Demands on Carter won't be complicated


Demands on Carter won't be complicated

By Tom E. Curran Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO - You've seen those media scrums where a player stands in the middle then is surrounded in a semi-circle by reporters, microphone caddies and cameramen? They go five people deep sometimes and while the player doesn't enjoy them, believe me, neither does the media. Believe it or not, the best location is sometimes behind the player. Nobody else is there and - with a tilt of your ear - you can hear clearly everything he's saying. On Monday, I went backside on the media scrum enveloping newly-signed Patriot Andre Carter. There, I was met with, well, Andre Carter's backside. I make mention of this for one simple reason. He is 6-foot-4. I am 5-10. Yet his butt was level with my ribs. That should not be. But it was. Carter is what you would call a "high-cut" athlete. His legs and arms are absurdly long. His frame - rock-solid at 252 - was cut. What does this mean football-wise? His long legs will give him an explosive first step. His long arms will help him reach around blockers to get a grip on ballcarriers and quarterbacks. And the athleticism obvious in a frame like that will make him standout among a crop of defensive linemen who look like they could singlehanded destroy a Country Buffet. The vogue comparison for Carter coming out of Cal in 2001 was to Jevon Kearse. Carter has managed to stay relevant longer than The Freak. Part of that may be the professionalism and work ethic Carter is reputed to bring. Bill Belichick described Carter as "a high-quality individual who's very professional, who works hard."A polished Carter did nothing in a short meeting with the media to dispel that description. And his role in New England as he relayed it being told to him, "It was just simple you put your hand in the dirt and go."That message, delivered by Bill Belichick, will capitalize on Carter's attributes and the Patriots could capitalize on Carter's attitude. He is a leader."This was a team that was headed in the right direction, Carter said when askedwhy he chose New England.They had a great group of guys, coming from veteran leadership, to youth, and it was all about one team, and one goal. And that was just to go out there and grind day by day and week by week. Granted, the journey is never easy, but you just have to find a way to get it done.Carter was productive two seasons ago operating under the "hand in the dirt and go" style with Washington. But, with a glut of linemen, he'll need to make a fast impression that he can play at a high level still. He's certainly built to do so.
Tom E. Curran can be reached at Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.

Thursday's Patriots-Bills practice report: Garoppolo, Brissett practice again


Thursday's Patriots-Bills practice report: Garoppolo, Brissett practice again

FOXBORO -- The Patriots held a walkthrough on the field behind Gillette Stadium one day after both Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder) and Jacoby Brissett (thumb) tested their arms during the team's practice in full pads n Wednesday.

Both quarterbacks were back on the field, but for the second consecutive day they were limited, according to the injury report. That injury report was, in fact, unchanged from Wednesday's, meaning tight end Rob Gronkowski (hamstring) and linebacker Dont'a Hightower (knee) were also limited. 

There was one significant alteration to the Bills practice report, however, as tight end Charles Clay (knee) was back on the field Thursday. Receiver Sammy Watkins (foot) remained out. 

Patriots coach Bill Belichick described Watkins' explosive abilities in Buffalo's passing game earlier this week. 

"Watkins is big, he is good after the catch, he’s obviously good on the deep balls," Belichick said. "But he is good on catch-and-run plays. He can take those intermediate routes or crossing routes and turn a 10, 15-yard catch into 40. So, a hard guy to tackle, big, fast, very athletic."

If he can't go, the Bills will have to find other ways to try to manufacture yardage. 

Here's Thursday's practice participation report for the Patriots and Bills.


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)


OL Cyrus Kouandjio (ankle)
OL Patrick Lewis (knee)
DB Jonathan Meeks (foot)
WR Greg Salas (groin)
WR Sammy Watkins (foot)

DB Colt Anderson (foot)
TE Charles Clay (knee)
DB Ronald Darby (hamstring)
OL Cordy Glenn (ankle)
QB Cardale Jones (right shoulder)
DB Aaron Williams (ankle)

Blount: Belichick has had my back from the beginning


Blount: Belichick has had my back from the beginning

FOXBORO -- During the week, there are times when Bill Belichick and LeGarrette Blount will walk out to practice together, chatting, laughing, looking like old pals. On Sundays, Belichick will coach Blount like any other player, calling Blount by the same nickname Blount's teammates use for the 250-pound bruiser: "LG." After Thursday's win over the Texans, Blount ran for over 100 yards and two scores and earned special recognition from the head coach.

From the outside looking in, they are the Patriots version of the Odd Couple. One is a Hall of Fame, old-school, buttoned-up disciplinarian. The other is a care-free 29-year-old who spends chunks of his free time on Snapchat and Instagram, often taking pictures of his sneaker collection.  

But with Belichick, Blount's career has taken off. Undrafted in 2010 due in part to off-the-field issues, Blount bounced from the Titans to the Buccaneers, and in Tampa Bay, he found early success. He ran for over 1,000 yards as a rookie and followed that up by starting all 14 games in which he played during his second season. Having fallen out of favor with the coaching staff in 2012, he was traded to New England for return specialist Jeff Demps the following offseason. 

With the Patriots, Blount ran for 772 yards and a career-high seven scores, setting him up to sign a free-agent deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers before the start of the 2014 campaign. It was a turbulent few months for Blount, who was arrested for marijuana possession, served a one-game suspension, and then walked off the field during a game against the Titans, leading to his release. 

Who was there to scoop him up? Belichick, of course.

The Patriots moved quickly to re-sign Blount to a two-year deal, and Blount was very open about how thankful he was that the Patriots offered him another chance. Though it may seem like a head-scratching match, Blount enjoys playing for Belichick and he appreciates Belichick's frankness. There are no promises made, but expectations are laid out, and the onus is on the player to earn his role. At other stops, Blount felt as though he may have been misled. 

Belichick has leaned on Blount over the course of the first three weeks of this season much in the same way Blount leaned on the Patriots organization when he was looking for another chance to play in 2013 and 2014. With Tom Brady suspended, the Patriots have run the football more than any other team in the NFL, and Blount has recorded more carries than any other back in the league, helping them get out to a 3-0 start. 

On Thursday he was named the AFC's Offensive Player of the Month for posting 298 rushing yards and four touchdowns, and he shed some light on the relationship he shares with his head coach.

"I have a really good relationship with Bill," Blount said. "I love Bill to death. He’s always had my back from the beginning, from the first time I met him. I think he’s probably going to have it forever. We just have a really great relationship. I like everything that he does, I respect him a lot. I think he’s going to go down in history as the best coach to ever coach this game."

And what about having your boss call you by a nickname? 

"Can’t complain if he calls you that," Blount said. "Because what’s LG stand for? Life’s good, right?"

Right now, for both Blount and Belichick, it can't get much better.