Curran: 17 Patriots thoughts in 34 lines

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Curran: 17 Patriots thoughts in 34 lines

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran 1. Zoltan Mesko was seen Monday afternoon walking without a limp around aFoxboro-area shopping plaza. Good sign for the punter, who got his left legcrumpled Sunday afternoon. 2. As of late Monday, the final diagnosis on Aaron Hernandez' knee wasn't in. He's out this week but the severity of the MCL injury will either keep him down for a game or two or - if it's as banged up as suspected - down for at least four games. 3. With Hernandez down, I think Chad Ochocinco is poised fora breakout week against the Bills. The third-down catch he made while being interfered with that went for 15 yards was a brilliant play. 4. I'm not sure what bus Eric Weddle was running to catch on the30-yarder to Ochocinco. The big-money safety was headed in the exact wrong direction as the pass came in. 5. Weddle had a very long day dealing with Rob Gronkowski. Not impressive for a guy being paid 40 million over eight years with 19 million in guarantees. 6. (Special extra lines!) Bill Belichickon Tom Brady trying to steal the third-down conversion on third-and-four that led to the Pats facing fourth-and-four early in the fourth: "I think everybody was doing what they thought was best. They were trying hard. I dont think there were plays where we were just asleep and just got caught napping or something like that. We tried to do what we thought was best. It didnt always work out. Maybe it wasnt always the best decision myself included but I think we all were trying to do the right thing, trying to do the best thing. But when youre playing a good football team like that, it doesnt always work out." In other words, nice try but not what we were looking for there. 7. "We just sit there and look dumb like everybody else and then they come back and say it was a touchdown or if it wasnt, they tell us it wasnt." That's Belichick on the review of the Chargers final touchdown or the extra point - couldn't tell which. 8. If Andre Carter gets fined for his takedown of Philip Rivers in the second quarter in addition to the 15-yard penalty that was called, it will be a disservice to the sport of football. Asking these guys to unlearn what they were taught since they were 7-years-old is absurd. 9. With Patrick Chung now in a cast as well, the Patriots' two starting safeties - Chung and Josh Barrett - have two good hands between them. The Bills figure to attack them with 6-foot-7, 263-pound tight end Scott Chandler on Sunday. 10. Danny Woodhead had just six touches on Sunday. Aside from last year's regular-season finale when he got hurt and his first game with the Pats, that's tied for his fewest chances (126 vs. New York; 1114 vs. Pittsburgh). 11. With 15 catches for 222 yards, Deion Branch is off to the most productive start of his career. In 2005, he had 15 catches for 159 yards; he's never had more than nine catches in his first two games other than this year and 2005. 12. ESPNBoston's Mike Reiss documented that second-year, second-round linebackerDE Jermaine Cunningham was on the field for a grand total of one defensive snap. A kind way of phrasing this disuse would be that he's trying to establish a role.13. Taylor Price has now been active for a grand total of one NFL game. The wideout created such a preseason stir but an injured hamstring and the fact that better, veteran players are ahead of him (or are more important on special teams) has kept him down. 14. Some would say the Patriots don't do a great job developing young wide receivers. Between Brandon Tate, Chad Jackson and - so far, Price - I would agree with them. 15. There's a ton of concern right now about the Patriots defense and why it's been so permissive. My suspicion is that it's very, very far from being at its highest compete level and will be very good come midseason. 16. Devin McCourty has shown in the first two games that the title "shutdown corner" doesn't yet fit him. But he'll be happy this week to be away from beasts like Brandon Marshall and Vincent Jackson. 17. Lions wideout Nate Burleson wants to fashion himself into "the black Wes Welker."I'm looking to become the paler Mike Giardi.
Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.

Wednesday's Pats-Bills practice report: Jimmy G., Brissett both 'limited'

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Wednesday's Pats-Bills practice report: Jimmy G., Brissett both 'limited'

Wednesday's practice participation report for Sunday's Patriots-Bills game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
QB Jacoby Brissett (right thumb)
OT Marcus Cannon (calf)
G Jonathan Cooper (foot)
LB Jonathan Freeny (shoulder)
QB Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder)
TE Rob Gronkowski (hamstring)
LB Dont'a Hightower (knee)
CB Eric Rowe (ankle)

BUFFALO BILLS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
TE Charles Clay (knee)
OL Cyrus Kouandjio (ankle)
OL Patrick Lewis (knee)
WR Sammy Watkins (foot)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
DB Colt Anderson (foot)
DB Ronald Darby (hamstring)
QB Cardale Jones (right shoulder)
DB Jonathan Meeks (foot)
WR Greg Salas (groin)
DB Aaron Williams (ankle)

Garoppolo: Not pressured by Patriots to return last Thursday

Garoppolo: Not pressured by Patriots to return last Thursday

FOXBORO -- Jimmy Garoppolo spoke Wednesday for the first time since getting his shoulder separated by the Dolphins’ Kiko Alonso. Standing by his locker, Garoppolo was predictably vague about the status of his arm, unless you consider, “Getting better day by day,” as being insightful. 

The only two responses offered that were worth a damn came when asked if he could have done anything different when he got squished by Alonso while retreating and buying time.  

“Just have to be smart I guess,” said Garoppolo. “I mean, it’s football and stuff’s gonna happen like that, but have to be smart in those situations.”

Asked if he regretted holding the ball as long as he did on a third-down play with the Patriots up 21-0, Garoppolo replied, “After it’s all said and done it’s easy to say that, but it’s one of those things, you’re in the heat of the game. But bottom line I have to be smarter than that.”

Agreed.  

Meanwhile, as he worked last week to get back for Thursday night’s game against Houston, The Boston Herald reported that the Patriots were “putting pressure” on Garoppolo to be ready for the game. Working hard to get key players ready for upcoming games is standard operating procedure for a medical staff. Trying to force a player to perform is not. 

I asked Garoppolo if he felt unduly pressured. He replied, “No.”