WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan, Middays with MFB and Dale & Holley are in Arizona all week, along with a team of WEEI.com writers.

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Middays with MFB on Radio Row

Middays with MFB on Radio Row


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PHOENIX — Clearly a lot of has been made over the last week-plus of what turned into Deflategate.

Robert Kraft

Robert Kraft

PHOENIX — Clearly a lot of has been made over the last week-plus of what turned into Deflategate.

It reached its peak Monday night when owner Robert Kraft surprised everyone and spoke prior to the Patriots’ media session at their hotel in Chandler, Arizona and emphatically stood on his team’s side maintaining they did nothing wrong.

Kraft spoke again at the team’s media day Tuesday and said it isn’t affecting the team.

“By and large, except for our quarterback, they’re not paying much attention to it,” Kraft said. “I think they think it’s a bunch of hogwash.”

Kraft said he and his son Jonathan spent the flight to Arizona Monday writing the remarks, but he went back-and-forth deciding whether he would take to the podium before Bill Belichick and Tom Brady‘s scheduled press conferences. Ultimately, 15 minutes before he decided he would speak.

The owner said he got a lot of positive feedback from the team internally, but wouldn’t go into much detail.

“I think they were appreciative, but I don’t think it was a surprise,” Kraft said. “This business is a very complicated, hard business that can be very cruel at times. It’s like family, a marriage … it’s important to always be together on the same page even when you might have minor disagreements. I can tell you, we at the top of the Patriots, my family and our key people, are all one. That was the message I tried to express yesterday.”

Kraft responded to Richard Sherman‘s comments earlier the week about Roger Goodell’s relationship with him and possibly affecting discipline with the Patriots, as Goodell was seen at a get together with Kraft the night before the AFC championship game.

“I think Richard Sherman is a very smart marketing whiz,” Kraft responded. “If you go into the facts of what he said, the NFL always used to pay for a big party for the AFC championship game. We’ve been privileged to own the team for 21 years, and this was our 10th championship game. When the league stopped giving the parties, we started doing it. This is our third one.”

The owner also added the party had a lot of NFL sponsors attend, which ultimately are the ones who help Sherman get paid.

“I think Mr. Sherman understood that he’s the biggest beneficiary, because they get over 50 percent of the revenues,” Kraft said. “So he didn’t go to Harvard, but Stanford must be pretty good because he figured it out.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

PHOENIX — Figure skating champions Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir, working for NBC Sports while at Super Bowl XLIX, spent plenty of time speaking with the Patriots at Tuesday’s media day, and came away impressed enough to say they’re rooting for New England in the Super Bowl.

The two interviewed several members of the Patriots, but came away most impressed by tight end Rob Gronkowski.

“We just met him. We love Rob. Everything is about Rob right now,” Lipinski said, before adding that the Patriots, “were awesome.”

Rob Gronkowski is such a gentleman. He’s so handsome and so tall and so kind,” Weir said. “We loved meeting all of them. We’re rooting for the Patriots.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

PHOENIX — Since 2001, the Patriots have a 170-54 record in the regular-season and have been to six Super Bowls (including this season) and another nine AFC championship games.

What’s the biggest reason for the team’s success? Tom Brady, according to Julian Edelman.

“I think there’€™s a common factor there, of this guy named Tom Brady. He’€™s pretty good,” Edelman said on Tuesday. “He and we have some coaches that work their tails off. The scouting department knowing who they want and all of that kind of stuff. They all work together. I don’€™t know, you’€™d have to ask Coach (Bill) Belichick on that one.”

Edelman has excelled on special teams during his career. Back in the last Patriots’ Super Bowl, Edelman’s only role was returning kicks. Now, he’s turned into one of the better punt returners in the game.

For his career he’s returned 132 punts for 1,616 yards and four touchdowns, including 25 for 299 yards and a touchdown this season.

“A punt return play is one of the plays that you can be prepared for the most out of any play in football,” said Edelman. “You can look at the situation, you have time to look at the wind pattern, where you’€™re at on the field, what time it is in the game, all that kind of stuff, the trajectory of the punt, it all comes into consideration if you’€™re going to return it, if there’€™s a block.

“As a punt returner, your job is to get 10 yards. If you get 10 yards, you’€™re happy. Anything after that is cream. Ultimately, your job is to give the ball to the offense with some good field position. They have a tough unit. They’€™re fast, they play hard on that unit. We’€™re definitely going to have to bring our A-game and prepare these next few days to get ready for it.”

Edelman, who was drafted in 2009, has played five seasons with Rob Gronkowski and had nothing but good things to say about the Patriots’ star tight end.

“Rob is a great teammate,” said Edelman. “He’€™s a big goofball, a big baby. All he cares about is football and football. You love having him in the locker room. He makes things fun. He works hard. He’€™s all about this team. It’€™s great to have him. He’€™s one of the best.”

As for the game Sunday against the Seahawks, Edelman knows he and the rest of the offense will be challenged going up against the No. 1 ranked pass defense in the NFL, as Seattle allowed 185.6 yards per game in the regular season.

“They do what they do. What they do is very, very good,” he said. “Lining up in the slot, you know that they’€™ve got guys over there that can hit, that know their scheme, that know all that stuff. As a slot, or as someone that plays outside-in, what you ultimately try to do is go see the coverage, see what you have to do on that play, that specific situation and remember what the coaches said about this and that. Then, you have to be able to adjust on the go. This team is a swarming defense, fast and you know that you have to get the ball and you have to be able to take advantage of what they give you.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

PHOENIX — Brandon Browner laughed off the controversy surrounding his comments to ESPN earlier in the week suggesting that his teammates should go after Richard Sherman‘s injured elbow.

PHOENIX — Rarely does the media get to see Bill Belichick smile and laugh. But on Tuesday, at media day here in the Valley of the Sun, Chya Mayo was able to turn the trick.

Yes, that Chya Mayo is the start of “A ‘Lil Mayo” on Patriots.com and the four-year-old was going around asking different Patriots questions. What was her question for Bill Belichick?

“What stuffed animals do you like?”

His answer: “I like a little puppet that you can put your fingers in. A little monkey.”

But it stop there. Belichick responded with a question of his own. “Did your daddy fix your hair?”

Belichick was also asked about the last three movies he had seen.

“Last three movies I saw: Unbroken, American Sniper ‘€“ those two for sure. I think back to what I saw in the summer, but those two for sure.”

Naturally, with his Mona Lisa Vito reference from last Saturday, he was asked about his favorite movie starring Joe Pesci.

“Home Alone. Definitely Home Alone. No question about that. Home Alone and Home Alone 2 over the Christmas holidays. My Cousin Vinny. Put them all in there.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Brandon Browner

Brandon Browner

PHOENIX –€” Brandon Browner laughed off the controversy surrounding his comments to ESPN earlier in the week suggesting that his teammates should go after Richard Sherman‘€™s injured elbow.

Sherman was injured in the NFC title game, and Browner told ESPN, “at the end of the day, this is about the Super Bowl. I’€™m going to tell my teammates ‘€˜go hit that elbow. Go hit that shoulder,”€ Browner said. “Hit it, yeah. Try to break it if you can. You can be my best friend after the game but, at the end of the day, I know you want the Super Bowl just as bad as I do.”€

Browner, who was a teammate of Sherman in Seattle from 2011 through 2013, shrugged Tuesday when he was asked about the comment, saying that he’€™s already communicated with Sherman about what happened.

“He hit me with an LOL and said ‘€˜You just made it tougher for me and my receiver.’™ You know how Richard is,”€ he said. “I really haven’€™t watched or looked at the comments [on the interview]. People were telling me about it. Now, I’€™m really not going to look at the comments because it doesn’€™t make any sense. If you guys know me and the relationship I have with [the Seattle defensive backs], you’€™d understand.

“€œThat’€™s who we are. I want to win. If it takes breaking your arm or you losing a … you know what I mean? I want to win. I hope you feel better the next day or whatever it is.”

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

PHEONIX — Josh McDaniels‘ name has been mentioned a number of times over the last few months as a potential head coach.

PHEONIX — Josh McDaniels‘ name has been mentioned a number of times over the last few months as a potential head coach.

He reportedly interviewed with the Falcons and 49ers during the Patriots’ bye week, and although the Falcons job is still open, there was a report from an Atlanta paper that he was staying with the Patriots. Tuesday at the Patriots’ media day, McDaniels said he still has interest in being a head coach, given the right situation.

“I would love to do it again,” McDaniels said. “I think the most important thing to me is to just be in the right situation and just be in a place where I feel good about being. There are a lot of great teams and great places out there. I happen to be in a good situation for myself right now and for my family. If it comes up again and it is like there it is, that is the right spot, then I would love to do it again and give it another shot.”

Even though things didn’t work out in Denver for McDaniels, going 11-17 in one-plus season with the Broncos, he said it was a learning experience and it is benefiting him now. He said he and the rest of the New England coaching staff work very well together.

“I have learned a tremendous amount,” he said. “There is probably so many things that I learned there. I think one of the things that I really learned in Denver is the value of being a good listener. When you do something like that for the first time you feel like you have to run through everything and be in charge of too many things and sometimes that is a significant negative. I have tried really hard in St. Louis and then here back in New England. We really gather ideas, we listen to one another and try to do the best thing for the offense in this particular case and it has really been a great thing.

“Our atmosphere on our staff has been very healthy and a big part of that is that we have a lot of guys that can contribute and it doesn’€™t come from one source. I made a lot of mistakes there and you know that. I think it was a great learning experience for myself. Hopefully I have grown from that and will continue to grow.”

As for the game Sunday, Seattle’s defense poses a tough challenge for McDaniels and the New England offense. The Seahawks had the best total defense in the NFL during the regular season, allowing just 267.1 yards a game. Their passing defense is also the best, allowing 185.6 yards a game and the fewest points — 15.9.

“This is a tremendous unit,” McDaniels said of Seattle. “I think the game is going to come down to a lot of what you just talked about. They have great players in the secondary, they have great players at linebacker and they have a great front. Whatever you’€™re going to do, you’€™re going to have to do a good job of it. I don’€™t think you can do the same thing all game. This is a team that their coaching staff does a great job of adjusting and trying to take away things that you do well early in the game.

“We’€™re going to have to try to maintain our balance. We going to have to try to continue to poke and prod, take positive plays when we can, hopefully stay out of long yardage situations and take care of the football because ultimately I’€™m sure that is going to be a huge factor in who wins and loses the game.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable