Hoyer says he'll learn from Eagles game

Hoyer says he'll learn from Eagles game

By Tom E. Curran

FOXBORO - Brian Hoyer's numbers were not good against the Eagles - 5 for 17 for 55 yards with two sacks.

But like many things on Monday night, extenuating circumstances have to be weighed when making evaluations. Hoyer certainly owns some of those incompletions, but he wasn't throwing to the team's top-tier receivers. Nor was he getting anything resembling consistent protection.

To these eyes, Hoyer did nothing to hurt his status of the go-to backup to Tom Brady on Monday night even though his numbers stunk.

Hoyer said the Eagles scheme led to lower percentage decisions.

"I woulda liked a few more completions but we also tried to take a few more shots and you're not gonna be 100 percent on those," Hoyer explained. "They present us the opportunity to throw the ball outside and throw it deep so I just try to give our guys a chance and try to make a few more than we did tonight.

"They played a little more man than we saw them do last week," said Hoyer. "It's the preseason so I'm sure they're working on different things. But you try to give our guys a shot and hopefully we can make better plays. I gotta make better throws. I need to keep working. We haven't seen a lot of man coverage during camp."

Hoyer is going to likely have a quiet first half this week against the Buccaneers. It's looking like Tom Brady's game. But he understands the import of taking Monday, learning from it then moving forward to Tampa.

"Its gonna be good for our team to have a quick turnaround and see how tough we are," he noted. "We gotta get ready for Wednesday morning practice. You learn what you learn from this game and move on and improve."

As for Hoyer's competition, Ryan Mallett, the second-year player was a little better than Week 1 but not a whole lot despite going 10 for 20 for 105 with a touchdown. Hoyer did take notice.

"(Mallett) did a pretty good job tonight and that makes me step my level up too," he stated. "I think looking at it tomorrow I might take fewer shots and try to get a few more completions and give my guy a better ball."

It would have been easier for Hoyer if he'd been given better support.

Gronkowski returns to practice; Mason, Branch still missing

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Gronkowski returns to practice; Mason, Branch still missing

FOXBORO -- The Patriots had a welcome face back on the practice field on Wednesday, as tight end Rob Gronkowski returned to action after missing the team's previous five practices as he dealt with an injury. 

Gronkowski participated in the warmup period of practice and then remained with the majority of his teammates for drills. 

The last time Gronkowski was spotted on the field was last Monday, which was the first of three joint practices between the Patriots and the Bears. He pulled up after pursuing a Tom Brady pass, walked along the sideline, met with head trainer Jim Whalen, and then left practice early. He did not suit up for Thursday's game against Chicago. 

Gronkowski has not participated in a preseason game since 2012. 

Patriots not spotted at Wednesday's practice were Shaq Mason, Jonathan Cooper, Sebastian Vollmer (on the physically unable to perform list) and Dion Lewis (also on PUP). Alan Branch, who has been suspended by the team before last week's preseason game, was also missing. 

Jabaal Sheard, Rob Ninkovich, Malcolm Mitchell, Shea McClellin, Tre' Jackson (PUP) and Danny Amendola (PUP) were present for warmups but went to a lower field for conditioning. Amendola and Jackson were not in pads for the short-and-shells session. 

Jon Bon Jovi was taking in the session alongside Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. 

Wednesday's Red Sox-Rays lineups: Ramirez gets night off

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Wednesday's Red Sox-Rays lineups: Ramirez gets night off

Hanley Ramirez is getting a night off as the Red Sox look for their third straight win against the Rays tonight at Tropicana Field.

Travis Shaw will play first base, with Brock Holt at third.

Tonight's lineups:

RED SOX:
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Sandy Leon C
Brock Holt 3B
Travis Shaw 1B
Andrew Benintendi LF
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Rick Porcello P

RAYS:
Logan Forsythe 2B
Kevin Kiermaier CF
Evan Longoria 3B
Brad Miller SH
Matt Duffy SS
Logan Morrison 1B
Steven Souza Jr. RF
Corey Dickerson LF
Bobby Wilson C
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Matt Andriese P