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Tom Brady on Patriots’ December dominance: ‘This is what it’s all about’

12.05.14 at 6:00 am ET
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The cold weather doesn't seem to bother Tom Brady. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

The cold weather doesn’t seem to bother Tom Brady. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

As the calendar flips to December it means temperatures are cooling down to below freezing, but it also means Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is heating up.

Brady is a career 45-7 in the month of December, the best record for any NFL quarterback with a minimum of 20 December starts, per Elias. The 45 wins are the most of any month for the quarterback. December is when the games matter the most, so it’s no surprise Brady raises his game with him being one of the most clutch quarterbacks to ever play the game.

“I always say it’€™s really a game of emotion,” Brady told reporters in San Diego before Thursday’s practice. “You have to be at your best when the game is on the line. I think that our guys have always figured out a way to do that, especially at this time of year. December is when football season is, this is what it’€™s all about. Regardless of what you’€™ve done to this point, everybody’€™s season is decided at this point in the year. This is when you’€™ve got to be at your best. We got off to a really slow start last weekend, hopefully we can rebound this weekend and play much better.”

The 37-year-old also notes that it isn’t just about him during the month — it’s about the entire team. Over the last 10 seasons, the Patriots have a record of 36-4 in the month of December, the best mark in the entire NFL. Coming in right behind them is this week’s opponent, the Chargers, who come in at 32-9.

It doesn’t matter whether the Patriots at home or on the road, they simply win in the month of December. In road games since 2002, the team is 24-5 in the month of December.

“This is the strength of our team, it’€™s not my strength,” Brady said. “I think that really speaks to the work ethic, the discipline of our guys, the mental toughness. It’€™s not easy to get up every day, on a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and grind through it like we do. I think that although it may not be really short-term, the positive feelings from some of those things in the end, that’€™s when it pays off the most.

“I think you just have to grind through it. It’€™s hard for everybody. It feels a little easier out here on days like this. But ultimately it comes down to your execution and how well you go out and play. Like I said, our team has always done a good job of that this time of year when it matters.”

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Live Chat: Talk all things Patriots, NFL with Chris Price Friday at 11 a.m.

12.05.14 at 12:21 am ET
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Join Chris Price of to break down all things Patriots and the NFL, Friday at 11 a.m. Price will help you get ready for the Pats‘ Sunday showdown with the Chargers, while looking at the landscape of the league heading into the regular season’s final stretch.

Live Blog Chris Price Patriots live chat

Chris White misses practice again, 10 Patriots players still limited

12.04.14 at 6:38 pm ET
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Chris White

Chris White

There were no changes to the Patriots’ practice report from Wednesday in San Diego besides Aaron Dobson (hamstring) now being listed as on injured reserve, rather than not practicing.

Linebacker Chris White (ankle) missed practice once again. White, a core special teams player, missed last Sunday’s game against the Packers after landing on the injury report in the middle of last week.

Chandler Jones (hip) remains limited, but he seems getting closer and closer to playing for the first time since Week 7, as the defensive end spoke to the media in San Diego before Thursday’s practice. It was the first time he’s spoken since the injury. Linebacker Dont’a Hightower (shoulder) was listed as limited for a second straight day as well.

For the Chargers, tackle D.J. Flucker was added to the injury report after suffering a concussion in Wednesday’s practice. He didn’t practice Thursday. Quarterback Philip Rivers was also added with a chest injury, but was a full participant in practice.

Here is the complete practice report:

Did not participate

WR Aaron Dobson (hamstring) — Placed on injured reserve
LB Chris White (ankle)

Limited participation

LS Danny Aiken (concussion)
CB Kyle Arrington (hip)
G Dan Connolly (ankle)
DE Dominique Easley (knee)
WR Julian Edelman (thigh)
T Cameron Fleming (ankle)
LB Dont’€™a Hightower (shoulder)
DE Chandler Jones (hip)
WR Brandon LaFell (shoulder)
RB Shane Vereen (ankle)

Full participation

QB Tom Brady (ankle)
T Marcus Cannon (hip)

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Tom Brady says week in San Diego together as a team has been ‘real plus’

12.04.14 at 4:56 pm ET
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Tom Brady and the Patriots have spent the week in California, the state Brady grew up in. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Tom Brady and the Patriots have spent the week in California, the state in which Brady grew up. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

It’s been a homecoming week of sorts for Tom Brady.

The 37-year-old quarterback and the rest of the Patriots are spending a week back in the state in which he was born, as the Patriots are holding practices in San Diego in advance of Sunday’s game against the Chargers. The team opted to fly directly out there after Sunday’s game in Green Bay instead of flying home to Foxboro and then back out to the West Coast later in the week.

Brady says the time away from home and being with only the team has been good for everyone.

“It’s been good,” he said to reporters in San Diego before Thursday’s practice. “I think we’ve had a good couple days and got off to a good start yesterday. It’s still kind of early in the preparation. Now it starts to feel like California weather, as opposed to yesterday. Hopefully we’ll have another good day of practice. Guys have a lot of time to kind of be together and spend a lot of time that we don’t typically get to spend so that’s been a real plus.”

The quarterback grew up in the Northern California town of San Mateo, which is about eight hours away from the University of San Diego, where the team is holding its practices this week, but Brady is no stranger to the campus.

“It’s fun. I was born and raised out here,” said Brady. “I didn’t really spend too much time in San Diego, although my best friend went to this school so I had a few visits when I was at Michigan, coming down here. It’s always been a fun place to be.”

Sunday will feature two of the best tight ends of the game in Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Gates. Gates has been in the league for 12 seasons, and Brady realizes how much of a matchup problem he can be for opposing defenses.

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DE Chandler Jones discusses road back from injury

12.04.14 at 4:04 pm ET
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Chandler Jones

Chandler Jones

In his first public comments since going down with a hip injury in Week 7, Chandler Jones told reporters Thursday that he’s “just following the protocol” and doing what he needs to do to help the team.

“My biggest focus right now is just trying to catch up to the pace that the rest of my teammates are on and do what I can to help the team,” the Patriots defensive end told reporters. “Every day, I’m listening to what the coaches and the doctors are saying. However I can help the team, whether it’s in the film room or however it was, that’s what I’ll do.”

Jones, who said “we’re not going to talk about the injury at all,” said he’s doing whatever he can do while he’s sidelined.

“Every day, I’m listening to what the coaches and the doctors are saying,” he said. “However I can help the team, whether it’s in the film room or however it was, that’s what I’ll do.

“Every day is [a] progression, especially for someone that has been out. Every day forward is a good day.”

Jones has 4.5 sacks and eight quarterback hits this season with the Patriots.

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Rob Gronkowski on ‘Justin Bieber curse': ‘We’re just on to San Diego, we’re just worried about the Chargers’

12.04.14 at 3:53 pm ET
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It’s been all business in San Diego this week as the Patriots prepare for the Chargers on Sunday night, but a few players on the team did get to a Clippers game in Los Angeles Monday night before the team’s off day on Tuesday.

At the game, the players including Rob Gronkowski, met up with singer Justin Bieber in the Clippers locker room.

Pictures were posted on Twitter and Instagram, which sent a buzz across the internet with people noting the so called “Bieber curse.” It all comes after the last three teams Bieber has visited, they have have all been defeated right after the visit — the Knicks lost to the Bulls by 25, LeBron James‘ Cavs were upset by the Knicks and in the NFL, the Steelers were upset by the Jets after Bieber went to the team’s bible study the night before the game.

Gronkowski was asked of the curse, but he didn’t have much to say.

“We’re just on to San Diego, we’re just worried about the Chargers,” Gronkowski told reporters in California before practice on Thursday.

On the field Sunday night will be two of the best tight ends to play the game in Gronkowski and Antonio Gates. Gates talked on Tuesday about how he’s been able to stay on the field and play at the level he has for so long (12 seasons) — something Gronkowski has been working on after not being able to play a full season since 2011.

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Video: ‘4th & Goal’ breaks down Patriots and Chargers

12.04.14 at 1:45 pm ET
By   |   Comments’s Chris Price previews the Week 14 matchup between the Patriots and the Chargers. Find out the keys to the game as well as Chris’ prediction.

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