Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo, who has yet to play a game this preseason, joined Middays with MFB on Thursday as the team prepares to play the Panthers on Friday night. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Mayo, who suffered a season-ending torn pectoral muscle last Oct. 13, would not share information about the reason why he was held out of last week’s joint practices with the Eagles and ensuing preseason game, saying only, “I’m fine.” He’s practiced with the team this week but said he’s not sure if he’ll be playing in Friday’s game.

“Whenever I get back out there I’m sure I’ll hopefully have a good time getting out there with the guys and competing against another team,” he said.

Mayo explained that he’s bought in to Bill Belichick‘s approach of avoiding sharing details with the media.

“Obviously everyone has their own personality and everyone has their own flavor that they want to put on answers,” Mayo said. “But at the same time, you don’t want to give the opposition too much information. It’s the radio. Everybody’s listening to this station.”

One of the big stories of the preseason has been the officials’ strict adherence to the rules, as the flags have been flying with high frequency.

“That’s where the league is trending, to [calling] the illegal contact,” Mayo said. “It’s not a new rule. It’s just a point of emphasis. We just have to abide by the rules and hopefully go out there and play good football.”

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

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar
Jordan Devey

Jordan Devey

FOXBORO — The Patriots are giving offensive lineman Jordan Devey a long, hard look this preseason.

Following the second week of preseason games, Devey was the only player in the entire NFL to go wire-to-wire in both games, as the 26-year-old has played all 148 offensive snaps for the Patriots through the first two games.

“It’€™s camp. We’€™re all fighting for a position and we’€™re all trying to do our job to our best and that is what I am trying to do — get better everyday,” Devey said.

After spending last season on the Patriots practice squad, Devey entered training camp as a long-shot to make the team, but he’€™s given himself a chance. The Patriots drafted three offensive linemen — Bryan Stork, Cameron Fleming, and Jon Halapio – and also have plenty of veterans at the position, but even with the crowd, Devey has stood out in Bill Belichick‘€™s mind.

“I think he’€™s improved a lot from last year,” Belichick said. “€œHe’€™s had a good offseason. He’€™s worked really hard. He’€™s a smart guy. His fundamentals have improved. His strength is better. His offseason program was very productive. … He really was able to take advantage of that and put himself in a very competitive position.”

After being an undrafted free agent by the way of Snow College and the University of Memphis and linking up with the Patriots following a stint with the Ravens last year, Devey acknowledged the offseason work he put in is starting to show in his play.

“I feel like I am able to sit lower in my stance and come off with a little bit more power,” Devey said. “I still feel like I have a long way to go, I haven’€™t peaked in the weight room yet. Everyday I still feel like I can get stronger.”

A number of the current Patriots starting linemen have spent time on a practice squad at one time or another, including Dan Connolly and Ryan Wendell. Seeing them get to where they are today, gives him some added confidence in getting to his goal of one day being a starting offensive lineman.

“It was incredible,”€ he said of his time on the practice squad last year. “€œWe have a lot of great guys on the o-line with a lot of experience. I knew as a practice squad guy — first off to help the defensive guys get better, but also learn from the vets — guys like Logan Mankins, Sebastian Vollmer, Nate Solder, Dan Connolly, Ryan Wendell — all those guys at one point or another have been in my shoes and I learned from them and how to get better from it.”

One of the biggest things going for Devey is his ability to play almost every position on the line, as he has lined up at every spot except center this preseason.

“€œAll the coaches that I’€™ve had in the past and the coach I have now, they really stress trying to be able to play more positions,”€ Devey said. ‘€œI feel like it’€™s helped me. The more you can do, the more it helps you in the long run.”

Although it would seem Devey has come a long way in just one offseason –“ going from the practice squad to now playing every snap through the first two preseason games — he still feels like he has a long way to go and can be even better.

“I feel like I still have a long way to go,” Devey said. “€œThere are always techniques that I can improve on. I feel like I have improved a lot from last year, but I still feel like there is a long way to go for me.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

FOXBORO — Every once in a while, there’s a player perfectly suited to play with Tom Brady.

Everyone knows about Wes Welker, Randy Moss, Julian Edelman, Troy Brown and Deion Branch.

But there’s one player who fits into that category, a player that has most certainly flown under the radar since his arrival in New England as an all-purpose player.

Since being released off Cincinnati’s practice squad in the middle of the 2012 season, Develin has found a home in New England. Develin is the kind of Patriot that Bill Belichick, and by extension, Tom Brady, love having around. He was a defensive end at Brown before switching over to tight end and fullback with the Bengals and the Patriots.

He played in all 16 games last season for the Patriots, carrying the ball four times for 10 yards. But that hardly tells the story for the fullback. Three of those carries were for first downs. The other? his first career touchdown. He was targeted four times in the passing game, catching all four passes for 62 yards and three first downs.

On Wednesday, Brady was asked about Develin’s evolution as a player.

“He’€™s done such a great job,” Brady said. “He’€™s such a selfless player, great teammate. I don’€™t think there is a better fullback in the league, so I’€™m so happy he’€™s on our team, and what he’€™s been able to accomplish for our team has been awesome. He brings so much in terms of his toughness, his attitude. It’€™s that one position on offense that can really bring a lot of toughness. You get it out of that fullback position. He does whatever the team asks him to do. I can’€™t say enough good things about him because I think so highly of him.”

Last Friday against the Eagles, he caught a pass from Jimmy Garoppolo and steamrolled 15 yards for a touchdown. He caught two passes for 27 yards and is becoming a legitimate threat out of the backfield as a receiving option. Clearly, Brady has no hesitation throwing the ball to a player who once played defensive end for the Brown Bears.

“Absolutely not. I want to get it to him, believe me,” Brady insisted. “I want to throw it and see if he can make the defense pay because that’€™s what he does such a great job of. You give it to him for a four-yard gain, and he comes up and, ‘€˜Bam!’€™ he runs over a safety or a corner. That’€™s a great spark for our team. I want to give it to him as many times as I can in those positions.

“He’€™s been so dependable for us. I think he’€™s been so consistent since he’€™s been here. Once he got his opportunity he really took advantage of it last summer when we put the pads on for the first time, and he really showed us what he’€™s all about. He continued that through the whole season, became a really dependable player for us last year, and he’€™s carried that over into this season. It’€™s great to have him, and all the skill guys we’€™re going to need because it’€™s a long year. Whoever is active at the skill spots, we’€™ve got to use everybody.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Apparently the Patriots made the right move not bringing back LeGarrette Blount.

The Patriots’ second-leading rusher of 2013 was arrested Tuesday afternoon, along with fellow Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell, for possession of marijuana after Steelers practice.

Apparently the Patriots made the right move not bringing back LeGarrette Blount.

The Patriots leading rusher of 2013 was arrested Tuesday afternoon, along with fellow Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell, for possession of marijuana after Steelers practice.

According to the Ross Police Department, Pittsburgh’s top two tailbacks were in a car together and stopped by police. Detectives say a motorcycle officer smelled marijuana smoke coming from the car and pulled it over. Police found a container of approximately 20 grams of pot in the vehicle.

Both Bell and Blount are expected to be charged with possession of marijuana. Bell is also expected to be charged with driving under the influence. An unidentified female in the car is also expected to be charged with possession of marijuana. Authorities also say all three persons in the car admitted the marijuana belonged to all of them.

Blount signed with the Steelers this offseason after rushing for 772 yards and seven touchdowns on 153 carries last season in New England, a performance that earned him a two-year, $3.85 million dollar deal in the Steel City. Blount signed a one-year deal in May 2013 with the Patriots for $680,000.

As Bell, the Steelers took their lead feature back in the second round of the 2013 draft, and he won the starting job as a rookie, totaling 244 carries for 860 yards and eight touchdowns in ’13.

The case will go forward, and likely be resolved, before the NFL steps in and decides on possible discipline for Bell and Blount.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Kenbrell Thompkins

Kenbrell Thompkins

FOXBORO — For second-year wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins, he could be riding high following his touchdown catch in last Friday’€™s second preseason game against the Eagles and then the high praise he received from Tom Brady following the game.

But, that isn’€™t the attitude Thompkins has — as he doesn’€™t look too much into things such as that.

“I see Tom everyday. It doesn’€™t make me feel any different — that’€™s my quarterback, we have other quarterbacks as well and we all learn,”€ Thompkins said. “We’€™re all teammates and we try and push each other to try and get better.”

The wide receiver position is one of the most competitive on the team as besides sure locks Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola, there is Thompkins, Brandon LaFell, Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce and Brian Tyms. Of that bunch, it is likely the team will carry five on their final 53-man roster, so the competition is heating up for the final two preseason games.

Thompkins may have an inside track to one of those spots as besides the confidence from Brady, he showed flashes in his rookie season when he caught 70 passes for 466 yards and four touchdowns, including the thrilling game-winner against the Saints. Even with all that going for him, Thompkins is just worried about controlling the things he can control.

“I’€™m out there trying to do the best I can and doing the best for my team trying to be on top of things I need to be on top of,”€ said Thompkins.

With the third preseason game this Friday against Carolina, many say the third preseason game is a dress rehearsal for the regular season. For Thompkins, like how he views everything else, he is just treating it like any other game.

“€œI think we all come in each and everyday making sure we’€™re all on top of our game,” he said. “I can’€™t speak for anyone else, but I don’€™t think there is any pressure. It’€™s another football game, another week of practice and another week to get better.”

€Thompkins did admit he is looking forward to the regular season, but is still treating the rest of the preseason like he treats most other things — focusing on the task at hand and not looking too far into things.

“It’€™s pretty exciting,” Thompkins said. “In the preseason we have a lot of these games to see where we are right now and the regular season is approaching, but we’€™re trying to focus on Carolina now. When the regular season and Game 1 comes we’€™ll prepare for that week and let things take care of themselves.”€

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

FOXBORO — Tom Brady knows what everyone else does about preseason game No. 3 – it’s the real dress rehearsal for the regular season opener on Sept. 7 in South Florida.

Brady_Tom-Patriots-8-20-14

Tom Brady looks forward to preseason game No. 3 vs. Carolina, a dress rehearsal of sorts for him and the Patriots offense. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — Tom Brady knows what everyone else does about preseason game No. 3 – it’s the real dress rehearsal for the regular season opener on Sept. 7 in South Florida.

And Brady will be going up against a very physical and aggressive Panthers team that is thinking along the same lines when the Patriots and Carolina square off Friday night at Gillette Stadium.

For that reason, Brady and his offensive mates have done a lot of game-planning off tape from their game last November in Charlotte and Carolina’s first two preseason games to be ready for what’s ahead Friday.

“We’€™ve done a bunch of that, and it’€™s a good game to really gauge where we’€™re at because we’€™re playing a really good team, a great defense ‘€“ one that we played last year and really struggled with at times,” Brady said, referencing the 24-20 loss to the Panthers on the controversial no-call involving Luke Kuechly and Rob Gronkowski in the end zone. “So, this will tell us where we’€™re at. We’€™ve got to go out there and execute really well in order to move the ball down the field. They’€™ve got some of the best linebackers, a very good secondary and one of the best pass rushes in the league. It’€™s a good challenge, and I think the guys are excited. This is big week that we’€™ve tried to make some improvements, and we’€™ll see if it pays off.”

As WEEI.com’s Chris Price has referenced before, this is the game where Brady usually sees up to 50 snaps over a full half of play, sometimes bleeding into the third quarter. Game conditioning is also a big factor to look for Friday as Brady runs his offense through various tempos, including traditional huddle, no-huddle, hurry-up, two-minute and red zone.

“Coach [Bill Belichick] always does a great job of trying to keep us in great condition, so we do a lot of running in practice, a lot of post-practice running,” Brady said Wednesday. “But you’€™ve got to get out there and play, get your mind working and get into the situations and concentrate for extended periods of time. And certainly we’€™re going to be asked to do four quarters of that in three weeks. We’€™ve got to go out and see where we’€™re at, and hopefully we’€™re in good enough condition to play a half. Hopefully, we can play a lot more than that, but it’€™ll be good to see where we’€™re at.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Roy Finch is one of a few possible candidates for the kick returner job this season.</p>
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FOXBORO — Aaron Dobson has been battling his own health. Now he can begin the battle for his job.

Dobson suffered a stress fracture during his rookie season of 2013 and never fully recovered, eventually having surgery on the foot in March and missing OTAs and minicamp.