No Huddle: Belichick on Waters, Cunningham, RBs

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No Huddle: Belichick on Waters, Cunningham, RBs

Though most of Bill Belichick's Thursday conference call concerned the general roster reduction process, the Patriots coach did answer a few pointed player questions.
Here are a few odds and ends.

Seems you're coming down to the wire with OL Brian Waters. How does his status impact your decision making on the 53-man roster?

BB: "I'll just say that, any personnel decisions, whatever they are, we'll always do what we feel is best for the football team."

You praised Jermaine Cunningham early in the offseason. How did you see his improvement translate from summer workouts into the offseason?

BB: "Overall, he's been at a higher level. He came in in great condition. He worked hard in the offseason. He got faster, stronger, more explosive. He worked on his techniques. He worked extremely hard. He came to training camp and with that work and those improvements showed up. It showed in practice. It showed up in camp and in all four preseason games. Just a little bit of everything. That's good. It wasn't just one thing. There's more position flexibility than he's had for us in the past. We've asked him to do more, different things. It's showed. He's had more production."

You have a young running back corps this season. What have you seen from them so far?

BB: "They've all improved. Really, the only experience player we had there was Danny Woodhead. Stevan Ridley played a little bit last year but not much. Shane Vereen didn't play hardly at all; he missed training camp, he missed the majority of the season. Of course, Bolden and Demps weren't here. Kettani was here for a few weeks then was called to service off the practice squad. Really only one player has had any significant regular season playing time of the group.

"They've all gotten a lot of reps, a lot of opportunities. They have a lot to learn both offensively and their role in the kicking game. I think we've gotten a a good evaluation of those players. They've all shown up well. At one point or another, they've all done things. It's a lot different group than we've had a couple of years ago. BenJarvus.. We had Sammy Morris, Fred Taylor, that group of guys. The position has turned over completely to a much younger group."

How do you think your team handled the condensed schedule of three preseason games in nine or ten days?

BB: "We did the best we could. I think we've made some progress. We definitely made progress. We kind of worked guys in different stages. Some guys played more in games than others, some practiced more than others did. I think we were able to keep moving ahead."

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.