No Huddle: Vereen on screens

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No Huddle: Vereen on screens

Running back Shane Vereen and punter Zoltan Mesko met with reporters after Sunday's training camp session. Here are the highlights from each huddle.

Q: It looks like the offense is working on screen passes. That fits well into your kind of game, right?
Shane Vereen: "I think it just fits into the offense. Weve got to be able to do multiple things as an offense and weve got to be able to do them well. In order to do it well youve got to practice it.

Q: What makes a screen pass effective?
SV: "Its effective because it puts defenses on their heels, but it also just opens another chapter of our offense.

Q: Do you enjoy the play?
SV: "I enjoy anytime the coaches can get the ball in my hands and anything I can do for the team.

Q: What are you hoping to accomplish during training camp?
SV: Im hoping to get better. There are a lot of areas where I need to improve personally and there are a lot of areas that Id like to get better at. Thats what Im trying to do this camp.

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Q: Do you feel like guys are enjoying their time together right now?
Zoltan Mesko: Its good to struggle together and go through the ups and downs in camp. Thats the way teams get gelling. We hope to come together at the point when the season starts.

Q: Think you'll do a lot of fake punting this season?
ZM: Whatever the coaches tell me, Ill be very eager to do.

Q: Have you watched much of the Olympics?
ZM: Ill watch it at lunch time a little bit and a little bit at night on the tape replays. Its pretty cool to watch everything.

Tom Brady will play Friday night vs. Panthers

Tom Brady will play Friday night vs. Panthers

CHARLOTTE - Tom Brady didn't merely fly to Carolina because he likes having his ears pop. 

The Patriots quarterback will indeed play Friday night against the Carolina Panthers. Given Bill Belichick's stated objective of making Jimmy Garoppolo's preparation for the season's first four games a priority, it was uncertain whether Brady would be on the field even though he traveled. But with Brady a late scratch last Thursday against the Bears after gouging his thumb just before kickoff, his chances for game reps before his exile were waning. 

Brady made it very clear this week that he doesn't just want the game reps for tuning up and getting knocked around but because he believes it's his job and responsibility to be out there leading the team, regardless of where he'll be the first four weeks of the year. With him feeling that strongly about playing being important for his preparation and for his standing within the team, it makes sense for Belichick to give him reps. 

It's not known whether Brady or Garoppolo will start or how many series either quarterback will play Friday night. 

Branch reinstated by Patriots after week-long suspension

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Branch reinstated by Patriots after week-long suspension

Alan Branch has been reinstated by the Patriots after the team suspended him prior to last week's preseason game with the Bears, according to Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran. 

When Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked about Branch's absence last week, he replied, "It's a club matter."

What got Branch suspended by the team is still unknown, but he is expected to be a contributing player on the interior of the Patriots defensive line in 2016. He started in 17 games last season, including both playoff games, often lining up alongside fellow defensive tackle Malcom Brown. 

Through training camp the Patriots have also used Terrance Knighton, Vincent Valentine, Anthony Johnson and Joe Vellano on the interior of their defensive front. Branch, however, has consistently been used with the team's first defensive grouping. It's unclear how a week away from the team might impact his spot on the depth chart. 

Field Yates of ESPN was the first to report the news that Branch had been reinstated.

Brady makes trip with Patriots to Carolina

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Brady makes trip with Patriots to Carolina

Tom Brady traveled with the Patriots to Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday, ahead of the third preseason game Friday night against the Carolina Panthers.

Jeff Howe of The Boston Herald was first to report the news. 

There’s no word on if Brady will play. He missed the opener against the Saints and, after cutting his thumb with scissors, missed the second exhibition game last Thursday against the Bears, both at Gillette Stadium.

Brady, of course, will miss the first four games of the regular season serving his NFL-imposed Deflategate suspension.