Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones and wide receiver Julian Edelman stopped by the WEEI studio at Gillette Stadium on Monday for a visit with Middays with MFB’s Christian Fauria and guest host Danny Picard. To hear the interviews, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
The Patriots are coming off a strong effort in their third preseason game, a rout of the Panthers. But Bill Belichick is known for not allowing the team to accentuate the positives very long.
“Coach is very consistent with his coaching. He’s going to coach you the same way if we win or if we lose. And that’s what makes him such a great coach,” Jones said. “He’s going to pick out the things we did wrong, and he’s going to tell you about the things you did right. A lot of that is being a professional athlete — you know when you did good or you did bad. You’ve been playing the sport for this long, you know.”
Many people look at the third preseason game as the most important, but Jones insists that he doesn’t value one more than another.
“See, I don’t look at it that way,” he said. “A lot of different people look at it differently. I take every game seriously, like it will be the last game of the season. I know some people say, ‘It’s just preseason,’ but this is an opportunity for our team to go out there and get better week in and week out. I’m excited. I’m excited for this team to go forth into Week 1.
“As far as the preseason games, some people call it the dress rehearsal, but I take every game seriously.”
Neither play knew what to expect in terms of participation in the final preseason game against the Giants.
“Around here they keep you on your toes with everything,” Edelman said. “They don’t tell you how long you’re going to play, this, that. It’s like everything’s a test. Every week you don’t know how much you’re going to be playing, this, that, and you kind of have to just prepare every day, every week, even in the preseason you’re going to be playing a lot. Because they might say you’re not playing one week or something, and they throw you in there at the last minute, probably just to try to get a test of your mental toughness or something like that. That’s huge over here with the situational and the mental aspect of the game.”
Edelman, coming off a 105-catch season last year, acknowledged he’s reached a new comfort level with Tom Brady, but he’s wary of what can happen once the real games begin.
“Yeah, it’s probably the most confident I’ve ever been. With that said, it’s a lot different circumstances from the years in the past with how things are going and how things are now,” he said. “We’ve had some good plays and we’ve had some bad plays. There’s a lot of things that we have to work on that will get exposed in the regular season. We still have a week, two weeks, to try to get that done.
“When we go out there — we’ve got the Giants this week, we play Miami, a divisional game, first game of the year. Things always on opening day, as Christian can second, it doesn’t always go the same way, everyone’s kind of new, there’s always a crazy play here or something’s going on, it’s the start of the season. So you’ve really got to get ready for those situations and being able to adjust like that.”
With the ever-intense Brady at quarterback, Edelman knows no Patriots players can get in a comfort zone.
“It seems like each and every year I’ve played with him that he’s always a little more motivated the next year,” Edelman said of the QB. “That’s just kind of the guy he is. What’s his favorite game? It’s the next game. That’s just the competitor in Tom. He plays with that chip on his shoulder. … That’s really how he is. We’ll be playing a corn-hole game in the locker room and this guy is trying to win and is the most competitive guy over a gentleman’s best. That’s Tom. He wants to go out and he wants to do the best he can every time. That’s what a leader does. It becomes contagious and it makes other guys want to do the same thing.”
In a recent ESPN poll of NFL players, Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was tabbed as the individual players would least like to get into a fistfight with, followed by Texans defensive end J.J. Watt.
“I should be [on the list],” said a surprised Jones. “I’m [MMA star] Jon ‘Bones’ Jones‘ brother. What?”
Asked which players he would want to avoid, Jones said: “There’s some glass-eaters out there. I wouldn’t say I wouldn’t fight them. That’s just not in me to say, ‘Oh, I’m not going to fight that guy.’ But there’s a few tough guys out there. … I like J.J. Watt. He’s tough. He’s a glass-eater. I’ll call him a glass-eater.”
Said Edelman: “Definitely Logan Mankins. Straight cattle-rancher. He should be like throwing hay [bales]. He’s quiet, he’s strong, he’s nasty. He’s nasty and tenacious. … It’s fun to watch.”
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