Pats' 'D' stretched thin without Haynesworth

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Pats' 'D' stretched thin without Haynesworth

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
BUFFALO - After the Patriots' season-opening win over Miami, Albert Haynesworth and Vince Wilfork both credited the depth on the defensive line as being the reason New England didn't wilt. Just two weeks later, that depth has been carved into. Sunday in Buffalo, the Patriots will deal with an explosive Bills offensewithout the services of Haynesworth, third-year man Myron Pryor or Mike Wright. Haynesworth, who started having back issues during the week, was downgraded to out Saturday night. Pryor, meanwhile,was placed on IR with a shoulder injury and Wright has been down since suffering a concussion in theopener at the Dolphins. This leaves the Patriots very thin against a Bills offense that's been getting a ton on the ground (running back Fred Jackson's got 229 yards on the ground in two games). Vince Wilfork, Kyle Love, Shaun Ellis andLandon Cohen are about the extent of it inside. This could lead the Patriots to look at a little 3-man front against the Bills. New England's been racked by under-the-radar, non-skill-positioninjuries so far this season on the offensive and defensive lines and in the secondary. This is a huge test for New England.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Patriots officially side with Brady vs. NFL by filing amicus brief

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Patriots officially side with Brady vs. NFL by filing amicus brief

Robert Kraft and the Patriots organization have been saying for a long time that they hope Tom Brady prevails in his fight with the league over Deflategate. Kraft reiterated that stance on Tuesday at the NFL's annual spring meetings.

But on Wednesday, the Patriots took their support for Brady to a different platform. The team has filed an amicus brief stating that it supports Brady and the NFLPA now that the union has filed a petition to be granted a rehearing by the Second Circuit. 

Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, it is a noteworthy move because the last time an NFL team took legal action against league was when late Raiders owner Al Davis sued the NFL. It is important to note, though, as SI.com's Michael McCann explains, that the Patriots have not actually "switched sides" in this instance. As one of 32 teams in the league, they are technically still a part of the NFL Management Council et al. v. NFL Players Association et al. With its amicus brief, however, the team is advocating for a rehearing of a case that the NFL recently won. 

Filing the brief may not necessarily have any legal impact on the case -- judges can ignore the team's opinion in its amicus brief if they so choose -- but its value may be more than simply symbolic in nature. Attorney Daniel Wallach notes that the team's amicus brief covers ground that Brady's petition for rehearing couldn't cover due to page limits. 

On the first page of the amicus brief, in the document's second footnote, the language is strong: "From the outset of this matter, the League's conduct reflects less a search for the truth than pursuit of a pre-determined result and defense of a report which, despite no direct evidence of tampering or Mr. Brady's involvement, was reiled on to impose penalties with no precedent or correlation to the alleged offense."

The Patriots have continued to update The Wells Report in Context, a website that argues the findings of the NFL's investigation into Brady that has also accumulated various reports and scientific studies that support Brady's innocence. But this amicus brief is another way for the team to show that it has its quarterback's back. 

The NFLPA filed its petition for a rehearing on Monday and now awaits a decision from the 13 judges of the Second Circuit as to whether or not they will grant Brady a rehearing.

Statistically speaking, Brady is facing long odds to be given a rehearing, but his legal team believes there's reason for optimism