Do NFL players need to take a stand?

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Do NFL players need to take a stand?

At what point do you say enough is enough if you're an NFL player?

The time seems to have come for a handful of players who have publicly stated their unhappiness with the NFL replacement officials.

But will it go to the next level? Will players refuse to play? Will the NFLPA step in and do something.

It all sounds good, but retired Patriot Troy Brown says it's just not possible with the way things are constructed now.

"I don't think NFLPA can do anything with this new CBA they got," Brown said on Sports Tonight. "The commissioner has total control of suspending people without asking anybody else. I mean, they can't do anything about it. Their fine money goes wherever the commissioner says he wants it to go. They get fined for things like having their socks pulled down, shirts untucked They don't want the players looking a hot mess but the game's looking like a hot mess because it looks like bar fights all over these fields throughout the NFL."

The field may look like bar fights, but based on some calls we've seen, its the replacement officials who look like their watching the game after their 8th beer.

Boston Herald columnist Dan Shaughnessy knows how out of hand things have gotten, and even takes offense to the NFL trying to play the old "they got it right" card.

"The statement that came out today is pretty much an insult to our intelligence," Shaughnessy said. "Basically, nobody is buying that. We know what our eyes told us, what we saw."

Shaughnessy continued: "With the dollars that are being wages here, to have the product compromised over such a short amount of money is preposterous."

Belichick impressed by rookie Thuney's work at left guard

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Belichick impressed by rookie Thuney's work at left guard

FOXBORO -- Joe Thuney may not have won the starting left guard job officially, but Bill Belichick says he's on the right track. And for a rookie, that's feat in and of itself.

The third-round pick out of North Carolina State -- you may remember it as the Kevin-Faulk-in-the-No.-12-jersey selection -- has been the first-team left guard since the start of training camp, and he hasn't moved since. Thuney has occasionally taken snaps at center, and the Patriots have him learning multiple spots behind the scenes. But every time Nate Solder has run on to the field as the left tackle, Thuney has been there by his side at guard. 

Even going back to OTAs, held not long after he was drafted, Thuney was the top choice at that position. 

"Joe has done a good job with what we’ve given him," Belichick said. "There was a point where we felt comfortable making that, I’d say temporary move, It wasn’t permanent. But he has handled it well. I think he’s certainly moving towards being able to lock something down at some point. I don’t think we’re there yet, but I think he is certainly gaining on it. He has had a good preseason, had a good spring."

What once may have been deemed a temporary move back in the spring -- perhaps due to players like Shaq Mason, Tre' Jackson and Josh Kline dealing with injuries early in the offseason -- now seems like it should be a permanent one.

Thuney's run as the No. 1 left guard has been uninterrupted because his performance hasn't warranted a change. He's held his own against former first-round defensive tackle Malcom Brown in one-on-one practice drills, and he's been the highest-graded player on the Patriots offensive line through two preseason games, per Pro Football Focus. (The only players with higher grades on the team through two games are tight end AJ Derby and defensive end Trey Flowers.)

The man who went viral before the draft for his ability to solve a Rubik's cube in just over a minute has flashed an understanding of how quickly things move on the inside. Plus, playing under unretired offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, Thuney has been quick himself, both picking up pressures and working to the second level in the running game with aplomb.

Thuney will still have a preseason game or two to solidify his grasp on a starting role, but even for the brief period during which Mason and Kline were simultaneously healthy, Thuney was the choice on the left side of the interior offensive line. Now that Mason is dealing with what's been reported as a hand injury, Jackson remains on PUP, and Jonathan Cooper is still out after suffering a foot injury early in camp, the job seems like Thuney's to lose.

That Belichick even hinted Thuney is "gaining on it" is an indication of just how impressive he's been during his short time as a pro.