Pats send Wilhite to IR; Belichick lauds Brady

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Pats send Wilhite to IR; Belichick lauds Brady

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com

FOXBORO - Jonathan Wilhite, whose moments of solid play in 2010 were somewhat lost in the shuffle, won't get another chance to shine this season. He was sent to injured reserve on Wednesday with a hamstring injury. His hip has also been a sore spot for him. A fourth-round pick out of Auburn in 2008, Wilhite worked his way up the depth chart to become a starter in 2009, but the 5-foot-11, 185-pounder's play was just OK as the Patriots defense as a whole struggled. This season he was supplanted by a few players - Devin McCourty, Darius Butler and Kyle Arrington among them - and became mostly an off-the-bench situational guy. "Jonathan's situation just wasnt improving the way that he hoped or we hoped it would, so we had to move along there," said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. The Patriots filled Wilhite's roster spot with a defensive lineman who most recently played with the Panthers, Louis Leonard. At 6-4, 325, Leonard is a product of the Fresno State program coached by Friend of Belichick, Pat Hill. "Leonard is a guy that has a little experience in the league; defensive lineman is a position that we're kind of short on; we just had five at the game last week," Belichick offered. "Hopefully he can give us a little depth there if he can get ready to go. I don't know; we'll see how it goes." The Patriots' most recent acquisition before Leonard was defensive end Eric Moore, who had consecutive impressive plays against the Bears (strip sack and a tackle for loss). Belichick explained that defensive line is a position players can quickly assimilate to. "Relative to other positions, there's not as much for a defensive lineman to know assignment-wise," Belichick explained. "The big thing for most of those guys, really defensive lineman is to be able to play with good technique, with good leverage, defeat run blocks or defeat pass blocks and rush the passer. So if you can play with good technique within the framework of assignments which, again, its not a massive assignment situation there. Jim Corbett of USA Today was in Foxboro to take the temperature of the NFL's hottest team. He posed a question to Belichick about Tom Brady's improvements that the coached warmed to. "Tom works hard on the little things," Belichick observed. "I think that's one thing as a coach that you really respect and admire about Tom. He's always working on the little things. It might be on one thing that could come up on one play and that one play might happen twice a season; who knows? He just continually prepares at a very high level, both the opponent and the opponents scheme and personnel. He continues to try to have a better understanding of our offense and what options there are on certain plays, certain situations, the way a team plays it."Brady'spayoff for that preparation,Belichickbelieves, islike unearthing little secrets. "He does a lot of things well, but he knows there are things he can improve on and he's always working to get better at those," said his coach. "Sooner or later, you'll see one come up in a game that maybe hasn't come up in a month or six weeks or a year. He'll be able to make a play on that. I think that's a very satisfying thing for him that he can say, 'Hey, this didnt happen when it happened a year ago or whatever and here we had a chance to get it and we got it.' You feel good about that. So, I think that's kind of what Tom Brady does. He does all the things that you expect him to do and a lot of the little things Somewhere along the line those little things help him make a play. It might be a long way back in the history books where you find, but there's a teaching lesson in there somewhere that he picked up on."Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Perry's Patriots 53-man roster projection

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Perry's Patriots 53-man roster projection

With New England Patriots organized workouts finished until next month, Phil Perry puts together another 53-man roster projection.

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Affleck offers passionate Brady defense when asked about Deflategate

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Affleck offers passionate Brady defense when asked about Deflategate

When the topic of Deflategate was broached on HBO's Any Given Wednesday with Bill Simmons, which debuted this week, Ben Affleck became all kinds of fired up.

"What they did was suspend Tom Brady for four days for not giving them his [expletive] cellphone," Affleck said. "I would never give an organization as leak-prone as the NFL my [expletive] cellphone . . . so you can just look through my emails and listen to my voicemails?"

Affleck grew up in Cambridge, Mass. and is a passionate Patriots fan. He made no attempts to hide his fandom, and his appreciation for Brady, as he and Simmons (also a Patriots fan) discussed the football-deflation controversy that has now lasted well over a year. 

Affleck, who said he would want to cast himself as Brady if ever a Deflategate movie was made, harped on the fact that the league wanted Brady to turn over his phone. 

"Maybe Tom Brady is so [expletive] classy and such a [expletive] gentleman," Affleck said, "that he doesn’t want people to know that he may have reflected on his real opinion on some of his co-workers."

Brady is waiting for the Second Circuit to make a decision as to whether or not it will rehear his case against the NFL. Earlier this offseason, the Second Circuit reinstated Brady's four-game suspension issued by the league when a three-judge panel ruled in favor of the NFL, 2-1. 

Pro Football Talk wrote on Thursday that a decision from the Second Circuit could come at any time. If the rehearding request is denied, Brady could then take the case to the Supreme Court. Should the Second Circuit grant Brady a rehearing, his suspension would be delaed until the court reached a decision. In that case, Brady could potentially play the entire 2016 season before a decision came to pass.