Patriots News and Notes: June 13-20

Today we rewind the last seven days in Foxboro as the Patriots continue to get closer and closer to training camp.

June 13: AEI released their own investigation into the Deflategate fiasco and their findings are much different than the bought and paid for Wells Report. AEI has no horse in this race so their report is damning for Roger Goodell and the NFL. AEI proved that the NFL overstepped their bounds with the punishments handed over to Saint plays in the Bountygate and many believe they'll have the same influence when Tom Brady officially begins his fight to drop the unfair suspension he was handed. AEI completely disproved the scientific data provided by the Wells Report, and that has to make other owners wonder what is going on in New York and why such a large sum of money is being spent on an investigation that should have never happened.

June 14: Robert Kraft welcomed the 2014 players, coaches and staff to his home to celebrate the Patriots fourth Super Bowl win and hand out their rings. Players that are no longer with New England but were part of the run were all present, with the exception of New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, who had a prior engagement (yeah, sure he did) and sent his mother in his place. According to Mike Reiss of ESPN, the Patriots didn't allow her in when she showed for the celebration and gave her the ring on Monday instead. Just another shot fired in the Patriots/Jets rivalry that is now starting to become personal between Revis and Kraft.

June 16: The team was given Monday off to recover from Mr. Kraft's Super Bowl shindig, but it was back to work on Tuesday as Bill Belichick and Co. began their three-day mandatory mini-camp. Some of the notable players: Malcolm Butler, who looked smooth and ready to take over as a starting corner in 2015. He has dealt with his punishment and it looks like it had no effect on his game. Butler looks like another great find by Belichick and Caserio.

As we discussed here when New England signed Scott Chandler, the offense is going to be tough to defend with the twin tower tight ends, and that was on display over the three days. Rookie cornerback Darryl Roberts has been impressive to date, looking very comfortable covering veterans and mainly playing the left side. New England has found gems at corner late in the draft and Roberts appears to be another strong pick. Running back Dion Lewis has impressed with his pass-catching ability out of the backfield, as has fellow back James White. Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo split reps 50-50, which not only makes sense considering Brady's possible suspension, but it also saves both quarterbacks arms from getting overtired. It will be interesting to see how many reps Matt Flynn gets when training camp starts.

June 17: Day two of minicamp was an interesting day; Scott Chandler was held out with an injury, and Michael Hoomanawanui stepped in for him opposite Rob Gronkowski. Malcolm Butler continued to impress, spending much of practice matched up with Julian Edelman and giving him headaches throughout the day. Rookie guards Shaq Mason and Tre' Jackson appear to be the front runners for the starting guard positions, something that isn't a huge surprise considering their college careers. Ryan Wendell will definitely not go away quietly, so this should be an interesting battle to watch in training camp. One more note from Wednesday- Coach Belichick cancelled Thursday's practice, so mini camp was only two days, which is usually a sign that overall he likes what he sees.

June 18: The Patriots released tight end Logan Stokes, a rookie out of LSU who was signed as a rookie free agent. After the releases of Wright and Stokes, it appears the Patriots are paring down the tight end depth chart.

June 19: The Patriots released tight end Fred Davis, the former USC Trojan and Washington Redskin that was trying to make a comeback after missing all of 2014. Davis could return at some point because the Patriots are famous for that and their tight end position appears to be very fluid at the moment. The only safe tight ends are Rob Gronkowski and Scott Chandler.

New England also signed rookie first round pick Malcom Brown. Brown signed his four-year rookie deal and it appears he will be given every shot to crack the starting lineup in 2015.

June 20: Another day and another study ripping the Wells Report and their findings. Rachel Ehrenberg of ScienceNews.org discussed the scientific findings:

"Scientist Michael Naughton (expert in condensed matters physics, Buffalo Bills fan) lent his expertise to the matter when the controversy initially blew up. Naughton’s lab at Boston College inflated a football to 13.5 psi at 72° F. Then they stuck it in a fridge and measured the pressure at 42° F (slightly cooler than the low on game night of 47.7° F, the average of measurements from two weather stations near Gillette Stadium). The pressure dropped to 10.5 psi."

"HeadSmart labs, a Pittsburgh-based engineering firm that ordinarily conducts research related to helmets and concussions, also turned its attention to the matter. Experiments done by CEO Tom Healy (mechanical engineering Ph.D. student, Patriots fan) and others in the lab (not Patriots fans) simulated field conditions by placing 12 balls inflated to 12.5 psi in a cold room for 2.5 hours. Measurements revealed an average drop of 1.07 psi, well within the range of the halftime measurements. Saturating the balls with water to mimic field conditions bumped the measurements down another 0.75 psi, they conclude in a technical paper."

The more scientists get intrigued, the worse the NFL is looking. Patriots fans have to wonder- if Brady does win in court, why did Bob Kraft back down so quickly? Losing the draft picks is going to hurt and if it turns out that they never did anything wrong and Kraft just accepted what Goodell gave him, that is going to anger a large group of fans, and they have a right to be mad.


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