Talib finally entering Patriots fold


Talib finally entering Patriots fold

Cornerback Aqib Talib's four-game suspension was completed and lifted by the NFL Monday. He was traded to New England by the Buccaneers more than a week ago.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick hasn't said much about his new defensive back over the last 11 days, choosing instead to focus "on the players who are here."

But Monday, the coach said Talib's acceptance into the fold has finally begun.

Im glad to have him. Were working with him," Belichick said. "Im sure that hell work hard to try to get caught up and well see where it all goes.

Given the unique situation surrounding the trade, New England's roster exemption for Talib has been extended to November 19 -- one week from today. The exemption is lifted when the Patriots activate him.

Belichick isn't concerned with calling this a special case, however.

The staff will work with the cornerback individually, hunker down for film study, and get Talib immersed in Patriots terminology. New England will hold its first practiced Wednesday and the hope is to get the cornerback in by then to be ready for Sunday's game against Indianapolis.

Is there added pressure because of the team's struggles in the secondary? Belichick sounded more interested in covering the basics.

"It's not about expectations or goals," he said. "We're in uncharted territory here with a new player on a new team."

There's a lot to learn on both sides.

Talib has been in Tampa Bay, an NFC team, for the duration of his four and a half year career. He's played against the Patriots once in that time.

Defensive back Devin McCourty admitted he knows little of his new teammate. The only thing he's sure of is that having an extra body, a talented one, in the secondary should help.

"We look forward to it; Wednesday he'll get here and we'll get out there to practice," McCourty said. "It'll be a big week for us. Just to get another guy out there who you know is a good player, it'll be exciting.

Jerod Mayo said something similar on his call. The linebacker, who was a first round pick as Talib was in 2008, remembers only an outline of his peer based off the few visits they made together.

"I just know he's competitive and he loves the game," said Mayo. "I'm not really sure as to how he plays the game, I just know he goes out there and plays hard every day. So we'll see what happens."

Thursday's Patriots-Steelers practice report: Garoppolo off the list


Thursday's Patriots-Steelers practice report: Garoppolo off the list

FOXBORO -- The Patriots injury report shrunk again on Thursday. 

One day after Rob Gronkowski was removed from the injury report, the Patriots were able to take backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo off. 

Garoppolo injured his shoulder in a Week 2 win over the Dolphins and then missed the following two games, giving way to rookie third-rounder Jacoby Brissett. He has been limited in practice ever since being driven into the ground by Miami linebacker Kiko Alonso.

Here is Thursday's full practice participation/injury report for the Patriots and Steelers:


TE Martellus Bennett (ankle)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Jamie Collins (hip)
WR Julian Edelman (foot)
DL Woodrow Hamilton (shoulder)
LB Shea McClellin (concussion)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (hamstring)
LB Elandon Roberts (ankle)
DL Vincent Valentine (back)


T Marcus Gilbert (ankle)
DE Cameron Heyward (hamstring)
QB Ben Roethlisberger (left knee)
S Shamarko Thomas (groin)
C Cody Wallace (knee)
WR Markus Wheaton (shoulder)
RB DeAngelo Williams (knee)

S Robert Golden (foot)
S Michael Mitchell (knee)
LB Ryan Shazier (knee)

Bruins looking to avoid anxious moments on home ice

Bruins looking to avoid anxious moments on home ice

BRIGHTON, Mass. – The Bruins will have plenty of proud history on display for tonight’s home opener when Bobby Orr and Milt Schmidt drop the ceremonial first puck at TD Garden prior to the game against the New Jersey Devils.

Orr is celebrating the 50th anniversary of his first NHL game, and the amazing Schmidt is there for the 80th anniversary of his rookie NHL season, and it will be up to the current crop of B’s players afterward to play up to the standards of those two Hall of Fame legends. That was a difficult challenge for the Black and Gold last season as they struggled to a 17-18-6 record on home ice and experienced some of their worst regular-season efforts in front of the paying home customers.

When placed side-by-side with a road record (25-13-3), where only the Sharks and Capitals had more victories on the road last season, it was clear the B’s had some strange motivational issues at the Garden. Whether it was leadership, maturity or the coach to blame for their home malaise, the Bruins are looking to reverse that trend this season after an encouraging 2-1 start on the first three-game road trip of the season.

In fact, Brad Marchand didn’t even want to entertain thoughts about last year’s home ice funk.

“Last year has nothing to do with this year. We’ve got a lot of new guys and a lot of new faces, and we’re looking to have a big start at home and have a big year. We want to try and start that tonight,” said Brad Marchand. “We don’t have to get anxious and too excited. We play a good road game and if we play the same way at home as we do on the road then hopefully we’ll be okay.”

The home ice anxiousness was clear on many occasions for the Bruins whether it was getting blown out at the Winter Classic, getting smoked in Milan Lucic’s return to the Garden with the LA Kings or epically blowing the final game of the season vs. Ottawa with the playoffs on the line. It will be interesting to see what a big personality and hardened, vocal leader David Backes can bring to combat some of the home ice skittishness of last season. 

One other thing the Bruins will be looking to change: allowing the other team to score the first goal, as they’ve done in all three games to start this season. It could perhaps be excused with the B’s playing the polite visitor at the emotional home openers for  the Blue Jackets and the Maple Leafs last week, but now it’s their turn to jack up the emotional level and make TD Garden a much more difficult place to play than it was for the majority of last season.