Pats' free-agent forecast: Running back

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Pats' free-agent forecast: Running back

This is the sixth in a series of position-by-position looks at the Patriots heading into free agency. Today's position: Running backs. Who's on the roster? Eric Kettani, Lousaka Polite, Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Danny Woodhead. Patriots need level? 4 Position overview? The Patriots lead back the past two seasons, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, is a free agent. He wasn't outstanding in 2011 (often went down on first contact), but he's very sure-handed and dependable. Stevan Ridley's rookie season was promising. He's got more speed through the hole than Green-Ellis and is more elusive at the second level. Fumbling in consecutive games down the stretch was troubling, but that's something coaching and hard work can eliminate. Lousaka Polite and Eric Kettani are fullback types. Shane Vereen had an injury-plagued rookie year. Danny Woodhead is valuable and - when he's on - dangerous. Who's out there? Michael Bush, Raiders. A big, 6-2, 243-pounder whowill be 28 this summer. Has been the backup to Darren McFadden. A decent receiver who has one fumble in his last 414 carries. Mike Tolbert, Chargers. An absolute load at 5-9, 243, he can be elusive and - obviously - a pounder between the tackles. With teams going to more nickel and dime defenses, he's an able pass-catcher (54 catches last year) who can run over DBs if teams are preoccupied with trying to stop a passing attack. Cedric Benson, Bengals. Has fumbled 12 times in the past two seasons. He's on the downside and may be an option for depth but probably not much more even though he's been over 1,000 yards each of the past three seasons. Ryan Grant, Packers. Turns 30 this year and has lost a step but once was an explosive runner (over 1,200 yards in 2008 and 2009). BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Patriots. He's done quite a nice job for the Patriots but he can't expect to get a cash windfall here as a free agent. Peyton Hillis, Browns. He's only 26, but after an outstanding 2010 he got goofy and problematic in Cleveland in 2011. If he sits on the shelf a while, the Patriots may have a look. Other names of note? Kevin Faulk, Ronnie Brown, Mewelde Moore, Tim Hightower. Free agent forecast? If Green-Ellis signs elsewhere, look for the Patriots to hire a veteran a la Fred Taylor as security in case Ridley and Vereen prove unreliable.

Giardi: Garoppolo 'still in pain,' does not have full mobility in shoulder

Giardi: Garoppolo 'still in pain,' does not have full mobility in shoulder

The Patriots had both Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett on the field for Tuesday's practice.

While many are hopeful that Garoppolo will be ready to go on Sunday, it’s definitely not a given at this point.

According to CSN’s Mike Giardi, Garoppolo is “still in pain and does not yet have full mobility in his throwing shoulder”

Tom E. Curran had better news about Jacoby Brissett’s thumb. The rookie quarterback was in the Patriots locker room locker room Tuesday morning without splint, tape or cast on his thumb. 

When he asked Brissett if he's feeling "tip-top," he answered, "Oh yeah." 

Beleskey, Spooner and McQuaid highlight Bruins lineup vs. Red Wings

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Beleskey, Spooner and McQuaid highlight Bruins lineup vs. Red Wings

The Bruins announced their lineup for the second preseason game on Wednesday night at home against the Detroit Red Wings, and it was slightly more veteran-laden than the youthful Boston group tapped for Monday night’s opening loss to the Blue Jackets.

Matt Beleskey, Ryan Spooner, Adam McQuaid and Dominic Moore lead the grizzled group of Bruins players readying for the exhibition tilt against their Atlantic Division rivals, and 19-year-old Zachary Senyshyn will make his preseason debut after getting fully medically cleared from appendectomy surgery a couple of weeks ago.

The 2015 first round pick has had a bit of a rough summer after bouts with mononucleosis and appendicitis forced him to miss Bruins rookie camp, but Senyshyn has quickly regained his strength and the blazing speed that's his biggest asset as a player. 

Austin Czarnik, Peter Mueller and Sean Kuraly are the only players from the opening night roster that will be in again to show their stuff against the Winged Wheels, and undoubtedly to get another long look from the Bruins coaching staff. Here is the full Black and Gold lineup for Wednesday night’s home date against the Red Wings with the untelevised exhibition game to be streamed on bruins.com

 

FORWARDS: Noel Acciari, Matt Beleskey, Anton Blidh, Austin Czarnik, Brian Ferlin, Jesse Gabrielle, Justin Hickman, Sean Kuraly, Dominic Moore, Peter Mueller, Zach Senyshyn, Ryan Spooner.

DEFENSEMEN: Linus Arnesson, Chris Casto, Matt Grzelcyk, Jeremy Lauzon, Adam McQuaid, Colin Miller.

GOALIES: Malcolm Subban, Daniel Vladar.