Spikes 'finally' getting consistent time


Spikes 'finally' getting consistent time

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.comFOXBORO -- Until about Week 12 of last season, the arc of Brandon Spikes' young career was going up at about 90 degrees. Then a four-game suspension after testing positive for a banned substance was followed by a poor performance in the playoff game against the Jets. A weird rumor about an offseason basketball injury, weird Twitter jibberish, a sudden and extended disappearance from all training camp activity and the preseason, and the arc was, shall we say, a bit less steep.
Nobody was using the word "gritty" when discussing Spikes. Spikes has re-emerged some in the past few weeks, playing about 70 percent of the defensive snaps in the Patriots' last three games. But head coach Bill Belichick passed on the opportunity to lob platitudes in Spikes' direction. "He missed so much playing time, practice time and play time during training camp and preseason so these last three weeks kind of have almost been like his preseason, unfortunately," Belichick explained. "I think that practicing on a daily basis, playing on a regular basis that thats what he needed to do. I think he still has a long way to go. Hes probably where a lot of our players were in September, just because he missed all of August."

Moving on from the missed time, Belichick was lukewarm about Spikes' on-field contributions.

"His timing, his overall reaction, his execution, all those things, theyre OK, they are coming along," Belichick said. "Id like to think theyll be better now that hes starting to get into game shape and reacting like you have to react on a football field, both mentally and physically. Hes doing some good things and hes still got a long way to go. The fact that hes been out there finally on a consistent basis to practice and play nothing has helped him more than that."

Bottom line? Spikes is playing now. But the fact that -- for a long stretch -- he didn't play or practice is not quite forgotten.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Thursday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/report: More of the same


Thursday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/report: More of the same

Thursday's practice participation/injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Bills game:


TE Martellus Bennett (ankle)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Jamie Collins (hip)
WR Julian Edelman (foot)
DL Woodrow Hamilton (shoulder)
LB Shea McClellin (concussion)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (hamstring)
LB Elandon Roberts (ankle)
DL Vincent Valentine (back)


LB Zach Brown (illness)
TE Cordy Glenn (ankle)
WR Marquise Goodwin (concussion)
G Richie Incognito (illness)
RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring)
S Aaron Williams (neck)

DT Corbin Bryan (shoulder)
TE Charles Clay (knee)
DT Marcell Dareus (hamstring)
RB Mike Gillislee (foot)
LB Jerry Hughes (hand)
LB Lerentee McCray (knee)
G John Miller (shoulder)
WR Robert Woods (foot)

T Seantreal Henderson (back)

LB Lorenzo Alexander (non-injury related)
DT Adolphus Washington (illness)

Van Noy: 'I was shocked" to be traded from Lions to Patriots

Van Noy: 'I was shocked" to be traded from Lions to Patriots

FOXBORO -- It's not often that NFL teams make deals before the trade deadline. Seeing starters get dealt before the deadline is a veritable rarity. It's no wonder linebacker Kyle Van Noy, who started in all seven Lions games this season, reacted the way he did when he was dealt to the Patriots earlier this week.

"I was shocked to go from starting there to traded," Van Noy said during his first back-and-forth with Patriots reporters. "I was shocked. I respect everybody with the Detroit Lions, they'll all be my guys there. Just grateful for the opportunity to come here and get it going."

Van Noy has been working closely with Patriots linebackers and linebackers coach Brian Flores since his arrival, even getting some last-minute notes from Flores before meeting with reporters and heading out to Thursday's practice. 

The 6-foot-3, 243-pounder wasn't completely unfamiliar with the operation in New England before being sent to Foxboro along with a seventh-round pick in exchange for a sixth-rounder. He admitted he had "a lot" of contact with the Patriots before being taken in the second round by Detroit.  

Now he's playing "catch-up" to learn the Patriots playbook, which could include learning multiple positions within the team's defense. He played mostly as an off-the-line linebacker in Detroit, but when he entered into the league out of BYU, he was considered to have the tools to be a productive pass-rusher as a pro. 

Van Noy, who lost about 15 pounds going into this season, indicated that the Lions didn't get the most out of him because of how he was used. 

"I mean, they didn't know where to put me," he said. "Here, they want me here, and I'm happy to be wanted." 

Van Noy was injured for much of his rookie season and had a hard time making an impact last year. He was relied upon to fill a more substantial role this season, playing in 60 percent of the team's defensive snaps. It's unclear just how Van Noy will fit in as a member of the Patriots, but he says he's willing to do whatever it takes to work his way back up another depth chart.

"I'm here now, and I'm gonna do whatever they have me [do], and whatever they want my weight to be at," he said. "Whatever they want me to do I'm gonna do it because I want to win and be part of this team."