Patriots notebook: Robert Kraft thankful for team's recent run

Thursday, 23 November 2017, 04:55:46 AM. Robert Kraft seems to be a happy man these days. It’s Thanksgiving, and his team is winning at a high level.That’s not unusual this time of the year, after nearly two decades of sustained success, but the 76-year-old Patriots owner, now in his 24th season at the helm, isn’t any less happy about how his organization stands going into Week 12, his Pats in their typical position atop the AFC East

Robert Kraft seems to be a happy man these days. It’s Thanksgiving, and his team is winning at a high level.

That’s not unusual this time of the year, after nearly two decades of sustained success, but the 76-year-old Patriots owner, now in his 24th season at the helm, isn’t any less happy about how his organization stands going into Week 12, his Pats in their typical position atop the AFC East during turkey week.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Kraft said. “We started the season 2-2 and now we’ve won six straight games, the last two on the road, very high altitude and I think the team performed beautifully. I’m very proud of them.”

Last night, Kraft was present, as usual, at his team’s 24th Thanksgiving-in-a-Basket event at Goodwill’s Boston headquarters in Roxbury. Twenty Patriots players, including Devin McCourty and James White, helped distribute Thanksgiving food baskets to about 220 families in need.

And the owner was all smiles.

“Thanksgiving is a time of tradition in New England more than any other area,” Kraft said. “It means so much doing these baskets. This is the one time of the year, I say, to do well in life, you want to surround yourself with good people and get the turkeys out of your life. Well, this is one time we can’t have enough turkeys around us. And we have 220 here tonight for the families. It’s really great to see how the people here look forward to it and appreciate it.”

Kraft joked that some players helping last night weren’t even born when the Patriots began the tradition in 1994. But he said he loves how his players connect with the community through the event, and that’s part of what brings them back every year.

“We give thanks,” Kraft said. “Thanksgiving is a holiday to give thanks. We are privileged to be in a position that we have many blessings, and it’s a way for us to say thank you to the community and try to make a difference. It’s one of my favorite nights of the year.”

Pats cut Marsh

Defensive end Cassius Marsh was released yesterday. Marsh played in just nine games as a situational pass rusher and on special teams.

The Patriots traded a 2018 fifth-round and seventh-round pick to the Seahawks for Marsh in September. His highlight with the Pats came when he blocked a field goal against the Falcons in Week 7. But his role increasingly diminished with inconsistent play. He played just two defensive snaps on Sunday against the Raiders.

Marsh tweeted an appreciation to the Patriots after he was cut. “Blessing come in many forms. Thank you for the opportunity @Patriots.” he posted.

The Pats also signed first-year defensive lineman Eric Lee off the Bills practice squad. Lee entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of South Florida with the Houston Texans in 2016. He has yet to play in an NFL game.

Lewis back in stride

It’s been two years since Dion Lewis tore his ACL, and he’s starting to play like he did before the injury. He’s emerged as the Patriots’ featured back of late, as he’s led the team in rushing every game of the team’s current six-game winning streak while also making explosive plays in the passing game and special teams.

“He’s had a pretty good year,” coach Bill Belichick said on a conference call yesterday. “He did a lot of good things for us in training camp, we gave him a significant amount of playing time in the preseason games, including kickoff returns, so I think he’s done a pretty good job all year.”

Neither Belichick nor offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels were sure if Lewis is back to how he looked before the injury, but they’re certainly happy with how he’s producing.

“He deserves all the credit for all the work he’s put in,” McDaniels said. “I don’t know where he’s at relative to what he was. That’s really nobody’s concern. He’s playing well and he’s got a good, solid role on our team, and he does whatever we ask him to do to try to help us win each week.”

On Hall of Fame list

The semifinalists for the NFL’s 2018 Hall of Fame class were announced yesterday, and three former Patriots made the list: Ty Law, Richard Seymour and Randy Moss.

This is the fourth straight season Law has been a semifinalist. This is the first year Seymour and Moss have been eligible.

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