Hernandez 'felt good' in return from knee injury

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Hernandez 'felt good' in return from knee injury

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Staff Reporter Follow @dannypicard
FOXBORO -- Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez had missed the previoustwo games with an MCL injury, but returned on Sunday night against the New YorkJets.

He made five catches for 56 yards in New Englands30-21 win at Gillette Stadium.

I felt pretty good out there, said Hernandez. Felt like my knee wasnthurting, and Im ready for next week.

Hernandezs day took a bad turn at the end of the first half,when a Tom Brady pass deflected off his hands and ended up in the possession ofJets cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who ran the interception to midfield before being pushedout of bounds.

Obviously as a player, you love the game, and it hurts you,said Hernandez on the ball he should have caught for a touchdown. Itll stillbother me until this nights over. But youve just got to turn your game aroundand bring it back next week.

Luckily for Hernandez and the Patriots, time in the secondquarter had expired, and New England got the ball to begin the second half.

Hernandez made up for it with a big 21-yard reception overthe middle with 3:30 left in the third quarter. Several plays later, thePatriots scored another touchdown on a BenJarvus Green-Ellis run, and took a24-14 lead after the extra point, making Hernandezs reception the biggest playof what turned out to be the game-winning drive, knee brace and all.

The knee brace maybe slowed me down a little bit, saidHernandez. But you dont really think about it when youre out there. So Ifelt like it felt pretty good . . . When youre in the moment, at a game, all them fans outthere, national TV, then you kind of forget about the brace.

"Aaron has really worked hard the last couple of weeks to get back out there," said Patriots coach Bill Belichick after the win. "Hes in here early, he stays late. He's leaving when the coaches are leaving. Hes getting a lot of extra treatment. He was able to come out and practice later on in the week and handle a little more each day and kept getting better, so we felt confident going into the game, and he felt confident going into the game.

"Again, he got behind the defense a couple times, so he obviously got his speed back. I thought he had a good couples days of practice at the end of the week and was able to carry it over into the game. He's a tough guy to match up against. Hes a good player."

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

Belichick: Sunday a 'rare opportunity' to watch upcoming opponent live

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Belichick: Sunday a 'rare opportunity' to watch upcoming opponent live

How do the Patriots handle Sundays after Thursday night games? Bill Belichick says he won't be glued to the television as New England's next opponent, Buffalo, takes on Arizona. But he will be watching and thinking through situations as they play out live. 

"I think for today, we've done preparation work on the Bills in their first two games, so this is one of those rare opportunities where you can kind of watch the game with a little bit of an idea of how you would want to play it or what you would want to do in certain situations," Belichick said in a conference call on Sunday. "Then, obviously not knowing what they'll do, kind of see how that goes, see what they'll do in those situations compared to what you think they're going to do. Or have they come up with something else, or is this situation a little bit different and has that changed their strategy or play-calling or whatever that happens to be?"

One of the elements of the game that Belichick may give a little extra thought to is how the Bills run their offense under new offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn, who replaced Greg Roman after Roman was fired following Buffalo's Week 2 loss to the Jets.

"Obviously, with a new coordinator, defensively we'll have to pay attention and see what changes or modifications they will make this week," Belichick said. "That may be an ongoing process. I don't know if they do decide to change things whether they could get it all done this week or maybe it would take a period of time, but we'll kind of keep our eye on that.

"In the end, we'll have the film by the end of the day today so that'll answer a lot more questions than the live part of it will. But the live part of it, I'd say as we're working on the scouting report for Buffalo, you can kind of have that game on in the background, sort of keep your eye on it, and see how it goes. But I wouldn't say we're just glued to the TV because we'll see everything that we need to see in a matter of hours anyway."

Belichick concerned about availability of QBs? 'Injury report on Wednesday'

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Belichick concerned about availability of QBs? 'Injury report on Wednesday'

Bill Belichick has a pair of young quarterbacks dealing with injuries at the moment. Jimmy Garoppolo was inactive for Thursday's win over the Texans due to a Grade 2 AC joint sprain he endured in Week 2 against the Dolphins, and Jacoby Brissett sustained a minor injury to his right thumb in his first pro start last week. 

Asked if he was concerned about either player being available for New England's Week 4 contest against the Bills, Belichick didn't provide much in the way of hints one way or another.

"Well, we'll all give our injury report on Wednesday, as we always do, as we're required to do," Belichick said. "Based on where things are at that point, that'll be represented in the report."

If there's concern over both quarterbacks as the team gets closer to its final game without Tom Brady, it may be forced to add a quarterback so as not to subject an emergency option, like receiver Julian Edelman, to extended snaps behind center.