Scrap heap: More scuffles at Pats' camp

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Scrap heap: More scuffles at Pats' camp

FOXBORO - Three laps to take an inventory of the exact nature of their wrongs.

That was the sentence for the entire Patriots roster Friday after two more post-whistle dustups ballooned into full-team pushing and shoving.

The first appeared to start when Shane Vereen got stood up and wrestled down by Bobby Carpenter and Patrick Chung. That scrap was over quickly with the only noticeable combat developing between rookies Jeremiah Warren and Justin Francis as people jostled to break things up.

The second fight began when Dane Fletcher was blocked from behind by an unknown offensive player. Fletcher and the lineman landed on the ground and wrestling ensued followed by another high-intensity team meeting.

Bill Belichick then sent the team on a three-lap jaunt around the goal posts. When that was done, Belichick addressed the team for about two minutes. Tom Brady then called them together and spoke for another minute.

That was the third set-to in three practices and Belichick, given his response, has had enough.

What led to the issues?

"Same stuff it always is, it's guys trying to go all the way through the whistle and things got a little heated and one thing leads to another and the next thing you know there's 60 guys out there," said Carpenter. "Coach Belichick talked to us and hopefully that won't happen again. We can't be fighting ourselves, we gotta be working to improve."

Stop roughhousing?

"With a few choice words in there but that was the message," said Carpenter. "That's the first time I've done three laps probably since high school.

Competition is good, fighting is not," Carpenter added. "There's a fine line between taking it to the whistle and taking it a little bit beyond. It gets hotter, camp gets longer, about 9-10 days now, guys start getting a little irritated, agitated, and things get a little hot sometimes. Thats what those laps are for, to cool us off. ... You hit the same guy and no one wants to be embarrassed out there. The offense wants to look good, the defense wants to look good, the coaches want to look good, you want to be competitive and improve, but there is a very fine line between competition and fighting.

Running back Stevan Ridley was asked about Brady's message.

"Brady's our leader," he explained. "It's Brady's show out here. For him to say something and voice his opinion, that's nothing that we haven't heard before. And he's only going to tell us what's best for this team, and for us to get better. We all listen and we all key in when he talks, because at the end of the day, he's just trying to get to another championship, man. And that's what we want to do as a team effort. So we buy into whatever he says and whatever the coaches have to say."

Matt Slater and Jerod Mayo also had lead roles in trying to end the rough stuff.

Full-team dustups are rare with this team. And three in three days is unheard of. It's a clear sign of the competition on every rep in camp and the fact that the New Orleans Saints, who arrive Tuesday for two practices and a preseason game, will be a welcome sight for the Patriots as they grow weary of running into each other.

Perry's Patriots 53-man roster projection

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Perry's Patriots 53-man roster projection

With New England Patriots organized workouts finished until next month, Phil Perry puts together another 53-man roster projection.

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Affleck offers passionate Brady defense when asked about Deflategate

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Affleck offers passionate Brady defense when asked about Deflategate

When the topic of Deflategate was broached on HBO's Any Given Wednesday with Bill Simmons, which debuted this week, Ben Affleck became all kinds of fired up.

"What they did was suspend Tom Brady for four days for not giving them his [expletive] cellphone," Affleck said. "I would never give an organization as leak-prone as the NFL my [expletive] cellphone . . . so you can just look through my emails and listen to my voicemails?"

Affleck grew up in Cambridge, Mass. and is a passionate Patriots fan. He made no attempts to hide his fandom, and his appreciation for Brady, as he and Simmons (also a Patriots fan) discussed the football-deflation controversy that has now lasted well over a year. 

Affleck, who said he would want to cast himself as Brady if ever a Deflategate movie was made, harped on the fact that the league wanted Brady to turn over his phone. 

"Maybe Tom Brady is so [expletive] classy and such a [expletive] gentleman," Affleck said, "that he doesn’t want people to know that he may have reflected on his real opinion on some of his co-workers."

Brady is waiting for the Second Circuit to make a decision as to whether or not it will rehear his case against the NFL. Earlier this offseason, the Second Circuit reinstated Brady's four-game suspension issued by the league when a three-judge panel ruled in favor of the NFL, 2-1. 

Pro Football Talk wrote on Thursday that a decision from the Second Circuit could come at any time. If the rehearding request is denied, Brady could then take the case to the Supreme Court. Should the Second Circuit grant Brady a rehearing, his suspension would be delaed until the court reached a decision. In that case, Brady could potentially play the entire 2016 season before a decision came to pass.