Chandler Jones

Chandler Jones

Chandler Jones, one of the defensive stars in Sunday’s 41-13 victory over the Dolphins, stopped by for a visit with the Middays with MFB crew on Monday at Gillette Stadium. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Jones made his return to the field after missing six games with a reported hip injury, and the defensive end finished with 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble while playing 55 of 81 snaps.

“My biggest thing was just moving forward from it. Each day forward was progression,” said Jones, who noted that he had an ‘X’ on the calendar marking the day he wanted to return. “I was just waiting for the doctor’s word and just taking it day by day by day, like Bill [Belichick] said. Yesterday was the day.”

Added Jones: “As I was sitting there getting ready, going through my pregame ritual, I started to kind of tear up, like, ‘Wow, I’m back, I’m back playing.’ And I just just hoped and prayed to God that I had a decent game and I was still able to move around. Because ‘lower-body injuries’ are harder to come back from.”

The Dolphins rallied past the Patriots for a win in Week 1, but the Pats showed that they are a different team than the one that started the season in Miami.

“Honestly and personally, I feel like each team in the NFL is a different team each week,” Jones said. “And not just as far as the roster — well, actually, the roster, too. And just the way teams approach different games and different game plans and different schemes. So we didn’t really look too far back on what had happened or certain yards given up. We had a new team since the last time we played them, and so did they. We just worked for what we had and we just tried to out-execute them, which we did.”

Teammate Brandon Browner continues to rack up the penalties, but Jones said the cornerback shouldn’t be too concerned about it.

“Brandon Browner is a very physical presence and he’s a very aggressive player,” Jones said. “I admire his game. I love it. I love it. Each and every time something happens I always walk up to him and say, ‘Hey, you know, let’s keep’ — because when guys start dwelling on the penalties and what they have done on the previous play, that’s when you get mixed [up]. There’s a whole game ahead of you. That’s my biggest thing, is I try to tell guys when I’m out there, ‘There’s a whole game to play, so don’t worry about that one play.’ So, he’s fine, he’s good. He’ll be all right.”

During his appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning, Tom Brady talked about his devotion to a proper diet. Jones admitted that he doesn’t have the same approach.

“I know I shouldn’t say this because I do a lot of things with the Play 60, you know, 60 minutes a day with the little kids and exercise, but I am seriously a human dumpster,” he said. “I will eat anything. I will eat anything.”

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

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

ESPN NFL analyst Tim Hasselbeck joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday to discuss the Patriots’€™ win over the Dolphins and other news around the NFL. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Patriots allowed the Dolphins 10 consecutive points at the end of the half, which cut the New England lead to 14-13. Hasselbeck said the locker room environment probably wasn’t angry, but one that looked to correct any issues from the first half.

“I don’€™t think it’€™s accusatory,” Hasselbeck said of the locker room. “I think what happens is you look at what [the other team is] doing. Really, what you try to do is you try to gather as much information as you’€™re able to gather. Usually, there’€™s some type of process where you’€™re going to the bathroom, the players do whatever they need to do. Guys, they go to the bathroom, they just switch their cleats. Whatever they need to do, grab a snack, whatever it is, they take their time to do that. The coaches will go and meet. The process of the coaches€™ meeting together, they’€™ll come up with a plan and say, ‘€˜Hey, look. These are the runs we think work. This what their kind of blitz du jour is for this week on third down. This is what where we’€™re having an issue with matchup-wise. This guy’€™s giving us a problem, so we need to help him.'”

Continued Hasselbeck: “They devise a plan and then you go talk about what the plan is for the second half going forward based on what did well and what you didn’t do well in the first half for whatever the reason. Whether it was a penalty situation, getting behind down and distance or whether it was a matchup thing. That’€™s really what happens, and I don’€™t think in an environment where you’€™re up one point there’€™s any situation to panic. I think you look at some of the maybe missed opportunities and things that you try to take advantage of in the second half.”

Rob Gronkowski was not involved in the offense in the first half, but when he grabbed three passes and touchdown in the second half, New England took off and ran up the score. This had many wondering why he wasn’t involved in the offense from the outset.

“People come in with a plan,” Hasselbeck said. “And then it’€™s kind of what I talked about with halftime and you start to adjust and you start to say, ‘OK, well this what we’€™re going to do formation-wise, so they’€™re not able to do that, so they’€™re not able to beat him up off the line of scrimmage.’ That type of stuff. And I think in the second half you saw that. Great example of something similar: You look at last night’€™s game, Cowboys and the Eagles. The first three third downs, [the Eagles] are dealing with Dez Bryant and they’€™re rolling somebody over the top to Dez, and Jason Witten has got one-on-one coverage and he’€™s not getting impeded off the line of scrimmage. In each of those third downs, Romo hits Witten for a first down. So, then Philadelphia is like, ‘€˜All right, enough of that. We can’€™t let him beat us.’ They start playing cover-1 single-high safety, bringing guys down so that there’€™s more traffic, congestion in the middle of the field. Well, then you isolate Dez Bryant and the game’€™s over at that point because Bradley Fletcher can’€™t cover him. So there’€™s elements and there’€™s that type of it’€™s either this or that when you’€™re starting to deal with guys that play inside the numbers vs. guys that are playing outside and how you’€™re defending it. I can’€™t say for sure that’€™s exactly what happened without going back and watching it closer, but I certainly get a sense that has something to do with it.”

The Browns turned to Johnny Manziel at quarterback Sunday in hopes of keeping their playoff hopes alive. In his starting debut, Manziel flopped, throwing for 80 yards and two interceptions in a 30-0 loss to the Bengals.

“It was a terrible start, and in fact I actually think was bad enough that Mike Pettine should think about revisiting the situation,” Hasselbeck said. “I don’€™t think that he will, but I think it was so bad that you have to look at it and you think, ‘€˜We made this move to hopefully get us better on offense. It made us worse.’€™ It absolutely made them worse on that side of the football. And really what was a pathetic offensive performance. I think he had five first downs. [Two] of them came by penalties. Think about that. They get [three] first downs by making a good offensive play the entire day. I mean, that’€™s absurd. That’€™s not good at all.”

Continued Hasselbeck: “They don’€™t trust him because he’€™s not ready yet. He doesn’t know what’€™s going on — he’€™s not ready yet. … Here’€™s the hard part for me and this was part of my evaluation of him when he was coming out. He would pass up open guys and then he’€™d make these ‘€˜Johnny Football’€™ plays that everyone would get excited [about] and I’€™m sure it’€™s fun to watch at times. He also made a lot of bad plays when that stuff happened. In college you can miss open guys and then get outside the pocket, start to make plays when you have superior talent surrounding you, which he did at Texas A&M. It doesn’t work that way in the pros. You can’€™t pass up open guys in the NFL.”

The reason the Browns even switched to their rookie quarterback was because Brian Hoyer had issues of his own behind center during the last few weeks. Hasselbeck said that the team surrounding Hoyer failed him.

“Here’€™s what people don’€™t realize about Hoyer and his struggles, though: The guys around him are playing terrible,” Hasselbeck said. “And Hoyer stabilizes the situation after they cut Ben Tate, the running back that they paid money to in the offseason to be their starting running back. Jordan Cameron is out with concussions for a good part of the year. Josh Gordon’€™s not even in the mix because of his suspension. So Brian Hoyer, while it’€™s not remarkable, with a cast of characters that’€™s not an impressive group. You give him Miles Austin and Andrew Hawkins at wide receiver Jim Dray at tight end. Two rookie running backs. You lost your Pro Bowl center. And Brian Hoyer is kind of stabilizing the situation.

“Well, then they get some guys back and they don’€™t take off offensively, and he struggles against the Buffalo Bills, who by the way, ended [Peyton Manning‘€™s] streak of touchdown passes. They made Aaron Rodgers look bad this past week. They pull Hoyer when they’€™re really actually not in not that bad of shape with 11 minutes left to play in Buffalo. So, at that point, it turned into a mess.”

Blog Author: 
Andrew Battifarano

Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show on Monday morning, a day after the Patriots clinched their 11th AFC East title in 12 seasons with a 41-13 rout of the Dolphins.

Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show on Monday morning, a day after the Patriots clinched their 11th AFC East title in 12 seasons with a 41-13 rout of the Dolphins. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Brady completed 21-of-35 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. He also scrambled for a first down in the third quarter to spark the offense after an unimpressive first half.

“I found a little space there,” Brady said of his run. “They’ve been doing it to us the last few times that we played them where they really focus the coverage on a few guys and it leaves definitely some places to run. When I felt like I had the look, I kind of wanted to pull the trigger, and I saw some space and got some great blocks down field. So it ended up being a big play in the game.”

That 17-yard run was a hot topic after the game.

“Well, it’s pretty atypical. I guess when it happens once every seven or eight years then yeah, it can definitely be talked about,” Brady joked. “But I thought there were a lot of great things to be talked about. Certainly, a lot of guys played really well yesterday. Our defense is playing as well as I can ever remember. They really set the tone for us the last bunch of weeks.

“I’m glad we were able to put some things together there in the second half. But it’s a good defense. They’re the fifth-rated defense in the league. They got guys that can rush, they got guys they can cover. We made some plays there in the second half, which was great to see.”

After being tackles, Brady got up and was very vocal in the direction of Dolphins safety Walt Aikens.

“I don’t remember [what was said]. No, I don’t remember much,” Brady said. “He gave me a good little pop. Normally I’m always going down or getting out, and I was pretty close to the goal line. But there’s a reason why they’re called safeties and they’re the last line of defense. He definitely didn’t let me get any farther than I wanted to go.”

Asked if he took the hit in an effort to light a fire under the team, Brady said: “Well, I said after the game that I wasn’t in the best of mood at that time. So I think when I got there and I was into the secondary and surveyed some things and then I saw him coming, I just figured, why not? I don’t take those too often because usually those don’t go to well for me or for many players when they’re not used to getting hit. And he was bigger than I thought he was. I wish I would’ve stayed on my feet. But it was good play, it was a play that we needed. A lot of guys made a bunch of plays that we needed. I was glad to be able to contribute.”

Later in the third quarter, as the Patriots were starting to pull away, Brady again was seen being very vocal on the sideline.

“I wanted more points. That’s what I wanted,” he said. “We had a bad first half, and we kind of exploded there in the second half. I really wanted to drive the nail in the coffin. I think we were all pretty disappointed by the first half and wanted to have a great second half. We had a good third quarter, and I really wanted us to finish strong with a great fourth quarter. We tried, we made some plays, got down there somewhat close and then couldn’t convert on the third down, which I would have loved to have done.

“Every time we take the field we’re trying to score. I don’t think we ever take the pedal off the metal until there’s no time left in the game. Especially against a team  that beat us before and we’ve always had tough games against. And they’re a good defense, so it was good to put up 41 on them.”

The Patriots led just 14-13 at halftime, with half of their points coming courtesy of special teams. Brady said there was a lot of emotion in the locker room during the break.

“I think that it wasn’t necessarily we were going to go in there and make a bunch of scheme changes, because we basically hardly had the ball on offense. We had the ball for 25 plays, and they were 25 pretty crappy plays,” he said. “It wasn’t like there was a lot of coaching going on about, ‘Here’s what we’re going to do, here’s what we’re going to adjust or change,’ because we hardly did anything to keep the ball. We couldn’t convert on third down. We just had so many poor plays, self-inflicted wounds that don’t allow you to score points. And you need to be able to string them together. We missed plays that we should have had.

“Everybody was pretty fired up. Certainly Josh [McDaniels] was fired up. He expects a lot more out of us than what we were giving him there in the first half. Everybody kind of dug deep, responded. Sometimes it doesn’t go well and you’ve got to see what kind of mental toughness you have. Last time we played them we were up 20-10 and they outscored us a bunch there in the second half. It was a little bit of a role reversal this time around.”

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

On the Sports Illustrated story detailing his dedication to his workout regimen and a healthy diet: “It’s been quite a learning experience for me over 15 years of playing pro football. I think there’s been a lot of things I’ve learned that I would love to teach other people, because I feel like I’ve learned a way that is the most conducive to — I always use the word sustaining peak performance. There’s a lot of high school kids, there’s a lot of college kids, there’s a lot of pro athletes that really want to do the best. And sometimes you get wrong information or misinformation. So you’re trying to do the best, but you end up getting better at getting worse. I think I’ve found ways I can really get better at getting better, and not just going out to do what people have always done in the past, just try to improve themselves as athletes. And it’s a very systematic thing.

“Really over the last four or five years I’ve always talked to my friend who is alluded to in the article, Alex, about, I always said when I was done playing I really want to go out and teach people. I have two sons myself that are going to be in sports, and I want them to not have the type of issues that a lot of players today or players of the past have had. Because I don’t think I’m going to have any of those problems with knees or hips or head issues or shoulder issues just because of the way that I’m able to take care of myself, and through the people and the support system that I have be able to try to perform as well as I can for as long as possible.

“Like I said, it’s more of a lifestyle. There’s no magic bullet. It’s not like you’ve got to do this one thing and you’ll be able to achieve that. It’s a lifestyle approach. It’s eating right, it’s the right nutrition, it’s working out the right way. It’s trying to be preventative. The last thing you want is to get an injury and then now you’re behind the eight-ball for the rest of the season. I think you’ve got to work as hard as you can to try to prevent injuries, and that’s the key to sustaining peak performance is to really not get hurt. That’s kind of what it was all about, and that’s what I’ve really learned over the years. I want to do a great job in my next life really educating people how to do that.”

On if he ever has times when he does not adhere to his healthy diet: “It’s balance in all things. So if that’s really what you want then you’ve got to go for it. But moderation to me is not once a day. It’s like, ‘Yeah, I don’t drink much, it’s just one drink a day.’ Well, to me that’s not really moderation. If you want to go out and you want to have a drink, it’s a special occasion, great. If you want to go out and have ice cream or a cheeseburger, great, in moderation. But you’d better do a lot of other things. It’s like having a bunch of bad meals and then having one good meal. That one good meal ain’t going to make any bit of difference. The same thing if you have a lot of good meals and you have one bad meal. The one bad meal is not going to make a difference. I’d say I do a lot more good than bad. But yeah, if I want to have a cheeseburger, I eat a cheeseburger. It’s not that rigid. …

“The one thing I probably don’t drink is soda. I haven’t had a soda in a long time. I don’t think that’s helping me at all. The hydration is really important for all athletes, because you really need hydrated muscles. You need soft, supple, playable muscles if you want to be able to sustain it. But so often we train ourselves to get big, rock-hard muscles that can’t give. Then once you get hit, that’s where you tear tendons and ligaments. … I see a lot of injuries around the league and I just shake my head, like, ‘Man, that’s so easily preventable.’ Think about it: You’ve got multimillion dollar athletes that you pay all this money to and then the guy can’t play because of a very easily preventable injury. And I think that’s the thing that’s frustrated me over the years to see is to see people get injured when it’s not really necessary. …

“I’ve always been someone that’s been intrigued by learning, and been intrigued by understanding better ways. And typically as an athlete you want to push the envelope. I kind of have a thirst for knowledge. I’m always trying to push the envelope with things that have different approaches. And I figure out the techniques that work for me. I think it’s balance in all things. I think that’s the most important thing.”

On his preferred desert of avocado cream with cacao: “It does the trick. It’s not quite as good as mint chocolate chunk or something like that, which is pretty delicious, too. Yeah, there’s a place by our house in Jamaica Plain that has it. The kids love it. It’s not as bad as it sounds.”

On if his sons will play football: “If they want to. I would love it. I think it’s the greatest sport in the world. It teaches you a lot about teamwork and discipline and work ethic and sacrifice and selflessness, all the great lessons that it’s taught me. I’m not worried about them playing at all, because I know that if there’s ever an injury — which, look, if you play sports there’s going to be injuries — that I know exactly how to treat them. It gives me a lot of peace of mind knowing that I’ve had someone that I’ve learned from that’s taken care of me for so long that I’m not worried about injuries, Yeah, they come up, you deal with them and then you get yourself better, you rehab the right way, you work hard to prevent injuries, and you get back out there and you’re able to do things that you love to do.”

On seeing Drew Bledsoe after the game: “It was great seeing him. He’s been a friend since the day we met. We’ve always kept in touch over the years and I love seeing him back at the games. It was nice to be with him.”

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

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FOXBORO — It was a hit that brought back many horrible memories for Patriots fans.


FOXBORO — It was a hit that brought back many horrible memories for Patriots fans.

On second-and-4 at the Miami 41, Tom Brady hit Rob Gronkowski on his third big seam route of the second half, good for 35 yards down to the Dolphins 6. But the bigger hit on the play came from Dolphins safety Jimmy Wilson. He came in like T.J. Ward did in Nov. 2013 and hit Gronkowski just above his surgically repaired right knee.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft was one of the first to visit Gronk after the game at his locker. Gronk assured the concerned owner, “It’s just a charley horse,” Gronkowski said in a smiling, assuring manner.

Later, the tight end added to WEEI.com, “it was just a stinger on the thigh. Get them all the time.”

Brady opened the second half with a 34-yard connection to Gronkowski on a seam route. The play was big for several reasons. It was Gronkowski’s first catch. It put Gronkowski over 1,000 yards on the season and it was a play that appeared to finally give the Patriots some offensive rhythm. Gronkowski was held without a catch on just two targets in the first half.

“Just got to start off with just one play, just one play to get the drive going and get the first down and get going and start clicking from there,” Gronkowski said. “It just takes one play at a time, do what you got to do, and just keep on going from there.”

The first offensive play after a interception by Patrick Chung, it was Brady again on a seam to Gronkowski for 27 yards and a touchdown.

“It was a good throw by Tom, good protection, and just a little play action and I just had a seam route, so I just ran up the seam and Tom had a nice pass and we just completed [it] and scored,” Gronkowski said. “It was just good execution as a whole on offense.”

Gronkowski, like everyone else on the field, had an opinion on Brady’s 17-yard scramble on third-and-11 on the first drive of the second half.

“€œI kind of saw it. I was out there,” Gronk said. “It was a nice run, so you got to give props to him and he made a very nice play to get the first down and we eventually scored on that drive, so huge props to Brady on that run, it was huge.”

Gronkowski said he doesn’t often see Brady take off, even in practice, but he’ll take it.

“Whatever it comes down to win he’€™ll do, so he saw the opening, he ran, and, what was it for ‘€“ 17 ‘€“yards and a first down? That was huge,” Gronkowski said. “Huge props to him and he does anything to win.”

Gronkowski finished with those three catches on eight targets for a touchdown and 96 yards in the 41-13 AFC East-clinching win. It wasn’t a monster game but Robert Kraft and the rest of the Patriots will take the tight end getting through the game healthy as a nice tradeoff.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Stephen Gostkowski became the Patriots' all-time leader scorer in Sunday's win. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Stephen Gostkowski became the Patriots’ all-time leader scorer in Sunday’s win. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Once again, special teams matter.

As as been the case in many games this season, including twice in as many weeks, special teams have played a major factor in a Patriots win.

Last Sunday in San Diego, Brandon Bolden blocked a punt and punter Ryan Allen had a terrific day to earn AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors. This week it was a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown to set the tone in the Patriots’ 41-13 win over the Dolphins to clinch their sixth straight AFC East title.

After the Dolphins drove down the field on their opening drive, but then stalled, Caleb Sturgis came on for a 43-yard field goal attempt. The athletic Jamie Collins was able to block the kick and Kyle Arrington alertly scooped up the loose ball and ran it 62 yards for a Patriots touchdown.

“It was a good — that’€™s kind of what the outside guys are looking for,” coach Bill Belichick said of the play. “They’€™re looking for a block to put themselves in a position, which he did, to be able to attack the ball. That’€™s the kind of situation where there really aren’€™t too many guys on the other side of the ball that can tackle or are very good tacklers. If you can just get it up and get going ‘€“ a bunch of offensive linemen, a couple specialists. Kyle is a fast guy. Once he got a little bit of space, I don’€™t think there are too many guys who can run him down. But it was a good — he did his job. He was in position and took advantage of the opportunity and turned it into points. It was a heads up play.”

It was the third blocked field goal of the season for the Patriots, which ties a franchise record. Chandler Jones had one in Week 2 against the Vikings, and Chris Jones had one in the closing seconds of Week 7’s game against the Jets. Overall, the Patriots have blocked four kicks this season, including three field goals and a blocked punt. The four blocked kicks are the most for the Patriots since 2002.

The touchdown wasn’t the only special teams accomplishment in the win, as kicker Stephen Gostkowski became the Patriots’ all-time leader scorer in the game. With five extra points and two field goals, the kicker now has 1,165 points, which passes Adam Vinatieri‘s 1,165 for the franchise lead.

‘€œSomething like that doesn’€™t really set in,” Gostkowski said. “I’€™ve said this before, but any accomplishment that I make will be something that I’€™ll look back on when I’€™m done playing, and be excited about and probably brag to my kids and my grandkids about, hopefully. It was cool. It was a special game for me. It’€™s my son’€™s birthday tomorrow and my whole family is in town. Just a coincidence of something like that happening at home and with a lot of people in town. It was cool because my family doesn’€™t come to many games. Just happened to come to this one and make it a little more special.

“I looked over after they announced it and my family was really excited. They were jumping up and down. It was pretty cool. My oldest son turns five tomorrow and my family is from all over the place. My brother’€™s from Florida and my dad and mom both live in New York. We won, on top of it. It was just a special day. Winning another AFC East Championship and then to get a little bit of recognition was cool, on top of it.”

Gostkowski also noted how much special teams matter on a team like New England and having players like Pro Bowler Matthew Slater play such an important role on the team.

‘€œIt’€™s fun. As much work, time, and effort as we put into it, as much as Coach [Bill] Belichick stresses it week-to-week, we feel confident going out there and we want to be a difference maker in the game, not a reason why a team loses,” he said. “There’€™s a big difference. We go out there and play with a lot of confidence. We have a lot of really good players who put a lot of good time and effort into it. Sometimes in high school and college, people might think that’€™s kind of a diss to not be able to play on offense and defense, but our guys have a ton of pride in playing special teams and it shows. We make a lot of really good plays and we want to be a difference-maker and help the team win.’€

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

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FOXBORO — When Tom Brady took off on his memorable tone-setting 17-yard jaunt in the third quarter, Julian Edelman had a couple of visions flash though his mind.

“It’s always fun to see the Clydesdale run,” Edelman said. “He’s been working hard on his little mobility stuff. He takes that to heart. It always fun to see him get fired up after a run. I call him Brady-Vick. He’s always had unbelievable pocket awareness. It’s always great to seeing the big dog out there moving the chains.”

Told the third-and-11 run was 17 yards, Edelman was incredulous.

“It was 17 yards? That was the slowest 17 yards I’ve ever seen in my life,” Edelman said.

Of course, the first half was no laughing matter. The Patriots were spinning their wheels. They led 14-13 over the Dolphins but couldn’t put a lot of plays together.

“I can’t answer that question, ‘Why it didn’t work in the first half?'” Edelman said. “But I can answer that it was a little better in the second half. We definitely have to go out and work on starting it faster, plain and simple, because now each and every game has a little more value. We’ll definitely have to work on that and I’m sure that’ll be a focus with our coaches.

‘€œThe first half, we didn’€™t really execute what we were trying to do. On the first drive, we moved the ball a little bit here and there and kind of puttered off or fluttered off or whatever you want to call it. We came in and basically just said, ‘€˜Let’€™s just play each play and try to do your assignment and just try to execute,’€™ and we were able to do that a little bit better in the second half.’€

What was said at halftime?

‘€œWe gave up a big lead the first time we played these guys, so we just came in here and said, ‘€˜Let’€™s go back to the fundamentals of what we have to do each and every play.’€™ It’€™s not about X’€™s and O’€™s; it’€™s about execution and going out and just doing your job and making a play,” Edelman said. “It seemed like we were able to do that a little better in the second half. There were a couple things that we still have to work on, and we’€™ll do that this week, but it was good to come out here and get my sixth division title in the six years that I’€™ve been here.”

Julian Edelman is on a short list of players on the Patriots who have been around for all six AFC East titles won since 2009.

“It’€™s pretty amazing,” Edelman said. “You put in all the time and the effort in the offseason, and you go through the long days of training camp, and before that you have the OTAs, and you put in all this time and work and effort for this right here. I’€™ve been fortunate enough to get six, and now we get to play some real football.”

Edelman joins Brady, Vince Wilfork, Stephen Gostkowski, Matthew Slater, Dan Connolly, Ryan Wendell Sebastian Vollmer, Kyle Arrington and Rob Ninkovich who have been around for all six AFC East titles won since 2009. That’s a lot of hats and t-shirts.

“I actually have them all stashed in my closet, literally with rubber bands with t-shirt,” Edelman said. “I go in and look at them every once in a while. They’re in my closet and that’s my little spot. I don’t want to lose them. I don’t know where I’m going to be in 10 years.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Chandler Jones

Chandler Jones

FOXBORO — It had been almost exactly two months to the day since Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones last played in a game.

Sunday, Jones returned to action for the first time since suffering a hip injury Oct. 16 against the Jets and made his return memorable, as he finished with seven tackles and 1.5 sacks in the Patriots’ 41-13 blowout win over the Dolphins.

“€œI felt great,” said Jones. “The coaches did a great job of mixing me up and switching in-and-out with different guys. It also felt really good to be back out there with my teammates.”

By our count, Jones played 48 snaps and didn’t seem limited in any way. He lined up both as a defensive end, and in a 3-point stance with Akeem Ayers and Dont’a Hightower sometimes outside of him.

Jones returned to practice the week of the Green Bay game, two weeks ago, but eased back into things before being active for the first time on Sunday.

“€œI was just listening to what Coach [Bill] Belichick told me and the doctors and the trainers, taking it a day at a time,” said Jones. “I know you guys heard Bill say we’€™ll take it day-by-day-by-day, and that’€™s what we were doing. Like I said, it felt good to be back out there with my teammates. Just a few months ago I was on crutches. So for me to be out there running with my team, I got a little emotional, but it felt good to be out there.”

It was the first extended period of time the defensive end has missed since missing some time in his rookie year, so before the game when he was getting back into his pregame routine was when he started to become emotional.

“Just getting ready, he said. “As I am putting my pads on and just getting my wrists taped, getting my ankles taped — just going through that whole routine and process of a pregame again. It kind of felt a little emotional like this is happening, I am back out there so you just have to enjoy it. Every day, every second you have the opportunity to play at this level. You just have to enjoy it.”

Jones’ 1.5 sacks raises his total to six on the season, which is second on the team to Rob Ninkovich‘s eight. Jones will fall short of his total of 11.5 sacks last season, but with the time he missed, six isn’t too shabby.

“It felt good first sack back,” said Jones. “Hopefully, I was wishing we could have recovered it, but it felt real good to help the team.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable