Belichick: Edelman still being evaluated


Belichick: Edelman still being evaluated

On Tuesday, Bill Belichick gave something of an update as to the status of Julian Edelman. The receiver suffered a hand injury in Sunday night's loss to Baltimore.
"Well, we'll give you more information that tomorrow and see what he's able to do out there in practice," the coach said." I know that they're evaluating the hand and taking a look at it, trying to determine what the nature of the injury is and how -- or even the extent that -- it is injured and try to see where that is, and take a look at him tomorrow, see what he's able to do.
"We'll update you tomorrow after practice relative to his practice availability."
Edelman caught four passes for 28 yards and a touchdown in the first half. He went to the locker room early in the third quarter to have his left hand examined, and despite returning to the sideline later, never played another snap in the game.
The beneficiary was Deion Branch.
Branch had just one catch through the first two quarters. His role expanded in the third quarter and he finished playing 43 offensive snaps, which is 52 percent of the total.
Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was impressed with the way Branch stepped in.
"It's interesting because Deion, in the course of the game, played multiple position in the game and his ability to do that really was a plus for us the other night. He made a couple adjustments and plays at the line of scrimmage or right after the ball was snapped that really helped our situation there.
"One, in the two minute situation where they blitzed a weak corner; he and Tom were on the same page, and a few other adjustments they made as well. Deion embraced his role during last week's preparation and was ready to go when we needed to and we needed him to help us in multiple ways and he was up for the challenge the other night. "
As Belichick said, more information on Edelman's participation this week will be available after the team begins practice. It stands to reason expectations for Branch will likewise be made clear as the days pass.

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Titans roll to 36-22 victory over Jaguars


THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Titans roll to 36-22 victory over Jaguars

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - There's nothing like a visit from the Jacksonville Jaguars to make the Tennessee Titans remember how to protect their home field.

Marcus Mariota threw for 270 yards and two touchdowns to end his home struggles and the Titans had their highest point total of the season in a 36-22 victory over the Jaguars on Thursday night.

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Develin stays on top of tight end techniques in case he's next man up


Develin stays on top of tight end techniques in case he's next man up

FOXBORO -- Once the Patriots traded AJ Derby to the Broncos for a fifth-round pick earlier this week, they were left with just two tight ends on their roster. While those two tight ends -- Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett -- have played as two of the best tight ends in football this season, it's a position group that has been considerably thinned. 

Until coach Bill Belichick adds another player at that spot, James Develin would be the logical "next man up." A position group unto himself as the team's lone active fullback -- the other fullback in the locker room is practice-squad player Glenn Gronkowski -- Develin meets with Patriots tight ends and coach Brian Daboll on a daily basis because the fullback and tight-end responsibilities in the Patriots offense are similar, particularly in the run game.

As much time as he spends with that group, Develin tries to absorb what he can when it comes to the nuances of the position. 

"I always kind of try to prepare, obviously, for my fullback role, but then in any other role that I might be called upon for," Develin said on Thursday. "A couple years ago, we had a bunch of injuries during the offseason program, during OTAs, and I filled in a little bit at tight end. I try to keep myself familiar with all those techniques and that tight end role so if the day were to come where I needed to go out there and do it, I'd be able to go out there and do it."

When the Patriots began the season relying more on the run, Develin was called upon to play a relatively significant role in the offense. He averaged 21.3 snaps per game through the first three games of the season, but that number has fallen to 13.6 since Tom Brady's return from a four-game suspension. Still, his role can be a critical one. 

The Patriots' running game faltered last season after both Blount and Dion Lewis went down with season-ending injuries. Having Develin in the mix as an extra blocker would not have guaranteed a more efficient attack, but it may have helped the team's running-game woes late in the year. 

Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels now has the luxury of bringing Develin onto the field when he wants some added muscle for his blocking schemes, and should the Patriots need a tight end in a pinch, Develin could do that too.

"A lot of times, especially in the blocking game, really the only difference [between fullback and tight end] is that I'm five yards off the ball in the backfield and they're up on the line," Develin said. "The angles are a little bit different. But a lot of times the assignment is typcially the same thing. It's just the technique of getting there and the angles that you take.

"Then in the passing game, as a tight end, there's just a lot more routes and stuff like that. I try to work on that to help me as a fullback to be a little bit better in space . . . It's a sybiotic relationship." 

As it is, Develin will line up occasionally outside. Though not a threat as a receiver in that spot in the same way that Gronkowski or Bennett would be, he understands some of the different looks tight ends have to be comfortable with.

If an emergency arose and he was asked to fill that role, he wouldn't hesitate.

"There's a little bit of carry-over depending on what we're doing or whatever play we have called where I'll line up on the line," he said. "But that's kind of what a fullback has to do. You kind of have to be able to be thrown into whatever position on the field that you gotta do and you gotta just do your job."