FOXBORO — Tom Brady has always given praise to the loyal fans that show up in all elements to cheer him and the Patriots at Gillette Stadium.

FOXBORO — Whether or not the Patriots lose offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to the Cleveland Browns, Tom Brady made a point of appreciating the work McDaniels has done in his two stints in New England.

FOXBORO — On a frigid New Year’s morning outside Gillette Stadium, the Patriots returned to practice in their bye week and joining the Patriots for the first time in two weeks was safety Devin McCourty, who missed the season finale with a concussion.

According to, Penn State‘s Bill O’Brien has agreed to become the new head coach of the Houston Texans.

O’Brien, who served as an assistant coach with the Patriots from 2007-12, is expected to officially hired by the Texans no later than Saturday.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick wouldn’t comment Tuesday on a report that the Cleveland Browns had asked permission to speak with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels about their head coaching job.

LeGarrette Blount was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance in the Patriots’€™ 34-20 victory against Buffalo last Sunday. It is the first time in Blount’€™s career that he has received an AFC Offensive Player of the Week honor.

FOXBORO — The Patriots made a series of practice squad moves Monday as the team continues to address roster depth needs heading into the postseason.

FOXBORO — Fans hoping to see the Patriots in person on Jan. 11 will have to be quick on the draw.

Hours after locking up their 12th win of the season, earning a first-round bye in the process, the league announced its playoff pairings and the Patriots learned that they will host an AFC Divisional Playoff game on Saturday, Jan. 11 at 8:15 p.m. On Monday, the team announced a limited number of individual tickets will go on sale Monday, Jan. 6, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. exclusively through Ticketmaster.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick praised the toughness of left guard Logan Mankins, who left Sunday’s regular season finale with what appeared to be a significant ankle injury but was back on the field is reporting that Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is expected to be on the short list of candidates (along with former Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt) for the head coaching vacancy in Cleveland, where the Brown