Patriots gridiron news: Trevor Bates emerging as a roster spot contender

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Former University of Maine linebacker Trevor Bates is doing everything necessary to make the New England Patriots 53-man roster.

He’s a sleeper, but linebacker Trevor Bates has caught the eye of Bill Belichick and is making his case to make the New England Patriots final roster.

As a player who spent the majority of last season on the practice squad, Bates has gained valuable experience learning the Patriots’ defensives schemes.  Along with the versatility he has established at the linebacker position, Bates has quickly emerged thus far in the preseason.

Due to injuries, the young linebacker has taken advantage of his opportunity and can give Belichick and Matt Patricia’s defense depth at the position at all three spots.

"“You’ve got to know it all, man,” Bates told reporters Monday, via  “I’ve played Sam, Will, Mike – familiar with all those positions."

A long shot to make the roster at the start of training camp, Bates received playing time during Saturday’s game against the Texans.  He played extremely well in showing what he could do as a pass rusher and a coverage linebacker.  He also solidified his case by playing on every special teams unit.

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Sounds like a Belichick guy.  When asked about Trevor Bates during his press conference Wednesday, the head coach lauded Bates as a “grinder” and revealed what it would take for the Bates to make the final squad.

"“He’s played some on the line, some off the line, runs well,” Belichick said.  “Again, a tough kid, has shown some – well we play him off the line of scrimmage basically – but he’s shown that versatility.  He plays in the kicking game.  These are the kind of games that are important for a player like him to have the opportunity to play in, evaluate him against other good competition.”"

Belichick went on to talk about Bates progression in the system and the signal calling duties he’s been given in the preseason.

Where in the world is Rex Burkhead

HOUSTON, TX – AUGUST 19: Rex Burkhead
HOUSTON, TX – AUGUST 19: Rex Burkhead /

Following a very productive game in the preseason matchup against the Houston Texans, running back Rex Burkhead has missed two consecutive days of practice.

What’s going on?

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Well, that seems to be the mysterious question as Burkhead didn’t hint that anything was physically wrong when he talked to reporters following the Saturday night matchup.  In any event, his absence puts in question his availability for Friday night’s third preseason game against the Detroit Lions.

What fans can get excited about, however, is the expected debut of fellow running back Mike Gillislee.  The former Buffalo Bills running back, who has been limited due to a hamstring injury, return to the practice field this week and said he feels “100 percent.”

While all eyes will be on Gillislee, Burkhead’s absence will continue to be something to watch.

How much will Tom Brady against the Detroit Lions?

Typically, the third preseason game is treated like a dress rehearsal, but there is no guarantee of how much playing time Tom Brady will see.

It will mostly depend on how he is feeling as far as rhythm goes.  As competitive a player as the 40-year-old quarterback is, if the offense is not going well or clicking, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he played into the third quarter.

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While it is not totally up to Brady, as Bill Belichick said he will monitor the playing time, the quarterback wants the opportunity to take snaps with new players such as Brandin Cooks, Rex Burkhead, Mike Gillislee and Dwayne Allen.