FOXBORO — Another day, another aerial banner over Patriots training camp.

FOXBORO — Another day, another aerial banner over Patriots training camp.

Friday, on Day 2 of camp practice, another plane flew a banner over Patriots camp at Gillette Stadium. But unlike Thursday’s “Cheaters Look Up!” banner purchased by a Jets fan website, this one was in support of Tom Brady and the Patriots.

The banner read: “New England Aerial Ads support Tom Brady. Go Pats.” One thing that was the same as Friday were the loud cheers of support from Patriots fans and the “Brady, Brady, Brady” chants from many of the approximately 10,000 in attendance.

“It’s pretty funny, actually, to see those type of things,” Julian Edelman said. “It’s awesome to hear the fans, how they support everything. Ultimately, our minds are on just trying to get in here and get to work and mold our team. So, that’s what we’re thinking about.”

Edelman said there is no chance that head coach Bill Belichick and the coaching staff will allow the players to be distracted.

“Truthfully, you look up and [then] hear the whistle and you have to get to the next period,” Edelman said. “So, coach is over here yelling at us to run to over to the next period so you can’t even really think of it. Coach always has his tactics to keep us in the game.”

As for his close friend, Edelman said he has noticed no change in Brady on field during minicamp or the first two days of training camp practice.

“He’s out here doing what everyone else is doing, trying to get better. It’s a new year,” Edelman said. “There’s a bunch of individual goals that everyone has. I’m sure you can ask him what his are but he’s coming out here and putting the time in just like everyone else and just trying to get better.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
James White

James White

FOXBORO — For James White, 2014 was like a red-shirt season for the rookie running back out of Wisconsin.

White, a fourth-round pick last year, played in just three games — rushing for 38 yards on nine carries and catching five passes for 23 years out of the backfield. With the departures of Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen, a prominent running back spot is there for the taking and it appears White is ready to take it.

“I am coming with a more aggressive approach,” White said. “I want to be aggressive in my technique and I want to go out here and be a reliable player. That is what I am going to try out and do every single day.”

The 23-year-old had a great career at Wisconsin. In his senior year he ran for 1,444 yards on 221 carries and 13 touchdowns, while catching 39 passes out of the backfield for 300 yards and two touchdowns.

Being the Patriots’ third-down back might be his best shot at seeing significant playing time with LeGarrette Blount and Jonas Gray more run-first running backs. White saw significant time working with Tom Brady and the offense Friday, a good sign for the second-year player.

“For me, I am just taking it day-by-day and I am trying to come out here and prove, show the team what I have and I can play,” White said.

“We’re all just competing,” he added of all the running backs. “We’re all working together trying to make each other better and do whatever we can to help this team win.”

Thursday and Friday’s training camp sessions were shorts and t-shirts. Over the weekend the team will strap the pads on for the first time and that’s something White is looking forward to.

“Of course. You have to be excited to put the pads on,” he said with a smile. “You’re going to play in a game again. It’s an aggressive nature and you have to accept that challenge.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

FOXBORO — In his six years with the Patriots, defensive end Rob Ninkovich has managed to put down some pretty deep roots, so it was no surprise to see him become so close with the Perdoni Family of Wellesley. Joe Perdoni, who played football at Georgia Tech, opened Old School Pizzeria in Wellesley in 2011, and it quickly became a Ninkovich favorite.

Following Joe’s death this past May, Ninkovich has maintained close ties with the Perdoni’s. He attended the funeral, and continues to do whatever it takes to help the rest of the Perdoni family — they were Ninkovich’s guests at training camp on Friday.

“I met him about three years ago — a beautiful person who would do anything for anybody,” Ninkovich said of Perdoni, who played football at Wellesley High. “One of those people who is hard to find. A true person who, if you were in a jam, you could call him and he’d be there to help you out. Unfortunately we lost him this year. I’m just doing the best that I can to be there for his family — I know he has two young kids. He was a beautiful person with a big heart and he would give you the shirt off his back.

“Anything I could do to help their family, I will. I know Old School Pizzeria in Wellesley is his business — it’s a great place,” he added. “Their chicken farm is the best around. Anything I could do to help them, I’ll try to do my best.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Chandler Jones

Chandler Jones

FOXBORO — Just six months ago the Patriots hoisted the Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl XLIX.

With training camp opening this week it’s a new season and the general message from the team is the Super Bowl is now in the past. Defensive end Chandler Jones admitted it’s hard not to think back to that experience, but he’s using that as motivation to get back there again this year.

“For me, from a personal aspect, it was a lot of fun going through that again,” Jones said. “Trying not to think about it is hard, yeah. But, knowing that task and knowing what you have to do to get back there and do it again makes you that much more hungry. That’s how I feel right now. I am hungry to have an opportunity to go out there and do it again.”

“The motivation is there itself,” he added. “We aren’t trying to focus on the past success behind us. Just the moments we’ve went through and been through. Last year makes you hungry enough to experience those things again.”

Jones reportedly had offseason surgery. It wasn’t reported what the surgery was for, but he did miss six games in the middle of last year with a hip injury.

He was mum answering questions on his health in typical Patriots fashion, as he said he’s just taking things day-by-day.

“Each and every day I am taking it a day at a time,” he said.

Despite the shortened offseason by way of winning the Super Bowl, Jones said it still felt long and was excited to return this week.

“Definitely. I was very excited to get back to football,” he said. “Even though we were one of the last teams to play, it was a very long offseason and he was excited to get back here and we were are at training camp.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

FOXBORO — The Patriots just put the wraps on their second training camp practice of the summer on the fields behind Gillette Stadium. Players were in shorts and shells — pads will come later this week, per the CBA. It was a toasty morning, but not nearly as humid as the first practice of the summer on Thursday. Here are a few quick notes:

Several players remain on PUP and NFI, but the following players were not spotted on the field during the workout: Matt Flynn, Brandon LaFell, Dane Fletcher, Chris White, Ryan Wendell, Chris Barker, Vince Taylor, Caylin Hauptmann and AJ Derby. In addition, LeGarrette Blount, Alan Branch and Dominique Easley were seen on the sidelines in sweats and shorts. (Branch and Blount were spotted on the far hill beyond the practice field running sprints.) Meanwhile, Jerod Mayo and Dont’a Hightower were on the field and working out, but when the 11-on-11s near the end of practice, the two were running sprints off to the side.

Early in practice, Jimmy Garoppolo was working with some of the lead options in the passing game while Tom Brady was with the offensive linemen. Garoppolo was joined by tight ends Rob Gronkowski, Michael Hoomanawanui and Scott Chandler, as well as wide receivers Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce. Chandler and Gronkowski looms as potentially colossal targets when it comes to red zone work — if both stay healthy over the course of 16 games, the Patriots could be one of the best teams in the league when it comes to finishing off drives inside the 20-yard line.

In 11-on-11 work toward the end of practice, the two quarterbacks alternated reps, with Brady getting first crack. In that sessions, Brady was 5-for-10 and Garoppolo was 6-for-12. Brady went to Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola most of the time, while Garoppolo used newcomer Brandon Gibson as a frequent fallback option. In two-minute work, Brady went 11-for-13, including a nice connection with Edelman up the left seam. On the other field, Garoppolo went 8-for-11, including completions on his first six plays (two to Josh Boyce).

From a personnel perspective, one of the more interesting sights of the Friday morning session was Jake Bequette wearing a white (offense) jersey and working with the tight ends. The former Arkansas defensive end is entering his fourth year with the Patriots, and hasn’t managed to get much playing time on the defensive side of the ball. He spent some time on offense over the course of the spring workouts, and could be a part of the conversation at tight end before the end of the summer.

Linebacker D.J. Lynch limped off the practice field and to the locker room roughly halfway through practice. It appeared to be a leg or foot injury.

The Patriots continued to shuffle through various combinations with their offensive line, but it was interesting to see that when the starters were in there — center Bryan Stork and tackles Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer or Marcus Cannon — rookies Tre’ Jackson and Shaq Mason appeared to get a ton of the reps with that group, with Jackson was at right guard and Mason at left guard.

James White, Edelman and Amendola all got reps at punt returner.

Jimmy Mundine and Jonathan Krause jumped offsides in two-minute work and had to run a lap.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price


FOXBORO — Bill Belichick says he’s not worried about exacting revenge on the rest of the NFL.

FOXBORO — Bill Belichick says he’s not worried about exacting revenge on the rest of the NFL.

The working theory in the wake of Deflategate is that the Patriots coach would try to fire up his team and blow out the competition, much in the same way they did in 2007 after the Spygate scandal.

But Belichick insisted Friday before Day 2 of camp that that is the furthest thing from his mind.

“Right now, I’m really focused on what we’re doing today, not thinking about the past, not last week, not last year, not some other year,” Belichick said. “We have to prepare our team for the opener and a 16-game regular season schedule. We can’t do a lot of that right now. It’s not the time for it.

“I’m not going to worry about next month, next year, six years from now, six months from now or anything else. I know that’s real important to everybody else but it’s really not very important to me. It’s not really important to our football team. With all due respect, it’s not something I think about, I care about though that seems to be really important to everybody else. It’s just not on our radar.”

Belichick addressed a number of other topics, including his reaction to Day 1, which ended with a vocal correction toward the end of camp on special teams.

“Definitely underway after getting going yesterday with everybody out there,” Belichick said. “I think it was a first step. We made some corrections yesterday and try to build on that this morning and build on what we did yesterday. Just keep going here. We have a long haul, long way to go, one step at a time. We just keep trying to grind it out, put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward. I think these guys have a good attitude, trying to get better, trying to do what we tell them to do, try to make the corrections. Hopefully, we’ll be able to string some days together that are good and keep getting our team ready.”

Another correction from Day 1 came when Jimmy Garoppolo, by his own admission, made a “terrible” read on an interception by rookie safety Jordan Richards. It was Richards that Belichick gave some praise to on Friday.

“We didn’t really see a whole lot of him in the spring. He didn’t come in till late,” Belichick said of the rookie out of Stanford. “Missed part of the OTAs, finishing up school. He’s a smart kid, picks things up quickly and seems to be a pretty instinctive player. He kind of has a good feel for the ball and awareness. He’s a good communicator back there. We’ll see how it goes.”

As for Garoppolo, Belichick said the important lesson to learn is to make an adjustment and move on to the next play.

“We talk about that with the entire team,” Belichick said. “We’re all going to make mistakes out there and we’ve got to move on to the next play. That’s what football is, a new down, a new distance, a new field position, offense, defense, special teams. Something changes, usually, unless you replay a down. It’s a new situation. It’s always about moving on. We all make mistakes. We all have bad plays out there, bad calls, something we screw up but it’s always about moving ahead. We talk to the whole team about that. It’s every position.

“Everybody has got to do it and he’s certainly in that group. But I wouldn’t exclude anybody because we all have them.”

Friday also featured more questions to Belichick about how the team is doing with its focus with Deflategate questions and airplanes flying around.

“We’re in Day 2 of training camp,” Belichick said, in classic razor sharp form. “That’s where we are. My feeling is try to get the team out there and have a good day of practice in the second day of training camp. I can’t speak for 90 players and another dozen or so coaches. I speak for myself. I’m here trying to my job. Everybody is trying to do theirs. That’s what training camp is for.”

As for the “Cheaters Look Up!” plane from Thursday, hired by a Jets fan website, Belichick wouldn’t even acknowledge it.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. What plane? I’m just trying to coach the football team,” Belichick said.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

FOXBORO –€” Linebacker Dane Fletcher, who was placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list at the start of training camp, will “likely” start the regular season on PUP because of a torn ACL he suffered late last year, according to a league source.

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 1:  Dane Fletcher #52 of the New England Patriots lines up during a game against the Buffalo Bills in the second half at Gillette Stadium on January 1, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Dane Fletcher re-signed with the Patriots this offseason. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO –€” Linebacker Dane Fletcher, who was placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list at the start of training camp, will “likely” start the regular season on PUP because of a torn ACL he suffered late last year, according to a league source.

The 28-year-old Fletcher, who spent four seasons with the Patriots before signing with the Bucs and spending a year with Tampa Bay last year, re-signed with New England this past offseason. The 6-foot-2, 244-pounder figures to work as a backup linebacker with the Patriots this season behind the likes of Jerod Mayo, Jamie Collins and Dont’€™a Hightower.

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Blog Author: 
Christopher Price