Patriots sign TE Hoomanawanui

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Patriots sign TE Hoomanawanui

FOXBORO -- The Patriots have signed Michael Hoomanawanui, as confirmed by his agent Rick Smith.
Congrats to @hooman86 Michael Hoomanawanui for signing onto to the @patriots 53 Man Roster Rick Smith (@RickSmith1956) September 5, 2012
Yes, another Josh McDaniels guy.Hoomanawanui had seven catches for 83 yards in eight games for the Rams last season. He was limited because of a torn ACL in November.
Injured tight end Visanthe Shiancoe will now likely be moved to the injured reserve's 'Designated to Return' spot.
Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston had the first report.
New England looked over yet another TE this week in veteran Kellen Winslow. Winslow was cut by the Seahawks September 1 and got a physical for the Patriots on Wednesday, according to a source. His odds of passing that physical, however, did not look good.
Hoomanawanui won the battle.

Surprise! Rex and Rob Ryan talk themselves up

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Surprise! Rex and Rob Ryan talk themselves up

Can’t you just imagine the Ryan brothers as teenagers, riding along in a pickup, windows down, hair whipping, hollering their skewed affirmations over the Lynyrd Skynyrd.

“Biggest badasses in town?! US!!”

“Handsomest fat guys to be!? US!!”

“Defensive-geniuses-in-waiting destined to be criminally underappreciated and overlooked so that we’ll forever be obligated to remind everyone at every turn how tough, accomplished and slighted we’ve been? HELL, THAT’S US TOO!!”

It’s May, which means it’s Ryan propaganda season. Not that Jenny Vrentas of MMQB did the Ryan’s bidding with her fun Q&A that’s online today. 

All she needed to do was hit record and lay the recorder on the table. Rex and Rob take care of the tire pumping themselves.

Fortuitously, now that they’re together in Buffalo as head coach (Rex) and assistant head coach/defensive capo (Rob), they can pat each other’s backs rather than reach back and do their own themselves.

Rob – poopcanned from his last two jobs as defensive coordinator in Dallas and New Orleans – carried the show in this one firing passive-aggressive darts at Saints head coach Sean Payton and promising to “beat” Bill Belichick and the Patriots.

“At the end of the day, the last two years in New Orleans were a waste of time for me,” said Rob Ryan, who was fired last November by Payton. “I want to give everything I have to a team that I want to be a part of, with a head coach I want to be a part of. Not only is Rex a great head coach, but he is also a great defensive coach. He’s going to be the best coach that I can work for, anytime. And I have worked for Belichick, who is the best head coach in football, in the history of the game. But we’re going to beat him, and we’re going to beat him together. And it’s going to be an awesome challenge. I need to be in a multiple system. I was hired to be in a multiple system in New Orleans, and I did a damn good job and got fired for it. I am more hungry now than I have ever been. So I wanted to go with the right guy. And the right guy is someone I have 100 percent trust in and 100 percent faith in.

Payton has already termed Ryan’s contention that it wasn’t Ryan’s defense as “silly.” 

This in-depth look at the precipitous drop of the Saints defense has plenty of damning info about what a “hot mess” Ryan’s operation was. 

Payton is quoted in the piece saying after Ryan’s dismissal, "There were a few things that you looked at from a year ago and you said, 'We can't have X number of snaps with not the right number of guys on the field. We can't burn timeouts, you know, every other week because we can't get the right personnel on the field.' We just can't do that. We can't have guys looking left and right at the snap of the ball. There's a game last season where the first eight plays of the game, we're misaligned and we don't even cover down the right way. Those were just facts."

Facts, schmacts. You want facts? From the interview:

ROB: Well, the highest-rated defensive coach in the history of the league is you.

REX: Right.

ROB: We can pretend there is somebody else, but there’s not. Hey, my numbers are what they are. Now, I took over some pretty lousy jobs, but that’s OK. But no one’s numbers are better than his. I’m talking about Dick LeBeau’s; I’m talking about Belichick; I’m talking about all of them. Hell, even our dad. Who is the best that ever laced them up? Well, I’m just saying. To be the best defensive coach in football, I’ve got to learn from the best, so I came here. It’s been how many years since we’ve been together? He’s not learning anything, but I am. Look at some of his protégés. Bob Sutton is doing a fantastic job in Kansas City. Chuck Pagano was with Rex. He spun off a ton of great coaches, and it is going to be fun to be a part of that.

Here’s the thing, the Ryans are very bright defensive coaches with an in-the-trenches-with-you bedside manner that invites massive huge loyalty from their players.

But there’s also an outsized sense of pride and ego that both men seem to have that causes them to get caught up in style over substance.

Rex wanted to build a bully in Buffalo. His Bills talked tough before facing the Patriots last September and came unhinged in the first half, effectively taking themselves out of the game before it began. 

The Bills have an terrific array of defensive talent even with the loss of Mario Williams this offseason. They added Shaq Lawson and Reggie Ragland in the draft – both well-regarded players who could have early-career impacts. They have the pieces. But they had them in 2015 as well and underperformed. The fact is, Rex is in a “prove-it” season. Even though he points out in the interview that his family has coached in six Super Bowls, three of those were coached by Buddy Ryan, two by Rob and one by Rex. In 66 combined seasons of NFL coaching. Belichick’s coached in eight by himself in 42 NFL seasons. The results are lacking.

It is worth noting before I put a bow on this that respect for Belichick isn’t lacking. The interview is chock-full of references to Rob’s time with the Patriots from 2000 to 2003.

“All the respect in the world for Bill Belichick,” said Rob. “That was fantastic training working for him for four years, and I learned a ton. Look, he is the No. 1 nemesis of every coach in this league. So it’s not just Rex. Now, I think if you ask their offensive staff, the worst they ever play is against Rex. People say, “well, he hasn’t beat them [nine out of the last 10] tries.” Yeah, well, he has beat the hell out of that offense. I am sure the respect is mutual. But I know one thing, we are going to beat them. We are together, we’re going to beat the best. It’s two against one. Him one on one against any coach in the league, that guy is pretty damn good. And he’s also got his best buddy Tom Brady with him. He trained him, and he single-handedly made him great as well.”

Brissett, Mitchell appear to have established chemistry early

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Brissett, Mitchell appear to have established chemistry early

FOXBORO -- Martellus Bennett may have reeled in the No. 1 most impressive catch of the day during Thursday's OTA session. But No. 2 and 3? Those belonged to rookie fourth-round receiver Malcolm Mitchell. 

The first of his two noteworthy grabs came in 7-on-7 work when Mitchell laid out, fully extended, for a pass from rookie third-round quarterback Jacoby Brissett in the back of the end zone. The second came in an 11-on-11 period when Mitchell adjusted to a long toss down the left sideline from Brissett that was slightly underthrown. Mitchell worked his way back to the football in mid-air and caught it easily for a long gain. 

Reporters have been permitted to watch only one practice thus far, but on Thursday it seemed as though Mitchell -- who came to New England after one year in a pro-style offense with former Georgia offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer -- had no trouble knowing where to be and when. 

It also appeared as though Mitchell and Brissett have already established good chemistry, perhaps building on whatever relationship they established in rookie minicamp. One example of their shared connection came on that long completion down along the boundary because it looked like Brissett could sense pressure coming from his right side just before he made his throw. Making a quick decision, Brissett turned to his left, where Mitchell was lined up, and floated a pass in that direction. 

Brissett's instincts were on display again at other points in the practice when he found both Mitchell and rookie seventh-round pick Devin Lucien with passes he made while on the move.

At NC State, Brissett had a knack for extending plays, and Thursday's practice schedule seemed to play into his strengths in that regard. Earlier in the workout, before the offensive and defensive units were pitted against one another, Patriots quarterbacks were instructed to roll out of the pocket to find open receivers -- a half-speed "scramble drill." When Brissett rolled out in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 periods, he appeared to be putting that work from earlier in the session into action. 

While all rookies put together what are likely considered far from perfect performances in these OTAs, Brissett and Mitchell both had their moments on Thursday, and often those moments were shared. Watching their on-the-field rapport grow will be one of the developments worth tracking as they build up their reps through training camp.