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Julian Edelman on MFB: ‘Around here we ignore noise’

07.25.14 at 12:39 pm ET
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Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman checked in with Middays with MFB on Friday from training camp in Foxboro. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Edelman is looking to build on a breakout 2013 season, as he caught 105 passes for 1,056 yards and six touchdowns.

“What happened last year happened last year; what happens in the future happens in the future,” Edelman said. “I’m just kind of worrying about the present right now, taking advantage of coming out here each and every day and trying to improve and work on my fundamentals and earn my spot.”

Tom Brady was the focus of some criticism in the offseason for his alleged decline in play. Edelman said that kind of talk won’t be a distraction to the team.

“Around here we ignore noise, and we don’t believe the hype,” Edelman said. “You’d have to ask Tom on that. I’m sure he can answer that. I tell you right now, I’m glad that we have 12 as our quarterback. I wouldn’t want to have any other guy.”

Asked what it takes to succeed with Brady and the Patriots system, Edelman said: “Through my experience it’s just being consistent. You can’t make a mistake twice. You have to be able to take things from the classroom, translate that to drills, translating that to practice. When you do it in practice it becomes a game execution. Just going out there and being consistent, not having up and down days, staying on top of your stuff, being focused in the classroom. Consistency is pretty much the main thing.”

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Read More: 2014 training camp, Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady

Friday morning notes: Another good session for Kenbrell Thompkins, but Jimmy Garoppolo struggles

07.25.14 at 11:33 am ET
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FOXBORO — The Patriots wrapped up their second training camp session of the summer on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium on Friday morning. The workout was held in shells and shorts and ran roughly two hours in beautiful summer conditions. Here are a few quick notes.

— Wide receiver Aaron Dobson, cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, special teamer Matthew Slater, defensive lineman Tommy Kelly, defensive lineman Dominique Easley, linebacker Deontae Skinner, offensive lineman Chris Martin and wide receiver Jeremy Gallon were among those standing off to the side and going through rehab work. The only player who was missing Friday who was on the field Thursday was defensive back Jemea Thomas.

— Before practice, the team engaged in a time-honored camp ritual, the “pig drill,” a workout held under the guise of ball security. Rookies were forced to slop around in the mud diving for the football. It was a far more muted version than they’ve had in the past — in previous years, quarterback Tom Brady took great delight at turning the hose on first-year players.

— It was another good day for Kenbrell Thompkins, who appeared to spend the bulk of his morning working with a reasonable facsimile of the No. 1 offense. He had some impressive connections with Brady, including a play where he had a sweet diving catch on 7-on-7s. As was the case on Thursday, it’s debatable how many opportunities he would have had it Dobson was on the field. But for the second straight day, he did a nice job making the most of his chances.

Rob Gronkowski was working in team drills and got some individual work with Brady, but he didn’t appear to take part in any 7-on-7s or 11-on-11s. As was the case on Thursday, it didn’t look like there were any questions when it came to his running and cutting.

Logan Mankins took a lap early in practice for what looked to be a false start. In addition, Jimmy Garoppolo and Brandon Bolden took a lap for botching a handoff. (On both occasions, the crowd cheered when the players passed by — likely, not the reaction the coaching staff was looking for.) Nate Solder took a lap late in practice.

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Bill Belichick calls Jerod Mayo ‘one of the best’ team leaders he’s ever been around

07.25.14 at 9:45 am ET
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FOXBORO — Bill Belichick knows a team leader when he sees one. And in Jerod Mayo, he’s sees one of the best he’s ever been around in the NFL.

That’s saying something from a coach who has been in the presence of Lawrence Taylor, Harry Carson, Carl Banks, Pepper Johnson, Rodney Harrison, Tedy Bruschi, Tom Brady and Junior Seau.

But on Friday, Mayo was put in that lofty group by Belichick when the Patriots coach was asked about what Mayo means to the Patriots, after missing half of last season with a torn pectoral muscle.

“Yeah, I think he means a lot to our team,” Belichick began. “I’d say he’s really the guy that the team probably revolves around more than any other player. Not that there aren’t other players instrumental in that. He pretty much touches everybody, not just the defensive players but all the guys, and not the just the older guys, the younger guys. Even when he was captain in the second year, he had a relationship with the older guys.

“Now, he’s more a veteran player but he’s still pretty attached to the younger guys like Jamie Collins, [Dont’a] Hightower, guys like that, in addition to players not at his position. He’s got a great work ethic, great presence on the football field, great personality that I would I say in a very good way professional but also has good rapport with all the players and the coaches. He’s as as well-respected as any player in the locker room. I’d say he’s one of the best overall team leaders and players, kind of a glue-chemistry guy, I’ve been around.”

Mayo, the 10th overall pick by the Patriots out of Tennessee in 2008, is already entering his seventh season. He has enjoyed a career that included NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in ’08 and a Super Bowl appearance in February 2012.

On Thursday, Mayo showed some of his leadership by telling everyone that this talented Patriots defense still needs to prove itself on the field. Mayo cautioned that no one knows after just one practice just how good this defensive unit can be until all the pieces are on the field together.

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Read More: 2014 training camp, Bill Belichick, Jerod Mayo, Lawrence Taylor

Judge denies Aaron Hernandez’s dismissal request

07.25.14 at 9:24 am ET
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Bristol Superior Court Judge E. Susan Garsh rejected defense claims that former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has been wrongly accused of murder in the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd.

The defense had requested Garsh dismiss all charges against Hernandez because Bristol prosecutors haven’t shown who actually fired the shots that killed Lloyd in a North Attleboro industrial park last summer.

Garsh wrote the defense also argued that the only proof on Hernandez is that he was in a car with friends Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz when they picked up Lloyd that night.

Garsh ruled Thursday the Commonwealth, “was not required to present evidence before the grand jury as to exactly how Hernandez participated in the murder or as to who shot Lloyd,” given the evidence already provided.

“He claims that the evidence demonstrated no more than his presence in the car with Ortiz, Wallace, and Lloyd shortly before Lloyd was shot to death,” Garsh wrote. “The grand jury heard sufficient evidence to establish probable cause that Hernandez intentionally participated in some meaningful way in the commission of the offense.”

Hernandez is being charged with first-degree murder in Lloyd’s death.

Garsh noted the alleged motive for Lloyd’s killing. According to the ruling, Hernandez allegedly was upset that he had taken Lloyd to his Franklin townhouse, which he apparently didn’t want him knowing about, following a trip to a Boston nightclub on June 14, 2013.

Hernandez allegedly summoned Wallace and Ortiz on June 16, picked up Lloyd from his home and shot him to death at about 3:30 a.m.

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Jerod Mayo after first day of training camp: ‘We really don’t know what we’re capable of’

07.24.14 at 5:52 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Thursday was like Christmas morning for many Patriots fans as they got their first glimpse of the 2014 squad on the field together for the first time on the first day of training camp.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski took part in team activities (with the exception of 7-on-7s and 11-on-11s) for the first time since tearing his ACL last December, as during OTA’€™s Gronkowski worked off to the side, not working with the entire offense. Free agent cornerback acquisitions Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, who should strengthen the secondary, took part in their first training camp session as members of the Patriots, and second-year wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins made several nice catches in 7-on-7s.

There was plenty to get excited about, for sure, but it was just Day 1 and the team was in shells and shorts, which made it hard to get a true sense of exactly where the team and individual€™s stand both skill and scheme wise.

“At this point, we’€™ve only had one day of practice, so we really don’€™t know what we’€™re capable of,” linebacker Jerod Mayo said following the workout. “We’re taking it one day at a time and continuing to work towards our goal.”

Much of the talk entering camp has been the additions of Browner and Revis in the secondary. With what already was in place, this could be one of the best secondaries in the Bill Belichick era.

With only one real practice under their belts, it’€™s hard to really know what their true impact will have on the defense.

“Honestly, it has been one day of practice out here,” Mayo said. “We have a lot of different schemes and plays to put in, so ask me that in a couple of weeks and I’€™ll let you know.”

Where exactly individuals and units are will become clearer as camp rolls on, beginning over the weekend when the team will wear pads for the first time, with which comes real blocking and tackling.

Like many of the fans, the players are excited.

“Definitely,” said Mayo. “You can only do so much out here with no pads on. Saturday will be a good day, but obviously we have some work to do [Friday] putting some plays in. Saturday will be fun.”

Read More: 2014 training camp, Brandon Browner, Darrelle Revis, Jerod Mayo

Mike Tannenbaum: Darrelle Revis will turn Patriots’ weakness into a strength

07.24.14 at 5:25 pm ET
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On Thursday’s edition of “Inside Training Camp Live” on NFL Network, analysts Mike Tannenbaum and Solomon Wilcots discussed Darrelle Revis and the kind of difference maker he’ll be with the Patriots this season:

Mike Tannenbaum: ‘€œDarrelle is one of those players that he has attributes you can’€™t see; the toughness, the competiveness. He’€™ll bring a lot to that New England defense’€¦You look at some of the teams they’€™re going to compete against ‘€“ the Demaryius Thomas‘€™ of the world and Reggie Wayne, Dwayne Bowe — I think what [Bill Belichick] saw last year in the [AFC] Championship Game was we really struggled getting off the field against Denver. His answer was not only Darrelle Revis but Brandon Browner to couple that with some of the other pieces they have in the secondary. They’€™re going to try to turn a weakness into a strength, and with Browner and Revis and their physicality, I think it’€™s going to greatly improve their man-to-man defense.’€

Solomon Wilcots: ‘€œHe’€™s a transformational player. He allows the Patriots to transform their entire defense because he can neutralize the best wide receiver on the opposite side of the ball. He is that kind of player. You just love the fact that when you take a look at Darrelle Revis — and Bill Belichick talked about it — he has a high football IQ; he understands what teams are trying to do to him. He can neutralize the best player simply because he’€™s probably one of the most fearless cornerbacks I’€™ve ever seen. When he steps up in the box and that press man-to-man coverage, whether it’€™s Calvin Johnson, whether it’€™s A.J. Green, whether it’€™s Dez Bryant — it doesn’€™t even enter his mind that what happens when I get beat? I don’€™t even think it really toys with him that he even thinks I could get beat. There is not even a potential for that to happen in his mind. I think that’€™s what separates him from the rest of the pack.’€

Tannenbaum: ‘€œYou read reports that when he’€™s working out in Arizona ‘€“ which he does every year ‘€“ there were other Patriots down there with him, be it the Kyle Arrington‘€™s of the world, Logan Ryan, Devin McCourty. Darrelle has attributes you can’€™t see and when you’€™re trying to build a championship team on both sides of the ball, that’€™s really critical. It’€™s interesting in just his first season, to get that sort of attendance says a lot about the swagger that he has in that locker room.’€

Read More: Darrelle Revis, Mike Tannenbaum, Solomon Wilcots,

Tom Brady pumps up Kenbrell Thompkins and pumps the brakes on Rob Gronkowski

07.24.14 at 5:14 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Tom Brady had his favorite target back on the field on Thursday for the first day of Patriots camp.

But Rob Gronkowski was limited to cutting drills and catching passes in the red zone from Brady. Gronkowski ran several short patterns alongside Julian Edelman, Kenbrell Thompkins and Danny Amendola but was just an observer during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. In other words, it wasn’t the “Full Gronkowski.”

That didn’t disappoint Brady too much. As a matter of fact it reminded him of the need to rely on others in the passing game.

“We’re always try to bring it, regardless of who is out there,” Brady said. “If he’€™s not out there, then we still have to find a way to do it, and I think really that’€™s a lesson that we’€™ve learned. You’€™ve got to try to win, no matter who is out there. You’€™ve got to try to compete at a high level. When you have great players like that that are on the field, it helps you a lot. Your margin of error goes up.

“But you’€™ve got to prepare for both. We’€™ve had different times over the offseason where certain guys have been in there, certain guys haven’€™t, but I don’€™t think the expectations have changed. You’€™ve still got to go out and execute the play the best way you know how to and try to do it at a high level on a consistent basis.”

Still, with Gronk on the grass fields, there was a certain electricity in the air.

“The more guys we have out here healthy, the better we’€™re going to be,” Brady said. “Everyone is working with whatever situation they’€™re in. You could be coming off injury, [or] you could be coming off a good offseason. Everyone is starting at the same place. It’€™s the first opportunity to put shoulder pads on, and now the real physical aspect of the sport comes out. In the offseason, when it’€™s just shorts and t-shirts and you’€™re throwing the ball, it’€™s about a quarter of the game. So we’€™re going to see what we’€™re made of, and we’€™ve got a lot of big tests ahead.”

That first big test is this weekend when the team gets into full pads for the first time. Next up, are the full scrimmages with the Redskins down in Richmond, Virginia prior to the preseason opener Aug. 7 at FedEx Field.

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Read More: 2014 training camp, Gronk, Kenbrell Thompkins, New England Patriots
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