FOXBORO — Third-year cornerback Alfonzo Dennard says he is now fully committed to his football career. It’s a career that is on life support after multiple run-ins with the law.

FOXBORO — Third-year cornerback Alfonzo Dennard says he is now fully committed to his football career. It’s a career that is on life support after multiple run-ins with the law.

All of it began the weekend he was drafted in the seventh round by the Patriots in 2012. In his final game at Nebraska in 2011, Dennard was ejected for fighting with South Carolina receiver and current Chicago Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery. In the same month, he had a not-so-great Senior Bowl in front of scouts and coaches, causing his stock to plummet.

Then things got really messy.

Dennard was arrested in April 2012 for assaulting a police officer in Lincoln, Neb. and found guilty in February 2013, and the conviction carried a 30-day jail sentence to begin March 1, 2014 and two years of probation. Dennard was arrested again in July 2013 for suspicion of driving under the influence, which was ruled as a violation of his probation, and he was given an extra 30 days in jail and another year of probation.

Dennard was released after 38 days for good behavior after spending 35 days in the Lancaster County Adult Detention Facility in Nebraska this year.

On Wednesday, his second day back on the practice field after missing spring OTAs and minicamp, Dennard spoke to the media for the first time since he was released from jail in April.

“It’s a very good feeling,” Dennard said. “Just move forward, just moving forward. It’€™s all about football now. Just trying to provide for my family.”

Dennard began training camp on the physically unable to perform list before getting cleared to practice on Tuesday. He only practiced for an hour Wednesday before working on his conditioning. He admitted that he is still a ways from being a full-go in practice.

“It’€™s been very tough because I just want to go out there and compete with my teammates and learn from the older guys,” Dennard said. “I’€™m just taking it one day at a time. I’€™m feeling better and better every day.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

FOXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price assess the intensity of Brandon Browner and how it spilled over into shouting at teammates Kenbrell Thompkins, rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea at Patriots training camp practice Wednesday.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

FOXBORO — Seven days into training camp and five days of padded practices hitting the same players over and over again is bound to get repetitive and frustrating for some at times. This is what occurred Wednesday with Kenbrell Thompkins and Brandon Browner when the two had a spirited exchange during a 1-on-1 drill.

Following practices Thursday and Friday, the team will get a break from hitting each other when they have a week of practice with the Redskins leading up to the first preseason game next Thursday night in Washington. This is something many of the players are looking forward to.

“Yeah, it is getting to that point,” safety Devin McCourty said. “It always around this time gets a little bit more testy in camp. I think that is what is so nice that we can go out there and practice against other teams and do different things and kind of freshen camp up a little bit.”

Logan Ryan, in his second year in the league after leading the Patriots last year in interceptions with five, doesn’€™t see this year any more physical — it’€™s just the competition within training camp.

“I wouldn’€™t say it’€™s more physical, it’€™s just the nature of each practice and the nature of each competition,” said Ryan. “We have great competitors. I think we had some great competitors last year. Right now you can’€™t ask for better competitors.”

McCourty, a four-year veteran, has a sense of when players are starting to reach the point of relishing the chance to go up against some players not on their own team.

“You see it. It gets a little more testy, guys are chomping at the bit and going at each other a little harder,” he said.

With the addition of Browner in the Patriots secondary there is no question the unit becomes more physical as he comes from Seattle, which has one of the most physical and intimidating secondaries in the NFL. Being more physical can be a good thing for a defense as long as it is channeled the right way.

“We always talk about being physical,” McCourty said. “There are times where we like it and the coaching staff tells us that’€™s a good job being physical and then there are times where they tell us we need to be more physical in different spots on the field. I think that’€™s always a work in progress, but I think overall this defense is a physical defense.”

With new head coach Jay Gruden adding some fire to the Redskins organization, it will likely be a spirited few practices next week, something the Patriots to look forward to having.

“Yeah, most definitely,” Browner said. “It gets frustrating going against the same guys every day. I’m ready to get down to Washington and see what I can do against those guys.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Patriots LB, Jerod Mayo, talks about the high praise he's been receiving from coach Belichick, trying to forget about last year, and what the team hopes from the defense.
Patriots WR, Danny Amendola, joined the show for a bit to talk about his health, the evolution of the playbook, and the heated battles between the offense and defense.

[0:00:03] ... Amendola as we switch gears and talk patriots here at Foxboro as Gillette Stadium as the patriots are coming off the field from training camp practice today. Christian go ahead and yet we guide Danny Amendola ...
[0:01:58] ... picked up to be on the same page. With a guy like Tom Brady how is that for -- year one year Q do you notice any difference for you in week one anything specific to ...
[0:03:22] ... so Browner earlier in this did earlier today with -- felt. You trash talker you up there near practice you get some these guys face is well. -- everybody like that out here I mean it's ...
[0:04:35] ... to come. The next few minutes here Lou baloney incidents view here Gillette Stadium overlooking the Dana Farber practice facility some of the fans -- many fans that have come out and out disbursing a bit but at a good ...






WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss Wednesday's Patriots practice, which featured Brandon Browner getting into it with Kenbrell Thompkins and a couple others.

[0:04:47] ... but improve -- they improved I know you'd spoke at length with Rob Ninkovich I had a chance to talk to Chandler Jones. Chandler Jones says that this. Defense has a chance for great things because that's another year of experience. But mostly the same guys along the defense of line and on the edge -- was raving about Rob Ninkovich. What it Rob Ninkovich tell you about the potential of this pass rush to be better. Well I think he echoed a lot of the same ...
[0:07:24] ... Denver was able to do that. In the AFC championship game to Tom Brady other Super Bowl losses the giants were able to do that to Tom Brady for able to be physical -- the quarterback knock him off a spot then that's half the battle right there. All right ...
[0:07:56] ... all had to actually Richmond Virginia. For week of practice with the Washington Redskins he is Christopher price. I'm Mike -- rally outside Gillette Stadium WEEI. Dot com. ...





Brandon Browner

Brandon Browner

FOXBORO — Brandon Browner had enough.

The new Patriots cornerback said a sluggish couple of days led to a decision to crank things up at practice Wednesday morning.

‘€œI’€™m tired of giving up balls,’€ Browner said after practice, ‘€œso I had to turn it up a little bit.’€

That meant a series of back-and-forth exchanges with teammates and coaches that sparked some heat for the first time this summer.

This media is not allowed to specifically quote or even paraphrase conversations that take place on the field during camp, but in a passing drill that matched up wide receivers on defensive backs, Browner first hollered at quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

Then, after Browner and Kenbrell Thompkins got physical in a one-on-one drill, he went to stick his hand out to Thompkins in what appeared to be an attempt to offer an apology. Thompkins kept walking.

Shortly after that, Browner had another physical one-on-one matchup with Brandon LaFell, and that led to a heated exchange with receivers coach Chad O’€™Shea — the two took some steps toward each other before players intervened.

Browner said he and O’€™Shea ‘€œhugged it out’€ after the flap, and that he respects O’€™Shea because he’€™s a coach. In addition, it’€™s clear he’€™s developed a level of respect for Thompkins, who he’€™s been lined up against frequently since the pads went on.

‘€œKT has got routes at the line of scrimmage that are unmatchable,’€ he said. ‘€œSome guys are not as quick as that dude. It’€™s been real competitive going against that guy. It’€™s only going to make me better.’€

But you shouldn’€™t look for Browner to alter his physical approach, one that helped set the tone for Seattle’€™s Legion of Boom secondary. He said Wednesday his physical playing style is about letting ‘€œthe chips fall where they may,’€ and acknowledged that could lead to some flags. (Browner has drawn 15 penalties over the last year-plus, including five in eight games last season. By way of comparison, that would have put him tied for second on the Patriots in just a half-season.)

Browner added: ‘€œThat’€™s my style of play — play aggressive. You don’€™t want to cost your team any penalties, but you let the officials do their job.

And that occasionally means giving your own teammates the business.

‘€œYesterday, we gave up a few balls. Let some of these guys off the line a little easy,’€ he said. ‘€œThat was my mentality going into this practice — to win my one-on-one matchups and things like that.

‘€œYou give those guys some balls, they’€™ll get confident. You want to take away a little bit of that confidence. Get confidence in yourself.’€

Then, there’€™s the fact that the grind of camp might be starting to wear on players. A week of hitting the same guys over and over again gets a little tiresome. The Patriots will get something of a break in that regard, as they are set to fly to Richmond over the weekend to hold joint practices with the Redskins.

‘€œIt gets frustrating going against the same guys every day,’€ he said. ‘€œI’€™m ready to get down to Washington and see what I can do against those guys.’€

Ultimately, Browner sees the increased intensity level as a way to get better on both sides of the ball.

‘€œIt gets us both better — guys on the other side of the ball, it’€™s what they’€™re going to do to guys in games. And that was what guys are going to try to do to me in games.

‘€œThose are guys I’€™m going to war with, but at the same time, I’€™m going to be aggressive with those guys. It’€™s going to make those guys better, and I hope they bring the same fire back at me.’€

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Wide receiver Danny Amendola checked in with Middays with MFB on Wednesday afternoon following Patriots practice. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Wide receiver Danny Amendola checked in with Middays with MFB on Wednesday afternoon following Patriots practice. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

“I’m feeling good,” said Amendola, who battled injuries throughout 2013, his first season in New England. “I’m running around, feeling real strong, feeling healthy and ready to go.”

Injuries aside, Amendola was able to adapt to the Patriots system, something other receivers have struggled to do. However, Amendola made it clear there’s plenty of work ahead.

“This playbook’s constantly evolving,” Amendola said. “We try to change stuff up every day and progress and get better. I’m learning. Everybody’s out here learning every day, trying to get better. We’re seeing some good things out there. We’re competing. We’re vibing on offense, trying to compete with the defense to try to get better every day.”

There have been some intense battles between the receivers and the defensive backs early in training camp. Amendola said there’s a lot of trash-talking but no lingering hard feelings.

“It’s very competitive. It gets heated at times. But at the end of the day we’re brothers and we’re family,” he said. “Nothing carries over from the field to the locker room, which is huge, very professional. Everybody out here is trying to get better every day. It’s going to get heated, it’s going to get competitive. But at the end of the day, we’re family.

Rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is under the microscope after the Patriots selected him in the second round of May’s draft.

“He’s doing well. He’s catching on quickly. I know he’s working really hard,” Amendola said. “The coaches are doing a great job of putting him in a position to learn and to get as many reps as he can and make the throws he needs to make. He’s a rookie. He’s getting better.”

For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar