Patriots prepared for Bills after bye week

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Patriots prepared for Bills after bye week

Patriots players and coach Bill Belichick discussed the importance of the bye week and their preparations for the Bills on Sunday.

The weather the past few days had sent the Pats inside to practice, but a nice day Friday and expected good weather for Sunday at Gillette Stadium against the Bills has the players, and coach, excited to be back on the field.

"It seems like a month since we played," Belichick said. The Pats last game was a 45-7 victory over the Rams in London on Oct. 28.

Linebacker Rob Ninkovich likes the timing of the bye.

"Bye week was at a perfect time," Ninkovich said. "We're able to rest up some of the guys who are banged up."

Felger: Jimmy G. may be McDaniels' ticket to a new head coaching job

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Felger: Jimmy G. may be McDaniels' ticket to a new head coaching job

So Josh McDaniels says he wants to be a head coach again?

Perfect. The timing couldn't be better. Because in Jimmy Garoppolo, McDaniels may have the perfect resume stuffer.

If the same man who helped coax a Matt Cassell-led offense to 11 wins and the eighth-highest number of points in football in 2008 can do something similar with Garoppolo in 2016, then McDaniels should be able to write his ticket.

"I want to be a head coach at some point in my life," said McDaniels on Wednesday. "I've learned a lot over the last few years. Hopefully, gained a lot of wisdom. If and when that time comes, I'd look forward to doing it again.''

It's something of a mystery why McDaniels hasn't already made his return to the head coaching ranks. Despite his failure in Denver, it would seem he has sufficiently rehabilitated himself to once again be at the top of most searches. So either he hasn't quite gotten the offer he's wanted or there are some other forces at work that have kept him with Bill Belichick the last few years.

Of course, many have wondered if one of those forces could be a promise of future employment in New England. You know, the heir apparent. So when McDaniels says he wants to be a head coach again, maybe what he means is that he wants to be the head coach of the New England Patriots.

Would that be a good or bad thing?

Judging by McDaniels' work the last time he left Tom Brady and the Patriots in 2009, the prospect is scary. He started out 6-0 in Denver (including a fist-pumping, overtime win over the Pats in Week 5), but then dropped 17 of his next 22 games and was promptly fired. He surfaced in St. Louis as an offensive coordinator the next season, only to lead an offense that finished dead last in the NFL in points scored (second-year QB Sam Bradford started 10 of the 16 games that season). Then it was back to New England the protective glow of Brady.

As for his GM work, McDaniels carries the shame of drafting Tim Tebow in the first round. But he also came away with receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker in the same draft. He also traded Jay Cutler to Chicago for two first-round picks, a third-rounder and Kyle Orton, a decisive win. In other words, personnel-wise, his two-year stint wasn't a complete disaster.

But most everything else was. He was hated inside and outside the building for his authoritarian nature and lack of experience, a deadly combination. He was caught cheating when his (ahem) video director Steve Scharnecchia (yes, Dante's kid) was caught filming a 49ers walkthrough in London (wonder where he learned that from?). He constantly battled with players. He was reviled.

But that's in the past, and Garoppolo could now be his ticket back to a job he covets. Unless, of course, the Pats go 1-3 under Garoppolo and the offense sputters. Then we go back to talking about Tebow and how it ended in Denver.

Email Felger at mfelger@comcastsportsnet.com. Listen to Felger and Mazz weekdays, 2-6 p.m., on 98.5 FM. The simulcast runs daily on CSN.

Collins' absence was "expected and is not contract-related"

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Collins' absence was "expected and is not contract-related"

CSN Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran reports "Jamie Collins' practice absence today was expected and is not contract-related."

More to come...

Postcard from Camp: Garoppolo takes first team 11-on-11 reps

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Postcard from Camp: Garoppolo takes first team 11-on-11 reps

FOXBORO -- Every day from Patriots training camp, we'll provide you with some notes and observations from the Gillette Stadium practice fields. Here's what we saw at the first day of on-the-field work for Bill Belichick and his club. 

* Linebacker Jamie Collins was not spotted at practice, one of only two players that were not seen for the summer's first practice. (Running back Dion Lewis, who is on the physically unable to perform list, was also not present.) It's unclear what might have been keeping Collins off of the field as he was present for spring workouts, and he was not one of the seven players placed on PUP earlier this week, but CSN Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran is told Collins' absence "was expected and is not contract-related."

* Jonathan Freeny saw reps at linebacker next to Dont'a Hightower with Collins out.

* Even after coach Bill Belichick made it clear that it was a priority to get Jimmy Garoppolo ready for Week 1, it was Tom Brady who was first in line to take reps with the Patriots offense during 7-on-7 portions of practice. When the team went to 11-on-11 work, it was Garoppolo who took over with what projects as the first team offensive line. 

* Several players on PUP were present for Thursday's workout, but did not participate outside of early conditioning work. Receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola were on the field early but not in helmets. Same went for offensive linemen Sebastian Vollmer and Tre' Jackson. Tight end Clay Harbor was also present but not participating. Alan Branch, who was placed on the active/non-football injury list on Wednesday, was present early but did not have a helmet. 

* Shaq Mason appears to have been removed from the PUP list as he practiced with the team with his helmet on. Fellow offensive linemen Josh Kline and Nate Solder were present and participating at practice. Neither player was seen during spring practices. 

* Running back LeGarrette Blount was another player who was on the field and participating Thursday after having missed spring work. Blount's 2015 regular season came to an end when he suffered a hip injury late in the year. 

* Players wore shorts, shells and helmets for the workout. Players in red jerseys included all three quarterbacks, safety Duron Harmon and corner Logan Ryan. Both Harmon and Ryan were not seen during OTAs or minicamp practices open to reporters. 

* Matthew Slater's No. 18 was not spotted on the field, but the special teams captain was out there. He gave a nod to his teammate Nate Ebner -- who is with the USA Rugby Men's Sevens team at the Rio Olympics -- by wearing No. 43 for the practice. 

* The first day of training camp often brings with it some different contraptions used by the team in drills. On Thursday, the Patriots broke out large foam wheels that were rolled by coaches and then hit by players working on their form tackling. 

* During special teams work, Brady worked off to the side with tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett. At the same time, Garoppolo handled hand-off duties during a period focused on offensive and defensive line play.

* A little over an hour into the session, Jabaal Sheard spent some time on the turf, apparently tending to his left foot or ankle. Eventually he got to his feet and stayed on the field. 

* Rookie second-round pick Cyrus Jones, Keshawn Martin and Chris Harper spent time returning punts. 

* When Garoppolo got reps with the first-team offensive line in 11-on-11 work, Brady chatted with Patriots owner Robert Kraft. 

* For a time, Amendola and Edelman ran routes near a back corner of the practice fields while their teammates practiced. They finished up their workout about 15 minutes before the rest of the team finished their on-the-field work.

7-on-7 RED ZONE

Brady: 5-for-8

Garoppolo: 6-for-8

Brissett: 2-for-4

Brady complete to Bennett on a back-shoulder throw with Freeny in coverage

Brady incomplete (deflected by a racquet)

Brady complete to Bennett with McCourty in coverage. 

Brady incomplete to Gronkowski. Pass was dropped. Chung was in coverage. 

Garoppolo complete to AJ Derby over the middle

Garoppolo incomplete for Martin. Pass broken up by Justin Coleman. 

Garoppolo complete to Martin

Garoppolo complete to Washington with EJ Biggers in coverage.

Brissett incomplete to Devin Lucien

Brissett incomplete (deflected by racquet)

Brissett complete to Lucien

Brissett complete to Gaffney (scrambling)

Brady complete to Bolden on back-shoulder

Brady complete to Boldenon wheel  with Hightower in coverage

Brady incomplete to Bennett

Brady complete to Dobson with McCourty in coverage

Garoppolo complete to Develin

Garoppolo complete to Hogan. Good adjustment by Hogan to come back to the ball. 

Garoppolo incomplete (deflected by racquet)

Garoppolo complete to Gronkowski with Jordan Richards in coverage. 

7-on-7 and 4-on-3 RED ZONE WORK

Brady: 4-for-6

Garoppolo: 3-for-5

Brissett: 3-for-5

Brady complete to Gronkowski with Chung in coverage

Brady complete to Martin

Garoppolo complete to Nate Washington

Garoppolo complete to DeAndre Carter

Brissett incomplete

Brissett incomplete

Brady complete to Hogan

Brady incomplete to Dobson with Ryan in coverage

Garoppolo incomplete 

Garoppolo holds

Brissett complete to Steven Scheu

Brissett complete to Blount

Brady complete to Gronkowski in the back of the end zone. 

Brady incomplete for Washington

Garoppolo complete to James White. 

Garoppolo incomplete to Malcolm Mitchell

Brissett complete to Harper 

11-on-11

Garoppolo: 4-for-6

Brady: 3-for-6

Brissett: 3-for-6

Garoppolo complete to Blount

Garoppolo incomplete to Carter. Hightower broke up the pass. 

Garoppolo incomplete to James White. White was out of bounds. 

Garoppolo complete to Bennett with Rob Ninkovich in coverage. 

Garoppolo complete to Dobson in the back of the end zone. 

Garoppolo complete to Hogan over the middle with Freeny in coverage

Brady complete to Harper with Cyrus Jones in coverage

Brady incomplete to Donald Brown. Biggers swatted the ball out of Brown's hands

Brady incomplete to Gronkowski. Pass was broken up by Richards. 

Brady complete to Hogan in the back corner of the end zone with Biggers in coverage

Brady complete to Gronkowski on a back-shoulder throw

Brady incomplete to Dobson. Throw was out of reach of Dobson's dive. 

Brissett complete to Gaffney

Brissett incomplete to Mitchell. Pass was dropped.

Brissett complete to Lucien

Brissett incomplete to Bryce Williams. Sunseri in coverage. 

Brissett incomplete. Bad snap from Ted Karras. 

Brissett complete to Harper.