According to reports, the Patriots had perfect attendance at practice Thursday, as linebacker Jerod Mayo and safety Don Jones both returned after not practice on Wednesday. It appears Mayo was absent on Wednesday because of the birth of his child.

According to reports, the Patriots had perfect attendance at practice Thursday, as linebacker Jerod Mayo and safety Don Jones both returned after not practice on Wednesday. It appears Mayo was absent on Wednesday because of the birth of his child.

Meanwhile, Jones was dealing with a hamstring injury.

The Patriots continue preparation for their home opener this weekend against the Raiders.

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

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Derek Carr

Derek Carr

If Derek Carr is able to lead the Raiders to an upset win over the Patriots on Sunday in Foxboro, he would break new ground for rookie quarterbacks against Bill Belichick. Since 2001, no rookie QB in his first or second start of his initial season in the NFL has beaten Belichick in New England.

In that span, Belichick has faced rookie quarterbacks on 19 occasions, and New England is 14-5 against them. However, none of those losses have come at home. Last year, Geno Smith turned the trick at MetLife Stadium when he led the Jets past the Patriots in overtime. In 2012, Russell Wilson did the same in a home game for the Seahawks. Colt McCoy shocked the Patriots in a Browns blowout in 2010 in his first time against New England. In 2009, Jets QB Mark Sanchez knocked off the Patriots in his first-ever game against Belichick in the Meadowlands. And in his first year in the league, Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers past the Patriots. All of those games were away from Foxboro.

Belichick said this week he’s been impressed with several aspects of Carr’s game, and as a team that was interested in taking a quarterback in the early stages of the 2014 draft — Carr went 36th overall to the Raiders, while New England chose Jimmy Garoppolo at No. 62 — the Patriots were able to get what Belichick called a “good look” at Carr. The coach was impressed by the Fresno State product.

“His athleticism, [as well as his] arm strength, Belichick said. “[His] ability to get the ball down the field and avoid negative plays in the pocket with his athleticism, mobility and some running ability, too, are all things that we saw in college that I’€™d say are showing up this year in the NFL as well.

“He’€™s only been sacked a couple of times,” Belichick added of the 6-foot-3, 214-pounder who has completed 47-for-74 passes for 414 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions while adding 55 rushing yards. “He’€™s an athletic guy back there. He can certainly get the ball down the field. We know he’€™s a smart kid. I think all the things that we saw from him at Fresno and when he’€™s had an opportunity to do them in this league have continued to show up. Obviously the systems are different, but from a skill standpoint I think his skills are his skills and they’€™re pretty good.”

(One other note as it relates to rookie QBs against New England — on some of those occasions, Belichick has faced rookies twice a year, and interestingly enough, in that span, Geno Smith is the only signal-caller to win his second game against the Patriots in his rookie season. Previously, Belichick had gotten the better of the first-year players, beating the likes of Ryan Tannehill and Sanchez the second time he faced them when they were rookies. And dating back to 2004, Belichick also managed to best Roethlsberger in the AFC title game after the then-rookie beat the Patriots in the regular season.)

Here’s a look at the breakdown by season:

2013: EJ Manuel (L): 18-for-27, 150 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Geno Smith (L): 15-for-35, 214 yards, 0 TD, 3 INT, sacked four times
Geno Smith (W): 17-for-33, 233 yards, 1 passing TD, 1 rushing TD, 1 INT, sacked four times

2012: Russell Wilson (W): 16-for-27, 293 yards, 3 TD, sacked twice
Andrew Luck (L): 27-for-50, 334 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT, sacked once
Ryan Tannehill (L): 13-for-29, 186 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, sacked three times
Ryan Tannehill (L): 20-for-35, 235 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, sacked seven times

2011: None

2010: Colt McCoy (W): 14-for-19, 174 yards, TD

2009: Mark Sanchez (W): 14-for-22, 163 yards, TD
Sanchez (L): 8-for-21, 136 yards, TD, 4 INT, sacked two times
Josh Freeman* (L): 2-for-4, 16 yards, sacked two times

2008 None

2007: Trent Edwards** (L): 10/20, 97 yds, INT, sacked once
2006: Vince Young (L): 15/36, 227, 2 INT, sacked five times, two rush, 29 yards, TD

2005: None

2004: Ben Roethlisberger (W): 18-for-24, 196 yards, 2 TD
Ben Roethlisberger (L): 14-for-24, 226 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT
Luke McCown (L): 20-for-34, 277 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT

2003: Byron Leftwich (L): 21-for-40, 288 yards, TD, 2 INT

2002: Joey Harrington (L): 22-for-44, 210 yards, 3 INT

2001: Chris Weinke (L): 15-for-36, 144 yards, 3 INT

* Freeman replaced ineffective Josh Johnson midway through fourth quarter
** Edwards replaced J.P. Losman after Losman injured on first series

We’ve been over this before, but in the wake of Carr and the Raiders coming to town, it’s important to note there are certain basic elements that all of the rookie quarterbacks who beat the Patriots have been able to accomplish to over the years.

– All of the winning QBs have been very smart with the ball. Only one (Smith) threw an interception. They’ve all done a terrific job managing the game, not taking a ton of negative plays and not worrying about deficits in the early going. In 2012 (against Wilson and the Seahawks) and 2013 (Smith and the Jets), the Patriots were up by double digits in the second half before it went off the rails. New England also held early leads in 2004 against Roethlisberger and 2009 against Sanchez. If Carr is going to be able to pull off the upset, history tells us that he’ll have to make up some ground if he wants to make it happen.

– None of the winners have been statistically dominant — none threw for more than 300 yards — but they’ve all been relatively accurate. In addition, they’ve all been smart enough (or been told by their coach and/or offensive coordinator) not to try to take over the game by themselves, making sure to put the real work in the hands of their skill position players. Last year, Smith got a tremendous outing from wide receivers Jeremy Kerley (eight catches on 10 targets for 97 yards and a touchdown) and David Nelson (four catches on seven targets for 80 yards), as well as running back Chris Ivory (34 carries for 104 yards). If Carr can get similar efforts out of his skill position players, that would go a long way.

– They all have gotten lockdown performances from their defense. Last year against the Jets, Brady was sacked four times and finished without a touchdown pass on the way to an overtime defeat. In 2012 against the Seahawks, the Patriots finished with 23 points ‘€” almost 12 full points below their league-leading 34.8 points per game average. In 2010, New England again was leading the league in points per game with an average of 32.4, but the Browns limited them to a shockingly low 14 points. In 2009, the Patriots averaged 26.7 points per game, but they scored just nine points that afternoon against the Jets. (In that one, New England stalled out in the red zone three times.) The Raiders defense will have to be up to the challenge.

– All of the rookie wins came relatively early in the season — the latest victory was Nov. 7, 2010, when McCoy and the Browns knocked off New England in Week 9.

Is Carr capable of going where no rookie quarterback has gone before? It will take a superlative effort, as well as an excellent afternoon of complementary football out of the rest of his teammates (as well as the coaching staff) to pull off the victory. If he stumbles, he can always point to the tidy little blueprint assembled by the likes of Wilson, Smith, Sanchez, McCoy and Roethlisberger for some guidance. But in the end, it remains to be seen if the partial path forged by that quintet will serve as a complete road map to victory for the rookie come Sunday. Ultimately, it’ll be a journey he’ll be taking alone.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

FOXBORO — There must be something nostalgic in the air in Foxboro this week.

Tom Brady posted a copy of his 1999 college resume on Facebook on Thursday.

Tom Brady posted a copy of his 1999 college resume on Facebook on Thursday.

FOXBORO — There must be something nostalgic in the air in Foxboro this week.

On Wednesday, Bill Belichick spent nearly 15 minutes of his 27-minute press conference waxing poetic about his eighth-grade football playing days and the influence of the “Single-T”, “Wing-T” and “Wishbone” offenses. On Thursday, Tom Brady, apparently inspired, posted a copy of his resume from 2000 just before his was taken with the 199th pick in the sixth round of the NFL Draft.

As part of the pop phenomenon “Throwback Thursday” or #TBT, Brady held the resume in one hand and took the picture with the other. He then wrote: “Found my old resume! Really thought I was going to need this after the 5th round. #tbt”

Brady was acknowledging the fact that he was somewhat nervous after not being selecting in the first five rounds of the 2000 draft before the Patriots selected him and changed the course of his life and football in New England forever.

Highlights of the resume include his work at Merrill Lynch in Ann Arbor, where he “assisted” the Senior Sales Broker, was “exposed” to upper-level management and company strategy and “programmed inventory control and reporting systems” for clientele.

He also listed his work in researching stock and mutual fund reports while updating client portfolios while gaining knowledge of broker activity and day to day administrative duties.

Brady resume also highlights his academic achievement while earning a Bachelor of General Studies from the College of Literature Science and the Arts from the University of Michigan, graduating in Dec. 1999 with a 3.3 (4.0 scale) GPA.

Under “ADDITIONAL,” Brady itemizes his achievement as team captain of the ’99 Wolverines and the fact that he “guided the football team as starting quarterback to 1998 Big Ten Championship and postseason bowl victory.”

 

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Bill Belichick is always teaching and planning. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick is always teaching and planning. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Bill Belichick loves to talk football, especially the history of football.

That was certainly apparent this week when he was asked about the art of the unbalanced offensive line, putting an extra tackle on the end of the line and leaving just two linemen on the opposite side.

Stephen Belichick, Belichick’s father, wrote “Football Scouting Methods” and was on Navy’s coaching staff for 34 years in Annapolis. It was there that Belichick began to soak up all kinds of football knowledge that he makes use of today.

“In a way I really feel lucky because the one year, in eighth grade I played for the T-Birds in Annapolis,” Belichick said. “It was the Ford dealership. I think it was 110-pound football and so we were the T-Birds and so our coach played college football at Clemson so we ran the single-wing. That was our offense. Whatever year that would have been, call it ‘€™62, somewhere in there, ‘€™63, whatever it was.

“So, for a whole year I got to experience what a single-wing offense was. It was pretty interesting, just being a lineman, which that was the game really, was the blocking play, the blocking patterns and the calls. That’€™s kind of all he knew, was to run the single-wing. So we ran the single-wing. Really looking back on it, it was a great experience I never would have gotten otherwise just because it was kind of going out of, hardly anybody was running it.

“Lawrenceville [N.J.] ran it and when I played at [Phillips Academy] Andover in 1971, Coach [Ken] Keuffel down there, I think he might have been the last one to run the single-wing because he ran it all the way through his career at Lawrenceville. So we actually played against it when I was in high school. The principles and the elements of it are interesting. I’€™m glad I got to experience it. I got to experience the wing-T in high school, the single-wing in Pop Warner football, the Wishbone in college and my exposure to all the NFL stuff since ‘€™75.”

1975 was the year Belichick entered the NFL with the Baltimore Colts. The modern-day Colts used an unbalanced line often against the Eagles on Monday night while the Patriots – featuring Cameron Fleming – have used it frequently in their first two games as they look to bolster the protection in front of Tom Brady while also strengthening the running game.

That’s all the daylight Belichick needed to begin his lecture.

“I’€™d say the main issue you get into would just be the commitment you make to it,” Belichick began. “Putting an offensive lineman in for a tight end, I would say you’€™re going to get less of a defensive adjustment, normally. I would say you’€™d get less of a defensive adjustment because the spacing is still the same, it’€™s just who is that guy? It’€™s a lineman instead of a tight end, but if it was a blocking tight end or lineman, how much difference is there? I’€™d say there’€™s a smaller degree of grade of adjustment for the defense.

“Once you flip a lineman over, now you’€™ve totally changed the defensive spacing. What was a three-man surface is now a four-man surface. What was now a three-man surface is now a two-man surface. That creates some fundamental blocking angles potentially for the offense. I’€™d say that there’€™s a lot more involved in that. The issues you get into offensively are things like protections where, here’€™s our rule on protections but now we’€™re in a different look so how do those rules change, how do our assignments change?

“I’€™d say normally you’€™d have to simplify your protections quite a bit rather than try to run them all from an unbalanced line. I’€™m not saying you couldn’€™t do it, but it would take a lot of work, I would think. The same thing defensively, once they unbalance, then you have to decide how you want to handle the ‘€“ normally, say you have three guys to one side of the center and two guys to the other side, but the two guys to the other side are ineligible. Now you put a guard and tight end on the two-man surface and then you get three offensive linemen on the three-man side, it changes your passing strength. It changes the surface that you have to defend defensively and it changes the location.

“Normally that two-man side is ineligible so now you’€™ve kind of flipped that around so there are some things you have to handle defensively. But I think it certainly limits you some offensively. Some of your weakside runs that you were running behind a tackle, now you’€™re running behind a tight end, so you have to know where there defense is going to be when you call some of those plays, which gets again, a little bit more involved. I think it’€™s hard to be in an unbalanced line and just run one or two plays because you don’€™t know if the defense is going to move over or not move over, rotate away from the formation passing strength, rotate to it.

“You know, there’€™s too much uncertainty. But, if you have a number of plays then no matter what they do then theoretically, just like everything else in your offense, you can, ‘€˜If they do this, we do that. If they do that, we do this.’€™ So, you need some kind of volume to be able to handle that unless you just want to run one or two things as a changeup just to kind of make the defense work on it. I don’€™t want to say it’€™s a whole different offense but it definitely presents some different problems for you. In order to be good at it, you would have to commit a decent amount of time and scheme to it so that if the defense does this, we have that advantage. If they don’€™t, rather than if we go over and, ‘€˜Here’€™s what we think they’€™re going to do but, oh, they didn’€™t do it, now we’€™re stuck.’€™ When you’€™re in that kind of situation it’€™s kind of not worth it.”

Does Belichick feel the unbalanced line is primarily used in option football?

“Again, in the running game it’€™s much easier to handle in the running game, particularly if you check the play. So if they move over, then we can come back here. If they don’€™t move over, then we have the advantage to the overload side and we can go that way. I’€™d say that’€™s a lot easier. Once you get into the passing game and a lot of protections and ‘€˜Who is the linebacker?’€™ when you’€™re on the two-man side, you’€™re not thinking usually about a secondary player being over there. I’€™m not saying he couldn’€™t, but that’€™s infrequent.

“The secondary player is usually over on the three-man side where the tight end is. Now you’€™ve got him on the backside, now who’€™s got him, what’€™s the quarterback’€™s read? There are some things you have to handle. If you’€™re running away from them, then great, it doesn’€™t matter. I think when you get into the read-option game or the triple-option game or that type of, then that’€™s kind of a different ballgame.

“But it’€™s certainly an interesting aspect going all the way back to the single-wing days. That was the whole single-wing offense was the balanced single-wing, then the overloaded single-wing then the box shift back to the weakside. It was all overload blocking angles trying to create. I don’€™t think the plays were checked back then. You were just trying to show power over here, now you’€™ve got power over there and show power over here and run counter back the other way and all that. That’€™s really what football was in the ‘€˜40s; ‘€˜30s and the ‘€˜40s. That was a huge part of the game. It’€™s interesting to see how all that, how they tried to handle those different things, both offensively and what they tried to create and defensively what the answers were to them.”

Belichick reflected again when asked how much he thinks about the past and the influence of decades-old techniques in today’s NFL.

“I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to at least experience those systems in addition to the college stuff and all that Navy did and I did with my dad and so forth,” he said “Other than UCLA, Tennessee, they were kind of the last, if I remember right, Clemson, were some of the last teams that hung with the single-wing but then by that time it had all gone to wing-T, which was another interesting transition because all those single-wing teams in the ‘€˜50s had to make a decision when they went to the T-formation what they were going to do with the tailback, which when all those guys came into the NFL, was the decision the NFL had to make with them.

“Paul Hornung, you put him at running back. Johnny Unitas, you put him at quarterback; Bill Wade, you put him at quarterback. You had single-wing tailbacks that ended up becoming halfbacks in the NFL or they became quarterbacks in the NFL because that was their combination job in the single-wing offense. Of course, nothing was more important than punting so the great single-wing tailbacks like Sammy Baugh, punting was really such a big part of it then that your single-wing tailback had to be a good punter.

“Then he had to be able to run and the third thing was to be able to throw. When those guys came into the NFL, the NFL had to make a decision as to whether they were going to make those guys running backs or whether they were going to make them quarterbacks. So guys like Johnny Unitas and Bill Wade and [Charlie] Conerly and guys like that, they were all tailbacks that became quarterbacks. Pretty big guys, a guy like Unitas, he was 220 pounds. Wade was 215, 220. They were big guys; they weren’€™t like the Fran Tarkenton type. They were big guys that could run. They just weren’€™t fast enough. Then the runners like the Hornungs stayed as runners.”

How did Belichick’s eight-grade T-Birds do?

“We were OK. Who did we lose to? I think we lost to Elks or somebody like that. Those were big tilts there in Annapolis.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Dennis Allen and the 0-2 Raiders come to Foxboro on Sunday in need of a victory. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Dennis Allen and the 0-2 Raiders come to Foxboro on Sunday in need of a victory. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — The Raiders are well aware of what they are walking in to.

Oakland coach Dennis Allen ripped off a few of pertinent numbers on his conference call with the New England media Wednesday, painting a less-than-favorable scenario for his team heading into Sunday’€™s game at Gillette Stadium.

“œThey’€™re 11-1 in openers at Gillette Stadium, and Tom Brady is 49-3 in his last 52 starts at Gillette Stadium,”€ said Allen of the Patriots, who will tote a 1-1 mark into their home opener.

“I understand that this is a good football team — they’€™re well coached, they’€™re good on offense, they’€™re good on defense, they’€™re very sound in what they do special teams-wise, and they’€™ve been that way for a long, long time,”€ he added. “So, we understand that it’€™s a great challenge going up there.”€

Historically, it’€™s been tough for West Coast teams to play East Coast games at 1 o’€™clock, and the Raiders are no exception. Oakland is looking to end a 14-game East Coast losing streak this Sunday — the Raiders last win in the Eastern Time Zone was Dec. 6, 2009 in Pittsburgh. While most teams come to New England a day before kickoff, Oakland will touch down in New England on Friday in hopes of getting better acclimated to the time difference.

“€œThe schedule is what the schedule is, and our job is to show up and try to win a football game, and that’€™s really what we’€™re focused on doing. We’€™re not really focused on the travel,”€ Allen said when asked about prepping for playing a game that is essentially at 10 a.m. their time. “We don’€™t change a whole lot as far as what we do. We start pretty early here anyways, so we kind of keep the schedule as normal as possible.”

In truth, even if this were a home game for the Raiders, they would still face a sizable challenge in the Patriots. Oakland has lost its first two games of the season, having been outscored by a combined 40-7 margin in the first three quarters of each game while yielding an average of 200 rushing yards per game, the worst total in the league. (Veteran Raiders safety Charles Woodson told reporters, “We suck”€ shortly after Oakland suffered a 30-14 loss to the Texans last weekend.)

Allen said Wednesday that the biggest sticking point for the Raiders to this point has been inconsistency.

“€œI’€™ve seen a team that at times can do some good things, but we’€™ve got to be more consistent in what we do,”€ he said. “€œWe’€™ve been working real hard in practice, and it needs to transfer over on game day.”

One intriguing puzzle piece is rookie quarterback Derek Carr, a second round pick out of Fresno State. In his first two games this season, Carr has gone 47 for 74 passing for 414 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions while adding 55 rushing yards.

Like Allen, Carr is extremely aware of the challenges the Raiders will face on Sunday.

‘€œThey’€™re very sound, they’€™re very well coached,”€ Carr said of the Patriots. “€œThey’€™re very physical, they create a lot of takeaways; they do a great job of that. Again, like I said, they’€™re very well coached. You can tell that they believe in their coaching because they’€™re assignment driven, and it shows.”€

If Carr is able to pull off the win, he would have accomplished something no other rookie visiting quarterback has ever done against the Patriots over the last decade — every one of the five rookie quarterbacks who have beaten New England over the last 10 seasons have done it on the road. No other first-year signal callers making their first or second career start against the Patriots in their initial year has won in Foxboro. (Russell Wilson, Geno Smith, Colt McCoy, Mark Sanchez and Ben Roethlisberger all beat the Patriots in their first year in the league, but all did it away from Gillette Stadium.)

“€œHe’€™s very smart, he’€™s very mature for his age,”€ Allen said of Carr. “He sees the field really well as a quarterback and really can handle a lot of information and handle a lot of volume of things that we can ask him to do. He’€™s still a rookie — he’€™s still seeing a lot of things for the first time — but every day I continue to see improvement out of him.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Daxton Swanson

Daxton Swanson

The Patriots announced Wednesday they’ve re-signed defensive back Daxton Swanson to the practice squad.

Swanson, 23, was signed to the Patriots practice squad on Sept 1 and then released on Sept. 3. He was originally signed by the Patriots as a free agent on May 22.

Swanson entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with the Indianapolis Colts on April 30, 2013, out of Sam Houston State. The 5-foot-11, 191-pounder was released by the Colts on Oct. 29, 2013 and was signed to the San Francisco 49ers practice squad on Nov. 18, 2013. He was released by San Francisco on May 12.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price


FOXBORO — The two buzzwords flying around Gillette Stadium this week are “balance” and “trust.” Balance in play-calling and distribution, according to Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, will lead to a more efficient and productive offense.

Trust in the receiving corps will lead to Brady looking over all of his passing options and not zeroing in on just one or two targets.

Balance, as we saw on Sunday, can be found by tweaking play-calling from week to week. Earning Brady’s Trust, as Rob Gronkowski pointed out Wednesday can be something altogether different.

“It’s takes a long time,” Gronkowski said. “I’ve been here a few years now. You just have to go out there every practice, work hard, work overtime, stay after practice, get the same chemistry down. It’s just the chemistry with Tom, it’s the chemistry with the other wide receivers, with the timing. Chemistry with the offensive linemen. It’s just overall working together as a whole, as a unit.”

Gronkowski has earned Brady’s trust by becoming the most dependable red-zone target while also getting himself open many times in key third-down situations and holding onto the ball in traffic. But Gronkowski, who has caught eight passes on a season-high 17 targets over the first two games, knows he and Julian Edelman (15 targets) can’t do it all. Tom Brady acknowledged Wednesday that distribution starts with the quarterback and goes from there. If the Patriots are to be the offense everyone expects, then contributions need to come from receivers such as Aaron Dobson, Brandon LaFell, Danny Amendola and Tim Wright.

“Definitely,” Gronkowski said when asked if balance would make his life easier. “It will open up holes for everyone on the offense. That’s why you want to click as a whole on offense. You want everyone to be on the same tempo. You want everyone to be on the same page so everyone has equal opportunity when their number is called to make that play. If you’re working together, you know the sky’s the limit if everyone’s clicking. That all starts in practice. You have to keep working hard, keep doing reps in practice and we have to be all on the same page and go out there and be a unit.”

With names like Charles Woodson and Carlos Rogers in the Raiders secondary, Gronkowski knows this week will be a challenge for the Patriots as they look to give Brady more open targets in the passing game.

“They’re a very veteran team,” Gronkowski said. “They have many great players on their team, especially on defense. They have a lot of experience, and they’re fast and they’re big. We have to be ready and we have to be prepared to the best of our ability and have to go out there on point.”

Listening to Gronkowski Wednesday, one could sense the level of admiration for the 37-year-old Woodson.

“It’s unbelievable,” Gronkowski said. “He’s a great player, great, great player. It’s an honor to even play with him on the field out there. He’s been in the league for so long and has so much experience. He’s a great player and he’s been through every obstacle. You have to be aware of him, where he is and where he’s about at all times.”

Before his ACL injury last December, Gronkowski had a reputation as one of the best blocking tight ends in football. He was asked Wednesday if he’s feeling comfortable fitting back into the offense in that role.

“Pretty well. Everything’s going well,” he said. “The body is feeling good. Practice is going good and getting ready for the Oakland Raiders now. I’ve taken a few hits now, a few tackles, a few blocks. I’m over that stage now. I’m ready to play for football. Whatever contact comes, it comes and I’m ready for anything.”

One thing is for sure, Gronk is looking forward to playing on the Gillette Stadium turf for the first time since Cleveland’s T.J. Ward ended his season last December.

“Starting the first two games on the road, so it’s going to be a very exciting atmosphere,” Gronkowski said. “Always love coming home, having a grand opening this week in the home stadium so it’s going to be a blast playing in front of our home crowd. They’re going to be amped up and we are, too.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

FOXBORO — Jerod Mayo‘s absence from Wednesday practice was not injury related, according to the team.