|Ryan Mallett: ‘I’m still a work in progress’||06.13.13 at 12:05 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Ryan Mallett has yet something else to push him along.
For two years, Mallett has stayed on the Patriots sidelines, watching and learning from one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game.
With the addition of Tim Tebow in the quarterback mix in Foxboro, Mallett can watch and learn from another quarterback style. Tom Brady is the surgeon. Tebow is the scrambler/running back. Mallett is the strong-armed gunslinger.
“It’s kind of unique how it’s set up but we have three great players in that room that have the ability to go out there and help our team to win games,” Mallett said. “So, we get it done how we can. There’s always competition at every position. It’s part of the job.”
Mallett appears thinner than his previous 6-foot-6, 245-pound frame listed on the Patriots’ roster.
“Now, going into my third year, I just feel like I’ve continued to improve, get my body in shape better and learn how to be the consumate pro,” Mallett said on Wednesday, the final day of a shortened two-day on-field workout. “I have some of the best guys to learn from, so I’m just trying to work hard and get better.”
One thing is for sure, Mallett wants everyone to know that he’s not caught up in the Tebow hoopla.
“I have tunnel vision,” he said. “I don’t know what you all are talking about.
“Tim’s a student of the game. He asks questions of Tom and me. He’s had a little exposure but not a lot so we just try to help him out.”
Mallett was jokingly asked if he had any advice for Tebow in handling the media in Foxboro.
“He would know better than me,” Mallett said. “He’s been doing this for a long time.”
Truth is, Mallett came into the NFL just one year after Tebow. Both are products of SEC schools, with Tebow playing at Florida at the same time Mallett was throwing for Arkansas.
Mallett has attempted just four passes in his career, completing just one pass. Mallett will again get his looks this preseason but until then, he’s just working on feeling comfortable. Read the rest of this entry »
|Robert Kraft on Tom Brady and Tim Tebow: ‘We have the greatest quarterback of all time … Nothing has changed’||06.12.13 at 7:29 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Speaking after handing out 26 community service awards to honor the memory of his late wife, Myra Kraft, Patriots owner Robert Kraft addressed the acquisition of Tim Tebow.
After acknowledging that he did play a direct role in the signing of the most famous back-up quarterback in the NFL this week, Kraft said he hasn’t changed his feeling that he wants the ball in the hands of the quarterback he believes is the “greatest quarterback of all time” all the time.
“Yes, he spoke to me about it,” Kraft said, referencing his conversation with Bill Belichick. “Look, life is about collecting good people around you who you like to have with you and who want to win. I think he, like many of our other players, fall in that category. You can’t have enough good people around you. He has the added dimension of spirituality being so important to him and that personally appeals to me a lot.”
Kraft was reminded that four years ago, when Michael Vick was a free agent, he asked, “Why would I ever want to take Tom Brady off the field?” He reiterated that Wednesday on the turf of Gillette Stadium.
“In my mind, we have the greatest quarterback of all time on our team and every time he has the ball in his hands, we have a chance to do something great,” Kraft said. “Nothing has changed in that regard for me.
“If you want to win in this league, you need quality depth management. In the age of the salary cap, whenever you can get a competitive, first-grade person to join your team, you never know what happens. But for me personally, having Tim Tebow on this team, he’s someone who believes in spirituality, he’s very competitive and works hard and has a great attitude and he’s a winner. Having him as part of our franchise is great but he has to compete just like anyone else. We’re blessed to have a lot of people like that, but the fact that spirituality is so important to him is very appealing to me.”
What makes this such an appealing situation for him? Will the professionalism and the Patriot Way be the ideal environment for him?
“You’d have to ask him that,” Kraft said. “We try to have a certain standard here of what’s right for us. Every interaction I’ve seen and watched, whether he’s in college or when I met him in the draft process, he handles himself in a first-class way. I don’t know anyone who has ever said anything that is not positive about him, people who are objective.”
Kraft, who spoke two floors above the pro shop in Patriot Place where Tebow jerseys are already being sold, said he’s not worried about the media attention that could follow Tebow around.
“I’m just excited you’re all back,” Kraft said. “I’m excited football is back, I really have missed it. It’s going to be tough getting to the end of July after tomorrow. I’m just really excited for this season and excited about the team we’re building.”
Kraft opened his press availability Wednesday speaking about the Myra Kraft Community MVP Awards and what they mean to him and the organization?
“This is what makes…when you think, we had over 300 applications, just people volunteering their time, it’s really inspirational,” Kraft said. “This 84-year old woman who gave 24,000 hours to volunteer and then the 92-year old who works at the School for the Blind? There’s hope for all us. Keep doing good, it pays back.”
FOXBORO — Very rarely is Tom Brady asked a question that catches him in an unguarded moment.
When asked how he’d react to Tim Tebow replacing him as quarterback in a special package during a game, Brady admitted he doesn’t know yet.
“I have no idea,” Brady said before being pressed further on the hypothetical.
Would he be OK with it?
“That’s a very hypothetical question,” Brady smiled. “Maybe we’ll deal with it if it happens.”
What was Brady’s general reaction?
“I don’t really make decisions and transactions, whether we cut players or sign players or trade players,” Brady said on the Gillette Stadium field after posing with Myra Kraft Community MVP winners. “My reaction is very much like everyone else on the team – just trying to focus on what I need to do and what I need to do to be a better player. Certainly any time a new teammate comes in, you welcome him and you try to do whatever you can to help them fit in and understand what we need to do. It’s been a fun couple days.”
His impressions of Tebow after working with him for two days of the Patriots’ three-day mini-camp?
“I never really was around him much,” Brady said. “Anyone who has played in the NFL has a high level of talent to make it this far, to play this long over the course of their entire life, to get to this point. You obviously have to be talented. I have a lot of respect for everyone who plays and certainly what I’ve seen him do in the past.”
Brady said he’s not worried about the “circus” that follows Tebow.
“I don’t worry about much these days,” he said. “I’ve been around long enough to see all different kinds of things happen – trades, people being cut, guys joining the team and all the media attention, what happened in 2007, post Super Bowls, tough losses. It comes with the territory. So I think everyone is prepared to deal with some level of different things that happen on a daily basis and to be mentally tough enough to push through and still be able to do your job at a high level is most important. That’s really what you owe the team – to show up every day and do your job the best you can.”
Brady now heads a quarterback trio of himself, Tebow and Ryan Mallett, all very different in style.
“Yeah, I think honestly every player on the team brings something a little bit different,” Brady said. “It’s all in hopes of us winning games. So we have to all be able to contribute in some way. Coach always says ‘your role is what you make of it.’ So my role is to try to go out there and try to be a great quarterback – consistent, dependable, someone that the team can rely on. That’s my approach every day that I walk in the door.
“There has definitely been communication and there has been that with Tim and with Ryan [Mallett]. We constantly talk. I’ve been lucky to play with so many good quarterbacks over the course of my career. … We’ve always had a really strong group and a very close group. I’m excited to have Tim.”
Brady also said he had no specific reaction to claim this week by Ed Reed that Brady’s kick of Reed during the AFC championship led to offseason labrum surgery in his hip.
“There was nothing intentional about it,” Brady said. “It’s unfortunate that it happened.”
FOXBORO — Without mentioning his name, Bill Belichick addressed the Brandon Spikes situation on Wednesday.
Asked about his reaction when a player chooses to work out on his own away from the team, as was the case with Spikes during OTAs, Belichick offered this:
“It is what it is,” he said “We all know what the rules and the guidelines are and that’s what they are.”
May OTA’s are technically voluntary but every NFL team mandates some form of attendance and/or participation from players under contract in June mini-camp.
Spikes has been in attendance this week, and spoke Tuesday. He said he likes to do things “a little different than everybody else.”
Can it affect a player’s position on the team if he chooses not to be here?
“It is what it is,” Belichick said. “We don’t make the rules.”
|Bill Belichick: ‘We’re not going to get into a minute-by-minute evaluation of a player’||at 12:37 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Day 2 of Patriots mini-camp began much the same way as Day 1, just with many fewer media in attendance.
Bill Belichick was asked Wednesday morning how Tim Tebow looked on his first day in Patriots drills on Tuesday.
“I think everybody out there is pretty much in the same boat: just trying to get better day by day,” Belichick said. “Some guys are starting at different points; he’s obviously starting at a point different than where other players were. They’re all moving along. Guys that are out there are making progress. Guys that aren’t are doing what they can do and they’re falling behind.”
“I don’t think evaluating players on a couple plays is really a good practice. We’ll wait until we have a little bit more information and make our evaluations as a staff, talk about players after a chunk of time, after we’ve had a chance to see things. Any player you put out there, the first day is a learning experience. As you do it the second, third, fourth time, just like when we all do anything multiple times we get better at it hopefully, get more experience, get more comfortable and do it better. I don’t think that’s any different than any football player at any position.”
Belichick again stayed away from answering whether he intends to move him around in the offense.
“Each player is different,” he said. “You have to start somewhere. Where the starting point is, is what it is and then you grow to wherever you grow to.”
Belichick was asked if he has seen anything in Tebow’s mechanics or throwing that looks better or different?
“Like I said, we’re not going to get into a minute-by-minute evaluation of a player,” Belichick said. “I don’t think that’s the way to go, especially at this time of year.”
|Aaron Hernandez: Shoulder is doing ‘better and better each day’||06.11.13 at 9:25 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Aaron Hernandez was in attendance Tuesday as the Patriots opened mandatory mini-camp and was catching passes from his old college friend and teammate Tim Tebow in the back of the end zone, just like he used to with the Gators.
Hernandez said everything with his shoulder, repaired in the spring, is fine. The fact that he was on the field and participating, though on a limited basis, is a good sign that recovery is indeed full speed ahead.
“Shoulder’s doing great,” said Hernandez. “Better and better each day. Feeling good. Taking it day-by-day and hopefully by [the start of training camp] I’m ready. At the end of the day, you want to be healthy for the season. You don’t want to overdo it now and have it hurt you for the season. Just taking care of it, make sure you limit yourself and take it day-by-day.”
Hernandez is believed to have injured the shoulder late in the 2012 season and it’s not known exactly when he had the surgery.
Hernandez came out of the bubble late in mini-camp drills on Tuesday, joining the rest of the team as they were in full practice mode. Hernandez was among several Patriots to come out later, including Stevan Ridley, Brandon Spikes and Devin McCourty.
Hernandez, entering his fourth NFL season with the Patriots, has caught 175 passes and 18 touchdowns while amassing nearly 2,000 yards. Unlike Rob Gronkowski, Hernandez is expected to be at full strength when the team opens full training camp in late July.
|Tim Tebow: ‘It’s going to be a lot of fun’||at 1:43 pm ET|
FOXBORO — With about 80 reporters from around New England and the country assembled, and 15 cameras waiting on his every word, Tim Tebow made only a statement after he came off the field Tuesday afternoon, following the first of three mini-camp workouts outside Gillette Stadium.
“First and foremost, I just want to thank the Patriots for giving me an opportunity,” Tebow began. “I’m very thankful. It’s such an honor to be a Patriot and play for coach [Bill] Belichick and coach [Josh] McDaniels, and learn under Tom [Brady] and be a part of this great franchise and very successful franchise. I found out first hand; lost to them several times.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to working hard every single day and getting a lot better
and learning under some great people.
As reporters attempted to ask questions, Tebow was escorted off the field by media relations staff. The team estimated that the media crush was about double what a normal June mini-camp would bring.
“That’s all I got. Thank you all so much and God bless. I’m sure we’ll be talking more soon.”
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