We check in with Bill Belichick for our first of many Patriots monday interviews. Bill checks in on the joint practice system, new technology on the sidelines, and responds to John Mara's of the Giants Ice Bucket challenge.

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The transition to new coach has been made easier because of the number of returning veterans. (AP)

The transition to new offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo has been made easier because of the number of returning veterans. (AP)

FOXBORO — The Patriots took a major hit following last season when offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia retired after spending 32 seasons in the NFL, 30 of which coming with the Patriots. The organization brought in veteran offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo to replace Scarnecchia, but with the number of returning members of the offensive line, the transition has been made much easier.

New England returned its entire starting offensive line from the past two seasons, as well as backup Marcus Cannon, so the system Scarnecchia put into place has not been altered much.

“It’€™s not completely different,” said nine-year veteran Logan Mankins. “There are a lot of things that are the same, but there is some stuff that is different. Guys like myself that have done it for so long, it takes a little while to train your body to do it a different way.

“But we’€™re working on it, and a lot of guys are getting it.”

All nine of Mankins’€™ seasons in the NFL have been with the Patriots, and teaming up with other offensive line starters Dan Connolly (six seasons in New England), Ryan Wendell (five), Sebastian Vollmer (five), Nate Solder (three) and Cannon (three), the unit has a combined 31 years playing for Scarnecchia.

With the success of the Patriots offensive lines in the past, DeGuglielmo — a Lexington, Mass. native — knew coming in he wouldn’€™t change much of what was already put into place.

“The system is in place. It’s not like we’€™re reinventing anything here. I’€™m trying to teach the system,” DeGuglielmo said back on the second day of training camp. “I might use different coaching phrases, but it’€™s the same stuff. It’€™s the same technique, generally the same offense. I’€™m not changing anything, that’€™s for sure.”

After 14 practices and one preseason game, the grouping is still getting used to their new coach, but things are steadily moving in the right direction.

“Thankfully, [DeGuglielmo] is a good guy, and I think he cares about winning and cares about the team so it always makes it easier,” Mankins said.

With roughly three weeks before the season-opener in Miami and three more preseason games remaining, it’s still a work in progress. But the grouping finds themselves in much better shape than some other teams could be in if put in the same position.

Having 31 combined years of experience learning from one of the best offensive line coaches in the league and a new coach willing to build on what was already built, the group is in as good of shape as they can be at this point in training camp.

“I think so. He has done a good job of making everything clear on how he wants stuff,” Mankins said. “We are trying to satisfy that. It’€™s not always perfect right now –€“ it hardly ever is –€“ [but] we’€™re making strides in the right direction, I think. I know we’€™re trying to do it the way he wants — hopefully he sees how hard we’€™re working.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
The transition to new coach has been made easier because of the number of returning veterans. (AP)

The transition to new offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo has been made easier because of the number of returning veterans. (AP)

FOXBORO — The Patriots took a major hit following last season when offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia retired after spending 32 seasons in the NFL, 30 of which coming with the Patriots. The organization brought in veteran offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo to replace Scarnecchia, but with the number of returning members of the offensive line, the transition has been made much easier.

New England returned its entire starting offensive line from the past two seasons, as well as backup Marcus Cannon, so the system Scarnecchia put into place has not been altered much.

“It’€™s not completely different,” said nine-year veteran Logan Mankins. “There are a lot of things that are the same, but there is some stuff that is different. Guys like myself that have done it for so long, it takes a little while to train your body to do it a different way.

“But we’€™re working on it, and a lot of guys are getting it.”

All nine of Mankins’€™ seasons in the NFL have been with the Patriots, and teaming up with other offensive line starters Dan Connolly (six seasons in New England), Ryan Wendell (five), Sebastian Vollmer (five), Nate Solder (three) and Cannon (three), the unit has a combined 31 years playing for Scarnecchia.

With the success of the Patriots offensive lines in the past, DeGuglielmo — a Lexington, Mass. native — knew coming in he wouldn’€™t change much of what was already put into place.

“The system is in place. It’s not like we’€™re reinventing anything here. I’€™m trying to teach the system,” DeGuglielmo said back on the second day of training camp. “I might use different coaching phrases, but it’€™s the same stuff. It’€™s the same technique, generally the same offense. I’€™m not changing anything, that’€™s for sure.”

After 14 practices and one preseason game, the grouping is still getting used to their new coach, but things are steadily moving in the right direction.

“Thankfully, [DeGuglielmo] is a good guy, and I think he cares about winning and cares about the team so it always makes it easier,” Mankins said.

With roughly three weeks before the season-opener in Miami and three more preseason games remaining, it’s still a work in progress. But the grouping finds themselves in much better shape than some other teams could be in if put in the same position.

Having 31 combined years of experience learning from one of the best offensive line coaches in the league and a new coach willing to build on what was already built, the group is in as good of shape as they can be at this point in training camp.

“I think so. He has done a good job of making everything clear on how he wants stuff,” Mankins said. “We are trying to satisfy that. It’€™s not always perfect right now –€“ it hardly ever is –€“ [but] we’€™re making strides in the right direction, I think. I know we’€™re trying to do it the way he wants — hopefully he sees how hard we’€™re working.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Ben Hartsock, seen here lifting up former teammate Greg Olsen, hasn't caught a lot of passes but has helped clear the way for a lot of offensive success over the course of his career. (AP)

Ben Hartsock, seen here lifting up former teammate Greg Olsen, hasn’t caught a lot of passes but has helped clear the way for a lot of offensive success over the course of his career. (AP)

FOXBORO — Even though he’€™s only been around the Patriots for roughly 36 hours, Ben Hartsock appears to have some sort of idea what he’€™s gotten himself in to.

The veteran tight end, who signed with New England over the weekend, talked about the Patriots offense Monday afternoon using the same sort of language as someone who has watching the New England offense operate extensively over the last decade or so.

‘€œThey’€™re a team that’€™s very much game-plan specific,’€ the 6-foot-4, 265-pound Hartsock said when asked for his thoughts on how the Patriots utilize tight ends. ‘€œCertain weeks, you’€™ll see them line up wings on wings on wings, with tight ends, jumbo linemen and a lot of different things. They can also get small at the same time. They’€™re a team that can get tremendously versatile.’€

The Patriots tight end situation is a fluid one right now. New England swept out two of their younger tight ends over the weekend when it released Justin Jones and Asa Watson. In their place, the Patriots added Hartsock, Terrence Miller and Steve Maneri.

‘€œSteve and Ben both have a lot of experience in the blocking part of the game, similar to [Matthew] Mulligan from last year,’€ said Patriots coach Bill Belichick. ‘€œAnd Terrence probably has a little more experience in the passing part of it in college, so we’€™ll see how it goes.’€

While all of them bring unique skill sets to the table, it’€™s Hartsock who could have the most staying power. The Ohio State product, who had a workout this past spring with the Patriots, has cobbled together an impressive resume, which including eight postseason games over the course of his career.

At this point, it’€™s just a matter of knocking the rust off.

‘€œI haven’€™t been with a team all spring and summer, so I’€™m playing a little bit of catch-up,’€ he said. ‘€œ[Sunday] was my first practice since the season last year, [just] getting the rust off.

‘€œBeing my 11th year in the league, it’€™s like a bike. You just jump back on.’€

And if he sticks — and ends up catching a pass from quarterback Tom Brady — he could be the sixth player in NFL history to have caught a pass from Brady and Peyton Manning: Wes Welker, Austin Collie, Torrance Small, Jermaine Wiggins and Dan Klecko are the other five.

However, receptions are probably not his first priority. The 34-year-old is an 11-year veteran who is also more of a blocker — he has just 31 catches over the course of his 11-year career, which has seen him suit up for the Colts (2004-06), Titans (2006-07), Falcons (2008), Jets (2009-10) and Panthers (2011-13).

‘€œI’€™ve carved out a career by doing something no one else wants to do,’€ he said with a smile when asked about his blocking skills. ‘€œThe blocking tight end role is one ‘€¦ there aren’€™t many high school kids coming out and graduating high school looking to be a backup, blocking tight end. For that reason, I’€™ve carved out a decade of that. It’€™s a role that I relish, really.

‘€œIn college, I had a little more opportunity to catch the football and be a little but more of the focal point of the offense. But as soon as I came into the league, it became very clear that I didn’€™t really have the skill set that the Dallas Clark‘€™s and the Tony Gonzalez‘€™s had. I wanted to stick around. I was always a solid blocker, but it’€™s something I’€™ve continued to craft, and it’€™s something that’€™s blessed me over the years.’€

Hartsock has had a chance to connect with the rest of the tight ends, including Rob Gronkowski.

‘€œIt’€™s a group that’€™s diverse, but nonetheless, they’€™re focused,’€ he said. ‘€œGronkowski, I think the legend precedes himself, and so far, he’€™s lived up to that. Big smile on his face every day.

‘€œBut then, there are other guys like [Michael Hoomanwanui] and D.J. [Williams] and those guys ‘€¦ right now, they’€™re just trying to get better so they can get back on the field.’€

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

FOXBORO — With the Eagles set to come to town for two days of joint practices with the Patriots before their preseason game Friday night, much has been made of the comments of Philly cornerback Cary Williams, who

FOXBORO — With the Eagles set to come to town for two days of joint practices with the Patriots before their preseason game Friday night, much has been made of the comments of Philly cornerback Cary Williams, who called the Patriots “cheaters,” and said the joint practices aren’t beneficial.

A day before the practices, Williams didn’t back down from what he said as he told the New Jersey Star-Ledger, “I said what I said last week. The day is here.”

The Patriots on the other hand, aren’t paying attention to the comments.

“I don’€™t even know what he was saying,” veteran guard Logan Mankins said. “I’€™m sure it wasn’€™t the smartest thing in the world what he said, so I’m not worried.”

Bill Belichick was also asked if he had any reaction, but had nothing to say.

“You should talk to [Williams] it,” he said.

The Eagles and Patriots will practice Tuesday and Wednesday before Friday’s second preseason game.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady joined Dennis & Callahan Monday morning to discuss the preseason, Ryan Mallett

FOXBORO — The Patriots finished a practice that ran for roughly two hours on a beautiful summer on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium. The session was held in sweats and shells — the 13th practice of the summer, and the fourth one of camp not in pads. Here are a few quick notes:

FOXBORO — The Patriots finished a practice that ran for roughly two hours on a beautiful summer on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium. The session was held in sweats and shells — the 13th practice of the summer, and the fourth one of camp not in pads. Here are a few quick notes:

– Biggest story of the day was the fact that wide receiver Aaron Dobson and defensive lineman Dominique Easley were on the field for the first time this summer. Both were worked back into the mix very slowly — Dobson left shortly after the start of practice to work on the lower fields, while Easley was spotted off to the side working with members of the strength and conditioning staff. Both returned toward the end of practice to work in positional drills, but neither were involved in 7-on-7s. Neither one appeared to be limping or having an issue with health. It’s a start for the both of them.

– Early in practice, cornerback Malcolm Butler slipped on a red jersey while working in drills, presumably a non-contact shirt. Not sure what happened or the severity of the injury, but it’s something to monitor going forward. (In that same drill, Butler, Alfonzo Dennard and Logan Ryan made some fantastic fingertip catches.) Butler also appeared to get a lot of work with what appeared to be a reasonable facsimile of the No. 1 defense in 11-on-11 work, and picked off quarterback Tom Brady in 11-on-11 work on a pass intended for Kenbrell Thompkins. Another good day for the rookie corner.

– A few moments after Butler put on the red jersey, Rob Gronkowski also slipped on a red practice jersey. It’s important to note that players were in shells and shorts — so there was a minimum amount of contact — but the big tight end was part of 7-on-7 work for the first time all summer. He looked to be getting in and out of his cuts without an issue, and while he was still limited in what he can and can’t do (some of that is likely just a matter of regaining his football fitness), it appeared that the continues to progress nicely through his rehab. (He also had his daily work off to the side with Brady and cornerback Darrelle Revis.)

– Two more health-related notes: Dennard and Jemea Thomas spent part of the second half of practice working on conditioning on the second practice field, and didn’t appear to take part in much of the 11-on-11 work. Meanwhile, linebacker James Morris was pulled out of 11-on-11 work late in practice and worked with part of the strength and conditioning staff.

– Brady and Julian Edelman continue to be an impressive duo, in sync on almost every possession. While other receivers occasionally misfire and zig when Brady asks them to zag, that hasn’t been an issue to this point in the summer for Edelman. His best grab came late in practice in 11-on-11 work, hauling in a deep ball from Brady against Devin McCourty and Kyle Arrington. (It was debatable as to whether or not Edelman should have been whistled for offensive pass interference — Arrington certainly believed it to be the case — but we’ll give Edelman that one.) If he stays healthy, there’s no reason to think that Edelman won’t catch 70-80 passes this year, even if Gronkowski is a fully functional part of the New England offense for 16 games. (One other offensive highlight came when Brady found Kenbrell Thompkins along the sidelines for a sweet hookup that drew a big cheer.)

– Good day for the defensive backs — Brady tossed a ball for Josh Boyce that tipped off the receivers hands, but was quickly nabbed by Nate Ebner for a nice interception. A few plays after that, Thomas picked off Jimmy Garoppolo. (Thomas almost picked off Garoppolo later in 7-on-7s, but the quarterback zipped it past the defensive back into the waiting arms of Brandon LaFell for a nice connection.) And Ryan almost picked Brady in 7-on-7s on a ball for LaFell. (For what it’s worth, Boyce was able to rebound nicely toward the end of practice with a couple of nice catches.) And Daxton Swanson has a nice pass breakup on a Brady pass for LaFell.

– The following players were not spotted at the start of practice: quarterback Ryan Mallett, running back Tyler Gaffney, cornerback Brandon Browner, tight end D.J. Williams, tight end Michael Hoomanwanui, offensive lineman Bryan Stork, offensive lineman Chris Martin and defensive linemen Chris Jones and Sealver Siliga.

– The following players were on the field in shirts, but no pads: defensive back Tavon Wilson and wide receiver Jeremy Gallon.

– Former Bucs coach Greg Schiano and BC hockey coach Jerry York were on the sidelines during practice.

– In 11-on-11s, Jamie Collins had a nice pass breakup on a Brady ball out of the backfield for fullback James Develin. Collins also swiped at a Brady ball for Edelman late in practice.

Danny Amendola and Roy Finch spent time returning punts.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Julian Edelman sat down with MFB to discuss his "Inception" t-shirts, the importance of a heatlhy Rob Gronkowski, and most importantly, the experiences of facing off against talented CB's in practice, such as Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner.

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