How Should Patriots Fill Final Roster Spot Before Training Camp Begins?

The New England Patriots were close to filling their current 80-man roster until a reported agreement with tight end Jordan Leggett fell through.
So, now the Patriots are back at 79 players after reportedly adding running back Lamar Miller, defensive tackle Darius Kilgo and center Tyler Gauthier.
Let’s go position by position to see where the Patriots need the most help prior to the official start of training camp on Aug. 17.
Quarterback
Brian Hoyer
Brian Lewerke
Cam Newton
Jarrett Stidham
— If anything, the Patriots have too many players here. They’re all set at quarterback for now with a full-on competition this summer. Lewerke adds a degree of insurance.
Running Back
Rex Burkhead
Damien Harris
Jakob Johnson
Sony Michel (Active/PUP)
Lamar Miller
J. J. Taylor
James White
— The Patriots added Miller on Monday to provide some depth with Michel on the PUP list. Miller is a potentially starting-caliber option to compete for snaps with Burkhead and Harris. The Patriots don’t need any other running back help for now.
More Patriots: Why It Made Sense To Sign Lamar Miller
Fullback
Jakob Johnson
— Johnson will see competition from some of the Patriots’ young tight ends. This is a spot where the Patriots could still use some help.
Wide Receiver
Quincy Adeboyejo
Damiere Byrd
Julian Edelman
N’Keal Harry
Will Hastings
Jakobi Meyers
Gunner Olszewski
Devin Ross
Mohamed Sanu
Matthew Slater
Jeff Thomas
Isaiah Zuber
— It’s certainly not the most talented group in the NFL, but there’s plenty of depth and upside on the receiver depth chart. Thomas, an undrafted free agent out of Miami, is a player to watch.
Tight End
Devin Asiasi
Rashod Berry
Jake Burt
Ryan Izzo
Dalton Keene
— It will be interesting to see if the Patriots try to bring on another tight end after a deal with Leggett fell through. They probably should. There’s no obvious starter in this position group if Asiasi or Keene can’t immediately step up as rookies.
Offensive Tackle
Yodny Cajuste
Korey Cunningham
Justin Herron
LT Isaiah Wynn
— The Patriots have never seen Cajuste, a 2019 third-round pick, or Herron practice. Cunningham was acquired via trade late last summer but barely played after the Patriots signed Marshall Newhouse. Unless the Patriots have a lot of confidence in Cajuste, Cunningham or Herron, they should be looking for a starter opposite Wynn after Marcus Cannon opted out.
Maybe the Patriots will see what they have early in camp, and if they have to adjust, they’ll pluck a player out of free agency or add a tackle via trade.
Guard/Center
C David Andrews
G Jermaine Eluemunor
G Hjalte Froholdt
C Tyler Gauthier
RG Shaq Mason
G Michael Onwenu
LG Joe Thuney
C Dustin Woodard
— The Patriots could move Thuney to right tackle, but then who would play left guard? Eluemunor and Froholdt would be the top options. Eluemunor, like Cunningham, barely played after being acquired via trade late last summer. Froholdt, like Cajuste, missed his rookie season with an injury.
Defensive Tackle
Beau Allen
Adam Butler
Byron Cowart
Lawrence Guy
Darius Kilgo
Bill Murray
Nick Thurman
— Like wide receiver, this isn’t the most talented positional group, but there’s definitely enough depth. Players like Cowart and Murray have higher ceilings, as well.
Edge Defender
Tashawn Bower
Shilique Calhoun
Nick Coe
Anfernee Jennings
Derek Rivers
John Simon
Chase Winovich
Deatrich Wise Jr.
— The Patriots can get by with this group of defensive ends and outside linebackers, especially when more traditional linebackers like Brandon Copeland and Josh Uche can also play on the edge.
Linebacker
Ja’Whaun Bentley
Brandon Copeland
Terez Hall
De’Jon Harris
Brandon King (Active/PUP)
Cassh Maluia
Josh Uche
— It’s a significantly weakened group with Dont’a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and Elandon Roberts all gone. Bentley has to step up. Copeland could start if Uche, a 2020 second-round pick, isn’t ready.
Cornerback
Justin Bethel
Myles Bryant
Stephon Gilmore
J. C. Jackson
Mike Jackson Sr.
Jonathan Jones
Jason McCourty
D’Angelo Ross
Joejuan Williams
— The Patriots are more than stocked up at cornerback after acquiring Jackson in a trade with the Detroit Lions.
Safety
Terrence Brooks
Cody Davis
Kyle Dugger
Devin McCourty
Adrian Phillips
— The Patriots could always use Jackson, Jones, Jason McCourty or Williams at safety if they get shallow here for any reason.
Special Teams
P Jake Bailey
LS Joe Cardona
K Justin Rohrwasser
— It appears the Patriots will see what they have in Rohrwasser before bringing in competition.
Area Of Biggest Need: Right tackle and tight end
— These are really the only positions where the Patriots lack obvious starting-caliber talent. It’s entirely possible that Cajuste or Asiasi and Keene, both 2020 third-round picks, will step in right away. But it’s no guarantee, and there aren’t many reliable options behind them.
More Patriots: What To Know About New Pats Cornerback

Nick Wright Explains How Cam Newton Is Prepared To Replace Tom Brady

Replacing Tom Brady was going to be a tall task for any quarterback regardless of talent level or skill set.
Nick Wright, however, believes Cam Newton is built to embrace the challenge.
Newton’s game might be lacking in some areas following a pair of serious injuries. But those possible shortcomings would be matched with self-confidence and motivation, which Newton has in spades. Wright believes Newton’s attitude and approach to the game will serve the 2015 NFL MVP well as he takes over for arguably the greatest quarterback in league history.
“…People talk about Cam’s ego and bravado being a negative. In this very specific instance, I think it prepares him better than nearly anyone else in the league to step into the void that Tom Brady has left,” Wright said Tuesday on FS1’s “First Things First.” “Even though Cam knows he hasn’t won six Super Bowls, he knows he’s not Tom Brady, Cam — at his core, I would bet — believes he’s as talented as any other quarterback to ever play and believes he’s going to be able to achieve at his MVP level once again. He’s saying all the right things, but I actually think the way Cam carries himself is going to be a benefit in the weight of replacing Tom Brady not weighing him down.”

"Cam is uniquely positioned to fill this role. People talk about Cam's ego & bravado being an negative. I think it prepares him better than nearly anyone else in the league."
— @getnickwright on how difficult it'll be for Cam Newton to play in Tom Brady's shadow pic.twitter.com/u2jrV5wsCE
— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) August 10, 2020

The challenge of replacing Brady will be made even more difficult for Newton given the elimination of preseason games and an altered training camp. But as Wright suggests, there’s seemingly no amount of obstacles that could shake Newton’s belief in himself, which might bode well for the Patriots over the course of what could be a very unconventional season.
More Patriots: How Newton’s Presence Could Help Pats’ Defense In 2020

Donald Trump Offers Take On Tom Brady Leaving Patriots For Buccaneers

Donald Trump expects big things from Tom Brady this season.
The United States President recently joined conservative commentator Clay Travis for a FOX Sports Interview that was posted Tuesday morning. The two hit on a variety of topics, with Trump at one point discussing Brady’s decision to leave the New England Patriots for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
(Note: The Glazer Family, which owns the Bucs, long have been vocal and financial supporters of Trump’s political campaigns.)
“I think (Brady’s) biggest thing is, he wants to win,” Trump said. “And from what I know, and I know the ownership of the team, they’ll do whatever they have to because they’re fantastic people.”
Added Trump: “I think (Brady) had plenty of teams to go to, and he picked one with — from what I understand — a good offensive line and very good receivers. He looked at that closely. I think he probably had other choices where they had players.”

How Brady fares in his first season not with the Patriots will be perhaps the biggest storyline of the 2020 NFL campaign. Trump, for one, believes Brady will do what he always does.
“I think he’s gonna surprise a lot of people, I think he’s gonna do great.”
We’ll see, Donald. We’ll see.
More Football: Titans WR A.J. Brown Received This Piece Of Advice From Tom Brady

Isaiah Wynn’s Health Will Be Vital For Patriots After Marcus Cannon Opt-Out

Isaiah Wynn has endured a stint on injured reserve in each of his first two NFL seasons. The New England Patriots cannot afford a third.
Health and availability will be paramount this season for Wynn, New England’s promising but injury-prone left tackle.
A torn Achilles wiped out Wynn’s entire rookie season. A toe injury cost him half of his sophomore campaign. Entering his third year as a pro, the 2018 first-round draft pick has appeared in just nine of a possible 36 games, including playoffs.
A lack of quality depth behind Wynn and right tackle Marcus Cannon hamstrung New England’s offense a year ago. Now, that talent pool is even shallower, with Cannon opting out of the season and the Patriots declining to add any veterans at the position this offseason.
The Patriots currently have four tackles on their 80-man roster: Wynn, Korey Cunningham (seven NFL appearances), Yodny Cajuste (zero) and rookie Justin Herron (zero). They also have Joe Thuney, who said he’d be willing to move from left guard to tackle if called upon. Thuney filled in at left tackle last spring and summer while Wynn worked his way back from his Achilles tear.
Barring a late free agent addition, one of Thuney, Cunningham, Cajuste or Herron likely will start at right tackle in Week 1. Another would serve as the swing tackle — the backup for both spots — and would be pressed into action if Wynn goes down again.
Wynn is doing his best to ensure that doesn’t happen.
More Patriots: Is Joe Thuney The Answer At Right Tackle?
Fully healthy entering training camp for the first time in his Patriots career, the 23-year-old said he used this offseason — which featured no full-team practices or workouts because of the COVID-19 pandemic — to build strength and fine-tune his technique. He hopes this work will help elevate his game — and keep him on the field.
“This offseason, I actually got a chance to just work on the small things as far as just strengthening my body as opposed to having to rehab anything, given that this is kind of my first official offseason that was healthy,” Wynn said Monday in a video call with reporters. “So I feel great. …
“(I worked on) getting stronger, technique and breaking down film. All that stuff, sometimes it can get overlooked by the bigger picture, but when it all comes down to it, the little things are really what matter. That’s the details.”
Wynn’s primary focus, he said, has been on “consistency.”
“I don’t want to speak too much on it, because I’d rather show it on the field,” the Georgia product said when asked where he’s improved the most since the end of 2019. “But I’ve been working on my consistency in all aspects. That’s one thing that will be a lot different this year — consistency in all aspects of my game.”
Wynn started the Patriots’ first two and final six regular-season games last season, allowing two sacks and 14 total pressures in 294 pass-blocking snaps, per Pro Football Focus. He finished the year as PFF’s 34th-highest-graded tackle (out of 82 qualifiers).
“You learn every game,” Wynn said. “Specifically for me, actually being out there during those games, I got a feel for what it’s like being in the game. It’s been good. Now, that’s translated to this offseason this season, so I’m feeling good about it.”
More Patriots: Why Cam Newton Could Help Pats’ Defense, Too

Athletics’ Ramon Laureano Explains Why He Charged Astros’ Dugout

Athletics manager Bob Melvin was confident Ramon Laureano had to have been provoked to make a beeline for the Astros’ dugout this past Sunday.
If Laureno’s side of the story is true, Oakland’s skipper was right.
After being hit by a pitch for the third time in as many games, Laureano made a mad dash for Houston’s dugout in the seventh inning of the rivals’ series finale at O.co Coliseum. The center fielder’s target appeared to be Astros hitting coach Alex Cintron, who reportedly made a remark about Laureano’s mother.
Laureano confirmed that report Monday, telling ESPN that Cintron, “said in Spanish something you don’t say about my mother.” The 26-year-old also explained why he took such great exception with what Cintron said.
“Every day I wake up with the motivation to be with them,” Laureno said. “They sacrificed their life for me. They made the tough decision to let their own kid go to the States by himself and follow his own dreams. I’ve been away from my family for 10 years. It’s tough to be away from them. Any chance I have to be with them, I feel like I’m in heaven. So for him to say that to me about my mom, it doesn’t sit well. I’ve got a fire inside me right away in that second.”
Laureano is well aware that he’s likely to face discipline from Major League Baseball.
“I regret charging him because he’s a loser,” Laureano told ESPN. “(A suspension) is understandable, but I hope it’s not that many games.”
The A’s and Astros will meet again at the end of the month for a three-game weekend series at Minute Maid Park.
More MLB: Ron Roenicke Offers High Praise Of Jonathan Arauz

Round-Robin Debrief; Hurricanes Series Preview | NESN Bruins Podcast Ep. 77

The round-robin tournament is over, and so begins, as Tuukka Rask puts it, the “real” hockey.
The Boston Bruins laid an egg in the round-robin, losing all three games. That gives them the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, and Tuesday marks Game 1 of their first-round series against the sixth-seeded Carolina Hurricanes.
In the latest “NESN Bruins Podcast,” NESN.com’s Mike Cole and Logan Mullen discuss what went wrong from the round-robin and what their takeaways were from those three games. They also do a full preview the upcoming series against Carolina.
Listen to the episode in the player below, or click here to listen on Spotify or iTunes.

Bruins Vs. Hurricanes Playoff Preview: Analysis, Predictions, X Factors

Ron Roenicke Praises Jonathan Arauz After Red Sox Rookie’s Big Night

Monday was a memorable night for Jonathan Arauz.
Arauz, a Rule 5 draft pick by the Red Sox back in December, made his third career Major League Baseball start in Boston’s series opener against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park. The 22-year-old made the most of his opportunity with a 3-for-4 night at the plate, which included his first big league hit and a two-RBI single in the eighth inning that brought the Sox within one.
Following Boston’s narrow loss to Tampa Bay, manager Ron Roenicke praised Arauz for his approach to the game.
“It was pretty cool,” Roenicke said of Arauz’s big night, as seen on NESN’s Red Sox postgame coverage. “Any time you see a guy get his first major-league hit. I know he was really down after the last game in Tampa Bay, so for him to do that — and he killed that ball to center field, too, before that, and they made a nice play on it. With him, I tell you, he continues to not act like he’s out of A-ball. He’s calm, he’s good from both sides of the plate, does a great job, made a nice play defensively. He’s doing a great job.”
Arauz stands to benefit from the expanded-roster rules implemented for the abbreviated 2020 MLB campaign. If he continues to deliver when his number his called, he potentially could carve out a prominent role with the Red Sox next season.
More Red Sox: Why Rafael Devers, Mitch Moreland Were Unavailable Monday

How To Watch Bruins, Red Sox Live Programming Tuesday On NESN, NESN+

NESN will have live Boston Bruins and Boston Red Sox coverage Tuesday on NESN and NESN+ channels.
NESN’s coverage of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Boston Bruins and the Carolina Hurricanes will kick off at 7 p.m. on Tuesday on NESN, with an hour-long pregame show. The Bruins will face off against the Hurricanes at 8 p.m. on NESN in Game 1 of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Bruins postgame coverage will air on NESN at the conclusion of the Bruins game.
The Red Sox game against the Tampa Bay Rays will air at 7:30 p.m. on NESN+. Red Sox pregame coverage will air on NESN and NESN+ at 6:30 p.m. and will move over to NESN+ exclusively at 7 p.m. through postgame coverage. To find your cable provider’s NESN+ channel, visit NESN.com/listings.
The full schedule for live Bruins and Red Sox coverage Tuesday on NESN and NESN+ is as follows:
NESN
6:30 p.m. — “Red Sox First Pitch”
7 p.m. — “Bruins Face-Off Live, presented by EchoStor Technologies”
8 p.m. — Bruins vs. Hurricanes
10:30 p.m. — “Bruins Overtime Live, presented by Ace Ticket”
11 p.m. — “NESN After Hours, presented by People’s United Bank”
NESN+
6:30 p.m. — “Red Sox First Pitch”
7 p.m. — “Red Sox Gameday Live, presented by DCU”
7:30 p.m. — Red Sox vs. Rays
10:30 p.m. — — “Red Sox Extra Innings”
11 p.m. — “NESN After Hours, presented by People’s United Bank”
More: Bruins Vs. Hurricanes Playoff Preview: Analysis, Predictions, X Factors

David Krejci’s Journey To The NHL | NESN My Story Podcast Ep. 10

David Krejci has a story that must be heard.
The Boston Bruins center shares his journey from growing up in Sternberk, Czech Republic to reaching the highest levels of the National Hockey League. NESN’s Jack Edwards hosts as you get an inside look at the life of the 2011 Stanley Cup champion.
Listen to the podcast below, or click here to listen on Spotify or on iTunes.

Titans WR A.J. Brown Received This Piece Of Advice From Tom Brady

A.J. Brown was given an important tip ahead of his rookie season, and it came from arguably the greatest NFL player of all time.
Brown was able to chop it up with Tom Brady last summer when the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans met for joint practices prior to their preseason game. As the Ole Miss product explained Monday during an appearance on NFL Network, the conversation included Brady offering the young wideout some advice.
“Work on the things you know you need improvement on, so you have no weaknesses,” Brown said. “Everybody works hard, but everybody knows what their weakness is. So, work on your weakness so you have no weakness. Credit to him, his long career and everything he did. Hall of Famer.”
Brown put together an impressive rookie campaign, hauling in 52 catches for 1,052 yards with eight touchdowns. As fate would have it, Brown’s Titans bounced Brady’s Patriots from the playoffs in the Wild Card round, which proved to be TB12’s final game with New England.
Should Brown make a leap from Year 1 in the upcoming season, the Titans could be in store for another deep playoff run.
More NFL: Check Out New Footage Of Brady At Bucs Practice