Giants key pass-rusher ailing after practice crash

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Giants key pass-rusher ailing after practice crash

FOXBORO - The Patriotstopic du semaine has been the Giants devastating pass rush. You may remember it well. The Giants may have taken an unexpected personnel hit on Thursday though. Jason Pierre-Paul, who leads the Giants with 8.5 sacks, injured his neck during practice.

Pierre-Paul sat out Friday's practice. Also watching were wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, who hasn't practiced all week, and Ahmad Bradshaw. So the Giants may be without their leading receiver, running back and pass rusher. Could be a boon for New England, but the Steelers didn't have James Harrison, James Farrior and Hines Ward last week and things worked OK for them. Patriots' head coach Bill Belichick lauded Pierre-Paul, a second-year player out of South Florida. "We played against him in last year in preseason and just from last year to this year he's improved," said Belichick. "He's a great talent. He's long, very athletic, fast, quick. He's got good power. He runs well. He makes plays in pursuit. But from a technique standpoint, just overall understanding, recognizing draws, screens, the different pass sets, those kind of things. You can see he's made a lot of improvement over the last year."The Giants took Pierre-Paul with the 15th overall pick last year. Belichick was just getting warmed up with his raving with those opening statements.

"He's a good football player," Belichick added. "He's very disruptive. They play him everywhere too. Which is another sign that when you move a player around he must be catching on fairly well. He plays on our left side, on our right side, plays inside. ....He's a very disruptive player and they put him in a lot of different spots. When you come out of the huddle offensively, you're not sure where he's gonna be. There's not a lot of defensive lineman you can say that about. Usually they play one spot, maybe two, but he can pretty much be anywhere."Makes you wonder if the Patriots might have been interested in Pierre-Paul if he was on the board when they chose. Then you remember they don't draft guys who rush the passer and dismiss the notion entirely.
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Patriots bolster receiver depth by adding Brown to practice squad

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Patriots bolster receiver depth by adding Brown to practice squad

FOXBORO -- The Patriots have added some receiver depth to their locker room by signing Da'Ron Brown to their practice squad. 

Brown, 25, was a seventh-round pick of the Chiefs in 2015 and spent his rookie season on the Kansas City practice squad. At Northern Illinois, the 6-foot, 199-pounder caught 155 passes in four years, accumulating 2,295 yards and scoring 19 touchdowns. He also rushed for two scores in his career. As a senior in 2014, he caught 68 passes for 1,065 yards. 

With the signing, the Patriots have filled out their practice squad. The team has had an opening on its 10-man unit since the Colts signed away receiver Devin Street for their 53-man roster.

With just four receivers on the Patriots roster, not including special teams ace Matthew Slater, they've loaded up on receiver depth through their practice squad with Brown, Devin Lucien and DeAndrew White.

Brissett, Garoppolo both practicing for Patriots on Tuesday

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Brissett, Garoppolo both practicing for Patriots on Tuesday

FOXBORO -- The Patriots had both of their qurterbacks on the field and suited up for Tuesday's shells-and-sweats practice on the fields behind Gillette Stadium. 

Both Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder) and Jacoby Brissett (thumb) are dealing with injuries, but both were present for the session, as were the rest of their teammates on the 53-man roster. 

Brissett was spotted in the Patriots locker room before practice with no brace or wrap of any kind on his thumb, but he did have his right thumb taped when out on the field. 

Patriots tight end AJ Derby was the lone player in a black practice jersey, indicating that he has been named practice player of the week. Running low on quarterbacks, Derby may have served as the scout-team quarterback as the Patriots defense prepared for the Texans. He played the position at Iowa and Arkansas before changing positions.

The Patriots have four practices scheduled this week, and the team will release injury reports, as usual, on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.