When Terrance Knighton was signed by the Patriots as a free agent this offseason, many assumed he would factor into the rotation that the Patriots would use on the interior of their defensive line in 2016. After not seeing a single snap against the Panthers on Friday night, it seems as though Knighton's roster spot in New England is no sure thing.
"Everybody wants to play. I didn't get a chance to," Knighton said after the game. "That's the decision they made . . . I have faith in my ability. I have faith in, you know, the coaching staff's decisions -- whatever the decision was. I'm not looking for an explanation or anything. [I'll] show up to work tomorrow. I still got a lot of ball left in me so it is what it is."
The Patriots opted to go with rookie third-round pick Vincent Valentine as the defensive tackle starter next to Malcom Brown in Carolina. Even so, because Alan Branch -- who was re-instated from a week-long team suspension on Thursday -- was not in uniform it would have made sense for Knighton to see playing time.
He admitted it was disappointing that he didn't.
"It's disappointing just because I've played a lot of ball in this league," Knighton said. "I've seen a lot of things. I'm not gonna make too much of it. It is what it is. Whatever happens happens. If I'm here, I'm here. If I'm not, I'm not. I'm just taking it a day at a time."
Knighton is vying for a role alongside fellow defensive tackles Markus Kuhn, Joe Vellano, Anthony Johnson and Woodrow Hamilton -- all of whom saw some action in Carolina. The former Jaguars, Broncos and Redskins defensive tackle saw playing time against the Bears last week, but he was in the game late, and when he was on the field, he had difficulty holding his ground at times.
After the Panthers game, Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked about Knighton's lack of playing time, and he alluded to the fact that Knighton is still trying to pick up some of the techniques he's being taught in New England, where defensive tackles are expected to two-gap effectively.
"Some new techniques, some new things...different things than what he's used to doing," Belichick said. "We played the younger guys tonight. We didn't get as much of a look at him as some other players. He played a little more last week. I think there's good competition at that position. We'll just have to see how it all plays out."
First impressions from the Red Sox' 6-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals:
Steven Wright recovered nicely after the first inning, but the damage was done.
Wright's last five innings featured just three hits allowed -- one in the infield. But the first inning did the Red Sox in -- two walks followed by a three-run homer, then a single and a two-run homer.
Whether this was a matter of rust for Wright -- who last pitched three weeks ago Friday night -- or an early inability to command his knuckleball is uncertain.
The fact is, Wright dug an early hole for his teammates, and he had the misfortune to do so against a team with the best bullpen in baseball.
To his credit, Wright kept the game somewhat within reach thereafter, but the five-run head start proved too much of a jump.
It's time to worry a little about Jackie Bradley.
Bradley was just 7-for-40 in the just-completed road trip, and things didn't get any better on the first night of the homestand.
In the first, he came up with two on and two out and struck out swinging to strand both baserunners. In the third, he came to the plate with runners on the corners and, again, struck out swinging.
We're seeing the same kind of slump that Bradley fell into in previous seasons, where even contact is hard to find, with nine strikeouts in the last 16 at-bats.
Problem is, with Andrew Benitendi on the DL, there aren't a lot of options for John Farrell with the Red Sox outfield.
Trying to get Fernando Abad and Junichi Tazawa back on track in low- leverage mop-up didn't work.
Tazawa had a perfect seventh, but gave up a monster shot into the center field bleachers to Lorenzo Cain to start the eighth.
Abad entered, and while he did record a couple of strikeouts, also gave up a single, a walk and threw a wild pitches before he could complete the inning.
Getting some work for the two was the right idea, given that the Sox were down by three runs at the time. A good outing might help either regain some confidence and turn the corner.
But not even that could be accomplished Friday night.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - There will be a moment in the days between September 3 and October 3 when Tom Brady stops what he’s doing, sets his jaw and mutters, “*$%^## Derby…”
During his first – and perhaps only action of the 2016 preseason – Brady had some very good plays, was let down by a few drops (like Derby’s on a third-down toss) and had a near pick on a downfield throw to Martellus Bennett.
Brady was in for four possessions, entering the game after Jimmy Garoppolo ran the team on the Patriots first three series.
Brady missed the first preseason game then plunged trainer’s scissors into his thumb just prior to the second preseason game and missed that one as well.
With a fair amount of buildup to this game, Brady’s first pass was a deep in-cut to Aaron Dobson that went for 37 yards after Dobson stepped out of a tackle.
That was followed by a crossing pattern drop by Julian Edelman and a high throw to the end zone on third-and-5 that doinked off the left hand of tight end Bennett under the goalpost. Seemed like a mistimed jump on the high throw over the hands of a couple defenders.
On Brady’s next series, a pair of Tyler Gaffney runs gained 20 before Brady dropped a fade in to the hands of Chris Hogan for a 32-yard touchdown. It couldn’t have been placed any better if Brady had been allowed to walk to Hogan and hand it to him.
Brady’s conversion pass to Dobson was incomplete.
The Patriots got another chunk play from LeGarrette Blount to start their next drive and Brady then hit Edelman for 6. But his throw to the left sideline on third-and-4 was bungled by Derby, ending the drive.
Brady’s final series was bleak. His first throw was batted down by Kawann Short. His second one, a deep throw across the field to Bennett after Brady stepped up in the pocket, should have been picked by Kurt Coleman. Brady was sacked on third down.
Garoppolo came in for the final two series of the first half and started the third quarter.
Brady spent much of the first quarter apart from the offense when it was on the sidelines, standing with arms folded. When the offense was on the field, Brady mostly sat by himself on the bench. There wasn’t any significant interaction between he and Garoppolo, who huddled with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels after his series’ ended. Brady did the same after he came off the field with Garoppolo hovering nearby.
Brady finished 3-for-9 for 76 yards and a touchdown. As a team, the Patriots were 0-for-7 on third down in the first half.