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Report: Tom Brady tells teammates behind closed doors he prefers footballs ‘a certain way’

01.22.15 at 2:19 pm ET
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Tom Brady took a season low seconds from snap-to-throw last Sunday. (Getty Images)

Tom Brady reportedly told the Patriots he likes the football “a certain way.” (Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Tom Brady is apparently accepting responsibility for Deflategate with his teammates.

According to a report from NBC News, the quarterback addressed his teammates behind closed doors Thursday, telling his team that he prefers the football “a certain way.” The report also indicates Brady told everyone to stay focused on the Super Bowl.

The Patriots quarterback told WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan Monday that talk of the team purposely deflating footballs is “ridiculous.” Apparently the whirlwind of national media focus on the story has changed his mind enough to address it in a team meeting.

Bill Belichick acknowledged Thursday morning that the team would be more diligent in the future to ensure that the footballs they hand the officials are inflated beyond the minimum 12.5 pounds per square inch.

If Brady or someone else had the balls deflated below 12.5 psi intentionally, he and the Patriots were breaking NFL rules.

Read More: Deflategate, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, Super Bowl XLIX

Bryan Stork (knee) returns to Patriots practice indoors Thursday

01.22.15 at 1:20 pm ET
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Bryan Stork (center) raises his leg during warmups, prior to Thursday's Patriots practice. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Bryan Stork (center) raises his leg during warmups, prior to Thursday’s Patriots practice. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — The Patriots finally returned to the practice field Thursday for the first of four practices before they leave for Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale next Monday.

The full pads practice was inside at Dana-Farber Fieldhouse and the team had perfect attendance. The biggest news of the day was the return of center Bryan Stork, who missed the AFC championship with a knee injury suffered against the Ravens.

Stork was listed on a projected injury report Wednesday as not participating, meaning the team reported that he wouldn’t have practiced if the team had worked out.

Also on the indoor turf was Sealver Siliga (foot). The defensive tackle injured his foot in Sunday’s game, but returned to action against the Colts.

The Seahawks did hold practice on Wednesday and had five players not practicing. Marshawn Lynch (not injury related), Clint Gresham (neck), Michael Bennett (not injury related), JR Sweezy (ankle) and Earl Thomas (shoulder) didn’t practice. Justin Britt (knee) and Richard Sherman (elbow) were full participants.

Read More: Bryan Stork, New England Patriots, Sealver Siliga, Seattle Seahawks

Patriots backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo shrugs off talk of underinflated footballs

01.22.15 at 1:12 pm ET
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Jimmy Garoppolo says he hasn't heard anything about under-inflated footballs. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Jimmy Garoppolo says he hasn’t heard anything about under-inflated footballs. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — When it comes to footballs, Jimmy Garoppolo doesn’t sound too fussy.

“I came from Eastern Illinois, where we had about four footballs for the entire year,” the rookie quarterback said before practice on Thursday. “So I’ll use whatever footballs they give me. I’ve used the worst balls you could think of in practice. Wet. Snowy. Muddy. Everything. You get used to all that stuff.

“I’m used to whatever,” he added. “A football is a football. You just have to go out there and throw it.”

Garoppolo, who said he didn’t know anything about manipulating or underinflating footballs, echoed the words of Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who said that the footballs get constantly scuffed and worked over during practice in hopes of doing everything possible to get the players ready for every possible circumstance in the game.

“Oh yeah,” he said with a knowing smile. “Yeah — it’s one of those things that when you get in a game and you realize we had way worse in practice. Worse conditions. Worse, whatever it may be. It probably makes the game a little bit easier.”

Garoppolo has a unique challenge this week in that he’s being asked to provide the starting defense with a look that replicates Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson. It’s become old hat for Garoppolo., who said he’s looking forward to trying to “get a title active out there” in hopes of giving the New England defense a good look.

“Each week is a different assignment for me. A different quarterback for me. Try and pick up tendencies, things they try and do. And I try and do my best impression of the guy.”

“It’s part of the job. There’s no real trick to it. You just have to put in the time. Put in the effort and have both mentalities ready to go.”

It’s been an interesting year for Garoppolo, who had never been to an NFL game before this season, is now headed for the Super Bowl in his first year in the league.

“Come a long way, huh? It’s pretty crazy,” he laughed. “It’s exciting. A dream come true. Just have to take advantage of it.”

Read More: Deflategate, Jimmy Garoppolo, New England Patriots, Super Bowl XLIX

Jerod Mayo on MFB: Patriots sometimes get attacked unfairly

01.22.15 at 1:09 pm ET
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Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo joined Middays with MFB on Thursday to discuss his rehab, Deflategate and also to look ahead to the Super Bowl. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

This entire week has been all about Deflategate in the media and there hasn’t been much discussion at all about the actual Super Bowl game. Mayo said it it’s been highly unusual.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Mayo. “At the same time I know the guys are focused on Seattle and you know the whole ‘ignore the noise.’ That is what the guys are doing. When you get in between the walls, we’re studying film and trying to move forward.”

The linebacker was asked how he feels about the team being under scrutiny a lot of the time. He acknowledged it happens, but it isn’t something the team thinks about.

“I really don’t know. I don’t what know it is,” he said. “I feel like sometimes the team sometimes gets attacked unfairly, but at the same time really it doesn’t matter, we’re trying to put a good performance on each and every week. I know the guys are really focused on the game and it’s a huge game. We’re not really bothered with all that going on.”

Mayo suffered a torn patellar tendon in Week 6 against against the Bills. It’s the second straight year Mayo has suffered a season-ending injury early in the year. He said rehab is going well.

“I’m doing good. Rehab is going well,” Mayo said. “I’m doing good. We’ll keep taking it one day at a time, no setbacks here.”

Despite being placed on injured reserve, Mayo has still remained part of the team, showing up at the facility everyday, watching film and helping out the linebackers. He has even been on the sidelines during the playoffs, something unusual for a Bill Belichick coached team, to have a player on injured reserve on the sidelines.

“I just tried to keep the guys calm. I know it’s a long game and sometimes things don’t go your way,” said Mayo of what he did in the Baltimore game. “I try and keep everybody calm and obviously I can see things from the sideline that you can’t really see on the field. It’s difficult to see the entire field when you’re out there looking at certain keys. I can see a lot of things on the sideline and I just try to rely some of the things that I see to the guys.”

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Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Jerod Mayo, Super Bowl XLIX,

Report: Marshawn Lynch fined $20,000 for obscene gesture in NFC championship game

01.22.15 at 11:02 am ET
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According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has been fined $20,000 for an obscene gesture in the NFC championship game after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Schefter also adds the NFL is considering fining him “significantly more” than the $50,000 they fined him the last two seasons for not speaking to the media — something the running back didn’t do Sunday.

On Wednesday, Richard Sherman joked he would give Lynch lessons on how to handle media day.

“We’€™re going to have a course later on this week. Going into media day, we’€™re going to have a good discussion about do’€™s and don’ts of media day — me and Marshawn,” he said.

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

Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Marshawn Lynch, Super Bowl XLIX,

Bill Belichick: ‘Shocked’ to hear news about underinflated footballs

01.22.15 at 10:00 am ET
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FOXBORO — Bill Belichick said Thursday morning that he had “no knowledge” of the underinflated footballs until Monday morning and that he was “shocked” to hear the news that there was an issue with air pressure regarding the footballs used in the AFC title game.

“I had no knowledge whatsoever of this situation until Monday morning,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot more about this process in the last three days than I knew — or had talked about — in the last 40 years that I’ve coached in this league. I had no knowledge of the various steps involved in the game balls, the process that happened between when they were prepared and went to the officials and went to the game, so I’ve learned a lot about that.”

Belichick spoke with the media for almost 10 minutes Thursday morning, making a statement about what he knew regarding the situation before taking a handful of questions, and adding that he has “no explanation” for what happened.

“I really can’t think of anything I would have done differently,” said the coach, who referenced prepared notes from the podium. [The entire transcript can be found below]

Belichick deferred most questions, adding that when it came to the matter of the league investigation, “I can’t comment on what [the league] is doing. That’s something you should talk to them about.”

When it came to the level of Tom Brady‘s involvement in the situation, Belichick indicated that the quarterback could better address those issues.

“Tom’s personal preferences on his footballs are something he can talk about in much better detail,” Belichick added.

“It’s unfortunate that this is a story coming off two great playoff victories by our football team and our players, but again we’ve been cooperative with the NFL investigation,” he said. “We’ll continue to do so, and we’ll turn all our attention, focus on the Seattle Seahawks, a very well-coached, talented, tough football team.”

Here is the transcript of Bill Belichick’s entire opening comments on Deflategate:

“All right, I’ll start off by addressing the football issue here. When I came in Monday morning, I was shocked to learn of the news reports about the footballs. I had no knowledge whatsoever of this situation whatsoever until Monday morning. I’d say I’ve learned a lot more about this process in the last three days than I know, or had talked about it, in the last 40 years that I’ve coached in this league.

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Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Bill Belichick, Deflategate, New England Patriots

Seahawks OC Darrell Bevell: Patriots defense represents ‘challenge’

01.22.15 at 8:15 am ET
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Darrell Bevell

Darrell Bevell

Darrell Bevell knows he has a sizable challenge ahead. The Seattle offensive coordinator will play a major role in the game plans for Super Bowl XLIX, and he’ll help guide quarterback Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense against a New England defense that appears to be peaking at the right time.

According to Mike Clay of Pro Football Focus, including Sunday’s AFC title game, the Patriots have now allowed 14 touchdowns in nine games (an average of 1.55 per game) since their Week 10 bye. That included four against Baltimore last week in the AFC divisional playoffs. Maybe more importantly, the defense has been best when the game has been on the line — New England has yielded just two second-half touchdowns since its Week 11 win over the Colts in the regular season.

Bevell said Wednesday he’s not shocked at all when it comes to the level of success the Patriots have enjoyed, and anticipates a terrific challenge from New England when the two teams square off in Glendale.

“[Bill Belichick is as] good as they come in terms of game planning for an opponent, and he’s going to have a specific game plan for us. You don’t even know what it could be, so you kind of have to really be ready for everything,” he told reporters on Wednesday. “Fronts, coverages, all different kind of things and you have to be able to anticipate some of the things that they might do and you have to be able to adjust. During the game. there’s definitely some unscouted looks that are probably going to come up. So we just have to be ready to make those adjustments on the sideline as they come.

“I think you really have to be on your toes and really be prepared,” he added. “Like I said. almost every single guy on their secondary, you’ve seen them on tape in the games. There’s all the D-linemen, all the linebackers, they use them really all over the place. They can use them as down linemen, they can use them as linebackers, they use their safeties as corners, they’re all over the place. There’s definitely going to be some unscouted looks to come up.”

Bevell knows that the Seahawks‘ greatest challenge will come when Wilson and the Seattle passing game goes against the Patriots’ secondary.

“They use all of their guys — just about all of the depth that they have on the back end, you see them on tape,” Bevell said of the New England defensive backs. “I think they’re all solid players, but when you start with [Darrelle] Revis and [Brandon Browner] — we know about BB and Revis is one of the best in the business. I think [Devin] McCourty is playing just about as well as you can play at safety, he’s very active. So it’s going to be fun. It’s going to be a good challenge — one that we’re looking forward to.”

Bevell also broke down what it means to specifically face Revis and Browner. Bevell acknowledged that Revis was “as good as they come” when it comes to the cornerback position.

“He does everything well,” he said. “I know that they feel confident that they can just put him on an island, but they can put him over there one on one and the other guys can help the other side of the field and he’d be able to take care of that, or at least he’s been able to in his past. So he’s a solid player — he can play bump and run, he understands concepts, he can jump routes if he needs to, he can play the deep ball. So he’s a solid player.”

As far as Browner, there is some familiarity there, as he spent the last three seasons with the Seahawks before signing with New England this past offseason.

“It’ll be fun — we used to compete hard against him in practice,” recalled Bevell. “So that will be fun to see him.”

Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Darrell Bevell, New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks
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