Waters: New England's 'as good as it gets'


Waters: New England's 'as good as it gets'

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO - He didn't have to go to a single training camp practice. Didn't have to play in any meaningless preseason games. He's shown up in New England a week before the opener and is ready to be plugged in at right guard and be paid a couple million. No wonder newly acquired Brian Waters said on Monday, "I think this is as good as it gets."Waters, a five-time Pro Bowler with Kansas City met with media in the Patriots locker room Monday. He said the same things that every newly-signed Patriot says. Great organization. Great coaching. Great opportunity. When a guy shows up and says, "I think I made a mistake coming here" then we'll have a story. More relevant than Waters' happiness is whether or not he is A) in good enough condition to step right in and play guard in the heat of South Florida in one week and B) able to easily transition from the left side of the offensive line where he's always played to the right. Asked about his conditioning, Waters said, "You should probably ask me that question tomorrow (after he's gone through a practice)."Does he believe he'll be ready to play in a week? "That's what I'm preparing for," he answered. "That's what everybody in here has been preparing for."They, of course, have been preparing for it since July 28. Waters, at 34, has been idle. The biggest concern has to be his health. Even though he's missed just three games in his career, will Waters be able to go at the necessary level. The signing of Waters was necessitated by injuries to Dan Connolly and Rich Ohrnberger at right guard. Now Waters is preparing to step in on the side he's not familiar with. To some players, like Patriots' left tackle Matt Light, that kind of switch has been difficult. For others, like rookie tackle Nate Solder and third-year man Sebastian Vollmer, it hasn't been. Waters made it sound like it's not a big deal. "You just have to flip everything in your mind when you've been doing something for a long time, but I don't think it'll take me a long time to get it," said Waters. Which is good. Because he doesn't have a long time. Waters will wear Tedy Bruschi's old number, 54. Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.

Thursday's Patriots-Steelers practice report: Garoppolo off the list


Thursday's Patriots-Steelers practice report: Garoppolo off the list

FOXBORO -- The Patriots injury report shrunk again on Thursday. 

One day after Rob Gronkowski was removed from the injury report, the Patriots were able to take backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo off. 

Garoppolo injured his shoulder in a Week 2 win over the Dolphins and then missed the following two games, giving way to rookie third-rounder Jacoby Brissett. He has been limited in practice ever since being driven into the ground by Miami linebacker Kiko Alonso.

Here is Thursday's full practice participation/injury report for the Patriots and Steelers:


TE Martellus Bennett (ankle)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Jamie Collins (hip)
WR Julian Edelman (foot)
DL Woodrow Hamilton (shoulder)
LB Shea McClellin (concussion)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (hamstring)
LB Elandon Roberts (ankle)
DL Vincent Valentine (back)


T Marcus Gilbert (ankle)
DE Cameron Heyward (hamstring)
QB Ben Roethlisberger (left knee)
S Shamarko Thomas (groin)
C Cody Wallace (knee)
WR Markus Wheaton (shoulder)
RB DeAngelo Williams (knee)

S Robert Golden (foot)
S Michael Mitchell (knee)
LB Ryan Shazier (knee)

Steelers DC: Patriots do things that are 'on the edge of being legal or not legal'

Steelers DC: Patriots do things that are 'on the edge of being legal or not legal'

FOXBORO -- It may not be long before Patriots quarterback Tom Brady tells Steelers coordinator Keith Butler to "study the rule book and figure it out." 

Butler made an appearance on Steelers.com's Coodinators' Corner show this week and hinted that the Patriots do things that border on illegal, seemingly referencing their use of odd formations in the Divisional Round of the playoffs two seasons ago as an example.

"I don't think they're doing anything special," Butler said when asked why it's so difficult to prepare for the Patriots offense. "I think sometimes they do things outside the box sometimes, you know, that might be on the edge of being legal or not legal.

"They've done a couple of things in the past . . . putting an offensive tackle out as ineligible but he's not really. And so sometimes the emphasis by the NFL in terms of what they call and what they don't call, they use that a little bit. And they've been accused of doing a lot of things. But the thing we've got to do is ignore that and play, and hopefully we can give them something they haven't seen from us."

After the Patriots ran their unusual formations against the Ravens in January of 2015, Baltimore coach John Harbaugh insisted that no one had ever seen those formations before, and he was certain the league would look at their legality. Reacting to Harbaugh's comments that night, Brady defended his team's tactics. 

"Who knows? Maybe those guys gotta study the rule book and figure it out," Brady said at the time. "We obviously knew what we were doing and we made some pretty important plays. It was a real good weapon for us. Maybe we’ll have something in store next week."

Brady added: "I don’t know what’s deceiving about that. [They] should figure it out."

In the aftermath of the game, the league was open about the fact that New England's formations were, in fact, legal. However, the following week, the NFL's head of officiating Dean Blandino pointed out that Nate Solder's touchdown grab in the AFC title game should not have counted due to an illegal substitution call that was missed.

The Patriots have yet to run much in the way of formational trickery this season, save for an alignment in Week 5 against the Browns in which Solder was lined up as the left guard next to center David Andrews. On the opposite side of the formation Joe Thuney lined up outside right tackle Cameron Fleming as a tight end. That play resulted in a short LeGarrette Blount run.

Butler added that, "If we're going to beat them, we can't get beat mentally, either, in terms of making mistakes. We can't make mistakes -- mental mistakes. And we have to tackle. If we can do those two things, that will increase our chances of winning immensely."

You can listen to the full interview with Butler -- during which he calls Rob Gronkowski more of a receiver than a blocker and Julian Edelman "more of a possession receiver" -- right here