Terrell Suggs has never been shy about expressing his opinion on the Patriots and Tom Brady.

Terrell Suggs has never been shy about expressing his opinion on the Patriots and Tom Brady. And while he didn’t come out with guns blazing Wednesday night when he was asked about Deflattegate, he hinted that the four-game suspension for the quarterback was a little light.

“I don’t know — that’s not my job,” he told TMZ Sports when he was asked if New England got what it deserved. “I’m glad I don’t got it.”

Suggs then quickly offered an addendum, comparing the Patriots situation to Bountygate, which got Saints coach Sean Payton suspended for a full season.

“The last coach that got caught cheating got suspended for a whole year. So …”

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Shaq Mason meets with reporters Friday at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Shaq Mason meets with reporters Friday at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — One of the first lessons Patriots rookies learn when they enter Gillette Stadium for the first time is that you’re not competing with each other for a roster spot. You’re helping each other get better.

There’s no better example of that than the two rookie offensive linemen who come into camp as fourth rounders with different styles but the same goal of making the roster of the defending Super Bowl champs.

Tre’ Jackson revealed Thursday at Gillette that he and Shaq Mason are helping each other study the Patriots’ playbook. Jackson came from a pro style offense with Florida State while Mason came from a power running style at Georgia Tech. But both share the desire to learn the one system that they hope will be with them a long time in the NFL.

“€œI’€™m just trying to get prepared for this opportunity,” Mason said. “It’€™s a great opportunity. I knew I was going to have to work coming in and just try to get better.”

Mason stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 310 pounds. That’s two inches shorter and 20 pounds lighter than Jackson.

Mason and Jackson have already leaned on some of the veterans around Foxboro to help them get acclimated as soon as possible.

“€œAll of them. There’€™s not one in particular. It’€™s a great, great atmosphere here,” Mason said. “All of the guys are giving me great advice. We’€™re all just working together trying to reach a common goal.”

But the one message Mason has received loud and clear is that nothing in Foxboro is a given, certainly not a roster spot for a highly-valued draft pick if they don’t put the work in.

“€œComing in, the guys told me nothing is given here, so I’€™m going to have to work every day,” Mason said. “And that was the plan ‘€“ to work every day, study as much as possible and get to know as much as I can.”

Mason also hasn’t heard any veterans bringing up what was accomplished in February back in Glendale.

“€œWell, really, I wasn’€™t a part of that team. You never hear Super Bowl talk around here,” Mason said. “We’€™re just focusing on this season. I’€™m focused on being here. I’€™m here as much as I can be and just trying to get better.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Tre' Jackson was all smiles during rookie availability as he tries to impress as an offensive lineman. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Tre’ Jackson was all smiles during rookie availability as he tries to impress as an offensive lineman. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — The past is the past.

No one needs to remind Patriots rookie offensive lineman Tre’ Jackson of that old adage.

When the Patriots drafted Bryan Stork’s old Florida State teammate in the fourth round (111th pick overall) on the third day of this spring’s draft, many assumed that meant he had a place secured on the Patriots’ roster for the 2015 season. There are some who even suggested that Jackson may have the best chance of this year’s rookie class to step in and start on the offensive line if Dan Connolly doesn’t return.

After all, these were two of the five space-eaters that protected Jameis Winston on Florida State’s run to a BCS national title in January 2014. Stork was the center and Jackson, who weighs in at around 330 pounds and stands 6-foot-4, was the right guard.

But now in Foxboro, with the defending Super Bowl champs, all that means is some familiarity. Beyond that, there’s a lot of work to be done.

“Being able to play with him is a great thing, but all my teammates that are out here now have been a great help,” Jackson told reporters on the steamy Gillette Stadium turf Thursday. “I can go to anybody and get advice. All the guys on the offensive line, I can go to them and they’€™re there to help.”

Jackson said the championship experiences over the last two seasons at Florida State provided great experience but that’s all in the past now.

“I had great experiences at Florida State,” he said. “Now I’€™m just trying to transfer it and do the things that my coaches need me to do as far as getting better on the field, off the field [and] things like that.”

While Jackson figures to be competing for playing time with fellow rookie offensive lineman Shaq Mason, drafted 20 picks after Jackson in the fourth round, Jackson said there’s no pure competition at this point.

“Of course not. He’€™s a teammate right now. He’€™s just going to make me better,” Jackson said. “I’€™m going to make him better. Competition makes everyone better.

“It’€™s great to have someone who is in the same boat as you; just trying to get better with him. You’€™re making him better, he’€™s making me better. Just to be there and be a resource to him; he’€™s been a big resource to me ‘€“ helping each other study the playbook at night and things like that.”

If Jackson impresses the coaches enough, he might find himself protecting the back and backside of one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game.

“It’€™s great to be with a guy like that,” Jackson said. “But it’€™s not just Tom Brady. Being with all the Patriots, just walking through the locker room, being able to go to all those Patriots and get advice from them, guys that you looked up to for the longest time, being able to go get advice from them.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Jordan Richards breaks up a pass in last year's Stanford-UCLA game. Richards was taken 64th overall by the Patriots. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Jordan Richards breaks up a pass in last year’s Stanford-UCLA game. Richards was taken 64th overall by the Patriots. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

If you’re a defensive back who leaves college with a seal of approval from Duane Akina, you’re doing something right.

In more than 30 seasons as a defensive coach at the college level — including stints at Hawaii, Arizona and Texas — he’s carved out a rep as one of the best in his field. In his 13 seasons at Texas, he coached 14 All-Big 12 defensive backs and two Thorpe Award winners. Ten of his former Longhorn defensive backs played in the NFL in 2013, including Earl Thomas, Quentin Jammer, Aaron Ross and Michael Huff.

And after spending a year with safety Jordan Richards — who was taken 64th overall in the draft out of Stanford by the Patriots earlier this month — he believes that Richards could be a part of that same grouping.

“In my first week here, when I was going through things, I heard a lot about him. I watched 12 games, and thought I had a feel for how good he was an how important he was to the defense,” said Akina, looking back at the start of his first year with Stanford. “I quickly found out that if Jordan made a call and somebody else thought it was a different call, well, we should just do what Jordan said.

“He played a huge role in helping me out with the language. A lot of the things we did in practice and Texas, we also do here at Stanford, but when it came to making specific calls in the right situations when it comes to checks and things like that, I was blessed that Jordan was there,” Akina added. “I made sure he called out every defense. It got to a point in the meeting room where I would ask the guys a question, and I would have to say, ‘Jordan, you can’t say a thing,’ because everyone was just waiting for Jordan to make the call.”

The 5-foot-11, 211-pound Richards was a first-team All-Pac 12 in 2014. In four seasons with Stanford, he played in 54 games, with 152 tackles (13 for a loss) with one sack and nine picks. His smarts, versatility and open-field tackling skills were all part of what made him an absolutely integral part of the Stanford defense.

But the numbers were not on par with some of the other high-profile Day 2 draft possibilities, and that was one of the main reasons some were shocked to see Richards go at the end of the second round — most every draft expert had him pegged as a Day 3 selection.

While he acknowledges that his loyalty to his guys occasionally blinds his feelings, the  selection of Richards didn’t faze Akina.

“He went exactly where I thought he was going to go — I thought he was a second- or third-round pick,” Akina said of the 22-year-old. “People have no idea. Everyone wants to measure how tall guys are or how fast they are. And some measurables are important. But at the same time, if you understand that Jordan doesn’t run a 4.37 like Earl Thomas, that’s OK, but you also have to understand that he plays at 4.37 speed because of his intellect.

“In a system like the one in New England that will put stress on safeties and their abilities to make the right call at the right time, you just can’t go out and find guys like Jordan. You just can’t find guys like that who make plays like that and have that decision-making ability like he has.”

Akina has worked with thousands of players over the years, but when asked for a comparison, he was quick to put Richards with some of the other defensive backs he mentored while helping to create a legacy at Texas that later gave the label “Defensive Back University” to the Longhorns football program. But given a few more moments, the name he went for wasn’t a defensive back, but another unheralded defender who became great through film study, preparation and work ethic who he had the opportunity to coach when he was a defensive coordinator while at Arizona in the early 1990s.

“I equate Jordan to Tedy Bruschi, who I worked with at Arizona. Tedy was too short and too slow, and he came from Arizona. Arizona? That’s not Ohio State,” Akina said with a laugh. “But he became a great pro because of things you can’t measure in black and white.

“Look, the bottom line is that the Pac-12 is as good a conference as you’ll find, especially for a defensive back, because it’s filled with triggermen. He’s been looking at some of the best quarterbacks in the college game the last few years, and he did an excellent job. To me, it’s no surprise he went where he did.”

Looking forward, Richards will enter a system where he’ll have an opportunity to gain playing tine right out of the box. Initially, he will likely make his bones as a special teamer, but at the same time, he will challenge the likes of Duron Harmon, Tavon Wilson and Patrick Chung for playing time at the safety spot. An ability to fill multiple roles in the secondary will serve him well in his quest to get on the field as soon as possible, and even though he’s was pegged as a box safety by some draft pundits, Akina says, well, the Patriots will likely think outside the box when it comes to utilizing his skill set.

“We asked our safeties to do quite a bit. He has ability and flexibility — he’s not just a box safety. He can be a physical guy. He can line up in the slot and play man coverage,” Akina said. “It’s an insult to call him a box safety. As a collegian, he worked hard on all aspects of defensive back play, including man coverage. He’s been engaged in a lot of concepts.”

Ultimately, Akina believes his background with those multiple concepts, combined with his smarts and tenacious attitude when it comes to film study and prep work, will end up justifying the second-round selection of his latest prodigy.

“I’ve coached some safeties over the years,” Akina said, “and I think everybody in New England will be pleased with Jordan.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

FOXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price talk about Patriots rookies, including first rounder Malcom Brown and the latest on the Tom Brady controversy over Deflategate.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss the start of Patriots OTAs and the rookies' first taste of the NFL.

[0:01:35] ... a conversation with making alas they about Richards. He compared him to Tedy Bruschi now a wild exactly different position. But we you're talking about the overall approach to the game you're talking about a desire to be great you're talking about a desire to. I'll work everyone in the weight room. Out work everyone when it comes to watching film just be smarter in be able to anticipate things in makeup for any sort of physical deficiencies I know that's high praise they're north almost heresy. To sit here. In the shadow of the patriots hall of fame and compare guy who has taken a snap in the National Football League get to Tedy Bruschi but that's where we are we you know what's interesting about that Chris is a lot of people on we were talking about this off camera. Thought that Tedy Bruschi was drastically over draft them. By the patriots and a lot of people said the same about Jordan Richard CIA in this ...
[0:03:58] ... to it you look back it picks. They mean 200120032004. Guys like Ty Warren Vince Wilfork Richard Seymour. Those big. Defense of linemen ghost homesteaders upfront I'm fascinated to see how Malcolm brown can work one of the ...
[0:04:32] ... he doesn't try to bite off too much and try to replace Vince Wilfork. And he told us that he has a lot of veterans helping them in that effort and I think you I think ...
[0:06:27] ... last month and a half here at Gillette Stadium. What happens with Tom Brady I think any day now we expect a meeting between Tom Brady. His representatives. The NFL PA and Roger Goodell in New York I think ultimately they're gonna have deep they're going to be ...

Bill Belichick and Saints coach Sean Payton held joint practices at Gillette Stadium prior to their preseason game in 2012, and it looks like they will be doing

Bill Belichick and Saints coach Sean Payton held joint practices at Gillette Stadium prior to their preseason game in 2012, and it looks like they will be doing it again, this time this summer in West Virginia at the Greenbrier resort.

According to Pro Football Talk, the Saints and Patriots will have three practices in West Virginia prior to the August 22 preseason game between the two teams. The game is in New Orleans so after practicing in West Virginia, they will both travel down to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for the game.

New Orleans began practicing at the Greenbrier in 2014, providing them an environment with lower temperatures and humidity.

The Patriots had joint practices last season with the Redskins in Washington and the Eagles in Foxboro.

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Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Another player is showing their support for Tom Brady.