Patriots wideout Danny Amendola joined Merloni & Fauria as part of WEEI’s Patriots Monday to talk about the Reggie Wayne signing and other team news. To hear the interview, go to the Merloni & Fauria audio on demand page.

Amendola discussed the value a veteran with Wayne’s experience provides for the team.

“Guy’s been in the league for 15 years, so he’s been through quite a few training camps,” Amendola said. “He’s a guy who’s been around forever and has a lot of knowledge and insight on how to play the position. It’s great to have a guy like that in the room.

“He’s a vet and he’s picking it up very quickly. He’s running around in practice really well still and trying to make as many plays as he can. It’s been good to get to know him here for the last week and in the future.”

Following Amendola’s 20-yard catch in Friday’s preseason game against the Panthers, the Patriots offense appeared to get into more of a rhythm. When asked if that faster tempo would be a theme throughout the season, Amendola indicated it did give the offense some options.

“We made some good plays on that drive,” Amendola said. “We didn’t get what we wanted to get done on the previous couple drives, but we got points going into the half and we got some good work. We played at a higher tempo on that drive so we got some looks that we wanted to see, guys made plays when we needed them to and it was a positive going into the locker room.”

With Rob Gronkowski sitting out the rest of the preseason, Amendola said the offense will continue to do what it always does on the field even without his gigantic presence.

“No doubt, Gronk is a huge part of the offense,” Amendola said. “We’ve got a lot of guys that can make plays on this offense too. [Scott] Chandler made some plays, [Michael Hoomanawanui] made some plays.

“We’re focused on what we need to do, specifically trying to [learn] our routes and [make] our conversions and stuff like that. There’s no doubt Gronk’s one of the best in the league. He’s our best player, he’s the league’s best tight end.”

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

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Blog Author: 
Justin Pallenik
Dont'a Hightower

Dont’a Hightower

Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower joined Merloni & Fauria as part of WEEI’s Patriots Monday to talk about his return to game action in Friday’s preseason game against the Panthers. To hear the interview, visit the Merloni & Fauria audio on demand page.

Hightower got into his first game action of the preseason Friday, as he was slowed following shoulder surgery during the offseason

“It feels good to actually be back out there with my teammates,” he said. “I didn’t get to hit as much as I wanted to, obviously, but I’m looking forward to the next game.”

He said this experience is important because it will help him get into game shape before the regular season begins.

“Once you get two or three weeks into the season you don’t get to hit as much,” he said. “You don’t get to make your body a callus, I guess. Through training camp, through all that banging and getting that soreness out, so come Week 3 or Week 4, you feel like it’s Week 8. That’s why during training camp I wanted to get out there and hit as much as I can so I’m not new to it, and I’ve tested out my shoulder and all that stuff.”

When asked about transitioning to inside linebacker during his rookie season following the injury to Jerod Mayo, Hightower said it took him a while to get acclimated to the new position.

“What we teach in that room, it took me a little bit longer to kind of get a hold of it, being a younger guy, is that most of the time linebackers, everybody kind of looks to them for guidance or what happened, like, ‘What do we need to fix?’ ” Hightower said. “So in that first year, I knew the defense, but I didn’t know it obviously as well as I should. And having they guys around me, there wasn’t a lot of veterans, and it just sucked. I played well and it showed. And then in those last three or four games in that first year, I finally found my niche, I found like what do I need to to make myself play. Like, let me make people run into me instead of letting me chase them, like Mayo. Mayo’s fast. I’m not as fast as Mayo. I finally found my niche and it helped a lot. That learning curve really helped me a lot.”

Hightower indicated that he prefers to play outside linebacker, citing the chance to rush the quarterback.

“I really like playing outside,” Hightower said. “I like playing inside, too. You’re constantly hitting at both positions, which is why I like both of them. But I just really like to be on the edge, I like to be outside. I like to know that if somebody’s running over there, they’re running at me. … I like to be on the edge, I like to get after the quarterback. Most of the time those are the guys on the edge who do that.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

On Dominique Easley’s progression: “He’s really grown up a lot. You can just kind of tell he’s more aggressive. … He’s usually one of the first ones in and the last ones out — he always works hard. And to say that he’s a high-motor guy, that’s cutting it short.”

On Devin McCourty playing safety instead of corner: “Devin probably does one of the best jobs as far as communication goes. We’ve got to get the play and the check downs and Devin has just as hard of a job, if not more, talking to Malcolm [Butler] and [the other corners]. Having him back there along with [other members of the secondary], they all do a really good job communicating, and that’s why things go smoothly.”

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Blog Author: 
Justin Pallenik

“NFL Network” has released another preview of “Do Your Job,” their upcoming special on the 2014 Patriots. In this segment, coach Bill Belichick looks at Aqib Talib and Darrelle Revis.

DraftKings Kick off this football season with the biggest fantasy football contest ever on DraftKings! Prizes worth $10 million are up for grabs, including $2 million for first AND $1 million for second! PLAY IN THE WEEK 1 MILLIONAIRE MAKER, CLICK HERE.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Danny Amendola joined the show to talk about the addition of Reggie Wayne to the receiving group, the offensive tempo in game 3 of the preseason, and who is the most stylish in the locker room.

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Dont'a Hightower joined the show on a Patriots Monday. He spoke out the benefits of getting "calloused" as the season wears on, how he likes being on the outside because he can go after the QB, and his appreciate for how Rob Ninkovich climbed the Patriots ranks to become a starter.

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Troy Brown has always had the ear of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.   (Doug Benc/Getty Images)

Troy Brown has always had the ear of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. (Doug Benc/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Turns out, Bill Belichick does listen to the media, at least when one of those media members is a respected former player.

Troy Brown certainly fits in that category. On Monday, Belichick shared an experience he had recently when he heard Troy Brown speak about the NFL cutdown process from a player’s perspective.

“I think Troy Brown made a comment a couple of weeks ago when he said, ‘I knew that when I came into the league, I knew that it was a long shot for me to make a team. I was probably going to get cut and all that. I felt like my job every day was to make it as hard as possible for Coach Parcells to make that decision. I wanted to make his job tough for him to cut me,'” Belichick said.

Belichick said he and his staff are in a tough spot for a very good reason. Many of his players in different groups have battled hard to make the decision on whether to cut or keep a player very challenging. In two particular groups, wide receiver and running back, especially the third-down back spot, it’s going to be razor-thin.

“It’s definitely made it hard. We’ve have a lot of guys do that,” Belichick said.

“I’d say there have been a number of guys that have done that this year in preseason. They’ve kind of taken that phrase that Troy used and really have done that. They’ve forced us to make some hard decisions because of how competitively they’ve played and vice versa. Guys at a spot where there’s a lot of competition, instead of one or two guys rising and one or two guys fading out, in some cases several members of that group have all competitively risen the level of their game to make some very tough decisions.”

The wide receiver spot includes new names like Chris Harper and Jonathan Krause, both of whom have shown glimpses of being impact players to give depth behind the likes of Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Reggie Wayne and Brandon LaFell. As for the running back group, it’s very, very competitive, with players like James White, Dion Lewis, Travaris Cadet and Tony Creecy all vying for valuable game reps as a third-down back to replace Shane Vereen.

“I would put the running back position in that,” Belichick said. “We’ve pretty much had the same group. We added Tony [Creecy]. We’ve pretty much had that same group when we lost [Tyler] Gaffney but we pretty much have the same group of guys since the beginning of the spring, with no rookies in that group other than Tony coming in a couple of weeks ago. Those guys have all competed well. They’ve all improved. They’ve all pushed each other. They’ve all worked really and they’ve all been productive. It’s a good example of that. They’re making it hard on us.”

DraftKings Kick off this football season with the biggest fantasy football contest ever on DraftKings! Prizes worth $10 million are up for grabs, including $2 million for first AND $1 million for second! PLAY IN THE WEEK 1 MILLIONAIRE MAKER, CLICK HERE.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Troy Brown has always had the ear of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.   (Doug Benc/Getty Images)

Troy Brown has always had the ear of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. (Doug Benc/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Turns out, Bill Belichick does listen to the media, at least when one of those media members is a respected former player.

Troy Brown certainly fits in that category. On Monday, Belichick shared an experience he had recently when he heard Troy Brown speak about the NFL cutdown process from a player’s perspective.

“I think Troy Brown made a comment a couple of weeks ago when he said, ‘I knew that when I came into the league, I knew that it was a long shot for me to make a team. I was probably going to get cut and all that. I felt like my job every day was to make it as hard as possible for Coach Parcells to make that decision. I wanted to make his job tough for him to cut me,'” Belichick said.

Belichick said he and his staff are in a tough spot for a very good reason. Many of his players in different groups have battled hard to make the decision on whether to cut or keep a player very challenging. In two particular groups, wide receiver and running back, especially the third-down back spot, it’s going to be razor-thin.

“It’s definitely made it hard. We’ve have a lot of guys do that,” Belichick said.

“I’d say there have been a number of guys that have done that this year in preseason. They’ve kind of taken that phrase that Troy used and really have done that. They’ve forced us to make some hard decisions because of how competitively they’ve played and vice versa. Guys at a spot where there’s a lot of competition, instead of one or two guys rising and one or two guys fading out, in some cases several members of that group have all competitively risen the level of their game to make some very tough decisions.”

The wide receiver spot includes new names like Chris Harper and Jonathan Krause, both of whom have shown glimpses of being impact players to give depth behind the likes of Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Reggie Wayne and Brandon LaFell. As for the running back group, it’s very, very competitive, with players like James White, Dion Lewis, Travaris Cadet and Tony Creecy all vying for valuable game reps as a third-down back to replace Shane Vereen.

“I would put the running back position in that,” Belichick said. “We’ve pretty much had the same group. We added Tony [Creecy]. We’ve pretty much had that same group when we lost [Tyler] Gaffney but we pretty much have the same group of guys since the beginning of the spring, with no rookies in that group other than Tony coming in a couple of weeks ago. Those guys have all competed well. They’ve all improved. They’ve all pushed each other. They’ve all worked really and they’ve all been productive. It’s a good example of that. They’re making it hard on us.”

DraftKings Kick off this football season with the biggest fantasy football contest ever on DraftKings! Prizes worth $10 million are up for grabs, including $2 million for first AND $1 million for second! PLAY IN THE WEEK 1 MILLIONAIRE MAKER, CLICK HERE.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

If he’€™s done for the preseason — and given his past history when it comes to the preseason finale, there’€™s a good chance he’€™s taken his final snaps until the regular season –” here’€™s a look at Tom Brady‘€™s preseason stats dating back to 2002.

2015
3 games: 10-for-22 (45.5 percent), 107 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs, 1 sack, 37.5 passer rating

2014
2 games: 25-for-31 (81 percent), 285 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, 0 sacks, 123.8 passer rating

2013
3 games: 34-for-44 (77 percent), 357 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 2 sacks, 106 passer rating

2012
2 games: 17-for-27 (63 percent) 157 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 3 sacks, 75.7 passer rating

2011
3 games: 28-for-50 (56 percent), 379 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, 3 sacks, 92 passer rating

2010
4 games: 37-for-50 (74 percent), 476 yards, 5 TDs, 1 INT, 2 sacks, 128.4 passer rating

2009
3 games: 26-for-42 (62 percent), 307 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT, 2 sacks, 106.0 passer rating

2008
DNP

2007
3 games: 32-for-48, (67 percent), 346 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs, 2 sacks, 91.1 passer rating

2006
3 games: 35-for-54 (65 percent), 404 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs, 1 sack, 93.4 passer rating

2005
2 games: 18-for-32 (56 percent) 232 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 1 sack, 76.6 passer rating

2004
3 games: 34-for-44 (77 percent), 374 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 3 sacks, 96.2 passer rating

2003
4 games: 34-for-56 (61 percent), 381 yards, 6 TDs, 0 INT, 3 sacks, 116.8 passer rating

2002
4 games: 41-for-65 (63 percent), 482 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs, 3 sacks, 76.6 passer rating

DraftKings Kick off this football season with the biggest fantasy football contest ever on DraftKings! Prizes worth $10 million are up for grabs, including $2 million for first AND $1 million for second! PLAY IN THE WEEK 1 MILLIONAIRE MAKER, CLICK HERE.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Bill Belichick cracks a smile speaking to reporters Monday at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Bill Belichick cracks a smile speaking to reporters Monday at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — This is a busy time for Bill Belichick and his staff.

He has a lot to consider as rosters get cut to 75 by Tuesday at 4 p.m. and to 53 by Saturday at 4 p.m. Will his starting center be ready for the season? Who will step up and fill the void for the injured James Develin? How many corners will he keep and which ones?

Then there’s the outside element, as in players that become available outside the organization, like veteran running back Fred Jackson, who was released Monday by the Bills.

And all of these questions don’t even include the uncertainty around the quarterback position, which is expected to resolve by the end of the week when Judge Richard Berman issues his ruling on the Tom Brady four-game suspension.

But first and foremost, Belichick needs to get from 84 to 75 by the end of the workday Monday. One of those moves has already been made with the reported release of tight end Jimmay Mundine.

“Some of those may be made today,” Belichick said during his Monday morning press conference. “We’€™re in the process of working through some things. There’€™s some moving parts. Some things play off other things, so whatever we have, we’€™ll just give you at the end of the day.

“It’€™s trying to balance a lot of things here at this time of year between roster, the Giants game, obviously the Pittsburgh opener and a number of other things. Each coach, each player is all in their own individual situation, whatever the circumstances are that surround it in the next couple weeks. We just have to try to work through it the best we can and try to get as much done as practically as possible. That’€™s what we’€™ll try to do.”

DraftKings Kick off this football season with the biggest fantasy football contest ever on DraftKings! Prizes worth $10 million are up for grabs, including $2 million for first AND $1 million for second! PLAY IN THE WEEK 1 MILLIONAIRE MAKER, CLICK HERE.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

FOXBORO — Tom Brady was just one of 12 players not spotted at Patriots practice on Monday in shorts and shells outside Gillette Stadium.