Patriots' Spikes tweets displeasure with officiating


Patriots' Spikes tweets displeasure with officiating

If you thought coaches and players were going to take the high road after another week of replacement officials being, well, replacement officials, then think again.

Players from both teams had looks of bewilderment on their faces after numerous calls.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was whistled a for a 15-yard penalty for berating an official on the field.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick looked like he could give Pats running back and Olympian Jeff Demps a run for his money in the 40-yard dash after Belichick ran at a replacement referee once the game ended on a controversial made field goal.

And then there was Brandon Spikes.

Spikes is quite the follow on Twitter, never one to shy away from interacting with others, while speaking his mind on whatever comes to it.

After the game, his mind was on the replacement officials -- and he wasn't kind:

"@BrandonSpikes55: Can some1 please tell these fing zebras foot locker called and theyre needed Back at work !!!! BreakingPoint"

Yeah, that happened.

The frustration is understandable, but don't let Spikes confuse you: zebras had nothing to do with this. To group them in with poor officiating is irresponsible on his part, and to be honest, they deserve better than that.

But seriously, you have to imagine that this is a common thought amongst players, whether or not they're public with it or not. Not having respect for the replacement officials out on the field is a major issue the NFL has tried to brush aside, and certainly can't continue to do for much longer.

Mitchell rising fast but somehow totally unaware of fantasy football


Mitchell rising fast but somehow totally unaware of fantasy football

FOXBORO -- It seems unlikely that a 23-year-old who has spent much of his life around sports would be unaware of how fantasy football works. But Malcolm Mitchell insisted on Friday that he was that 23-year-old. 

Over the last seven days, Mitchell has been the second-most added player in fantasy leagues behind only Steelers tight end Ladarius Green. The rookie wideout went undrafted in many fantasy leagues before the start of the regular season, but his production has spiked over the last three weeks making him one of a hot commodity for people headed into the fantasy playoffs.

In wins over the Niners, Jets and Rams, Mitchell has caught 17 passes for 222 yards and three scores. 

"I have family members mention it, but I never know what they're talking about," Mitchell said when asked if he was asked about his newfound popularity among fans of fantasy football. "I'm not sure how that works. If someone said it, I'd probably have no idea what it means."

A fewer lockers down from Mitchell is the stall of rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who cut into Mitchell's back-and-forth with reporters joking, "I've got him on my team!"

Mitchell's confusion over the phenomenon that is fantasy football seemed to be genuine as he asked questions about how teams operate and what fantasy free-agency means. 

Those who've picked him up probably don't mind that Mitchell is in the dark on the subject -- and the same goes for the Patriots coaching staff, it's safe to assume -- as long as he continues to do his job as well as he's done it in recent weeks. 

Griff Whalen practicing for Patriots, wearing No. 14


Griff Whalen practicing for Patriots, wearing No. 14

FOXBORO -- The Patriots took to the practice field behind Gillette Stadium on Friday with all but one player. 

Wideout Danny Amendola was the only player not present at the session. Newly-acquired receiver Griff Whalen was present and wearing No. 14. 

Safety Jordan Richards was back on the practice field for the first time since suffering a knee injury against the Jets in Week 12. Martellus Bennett (ankle/shoulder), Elandon Roberts (hamstring), Eric Rowe (hamstring) and Matthew Slater (foot) were all limited in practice on Thursday, but were on the field Friday.