New England Patriots News, Rumors: Tom Brady, Brandon LaFell, Rob Gronkowski

December 7, 2014 Updated: December 7, 2014

The New England Patriots are set to play the San Diego Chargers on Sunday night, as the news and rumors ramp up.

Check out the latest buzz below.

Brady Trusts LaFell

Wide receiver Brandon LaFell has earned Tom Brady’s trust, becoming one of his best targets.

LaFell has 53 receptions for 712 yards, both of which are third on the team.

And that’s after he had zero catches after two games. 

“Learn this playbook, because that’s been the toughest challenge,” LaFell told the Boston Globe when asked how he avoided becoming a poor free agent signing.

“My coach has been telling me, the guys that [were] here, they couldn’t learn the playbook. And being on the same page with Tom, just seeing things out of his eyes, meeting with him, talking to him: ‘Hey, man, where do you want me to be on this?’ or ‘What did you see from the defense that I really didn’t see, that you want me to do?,’ stuff like that.”

He said that he’ll ask to stay on the field to repeat plays until they’re right.

He also said Aaron Dobson helped him learn the playbook.

Brady has targeted LaFell 86 times so far this season.

Pats Need Hightower

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers scrambles with the ball against the New England Patriots during an NFL football game Sunday Nov. 30, 2014, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers scrambles with the ball against the New England Patriots during an NFL football game Sunday Nov. 30, 2014, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)

 

The Patriots could really use Dont’a Hightower against the Chargers, Mass Live noted.

“Hightower, who injured his right shoulder versus Green Bay, has been limited in practice all week. When he went through stretching and warmup jogging (the only portion of practice the media can watch), it was obvious that Hightower wasn’t moving his right shoulder much at all,” it said.

“It was also obvious that he wasn’t doing any drills that absolutely required full range of motion from that shoulder. So it’s tough to tell.”

“Against the pass-heavy offenses they’ve recently faced, the Patriots have often played a 4-2-5 set with Collins and Hightower as the linebackers,” it added.

“If Hightower is out, Collins would likely take over as the quarterback of the defense, making playcalls and adjustments. Candidates for more snaps at the other linebacker spot include Jonathan Casillas, who has been with the team for five weeks; Darius Fleming, promoted from the practice squad a week ago; and possibly Akeem Ayers.”

Gronkowski on ‘Bieber Curse’

Tight end Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots during the NFL game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on November 30, 2014 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Patriots 26-21. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Tight end Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots during the NFL game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on November 30, 2014 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Patriots 26-21. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

 

Rob Gronkowski was asked about the so-called “Bieber Curse,” after the Patriots lost to the after Gronkowski and other teammates hung out with Justin Bieber at a Los Angeles Clippers game.

“We’re just on to San Diego,” Gronkowski told reporters.

“We’re just worried about the Chargers, man.”

He declined to say anything else about the subject.

Meanwhile, the Chargers Antonio Gates offered some advice to Gronkowski.

“I’m a firm believer in being physical. But then there are unnecessary hits you don’t have to take. Some people think you can’t be physical and not have aggression. We talk about having aggression, but still staying fundamentally sound. What that means is you go out, play hard, and be physical, but still play smart at the same time,” he told reporters in a conference call, reported CSN.

“I think that’s what maybe [Gronkowski] has added to his repertoire this year. Or that’s something that maybe the majority of young guys need to understand. It’s a very physical game. It’s not like college. These guys are getting paid millions of dollars to come out and play and you have to take care of yourself. You have to take care of yourself.”

Gronkowski said it would be cool to talk to Gates and learn from him.

 

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber