Patriots rookies learning through experience


Patriots rookies learning through experience

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick knew enough to draft Chandler Jones and Dont'a Hightower in the first round of this year's draft. In Week 1 against the Titans, his decision began to pay dividends.

Jones and Hightower connected on a strip-sack Sunday, with Jones knocking the ball loose, and Hightower recovering it and running it in for a touchdown.

Belichick praised their efforts a day later.

"They're both smart, they've worked hard, and they've both been out there," said Belichick. "They both got a lot of reps on the field, so, that's always a good way to learn, is to experience it, go through it and make a mistake. Correct it, go out there and do it again and get it right. So, there's lot to be said for that.

"A lot of our young players have had the opportunity to do that. They've been on the field, they've practiced, they've made mistakes, they've gone back and corrected them and have gone back out and got it right the next time and have been able to move onto something else. So that's been a positive. Those two guys, they've done a good job."

Tavon Wilson was another young player who saw significant action Sunday. He also forced a turnover in Sunday's win with an interception of Titans quarterback Jake Locker. Belichick described what he's liked about the rookie defensive back so far.

"He's got good size, he's a physical player, and he runs well," said Belichick. "He'll mix it up in the running game and can blitz. He's done a decent job for us at that. He's still learning. It's kind of a new position for him, but he's picked it up OK. So, we'll see how it goes."

Some Patriots kneel, others stand and link arms during national anthem


Some Patriots kneel, others stand and link arms during national anthem

FOXBORO -- The Patriots took different approaches as the National Anthem played on Sunday at Gillette Stadium. Many, including safety and captain Devin McCourty, took a knee. Others stood and linked arms. 

On the opposite sideline, it appeared as though every member of the Texans stood on the sidelines and linked arms. 

Those joining McCourty on a knee included Stephon Gilmore, Malcolm Butler, Lawrence Guy, Johnson Bademosi, Alan Branch, Brandon King, Malcom Brown and rookies Deatrich Wise and Adam Butler. 

Among those linking arms were Tom Brady, Phillip Dorsett, Cassius Marsh, Matthew Slater, David Harris and Dwayne Allen.