A Polite introduction

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A Polite introduction

FOXBORO -- Lousaka Polite was at home in Miami when he got the phone call from his agent. The 30-year old fullback, then working as a full-time dad to his daughter Anya, was needed in New England.

He hasn't played football since training camp.

You just never know, he said before his new locker Wednesday. As the weeks go by, you just dont know whats going to happen. Theres always a little, tiny bit of doubt because you dont know what to expect. But you just need to stay ready, stay in shape and luckily, I just got the call.

Polite, or "Lou," as he's asked to be called, is a seven-year NFL vet. He spent the last three seasons with the Dolphins where he earned a reputation as a short-yardage specialist.

According to PhinFever.com, Polite had 15 carries on third or fourth-and-1 situations in 2010 and converted 14 to first downs. His 92.3-percent success (12 for 13) on third down lead the league for running backs. Since 2008, Polite has rushed 43 times on third or fourth-and-1 and muscled his way to 41 first downs. 20 of those drives yielded at least six points.

"It takes a lot of studying," Polite said of his success. "You have to treat each situation as a different one, just like a snowflake. You might have had success running through one gap but that's going to change. Things slant, they have different ideas to try and stop you. You can't be stuck in one mindset; you've got to be flexible as far as making adjustments.

"It's a combination of study and instinct. If you do all your work throughout the week studying then your natural ability will take over. "

So why in the heck did Miami let him go?

The team struggled with the overall ground game last season. Polite has also been tapped for poor lead-blocking. But there's something to be said for a general decline of the position. The Patriots haven't really employed a fullback since Heath Evans, instead using different tight end variations, and the trend is common throughout the league.

"The game is always evolving. Things happen and the fullback is kind of a dinosaur position, I guess you could say," he smiled. "But as long as I'm healthy and here I'll do my best to stick around."

In what capacity, well, no one knows.

Bill Belichick was characteristically mum about what the new guy's role will be. Though the Patriots were rumored to be working out fullbacks in Week 4 none were signed. Would New England now change up the offense to accommodate one? Not likely. But Polite does have experience with special teams, which is a well-known plus in the mind of his new coach, and it's possible his short-yardage expertise could be called upon.

Tom Brady had six rushes two weeks ago in Denver. He had nine in last Week 16's win over Miami. A toe injury is hampering BenJarvus Green-Ellis and uncertainty in rookie Stevan Ridley might be what's pushed Brady into the breach. Regardless, the consequences are more than two touchdowns to pad his scoring stats.

Against the Dolphins Brady tried Ridley on a third quarter third-and-1 but the run was stuffed. The quarterback carried the ball himself on fourth down.

Somewhere among his carries came fear Brady separated his shoulder. A post-game X-ray revealed the shoulder is intact, as Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran reports, but the Patriots will want to avoid what put him in that position in the first place. It wouldn't be unwise to call for reinforcements.

The 6-0, 245-pound Polite says he's up for anything.

"Im just learning, learning as much as I can," he said. "Everything is new to me, so Im just trying to learn and well just go from there, he said. Im willing to do anything. Ive played special teams, and Im just willing to do whatever it takes to contribute to the team."

He's not the only one curious to see what exactly that means.

Knighton not worried about Deflategate: 'We have enough on our plate'

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Knighton not worried about Deflategate: 'We have enough on our plate'

FOXBORO -- Patriots defensive tackle Terrance Knighton has been on three different teams since the Deflategate controversy was sparked on the night of the AFC title game in 2015. But that doesn't mean he's immune to receiving questions about Tom Brady's ongoing saga. 

Meeting with reporters after Thursday's OTA session, Knighton was asked if he was surprised by the buzz that still surrounds Brady's legal situation. Earlier in the week, Brady filed a petition for a rehearing to have his four-game suspension overturned, and the Patriots organization filed an amicus brief backing their quarterback.

"All I was thinking about that year was losing to the Colts," said Knighton, who was a member of the Broncos two seasons ago. "I wasn't really worried about what was going on. I don't really feed into that. I just try to handle what I have to do in the building. We have enough on our plate as it is. That'll handle itself. 'Terrance Knighton' is not anywhere in the documents so it doesn't have anything to do with me."

As was the case during last preseason, with Deflategate hearings hanging over Brady's head, the Patriots quarterback didn't appear at all distracted by the continuing proceedings. He went 9-for-14 in 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 periods during Thursday's practice, working with a group of offenive weapons that was without tight end Rob Gronkowski and receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola. 

Knighton said on Thursday that Brady has ben equally impressive off the field in the short time he's been able to spend with the future Hall of Famer. 

"[Conversations hav been] a little bit about our past playing against each other, me getting the better of him, him getting the better of me," Knighton said. "He's won that matchp more times than I have, but it's always good to be around guys like that, pick their brain and see what type of professional they are.

"Playing with a Peyton Manning and a Demarcus Ware, you learn a lot from those guys, Hall of Famers. I'm just trying tp pick [Brady's] brain, and just watch him out of the corner of my eye, and see how he prepares and how me moves around."

Quick Slants the podcast Ep 54: Brady, OTAs, and contract situations

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Quick Slants the podcast Ep 54: Brady, OTAs, and contract situations

Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry attended Thursday’s OTA session and offer their analysis on some of the new additions in Quick Slants the podcast.

Also on the docket, a look at some upcoming contract situations for the team, Tom Brady’s 17th season and Robert Kraft taking legal action in support of Brady.

Listen to the entire podcast via the player below, or by searching CSNNE on iTunes.

New Patriots DE Chris Long willing to be led

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New Patriots DE Chris Long willing to be led

Chris Long’s been in the NFL since 2008. As the offspring of Hall of Famer Howie Long, he knows the ways and means of life in the league.
 
So, it’s instructive that a player who’s been around this long decided that success here hinged on allowing himself to be led. Check the ego, check the pride, behave as if you know nothing.
 
In doing so, Long’s affixed himself to the side of fellow defensive end Rob Ninkovich like a 275-pound remora.
 
“Rob and I really clicked,” Long said Thursday after a Patriots OTA session open to the media. “We’ve got a lot of similarities, and he’s a great guy to learn from and shadow. He’s been here obviously a long time. Rob knows how to do things the right way around here. When you see a guy like that, if you’re halfway smart, you follow him around and do what he does. If Rob goes to lunch, I go to lunch. That type of thing. Rob’s a good buddy already.”
 
Long was also observed Thursday spending a lot of downtime with Jabaal Sheard, the two defensive ends on a knee near the Gatorade conversing for a couple of minutes.
 
With Chandler Jones now a Cardinal, the Patriots defensive end depth chart this offseason has have Sheard and Ninkovich at the top, with Long in the mix situationally, one supposes. Reps need to be split for freshness. Meanwhile, Geneo Grissom and Trey Flowers are coming into their second seasons and will push for time as well.
 
For his part, Long isn’t projecting anything.
 
“Well, I’m still learning, so I can’t make the determination yet,” Long said. “Ask me again during training camp. Every day in the NFL is an opportunity. A coach I’ve had before said every day is an interview, and that’s how I like to look at things. Every day, you have a chance to get better and learn and worry about your own — farm your own land and do all that good stuff. That’s the way I approach everything. It would be a disservice to the other guys if I was worried about anything other than myself, that opportunity just to get out here on the practice field and compete and get better.”
 
And let yourself be led.