Tavon Wilson lands at Gillette Stadium


Tavon Wilson lands at Gillette Stadium

FOXBORO -- When a player gets drafted to the NFL, teams like the Patriots have its PR people find and distribute bios and supplemental information to reporters within minutes. George "Jake" Bequette, New England's pick at No. 90, was hand-delivered in five stapled pages featuring an overview, career notes, season-by-season summaries (including high school), and personal information.

The book on defensive end Tavon Wilson? His player page, one front-and-back, printed from FightingIllini.com.

His presence at Gillette Stadium Saturday afternoon filled in a few blanks.

"It's been crazy, but it's been everything I could ever want," Wilson told the crowd of media. "What a great organization. I got out here this morning and met the coaches and am just getting to know people within the organization."

The 6-0, 205-pound back stood on the stadium turf in a gray sweatshirt stamped BOSTON across the front. Yes, it was an airport purchase. He flew in from D.C. -- topsiders betraying the urgency -- and needed to arm himself against the May chill.

But don't worry, Wilson can handle Foxborough.

"Champagne, Illinois where we play is pretty cold," he laughed.

The sparse biography at least testifies to that much. Wilson was an All-Big Ten honorable mention selection by the coaches. A team captain his senior year, he started all 13 games for the Illini, and finished third on the team with 81 tackles. That year he played 12 games at cornerback where in 2010, Wilson started all 13 at safety.

He touts the move, among other things.

"Hard worker. Versatile player. Smart," Wilson said of himself. "Those are things I take pride in. I feel like I fly around the field. All those things I take pride in.

"We played a lot of good out-of-conference games at Illinois. The Big Ten had a lot of bigger receivers and out of conference had a lot of small, faster guys so I pretty much played all types of receivers."

Don't forget special teams. That's the work that will get a rookie like Wilson on the roster, and it sounds like he knows it.

"I love to play special teams as part of the game; I played special teams in college and loved to do it and I'm going to do it here, too. I played kickoff, I was a holdup guy on punt, I was a gunner on punt teams, so I pretty much played all of those.

"The more you can do the better you're going to be," he said, sounding the part of a Patriot already. "So I'm just going to come in, play special teams, be the best at whatever position they play me as."

Wednesday's Pats-Bills practice report: Jimmy G., Brissett both 'limited'

Wednesday's Pats-Bills practice report: Jimmy G., Brissett both 'limited'

FOXBORO -- The highly-anticipated first Patriots injury report of the week was released on Wednesday afternoon, and it was fairly predictable. 

Both injured quarterbacks were active but limited in their practice participation, the report indicated. That comes as little surprise as both Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder) and Jacoby Brissett (thumb) were spotted throwing passes early in Wednesday's practice. Neither appeared to be experiencing any significant discomfort as they made their warm-up throws. 

Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower (knee) and tight end Rob Gronkowski (hamstring) were also limited. Gronkowski admitted that the team was taking it slow with him in his first game back on the field last week -- he played just 14 snaps in New England's win over Houston -- but he said on Wednesday that he hoped to go "freakin' crazy" on the field soon.


QB Jacoby Brissett (right thumb)
OT Marcus Cannon (calf)
G Jonathan Cooper (foot)
LB Jonathan Freeny (shoulder)
QB Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder)
TE Rob Gronkowski (hamstring)
LB Dont'a Hightower (knee)
CB Eric Rowe (ankle)


TE Charles Clay (knee)
OL Cyrus Kouandjio (ankle)
OL Patrick Lewis (knee)
WR Sammy Watkins (foot)

DB Colt Anderson (foot)
DB Ronald Darby (hamstring)
QB Cardale Jones (right shoulder)
DB Jonathan Meeks (foot)
WR Greg Salas (groin)
DB Aaron Williams (ankle)
OL Cordy Glenn (ankle)

Garoppolo: Not pressured by Patriots to return last Thursday

Garoppolo: Not pressured by Patriots to return last Thursday

FOXBORO -- Jimmy Garoppolo spoke Wednesday for the first time since getting his shoulder separated by the Dolphins’ Kiko Alonso. Standing by his locker, Garoppolo was predictably vague about the status of his arm, unless you consider, “Getting better day by day,” as being insightful. 

The only two responses offered that were worth a damn came when asked if he could have done anything different when he got squished by Alonso while retreating and buying time.  

“Just have to be smart I guess,” said Garoppolo. “I mean, it’s football and stuff’s gonna happen like that, but have to be smart in those situations.”

Asked if he regretted holding the ball as long as he did on a third-down play with the Patriots up 21-0, Garoppolo replied, “After it’s all said and done it’s easy to say that, but it’s one of those things, you’re in the heat of the game. But bottom line I have to be smarter than that.”


Meanwhile, as he worked last week to get back for Thursday night’s game against Houston, The Boston Herald reported that the Patriots were “putting pressure” on Garoppolo to be ready for the game. Working hard to get key players ready for upcoming games is standard operating procedure for a medical staff. Trying to force a player to perform is not. 

I asked Garoppolo if he felt unduly pressured. He replied, “No.”