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Why Matthew Slater feels ‘there’s a lot to be excited about’ Darrelle Revis and 2014 Patriots 04.22.14 at 4:01 pm ET
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Matthew Slater has shown the ability to fight his way up the ladder in his time in New England. (AP)

Matthew Slater has shown the ability to fight his way up the ladder in his time in New England. (AP)

FOXBORO — Matthew Slater is a natural-born optimist.

Every time the Patriots special teams captain speaks, you can hear it in his voice. So, it should come as no surprise that Slater is like all the other Patriots players who are reacting to the addition of cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner and the chances for the 2014 Patriots.

“I’ve gotten a few chances to visit with Revis,” Slater said Tuesday, taking a break from his workout at Gillette. “Obviously, competing against him over the years, got a chance to meet him and spend some time with him in Hawaii this year. Really a good guy, does everything the right way, plays the game the right way, and you respect that about a guy, no matter who he plays for. If he plays the game hard and plays the game the right way, you respect it and he’s definitely one of those guys.

“I don’t really follow a whole lot of football in the offseason. I heard it and that would be great if he came [to the Patriots] I thought. Obviously, when you get a player like that, you’re excited about the opportunity to play with them. You know what he brings to the table. They’re 31 other teams out there that are trying to get done what they need to get done. And we’ve got to try to focus on us and improve.”

Slater and Revis spent time together in Hawaii this past January, when Slater participated in his third straight Pro Bowl. His father, Jackie, was a seven-time Pro-Bowler. With 10 Pro Bowl nods between them, the Slaters are the second most nominated family in NFL history. (Archie, Eli, and Peyton Manning have 18).

Revis is just one of a handful of new additions that will be on hand this spring and summer when the Patriots get back on the field to begin practicing for real. In addition to Revis and Browner, there’s wide receiver Brandon LaFell and all the draft picks and rookie free agents who will be descending upon Foxboro. This week marks the true beginning for NFL teams, as players are permitted back at their club’s facilities for offseason weight lifting and training.

“There’s a lot to be excited about,” Slater said. ‘There’s some extremely talented players that we’ve added to the roster along with some extremely talented players that we’ve had here for a while. All that is on paper. It really doesn’t mean anything right now. We haven’t even had one practice together. We have a long ways to go.

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Read More: Archie Manning, Darrelle Revis, Eli Manning, Jackie Slater
Darrelle Revis apparently set to wear No. 24 04.08.14 at 6:59 pm ET
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It appears Darrelle Revis will be wearing his customary No. 24 with the Patriots.

The Patriots have begun selling the jersey on their website this week, and the Patriots Pro Shop tweeted Tuesday that you can order a No. 24 Revis jersey, which will be shipped in one to three weeks.

The number became available after the team released veteran safety Adrian Wilson. Revis has worn the No. 24 since he was drafted by the Jets out of Pitt in 2007.

Read More: Adrian Wilson, Darrelle Revis,
Rob Ninkovich: Darrelle Revis ‘best corner in the league’ at 12:01 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Count defensive end Rob Ninkovich as part of the Darrelle Revis Fan Club.

During a break in offseason workouts Tuesday morning at Gillette Stadium, Ninkovich was eager to sing the praises of Revis, as well as cornerback Brandon Browner.

“We have the best corner in the league coming in. That’s always good thing for a defensive end like myself — give me a little more time. I’ll be happy to use that,” Ninkovich said of Revis. “I’m happy he’s on our team. He’s a great, great football player. The more great football players you have on your team, the better chance you have to win. Again, I’m happy he’s playing for us.

“You can do whatever you want with him. You can put him on the best receiver, tight end, whoever, and just say, ‘Go cover this guy,’ and he can do it. Whenever you have a guy who’s that talented, it’s always great, as far as defensive schemes and stuff like that.”

As for Browner, Ninkovich said he was amazed by the size of the former Seahawks defensive back.

“That guy is bigger than me,” the 6-foot-3, 251-pound Ninkovich said of the 6-foot-4, 221-pound Browner. “When I first met him, I didn’t know he was a corner. Again, he’s big, physical guy. He’s tall and long. He’s another guy who is a piece you can put on the field anywhere to go cover a guy and shut them down. That’s another great addition we have to our secondary.”

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

Read More: Brandon Browner, Darrelle Revis, Rob Ninkovich,
Bill Belichick: ‘Looking forward’ to chance to work with Darrelle Revis 03.25.14 at 9:07 am ET
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Bill Belichick at the AFC coaches breakfast Tuesday morning. (Photo courtesy Erik Scalavino, Patriots Football Weekly)

Bill Belichick holds court at the AFC coaches breakfast Tuesday morning. (Erik Scalavino/Patriots Football Weekly)

ORLANDO — Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Tuesday he’s “looking forward” to the chance to work with veteran cornerback Darrelle Revis.

Speaking at the AFC coaches breakfast at the annual meetings, Belichick didn’t sound “super excited” like owner Robert Kraft did on Monday when talking about the free agent haul, but was upbeat when speaking about the pickup of Revis.

“I think he’€™ll help our team,” Belichick said of Revis, who was signed as a free agent earlier this month. “He’€™s a good player [who] does a lot of things well. We’re looking forward to working with him.”

Belichick acknowledged that Revis was a traditional free agent pickup, saying that the Patriots believed the veteran cornerback was a “potential release,” but they weren’t 100 percent sure until Tampa Bay officially cut him loose.

“We try to keep tabs on all the players — we know the ones that are potentially [unrestricted free agents] going into the process, we know guys that are potentially non-tendered players,” Belichick said. “Some of those guys get signed back, some of them get tendered, some guys we think are going to get tendered don’€™t get tendered — there’€™s a little bit of movement there at the end and then some players get released.

“We thought he was a potential release, but we didn’t know that. They could’ve kept him, but they didn’t, so when they didn’t, that’€™s the process,” he added. “You never know exactly how free agency is going to go — there’€™s always twists and turns.

“Darrelle is a good player. We’€™ll see how it comes together with us, what his role is and how exactly he fits in our scheme and so forth,” Belichick added. “We’€™ll just have to see how that comes together.”

Belichick also touched on the acquisition of free agents Brandon Browner and Brandon LaFell.

“He was a productive player in Carolina [and] had some skills that we liked when he was coming out of LSU. We’€™ll see how it goes,” Belichick said of LaFell. “Obviously, [we] felt he was a good player and that’€™s why we signed him.”

On Browner: “Rare size for a corner. … Obviously, there’€™s a lot of things that we liked about it or we wouldn’t have signed him. It’s the same thing when we draft a player — we have to work with him, have them put it together and see how it comes together with that player on our team. But that’€™s a process we have to go through. Obviously, there’€™s things we liked, or we wouldn’t have signed him.”

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

Read More: 2014 nfl annual meetings, Bill Belichick, Brandon Browner, Brandon LaFell
Robert Kraft ‘super excited’ about free agent pickups Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, Brandon LaFell 03.24.14 at 2:03 pm ET
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ORLANDO — Even though he was among the owners Monday at the league meetings, Robert Kraft had not problem putting on his fan hat, especially when it came to talking about the acquisitions of new free agents Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner and Brandon LaFell.

“€œJust putting my fan hat on, I’€™m super excited,” he said during a break in the meetings at the Ritz Carlton. “We like to think our team got better, but one thing I’€™ve learned over 20 years is that winning the offseason isn’€™t what counts. A lot of people win the offseason and you get high, with the different transactions. The great thing about the NFL, you need a lot of people, all playing a role, to succeed and get to Jerusalem on the Hill — where we all want to get in February.”

While Kraft said he had a chance to touch base with all three players, he seemed particularly excited about getting the opportunity to talk with Revis. The owner said the two talked in Florida, and he came away impressed with Revis’ commitment level.

“Here’s a young man who had his choice of going to any team in the NFL he wanted, and he came to us,” Kraft said. “He could have gotten considerable more money going to other teams, but he still came to us. I think he knows we’re committed to winning as an organization, I really believe his priority is trying to win.
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Read More: 2014 nfl annual meetings, Brandon Browner, Brandon LaFell, Darrelle Revis
Resetting Patriots depth chart in secondary 03.18.14 at 1:42 pm ET
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Devin McCourty was a key defensive piece of the puzzle for the Patriots in 2013. (AP)

Devin McCourty figures to be the leader of the New England secondary in 2014. (AP)

To this point in the offseason, no position in New England has undergone more of a change than the secondary. The Patriots have lost cornerback Aqib Talib and strong safety Steve Gregory, but they’ve added Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner. Here’s a look at New England’€™s current depth in the secondary.

Cornerback
Darrelle Revis: The veteran corner, signed earlier this month, figures to fundamentally step into Talib’s old spot as the No. 1 corner who will face off against the lead pass catcher on the other side of the ball. If Revis is that guy, he will face an impressive roster of receivers over the course of the 2014 season, including Mike Wallace (Miami), Reggie Wayne (Indy), Keenan Allen (San Diego), A.J. Green (Cincy), Demaryius Thomas (Denver) and Brandon Marshall (Chicago).

Brandon Browner: As of this point, the veteran figures to be in the mix for the No. 2 cornerback spot. Because of suspensions and health problems, he’€™s only played 20 games the last two seasons, and so he could be a little rusty out of the gate, especially considering that he’€™ll be getting adjusted to a new team, as well as the fact that he’€™ll sidelined the first four games of the 2014 season because of a ban for violating the league policy on PEDs. However, providing he stays healthy, there’€™s no reason to think he shouldn’t be a part of the rotation by the midway point of the season.

Alfonzo Dennard: He’s currently in the home stretch of his jail term in Nebraska, and his future when it comes to playing time could be fluid, with much of it tied to Browner’€™s situation. With Browner out for the first four games, however, he figures to be the No. 2 corner, at least for the short term.

Kyle Arrington: Many of his critics were hopeful that with the acquisition of Browner and Revis, the Patriots were going to get rid of Arrington. No dice — he remains one of the better slot corners in the game, and the pickup of Revis allows him to stay in the slot, a position he’€™s become suited to over the years. Barring injury, look for him there again in 2014.

Logan Ryan: For the most part, the Rutgers product had a very good rookie season, finishing with five picks (best on the team) and looking very comfortable over the course of the year. (He was overwhelmed a bit in the AFC title game against the Broncos, but even with his maturation, was probably playing a little over his head in that contest anyway.) With Revis and Browner in the picture, he figures to get most of his work as the nickel back and in sub packages, at least early on. The good thing is that the Patriots spent the majority of the season with five defensive backs on the field, so he should still get some significant snaps, even if he is bumped down the depth chart.
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Read More: Adrian Wilson, Alfonzo Dennard, Aqib Talib, Brandon Browner
Julian Edelman on WAAF: ‘It’s a good day to be back’ with Patriots at 1:20 pm ET
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Wide receiver Julian Edelman, who agreed to a new four-year deal with the Patriots over the weekend, told WAAF’s Hill-Man Morning Show that he’s happy to be returning to New England after dipping his toes in the waters of free agency. To hear the interview, go to the WAAF audio page.

“It’s a good day,” Edelman said from his California home. “It’s a good day to be back. It’s awesome that I get to be there for another four years.”

Added Edelman: “It’s a great situation how everything worked out. I can’t wait to get started and get back into town and jump on the horse, because we got knocked off last year, and get back to work.”

A native of the San Francisco area, Edelman had a visit with the 49ers last week, but he said his heart was with the Patriots.

“It wasn’t that tough [to decide], to tell you the truth,” Edelman said. “You go on these visits and these trips and everything and you see these wonderful organizations. I got to go home and see the Niners, and I grew up a huge Niners fan, but being in New England for the last five years, that’s just home. That’s just home for me right now. Just the way, the mentality, the team, how everything’s done, the scheme, the players, the locker room, the fans — it’s something that I couldn’t leave. I’m really glad that we were able to work something out and bring me back.”

With the Patriots, Edelman reunites with fellow Northern California product Tom Brady.

“When you get to come to work and play with one of the best, it makes it a lot easier,” Edelman said. “Especially with the kind of player and person Brady — along with a lot of other guys on the team. The teammates were definitely a huge part of that. Having the year that we had last year, we got so close and we overcame adversity and all that stuff. Hopefully we’re going to build on that and do even better.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

On the acquisition of Darrelle Revis: “He’s the best in the league. There’s usually like two or three types of corners in the National Football League. You have guys that are long, lanky, that are good at the line of scrimmage, quicker than fast, long speed, good transition. When he’s healthy he seems to have all that. He’s always very tough to compete against. It’s great to have him join the team.”

On Vince Wilfork reportedly asking to be released rather than rework his contract: “I can’t speak on that. Personally, that’s not my job on this team to make those kinds of decisions and that stuff. Obviously Vince is a great player. He’s a good friend of mine. Of course you want a guy like that around. But I don’t know what’s going on between them.”

Read More: Darrelle Revis, Julian Edelman, Tom Brady, Vince Wilfork
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