FOXBORO – Brandon Spikes was a member of the Patriots for four years, but that doesn’t mean things ended well.

Brandon Spikes is back with the Patriots after spending four years with the team before playing with Buffalo last year. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Brandon Spikes is back with the Patriots after spending four years with the team before playing with Buffalo last year. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

FOXBORO – Brandon Spikes was a member of the Patriots for four years, but that doesn’t mean things ended well.

The Patriots didn’t re-sign the middle linebacker following the 2013 season and Spikes signed with the Bills where he then took to Twitter and posted: 4 years a slave. Spikes was put on season-ending injured reserve with a knee injury at the end of 2013, which reportedly was because he missed practice.

It became clear things didn’t end well between he and Bill Belichick.

Fast forward just over a year and with Spikes a free agent, Belichick and the Patriots scooped him up, with Spikes signing a one-year deal. Following Friday’s OTA practice, he spoke for the first time and wasn’t in the mood to discuss his departure.

“I don’t want to talk about that. You can clearly see me and The Hoodie kissed and made up. I’m here, that’s in the past. I’m moving on,” Spikes said, referring to Belichick.

Even with how things ended, Spikes said he’s looking forward to the season and playing for Belichick again.

“I just look at Bill as a genius,” Spikes said. “He can plug guys in and still be efficient and be productive, top of the league in all categories. That’s what makes him great. Just to have that opportunity to play under the greatest coaches ever is a dream come true and I want to definitely take advantage of it. Let him coach me up ins and outs, everything.

“I’m all ears and happy to be here. It’s that simple, I don’t know how else to put it. I’m honestly in awe to be standing here talking, seeing you guys again, familiar face over the years. It’s nice. Everybody welcomed be back — even the fans, the players, the people upstairs. It was all smiles and hugs. It’s cool.”

Spikes spent one year in Buffalo, playing in all 16 games and finishing with 54 tackles. He said nothing has really changed in the one year he missed.

“It’s the Patriot way, you know how that goes,” Spikes said. “It obviously works and I am just glad to be part of it and get another opportunity to prove I can play here and hold myself accountable to my teammates and coaches. I just want to prove them right.”

“I’m definitely fortunate for the opportunity Bill gave me and sometimes you need that separation and it kind of makes you more appreciative and thankful,” he added.

The Patriots did win the Super Bowl in the one year Spikes was gone, and his teammates have playfully joked with him about him not getting a ring, but Spikes isn’t letting that getting to him. He said he’s focused on just making the team.

“You know, it’s the same thing, they have that big ring and we moving on from that, but some of the guys are going to throw it in my face, but it is what it is, it’s all fun and games,” Spikes said. “But, I am letting them know I am here to work and make this ball club. It’s that simple. I am trying to get better each and every day and control what I can control.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

FOXBORO — It worked so well on the way to a Super Bowl title that Bill Belichick brought back a moniker from 2014 to deflect the media crush Friday at Patriots OTAs outside

Bill Belichick addresses reporters Friday after OTA practice outside Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Bill Belichick addresses reporters Friday after OTA practice outside Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — It worked so well on the way to a Super Bowl title that Bill Belichick brought back a moniker from 2014 to deflect the media crush Friday at Patriots OTAs outside Gillette Stadium.

Asked if the joy from February’s Super Bowl win was diminished at all by the news from Deflategate, Belichick looked toward the future.

“That’s a long time ago. We’re on to next year,” Belichick said. “It’s 2015. You forget about last year. That was last year.”

With Tom Brady facing a four-game suspension to start the season, Belichick was naturally asked if he’s preparing to start the season with second-year quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

“We’re just going day-by-day right now,” Belichick said. “Everybody is working hard, trying to get better. That’s what we’re all doing.”

Garoppolo, Brady and Garrett Gilbert all took snaps and turns in running the Patriots’ offense Friday during a practice that lasted nearly two hours.

“Trying to get everybody an opportunity to learn our system and get ready to compete and play and that competition will really come in training camp,” Belichick said. “This is a more a teaching camp than a competitive camp. We want to try to get everybody an opportunity to learn and understand the plays and know what to do and then we’ll let them compete in training camp and preseason games and see how it goes. It’s up to them.

“Right now, we’re in 2015. Nobody is looking back. Nobody is looking ahead. We’re just trying to come out here and get better day by day.”

Belichick would not offer any comment on what he felt about owner Robert Kraft’s decision to accept a $1 million fine and the loss of two draft picks as punishment for the organization’s role in Deflategate.

“He made a statement on it last week,” said Belichick, who was actually asked if he had any opinion on the fan movement to delay the Super Bowl banner raising until Brady returns. “Right now, we’re just concentrating on our practices out here.”

More from Belichick on Friday:

Message to rookies during controversy:

“What they need to do is go out and work hard and try to earn a job on the team. That’s what we’re all trying to do, is improve. Players are trying to compete for spots and coaches are trying to get everybody ready to compete and ready to play in a very competitive 16-game regular season schedule. So, that’s what we’re doing. There’s no other real objective.”

Has it been difficult to watch the organization in turmoil?

“We’re just working hard every day to come out here and get better,” Belichick answered. “Coaches, players, everybody in the organization, each day we’re trying to make it a little bit better than the day before. That’s where we’re at and that’s what we’re going to keep doing. I love football.”

On OTAs:

“First week of OTAs so I feel like the players are working hard. We have a lot of guys who have really done a good job in the offseason and now they’re starting to get the opportunity to play football out on the field, come together a little bit as a team and in different groups. That’s encouraging. It’s always good to be back out there. I think that these guys so far have done a good job. We just have to build on it day-by-day. See if we can build next week off this week’s start and string some good days together.”

“This is it. We’ve had a couple of weeks with them. Prior to OTAs, it’s just drills and footwork and bags and stuff like that. There’s not a whole lot we can do. Now we can get another team in front of them and they can start to see how all the plays come together, how it looks against somebody on the other side of the ball. Communication that they have to have with each other in order to make plays work. It’s a big jump for them, big step for them. It’s a new system for all of them. As a group, they’re working hard. I respect what they’re doing. They’ve made a lot of progress. They’ve got a long way to go but they’ve made some strides.”

“That’s what this time of year is for. We’ve had a lot of preparation time. We’ve had some offseason program time and we’ve added some players to our team and now we’ll start to see them perform out there together instead of just having a bunch of names up on a board and name cards. Now, we’re actually [looking at] football players.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

FOXBORO — The general consensus among the country is the Patriots are not very well liked, as a recent poll (courtesy of the Washington Post) named the Patriots the second-most hated NFL team.

The general consensus among the country is the Patriots are not very well liked, as a recent poll (courtesy of the Washington Post) named the Patriots the second-most hated NFL team.

From winning four Super Bowls in the Bill Belichick era, to Tom Brady‘s success, to the recent Deflategate developments, the nation generally dislikes the Patriots.

Julian Edelman was asked what he thought about people’s dislike of the Patriots and his answer was simple and direct.

“They hate ya if they ain’t ya,” Edelman said following Friday’s OTA session on the back fields of Gillette Stadium.

Brady is faced with a four-game suspension following the release of the Wells Report, although he is appealing. Edelman isn’t even thinking about that.

“We’re not even thinking about the first four games, we’re just focused on trying to get this offense going and learning everyone’s names, trying to learn background information on everyone,” Edelman said. “It’s one of those things where you can’t look into the future, you can’t look into the past. There’s been good things that have happened in the past, there have been bad things that have happened in the past. There are good things that will happen in the future, and bad things that will happen in the future, it’s more about how we can improve today and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

If Brady were to miss time, second-year quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo would be in line to step in and start in his place. With the quarterback having to lead the offense and demonstrate leadership qualities, Edelman said he doesn’t think this will be an issue as every member of the Patriots shows leadership qualities in one way or another.

“You see leadership from a lot of people,” Edelman said. “Jimmy has had leadership. Josh Boyce has had leadership. Everyone has had a little bit of leadership. If you come in and work your tail off, you go and try and lead by example. It’s one of those things.”

With the possible suspension hanging over Brady, Edelman was asked what the team can do to show support for him. Again, Edelman brought it back to the team and working on getting better, building on the first part of the offseason, and he didn’t comment on Brady.

“What we can do is try and come out here and get better every day, worry about what we can control,” Edelman said, “What we can control is taking things from what we learned in the classroom and develop them on the field and taking drills to team stuff. That’s what we’re focused on.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Terrell Suggs has never been shy about expressing his opinion on the Patriots and Tom Brady.

Terrell Suggs has never been shy about expressing his opinion on the Patriots and Tom Brady. And while he didn’t come out with guns blazing Wednesday night when he was asked about Deflattegate, he hinted that the four-game suspension for the quarterback was a little light.

“I don’t know — that’s not my job,” he told TMZ Sports when he was asked if New England got what it deserved. “I’m glad I don’t got it.”

Suggs then quickly offered an addendum, comparing the Patriots situation to Bountygate, which got Saints coach Sean Payton suspended for a full season.

“The last coach that got caught cheating got suspended for a whole year. So …”

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

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Shaq Mason meets with reporters Friday at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Shaq Mason meets with reporters Friday at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — One of the first lessons Patriots rookies learn when they enter Gillette Stadium for the first time is that you’re not competing with each other for a roster spot. You’re helping each other get better.

There’s no better example of that than the two rookie offensive linemen who come into camp as fourth rounders with different styles but the same goal of making the roster of the defending Super Bowl champs.

Tre’ Jackson revealed Thursday at Gillette that he and Shaq Mason are helping each other study the Patriots’ playbook. Jackson came from a pro style offense with Florida State while Mason came from a power running style at Georgia Tech. But both share the desire to learn the one system that they hope will be with them a long time in the NFL.

“€œI’€™m just trying to get prepared for this opportunity,” Mason said. “It’€™s a great opportunity. I knew I was going to have to work coming in and just try to get better.”

Mason stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 310 pounds. That’s two inches shorter and 20 pounds lighter than Jackson.

Mason and Jackson have already leaned on some of the veterans around Foxboro to help them get acclimated as soon as possible.

“€œAll of them. There’€™s not one in particular. It’€™s a great, great atmosphere here,” Mason said. “All of the guys are giving me great advice. We’€™re all just working together trying to reach a common goal.”

But the one message Mason has received loud and clear is that nothing in Foxboro is a given, certainly not a roster spot for a highly-valued draft pick if they don’t put the work in.

“€œComing in, the guys told me nothing is given here, so I’€™m going to have to work every day,” Mason said. “And that was the plan ‘€“ to work every day, study as much as possible and get to know as much as I can.”

Mason also hasn’t heard any veterans bringing up what was accomplished in February back in Glendale.

“€œWell, really, I wasn’€™t a part of that team. You never hear Super Bowl talk around here,” Mason said. “We’€™re just focusing on this season. I’€™m focused on being here. I’€™m here as much as I can be and just trying to get better.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Tre' Jackson was all smiles during rookie availability as he tries to impress as an offensive lineman. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Tre’ Jackson was all smiles during rookie availability as he tries to impress as an offensive lineman. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — The past is the past.

No one needs to remind Patriots rookie offensive lineman Tre’ Jackson of that old adage.

When the Patriots drafted Bryan Stork’s old Florida State teammate in the fourth round (111th pick overall) on the third day of this spring’s draft, many assumed that meant he had a place secured on the Patriots’ roster for the 2015 season. There are some who even suggested that Jackson may have the best chance of this year’s rookie class to step in and start on the offensive line if Dan Connolly doesn’t return.

After all, these were two of the five space-eaters that protected Jameis Winston on Florida State’s run to a BCS national title in January 2014. Stork was the center and Jackson, who weighs in at around 330 pounds and stands 6-foot-4, was the right guard.

But now in Foxboro, with the defending Super Bowl champs, all that means is some familiarity. Beyond that, there’s a lot of work to be done.

“Being able to play with him is a great thing, but all my teammates that are out here now have been a great help,” Jackson told reporters on the steamy Gillette Stadium turf Thursday. “I can go to anybody and get advice. All the guys on the offensive line, I can go to them and they’€™re there to help.”

Jackson said the championship experiences over the last two seasons at Florida State provided great experience but that’s all in the past now.

“I had great experiences at Florida State,” he said. “Now I’€™m just trying to transfer it and do the things that my coaches need me to do as far as getting better on the field, off the field [and] things like that.”

While Jackson figures to be competing for playing time with fellow rookie offensive lineman Shaq Mason, drafted 20 picks after Jackson in the fourth round, Jackson said there’s no pure competition at this point.

“Of course not. He’€™s a teammate right now. He’€™s just going to make me better,” Jackson said. “I’€™m going to make him better. Competition makes everyone better.

“It’€™s great to have someone who is in the same boat as you; just trying to get better with him. You’€™re making him better, he’€™s making me better. Just to be there and be a resource to him; he’€™s been a big resource to me ‘€“ helping each other study the playbook at night and things like that.”

If Jackson impresses the coaches enough, he might find himself protecting the back and backside of one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game.

“It’€™s great to be with a guy like that,” Jackson said. “But it’€™s not just Tom Brady. Being with all the Patriots, just walking through the locker room, being able to go to all those Patriots and get advice from them, guys that you looked up to for the longest time, being able to go get advice from them.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia