New England Patriots' Julian Edelman coy on question of playing QB

By The Sports Xchange
New England Patriots wide receivers Danny Amendola (80) and Julian Edelman (11) celebrate after Amendola scored on a 12-yard reception in the first half against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts on September 18, 2016. Photo by Matthew Healey/ UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/7b14a3364d1dea958796ccec05561d2b/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
New England Patriots wide receivers Danny Amendola (80) and Julian Edelman (11) celebrate after Amendola scored on a 12-yard reception in the first half against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts on September 18, 2016. Photo by Matthew Healey/ UPI | License Photo

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman did the conference call with the Buffalo media this week. But the slot receiver heard a familiar voice on the other end of the line when Bills head coach Rex Ryan stepped up to the speakerphone in Western New York saying, "Julian, this is, uh, Walt Patulski from The Buffalo News. Are you playing quarterback this week?"

Patulski was Buffalo's No. 1 overall pick in the 1972 draft out of Notre Dame, a defensive lineman who played four years with the team.


After seemingly initially being caught off guard, responding with a, "huh," Edelman answered as would be expected of a Patriots players, regardless of who asked the question.

"I'm going to do whatever the coaches ask me to do," Edelman said. "If they ask me to go out and give a glass of water to someone on the sideline, I'm going to do that with a smile on my face if it helps our team win. You can ask Coach (Bill Belichick) that one."


--P Ryan Allen was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his impressive work last Thursday night in the win over the Texans. The veteran notched a 47.6 average, both net and gross, on his seven punts in the win. Six of those punts were downed inside the 14-yard line as he helped the Patriots control the field position in a game in which rookie third-round pick Jacoby Brissett made his first start at quarterback.

Allen was clear to note that his performance and the award were team efforts.

"Collectively, that's the type of performance our punt unit as a whole wants to have," Allen said. "My experience playing with (Pro Bowl special teams co-captain Matthew) Slater, and now Jonathan Jones has stepped up and made a huge contribution in our punt unit -- those guys work their tails off every day, and it shows in the game. It's something we can strive for each week, because we do want to make an impact and have a positive effect on our overall performance in the game."

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--RB LeGarrette Blount was a popular choice as a potential surprise cut this summer in New England. Despite relatively impressive numbers in 2015 -- including 703 yards with six touchdowns and a 4.3-yard average -- Blount wasn't overly good before landing on injured reserve with a hip problem.


But, Blount not only made the roster out of training camp for the Patriots but he's been a key cog in the team's impressive undefeated start to the new season. Through three weeks, the big veteran leads the NFL with 298 yards rushing on 75 attempts (4.0 avg.) with four touchdowns. With New England forced to turn to rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett the last two games, Blount notched consecutive 100-yard games to balance out the offense and run out the clock on a couple wins.

"We really needed it in both games," Belichick said. "LeGarrette has a lot of skill as we know. I mean he's a big back that has very good quickness, and feet, and balance and speed for that size. So, we just kind of always feel like if we can just get a hole, get him started, get him going that he has a lot of ability to make yards on his own if we can just get him going, get him downhill, and get him some space to run. He has done a good job with it. He has broken tackles. He has run through some arm tackles and things like that. He has gotten some good, tough yards for us. Hopefully we continue to do that. Hopefully we can continue to get him the ball with some momentum, some space, and give him an opportunity to do some things on his own and not have to deal with four or five guys there at the line of scrimmage but try to get him going. He has worked hard, he's in good condition, he has done a good job of gaining yards in the fourth quarter and at the end of the game. He hasn't gotten worn down in those situations so that's all been very positive and we needed it."


--TE Rob Gronkowski, a first-time captain in New England, was brought to the podium for a press conference on Wednesday, less than a week after he made his 2016 debut against the Texans. The All-Pro has been dealing with hamstring injury dating back to early August. He sat out the preseason, which is his norm in recent years, but also missed the first two weeks to the injury.

His return included just 14 snaps against Houston, with no receptions on just a single target from rookie third-string QB Jacoby Brissett. Gronkowski, said there was no set back after seeing his first game action, but acknowledged that it's a slow, on-going process returning from the injury.

"Whenever you're coming back from an injury, you're not all of a sudden at 100 percent or full-go, so just kind of taking it one day at a time and easing myself into the progression of playing football and doing everything out there," Gronkowski said. "You've got to be careful with any injury, but I mean, if you research hamstrings, if you know anything about hamstrings, you've definitely got to be careful. You've got to progress. You can't just hop back in and be full-go 100 percent. I wish it was like that. I can't wait until I'm going crazy out there again. So I'm just progressing myself into it and feeling better every single day."


--QB Jacoby Brissett (right thumb) was limited in practice on Wednesday due to the injury suffered in the second half last Thursday night against Houston. Brissett wore a wrap on the thumb to deal with a reported sprain.

--OT Marcus Cannon (calf) was limited in practice. The right tackle has started all three games this season despite dealing with knee and now calf injuries.

--G Jonathan Cooper (foot) remains limited in practice. The veteran has been inactive for each of the first three games of the year after missing most of the summer to what is reportedly plantar fasciitis.

--LB Jonathan Freeny (shoulder) continues to be limited in practice.

--QB Jimmy Garoppolo (right shoulder) was limited in practice on Wednesday, though he threw the football around quite a bit during the short media viewing portion of the workout. Garoppolo was inactive last Thursday night with the reported AC sprain suffered the previous Sunday against the Dolphins.

--TE Rob Gronkowski (hamstring) remains limited in practice after making his season debut in limited action last Thursday night in the win over Houston.

--CB Eric Rowe (ankle) remains limited in practice due to the injury suffered two weeks ago on the practice field. The second-year defensive back has been inactive for the two games he's been on the Patriots roster since arriving via trade from Philly.


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