Tom Brady has appreciated the work of Darrelle Revis this season. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Tom Brady has appreciated the work of Darrelle Revis this season. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Hours before Tom Brady‘s weekly pregame chat with reporters at Gillette Stadium, Rex Ryan acknowledged the greatness of Darrelle Revis but didn’t want to go overboard.

Brady had no such restrictions on him when he was asked his impressions of what Revis has meant to the Patriots’ defense and the team overall.

“He’€™s a phenomenal player and I’€™ve loved playing with him,” Brady said. “I’€™ve hated playing against him, and I’€™ve had my fair share of those opportunities. He’€™s a great teammate. He’€™s a phenomenal player. I think the thing that I’€™m so impressed with is his coverage skills without getting penalties.”

Avoiding penalties has certainly been a challenge, not only for the Patriots but everyone across the NFL. Flags are up around the league at the rate of two more per game. But Revis has been able to avoid the laundry being heaved in his direction. He has been hit with just two accepted penalties this season, both for defensive holding. Brady sees that as remarkable considering officials have been on higher alert for illegal contact beyond the line of scrimmage.

“That’€™s a rare thing to be backpedaling when the guys who are some of the best athletes in the world are running at you as fast as they can with the size and speed of the way the receivers are, and to be able to cover those guys like he does is pretty amazing.”

Brady also spoke of the growth he’s seen from Rob Gronkowski in the five years he’s spent with him. In Brady, Gronkowski and Revis, it could be argued that the Patriots have three players putting up MVP-type seasons. So, what is the difference between a valuable football player as opposed to an outstanding one?

“It’€™s a good question. It all kind of depends on the team and what your role is on the team,” Brady said. “Everybody’s role is valuable. In professional football, certain positions always get more attention as to their value. I know on our team, Coach [Bill] Belichick thinks everybody is important. Everybody has to do their job because if you don’€™t do it, then nobody else can do it for you.

“Certainly my position, nobody can throw the ball or make the reads or call the plays in the huddle. That’€™s what my job is to do. And you’€™ve got to do it every single day. You’€™ve got to do it every single week. You’€™ve got to be dependable. You’€™ve got to be durable. You’€™ve got to bring the energy and enthusiasm and ultimately try to help your team win. That’€™s the only reason we’€™re playing is to win games, not to throw touchdown passes or catch touchdown passes. You’€™re doing whatever you can on every play to help the team win the game. That’€™s to me what being valuable is.”

Here are more takeaways from Brady on Wednesday:

Q: You had a good stretch where you were starting really fast, but that has taken a step back in recent weeks. Do you look at that differently from everything else in terms of how you try to fix it?

TB: Yeah, we like to start fast, and we talk about that every week. It’€™s pretty frustrating when we don’€™t. We try to do things to get us going and get our best plays and you talk about the plays you want to run early, and we just haven’€™t done a good enough job of stringing enough plays together in order to score points. You just don’€™t want to fall behind. It’€™s hard to fall behind in this league and expect to come back and win. Your margin of error just gets less and less as you go, so we’€™ve got to focus quite a bit on that. Certainly a team like the Jets, who have done such a great job with time of possession, especially against us, we’€™ve got to figure out a way to stay on the field and convert more third downs, score more points and ultimately try to keep their offense off the field. It’€™s a big week to try to do that.

Q: Have your struggles early in the game been a lack of execution, or are the defenses surprising you with their looks and making great plays?

TB: It can be a little of both. You want to create that momentum by sustaining play after play after play, which leads to a great drive and points and hopefully a great kickoff and then defense and then back on the field, kind of like what we did there in the third quarter [last week]. Our execution offensively, I think we can do a lot better than what we’€™ve been doing these last few weeks, and we’€™ve talked a lot about that. It’€™s frustrating for all of us when we’€™re not scoring the type of points that we’€™re capable of doing. I just focus on what I have to do and I can certainly do better in that area, making better decisions, better throws, and we’€™re going to need it this week against this team because they challenge you in a lot of ways. They’€™ve got a multitude of things that they do. They’€™ve always done that. They really test your communication and certainly execution is something that we look on all our past games we’€™ve played against them and said, ‘€˜Gosh, our execution just wasn’€™t very sharp,’€™ so we’€™ve got to be very sharp this week.

Q: Is your mobility something you look forward to now? Do you drive home at night thinking about your next great scamper?

TB: I don’€™t know if I’€™d characterize it as a great scamper. I think if those opportunities present themselves then I’€™m going to try to take advantage. Maybe there is a little more awareness now than there has been in the past. Once you make a couple of them, you kind of get a feel for it. If that’€™s what we need to do, then that’€™s what we need to do, and if they’€™re not going to account for that, then I think that’€™s kind of an easy play to make. You just have to have the awareness and be able to do it. It’€™s a mental thing; it’€™s a physical thing. Mentally, hopefully I’€™m ahead of where I’€™ve been in the past. However we need to convert third downs and stay on the field and score points is going to be something that I’€™m trying to do to help us win.

Q: What kind of exercises and drills have you done recently to help with your running ability? Has that changed recently?

TB: Those are highly top-secret, confidential things that we’€™re doing. Yeah, it’€™s just things that I’€™ve learned over the years that are really working and paying off this year.

Q: You seem to be using the resistance bands a lot more in the last month or so. Is that something you’€™ve added or is it just a little more public?

TB: I think that’€™s just been a little more public. But I love using those. They’€™re a great tool.

Q: Where can you buy them?

TB: You guys don’€™t need them in here.

Q: You had I think four passes that were batted down at the line of scrimmage. Were those just good plays by the defensive linemen or is there something that you can do differently?

TB: Yeah, I think that’€™s a great point. I think there is an element of both those things. Sometimes, you can really feel the rush and you can see your guy start to creep behind the defending player and you throw it and you know, ‘€˜Man, that’€™s a bad decision,’€™ because there was really no lane to throw it. Sometimes that lane closes really quickly. They’€™re reading your eyes and you don’€™t see it because I’€™m looking down the field. There was one that I was trying to throw to Gronk [Rob Gronkowski] in the right flat going away from the lighthouse that he just made a good play. Those are tough. It’€™s hard to read the coverage and read the d-linemen. There are other times where, yeah, I can kind of [peripherally see] the d-linemen and then still make the throw. So, sometimes it’€™s a good play, sometimes it’€™s a bad play by the quarterback. Regardless of that, I think the point is you’€™ve got to advance the ball and move the ball down the field. If they’€™re going to be batting down balls, they’€™re not rushing, and we should be throwing somewhere else. It ends up going for a zero play in the stat book, and you don’€™t want too many of those on offense. You always want to be moving the ball down the field. If the defense makes that play, then you can’€™t obviously have four of them. That doesn’€™t help our team win at all.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

FOXBORO — It was a bittersweet game last Sunday for Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington.

The sixth-year cornerback returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown in the opening minutes of the game — his fourth career touchdown — but then later left the game with a hamstring injury. Arrington said leaving the game was frustrating.

“I’d say so,” said Arrington. “You always want to be out there with your guys. This is what we do for each other. We’re a very close group, not just the defense — offense, defense, special teams in the locker room all 61, including the practice squad. To not be able to finish it’s a little frustrating. Unfortunately it’s part of the game.”

Although he didn’t return to the game, and was limited in practice on Wednesday, he is talking like the injury isn’t a huge issue.

“I guess that is a question for Bill [Belichick] and Jim [Whalen] (head athletic trainer) and our trainers. I don’t know. I guess I feel as good as you look,” he joked.

Although Arrington raced 62 yards for a touchdown, he gives all the credit to Jamie Collins, the guy who blocked the 41-yard Caleb Sturgis field goal attempt. It was was the third blocked field goal of the season for the Patriots, which ties a franchise record.

“To be honest, I was just the fortunate recipient of an outstanding block by Jamie [Collins],” Arrington said. “I mean you put that guy anywhere on the field, he could probably block it anywhere. He’s a freak athlete and I am glad we have a guy like that on our team.”

Arrington celebrated the score in style by doing a flip into the end zone, which got some good-natured teasing from his teammates when watching the film following the game.

“I’m thinking of trademarking that, I don’t know,” Arrington said. “I’m going on YouTube for some things and see where I can improve. Do a couple of somersaults here and there. I might go in front and sideways at the same time next time, I don’t know we’ll see.”

As a cornerback, it’s not a sure-thing to find the end zone another time.

“Wishful thinking, more wishful thinking,” he laughed.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
OXBORO —’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price preview the Week 16 battle between the 11-3 Patriots and 3-11 New York Jets at MetLife Stadium.

[0:01:24] ... have lost five games by two or more touchdowns and that's what. Tom Brady was a lot referring to when he said you know we wanna get ahead of this team. And put them away easily because we have not been able to do that against the jets everybody recalls what happened on. October 16 right here at Gillette Stadium is 2725. Chris Jones say today with that blocked field goal attempt. Last year and MetLife stadium the patriots weren't so lucky they blew a 2110. Halftime lead. The long and short of it is that Tom Brady doesn't want this game coming down the last minute he wants to put them away like they did in the but fumble ...
[0:05:21] ... on Sunday is the trying confused Gina Smith. We talked about what Tom Brady was talking about getting out to act quickly playing a full sixty minutes the other thing. I thought was interesting that Brady ...
[0:06:58] ... Acclamation process of guys like to key mayors and Allen branch and Vince Wilfork you know kind of holding it all together. I think they're very good shape up front and I think right now as it relates the easily. Easily just needs to get in the system needs to get his knee cleaned up the U fundamentally this is really a year and a wrote this before to post Greg you're the postgraduate year for him at Vince Wilfork university just follow Vince or else keep your eyes and ears open in your mouth closed due as Vince does. And get ...
[0:08:47] ... sit back kick their legs up on the couch. And watch the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Denver Broncos at Paul Brown Stadium Monday night. If that happens the patriots are wrap up the number one seed in the AFC before ...

FOXBORO —’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price preview the Week 16 battle between the 11-3 Patriots and 3-11 New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. With a win against the Jets and a Denver Broncos loss to the Cincinnati Bengals Monday night in Cincinnati, the Patriots will clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady have been on the same page since Gronkowski arrived in 2010. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady have been on the same page since Gronkowski arrived in 2010. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Like everybody who watches the Patriots, Tom Brady has seen the fun-loving side of Rob Gronkowski on and off the field.

But Brady also gets a chance to see the more mature side of the Patriots all-world tight end. On Wednesday, Brady said he’s seen his 6-foot-6, 250-pound tight end mature into one of the hardest workers on the team.

“He’€™s grown up a lot over the last five years,” Brady said. “It’€™s been a lot of fun to see it. His football IQ and understanding of what it takes to be a professional and consistently and dependably be that type of player for our offense that he’€™s become, has been fun to see. He’€™s got the size advantage, the speed advantage, and he’€™s really becoming so aware out there of different coverages and things they’€™re trying to do to stop him.

“Now, after this time, he and I are really getting on the same page with a lot of things that are adjustments to adjustments to adjustments and that type of thing. It’€™s just been great playing with him. He’€™s a huge part of our offense, really gets us going. He’€™s a threat on third down, he’€™s a threat in the red area, he’€™s a threat on big plays any time in the game. He’€™s a great player.”

What Gronkowski doesn’t always get credit for is his attention to detail in practice and in games. Part of that comes from spending time together after practice and some of it comes from the time Gronk puts in on his own.

“Yeah, it’€™s a lot of communication. After practice and so forth, we do a lot of things after practice with a lot of guys and you’€™re always trying to work on things that you didn’€™t maybe get a chance to work on during practice,” Brady said. “Gronk typically gets a lot of balls in practice, so it’€™s usually for a lot of the other guys who don’€™t usually get a lot of balls in practice.

“But he’€™s always there willing to work on whatever he needs to work on for us to be a better team. Whether that’€™s a new type of route or a new type of concept that we’€™re trying to run, that’€™s what you’€™re trying to do. You’€™re trying to get on the same page so you can really anticipate each other and then you can make those plays that end up being really critical. We’€™ve had a bunch of them this year. The little things always become big things, and to identify what those little things are and make corrections before you get to the game day is what’€™s really important.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

FOXBORO — Another week, another crowded injury report for the Patriots.

Only Dominique Easley missed Wednesday’s practice, as he was placed on injured reserve, but 12 other Patriots players were limited as the team prepares for Sunday’s game against the Jets at MetLife Stadium.

FOXBORO — Another week, another crowded injury report for the Patriots.

Only Dominique Easley missed Wednesday’s practice, as he was placed on injured reserve, but 12 other Patriots players were limited as the team prepares for Sunday’s game against the Jets at MetLife Stadium.

Julian Edelman (thigh/concussion) headlines the limited players, as a concussion was added to his name — in previous weeks it was just his thigh. LeGarrette Blount (shoulder) was also limited and was the first time he’s appeared on the injury report this season. Kyle Arrington left Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury and was a limited participant in practice.

Long snapper Danny Aiken was also added to the injury list, as after recovering from a concussion a few weeks ago, he now has a finger injury. Rob Ninkovich (heel) and Cameron Fleming (ankle) remain on the injury report, both limited in the session.

Quarterback Tom Brady (ankle) was a full participant.

Here is a complete practice report:

Did not participate

DL Dominique Easley (injured reserve)

Limited participation

LS Danny Aiken (finger)
CB Kyle Arrington (hamstring)
RB LeGarrette Blount (shoulder)
OL Dan Connolly (ankle)
WR Julian Edelman (thigh/concussion)
OL Cameron Fleming (ankle)
LB Dont’a Hightower (shoulder)
DE Chandler Jones (hip)
WR Brandon LaFell (shoulder)
DE Rob Ninkovich (heel)
RB Shane Vereen (ankle)
LB Chris White (ankle)

Full participation

QB Tom Brady (ankle)

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Dominique Easley

Dominique Easley

1. Even before the start of the season, it was fairly evident that the Patriots 2014 rookie class was going to face an uphill battle for playing time. Entering camp, the roster was clearly pretty well stocked with entrenched veterans, and when midseason acquisitions like LeGarrette Blount, Alan Branch, Jonathan Casillas and Akeem Ayers showed up, it pushed several of the ones who initially made the cut at the start of the season even further down the depth chart. That’s why, from this viewpoint, the decision to place first-round pick Dominique Easley on season-ending injured reserve isn’t a colossal issue. You never want to lose out on the services of any of your top picks for the season, but because the Patriots have good depth up front with the postseason looming (Branch, Ayers, Vince Wilfork, Sealver Siliga, Chris Jones, Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, etc. etc.), it doesn’t represent a seismic loss for the franchise at this point in the year. Easley was on and off the field throughout the spring and into the summer, and saw limited playing time throughout the year because of the knee issues. When he was healthy, he certainly showed the sort of disruptive skill set that the Patriots crave at the defensive line position. Going forward, once whatever knee procedures that need to take place have occurred, it’s on him to take a postgraduate year at Vince Wilfork University. He should keep your eyes open and his mouth shut, follow Wilfork around and learn what it takes to succeed in the NFL. Then, come back in the spring ready to go for 2015.

2. The addition of Steve Maneri to the active roster — taking the place of Easley — is interesting on a couple of levels. First off, Maneri has a background as both a tackle and tight end, and could figure prominently in those heavy sets the Patriots have run so effectively with Cameron Fleming over the course of the year. His versatility and skill set suggest he might be better suited to the job that some of the other options the Patriots have, at least right now with Fleming on the sideline. And second, this could tell us something about the overall state of Fleming’s health. The rookie out of Stanford has been missing since Week 12 because of what the team is calling an ankle injury, and the addition of Maneri could be a sign that the team feels it’s the sort of injury that could have the 6-foot-6, 325-pounder on the shelf for an extended stretch. (It could also be seen as a roundabout sort of challenge to fellow tight end Michael Hoomanawanui.) Ultimately, Maneri is a familiar face who presumably won’t need a lot of time to get up to speed, so if you’re a Patriots fan, that’s a good thing if he’s pressed into service in rapid fashion.

3. And last — but not least — the Patriots went and added another quarterback to the mix in Garrett Gilbert, who landed on the practice squad. The 6-foot-4, 221-pounder out of SMU was on the Rams practice squad — he was a sixth-round pick of St. Louis this past spring — before being cut loose in October. Gilbert had an up-and-down college career — after being recruited to Texas, he struggled in his three years with the Longhorns, playing 24 games and throwing 13 touchdowns, 23 interceptions and completing just 50.9 percent of his passes. Things picked up for him after transferring to SMU, and he posted career-best numbers across the board last year with the Mustangs, throwing for 3,528 yards and 21 touchdowns to go with seven interceptions and an impressive 66.5 percent completion rate. It had been known that the Patriots were in the market for a third quarterback — they were interested in Chicago rookie David Fales before he was promoted to the active roster. However, at this point, Gilbert projects to be a practice squad/scout teamer who could be in the mix as a camp arm in the spring. Here’s some video of his college work while at SMU:

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

FOXBORO — Darrelle Revis said Wednesday it was “kind of sad” when it came to his former coach Rex Ryan and what he’s been going through this season in New York.

Revis, who played with the Jets from 2007 to 2012, was asked on a conference call Wednesday if he was shocked that the Jets were 3-11.

Darrelle Revis sounded downbeat when talking about his old coach Rex Ryan on Wednesday. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Darrelle Revis sounded downbeat when talking about his old coach Rex Ryan on Wednesday. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Darrelle Revis said Wednesday it was “kind of sad” when it came to his former coach Rex Ryan and what he’s been going through this season in New York.

Revis, who played with the Jets from 2007 to 2012, was asked on a conference call Wednesday if he was shocked that the Jets were 3-11.

“I don’€™t know. I don’€™t know. Like I said, they have a lot on their plate over there in that situation this year,” he said. “It’€™s kind of sad for the position that Rex is in right now. But at the same time [the record is] something that they’€™ve got to change.

“Me and Rex have a lot of history, and we all know that,” he added. “Some of those guys are dear to my heart and everything, but like I said, I’€™ve got to focus on the things that I am doing here and I wish Rex the best.”

Revis, who played under Ryan from 2009 through 2012 with New York, said it’s a different experience playing on the other side of the rivalry.

“It’€™s two different schemes,” he explained. “Rex is more aggressive with his approach and up here it’€™s a mixture of man coverage and zone too. So it’€™s just two different systems that I’€™ve played with two different cultures that have two different styles of defenses.”

Revis was asked several times by the New York media about possibly returning to the Jets — or reuniting with Ryan — next year, but he wouldn’t comment on the possibility.

“Right now, my focus is playing against the Jets,” he said. “I’€™m not really thinking about the offseason right now. I’€™m thinking about focusing on the next game and the rest of the season.”

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Blog Author: 
Christopher Price