Patriots backup Jimmy Garoppolo has been playing the role of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in practice the last week-plus. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Patriots backup Jimmy Garoppolo has been playing the role of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in practice the last week-plus. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

CHANDLER, Ariz. — When it comes to preparing the Patriots’€™ defense for Sunday’s Super Bowl, some of the most vital individuals won’t even see the field during the game.

In the days leading up to the Super Bowl, backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is playing the role of Seattle’s Russell Wilson, while a crew of backup running backs — including Jonas Gray — have been trying to replicate the work of Marshawn Lynch. And a trio of young receivers in Josh Boyce, Brian Tyms and Jonathan Krause have tried their best to prepare Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner and Kyle Arrington for Seattle receivers Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse.

How good a job they did preparing the New England defense over the course of the two-week run-up to the game will play a sizable role in how the Patriots fare on Sunday.

In terms of prepping for the role of Wilson, Garoppolo said he’s been able to watch extra film on the Seattle superstar, and has come away impressed.

“He’s a very, very talented quarterback,” he said. “He can do a lot of things — he can run, he can throw a deep ball, the intermediate stuff. He extends plays with his feet. He’s a heck of a player. So re-enacting him for the defense, it’s pretty tough. But I think I’ve been giving them a pretty good look.”

It’s been the same story all year long.

“As a group, we put in a little extra time every week trying to get that look down to the best of our ability,” Garoppolo said. “The better look we give them during the week, the better they will be able to play on Sunday.”

According to Tyms, working on providing the best possible look is a collaborative effort between the scout teamer and the player who will line up opposite him.

“It’s hard to implement a receivers’ moves because everybody is their own person,” Tyms said. “But for the most part, we try and communicate as far as on certain routes, ‘Does he use that release?’ So on certain routes, I will hit them a certain way. At the same time, I’m still trying to win. I don’t want to give anyone anything easy, because this game, no one gives you anything easy. Especially at this level. There’s a lot of communication.

“When we’re on scout team, we really, honestly, try and go hard at our defense. I’m not trying to go through the motions. Nobody does,” he added. “Me, Jimmy, Josh, nobody does. We’re really trying to go at them like it’s a game. So we figure the harder we go, the harder they have to go, and the better we make them. The better they make us, because we’re going against the best DBs in the game right now. That’s the mindset.”

Scout team can oftentimes be a thankless job, but if handled correctly, can lead to bigger and better things. In his rookie year, Tom Brady used a solid season working as the scout team quarterback too climb the depth chart and eventually supplant Drew Bledsoe as the starter. It’€™s all about making the most of your opportunities.

“You’re going against a starting defense every day, and you’re working on your craft,” said Gray, who has replicated several running backs over the course of the season including Minnesota‘s Adrian Peterson. “No matter what you’re working on, if you’re imitating one running back, you’re working on that part of your craft. Imitating another running back, you’re working on that part too. It’s cool just to have an opportunity just to have a chance to work on your strengths and your weaknesses.”

Garoppolo said Wednesday that while there’s always guys shuffled on and off the scout team because of personnel moves, they have managed to forge a nice bond among many who have stuck around over the course of the season.

“We always have guys bouncing in and out on scout team, so it’s little different than the starters. But we try to work together,” Garoppolo said. “We’re a nice little unit: me, the offensive line, the receivers, the running backs. All of us. We all do a great job working together. We try and make it into really like our offensive period. We’re trying to give them a look, but at the same time, we’re trying to perfect our skill too. It benefits both sides of the ball. If you have that mindset going into it, it will benefit you too.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

PHOENIX – Steven Hauschka was born in Needham to a dentist mom and scientist dad. He graduated from Div. III Middlebury College in 2007 with a degree in neuroscience and earned acceptance to Tufts Dental School.



PHOENIX — With it being Super Bowl week each team gets assigned a pool reporter to view practice all week (similar to training camp) and then submit a pool report after.

USA Today’s Jarrett Bell was there for the Patriots practice. Here are a few of the highlights:

— The team practiced outdoors at the Arizona Cardinals training facility.

— Drills included third downs, red zone snaps and various down-and-distance challenges.

— Bryan Stork, who didn’€™t practice when drills began last week while nursing a knee injury, practiced without any apparent setback.

Tom Brady took all the snaps according to coach Bill Belichick

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

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Tom Brady will have plenty at stake Sunday. (Getty Images)Tom Brady will never win another MVP.



KIRK MINIHANE

BIO | ARCHIVE


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 — WEEI.com’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

CHANDLER, Ariz.

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

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

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