Patriots Activate Josh Uche, Cody Davis Off IR, Promote D-Tackle To 53-Man Roster

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Sunday’s New England Patriots-Buffalo Bills game could feature the NFL debut of rookie linebacker Josh Uche.

The Patriots activated Uche, a 2020 second-round draft pick, off injured reserve Saturday during a flurry of roster moves.

The Michigan product has yet to appear in a game at the NFL level, sitting out New England’s season opener as a healthy scratch and missing the next five due to injury.

Athletic and explosive, Uche should add some much-needed speed to the Patriots’ linebacking corps, which has struggled as a unit. The 22-year-old could slot into the inside ‘backer role safety Adrian Phillips frequently has filled this season.

The Patriots also activated special teamer Cody Davis off IR. Defensive tackle Beau Allen and running back Sony Michel were not activated, though Michel was removed from the reserve/COVID-19 list.

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The Patriots also activated special teamer Cody Davis off IR. Defensive tackle Beau Allen and running back Sony Michel were not activated, though Michel was removed from the reserve/COVID-19 list.

New England placed wide receiver Julian Edelman (knee) and rookie offensive lineman Justin Herron (ankle) on IR, sidelining them for at least the next three games. With Jermaine Eluemunor landing on IR last week, the Patriots will be without two of their top four tackles for the near future.

To fill one of their newly vacant spots, the Patriots promoted D-tackle Nick Thurman from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. Thurman was temporarily elevated for four of the team’s first six games, playing a career-high 23 defensive snaps in last week’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

Wide receiver Isaiah Zuber and edge rusher Tashawn Bower were elevated from the practice squad for Sunday’s game.

This will be the fourth appearance this season for Zuber, who joins Damiere Byrd, Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski an injury-ravaged receiving corps. Bower made his Patriots debut last Sunday, tallying three tackles against San Francisco.

The Patriots have ruled out six players for this week’s game: Edelman, Herron, receiver N’Keal Harry, cornerback Stephon Gilmore and safety Kyle Dugger.

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Washington’s Jon Bostic Reportedly Fined By NFL For Hit On Andy Dalton

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It looks like the NFL has determined how to discipline Jon Bostic for his brutal hit on Dallas Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton.

The Washington Football Team linebacker delivered a helmet-to-helmet hit that took Dalton out of the game with a concussion in Week 7, prevented him from practicing all week and will keep him sidelined for Week 8 for the Cowboys game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Many were outraged by the egregious tackle, but Bostic was not suspended. Instead, the league is fining him $12,000 according to NFL media’s Tom Pelissero.

Washington LB Jon Bostic was fined $12,000 for a brutal helmet-to-helmet hit last week on sliding #Cowboys QB Andy Dalton, who suffered a concussion and is out for Sunday night’s game against the #Eagles.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) October 31, 2020

Hopefully, Dalton clears concussion protocol soon and sees no lasting effects, because there’s no place in the game for that type of hit.

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Patriots Rule Out Stephon Gilmore, Two Others For Bills Game

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The New England Patriots will be without their top cornerback Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.

The Patriots on Saturday downgraded corner Stephon Gilmore (knee), safety Kyle Dugger (knee) and offensive lineman Justin Herron (ankle) to out for Sunday’s game, indicating the three did not travel to Buffalo.

New England already had ruled out wide receivers Julian Edelman (knee) and N’Keal Harry (concussion) and defensive tackle Carl Davis (concussion).

Gilmore suffered his injury during practice Thursday and did not practice Friday. The reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year has been rumored as a potential trade candidate as Tuesday’s deadline approaches.

This snaps a streak of 53 consecutive starts for Gilmore, who has not missed a game since Week 8 of the 2017 season. He’s played 98.7 percent of New England’s defensive snaps this season, second-most on the team behind safety Devin McCourty (99.7 percent).

Losing Gilmore and Dugger, who sat out last week’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers, deals a significant blow to New England’s secondary, which will look to slow an explosive Bills air attack led by quarterback Josh Allen and wide receiver Stefon Diggs.

Sunday’s forecast for Orchard Park, N.Y., calls for rain and heavy winds, which could make passing difficult.

Herron, a sixth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, has been a valuable O-line reserve this season, making starts at both tackle spots. The Patriots also are without starting right tackle Jermaine Eluemunor, who is on injured reserve.

Eight additional Patriots players are listed as questionable for Sunday: guards Joe Thuney and Shaq Mason, running back Damien Harris, cornerback J.C. Jackson, outside linebackers John Simon and Shilique Calhoun, defensive tackle Lawrence Guy and tight end Dalton Keene.

The Patriots are 2-4 following their first three-game losing streak since 2002. The Bills sit atop the AFC East standings at 5-2.

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Is Cam Newton Playing For His Career In Patriots-Bills? Ex-NFL GM Believes So

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It might not be overstating it to say the New England Patriots’ upcoming game might be the most important Week 8 contest for the franchise in decades — if not ever.

The Patriots have lost three straight games leading up to their matchup Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. With a loss, the Patriots will have an incredibly tough time clawing back to win the division, and could turn into firesale mode at the Nov. 3 trade deadline.

However, if they win, they would be right back in the thick of the AFC East competition.

It’s also a big game for Cam Newton, who has been an abject disaster the last two games since returning from the COVID list. He was quick to call Sunday’s game a “must-win” from a team perspective, and a former NFL executive thinks it’s a big game for Newton from a personal perspective.

In an interview Friday on WEEI’s “Ordway, Merloni and Fauria,” Mike Lombardi indicated he believes the 31-year-old is playing for his career.

“I think he’s playing for his career,” Lombardi said, as transcribed by WEEI.com. “Look, everybody watches the tape. He’s going to be a free agent at the end of the year. He’s playing for his career. He has to show everybody he’s a starting quarterback. And he was doing it at the beginning of the season.

“I think he has a lot to prove to himself, first and foremost. That’s your biggest critic. I don’t think there is any doubt he sense the urgency. And he’s got to play better. He’s got to tune himself in. The one thing they can’t do is they’re not good enough to give away games. They’re not good enough to overcome turnovers. They’re not good enough to overcome the stupid mistakes they’re making. Throwing the ball to I-don’t-know-who. Having a third down and not being able to convert a third and short. They’ve going to have to be able to do that. They’re going to have to be able to throw the ball more effectively.”

Newton is going to indeed have to take things to another level, especially considering the weapons at his disposal. Due to injuries to N’Keal Harry and Julian Edelman, every one of Newton’s wideouts Sunday went undrafted — either this year or in the past.

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NFL Rumors: Patriots Placing Julian Edelman On IR; Here’s What That Means

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The New England Patriots are expected to place wide receiver Julian Edelman on injured reserve, according to a report Saturday from NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport.

Edelman underwent a procedure Thursday on his injured knee and already had been ruled out for Sunday’s road game against the Buffalo Bills.

That injury has slowed the 34-year-old wideout throughout the season. Edelman was limited in all but one Patriots practice before his surgery and played just 68.1 percent of offensive snaps through New England’s first six games, a nearly 20-point drop from his 2019 snap rate (87.4).

Edelman leads all Patriots with 21 catches for 315 yards but has caught just eight passes on 21 targets for 79 yards in the last four games.

Under new NFL rules implemented for this season, players who are placed on IR must sit out at least three games. Edelman will be eligible to return against the Houston Texans in Week 11 if he is healthy enough to do so.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Friday he does not believe Edelman’s injury will be season-ending.

“We’ll see how the return goes,” Belichick said. “I don’t think this is a season-ending situation, but we’ll see. I’m not a doctor. We’ll see how it goes here. Hopefully, he’ll be back. He’s worked awfully hard, and nobody’s more competitive than Julian is, so he’ll do everything he can to be back out there.”

The Patriots also have ruled out receiver N’Keal Harry (concussion) for Sunday’s game in Buffalo.

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Red Sox Reinstate Six From IL Including Chris Sale, Dustin Pedroia; What That Means

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The Boston Red Sox made a series of roster moves Saturday that on the surface seem notable, but shouldn’t be read into all that much.

Boston reinstated Chris Sale and Dustin Pedroia from the 60-day injured list. Andrew Benintendi, Colten Brewer and Kyle Hart were reinstated from the 45-day injured list, while Eduardo Rodriguez was reinstated from the IL.

So does that mean they’ll all be back and healthy for the start of next season? Not quite.

Basically, this move is so the Red Sox know what they’re working with as it relates to adding players to the 40-man roster. Guys on the long-term injury list (like the aforementioned players) don’t actually count against the 40-man roster.

So by reinstating them, the Red Sox’s 40-man roster now stands at 37. They’ll presumably fill those spots ahead of the Rule 5 draft, and once next season approaches and it’s clear guys like Pedroia and Sale aren’t ready, they’ll like shift back to a long-term IL situation, at which point the Sox can replace their spot on the 40-man.

Sale is recovering from Tommy John surgery, and he’ll be lucky if he’s ready by the end of May. Pedroia is still working through lingering knee issues, and it’s unclear if he’ll be able to play again.

As for Rodriguez, he is recovering from myocarditis, which was contracted as a result of COVID-19. Judging by his agent’s take and the pitcher’s latest Instagram, he expects to be ready for the start of next season.

Benintendi was shut down for the season in September with a rib injury. However, he was expected to have a normal offseason.

Hart landed on the IL in September with a hip impingement. He started on the 10-day IL, then was transferred to the 45-day. Brewer was on the injured list with a middle finger strain.

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Ex-Patriots Receiver Finds Valid Fault With Patriots’ Offensive System

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It’s fairly well established that the New England Patriots’ offense is complicated and difficult for players to learn.

Former Patriots wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, who was acquired last season before the NFL trade deadline and cut this summer, told Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, that he had those same issues picking up New England’s system.

“It was definitely a hard playbook,” Sanu said. “I get playbooks very easily — I understand the Falcons playbook like the back of my hand. People would say I was the quarterback of the receivers. When somebody forgot what they had or didn’t know a call, I knew exactly what everybody had, so they’d come to me. And I learn quickly. But that offense was much different. It was a harder process. You had to study. You had figure out how to master it.”

Sanu told Breer that he had to take notes for the first time in his career.

Patriots quarterback Cam Newton, who was acquired this summer, acknowledged New England’s system is “advanced and so schematically driven by a specific reaction of how the defense, or what the defense is doing” while he specializes in “playing and reacting.” With Tom Brady at the helm, the strength of the Patriots’ offense was also in its complexity. With Brady gone, it might be more of a hindrance than a benefit.

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Starters also are forced to practice more heavily in New England, which could be related to the complexity of the playbook.

“The way they practiced was a lot different than the way we practiced, the way I practiced in Atlanta,” Sanu said. “I had to adjust to that. Taking every rep vs. taking four or five reps per period, that was different. … (In Atlanta), they would manage your reps, so you’d be fresh for the game. But in New England, we’d take every rep, just so we could build chemistry. All the starters took every rep. I mean, I see why. It would just burn people out, you could get injured, that’s how I thought of it. A lot of people pulled stuff. …

“There’s no need for you to play 60 plays in a game and take four periods of nine plays — take nine plays each period. … That’s 36 plays each day on top of the game reps. It’s a lot.”

Sanu caught 10 passes for 81 yards with a touchdown in his second game with the Patriots but also suffered a Grade 3 high ankle sprain, according to Breer. Sanu returned after missing one week with an injury that typically takes 4-to-6 weeks of recovery time.

The Patriots have started the 2020 season 2-4, which will naturally will lead to more criticism. Sanu’s concerns seem valid and underscore some of the Patriots’ issues through the first seven weeks of the season.

The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday, Nov. 3 at 4 p.m. ET. The Patriots once again need help at wide receiver.

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Brock Holt’s Instagram Remembering 2018 Parade Will Make Red Sox Fans Nostalgic

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On Halloween 2018, the Boston Red Sox were on top of the world.

The Sox were just a few days removed from beating the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series, and on Oct. 31 they celebrated with a victory parade.

It was a memorable day commemorating one of, if not the greatest Red Sox teams of all time, and Brock Holt, like many, remembers it fondly.

So on the two-year anniversary of the parade, Holt’s Instagram post is sure to make Red Sox fans feel a little nostalgic.

View this post on Instagram My favorite Halloween costume was when we all dressed up as a duck boat. A post shared by Brock Holt (@brock_holt) on Oct 31, 2020 at 7:58am PDT

What a year that was.

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NFL Rumors: No New Positive COVID-19 Tests, Keeping Week 8 Games On Track

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It appears Week 8 of the NFL season is on track to go off without a hitch.

Despite the New York Giants, Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings and Los Angeles Chargers returning positive tests at some point this week, Friday’s test results were all clear, according to multiple reports.

And because of that, the remaining Week 8 games are in line to be played as expected.

All clear from Friday’s COVID-19 testing leaguewide, per source. These four teams each had a positive case this week and entered intensive protocols. One more round of results tomorrow morning. But all games on track for Week 8. https://t.co/vUWaVQxwbh— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) October 31, 2020

This hasn’t been an easy season to pull off for the NFL, as breakouts within teams have resulted in a number of games getting postponed.

So if things remain on course, that’s an obvious plus for a league that’s had to be plenty flexible this year.

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NHL Rumors: Latest On Mike Hoffman As Star Winger Remains Unsigned

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One of the NHL’s top sharpshooters remains unsigned over three weeks into free agency.

Mike Hoffman was a top five free agent this offseason, and the second top forward after Taylor Hall. But it appears he’s been discontent with the offers he’s received, and that’s part of the reason he remains unsigned.

And although we don’t even know when next season will start, it is somewhat surprising that Hoffman remains without a team.

But according to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, teams’ lowball offers are why Hoffman is content to wait.

“Teams have continued to call about Hoffman,” LeBrun wrote Thursday. “Try a dozen or so, five or six seriously, another six or seven more on the periphery. They’ve all checked in with Hoffman’s camp led by agent Rob Hooper of Octagon, but the offers so far have been bargain city.

“Which is why it would make sense for the Hoffman camp to sit back and be patient.”

So, just how low is low?

“Whatever offers are there now, one-year deals varying I think from $3.5 million to $4.5 million,” LeBrun wrote, “they will be there again closer to puck drop in the New Year. They’re not going away I wouldn’t imagine.”

Even with his well-documented defensive shortcomings, goals cost money, and Hoffman can score — he had 29 goals in 69 games last season, and 36 in 82 the year prior.

One would have to think his camp values him at well over $5 million, but while goaltenders and defensemen have gotten market value, the forward market tanked.

So, we’ll see just how long Hoffman is willing to wait things out.

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