All Patriots players were in attendance at the start of practice Thursday afternoon at Gillette Stadium, according to multiple reports. The team is preparing for Sunday’s game against the Jets at MetLife Stadium.

It’s no secret 37-year-old Tom Brady doesn’t think his playing days are anywhere close to being over. He’s been on record saying he wants to play into his 40s.

It’s no secret 37-year-old Tom Brady doesn’t think his playing days are anywhere close to being over. He’s been on record saying he wants to play into his 40s.

Dolphins cornerback Cortland Finnegan isn’t so sure of the idea.

‘€œHe’€™s asleep,’€ Finnegan said to to the Palm Beach Post. ‘€œTell him to wake up from whatever dream he is in.

‘€œHe can probably do it mentally, but physically, as the game evolves and gets faster and the guys at the defensive end position get bigger, it’€™s going to be tough. I don’€™t know that he’€™ll be able to recover as fast.’€

The Patriots are coming off of a 41-13 win over the Dolphins Sunday, a game in which the Patriots clinched their sixth straight AFC East title. Brady went 21-for-35 with 287 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. The quarterback is also in the conversation for his third career MVP award.

Finnegan, 30, went on to admit Brady is a good player and is a sure Hall of Famer.

‘€œYou’€™ve got to give him his props,’€ Finnegan admitted. ‘€œHe’€™s a Hall of Famer, one of the best, and I will give him the benefit of the doubt because he’€™s done it with lesser players than other guys.

“He was born in a manger, I’€™ll say that much. But I’€™m not sure at age 40 he wants to take a blind-side hit and get back up.’€

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Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

FOXBORO — There was a time where Patriots defensive end/outside linebacker was considered underrated. Not so much these days, especially when he is now in the same sentence as former Patriots great Andre Tippett.

By recording a sack in last Sunday’s win over the Dolphins, Ninkovich has recorded eight or more sacks in three consecutive seasons — the first Patriots player to do so since the Pro Football Hall of Famer Tippett achieved the feat from 1985-87.

“Every year I have high expectations of what I should do out there and set goals for myself,” Ninkovich said. “I’ve been able to just be consistent. The more consistent you are the better you are.”

The versatile Ninkovich is able to lineup seemingly everywhere in the front seven. He can line up as a defensive end, an outside linebacker, or even get down in a 3-point stance if need be. Ninkovich isn’t the only player with such versatility on the defense, as Chandler Jones and newcomer Akeem Ayers are virtually the same way.

Ninkovich finally got to be on the field at the same time with both players on Sunday, as it was Jones’ first game back since suffering a hip injury in Week 7. Having all three on the field presented some matchup problems for Miami and paid off with Jones having 1.5 sacks, Ninkovich adding another, while Ayers had a tackle for a loss.

“The more guys that you can have doing different things defensively you’re better off,” said Ninkovich. “You can just be very multiple and what you can do and you have guys that can do a lot of different things and that helps your team out. The more you can do the better. I am happy to have all those guys out there with me making plays.”

The nine-year veteran — six with the Patriots — has played in 84 straight regular-season games, the most in the NFL among defensive ends. He’s also started in 63 straight, also the most in the NFL.

As much as he plays, he’s done a tremendous job of not being flagged for penalties. He was not flagged once this year until he was flagged twice against the Colts, nine games into the year, and he hasn’t been flagged since. The Patriots as a team have not been as good, as they have been flagged for 110 penalties (fifth-most in the league) for a total of 987 yards (third-most in the NFL).

“It’s tough because obviously you want to play smart football,” said Ninkovich. “Sometimes some of those calls it is hard to prevent some of them. But you have to do your best to play within the rules. That is what they are there for. Again, we’re out there playing hard, flying around, trying to make football plays. You can’t really slow yourself down, you just have to go play.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Rob Gronkowski is having an epic season for the Patriots. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)I know Jerry Thornton. I like Jerry Thornton.



Tom Brady has appreciated the work of Darrelle Revis this season. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Tom Brady has appreciated the work of Darrelle Revis this season. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Hours before Tom Brady‘s weekly pregame chat with reporters at Gillette Stadium, Rex Ryan acknowledged the greatness of Darrelle Revis but didn’t want to go overboard.

Brady had no such restrictions on him when he was asked his impressions of what Revis has meant to the Patriots’ defense and the team overall.

“He’€™s a phenomenal player and I’€™ve loved playing with him,” Brady said. “I’€™ve hated playing against him, and I’€™ve had my fair share of those opportunities. He’€™s a great teammate. He’€™s a phenomenal player. I think the thing that I’€™m so impressed with is his coverage skills without getting penalties.”

Avoiding penalties has certainly been a challenge, not only for the Patriots but everyone across the NFL. Flags are up around the league at the rate of two more per game. But Revis has been able to avoid the laundry being heaved in his direction. He has been hit with just two accepted penalties this season, both for defensive holding. Brady sees that as remarkable considering officials have been on higher alert for illegal contact beyond the line of scrimmage.

“That’€™s a rare thing to be backpedaling when the guys who are some of the best athletes in the world are running at you as fast as they can with the size and speed of the way the receivers are, and to be able to cover those guys like he does is pretty amazing.”

Brady also spoke of the growth he’s seen from Rob Gronkowski in the five years he’s spent with him. In Brady, Gronkowski and Revis, it could be argued that the Patriots have three players putting up MVP-type seasons. So, what is the difference between a valuable football player as opposed to an outstanding one?

“It’€™s a good question. It all kind of depends on the team and what your role is on the team,” Brady said. “Everybody’s role is valuable. In professional football, certain positions always get more attention as to their value. I know on our team, Coach [Bill] Belichick thinks everybody is important. Everybody has to do their job because if you don’€™t do it, then nobody else can do it for you.

“Certainly my position, nobody can throw the ball or make the reads or call the plays in the huddle. That’€™s what my job is to do. And you’€™ve got to do it every single day. You’€™ve got to do it every single week. You’€™ve got to be dependable. You’€™ve got to be durable. You’€™ve got to bring the energy and enthusiasm and ultimately try to help your team win. That’€™s the only reason we’€™re playing is to win games, not to throw touchdown passes or catch touchdown passes. You’€™re doing whatever you can on every play to help the team win the game. That’€™s to me what being valuable is.”

Here are more takeaways from Brady on Wednesday:

Q: You had a good stretch where you were starting really fast, but that has taken a step back in recent weeks. Do you look at that differently from everything else in terms of how you try to fix it?

TB: Yeah, we like to start fast, and we talk about that every week. It’€™s pretty frustrating when we don’€™t. We try to do things to get us going and get our best plays and you talk about the plays you want to run early, and we just haven’€™t done a good enough job of stringing enough plays together in order to score points. You just don’€™t want to fall behind. It’€™s hard to fall behind in this league and expect to come back and win. Your margin of error just gets less and less as you go, so we’€™ve got to focus quite a bit on that. Certainly a team like the Jets, who have done such a great job with time of possession, especially against us, we’€™ve got to figure out a way to stay on the field and convert more third downs, score more points and ultimately try to keep their offense off the field. It’€™s a big week to try to do that.

Q: Have your struggles early in the game been a lack of execution, or are the defenses surprising you with their looks and making great plays?

TB: It can be a little of both. You want to create that momentum by sustaining play after play after play, which leads to a great drive and points and hopefully a great kickoff and then defense and then back on the field, kind of like what we did there in the third quarter [last week]. Our execution offensively, I think we can do a lot better than what we’€™ve been doing these last few weeks, and we’€™ve talked a lot about that. It’€™s frustrating for all of us when we’€™re not scoring the type of points that we’€™re capable of doing. I just focus on what I have to do and I can certainly do better in that area, making better decisions, better throws, and we’€™re going to need it this week against this team because they challenge you in a lot of ways. They’€™ve got a multitude of things that they do. They’€™ve always done that. They really test your communication and certainly execution is something that we look on all our past games we’€™ve played against them and said, ‘€˜Gosh, our execution just wasn’€™t very sharp,’€™ so we’€™ve got to be very sharp this week.

Q: Is your mobility something you look forward to now? Do you drive home at night thinking about your next great scamper?

TB: I don’€™t know if I’€™d characterize it as a great scamper. I think if those opportunities present themselves then I’€™m going to try to take advantage. Maybe there is a little more awareness now than there has been in the past. Once you make a couple of them, you kind of get a feel for it. If that’€™s what we need to do, then that’€™s what we need to do, and if they’€™re not going to account for that, then I think that’€™s kind of an easy play to make. You just have to have the awareness and be able to do it. It’€™s a mental thing; it’€™s a physical thing. Mentally, hopefully I’€™m ahead of where I’€™ve been in the past. However we need to convert third downs and stay on the field and score points is going to be something that I’€™m trying to do to help us win.

Q: What kind of exercises and drills have you done recently to help with your running ability? Has that changed recently?

TB: Those are highly top-secret, confidential things that we’€™re doing. Yeah, it’€™s just things that I’€™ve learned over the years that are really working and paying off this year.

Q: You seem to be using the resistance bands a lot more in the last month or so. Is that something you’€™ve added or is it just a little more public?

TB: I think that’€™s just been a little more public. But I love using those. They’€™re a great tool.

Q: Where can you buy them?

TB: You guys don’€™t need them in here.

Q: You had I think four passes that were batted down at the line of scrimmage. Were those just good plays by the defensive linemen or is there something that you can do differently?

TB: Yeah, I think that’€™s a great point. I think there is an element of both those things. Sometimes, you can really feel the rush and you can see your guy start to creep behind the defending player and you throw it and you know, ‘€˜Man, that’€™s a bad decision,’€™ because there was really no lane to throw it. Sometimes that lane closes really quickly. They’€™re reading your eyes and you don’€™t see it because I’€™m looking down the field. There was one that I was trying to throw to Gronk [Rob Gronkowski] in the right flat going away from the lighthouse that he just made a good play. Those are tough. It’€™s hard to read the coverage and read the d-linemen. There are other times where, yeah, I can kind of [peripherally see] the d-linemen and then still make the throw. So, sometimes it’€™s a good play, sometimes it’€™s a bad play by the quarterback. Regardless of that, I think the point is you’€™ve got to advance the ball and move the ball down the field. If they’€™re going to be batting down balls, they’€™re not rushing, and we should be throwing somewhere else. It ends up going for a zero play in the stat book, and you don’€™t want too many of those on offense. You always want to be moving the ball down the field. If the defense makes that play, then you can’€™t obviously have four of them. That doesn’€™t help our team win at all.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

FOXBORO — It was a bittersweet game last Sunday for Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington.

The sixth-year cornerback returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown in the opening minutes of the game — his fourth career touchdown — but then later left the game with a hamstring injury. Arrington said leaving the game was frustrating.

“I’d say so,” said Arrington. “You always want to be out there with your guys. This is what we do for each other. We’re a very close group, not just the defense — offense, defense, special teams in the locker room all 61, including the practice squad. To not be able to finish it’s a little frustrating. Unfortunately it’s part of the game.”

Although he didn’t return to the game, and was limited in practice on Wednesday, he is talking like the injury isn’t a huge issue.

“I guess that is a question for Bill [Belichick] and Jim [Whalen] (head athletic trainer) and our trainers. I don’t know. I guess I feel as good as you look,” he joked.

Although Arrington raced 62 yards for a touchdown, he gives all the credit to Jamie Collins, the guy who blocked the 41-yard Caleb Sturgis field goal attempt. It was was the third blocked field goal of the season for the Patriots, which ties a franchise record.

“To be honest, I was just the fortunate recipient of an outstanding block by Jamie [Collins],” Arrington said. “I mean you put that guy anywhere on the field, he could probably block it anywhere. He’s a freak athlete and I am glad we have a guy like that on our team.”

Arrington celebrated the score in style by doing a flip into the end zone, which got some good-natured teasing from his teammates when watching the film following the game.

“I’m thinking of trademarking that, I don’t know,” Arrington said. “I’m going on YouTube for some things and see where I can improve. Do a couple of somersaults here and there. I might go in front and sideways at the same time next time, I don’t know we’ll see.”

As a cornerback, it’s not a sure-thing to find the end zone another time.

“Wishful thinking, more wishful thinking,” he laughed.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
OXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price preview the Week 16 battle between the 11-3 Patriots and 3-11 New York Jets at MetLife Stadium.

[0:01:24] ... have lost five games by two or more touchdowns and that's what. Tom Brady was a lot referring to when he said you know we wanna get ahead of this team. And put them away easily because we have not been able to do that against the jets everybody recalls what happened on. October 16 right here at Gillette Stadium is 2725. Chris Jones say today with that blocked field goal attempt. Last year and MetLife stadium the patriots weren't so lucky they blew a 2110. Halftime lead. The long and short of it is that Tom Brady doesn't want this game coming down the last minute he wants to put them away like they did in the but fumble ...
[0:05:21] ... on Sunday is the trying confused Gina Smith. We talked about what Tom Brady was talking about getting out to act quickly playing a full sixty minutes the other thing. I thought was interesting that Brady ...
[0:06:58] ... Acclamation process of guys like to key mayors and Allen branch and Vince Wilfork you know kind of holding it all together. I think they're very good shape up front and I think right now as it relates the easily. Easily just needs to get in the system needs to get his knee cleaned up the U fundamentally this is really a year and a wrote this before to post Greg you're the postgraduate year for him at Vince Wilfork university just follow Vince or else keep your eyes and ears open in your mouth closed due as Vince does. And get ...
[0:08:47] ... sit back kick their legs up on the couch. And watch the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Denver Broncos at Paul Brown Stadium Monday night. If that happens the patriots are wrap up the number one seed in the AFC before ...






FOXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price preview the Week 16 battle between the 11-3 Patriots and 3-11 New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. With a win against the Jets and a Denver Broncos loss to the Cincinnati Bengals Monday night in Cincinnati, the Patriots will clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady have been on the same page since Gronkowski arrived in 2010. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady have been on the same page since Gronkowski arrived in 2010. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Like everybody who watches the Patriots, Tom Brady has seen the fun-loving side of Rob Gronkowski on and off the field.

But Brady also gets a chance to see the more mature side of the Patriots all-world tight end. On Wednesday, Brady said he’s seen his 6-foot-6, 250-pound tight end mature into one of the hardest workers on the team.

“He’€™s grown up a lot over the last five years,” Brady said. “It’€™s been a lot of fun to see it. His football IQ and understanding of what it takes to be a professional and consistently and dependably be that type of player for our offense that he’€™s become, has been fun to see. He’€™s got the size advantage, the speed advantage, and he’€™s really becoming so aware out there of different coverages and things they’€™re trying to do to stop him.

“Now, after this time, he and I are really getting on the same page with a lot of things that are adjustments to adjustments to adjustments and that type of thing. It’€™s just been great playing with him. He’€™s a huge part of our offense, really gets us going. He’€™s a threat on third down, he’€™s a threat in the red area, he’€™s a threat on big plays any time in the game. He’€™s a great player.”

What Gronkowski doesn’t always get credit for is his attention to detail in practice and in games. Part of that comes from spending time together after practice and some of it comes from the time Gronk puts in on his own.

“Yeah, it’€™s a lot of communication. After practice and so forth, we do a lot of things after practice with a lot of guys and you’€™re always trying to work on things that you didn’€™t maybe get a chance to work on during practice,” Brady said. “Gronk typically gets a lot of balls in practice, so it’€™s usually for a lot of the other guys who don’€™t usually get a lot of balls in practice.

“But he’€™s always there willing to work on whatever he needs to work on for us to be a better team. Whether that’€™s a new type of route or a new type of concept that we’€™re trying to run, that’€™s what you’€™re trying to do. You’€™re trying to get on the same page so you can really anticipate each other and then you can make those plays that end up being really critical. We’€™ve had a bunch of them this year. The little things always become big things, and to identify what those little things are and make corrections before you get to the game day is what’€™s really important.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia