Elandon Roberts had his number switched from 51 to 52, but he's cool with the move. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com photo)

Elandon Roberts had his number switched from 51 to 52, but he’s cool with the move. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com photo)

FOXBORO — Elandon Roberts had some idea of what he was getting into when he showed up at Gillette Stadium and was assigned No. 51.

The rookie linebacker out of Houston had been given Jerod Mayo’s old number — Mayo, considered a longtime pillar of the New England defense, retired this past offseason after eight seasons with the team.

“When I first got in I was (number) 51. When I went through camp. I was 51, and when I came back, I was 52,” he recalled Thursday afternoon during a break at Gillette Stadium. “That’s my number. I’m just blessed to have the number. I have no problem with the switch. I’m just blessed to be in this situation and be a Patriot.”

Mayo made his name as a tackling machine with the Patriots. As a collegian, Roberts — who now sports No. 52 — developed a similar rep. At Houston, the 6-foot, 235-pound linebacker finished the 2015 season with 88 solo tackles (tops in the NCAA) and 142 tackles total. He also had six sacks, 19 tackles for loss, one interception and two forced fumbles.

“I think Elandon’s a very instinctive player. I think you can see that on film. Whatever his measureables are, he plays to them,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said of Roberts shortly after New England made him the 214th overall pick in the draft.

“He plays fast, he plays strong, and he’s very productive in terms of being around the ball so we’ll see how all that translates at our level. He seems to be a very instinctive player, a smart player, has good awareness and can find the ball.”

The sixth-round pick knows he’s starting from zero again as a rookie.

“Right now, I’m just trying to give the Patriots the best player they want. The best asset,” he said. “I’m just working hard right now and being that player they want. Whatever they want me to do, that’s what I’ll do. That’s where my focus is right now.”

He added: “Right now, I’m just working hard, day in and day out. It’s just a grind. Everyone in this family, we come to work and we work hard. Whatever the Patriots need me to play, I’ll do it.”

Roberts said one thing that has helped with the acclimation process is the culture in New England.

“With the organization that we’re in, we’re a family. We trust one another,” he said. “That’s just the culture of this team.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Despite the fact that free agency started two months ago — and just about all the premiere free agents are off the market — things could pick up again here in the next few days.

Thursday marks the date when free agent signings do not count toward compensatory draft picks next year. If a team signs a free agent after Thursday, it won’t subtract from their collection of compensatory picks in he 2017 draft. Accordingly, if a team loses a free agent, it doesn’t impact its compensatory selections.

As Pro Football Talk noted here, this doesn’t apply to players who were released like running back Arian Foster, a guy who many Patriots’ fans have inquired about. But it does impact the situation of veterans like Ryan Fitzpatrick and Greg Hardy. It’ll be interesting to see how the next few weeks play out as a result.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Joe Montana said that if the Patriots “keep the team together,” quarterback Tom Brady has a “good chance” to win another ring before he retires.

Joe Montana said that if the Patriots “keep the team together,” quarterback Tom Brady has a “good chance” to win another ring before he retires.

Speaking with NFL.com, the former Niners’ quarterback said that Brady has a shot at surpassing his four Super Bowl titles.

“It’s hard to keep the teams together, and you have to have things going your way at the end of the line,” Montana said. “Sometimes it’s easier to get close to it than actually to obtain it. He’s definitely had some pretty good years at this point.”

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

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price


FOXBORO — Just one minute into his first media scrum with reporters Wednesday at Gillette Stadium, Jacoby Brissett was hit with the Tom Brady questions.

Does he see himself competing with Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo at the quarterback position?

“I’m a rookie. I just got here. I’m trying to learn as much as I can and when my chance comes, it’ll come,” the quarterback out of North Carolina State told the horde.

What are his impressions of being in the same room with No. 12?

“Just the way he carries himself. Obviously, he’s a great player,” he added. “Just excited to have this opportunity to learn from him.”

How much is he looking forward to learning from Brady and Garoppolo?

“They’re great,” Brissett added. “They’re teaching me a lot now and [I] just continue to learn from them and try to be the best player that I can.”

Brissett, who is the only drafted rookie on the roster who hasn’t signed his contract, said he’s not worried about his contract but rather learning the playbook and what Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels expect from him.

“Definitely, definitely. They’re great coaches and I’m excited to be a part of the organization and get to learning,” Brissett added.

Much was made of Brissett’s pre-draft work with Bill Parcells, who said that Brissett would be a developmental quarterback, not quite ready to play right out of the gate.

“Right now just to take it all in and understand that it’s a great learning experience, a great opportunity to learn from some great people,” Brissett said. “We’re all still learning so we’re learning the ins and outs and what we’re supposed to do.

“It’s been great because a lot of those guys – we’re all learning – so it’s like nobody has a heads up on each other, so it’s been exciting.”

For the most part, Brissett’s answers were short and to the point, in keeping with most rookies who come through the Patriots system in their first year.

“It’s been a great experience. Learning every day and excited to be here,” Brissett said. “It’s been a great opportunity for all of us to get around this team and see why they do so well.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia


FOXBORO — The latest group of Patriots rookies sound like they’ve gotten the message loud and clear about how to be rookies.

“As far as being on a team, people helping each other [to] be the best that they can be,” receiver Malcolm Mitchell said Wednesday.

Mitchell, who didn’t like to read when he was younger, made a name for himself at Georgia by starting a book club to promote reading and even penned a children’s book as he was rehabbing from an ACL tear. But now in Foxboro, the feel-good stories of the draft have turned to focus on learning the playbook and showing the coaching staff that this group is ready to compete and push some veterans for playing time.

“College is college,” Mitchell continued. “This is now. These are all new experiences. For everybody, this is the first time. It’s just new so you do the best you can at learning about what’s going on now and not too much worried about what happened back then [in college].”

Bill Belichick has always told his rookies that before you can compete you need to learn the playbook and show the coaching staff you belong on the field before OTAs, mini-camp and training camp even begin.

“It’s been a learning process,” Mitchell said. “I know I say that a lot. I can’t be more honest in saying it’s all about learning. Learning, learning, learning. The more you know, the better off you are.

“That is my approach. I think that’s the approach to anything, though. If you go into anything not knowing anything about it, you’re probably setting yourself up for failure. To Coach’s point, if you don’t know anything, how could you possibly compete?”

So, now is not about the book club but rather about another type of reading, the playbook.

“The focus is different in each area,” Mitchell said. “[In] football the focus is football. The book club is about reading. This is just about doing what’s best for the team in every area, regardless of if that’s on the field or talking to the media. Football is completely different than a book club in hundreds of different ways, but it’s all team. I feel that in both places.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman came in at No. 87 on the NFL Network’s “Top 100″ countdown on Wednesday night.

Julian Edelman

Julian Edelman

Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman came in at No. 87 on the NFL Network’s “Top 100″ countdown on Wednesday night.

The 6-foot, 198-pound Edelman is the first New England player on the list, which is put together through a vote of the players. In the segment, several players were asked about Edelman’s abilities, with former Green Bay receiver Greg Jennings one of the guys who was left gushing about his skill set.

“He takes a lot of hits. He takes a ton of hits,” Jennings said of Edelman. “But he’s going to catch everything that comes in his vicinity.”

He added: “I love watching guys like that because they’re the smaller-statured guys. But their heart is bigger than anyone on the field.”

This is the second appearance on the Top 100 list for Edelman. Last year, he was No. 91.

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

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

The Patriots released linebacker Tony Steward on Wednesday.

A sixth-round pick of the Bills in 2015, he was signed last month after he was released by Buffalo. The 23-year-old Steward is a 6-foot, 235-pounder who played in seven games last year with the Bills.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Patriots receiver Julian Edelman was seen with a sizable walking boot on his left foot Wednesday.

According to ESPN, Edelman recently underwent surgery on the foot, but it’s not considered serious, and he is “on track to return for training camp.”