Kony Ealy on his curious start to Patriots camp: 'It's just a learning curve'

Kony Ealy on his curious start to Patriots camp: 'It's just a learning curve'

FOXBORO - Kony Ealy doesn’t want to talk about what he can’t do, only what he can. 

“I can’t just pick one part of my game out,” he told reporters after Wednesday’s practice. “You don’t do that as an athlete. Try to pick everything you’re good at, [then] you try to perfect it even more. That’s what I’m trying to do...Not worried about anything else or anyone else.”

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Patriots defensive end has had a curious start to his career in Foxboro since being acquired from Carolina. He left a mini-camp practice back on June 8 and we didn’t see him in a uniform again until July 28, a day after training camp started. When asked where he was that day, Ealy provided a curious answer.

“You have to ask Coach Bill," Ealy said. "Me and him had something going or whatever."

When Bill Belichick was asked about Ealy that morning, he wouldn’t get into details, other to say Ealy was in Foxboro. Earlier this week, the Pats coach seemed like he was okay with how the defensive end was adapting to his new surroundings and new program.

“He’s a smart kid, he works hard, and he’s building his versatility,” he said. “We’ll see how far that goes, but he’s got the ability to play inside, to play outside on the end of the line, to play in some coverage situations, to have a role in the kicking game…”

“We’ve asked him to do some new things, and we’ll evaluate those as we go through camp and see how it goes.”

Belichick pointed to the number of different responsibilities they’ve presented to Ealy, including working in the kicking game and also asking the former Missouri standout to drop into pass coverage.

“It’s just a learning curve. That’s fair to say," Ealy said. “Within the scheme of the defense, I’m learning, studying, picking things up every day. I had a natural ability to cover and do everything they ask me to do in the drop game so I don’t have a problem with it.”

That doesn’t seem to jibe with what Belichick and the coaching staff are feeling at this juncture, and while Ealy showed more Wednesday than he had any day prior, including making a couple of plays in the running game, most of his time was spent with the second and third units. 

“[You’re] asking way too many questions with that one,” he said when asked about an expanded role. “You have to ask Coach Belichick. Right now, I’m just in the phase of study, put back to back practices together and get better.”

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Gronkowski, Hightower, Amendola present at Patriots practice Wednesday

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Gronkowski, Hightower, Amendola present at Patriots practice Wednesday

FOXBORO -- The Patriots had their All-Pro tight end back on the field for practice after he suffered an injury scare against the Saints in Week 2.

Rob Gronkowski (groin) joined other injured Patriots on the fields behind Gillette Stadium for Wednesday's workout, including Danny Amendola (missed the Saints game with a concussion and a knee injury), Dont'a Hightower (knee) and Matthew Slater (hamstring). Phillip Dorsett (left Sunday's game with a knee injury) was also present for practice, as was Chris Hogan, who appeared to be dealing with a leg injury versus the Saints.

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Missing from the practice were Marcus Cannon and Rex Burkhead. Cannon was limited in practice last week with an ankle issue, and Burkhead suffered a ribs injury in New Orleans. 

Gronkowski appeared to be moving well during the early portion of the practice. He took part in blocking drills with fellow tight end Dwayne Allen to start the practice and did not appear to be inhibited by the groin injury that knocked him from Sunday's win. The Patriots will release a practice report later in the day on Wednesday that indicates whether Gronkowski was at all limited. 

Watt: Brady, Belichick hurricane relief donation 'speaks volumes about their character'

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Watt: Brady, Belichick hurricane relief donation 'speaks volumes about their character'

JJ Watt ended up raising over $37 million for his Hurricane Harvey relief fund online. As it turns out, that number got a bump from a couple of his rivals in the AFC.

According to The Houston Chronicle, Watt told reporters on Wednesday that Bill Belichick and Tom Brady were among the over 209,000 people who donated to his fundraising efforts.

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"That's  an incredibly kind gesture and shows what kind of people they are and speaks volumes about their character," Watt said. "They're good people."

Watt will square off against Brady and Belichick when the Texans visit Gillette Stadium on Sunday. Belichick said on Wednesday that his team will have to focus on Watt, who was injured and unavailable during last season's Divisional Round matchup between the two clubs. 

"The quickness that J.J. has with the power that he has is a pretty rare combination," Belichick said. "On top of that, he’s got great length and he’s got a great motor. You're not talking about a 6-foot-1 guy. You’re not talking about a guy that takes plays off. You’ve got to deal with his length, his power, his quickness on every single play. That in itself is difficult. He just wears guys down with effort and toughness.

"Then when you take the skill that he has and combine it all together, that puts him at a very – I mean you're talking about the best defensive player in the league for more than one year. He's got a lot going for him and he’s facing it every week. It’s not like he’s sneaking up on anybody. You know when you’re playing him that he’s going to get some extra attention. Every team knows where he is and every team is trying to make sure he doesn’t ruin the game, yet he’s still very, very disruptive. He’s a great player."