PHOENIX — The Patriots held their first practice in Arizona Wednesday afternoon and got some good news on the injury front as they only list five players total on the practice report.

Bryan Stork

Bryan Stork

PHOENIX — The Patriots held their first practice in Arizona Wednesday afternoon and got some good news on the injury front as they only list five players total on the practice report.

After practicing all week on a limited basis last week, rookie center Bryan Stork (knee) did once again Wednesday. He missed the AFC championship after injuring his knee in the divisional round. All signs point to him being ready for Sunday.

Dont’a Hightower (shoulder), Chris Jones (elbow) and Sealver Siliga (foot) were all limited in the session.

Tom Brady (ankle) fully participated.

Brandon Browner (knee) and Brandon LaFell (shoulder/toe) have been removed from last week’s bye week report.

Here is the complete injury report:

Limited participation

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
Brandon Browner has helped spark the Patriots secondary to new heights with a physical style of play. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Brandon Browner has helped spark the Patriots secondary to new heights with a physical style of play. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

CHANDLER, Ariz. — Darrelle Revis and Richard Sherman are considered the two best cornerbacks in the NFL. They’ll be playing on the game’s biggest stage Sunday.

They’ve shown over the course of their careers that they are both great but play the game with different approaches.

How are they different? Let someone who’s played with both explain.

“We play a lot more man to man over in New England,” Brandon Browner said Wednesday. “They play a lot of cover three in Seattle. [Sherman] plays to his leverage, knowing where help is coming from. He is a cerebral football player and so is Revis. Revis, he just has a nice balance about his game. It never seems like he takes a false step left or right. His game is pretty smooth and polished. It seems like he isn’€™t running as hard as the guy he is covering. The guy he is covering always seems like he is sprinting and (Revis) kind of has a jog about his game.”

Browner admitted he doesn’t watch them during games because he’s busy with his own responsibilities.

“€œI haven’€™t learned too much, but I do watch them because I am a fan of the game,” Browner said. “I do like to compare and contrast things that I do good and things that they do good. I can’€™t say I learned too much. We kind of talk to each other, both guys, we kind of bounce ideas off each other.”

Much was made of Browner saying he would go after the injured elbow of Richard Sherman this week. But he reiterated Wednesday that statement was taken out of context since reporters don’t have a personal understanding of his friendship with Sherman.

“I couldn’€™t have drawn it up any better,” Browner said. “Those guys are my best friends. It is a blessing to be in this game with those guys.”

Browner and Sherman remain close today, in part because they both play the game with such emotion.

“€œIt is just the game that we play,” Browner said. “You kind of have to be that way. It is a violent game. Even if it is me against you, you hurt me, I hurt you or you make the play over me, I make the play over you. That is what it is.

“At the end of the day both defenses won’€™t be on the field at the same time. We’€™re going to do our best to take out their offense and vice versa. I’€™m not in competition with their defensive backs, I am in competition with Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch.”

What would a win this week mean to him?

“€œIt means everything in the world,” Browner said. “If we can win it that would be something that can never take from us. It would be a part of history.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

PHOENIX —’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss Day 3 of Patriots Super Bowl week in Phoenix, including the latest on Darrelle Revis, Richard Sherman, LeGarrette Blount, Rob Gronkowski and Bill Belichick.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia


Darrelle Revis speaks with reporters during his first Super Bowl week. (Mike Petraglia/

Darrelle Revis speaks with reporters during his first Super Bowl week. (Mike Petraglia/

CHANDLER, Ariz. — With reports from both his camp and the team that the Patriots are ready to let him play out his $20 million option next season, Darrelle Revis said Wednesday he just has to take it as it comes.

“Just experience, growing as a professional athlete and not really focusing on off-the-field situations or my off-the-field situations,” Revis said. “I feel like I’€™ve got a great team behind me, and they do a great job of where I need to be or where I want to go. I mean do I want any of the attention? No, but at the same time, this is how my career has been panning out. I’€™ve just got to make the best of it.”

It was thought as late as the end of the season (when Jets owner Woody Johnson forgot he was signed through 2015) that the Patriots would never let Revis play for that money and would try to re-negotiate an extension. That feeling apparently has changed for the time being.

If the Patriots pick up the option, does he like his chances for a better deal somewhere else after the 2015 season?

“It’€™s very risky to take that chance, but I believe in myself,” Revis said. “I have faith in myself, in what I bring to the table, in how I prepare and just me overall as a person. This is what I love. This is what I do. If I don’€™t believe in myself, who will?’€

Revis said again Thursday that while financial details are important, the Super Bowl is what his ultimate goal has always been.

“This is where I always wanted to be. It took eight years,” Revis said. “In New York it was two back-to-back AFC Championship games that we failed to win, and that was it. After that I tore my ACL. I had to worry about other things and focus on my health. It’s a sigh of relief, but this is the biggest game of this year. It’s great to be a part of it.”

Revis and Richard Sherman are considered the best two corners in football. The showcase game is the showcase for the two stars.

“It’s great to have that stage but it’s not about me going up against him. We’re not on the field together,” Revis said. “He’s a great player. He makes plays all the time.”

As for Sherman’s personality?

“I guess that’s him. I don’t really have an opinion,” Revis said. “That’s him.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discussing the Patriots getting back to their normal routine now that Media Day is in the past and they're no longer answering Deflategate questions.

[0:00:00] ... Welcome to the Phoenix convention center home of Super Bowl forty nines media center. I'm Mike petroleum joined as always by patriots expert columnist for WEEI dot com crisper prize all right Chris. This is really the day when both Super Bowl teams competing teams try to get down to business as usual it's Wednesday. Just like a Wednesday before regular Sunday. Afternoon game at teams are trying to get their prepped in that trying to really installed. The game plan to abolish check talked about that today about 1012 miles south here in Chandler at the team's Super Bowl media headquarters. What were your takeaways from what Bill Belichick had to say about getting down to business as usual tonight. I think that's Greg appointed basically that's very well put it business as usual or at least as close to as usual. As you can have out here in the desert the patriots big work dale Wednesday big workday on Thursday to try to ease back on Friday. Looking to kind of you know get ready for the game on Sunday one thing I think is interesting. Logistically this team has not had a chance to play in University of Phoenix Stadium since Super Bowl 42. The Seahawks are there once a year to Nancy west location so. There are a little bit more. Familiar with the ...
[0:01:40] ... the camera. Side note the patriots last time they were here upper Super Bowl 42 of course in Glendale they did not practice at the cardinals' facility like they are this week press. They practice at Sun Devil Stadium died down the road in Tempe so that changes obviously they hope but something else during his that would be the outcome of the Super Bowl. At University of Phoenix Stadium but bill mileage back up openness press conference today taking a question about a subject I think it's pretty fascinating in this game usually it's. The quarterbacks of the Super Bowl which garnered so much attention. In this game you're talking about arguably beat two best premiere cornerbacks corner. Defensive backs in football I would be Richard Sherman the Seahawks and of course throughout Revis for the patriots and Bill Belichick said. They're great players but they play in different scheme the. Yeah exactly you're talking about a guy in Sherman who plays ...
[0:03:15] ... going on. In Vegas how many times what's the over under that Tom Brady throws on Richard sharp. I think it's going to be interesting because you're looking at a patriots team that in my mind ...
[0:04:46] ... was one of the lighthearted moments I had a chance to ask Vince Wilfork. At least noticed any differences in bill ballot check. Over the eleven years he's got to obviously. He's known him since the last time we won a Super Bowl 2004. Wilfork was a rookie. And Wilfork told me that Bill Belichick is softer now he has the soft heart. Wait when you hear words like that. What does it mean to you won't ...

ESPN's John Brenkus stops by to talk about the science experiments he conducted with regards to deflate gate.

[0:04:25] ... those segments. It take it to the set of countdown to give Ray Lewis. You watch this Chris Carter some guys that Parker outlaw it clearly they have. All kinds of ideas about what happened. Yet there's you know what ray ...
[0:05:18] ... point is. I there are way more acts in and I think Bill Belichick ousted incredible disservice to their own argument he should've just stuck to I don't have any idea. In a period he then ...
[0:11:29] ... Sony have had thought about it like to that play. Absolutely capital Tom Brady was a 100% correct way that he described dated in throwing that is expletive it's it was correct it up all the ...

Brandon LaFell was a major part in the offense this season, giving Tom Brady another player to throw to (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Brandon LaFell was a major part in the offense this season, giving Tom Brady another player to throw to (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — When it comes to the Patriots’ receiving core, Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman are the first to come to mind, but when it comes to the Patriots’ offense clicking this season the player who deserves almost even more credit is Brandon LaFell.

LaFell was signed as a free agent this past offseason and had arguably the biggest catch of the season — his game-winning, 18-yard touchdown grab in the divisional round win over the Ravens.

“Brandon has been a great addition to our offense,” wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea said on Wednesday. “He’s come in and worked very hard. He’s demonstrated toughness. He’s been productive with the ball in his hands. I thin he’s a true team football player and he does things away from the play when he’s not catching the ball — for example blocking. That demonstrates team football.

“We have been very happy with him and I think the biggest thing with him that has been impressive is on a daily basis his work ethic. He truly comes to practice and works very hard and I think that is what has allowed him to get better as the year has gone on.”

The former Carolina Panther finished the regular season catching 74 passes for 953 yards along with seven touchdowns. He was able to be the dependable third target for Tom Brady that he has been lacking for years, as even though Brady has had star wideouts in Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Edelman and Gronkowski, he hasn’t had a good third option in many years.

“I think it is very important,” O’Shea said of having a third option for Brady. “The more options you can have within the offense obviously the better we are going to be overall. [LaFell] definitely has made us have a lot of confidence in him this year the way he’s played. He works hard, he does a good job of communicating with the quarter.”

Just how good was LaFell’s season? His 953 receiving yards were the most by a Patriots wide receiver not named Edelman, Gronkowski, Welker or Moss since Deion Branch in 2005. Of his 74 receptions, 50 0f them went for first downs (68 percent) and he led all Patriots receivers with 39 receptions on first down, 25 of which went for a first down. That means 64 percent of those catches moved the chains, which is even slightly ahead of Gronkowski (64 percent).

It didn’t click right away, as LaFell self-admittedly said it took awhile for him to grasp the playbook, even though he was signed on March 15. He wasn’t even targeted in the first two games of the season.

“I probably didn’t learn the full playbook probably until like Week 2,” said LaFell. “We were putting in so much stuff and I was in Carolina for four years and my last two years I didn’t even have to look at the playbook because I knew everything, but coming here I had to relook at the playbook everyday and ask guys like Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, Aaron Dobson — I had to look at that playbook everyday because there was so much. It wasn’t like I had time to just sit back and look at the playbook and watch guys because they were throwing me in there. I had to learn at the fly.”

Things really started to click in Week 4, as even though the Patriots were blown out 41-17 in Kansas City, LaFell played extended time for the first time in a Patriots uniform and finished the game with six receptions for 119 yards and two touchdowns.

“Personally, I think it was,” said LaFell of the Kansas City game being a breakout game. “That was a game where coach started rotating me with the other receivers with [Aaron] Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins. They started rotating us and he just left he me out there for the whole game. I got a bunch of snaps and more targets than I had in the first three or four games total and I made a lot more plays.”

There have been many receivers that have came to New England and just haven’t been able to learn the Patriots’ system and demands of a Brady led offense. Some of those guys include Joey Galloway, Chad Ochocinco and Donald Hayes.

LaFell said the hardest part is being able to pick up with the offense is the no huddle, something Brady likes to go to a lot as a way to jump start the offense.

“The toughest part of this offense to learn I would probably say is the no huddle,” said LaFell. “When you do no huddle you usually have to know one spot, but when Tom [Brady] flips the formation you might go to the Z to the X to the F so you have to know the whole playbook not just one spot.”

The fifth-year receiver has been called one of the “toughest” players on the team by both Brady and Bill Belichick this season. O’Shea elaborated with what makes LaFell so tough.

“He demonstrates his toughness by his physical play as a blocker,” said O’Shea. “As a route runner he demonstrates toughness. I think he’s done a great job with the run after the catch. He demonstrates toughness to run through tackles and I think most importantly he’s tough minded. He deals with adversity. He knows how to deal with adverse circumstances that have come our way, which there will always be regardless of what team we are on. That is what makes him tough in my opinion.”

With the Patriots now turning their attention on the Seahawks for Super Bowl XLIX, competing for a championship is the main reason why LaFell decided to sign with New England.

‘€œIt definitely was,” he said. “I wanted to go somewhere where winning was already instilled. I wanted to continue to win. My last year in Carolina, we won a lot of games and I love that feeling. I wanted to either stay in Carolina where I knew we would win again or go somewhere where I could win just as much. Coming here, you look at their resume, since 2000, they probably have won the most games in the NFL. Six Super Bowl appearances. I wanted to go somewhere where I could have the possibility to pursue those.’€

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable


A video posted by KiD-RiD (@stevanridley) on

CHANDLER, Ariz. — The Patriots have managed to make it all the way to Super Bowl XLIX without their lead back in Stevan Ridley. But even though the LSU product — who went down with a season-ending knee injury in October — hasn’t been in the lineup, his teammates say he’s been a presence around the franchise as he continues his rehab. (He posted the above video on Instagram on Tuesday.)

“We know he’s with us. We know he’s supporting us all the time. A lot of things we do are in honor of him,” said teammate Shane Vereen. “We do things for each other, and I think that’s the bottom line. We do things for each other, whether they’re still with us or watching from a distance.”

“His rehab has been a little different, so he hasn’t been around as much as Jerod [Mayo],” added Vereen. “But when he is around, he’s giving us advice. He’s cheering us on. Telling us what he sees. Mainly, the biggest thing for him to us is encouragement. He reminds us every Sunday why we’re out there and what we’re fighting for and that he’s there with us.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price