FOXBORO — Jamie Collins returned to practice Wednesday as the Patriots began preparations for the Oakland Raiders in the home openers this Sunday but another linebacker was absent.

Jerod Mayo was not spotted at the start of full pads practice as the team worked out on the upper grass fields.

Collins was missed practice Thursday and Friday with a thigh injury and was inactive for the 30-7 win over the Vikings on Sunday.

Mayo did not play a snap in the preseason but has played in both of the team’s regular season games as he returns from a torn pectoral muscle that ended his season last October in a win against the Saints.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price preview the Patriots' home opener against the Oakland Raiders, a team they should beat without too much trouble.

[0:00:18] ... home game starting one and one on the road they have the Oakland Raiders this Sunday here at Gillette Stadium. It is a game that by all rights they really should win and win comfortably. Your ...
[0:06:06] ... Football League actually quite the two weeks. At the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson case is coming to the four Bill Belichick saying on Tuesday during a conference call. That he -- believes in free speech for his players and if they wanna speak out they speak out Tom Brady chose this week to say. I'm sick and in my own lane I'm not gonna talk about it he repeated that theme. ...
[0:07:23] ... to think and what the players one. Let's wrap up talking about Tom Brady. He was asked the question that's really on everybody's mind how does he do a better job of distributing the Baltimore then just Rob Gronkowski and Julian element. -- in this offense that is really you've been the subject on everybody's mind and really the focal point of the criticism of this offense here in the 2014. Season just two games in albeit. But that is what people are wondering. And Tom Brady said yeah we do wanna be like the San Antonio Spurs we have to distribute the ball but we also have to ...
[0:08:45] ... you -- -- we need to be very encouraged to hear what Tom Brady said because. This means that there's a greater chance that other guys have been involved in the passing game Vereen we saw ...






Tom Brady acknowledged Wednesday that he's focused too much on Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski over the first two games.</p>
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FOXBORO — Tom Brady looked visibly frustrated after Sunday’€™s 30-7 win over the Vikings and for a valid reason — the offense, especially the passing game, hasn’€™t performed to their capabilities through the first two games of the season.

Tom Brady and the Patriots rank 27th in the NFL in passing offense.  (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Tom Brady and the Patriots are 27th in the NFL in passing offense. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Tom Brady looked visibly frustrated after Sunday’€™s 30-7 win over the Vikings and for a valid reason — the offense, especially the passing game, hasn’€™t performed to their capabilities through the first two games of the season.

Over the first two weeks of the season, the offense ranks 27th in the NFL in total offense and 27th in passing. Brady threw for 249 yards in Week 1 against the Dolphins and 149 yards last week against the Vikings. Their 368 net passing yards is only ahead of the Jaguars, Jets, Texans and Buccaneers.

“We have a long way to go,” Brady said Wednesday. “€œLike I said, every week it starts again and whatever we did last week we’€™re trying to make improvements so that we come out the next week and play better. There is more margin of error because we’€™re doing things better, more crisp with better anticipation and confidence in one another. We’€™ll ultimately see how it plays out. It’€™s really early in the year and we have a lot of football left.

“We’€™re still trying to figure out what we’€™re good at and we’€™ll probably be trying to figure that out for a long time. All the way through the season we have to adapt to changes with the guys out there and with what we think we need to do to win. We’€™re trying to make improvements. I don’€™t think we’€™re ready for the Super Bowl this week, but I think we have a lot of work to go and certainly playing against Oakland is a big challenge because they have a great pass defense and we need to understand where there strengths are and execute better than we have in the first few weeks.”

In comparison to the 149 passing yards last week, Brady has thrown for less than 149 yards only three times since 2009 — two of them coming last year.

One of the major things that stands out in the passing game is the way the ball is being distributed. Brady has 78 pass attempts this year with 70 of them being targeted at a receiver. Of those 70, Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman have been targeted 46 percent of the time and of Brady’€™s 44 pass completions, 20 of them (45 percent) have been to Edelman or Gronkowski.

Brady admits he needs to do a better job of throwing the ball to more receivers and getting everyone involved in the passing game.

“€œI think that’€™s definitely a big part of what we’€™re trying to do offensively — to make us hard to defend — is to be able to throw the ball to everybody,” Brady said. “You’€™re right, those guys have seen the majority of the throws and I have to do a better job of finding the other guys because there are a lot of good routes, big targets, guys are working really hard to get open. Hopefully it shows up this week in our passing game and we’€™re going to work hard at it this week to see if we can all be on the same page more often.”

Fortunately for the Patriots, it is only Week 3 of the season and there are 14 more regular season games to improve from where they currently are. The group certainly knows what they are capable of as they have finished in the NFL’s top 10 in terms of total passing offense in four of the last five seasons and in the top five three times.

“€œI think great offenses are ones where you go where the reads take you and you throw it — when we’€™re open we make the catch, the blocking is good, the throws are good, the timing is good — that’€™s what we’€™re working towards,” Brady said. “€œIt’€™s a lot of practice. We’€™re still early in the year and we have a lot of work to do. … Hopefully we can go out and do a better job. Like I said, we have a lot of work ahead — it’€™s a long season. The better we practice the more confidence we have in each other in games and hopefully the better it shows up in a game.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Wes Welker can now begin getting ready for NFL action. Brian Tyms and Brandon Browner presumably must still wait.

Aaron Hernandez has been mostly quiet since his incarceration in 2013 for the murder of Odin Lloyd, but through a court filing released Tuesday, the former Patriots tight end revealed some of his thoughts about the case.

When police investigated the murder in June 2013, they searched the Hernandez home and also wanted Hernandez’s cell phone. Hernandez said in the document that the investigation of his home made him worried for his the rest of his family.

“I felt helpless in the face of the occupation of my house by the police,” Hernandez said. “I was also very concerned about what would happen to my fiancee and our baby if I refused to answer their questions.”

The court filling is an attempt to support a motion that would suppress evidence from Hernandez’s cell phone. During the occupation of the house by 10 officers, Hernandez said police asked for the phone and its password.

The day before the investigation of the home, lawyers told police that all questions about the case should be directed toward them and not Hernandez. The ex-player’s attorneys also said Hernandez should have been read a Miranda warning to remain silent.

Hernandez’s legal team also is looking to suppress evidence that police took from his SUV, saying the warrant to search it did not have probable cause.

Blog Author: 
Andrew Battifarano
Wes Welker claims he did not knowingly take a banned substance. (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Wes Welker claims he did not knowingly take a banned substance. (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Wes Welker can now begin getting ready for NFL action. Brian Tyms and Brandon Browner presumably must still wait.

Under terms of the new NFL/NFLPA drug policy, players who tested positive in the offseason for stimulants banned under the old PED policy will be reinstated.

However, the joint announcement released Wednesday morning named only three such players who qualify to return this week: Welker, Cowboys defensive back Orlando Scandrick and Rams receiver Stedman Bailey.

But the joint announcement from the league and the union identifies only three players to return: Broncos receiver Wes Welker, Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick, and Rams receiver Stedman Bailey.

This brings up the question of why Browner and Tyms, two Patriots with pre-existing four-game suspensions, must still serve their suspensions.

Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan also argued that his four-game suspension came from taking a banned stimulant.

NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports that the league and players union have agreed to a higher threshold for a positive marijuana test and a two-game suspension upon conviction or plea agreement for driving under the influence.

HGH testing, according to the release, should begin by the end of the month and will be fully implemented this season. NFL.com’s Albert Breer reported Wednesday that union sources claim there should be approximately 20 players affected by retroactive enforcement of the new policy.

The names of all the players who are affected by the new policy won’t be made public, according to Breer. Some players who had entered into the early stages of the program will simply be moved back a step. Names are kept confidential in the early stages of the league’s drug program. Players on the first or second step of the marijuana policy could be moved back according to Breer.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

FOXBORO — Chandler Jones had the best all-around game of his three-year career on Sunday in Minnesota. On Wednesday, he was rewarded with his first AFC Defensive Player of the Week award.

Chandler Jones

Chandler Jones

FOXBORO — Chandler Jones had the best all-around game of his three-year career on Sunday in Minnesota. On Wednesday, he was rewarded with his first AFC defensive player of the week award.

Jones sacked Matt Cassel twice (matching a career high), had eight total tackles (six solo), hit the quarterback three times and recorded three tackles for a loss. The Patriots allowed a touchdown on the opening drive but held the Vikings scoreless the rest of the day in a 30-7 win.

Jones also blocked a field goal attempted and returned it 58 yards for a touchdown just before halftime. That play would fall under special teams recognition, not defense.

While this is Jones’ first player of the week honor, it’s not the first time he’s been recognized. He was named AFC Defensive Player of the Month for November last season.

The last time the Patriots earned an AFC Defensive Player of the Week honor was Week 10 of the 2011 season when Andre Carter tied a team record with four sacks at the New York Jets on Nov. 13, 2011.

Last season, the Patriots earned two AFC Player of the Week honors (QB Tom Brady in Week 12 and RB LeGarrette Blount in Week 17) and two AFC Player of the Month honors (K Stephen Gostkowski ‘€“ Special Teams Player of the Month for October and DE Chandler Jones ‘€“ AFC Defensive Player of the Month for November).

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia