Meriweather mystified by speculation he'll be cut


Meriweather mystified by speculation he'll be cut

By Tom E. Curran Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran

FOXBORO The 2011 preseason AKA the Brandon Meriweather Cut Watch concluded Thursday night. And it ended with the former first-round safety running around the field in the fourth quarter of the final fake game. This, like so many other minor personnel moves during training camp, was immediately read as a bad sign for the Big Bang Clock.

Meriweathers job security and Hurricane Irene are running neck-and-neck as the No. 1 news stories for August (we hyperbolize). A safety comes in for a workout? Meriweathers meat. Two safeties? Definitely meat. A safety gets signed? Meriweathers screwed. James Sanders is on the field instead of Meriweather? Bye-bye Brandon. So what exactly did Meriweather make of being on the field during garbage time? Is it a sign that hes headed down the depth chart? I wouldnt say that, Meriweather told me after the Patriots' 18-17 loss to the Giants. Coaches want to see me play and the other guys play too. I wouldnt say its because Im going downhill or anything like that, its when Coach Belichick wanted to play me.Its more than plausible. The Patriots are trying to enmesh players who havent been on the field much Josh Barrett and Sergio Brown. Those two spent most of the first half on the field next to Patrick Chung showing what theyre capable of. Bill Belichick and his staff know what Meriweather can do. But at the same time, that could be a bad thing. Even though Meriweathers gone to the last two Pro Bowls, his shortcomings have been highlighted. Missed tackles and coverages. The fineable hit on Todd Heap. Being removed from the starting lineup for a few games last season. And an offseason incident in Florida in which shots were fired and Meriweathers name was bandied about before he was completely cleared of being anything other than a peacemaker. His body of work here is not viewed in a positive light. I told him people in the media believe his roster spot is in trouble. Why everybody feel like Im in trouble? he asked. Hey, maybe they know something we dont. Maybe they know something that Belichick didnt tell us. He usually comes and tell us if theres something going on. Hes good with stuff like that so, you know, Im just going to keep working hard and keep playing.Ive not been a card-carrying member of the Meriweather Fan Club. But I do think the cut watch has been overblown. The story is self-propelled at this point. Hes at virtually every practice and takes almost every rep. Hes athletic enough to be a first-round pick who probably would have gone higher were it not for stupidity at the U (and who among them . . . ? ). Hes a Pro Bowler in name alone. But he isnt a stiff by any stretch. I asked him if hes aware how much heat hes taking. I dont even read the newspaper, he insisted. I try to stay from all blogs and stuff like that. Ever since I was little, its always hard for me to get something good going about myself. Ever since I was 10 years old people been finding fault with me. Im used to it.Cutdowns come Saturday so well know soon enough whether all the harbingers of doom were really that. If Meriweather is released, he wont be the only one surprised. I havent heard that and I dont feel that way either, said Patrick Chung when asked about Meriweather. You gotta ask Coach (where he stands) but yes. Yes. Hes a good player. The other stuff, thats for Coach to answer or Brandon to answer. But is he a good player? Yes, hes a good player.On Meriweathers black t-shirt Thursday night was a yellow smiley face. The smiley face had two white, gloved hands. Each hand had its middle finger extended. Meriweathers last words before leaving the locker room, Someone told me a while back: If youre in any entertainment business, the last people you need to listen to is the media.
Tom E. Curran can be reached at Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.

Belichick seemed to enjoy Faulk's draft-day Deflategate protest


Belichick seemed to enjoy Faulk's draft-day Deflategate protest

FOXBORO -- When Kevin Faulk's name pops up in a Bill Belichick press conference, it's no surprise that a smile crosses the Patriots coach's face and a complimentary comment crosses his lips. Faulk helped Belichick and the Patriots win three Super Bowls and he's a finalist for the Patriots Hall of Fame this year. 

When Faulk's name pops up in a Belichick press conference one night after protesting Deflategate on a national stage during the second day of the NFL draft? You can expect much of the same. 

"Love Kevin," Belichick said when asked about Faulk wearing a Tom Brady replica No. 12 jersey underneath his suit jacket while announcing New England's second pick of the draft on Friday night. "He always makes good decisions. Looked sharp out there."

As part of an NFL initiative that had former players announce picks for their teams this weekend, Faulk was asked to announce the No. 78 overall selection, which was made on North Carolina State offensive lineman Joe Thuney.

"With the 78th pick in the 2016 NFL draft," Faulk said proudly, "the New England Patriots and Tom Brady select . . . Joe Thuney."

Brady is facing a four-game suspension, which was reinstated by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this week. He and his lawyers have a little over a week to petition the Second Circuit for a rehearing. 

When Belichick was asked about the latest Deflategate news on Saturday, he declined to comment, opting to focus on the draft instead. 

"I’ll talk about the draft," he said. "You good on that?"

The Patriots draft was of course affected by the Deflategate punishment issued by the league. They were the only team to begin the draft without a first-round pick, but Belichick said that the absence of that choice didn't neccessarily alter the team's philosophy going into the weekend. 

"No. You control what you can control," he said. "What we had, we tried to do the best we could. That’s how we approach it, whether it is picking guys or moving positions or trading into next year, whatever it was, we just tried to make the most of it. We traded up, we traded down, we [acquired a fourth-rounder in 2017]. Not saying it was great or anything, we just tried to do the best we could."

Patriots select Arizona State WR Lucien in seventh round


Patriots select Arizona State WR Lucien in seventh round

The Patriots haven't had a ton of success drafting wide receivers in recent years, but one of their few home runs came in the seventh round back in 2009. 

No one will expect Devin Lucien to produce at the same level as Julian Edelman, but if he can provide the Patriots with some measure of depth after being selected with the No. 225 pick overall on Saturday -- the team's final pick of the draft -- it would be considered good value. 

The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder transferred from UCLA to Arizona State for his final collegiate season when he recorded 66 catches for 1,074 yards and eight touchdowns. In his last three games, he racked up 534 yards and five scores, firmly establishing himself as a draftable prospect. 

Pro Football Focus game Lucien a third-round grade going into the draft and said he "may have the best hands" in the class. According to PFF, he dropped just five passes in the last two seasons. 

Though he has good size and he tested well at his pro day (4.42-second 40-yard dash), he's considered to have underwhelming speed. Still, given his collegiate numbers and his dependable 10-inch mitts, he was certainly worth a flier late on Day 3. 

Lucien joins Malcolm Mitchell of Georgia (fourth-round) as the two receiver prospects selected by the Patriots in this year's draft class. The pair will compete for time with veterans Juilan Edelman, Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan, Keshawn Martin, Nate Washington and second-year wideout Chris Harper. 

Patriots add pair with special-teams relevance in late rounds


Patriots add pair with special-teams relevance in late rounds

The Patriots added a good-sized safety from Jimmy Garoppolo’s alma mater in the seventh round, Kamu Grunier-Hill. The 6-1, 215-pounder from Eastern Illinois selected with the 208th pick will have his first relevance as a special teamer then will try to find a spot in the regular defense.

With his size, he figures to be a who can play some box-safety when the Patriots go to six DB sets. He’ll do well to keep an eye on Patrick Chung because Chung – a much smaller player – is very skilled playing at the linebacker level. Grunier-Hill has great measurable – a 4.45 40 and 38.5 inch vertical.

The Patriots are deep at safety with Devin McCourty, Chung, Jordan Richards and Duron Harmon. Grunier-Hill wasn’t a highly-analyzed prospect in the process leading up to the draft so the Patriots’ interest level in him may have been higher than most. It’s very likely he finds his way to the team’s practice squad.

Right after taking Grunier-Hill, the Patriots got a similar-sized player named Elandon Roberts at 214. The 6-foot, 235-pounder comes in as a linebacker out of the University of Houston. He’s not the explosive athlete that Grunier-Hill is but he’s a hugely productive player who had 88 solo tackles for the Cougars last season. Regarded as a great leader, Roberts is another guy who’s going to have to make hay as a special teams guy first.