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New England Patriots Rundown: E.J. Manuel, jersey numbers

Today’s New England Patriots has news and quick-hit talk on the new jersey numbers, the Buffalo Bills, and a pair of free agent defensive ends that the Patriots could still have interest in.

1. According to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, new New England Patriots strong safety Adrian Wilson has indeed taken the No. 24 from slot cornerback Kyle Arrington, who will now wear the No. 25. Big offseason signing Danny Amendola will don the No. 80 for the Pats, in case anybody was wondering.

2. From Luke Hughes of NESN in a piece on Patriots star linebacker Jerod Mayo, “Mayo wouldn’t describe himself as anything more than just a blue collar player, and that hardworking style may be the perfect solution to the Patriots’ recent defensive woes.”

3. Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak said that the team “continues to talk” to top available defensive end John Abraham, who is still being linked to the New England Patriots. The Titans recently brought Abraham in for a visit, and it seemed like both sides were going somewhere. Although neither side has signed, there is still interest. Mike Loyko reported that the Patriots are the front-runners for John Abraham, but I can’t help but think that the Titans are in the driver’s seat. I wonder if Abraham’s asking price is still scaring away teams, because that was the reason why the Miami Dolphins balked. I also think it’s the reason why the Patriots didn’t sign him, and I have a feeling the Pats won’t sign him, unless if he does significantly drop his demands.

4. Doug Marrone consented that rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel needs to work on his mechanics and footwork, and it is pretty obvious that Manuel’s technique is lacking. Manuel has a great arm and the kind of athleticism that was the reason why he got drafted in the first round, but he is also inconsistent and a project player overall. Adam Schefter continues to reiterate that the Buffalo Bills will start Manuel, and I think they will. But they won’t be afraid to throw in Kevin Kolb if Manuel struggles enough, but I think they will allow the growing pains to happen as Manuel develops. He has a lot of upside, but Marrone’s acknowledgement of Manuel’s shortcomings come as no surprise. I wonder, though, if the Bills will value Kolb higher as a result.

5. Ian Rapoport delivered another really interesting nugget to us, and that is that fellow veteran free agent defensive end Dwight Freeney will take visits next week. Rapoport adds that the interest in Freeney will “heat up”, and that four or five teams are currently interested, so this is something to keep a close eye on. Do you guys think the Patriots are one of those handful of teams with interest? The Denver Broncos, Tennessee Titans, and Detroit Lions are three teams, per Rapoport, that have interest in Freeney, who is 33 years old and is, unlike Abraham, willing to be a situational pass rusher. Freeney knows that this is what is best for his longevity and productivity in this league as a whole, while Abraham knows he is healthy and has more time left in the tank. Abraham wants to be a full-time DE, and I doubt the Patriots would want to give into that demand either.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.

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Tags: Adrian Wilson Buffalo Bills Danny Amendola Doug Marrone Dwight Freeney E.J. Manuel Jerod Mayo John Abraham Kyle Arrington New England Patriots

  • NWBill

    Everybody talks about EJ’s mechanics and footwork – my thing is, what college QB DOESN’T have those issues to one degree or another? College isn’t an environment where players get a lot of teaching in those areas; players’ raw skills are melded into a team concept in the fastest, most efficient way possible. I’m not discounting that Manuel has things to work on; I’m saying that perhaps he isn’t as deficient as some would make him out to be; especially now that he has a coaching staff that can spend more time with him. He’s certainly a teachable player, so there aren’t any problems there.

    New England may very well wish that EJ doesn’t come out of the gate like Russell Wilson and RGIII did last year; Manuel has the potential and upsides to give you guys a LOT of problems, so your stance on him is no surprise. If I were you, I’d highlight his “deficiencies” too.

    Either way, between Manuel and Kolb, we should give you guys much more of a fight this coming season!

    • http://www.musketfire.com/ Joe Soriano

      Bill, I think you are taking my comments on Manuel a little too far. I basically said that it is obvious Manuel is rawer than most and has technique issues, and that the Bills were definitely drafting him with the future in mind. I also believe Manuel can be a great QB with more development and coaching, but I’m not sure about him coming out of the gate as quickly as Wilson- which is, I’m guessing, your stance. Obviously a division rival doesn’t want to see Manuel play like Wilson, and I think Manuel is more raw and has worse accuracy than Wilson did coming out of college. That’s not to say he is a bad quarterback at all.

      Your final note was a great one- the Bills are in a much better position with Manuel and Kolb than with Fitzpatrick and T-Jax. Hell, they still have T-Jax as the 3rd guy now. Things are definitely looking up in Buffalo, especially the passing attack with new QBs and WRs.

      • NWBill

        Joe, a lot of what I say about Manuel comes from the fact that SO many people questioned that pick, for some reason – when, to me, it made perfect sense for Buffalo. The signing of Kolb told me that the Bills were looking towards the future at QB, and if they could get the guy they wanted, then the plan would be that much closer to fruition. Like everyone else before the draft, I wasn’t sure if their real interest/preference was with Ryan Nassib, or EJ Manuel. To me, all of the other QBs were either at a lower level talent-wise, or just wouldn’t be good fits for the Bills. When Buffalo traded down, I thought – well, they’re going for Nassib. I was majorly pleased when they took EJ instead; first, it told me a lot about Doug Marrone, and I always felt – especially after EJ’s Clemson game last year – that he was THE GUY for Buffalo. It seemed clear to me – but then the knives came out after the draft. So, yeah, I was a little defensive about it. Look, this kid could crash and burn; a Russell Wilson or a RGIII comes along once every few decades or so. Certainly he has a lot to prove. I just think that, here and now, he is the right pick for the right team. If Kolb is smart, he’ll be open to teaching EJ and helping him as much as he can; Kolb is a little on the fragile side, in my view. Tavares is who we thought he’d be, so far …. but the guy has been a starter in this league, and has won games with his talent. So, instead of QB being iffy for Buffalo, for once they are in a pretty good position, with a nice mix of veteran savvy and rookie talent.
        And the WRs we got — WOW!!!! I think Woods will be Andre Reed 2.0 right out of the gate. I haven’t seen a college receiver this polished in years. The other guys picked and signed have a great opportunity to show what they’ve got; and I wouldn’t be surprised if one or two of them step up as well.
        Should be a nice training camp, and a very interesting season. One thing’s for sure – you guys will be seeing a much different team this season; one that I think will be tougher, more disciplined, and more talented than before. Whether that translates to wins, only the football gods know for sure.
        Any way you look at it, it’ll be fun to watch! Good luck with the Pats this year (except when they play us)!