The many non-controversial Patriots controversies

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The many non-controversial Patriots controversies

By Justin Aucoin
WickedGoodSports.com

If nothing else can be said of this years team, the New England Patriots have become experts at fabricatingcontroversiesout of absolutely nothing. Really, for a team that only wants to talk about the next big game, they do an awful good job at breathing air into the fire of some fun but minor stories, all while making a big deal out of thin air.

Theyre like wizards of controversy.

Exhibit A:

Tom Bradys Get lubed comment a few weeks back. Back when he was trying out his heel persona for a few weeks:

"Yeah, start drinking early. Get nice and rowdy. It's a 4:15 game, a lot of time to get lubed up. Come out here, and cheer for the home team."

A fairly simple comment; he encouraged fans to do what theyre probably already decided to do anyways have a few beers and then get rowdy at the game. Most people were cool with what Tom said. If nothing else, they were surprised he actually showed an iota of a personality while at the mic. But a handful of people the ones who probably couldve actually used a drink or two to chill out got all upset.

Then the Pats released a statement to clarify what Brady meant.

"He meant 'stay hydrated, drink a lot of water. Be loud, drink responsibly.'"

Thus the controversy began. What went from a fun, rallying of the fans became an issue. Some of the very reporters who laughed at Toms jest started sharpening their knives for the carving that would ensue.

Also, we didnt know that one had to drink water responsibility. Who knew that over-hydrating is such a huge pandemic in this great nation of ours?

Exhibit B:

During the bye-week Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski tweeted a picture of him with a different tight end: porn star Bibi Jones.

OMG, look at all that skin Gronk is showing?

Pats owner Robert Krafts response:

Apparently Kraft is against attractive women wearing his teams jersey or his players from hanging with attractive women (just look at Toms wife, for instance) cause Gronk had the unpleasantness of having to apologize for his indiscretion:

"I didn't send anything to hurt the reputation of anyone on the New England Patriots or on behalf of Robert Kraft," Gronkowski said. "That's all, just a simple picture, that's all. From here on out, I'm just here to talk about thePittsburgh Steelersand the big game this weekend."

Gronks right. It was a simple picture. Fans got a laugh and metaphorically high-fived him while discussing the tweets by the water cooler. The media got a cheap story on an otherwise dull bye-week. Not to mention hes not doing anything any other 22-year-old guy wouldnt do in his position. Chicago Blackhawks Patrick Kane gets grilled for the same thing. Its insane. If Gronk should apologize for anything its for not hanging with a better known porn star or not getting video to share with the rest of the class. Really, though, apologizing for that picture is about as absurd as saying drink water responsibly.

Good thing the Pats are A students in absurd PR.

Still, were trying to figure out exactly how taking a picture of a clothed woman is hurting the reputation of the Pats organization. Maybe were getting this all wrong and Kraft wanted to see more of Bibi? Perhaps hes jealous of Gronk?

Kraft wishes he had guns like that

Lets be honest, Gronk is showing more skin than Bibi is and those two photos are probably the most clothes youll ever see Bibi wear in a picture on the Internet.

"I'm just glad I'm no longer the one that people are making fun of on my team on a daily basis," Brady said Tuesday on WEEI-AM. "Gronk has definitely pulled into the lead there.

Yea, about that Tom. This still lives on the Internet.

You're still the king, baby.

Garoppolo: Get the little things corrected, or they'll bite us in the butt

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Garoppolo: Get the little things corrected, or they'll bite us in the butt

 

This felt like a step backward for Jimmy Garoppolo. 

The preseason had been shaping up so nicely for him, too. He'd be able to ride the wave of momentum following his strong performance last week against the Bears, and carry that into Carolina, where he would take on a very good defense on the road. What better way to simulate what he'll see in Week 1 of the regular season in Arizona?

Then something happened. Garoppolo, who looked cool last week at Gillette Stadium, seemed rattled by the Panthers defense. The quarterback who hadn't turned the ball over all preseason very nearly gave it away twice. Whereas he made calculated risks in the red zone last week, this week there were head-scratchers in the same area. 

"Ups and downs," said Garoppolo, who beat the Panthers, 19-17, and finished the game 9-for-15 for 57 yards. "Just little things here and there we need to get corrected. We’ll take care of it."

Garoppolo's first third-down throw foreshadowed what was to come for the Patriots on third down Friday night. He threw what should have been an easy interception for linebacker Luke Kuechly when there was a miscommunication between him and receiver Julian Edelman. 

Edelman stopped and turned for a pass a few yards off the line of scrimmage. Garoppolo targeted him as though he was still moving, hitting Kuechly between the numbers at the Carolina 12-yard line.

The team started the night 0-for-7 on third down.

"It’s my fault. I can’t put it in the linebacker’s hands like that," said Garoppolo, who insisted splitting reps in practice wasn't to his detriment. "It’s just bottom line. Just got to be smart. It’s tight windows, tight throws. Just got to finish with touchdowns."

Later in the game, Garoppolo didn't recognize a Panthers pressure, he took a glancing blow from a defender and escaped the pocket. Rather than throw the football away, he tried to make a positive play and was stripped from behind by linebacker Thomas Davis. 

Patriots running back James White was there to pounce on the ball, and Garoppolo was fortunate to escape with his turnover column clean.  

Still, Garoppolo knows there are adjustments to make. In order to give the Patriots a chance to beat the Cardinals in Week 1, he'll probably have to play better than he did on Friday. 

“We’ll do our best to get in there,” Garoppolo said. “We have two weeks until then and we’ll work. There’s little things here and there. Overall, there’s some good things that we did tonight. 

"We just have to get the little things corrected or they’re going to bite us in the butt. We’re going to work our tails off to get to that point. We’ll get there.”

Running back D.J. Foster making a late push for Patriots roster spot

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Running back D.J. Foster making a late push for Patriots roster spot

CHARLOTTE – D.J. Foster began making his case to stick on the Patriots’ 53-man roster Friday night against the Panthers.

An undrafted pass-catching back from Arizona State who’d missed almost all of training camp with an unknown injury was pretty persuasive. He caught three passes for 33 yards, showing nice burst, carried twice for 9 and returned a punt for 16. He saw his action late in the third with fellow rookie Jacoby Brissett in at quarterback.

Foster punctuated his first reception – an 11-yard screen that Brissett (9-for-9 for 85 yards and a touchdown) – by lowering his shoulder and delivering a blow that Foster said he wanted to “get that adrenaline going.”

“It felt great,” said Foster. “It had been a long time. I was telling some guys, that was the first time I’d gotten hit since college. It felt good to get back out there. The coaches gave me a chance to get out there and show what I could do.”

James White will be the Patriots sub-back (or third down back or pass-catching back or whatever you want to call him) until Dion Lewis returns from his knee malady. But Foster showed the acceleration and quickness that made him such a productive player for the Sun Devils. With 222 receptions for 2,458 yards and another 2,355 on the ground, Foster would fit nicely in an offense like the Patriots that uses the short and intermediate passing game so well.  

He hasn’t had much chance to make a case to stick and the Patriots – with White, LeGarrette Blount, Tyler Gaffney, Brandon Bolden and Joey Iosefa all in the mix – may have to take their chances with releasing Foster and hoping he goes unclaimed so New England can bring him back for their practice squad. It’s a risk, but other teams are encountering the same issues at cutdown time. Do they pluck a player they passed on in the draft and put him on their roster ahead of players they’ve been working with since the spring?

Bill Belichick wasn’t effusive in his praise for Foster but did indicate it was a good opportunity to at least see him in game action.

“We played a couple of guys that haven’t gotten much playing time so we got a chance to look at them,” he explained. “D.J. is one of those so we wanted to give him a few opportunities to handle the ball because he hasn’t done it this year. I thought he did some good things. There are a couple of things that he could do a little better but we’ll look at the film and see how it goes. He did a couple of things with his chances out there.”

To make the most of those chances, Foster said he avoided getting too hyped before getting on the field.  
 
“Just keeping my calm and hearing the playcall and just doing the mechanics and all the fundamentals of being in the backfield (was the focus),” said Foster. "Coach Ivan (Fears, running backs coach) did a great job of keeping me mellow. I felt healthy, I felt really good. I got some punt returns, some kick returns, some special teams. I was seeking contact to get that adrenaline going.

“It’s a long process,” he acknowledged. “Talking to the veteran guys, they said it’s a long process. I knew battling my injury and come back healthy, I came back strong and I felt ready.”

We’ll see if it’s enough to carve out a niche on the roster. The cutdown to 75 players comes Tuesday.