Curran: What to look out for during Patriots-Jaguars

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Curran: What to look out for during Patriots-Jaguars

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO - Football. Finally. Here a few storylines to look out for during Thursday's preseason clash with the Jag-wires of Jacksonville. 1. Mind-Bendingly Early ProclamationsLast August 27, the Patriots lost a preseason game to the Rams 36-35. Devin McCourty looked bad, twice biting on double-moves and appearing every bit an overmatched rookie cornerback. Less than five months later, he was a Pro Bowler and second-team All-Pro. Remember that when Nate Solder gets turnstiled for a sack or Ryan Mallett goes 9 for 11 for 141 yards and a touchdown. This is a snapshot of where they are now, not where they will be. In fact, if the 4-3 defensive set gets no pressure and Blaine Gabbert shreds the Patriots defense, that's not so terrible. It shines a light on what needs tweaking. 2. The Talented Mr. RidleyOne of the consistent standouts to the early practices in Foxboro has been third round rookie running back Stevan Ridley. Every practice he's out there taking rep after rep and his combination of lateral quickness, hands and acceleration are a very nice surprise given I thought he was going to be more of a between-the-tackles runner. I'm very interested in watching him carry against the Jags defense. 3. Mallett vs. HoyerThe one thing that leaps out when anyone not named Tom Brady is taking snaps? How loooong it takes them to make a decision in the passing game. Just an observation. Brady is really good at what he does and Hoyer isn't even out of the NFL quarterbacking womb yet. And Mallett just showed up. But it will be worth watching the way the two younger quarterbacks run the offense. Mallett is just a pure, downhill thrower, the ball coming right over the top with a little loop inhis delivery. His motion reminds me of Randall Cunningham (NOT his mobility). Hoyer is a little more Jeff Garcia-like in decisions and throwing style (not his mobility, either). Hoyer should play a lot better than Mallett. But if Mallett plays well, that's a very good sign for the competition at backup quarterback. 4. Secondary rotationFigure the starters at corner will be McCourty and Leigh Bodden. Who is the nickel? Figuring it should be Kyle Arrington. Where do Darius Butler and Jonathan Wilhite fit in the mix? And rookie Malcolm Williams? If Butler or Wilhite are on the field in the closing minutes, that's not a good sign for either. Meanwhile, with James Sanders likely down because of missed practice time recently, Patrick Chung and Brandon Meriweather figure to be the starters. Chung's had an outstanding camp. Meriweather has not. 5.Practice success to game resultsBeyond Ridley and Chung looking so solid, the entire tight end crew has been impressive. Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez figured to make strides in their second years but some of the catches they've made have been ridiculous. And the inability of the secondary tomatch up successfully has been just as eye-opening. Undrafted Will Yeatman and fellow rookie Lee Smith are massive players both apparently more suited for the in-line blocking role of the tight end. But both of them have shown excellent hands in practice as well. 6. One gap or twoFirst sampling. Let's take a hard look and see whether the Patriots are having their defensive linemen hold up the Jags' linemen on first and second down or whether they try to shoot gaps. 7. Embrace the scrubsThere are currently 90 players in camp. There are a lot of down-the-roster decisions to be made and there are several players in states of disrepair -- Sanders, Albert Haynesworth, Brandon Tate, Ras-I Dowling, Shaun Ellis, Brandon Spikes, Kevin Faulk, Matt Light and Dan Connolly among them. Bill Belichick indicated this week players who hadn't practiced by Tuesday may not play. He also said to not expect starters to play big minutes. So look for a cavalcade of young guys. And the sloppiness that may accompany their presence. Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Patriots represented at Stanford, Utah, Missouri pro days

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Patriots represented at Stanford, Utah, Missouri pro days

The Patriots had a busy day of gathering intel on Thursday. A very busy day. 

While Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia represented the Patriots at Ohio State and Notre Dame, respectively, the team had other representatives at high-profile pro days around the country including Stanford, Missouri and Utah. 

Here are a few of the players the Patriots were able to get a better look at . . . 

Stanford: The Patriots have shown plenty of interest in players coming from David Shaw's program in the past (Cameron Fleming, Jordan Richards), and they'll undoubtedly appreciate the talents brought to the table by two of the school's projected first-rounders in Solomon Thomas and Christian McCaffrey. Thomas is a powerful 6-foot-3, 273-pound defensive lineman who can play just about anywhere up front. McCaffrey, meanwhile, is one of the most athletic running backs in this year's class. He worked out as a receiver on Thursday and could fill a multitude of roles as a pro, whether it's as a back, a slot receiver or a kick-returner. The Patriots would need to trade back into the first round to have a prayer at landing either player. 

Utah: The Utes have a handful of draftable offensive linemen and one who is expected to come off the board in the first round. Garrett Bolles, who lit up the combine, might be the top tackle available -- and there are those who believe he's just starting to tap into his potential. Isaac Asiata is a monster guard (6-3, 323, 34-inch arms) who put up more bench-press reps than any other offensive lineman at this year's combine, and center JJ Dielman is an intriguing later-round option. One of the quickest risers in the pre-draft process? Marcus Williams, who is an eye-popping athlete. He was top-five for those at his position at the combine in the vertical, broad jump and three-cone drill, and he looks like a ready-made NFL free safety. The Patriots are pretty well stocked at that spot, but if they're picking at the bottom of the first round and going with the best player available, they may very well think that's Williams. 

Missouri: Defensive players were in focus for scouts and coaches at the Tigers pro day, and Charles Harris was the headliner. One of the most impressive players within a very deep class of edge defenders, the 6-3, 253-pounder appears to have the quickness and burst to give NFL tackles fits. One of Harris' teammates up front, Josh Augusta, ran a pretty ridiculous 40-yard dash Thursday, clocking in just a shade under five seconds. Ridiculous, why? Because he's a defensive tackle who wighed 390 pounds during the season. That's moving. Augusta dropped down to 347 after being diagnosed with a thyroid issue in January and is looking to get to 335. Corner Aarion Penton can competes well for the football, but his size (5-9, 177) may scare teams off until late in the draft. 

Curran: Patriots, Darrelle Revis have not discussed deal

Curran: Patriots, Darrelle Revis have not discussed deal

The Patriots and Darrelle Revis have not discussed a deal that would bring the cornerback back to New England, according to CSNNE's Tom Curran.

This comes after CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora reported multiple anonymous NFL executives were convinced Revis would return to the Patriots.

Revis spent one season with the Patriots in 2014 when New England won Super Bowl XLIX. However, the Patriots did not pick up Revis' second-year option in the following offseason, and he elected to sign with the New York Jets in free agency. He played 14 games in 2015 and 15 games in 2016. He finished last season with 53 tackles, five pass deflections and one interception

The 31-year-old cornerback declined significantly during the 2016 season. Even Tom Brady said he noticed Revis was struggling phyiscally in the Patriots' Week 12 win over the Jets.

"I know he's not feeling great," Brady said in November. "I could see after the game, he winced a few times getting up. It looked like his leg was bothering him a little bit. But he's still very close on a lot of those plays. Even though you're hitting them, he's still very competitive.

"He's been one of the great players in the league for a long time. He's given up more plays this year than in the past, but you've gotta have a lot of respect for his style and his game."