Curran: Five first-half thoughts from Patriots-Packers

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Curran: Five first-half thoughts from Patriots-Packers

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com

FOXBORO - Just a little bit of luck heading the wrong way can change a game. And when Brandon Meriweather's bad angle on a ball thrown to James Jones and wiped out cornerback Devin McCourty, one of the many breaks going New England's way over the past two months fell to an opponent. Here's five keys from the first half of a game led -- shockingly -- 17-14 by Green Bay. 1. FLYNN EFFECTIVENESSThe assumed ineffectiveness of Matt Flynn hasn't yet come to pass. He went 11 of 17 for 143 yards.A huge chunk came on that 66-yard touchdown pass to James Jones, but he also engineered a drive in the second quarter that consumed 6:26 and included four third-down conversions before ending with a one-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings. 2. PENALTIES EMERGEThe Patriots have five penalties for 37 yards in the first half. Entering the game, New England was the fourth-least penalized team in the NFL (55). Included in there, a pass interference that made it first-and-goal at the one, an offensive hold that led to a three-and-outand an offsides that turned a third-and-nine into a third-and-four.3. CONNOLLY ... UNSTOPPABLEThe explosiveness of Patriots offensive lineman Dan Connolly was on full display late in the half when he took a squibbed kickoff and returned it 71 yards past a seemingly confused Packers kick coverage team all the way down to the Green Bay 4. Tom Brady hit Aaron Hernandez for a touchdown. 4. DEFENSIVE STRIKESKyle Arrington, who explained to me last week the work he does during the week on his legs to keep them strong and live, showed that power during a 36-yard interception return for a score. It was the eighth return touchdown of the year for New England. 5. PATRIOTS KILLED IT ON GROUNDNew England hadeight carries for74 yards in the first half, a tremendous, eight yards per carry average. But they went away from it a bit in the second quarter.
Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Bryan Stork: 'Nothing but great memories' with Patriots

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Bryan Stork: 'Nothing but great memories' with Patriots

After being traded to the Washington Redskins this week, former Patriots center Bryan Stork broke his 35-day Twitter silence to say farewell to New England.

For those who are wondering, the acronym "HTTR" stands for "Hail to the Redskins," the team's fight song. #HTTR is used by the team and fans on social media.

Stork was reportedly mulling retirement after being dealt, but has decided to report. 

The Patriots informed Stork of his release early Wednesday, but the Patriots and Redskins were able to work out a deal for a conditional 2017 seventh-round pick before the move was processed.

Ratto: Kaepernick controversy touches on hot-button issues in an ugly political year

Ratto: Kaepernick controversy touches on hot-button issues in an ugly political year

Ray Ratto joins Chevrolet SportsNet Central to discuss Colin Kaepernick's decision to not stand during the national anthem before the San Francisco 49ers preseason game.

Belichick says all three QBs could use more game reps

Belichick says all three QBs could use more game reps

Bill Belichick was expansive Saturday when asked on a conference call how he'll split the quarterback reps for the Patriots final preseason game Thursday in New York.

"I think that’s a good question, it’s a fair question, it’s one that we really have to give some good consideration to," Belichick began. "As I said before, I think whatever we do will benefit whoever does it. We want to get Jimmy [Garoppolo] ready for the Arizona game. Tom [Brady] isn’t going to be playing for a while, so it’s kind of his last chance to play until he comes back after a few weeks. Jacoby [Brissett] certainly could use all the playing time that he can get. I think that whichever players we play will benefit from it and it will be valuable to them. We could play all three quarterbacks a lot next week and they’d all benefit from that and it would all be good, but we can’t."

Since they can't, Belichick said there will be situational work done with whoever isn't going to get the game reps.

"We only have one game and so many snaps, so we’ll have to, between practice and the game, put them in some situations that are somewhat controllable like a two-minute situation or things like that that you know are going to kind of come up one way or another," said Belichick. "You can sort of control those in how you want those broken down, what’s best, what does each guy need and how can we get the best we need for each guy. I need to let them get the reps that they need, but it’s how do we get the team ready for what they need to be ready for. They all need to get ready for different things.

What Jimmy’s role is in a couple weeks is going to be a lot different than what Tom’s is, and it’s going to be a lot different than what Jacoby’s is. At some point later on, those roles are going to change again. So again, there’s no perfect solution to it. We’ll just do the best we can to try to have our individual players and our team as well prepared as possible at whatever point that is that we have to deal with, and whenever those situations come up."

As I wrote earlier today, this is the sticky and uncomfortable situation arising from Deflategate. It's not a Tom Brady penalty. It's a team penalty when one considers the ripple effects. And there's no handbook to consult.