more curious. 

“I expected to be out there,” Britt explained. “But my hamstring told me something different.”

He added: “You never know with a hamstring. One day you’ll feel good, and then it's up in the air and popping. And other days, you might feel bad and then get the fastest time you ran out there. So it’s really a feel thing, day in and day out.”

Britt has taken part in individual drills during training camp, and we've seen him work in side sessions with Tom Brady and other veteran pass-catchers. He was on the field for Sunday's workout, though we don't know the extent to which he participated. 

What we do know is that the 29-year-old (Britt turns 30 next month) has yet to participate in the more competitive 11-on-11 fully-padded practice periods, and he hasn't played in either of the team's first two preseason games. 

With every day missed, the memories of Britt's impressive spring fade ever so slightly, and an old Bill Belichick adage seems to become ever more appropriate. "Dependability is more important than ability," Belichick has told reporters on more than one occasion in the past. 

Britt didn't have the benefit of a full offseason with the Patriots when he arrived late last season. This year, after the Patriots picked up their option on his two-year deal, he had the opportunity to be in Foxboro in the weeks and months building up to the fall, but his hamstring got in the way of his progress within the offense. 

“I definitely feel like I’m behind," Britt said, "because I’m not out there with the guys, getting the chemistry that I need with the quarterbacks and just with everybody on the same page with what we do."

There may have to be some complicated calculus involved when assessing Britt's ability to contribute to the Patriots this season, particularly with a few weeks to go before cuts from 90 to 53. 

Helping Britt? Though he hasn't been participating fully this summer, he has been generally dependable over the course of his nine-year career; he's played less than 12 games just once (three in 2011). 

Working against him? His recent availability. The Patriots have done their best to approach Britt's ailment reasonably. Hamstrings, as he noted, can be finicky. It's not something that can be pushed without risking an exacerbation of the injury, and Britt made it sound as though the team has been conscious of having him advance cautiously. 

"I'm doing what they ask me to do," Britt said, "and I'm doing what I can do . . . I'll be out there when I can."

Britt has benefitted by the fact that the receiver position as a whole seems shallow for the Patriots at the moment. They'll be without Julian Edelman for the first four games of the season, and the only real certainty on the roster after that is Chris Hogan.

Britt provides the Patriots with a body type and an ability level that will be hard for them to find elsewhere. At 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, there are few targets in the league with his frame and athleticism.

Though Britt's spring in New England was a reminder of his rare traits, even he can admit he needs to show his team more with just two preseason games remaining and summer winding down.

“Coming into spring, (was) focused, ready to go out there and prove myself mentally and physically,” he said. “But that was in the spring. I can’t hold onto that. Know what I mean? It is what it is. Right now, I’m just focused on trying to get back out there.”

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Aaron Hernandez's suicide notes revealed

Aaron Hernandez's suicide notes revealed

Aaron Hernandez's suicide letters to his daughter, fiancée, and lawyer were revealed in his lawyer Jose Baez's new book, "Unnecessary Roughness: Inside the Trial and FInal Days of Aaron Hernandez."

Hernandez, a Patriots tight end from 2010 to 2013, hanged himself in his prison cell on April 19, 2017. He was serving life in prison for first-degree murder.

In his letter to his daughter, Avielle Jenkins-Hernandez, he wrote about life being eternal and to never fear him:

“Daddy will never leave you! I’m entering to the timeless realm in which I can enter into any form at any time because everything that could happen or not happened I see all at once! Life is eternal—believe!!!” Hernandez wrote. “Love, repent, and see me/yourself in everyone because that’s what the truth is! I’ll see you all in the heavens awaiting you all with the same love.”

“Never fear me, but love me with all of you! Fear is the only separation between you and I! We are each other—I/you—you/me—there’s no need to fear but what you do unto another will come back around!”

To his fianceé, Shayanna Jenkins:

Shay,

You have always been my soul-mate and I want you to love life and know I’m always with you. I told you what was coming indirectly! I love you so much and know [you] are an angel. We split into two to come change the world! Your characteristic is that of a true angel and the definition of God’s love! Tell my story fully but never think anything besides how much I love you. This was the supreme almightys plan, not mine! I love you! Let Avi know how much I love her! Look after Jano and Eddie for me —they are my boys (You’re Rich).

I KNEW I LOVED YOU = SAVAGE GARDEN

NOT MUCH TIME

I’M BEING CALLED!

JOHN 3:16

I love you all equally! We are all each other! Don’t shed one tear for I am with all of you and never wasn’t! do not go back to living while worshipping false idols in which I warned you about!

IT’S TIME!!!

The Real Live Forever

According to The New York Post, Hernandez included a drawing of a thin rope dangling from a noose on the bottom of the page.

Lastly, to his lawyer Baez:

“Well, I wrote this letter following my acquittal and wanted to voice how I felt and let some people whos[e] music helped me get through hard times, know that it did. Wrong or right — who knows — I just follow my natural instincts and how it guides me. Pros or cons, didn’t weigh them, but I’m sure you’ll let me know your view."

“Besides that, I want you to know you have me forever like you never understood and time will reveal that I’m not perfect but my love and loyalty is like you’ve never seen! I appreciate all your work, time, effort, and never let that slip your mind! In time, you will see how appreciated you are, as well as all the others equally!” he continued.

“I would like to send you letters so you can send to their [the artists] information or whichever way you think best. I don’t want any media really getting into me, trying to just send my love to all the artists who got me through my tough times and sending my respect to a few of the real ones out there."

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