Belichick mum on Brady, Wilfork

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Belichick mum on Brady, Wilfork

FOXBORO -- Any time Tom Brady misses practice, it's news. When Vince Wilfork is out as well, it's cause for concern in New England.

Both missed practices this week because of "non-injury related" reasons. They were back on the practice field Friday, surely to the relief of Patriots fans everywhere.

But was there ever a real worry that Brady and Wilfork wouldn't play Sunday against the Broncos? Bill Belichick, predictably, didn't relinquish much information on why the two most well-known Patriots captains were out.

"We list them (on the injury report) based on the way they are," Belichick said plainly.

Well, were they sick? Do illnesses need to be listed on the injury report?

"Yeah, sure," Belichick answered.

OK, then.

Belichick wouldn't say if he was simply resting two of his stars for the stretch run of the season. Whatever the reason was that they didn't practice, Belichick wasn't saying.

"There could be a lot of reasons," he said." "Personal reasons. A guy could have to go to a funeral. Maybe he has a family issue that he needs to attend to. Maybe it's what you said. I don't know. If it's not injury related, it's not injury related. If it's injury related, then we list it.

"I don't know what you guys are looking for," Belichick told reporters. "If a guy has an injury, then we list the injury. If he doesn't have an injury, then we say it's not injury-related. What am I missing here? I'm confused."

Belichick summed up his thoughts on the situation by relaying a general principle held throughout Foxboro when it comes to addressing players' personal issues.

"You know, we don't talk about players' personal situations," he said. "If they want to talk about it, if there is something to talk about whatever it is . . . It's personal. I don't think that necessarily has to be shared with the rest of the world. Could be, but it doesn't have to be."

Ratto: Kaepernick controversy touches on hot-button issues in an ugly political year

Ratto: Kaepernick controversy touches on hot-button issues in an ugly political year

Ray Ratto joins Chevrolet SportsNet Central to discuss Colin Kaepernick's decision to not stand during the national anthem before the San Francisco 49ers preseason game.

Belichick says all three QBs could use more game reps

Belichick says all three QBs could use more game reps

Bill Belichick was expansive Saturday when asked on a conference call how he'll split the quarterback reps for the Patriots final preseason game Thursday in New York.

"I think that’s a good question, it’s a fair question, it’s one that we really have to give some good consideration to," Belichick began. "As I said before, I think whatever we do will benefit whoever does it. We want to get Jimmy [Garoppolo] ready for the Arizona game. Tom [Brady] isn’t going to be playing for a while, so it’s kind of his last chance to play until he comes back after a few weeks. Jacoby [Brissett] certainly could use all the playing time that he can get. I think that whichever players we play will benefit from it and it will be valuable to them. We could play all three quarterbacks a lot next week and they’d all benefit from that and it would all be good, but we can’t."

Since they can't, Belichick said there will be situational work done with whoever isn't going to get the game reps.

"We only have one game and so many snaps, so we’ll have to, between practice and the game, put them in some situations that are somewhat controllable like a two-minute situation or things like that that you know are going to kind of come up one way or another," said Belichick. "You can sort of control those in how you want those broken down, what’s best, what does each guy need and how can we get the best we need for each guy. I need to let them get the reps that they need, but it’s how do we get the team ready for what they need to be ready for. They all need to get ready for different things.

What Jimmy’s role is in a couple weeks is going to be a lot different than what Tom’s is, and it’s going to be a lot different than what Jacoby’s is. At some point later on, those roles are going to change again. So again, there’s no perfect solution to it. We’ll just do the best we can to try to have our individual players and our team as well prepared as possible at whatever point that is that we have to deal with, and whenever those situations come up."

As I wrote earlier today, this is the sticky and uncomfortable situation arising from Deflategate. It's not a Tom Brady penalty. It's a team penalty when one considers the ripple effects. And there's no handbook to consult.

 

Report: Patriots sign LB Jonathan Freeny to two-year extension

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Report: Patriots sign LB Jonathan Freeny to two-year extension

The Patriots have signed backup linebacker and special teamer Jonathan Freeny to a two-year contract extension through 2018, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported.

Freeney, 27, was originally signed by the Patriots to a one-year free-agent deal in March 2015 after spending the first four years of his NFL career with the Miami Dolphins. He then earned a one-year extension last September and played 13 games, seven starts, with 50 tackles, one sack and a forced fumble. 

"Jonathan is a very dependable player," Bill Belichick said on a conference call Saturday. "He is able to do a lot of different roles for us. He can play inside, outside, on the line of scrimmage and off the ball defensively. He has been a very valuable player for us in the kicking game, obviously with some size, a four-phase special teams player.

"He is one of our overall top workers in terms of the offseason program, preparation, training. He always does things right. He works hard, doesn't really say a lot, but is very dependable and consistent. I think everybody in the organization looks up to him."