Patriots rookies learning through experience

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Patriots rookies learning through experience

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick knew enough to draft Chandler Jones and Dont'a Hightower in the first round of this year's draft. In Week 1 against the Titans, his decision began to pay dividends.

Jones and Hightower connected on a strip-sack Sunday, with Jones knocking the ball loose, and Hightower recovering it and running it in for a touchdown.

Belichick praised their efforts a day later.

"They're both smart, they've worked hard, and they've both been out there," said Belichick. "They both got a lot of reps on the field, so, that's always a good way to learn, is to experience it, go through it and make a mistake. Correct it, go out there and do it again and get it right. So, there's lot to be said for that.

"A lot of our young players have had the opportunity to do that. They've been on the field, they've practiced, they've made mistakes, they've gone back and corrected them and have gone back out and got it right the next time and have been able to move onto something else. So that's been a positive. Those two guys, they've done a good job."

Tavon Wilson was another young player who saw significant action Sunday. He also forced a turnover in Sunday's win with an interception of Titans quarterback Jake Locker. Belichick described what he's liked about the rookie defensive back so far.

"He's got good size, he's a physical player, and he runs well," said Belichick. "He'll mix it up in the running game and can blitz. He's done a decent job for us at that. He's still learning. It's kind of a new position for him, but he's picked it up OK. So, we'll see how it goes."

Bryan Stork: 'Nothing but great memories' with Patriots

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Bryan Stork: 'Nothing but great memories' with Patriots

After being traded to the Washington Redskins this week, former Patriots center Bryan Stork broke his 35-day Twitter silence to say farewell to New England.

For those who are wondering, the acronym "HTTR" stands for "Hail to the Redskins," the team's fight song. #HTTR is used by the team and fans on social media.

Stork was reportedly mulling retirement after being dealt, but has decided to report. 

The Patriots informed Stork of his release early Wednesday, but the Patriots and Redskins were able to work out a deal for a conditional 2017 seventh-round pick before the move was processed.

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.