Haynesworth looks for bigger contribution


Haynesworth looks for bigger contribution

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO - In his first regular-season game with the Patriots, Albert Haynesworth played more downs than he had in any game since last Halloween. According to Ryan O'Halloran of CSNWashington, Haynesworth was in for 37 snaps against the Lions last October 31. He played 32 of 76 plays for the Patriots on Monday night. Haynesworth played in just eight games for the 'Skins last year because of differences with his boss. According to O'Halloran, he played 17 of 75 (Dallas), 25 of 79 (St. Louis), 33 of 74 (Eagles), 33 of 63 (Bears), 37 of 76 (Lions), 25 of 62 (Eagles), 14 of 54 (Titans), 20 of 64 (Vikings).On Wednesday, Haynesworth said he felt fresh as an oversized daisy thanks to the defensive line rotation. "It helped a lot," he acknowledged. "I don't think the heat and humidity bothered any of us at all. It didn't bother me. But the rotation was great."Haynesworth still sees significant room for improvement against San Diego. "We got to play a lot better than what we did in Miami as a defensive front," he insisted. "We got ot be a lot better, especially up front. I can only talk about what we do as (the front). Personally, I think we let 'em score too many points and get too many yards. Once we figure out that and keep playing hard and getting after the quarterback we'll be all right."Asked to specify what he needed to do better, Haynesworth explained. "Staying consistent. I gotta cut out some of my mental errors and trust in it and I'll be more effective."Haynesworth's power and ability to disrupt wereapparent. He had two tackles but also drew two holding calls. Drawing penalties is tremendously underrated. Think about it - he forced Miami back 20 yards total and had two stuffs at the defensive line. Still, he noted that it's not yet second nature for him. "When you're in a scheme for a long time, it's automatically given what you're gonna do," He noted."When you come to a new scheme it's a little bit of thinking. What I have to do is believe in it because, even though its a different word that we use, it's still the same technique and (I need) to get after it."

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

It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade


It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

The Patriots received a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018 from the Browns in return for Jamie Collins. That's how the trade was described on the league's transaction wire. 

The "condition" of that fourth-rounder? Well, if the Browns received a third-round compensatory pick in 2017, the Patriots would nab that pick instead. 

On Friday, the NFL announced that the Browns had in fact been awarded a third-round compensatory pick, which meant that almost three full weeks after Super Bowl LI, everything was still coming up Patriots.

In actuality, the odds were pretty good all along that the Patriots would get what they got

Cleveland lost Pro Bowl center Alex Mack in free agency last offseason when he opted to sign with the Falcons. Because compensatory picks are based on free agents lost and free agents acquired, and because the Browns did not sign any similarly-impactful free agents, there was a good chance Mack's departure would render a third-round comp pick that would be shipped to New England.

Had Mack suffered a significant injury that forced his play to drop off or limited his time on the field, a third-rounder may have been out of the question, but he played well (named a Pro Bowler and a Second Team All-Pro) and stayed healthy -- lucky for the Patriots -- missing just 17 total snaps in the regular season. 

The Browns comp pick that will be sent to New England is No. 103 overall. The Patriots were also awarded a fifth-round comp pick, No. 185 overall. That was a result of the league weighing the departures of Akiem Hicks and Tavon Wilson against the arrival of Shea McClellin.

The Patriots now have nine selections in this year's draft: One first-rounder; one second-rounder; two third-rounders; one fourth-rounder*; two fifth-rounders; two seventh-rounders.

The third-round compensatory pick acquired by the Patriots carries additional value this year in that it is the first year in which compensatory picks can be traded. A near top-100 overall selection may allow the Patriots to move up the draft board or build assets in the middle rounds should they be inclined to deal. And we know they oftentimes are. 

* The Patriots forfeited their highest fourth-round selection in this year's draft as part of their Deflategate punishment. They acquired a fourth-round pick from the Seahawks last year. Because that would have been the higher of their two selections, that's the one they'll lose. They will make their own fourth-round pick at No. 137 overall.

Gronkowski says he has 'no doubt' he'll be ready for start of next season

Gronkowski says he has 'no doubt' he'll be ready for start of next season

When it comes to projecting Rob Gronkowski's health, it's been best to steer clear of absolutes. There have been too many injuries, too many surgeries, to predict exactly how he'll feel months in advance. 

Still, in speaking with ESPN's Cari Champion recently, he said he had "no doubt" he'll be ready for Week 1 of the 2017 regular season. 

"Yes, for sure," he replied when asked if he expected to be good to go. 

Gronkowski also fielded a question about his long-term future in the sit-down. Lately it's been his coach Bill Belichick and his quarterback Tom  Brady who receiver all the life-after-football queries, but Gronkowski, 27, was asked how much longer he'd like to play. 

"I’m not really sure," he said. "I mean, I still love playing the game, and as of right now, I want to play as long as I possibly could play. My mindset is to keep on going."

Gronkowski landed on season-ending injured reserve in December after undergoing a procedure on his back -- his third back surgery since 2009. He's had nine reported surgeries -- including procedures on his knee, forearm and ankle -- since his final year at the University of Arizona.