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Chandler Jones on MFB: ‘There’s always room for improvement’ 08.18.14 at 1:49 pm ET
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Chandler Jones

Chandler Jones

Defensive end Chandler Jones joined the Middays with MFB crew on Monday as the Patriots head into the second half of the preseason. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The first-string defense has played well in the preseason, but Jones knows the squad has a long way to go.

“We can always do better,” Jones said. “Honestly, I felt like there’s always room for improvement. There’s no perfect football team. . . .  There always areas where we can get better, and that goes for everyone.”

Added Jones: “Week in and week out we try to find weakness in our defense and get better. Every good defense, you don’t want any weaknesses at all.”

The officials have been calling games tight in the preseason. One of the points of emphasis is to look for illegal hands to the face from lineman.

“Being a pass-rusher in this league, you don’t want to run off the ball thinking about, ‘Oh my God, I don’t want to get my hands in this guy’s face.’ That should be the last thing that should be on your mind. First, your assignment, your lineman, getting off the ball and doing your job. . . .

“As a pass-rusher you just want to go out there and do whatever you can to get to the quarterback. Running off the ball, thinking about that, I haven’t really thought about it too much, because a lot of my moves are a lot of counter moves, so I don’t really start with slapping any guy’s face.”

For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

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Julian Edelman on MFB: Patriots ‘going to adjust to how the game’s being called’ 08.18.14 at 12:23 pm ET
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Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman checked in with Middays with MFB as part of Patriots Monday on WEEI and discussed the high number of penalties being caused in the preseason. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

“If they’re going to call the game like that, we’ve got to get used to it for the regular season,” Edelman said. “Kind of like training a dog, we’ve got to train everyone and throw probably a little more now to get it in guys’ heads to think towards the regular season. We’re just going to play it out. Every team has to deal with it — our defense has to deal with it. That’s the route they want to go, that’s what we’re going to have to do.”

Added Edelman: “As a player, you know the rules and you’re going to go out there and you’re going to play — do business as business is being done. So if you see it’s a tight game, you’re going to tighten it up a little. If it’s not, that’s when you’re going to loosen up, get away with the push-off or something like that. You’re going to adjust to how the game’s being called.”

Edelman is coming off a breakout, 105-catch season that led to a big contract in the offseason. With his spot secure, he acknowledged approaching training camp with a slightly different mindset.

“This year has been a little different,” he said. “Now I get to really focus on my fundamentals, plays that I go out there and not have to think about a bunch of noise, what’s going on, this, that. You really get to brush up route technique. You have the experience from last year to see what guys have done on certain plays, certain techniques, certain head-bobs, all this kind of stuff. It’s good to kind to learn from last year and try to use that as a foundation and go on from there.”

Tom Brady has taken to affectionately calling Edelman and fellow undersized receiver Danny Amendola “pygmies.”

Edelman professed ignorance about the African-derived term for short people but added: “He’s the commander in chief. What he says goes.”

For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Julian Edelman, Tom Brady,
Tom Brady on D&C: ‘If they’re calling it tight, you’ve got to be able to adjust’ 08.18.14 at 8:55 am ET
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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance with Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning, with the team hitting the halfway mark of the preseason schedule. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Some consider preseason a boring lead-up to the regular season, but Brady is not one of those people.

“It means football is back,” he said. “We’re really in preparation for the season. You can’t shortcut it. You’ve just got to grind through it. It’s about getting better, and you can’t cheat that. You’ve got to see where your team’s at, and to have weeks and weeks of really concentrated practice time and then the preseason game, you make mistakes, you correct them, you try to do them better and make the improvements — I think that’s what training camp’s all about.

“Coach [Bill Belichick] always says a good offseason program leads to a good start of training camp, good training camp leads to a good September, a good September leads to a good October, November. Then you’ve got to be playing well in December. Through none of those phases can you really just be average, because then you can never get back, you can never try to get ahead, you’re always just trying to catch up.”

Brady said progress is far more important than anything else at this stage.

“For all of us it’s just level of improvement,” he said. “I think that’s what you gauge. Because not all the parts are there at this point. A lot of it is individual improvement. So you’re really just focusing on what you’re job is, what you need to do, go through your read, your throw. And then when you start to incorporate those into one-on-one drills, and as that leads over into team drills, hopefully by the opener you’ve got all the guys that have worked on their individual improvement so collectively, as a whole, you’re better and better — or significantly better than what we were let’s say when the OTA’s started. That’s what you have to look to be able to do. You’ve got to built a foundation. Without that foundation you’ll never be a good football team.”

Friday’s preseason win over the Eagles was marked by 28 penalties as officials try to get players to understand they’ll be calling games tighter this season. Brady said it’s incumbent on the players to adjust.

“I don’t know whether they throw 20 flags or five flags over the course of the game. Some calls go your way, some calls don’t,” he said. “I think players like when they let you play, more so than anything. But at the same time, the refs stand up there in front of us on whatever day it was, on Wednesday, and said, ‘Look, we’re throwing a lot of flags. If we see illegal contact, if we see defensive holding, if we see hands to the face, those are real points of emphasis for this year.’ And they showed video. So when those things come up, they’re throwing the flags. And they did in practice a lot, too.

“It’s just being able to adjust and being disciplined and being good decision-makers. … You just have to learn to play within the rules. And those adjust on a weekly basis, depending on how the refs call the game. And we have a pretty good idea of how they’re going to call the game going into it. Some refs throw a lot of flags, some refs don’t throw a lot of flags. Our coaches try to prepare us on that. And once you get out there on the field, you play within the rules to the best of your ability. And if they’re calling it tight, you’ve got to be able to adjust. That’s all part of the decision-making process as a player.

“Hopefully, there’s not 20-plus flags a game. That’s a lot of flags. That will make for long football games.”

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Read More: Jimmy Garoppolo, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady,
Eagles CB Cary Williams stands by ‘cheaters’ comment about Patriots 08.07.14 at 8:39 am ET
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Cary Williams received some flak after calling the Patriots “cheaters” last week in reference to the Spygate scandal, but the Eagles cornerback isn’t backtracking.

“I give them all the credit in the world, but one fact remains: They haven’t won a Super Bowl since they got caught,” Williams said last week.

Said Williams on Tuesday (via The News Journal of Delaware): “Did I say the wrong thing? No. I stand firm on what my beliefs are, and that’s just that. I didn’t tell a lie. At the end of the day, that did happen. It’s in the history books. As far as I’m concerned, I made a comment about it and that’s that.”

The Eagles and Patriots will have joint practices next week, but Williams — who was kicked out of one of the teams’ joint practices last year after a dust-up with receiver Aaron Dobson — isn’t concerned that he’ll be a target.

“I don’t care,” said Williams, a former Raven. “That’s the whole point. I don’t care if they come after me or not. That doesn’t scare me. My mentality is I’ve never been a punk, never been a sissy, never been a guy that’s going to be a scared guy. I don’t play this game in fear at all. I don’t fear no man. As far as I’m concerned, you put your pants on as well as I put my pants on. We’re going to man up when we get there.”

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Report: Patriots approach Darrelle Revis about contract extension 08.06.14 at 6:30 am ET
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According to Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole, the Patriots have had initial discussions regarding a contract extension for cornerback Darrelle Revis following his impressive play in the early part of training camp.

Revis signed a reported two-year, $32 million deal with the team in March after being released by the Buccaneers. The second year is a team option that includes a $12 million roster bonus, something it’s unlikely the Patriots would commit to.

“What I’m hearing from the Patriots is that Revis has been so good so far that they are privately already starting to talk about extending his contract,” Cole said in a video at Bleacher Report. “The Patriots like what they see so much — they think they see the next Ty Law and that shutdown cover corner to really get their defense going — that they’d like to extend him out. Robert Kraft, the owner of the team, has pulled Darrelle Revis aside and started to talk to him to see if they can get a long-term deal worked out.”

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Danny Amendola on MFB: ‘We’re vibing on offense’ 07.30.14 at 1:18 pm ET
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Wide receiver Danny Amendola checked in with Middays with MFB on Wednesday afternoon following Patriots practice. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

“I’m feeling good,” said Amendola, who battled injuries throughout 2013, his first season in New England. “I’m running around, feeling real strong, feeling healthy and ready to go.”

Injuries aside, Amendola was able to adapt to the Patriots system, something other receivers have struggled to do. However, Amendola made it clear there’s plenty of work ahead.

“This playbook’s constantly evolving,” Amendola said. “We try to change stuff up every day and progress and get better. I’m learning. Everybody’s out here learning every day, trying to get better. We’re seeing some good things out there. We’re competing. We’re vibing on offense, trying to compete with the defense to try to get better every day.”

There have been some intense battles between the receivers and the defensive backs early in training camp. Amendola said there’s a lot of trash-talking but no lingering hard feelings.

“It’s very competitive. It gets heated at times. But at the end of the day we’re brothers and we’re family,” he said. “Nothing carries over from the field to the locker room, which is huge, very professional. Everybody out here is trying to get better every day. It’s going to get heated, it’s going to get competitive. But at the end of the day, we’re family.

Rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is under the microscope after the Patriots selected him in the second round of May’s draft.

“He’s doing well. He’s catching on quickly. I know he’s working really hard,” Amendola said. “The coaches are doing a great job of putting him in a position to learn and to get as many reps as he can and make the throws he needs to make. He’s a rookie. He’s getting better.”

For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Danny Amendola, Jimmy Garoppolo,
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
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