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FOXBORO — With steam rising from the field turf of Gillette Stadium, the Patriots practiced in the drizzle Thursday in sweats and shells. And for a second straight day, the only absentee was starting center Bryan Stork.

Bryan Stork

Bryan Stork

PHOENIX — The Patriots held their second practice in Arizona of the week Thursday afternoon at the Arizona Cardinals‘ practice facility. Despite showers in the area and an option to go indoors, the team practiced outside in shorts and shells.

It was the same report as yesterday, with the exception of Akeem Ayers being added with a knee injury. He was limited. Rookie center Bryan Stork continues to be limited with his knee injury suffered in the divisional round win against the Ravens. All signs continue to point to him playing Sunday.

The pool report, courtesy of USA Today’s Jarrett Bell, says the team worked on special teams, two-minute offense and two-minute defense against scout teams, and spent more time working on red zone offense plays. There were more situational packages, including a sequence that began with Tom Brady and the offense backed up on their 2-yard line.

Belichick seems to be expecting a lot of noise Sunday night, as they blasted loud music, including Ima Boss, a rap song by Meek Mill, featuring Rick Ross.

Here is the complete practice report:

Limited participation

LB Akeem Ayes (knee)
LB Dont’€™a Hightower (shoulder)
DT Chris Jones (elbow)
DT Sealver Silga (knee)
C Bryan Stork (knee)

Full participation

QB Tom Brady (ankle)

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Darrelle Revis has a pair of picks this season with the Patriots. (Elsa/Getty Images)CHANDLER, Ariz.

PHOENIX – Seahawks linebackers coach Ken Norton can reduce Super Bowl 49 to the essential battle that may very well decide the game.

PHOENIX —’s Mike Petraglia and Ryan Hannable discuss Day 4 of Patriots Super Bowl week in Arizona. Tom Brady continues to fight off a cold on the practice field while fire alarms continue to go off at the hotel compound the Patriots are staying at for the Super Bowl. Deflategate continues to be a topic of discussion as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell delivers his state of the league speech on Friday.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia


PHOENIX — Thursday provided yet another glimpse into unbelievably bizarre year of the National Football League.

PHOENIX — Thursday provided yet another glimpse into unbelievably bizarre year of the National Football League.

Just over 72 hours before the league’s premiere event, the NFL’s director of officiating, Dean Blandino, publicly corrected his Super Bowl referee, Bill Vinovich, on how to handle the Patriots’ substitutions of reporting eligible and ineligible.

Vinovich is the same referee that handled the Patriots-Ravens divisional game at Gillette on Jan. 10. It was the way Vinovich announced Shane Vereen “ineligible” moments before the snap that caused Ravens coach John Harbaugh to lose his mind when the Patriots started subbing in the second half to a four-offensive linemen set.

Blandino made it very clear that there had been a protocol in place for officials and referees to hand signal to players that a player (in this case No. 34 Vereen) was reporting ineligible because it was required that at least five players on the line of scrimmage could not step forward.

“Bill was involved in the first game, the Baltimore-New England game, when New England first presented that formation when basically a player with an eligible number reporting as ineligible, which is legal. You can do that. The one you see more often is when you see a tackle reporting as eligible receiver.”

Then, unsolicited, Vinovich offered, “And I also made the announcement, ‘Do not cover No. 34.'”

To which Blandino responded, “Which we won’t do on Sunday.”

Apparently that was news to Vinovich. “We won’t?”

Against Indianapolis, referee Walt Anderson got it right in the eyes of the NFL, at least the signal part.

“So the signal is basically what occurred during the AFC championship game,” Blandino said. “Walt Anderson, the referee, he pointed at the player, was No. 47 (Michael Hoomanawanui), he waved his arms like an incomplete pass signal and then pointed at the player again while making an announcement. So that will be the mechanic. It’s exactly what we did during the AFC championship game. Indianapolis, the defense could recognize the player was ineligible so that’s what Bill will follow when we have the game on Sunday.”

But Blandino admitted Anderson’s crew messed up on the play prior to the Nate Solder touchdown reception from Tom Brady in the third quarter. As a result, the touchdown should not have counted.

“There was an issue on that play where on the previous play, [Cameron] Fleming had reported as an eligible player and on the Solder touchdown he went back to playing an ineligible position. That’€™s illegal,” Blandino said. “That’€™s an illegal substitution. So that’€™s something we discussed with the crew. Bill was made aware of it. So we’€™re going to be looking for that, make sure we follow the proper mechanics so that doesn’€™t happen again.”

And all of that without even talking about deflated footballs. Stay tuned.

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Mike Petraglia's Mike Petraglia and Ryan Hannable discuss Tom Brady's cold and how the Patriots have looked pretty loose in Arizona.

[0:00:09] ... right Brian at the big story of the day continues to be Tom Brady's health. He did say on that Thursday morning in speaking to us about fifteen miles south of here. In Chandler at Arizona at the team's Super Bowl headquarters that he's feeling pretty good he's getting better and better and he insists he'll be a 100% ready. By Super Bowl Sunday when they take on the Seattle Seahawks. Your impressions of how Tom Brady looks how he sounded. And it if patriot fans should still be concerned. Boy you looks ...
[0:01:38] ... after the loss Super Bowl 42 said it wasn't a crisp wake Vince Wilfork was one of those players. This time around though. In talking to a lot of players on Wednesday and again today Thursday ...
[0:05:58] ... a backseat here at the Super Bowl on Thursday. We're gonna have Troy Vincent speaking along with dean blamed you know the director of NFL officiating. Here in Phoenix that will be followed by commissioner Roger ...

CHANDLER, Ariz. — Despite Tom Brady‘s elite stature, he doesn’t act like it around the team. Speaking after reportedly restructuring his contract in late December to give the Patriots organization more spending money, he said the only thing he cares about his earning the respect of his teammates.

“I think the motivation is to never let my teammates down,” Brady said. “I want to go out there and be the best I can be for them. Those guys work really hard, and I never want to be the reason why we lose the game. You’€™ve got to put a lot into it and try to go out there every day in practice to try to prove yourself. You earn the respect of your teammates by your work ethic and what you’€™re able to accomplish on a daily basis. That’€™s what football is all about to me.”

So, what has Brady done to earn the respect of his teammates? We asked a number of players on Thursday.

WR Brandon LaFell: “I definitely knew he was great, but on the outside all you see is Sunday’s. I didn’t see what we did Monday-Saturday. When I got here and when I saw us playing a game on the road and we’re flying back and I see him open his laptop and he is looking at film already, I didn’t see that. I didn’t see the amount of work he puts in after practice with our strength coach. I didn’t see the amount of work he put in before practice with our strength coach in the morning. I didn’t know how much detail he took in taking his receivers to the side and have us working on routes and being here and seeing that, that guys works his tail off.”

CB Kyle Arrington: “Tom hasn’t done it yet? Tom doesn’t think he’s done it yet. Leadership. Tom is the ultimate competitor, leader. He’s like Leonidas. You just want to go into battle with that guy. Not comparing that, but as far as leadership goes and the guy you can rally behind whether he’s Leonidas or Braveheart, he’s one of those guys. He’s pretty good.”

WR Brian Tyms: “He showed me his heart, man. I remember a play he had against the Dolphins the second time we played them when he ran for 17 yards and the safety was coming and instead of sliding he dropped the shoulder. I respect that, regardless. He’s 37-38, doing that is amazing to me and the consistency that he shows is that he works hard everyday. You have no choice but to respect that.”

QB Jimmy Garoppolo: “A guy who has been doing it for so long and being so successful at it, he still comes in and he puts in the time, the effort that a rookie would put in. It’s very impressive. That is the reason why he’s so good. To have that mindset is definitely an advantage.”

TE Tim Wright: “Consistency. It doesn’t matter — the highs, if it gets low — he has a consistent day every day he comes in to the building. That is to get better and that is what you want in the quarterback and the leader of your team.”

OL Cameron Fleming: “Honestly, from my standpoint, I think he gained it as soon as I walked in the door. I already had respect for him with all he accomplished and I think he basically made everything that I thought of him true. I’ve always thought of him as a hard worker and a good quarterback and a good leader. He’s been all those things.”

WR Josh Boyce: “Just on and off the field being a leader. Trying to help guys out, picking up guys at practice and things like that. He showed me a lot. He helps me out playbook wise, like different details, he wants me to do different things so he helped me out a lot. Everyone is the same. He treats everyone with the some respect.”

OL Dan Connolly: “We all have that time in the locker room that we spend with one another and he’s there with us interacting and we all have a good time together.”

C Bryan Stork: “He’s Tom Brady. He’s a hard worker and he gets the job done. It’s very respectful in my opinion. He just tries to get better every day, just like we all do.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable