Hernandez 'felt good' in return from knee injury

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Hernandez 'felt good' in return from knee injury

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Staff Reporter Follow @dannypicard
FOXBORO -- Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez had missed the previoustwo games with an MCL injury, but returned on Sunday night against the New YorkJets.

He made five catches for 56 yards in New Englands30-21 win at Gillette Stadium.

I felt pretty good out there, said Hernandez. Felt like my knee wasnthurting, and Im ready for next week.

Hernandezs day took a bad turn at the end of the first half,when a Tom Brady pass deflected off his hands and ended up in the possession ofJets cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who ran the interception to midfield before being pushedout of bounds.

Obviously as a player, you love the game, and it hurts you,said Hernandez on the ball he should have caught for a touchdown. Itll stillbother me until this nights over. But youve just got to turn your game aroundand bring it back next week.

Luckily for Hernandez and the Patriots, time in the secondquarter had expired, and New England got the ball to begin the second half.

Hernandez made up for it with a big 21-yard reception overthe middle with 3:30 left in the third quarter. Several plays later, thePatriots scored another touchdown on a BenJarvus Green-Ellis run, and took a24-14 lead after the extra point, making Hernandezs reception the biggest playof what turned out to be the game-winning drive, knee brace and all.

The knee brace maybe slowed me down a little bit, saidHernandez. But you dont really think about it when youre out there. So Ifelt like it felt pretty good . . . When youre in the moment, at a game, all them fans outthere, national TV, then you kind of forget about the brace.

"Aaron has really worked hard the last couple of weeks to get back out there," said Patriots coach Bill Belichick after the win. "Hes in here early, he stays late. He's leaving when the coaches are leaving. Hes getting a lot of extra treatment. He was able to come out and practice later on in the week and handle a little more each day and kept getting better, so we felt confident going into the game, and he felt confident going into the game.

"Again, he got behind the defense a couple times, so he obviously got his speed back. I thought he had a good couples days of practice at the end of the week and was able to carry it over into the game. He's a tough guy to match up against. Hes a good player."

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

Mayock: If I'm Cleveland, I'd be 'stoked' to land Garoppolo for No. 12 pick

Mayock: If I'm Cleveland, I'd be 'stoked' to land Garoppolo for No. 12 pick

NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock quarterbacked a marathon conference call with reporters from around the country on Monday in order to shed some light on the prospects who will compete at the combine later this week. One thing that stood out? He's not ready to crown anyone in this year's crop of draftable signal-callers.

As a result of the dearth of pro-ready talent at quarterback, Mayock recognized Patriots backup Jimmy Garoppolo as perhaps the top target for any quarterback-needy team. Garoppolo might interest the Cleveland Browns in particular, Mayock noted, because of the number of picks they have near the top of the draft.

"In my opinion," Mayock said, "if I'm the Cleveland Browns and I've got No. 1 and No. 12, if I came away with either [defensive end Myles] Garrett or [defensive tackle] Jonathan Allen at No. 1, and gave up the 12th pick in the draft to get Garoppolo? I would be stoked.

"I would feel like I had a difference-maker on defense and we had a quarterback on offense. Now let's get to work. We got five in the first 65 picks. Let's get to work. From my perspective, especially looking at the quarterbacks this year, if they gave up No. 12 and could get Garoppolo, I'd be all over that."

Patriots promote coaching assistant Nick Caley to tight ends coach

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Patriots promote coaching assistant Nick Caley to tight ends coach

As the Patriots so often like to do, they promoted from within to fill an open coaching position on Monday. 

The team announced that they've named Nick Caley as their tight ends coach, filling the vacancy left behind when Brian Daboll accepted the offensive coordinator position at the University of Alabama last week. 

Caley was a coaching assistant with the Patriots for the past two seasons after spending a decade in the college ranks at John Carroll (2005-06), Akron (2006-07), Auburn (2008), Iowa State (2009-11), Eastern Illinois (2012), Arkansas (2013) and Florida Atlantic (2014).

Caley is one of several John Carroll products -- including director of player personnel Nick Caserio, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and assistant quarterbacks coach Jerry Shuplinski -- working for the Patriots at the moment. He graduated from the Jesuit university situated just outside of Cleveland in 2006.