Scrap heap: More scuffles at Pats' camp


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.

Quick Slants Podcast: Gostkowski’s woes with Chuck Zodda


Quick Slants Podcast: Gostkowski’s woes with Chuck Zodda

New England Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski has now missed five kicks on the year, including field goals against the Miami, Buffalo and Cleveland. 

In an emergency podcast, Tom E. Curran speaks with Chuck Zodda of Inside The Pylon about Stephen Gostkowski’s kicking woes.

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Geno Smith has torn ACL; Ryan Fitzpatrick to start for Jets


Geno Smith has torn ACL; Ryan Fitzpatrick to start for Jets

The Jets’ quarterback situation took a comically typical turn Monday, as Ryan Fitzpatrick will be under center after an MRI revealed that Geno Smith has a torn ACL. 

After starting New York’s first six games of the season, Fitzpatrick was demoted to backup for Sunday’s game against the Ravens. Smith was injured on a sack by Baltimore’s Matt Judon, forcing Fitzpatrick back into action. 

After leading the Jets to a 24-16 win, Fitzpatrick made his dissatisfaction with being benched known. 

“The biggest thing in this game in order to last, is to have belief in yourself,” Fitzpatrick said in his postgame press conference. “Because when the owner stops believing in you and the GM stops believing in you and the coaches stop believing in you, sometimes all you have is yourself. That’s something that I’ve had to deal with before. That’s something I’m dealing with now.”

On the season, Fitzpatrick has completed 136 of 237 passes for 1,561 yards with six touchdowns and a league-leading 11 interceptions.