FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots said this week that he watches all the preseason games from across the NFL each week. What exactly is the coach looking for elsewhere across the league?
"To see what other new players are doing in the league," Belichick said of the broad-based scouting. "Guys from college that we haven't seen play at this level, so what do they look like? What were our grades on them? What do they look like in this competition?
"Teams that have new coaches, new coordinators, which are a lot of teams, how much of it is who? How much of it is the head coach or the coordinator or however the staff is configured, how they are using different players, if they are using them differently or using them the way that we're used to seeing them being used, things like that."
WR Julian Edelman is lost for the season because of a torn ACL suffered on the first drive of the third preseason game in Detroit. Coming off the first 16-game season of his career, the 31-year-old receiver embarks on a long journey back to action.
Although Edelman has not spoken with the media, the guy who caught 90-plus passes in three of the last four seasons shared his thoughts via social media with a tweet direct toward Patriots fans Aug. 29.
"To all of Pats Nation: This has been an extremely trying week. That being said, the amount of support I have received since Friday night is truly humbling. I will approach this rehab process the only way I know how, with everything I have, to make sure I come back stronger than ever. Thank you to everyone for your unwavering love and support. Tough times don't last, tough people do. #GoPats"
Edelman's teammates don't doubt his ability to return from the major knee injury.
"If anybody can do it, he can," running back James White said. "That guy works extremely hard. He's the first guy in here ... six in the morning ... leaves last. As soon as you step in here, you see how hard he works, and the results show."
QB Tom Brady's friendships have been a talking point over the last year. His association with Donald Trump has been a point of criticism for more than a year. Now, his relationship with boxer Floyd Mayweather is in the news.
Last week, leading up to his huge pay-per-view with UFC star Conor McGregor, the boxer said Brady, his "very close" friend had texted him. Mayweather's history of domestic violence had some questioning why normally image conscious Brady would associate with the boxer.
Asked about Mayweather in his weekly interview on WEEI radio in Boston, Brady put a little distance between himself and the convicted domestic abuser.
Are they "very close" friends?"
"No, I met him a couple of times," Brady said following a pretty long pause. "I think he's a great fighter. That was a great fight the other night."
A follow-up query even had the quarterback wondering aloud where the line of questioning was going.
"I have met him a couple of times," Brady then reiterated. "Like I said, I think he's a great fighter."
The Patriots close out the preseason on Thursday at Gillette Stadium against the Giants. Though the bulk of the New England roster is likely set at this point, some guys are indeed on the roster bubble heading into the final game that comes one week before the NFL opener Sept. 7 against the Chiefs in Foxborough.
Running back D.J. Foster was a surprise to make the roster as an undrafted rookie a year ago but again faces uncertainty in a talented, crowded New England backfield.
"You can't take for granted the opportunity to play in an NFL game," Foster heading toward the Sept. 2 cuts down to a 53-man roster. "It's such a blessing to compete with these teammates and be part of this organization.
"I'm trying to keep the same mindset. I'm fighting for a job, just like a lot of guys. So, just give everything I've got and try to capitalize on my opportunities. Just trying to do everything I can as a football player. Wherever the coaches call on me, whether that's as a receiver, running back, special teams, just go out there and do my job the best I can."
NOTES: RB Rex Burkhead returned to the practice field this week after missing last week's practice and the third preseason games because of an unknown issue. ... DE Deatrich Wise Jr. continues to practice in a red, non-contact jersey as he returns from a concussion sustained in the first preseason game. The fourth-round rookie has missed the last two preseason games. ... WR Malcolm Mitchell returned to the practice field on Tuesday. The second-year receiver has been dealing with a right knee injury that caused him to sit out the third preseason game in Detroit after missing practice last week. ... S/SPT Nate Ebner continues to be absent from practice after missing the third preseason game in Detroit because of an unknown issue. ... LB Shea McClellin continues to miss practice after already having missed most of training camp and the first three preseason games because of an unknown injury. ... LB Harvey Langi missed practice this week due to an unspecified injury suffered in the third preseason game in Detroit. ... DE Keionta Davis, signed during the middle of the preseason, continues to be absent from the practice field due to a neck injury. ... T Tony Garcia continues to miss practice because of an unknown injury. ... DL Michael Bart was signed Aug. 28. The 6-3, 270-pound undrafted rookie out of North Carolina previously spent time with the Cardinals before he was released on June 6. ... LB Nick Usher, a 6-3, 235-pound undrafted rookie out of Texas El-Paso, signed with New England on Monday. He previously spent time with the Seahawks, until his release on July 29. ... LB Christian Kuntz was signed on Monday and released one day later. ... LB Marquis Flowers was acquired via trade from the Bengals on Tuesday in exchange for a seventh-round pick. Flowers played in all 32 games in his two seasons in Cincinnati, with one start, the bulk of his playing time coming on special teams.