Tom Brady discussed his feelings on the Logan Mankins trade and the return of Gronk.

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Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning as the Patriots prepare for Sunday’s regular-season opener against the Dolphins in Miami.

Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning as the Patriots prepare for Sunday’s regular-season opener against the Dolphins in Miami. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Patriots finished a 2-2 preseason with Thursday’s 16-13 loss to the Giants. Since then, the team traded stalwart offensive lineman Logan Mankins and backup quarterback Ryan Mallett. According to a report, Brady was very upset upon learning that Mankins was sent to the Buccaneers for tight end Tim Wright and a 2015 draft pick.

“I haven’t really spoken to anybody about it,” Brady said. “I have my own personal feelings that obviously are very personal to me. Whatever those are, I just want our team to be the best it can be for this year. I love Logan, Logan was a great friend of mine. Nobody stood for Patriot football more than him. But he’s moved on. I hope he’s happy. We’ll keep in touch.

“We’ve got a game to win. I can’t really think too much about what happened in the past. Like I said, yeah, I dealt with whatever feelings I had last week, but I’ve moved on. I’ve got to move on, because that’s what this team expects me to do. With Miami coming in, the only thought on my mind is how I can be the best quarterback against them and how I can can try to go out there and lead my teammates and be a great example and be a great motivator and bring the enthusiasm and energy for the team. Because without that then we have less opportunity to win. And you guys know me, I like winning.”

Brady has been through this before, losing close friends in the final days and weeks before the season begins, but he said the business aspect of football is no easier to handle as a seasoned veteran.

“Absolutely not,” he said. “I’m a very person-to-person type of person. I am a very emotional person. I don’t think those things have ever gotten easier for me. And I don’t think they ever will. But you’ve got to come to grips with it also, and learn to deal with things in a mature way.

“We as players, the business side of things, we’re there to play, we aren’t there to run businesses. We’re there to enjoy the camaraderie with our teammates, enjoy the playing experience with our teammates. We play for one another, and you deal with whatever comes up and then you move forward. I think that’s part of the sport. Being that it’s happened, I know it’s going to happen next year, too, I know it’s going to happen the year after that, the year after that — for as long as you continue playing here you’re going to be dealing with this.

“But now we’ve got a chance to move forward, to move forward with the start of the year. And you’ve got to bring the best attitude you can when it matters to the most, which is now.”

As with Mankins, Brady said he did not get much time to reminisce with Mallet, his backup for the past three seasons, after Bill Belichick sent him to the Texans.

“All these things that happen, they happen really quick,” Brady said. “I know coach said there were 800 transactions or something on Saturday. You show up to work one day, everyone’s there, you’ve got 90 guys or whatever, then the next day you show up and there’s 53. There’s not really time to sit around the table and talk about how great things have been. … In Ryan’s particular situation he’s moving on with his life, and the Patriots move on. You wish each other luck. We’ll always keep in touch. I keep in touch with Matt Cassel and Damon Huard and Brian Hoyer. I keep in touch with all these guys, because they’re my friends. It’s not football, it’s personal. Those guys will be friends for the rest of my life, certainly Ryan will be, too.

“You spend three years of all this emotion and energy you spend together and you have friendships. That’s one of the really gratifying parts about playing professional sports, is the relationships that you build with the people that matter so much in your life because you make such a sacrifice for them, and they make such a sacrifice for you.

“These things are never easy. It doesn’t take away from any personal relationship. It’s a business relationship that the organization has with particular players. Like I said, everyone deals with them differently, but the way that we deal with it is we choose to deal with it, you move on, and certainly this week and yesterday and on, we’re just focused on the Miami Dolphins and how we can go out there and put together the best plan to go out there and kick some butt on Sunday.”

Should the day ever come when the Patriots decide to part ways with Brady, the quarterback said it would be difficult to accept.

“There’s nowhere I’d rather play, I know that,” he said. “I love playing for this team and I love representing this team. Hopefully I can do that for as long as I can. When I suck, I’ll retire. I don’t plan on sucking for a long time. [Laughing] Hopefully that leads me to be in here, and there’s no place I’d rather be. I love this game and I love working hard at it.

“I’ve had a lot of people over the years tell me the things I couldn’t do, and I think that’s always been great motivation for me to go out there and accomplish things that I think I can do. Hopefully it’s to continue to play at a high level for a really long period of time.”

Added Brady: “I like working hard at it. I’m going to try to be the best I can be for as long as I can do that. Hopefully the team values that. If they don’t, then I’ll probably have a tough day at some point. That’s what football’s all about.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

On Rob Gronkowski announcing Monday that he’s ready to play: “Well, I hope so. The more guys we can have out there, the better. We just started the week of practice, so I think everyone’s trying to get out there, learn each other. The final roster has finally been picked, and whosever on the active roster really has to be ready to go. We’re going to need contributions from everybody. If Gronk can be one of those guys, then I think that makes our team better.

“We’ve got a lot of plans. We’ve made contingency plans for everybody being out. That’s just what we have to do.”

On Gronkowski’s impact on the team: “Him being a teammate for the last, I don’t know, four years, we know what he can bring to the team, what his ability is when he’s out there, what he’s capable of. Not only his own ability, but how that helps the other guys, too. Because it’s hard to put one guy on him and just think that guy can hold up all game. So then you may get more zone coverage, then you may get double coverage. They’re going to figure out their schemes to stop your best player. That’s what good defenses do, they try to identify what an offense’s strength is, and then they’ve got to shut that down. We have to try to identify what a defense’s strengths are and shut those things down.

“We’ve got a good group of guys. If they’re going to cover Gronk, then we’ve got to throw to the other guys. And when he’s out there, he’s obviously a great target because of his size, his speed, his agility, his ability to catch the football in traffic. That’s what he’s done over the course of his career. That’s why he’s got so many touchdowns, because he’s got such a big catch radius that you put the ball in certain areas and he can go up and make the play.

“But like I said, if they cover him, then there’s other options. We’ve got a lot of guys that I’m excited about. I’m really excited about our offense and the work that we’ve put in, guys really finding a role for themselves. That all really gets a chance to go out and prove it this weekend.”

On new tight end Tim Wright: “It’s been a short period of time. I haven’t studied what he’s been doing as much as probably the coaches have. … Truthfully, I watched him a lot last year because we had a lot of games where we saw Tampa playing, and I said, ‘Who is this young No. 81 that looks like a good player?’ I’m excited to have him on our team. He’s a good player. I know the other night in the game [watching] from the sideline he was making a lot of plays out there. Hopefully he can go out there and keep making them.”

On if there’s a change in the tone and pace in practice this week: “Absolutely. These count. This goes in the final standings. This is when you’re expected to be at your very best, and every bit of preparation that we’ve all done for the last last six months since the end of last season comes down to this particular day. Yeah, there’s a lot of urgency this week. You can’t afford any mistakes. The guys that are out there, those are the guys that have done the best job over the course of the offseason to put themselves in the best position to help our team. I’m excited. I think it’s a different feeling yesterday than all year. We’ve been off for so long, finally we get an opportunity to go out there and do something that really counts and that’s going to matter in the final standings.”

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

When they were told Rob Gronkowski announced that he was good to go for Sunday’s regular-season opener, the Dolphins were hardly surprised.

“Well, we were fully prepared,” said coach Joe Philbin when asked about Gronkowski’s proclamation. “We saw he’€™s on the 53-man roster, so you have to be prepared for every combination.”

The Dolphins have struggled defensively against tight ends over the last few seasons, but those have been more of the Jimmy Graham types who are tight ends in name only. Instead, they’ve managed to do a pretty good job containing the bigger and bulkier tight ends like Gronkowski. In six career games against Miami, Gronkowski averaged four catches, 56 yards and 0.5 touchdowns per game, some of his lowest per game averages against a regular opponent. (In his last two games against Miami, Gronkowski had only only four catches.)

While Miami hasn’t found a way to stop him completely, it has been able to slow him down.

“€œAny of the big tight ends you face, guys of that caliber [who] can create mismatches in man-to-man, body up against smaller defensive backs or even small linebackers, [that's] an issue,” Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle said Monday. “[Gronkowski has] also been a big target for them in the red zone, so if he plays and how much he plays — we don’€™t know how much that will be — that’€™s not going to change what we do.

“We’€™ve got to defend their entire group. That’€™s a big enough chore as it is, so we’€™ve assumed that he would be playing. That’€™s kind of how we’€™ve been proceeding since the spring when we found out this was going to be the opener.’€

“He’s an excellent player,” Philbin added. “He’s been a very, very productive player throughout his career. We’ll have a good plan in place, but he’s certainly an important part of their offense, and a productive part of it. We’ll be ready for him, for sure.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Ryan Tannehill will lead the Dolphins against the Patriots in the regular season opener. (Getty Images)

Ryan Tannehill will lead the Dolphins against the Patriots in the regular season opener. (Getty Images)

Here are five things you have to know about the Dolphins, who are looking to break the Patriots 10-game winning streak when it comes to regular season openers Sunday in South Florida.

1. They are going to look to push the pace offensively.

Miami imported former Eagles quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor to serve as its new OC, and in an attempt to give the offense a jolt, he’s expected to bring a little Chip Kelly-style flair to the proceedings. That means faster football, and given the fact that the Patriots will be entering into what’s expected to be sweltering South Florida heat, the Dolphins will try and use a quicker tempo to their advantage. For what it’€™s worth, Miami has been a little quicker than the average NFL team over the last two years under Joe Philbin. Measured using situation-neutral offensive pace ‘€” a formula from Football Outsiders that eliminates things like two-minute drills and late-game clock-killing situations to get a truer idea of the offense’€™s intentions when it comes to offensive pace — the 2012 Dolphins were ninth overall at one play every 29.23 seconds, and last year, on average, they ran one play every 30.08 seconds, 14th quickest in the NFL. Of course, it’€™s debatable how effective the uptempo style will be. But it’€™s important to remember that Lazor played a sizable role in the growth and development of Nick Foles in Philly’€™s fast scheme last year, as Foles went from backup quarterback to SI cover boy in the span of a few months and the Eagles went from worst (4-12 and last in the NFC East) to first (10-6 and a division title) under Kelly. It’s clear Miami is hoping that Ryan Tannehill and the rest of the Dolphins offense can respond the same way in 2014.

2. They are all-in at wide receiver.

The Dolphins have really gone above and beyond when it comes to giving Ryan Tannehill enough options. With the cap hit for Mike Wallace ballooning to $17.25 million this year, the Dolphins are spending a whopping $29.6 million on their 2014 wide receivers’€”by far the most in the league, according to a June study by CBS Sports. Wallace, Brian Hartline, Rishard Matthews and Brandon Gibson are joined by rookie Jarvis Landry to form a relatively deep group of wide receivers, one that will serve as a nice challenge for a revamped New England secondary at the start of the season. (Some believe Lazor will try and use Wallace in much the same manner the Eagles did with DeSean Jackson, which is an intriguing concept.)

3. The interior of their offensive line is vulnerable.

The Dolphins have struggled with their offensive line dating back to last year — from a pure football perspective, the Incognito-Martin imbroglio simply shone a light on things. Miami allowed a league-high 58 sacks of Tannehill last season, 10 more than the second-place finish (Baltimore’s Joe Flacco was sacked 48 times) and tied for 10th most all-time in a single season. (For some perspective, Houston’s David Carr was sacked an astounding 76 times in 2002, the all-time mark.) Here’s a highlight reel of all 58 sacks, a sequence that lasts almost 10 minutes.

In all, Tannehill has been sacked 93 times in his first two years in the league. (We haven’t even mentioned the fact that the Miami running game was 26th in the league last season — a sizable portion of the blame for those numbers can also be attributed to the offensive line.) And so it was no surprise the Dolphins made offensive line a priority this offseason. They stabilized their left tackle spot with the addition of Branden Albert, while they used their first round pick on Ja’Wuan James, who appears to be the Week 1 right tackle for Miami. But things are still very rough along the interior, as center Mike Pouncey continues to work his way back from offseason hip surgery (Samson Satele will get the start in his place), while guard play has been questionable at best over the course of the summer. Bottom line? If you want to attack this offense, your best bet appears to be up the gut.

4. Their pass rush will test the New England offensive line early.

Left defensive end Cameron Wake (8.5 sacks last year) and right defensive end Olivier Vernon (11.5 sacks last year) combine to form a very nice set of bookends, and are likely the top priority when it comes to pass protection for the Patriots. (Per Football Outsiders, Wake notched at least 20 hurries and 20 quarterback knockdowns for the fourth year in a row.) While the Dolphins are very good off the edge, it would ostensibly be a strength-on-strength matchup against right tackle Sebastian Vollmer and left tackle Nate Solder. Miami could have an edge if it finds a way to get pressure up the middle, as the interior of New England’s offensive line has some personnel questions, particularly if Marcus Cannon is utilized more as a backup swing tackle than one of the two available guard spots. But many of the questions people have had about the overall fitness of the Patriots offensive line will be answered against a pretty good front seven in the opener.

5. They are ready for Rob Gronkowski … if the big tight end does play.

The Dolphins hardly sounded shocked at the proclamation from Gronkowski that he was good to go for Week 1. Miami defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle was asked about Gronkowski’s statement that he was going to play, and he responded with a simple, ‘€œWe assumed that he might.’€ In Gronkowski’s career, the Patriots are 6-0 against Miami when he’s in the lineup, but for what it’s worth, the Dolphins have actually done a pretty fair job at containing Gronkowski over the years: In six career games against Miami, he’s averaged four catches, 56 yards and 0.5 touchdowns per game, some of his lowest per game averages against a regular opponent. (In his last two games against Miami, Gronkowski had only only four catches.) It remains to be seen if Gronkowski actually plays, and if he does, how many snaps he’ll take. (His overall football fitness remains in question, and Bill Belichick has said on numerous occasions that you just can run around a track a few times and be ready to play.) But history tells us that the Dolphins have found a way to not stop him completely, but at least slow him down to a point where he not the runaway offensive force he’s been against most teams when he’s been healthy. “He’s an excellent player,” Philbin said Monday when asked about Gronkowski. “He’s been a very, very productive player throughout his career. We’ll have a good plan in place, but he’s certainly an important part of their offense, and a productive part of it. We’ll be ready for him, for sure.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Tim Wright looks to complement Rob Gronkowski this year in the Patriots offense. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Tim Wright looks to complement Rob Gronkowski this year in the Patriots offense. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — Among those most excited about the declaration of Rob Gronkowski on Monday was the newest tight end on the team. Tim Wright was acquired by the Patriots to give Tom Brady something he hasn’t had since the heyday of Aaron Hernandez, a legitimate speed threat at tight end opposite Gronkowski.

After watching Gronkowski from afar for so many seasons, Wright said Monday that he thinks he can compliment the star tight end with his speed and catching skills.

“I definitely think we can work off each other and I’m going to learn a lot of things from him and learn a lot from the receivers they have and just overall, from Coach Belichick and all those in the Patriots organization,” Wright said.

Wright caught four passes for 43 yards on six targets from Jimmy Garoppolo in Thursday night’s preseason finale, without any formal practices with Gronkowski or Tom Brady.

“Every thing wasn’t done right,” Wright said. “I was just playing fast and just going out there and doing my job, catching balls, blocking, doing whatever coaches ask.”

Now comes the fun part for Wright. Catching passes from Brady and running routes in practice opposite Gronkowski.

“I feel like I could be used in all types of ways,” Wright said. “It’s up to the coaches to determine that and see what fits best for me and best for all my other teammates. Football is football at the end of the day. It’s a ball and whatever that description may entail, that’s what I’ll try to go out and do.

“It’s going good,” Wright said. “The coaches are doing a great job translating it for me and trying to catch me up to speed.”

Wright has played at Gillette Stadium before, practicing against the Patriots with the Buccaneers in Aug. 2013 and catching his first NFL pass last season in a 23-3 Patriots win over Wright’s Tampa Bay team last September. Wright’s caught one pass for six yards.

“First catch here,” Wright recalled Monday. “There’s a few things I did here that marked my journey from last year and things that happened in the past. I’m excited about the future.”

Now, Wright begins anew again. This is his second offensive coordinator in as many NFL seasons, after catching 54 passes for 571 yards and five touchdowns last season with Tampa Bay. Wright had three offensive coordinators in as many seasons in his final three years at Rutgers.

“In college, I went through four different offenses, last two years I’ve been through two different ones,” Wright said. “It’s all a learning experience and it’s something I’ve been doing and I’m able to adapt to it. It’s Xs and Os. The coaches do a great job of pointing out where you need to be and the job you need to do for that specific play.

“It’s an awesome opportunity for me to be part of a great organization and play alongside of some great guys.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Sealver Siliga addresses reporters at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Sealver Siliga addresses reporters at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — Rob Gronkowski wasn’t the only Patriots player Monday making a declaration of readiness to play this Sunday in the season opener.

After coming out of joint practices with the Redskins in early August with an injured left wrist, defensive tackle Sealver Siliga pronounced himself ready to play against the Dolphins in the 2014 opener. The addition of the 6-foot-2, 325-pound tackle to the defensive line adds some valuable depth behind Vince Wilfork and Joe Vellano.

“I feel good. I feel great, ready to get this going, ready to play on Sunday. It’s been a while. It’s been about a month since I’ve taken my last snap. That’s what [Monday] is for and the next few days, to get back out there and start running around with the fellas and see what I can pick up.”

The Patriots spent much of August taking a serious look at the interior of their defensive line, bringing in players like Jerel Worthy (released on Saturday) and Ben Bass (released) to compete with Vellano and Siliga. That didn’t stop with roster cuts as they picked up rookie Bruce Gaston from Arizona and Kelcy Quarles from the Giants on Sunday.

“This is the team that we’re going to go along with. I’m excited about the team the coaches have put together. I’m just going to go out there and work hard and wherever coach puts me out there, I’m going to do what I have to for the team.”

Siliga, who showed his value as a fixture in the middle of the defensive line last year, is a 24-year-old tackle trying to stick in New England after stops with the 49ers, Broncos and Seahawks early in his career.

“It’s a situation where I came from, I never want to feel comfortable,” Siliga said. “The last few years how they’ve turned out for me has helped me understand that every day I have in the NFL is a blessing so I don’t look at it as being comfortable.”

Siliga has been in Foxboro long enough to know there’s no shortage of leadership on defense.

“Definitely we have leaders in Vince and Mayo and Revis on the outside,” Siliga said. “If we all just stick together and everybody does their job, we should be OK.”

Will Siliga’s conditioning be up to snuff and ready for game action after sitting out the entire preseason?

“I was just making sure that I was staying in condition, and that my conditioning was up there and my strength stays up there and I make sure I hit the playbook and know all my stuff 100 percent,” he said. “I ran a lot, do extra stuff today and get ready.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

The Patriots waived guard Chris Barker and received defensive back Don Jones on waivers on Monday.

Jones is a 24-year-old strong safety who played in 16 games last season with Miami — the 5-foot-11, 205-pounder finished the year with 10 tackles and one forced fumble.

Chris Barker

Chris Barker

The Patriots waived guard Chris Barker and received defensive back Don Jones on waivers on Monday.

Jones is a 24-year-old strong safety who played in 16 games last season with Miami — the 5-foot-11, 205-pounder finished the year with 10 tackles and one forced fumble.

The 24-year-old Barker was claimed off waivers by the Patriots last September. The undrafted free agent out of Nevada is a 6-foot-4, 305-pounder who played in four games with New England last season.

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

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

FOXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia reports that Rob Gronkowski announced publicly Monday that he’s been cleared for NFL games. Gronkowski joked that he was happy to “break the news” himself, a bit of a rarity for a player to announce his readiness for game action for the 2014 season opener Sunday in Miami.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia