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Jerod Mayo on MFB: ‘It’s tough to lose a brother’ in Logan Mankins 08.29.14 at 12:45 pm ET
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Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo joined Middays with MFB on Friday, following the team’s final preseason game of the season Thursday night. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The big news around the team this week was the trade of stalwart offensive lineman Logan Mankins to the Buccaneers.

“It’s always tough when you lose a brother like Logan, a guy who’s been here his entire career,” Mayo said. “At the end of the day, we still recognize that it’s a business, and decisions have to be made. Coach [Bill] Belichick obviously felt that was the best thing for this team for now and for the future.

“It’s tough. Anytime you go through multiple training camps, multiple seasons with a guy, it’s tough to lose a brother.”

Mayo communicated with Mankins after the trade.

“Obviously he was hurt a little bit,” Mayo said. “Like I said, we’re a family here. As his teammates we stick together through thick and thin. But he also recognizes that it’s a business. Sometimes moves have to be made, and we all have a time. NFL they always say stands for ‘Not For Long.’ We have to enjoy these moments that we have with each other, because you never know when it’s your last.”

The team must reduce the roster to 53 players by 6 p.m. Saturday. Despite his status as one of the veteran leaders, Mayo said he still gets uncomfortable when a staff member walks through the locker room to contact players who will be cut.

“Honestly, and I know you guys will probably think I’m full of it, since my rookie year I’ve always had this: Anytime a guy goes around grabbing people, I never look him in his eye. Because you never know when your time’s up. You never know when your time’s up,” he said. “I just always keep my head down and go to work every day and try to go out there and do my job, man, and hopefully everything falls into place.”

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Read More: Jerod Mayo, Jimmy Garoppolo, Logan Mankins, Tom Brady
First half thoughts: Aaron Dobson debuts with TD, Tom Brady plays (as holder), Tim Wright catches on 08.28.14 at 8:59 pm ET
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Jimmy Garoppolo stands in the pocket and fires a pass Thursday night at MetLife Stadium. (Getty Images)

Jimmy Garoppolo stands in the pocket and fires a pass Thursday night at MetLife Stadium. (Getty Images)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Some quick takeaways from the first half between the Patriots and Giants, which ended in a 10-10 tie at MetLife Stadium.

Jimmy Garoppolo started as expected and stuttered a bit at first on the opening two drives. But then he found his rhythm in the second quarter, leading the Patriots on an impressive 82-yard drive, capped by a perfect 33-yard lob down the left sideline to Aaron Dobson, who went high in the air to haul it down. Dobson was making his preseason debut and looked comfortable in his first 30 minutes of play.

While Tom Brady was not expected to play a single down in the game, he did see action, as he was the holder after Dobson’s touchdown. He held without any incident.

Also making a debut Thursday night was tight end Tim Wright. He started the game for the Patriots and was targeted twice in the opening three series. He caught his first pass early in the second quarter, a short nine-yard screen.

Wright then caught a pass of 11 yards that set up Stephen Gostkowski‘s 37-yard field goal with 14 seconds left in the first half, tying the game, 10-10. The snap was high on the field goal but Brady was not the holder for the field goal but rather Ryan Allen, the normal player at the position.

Earlier in the drive, Garoppolo also connected for 29 yards to James White on a wheel play out of the backfield, very similar to the route that Tom Brady and Shane Vereen run so successfully. Then he took a sack on the next play, pushing the Patriots back to the Giants 30.

Garoppolo finished the first 30 minutes completing 11-of-19 for 163 yards and the one touchdown. Garoppolo did have a moment he wishes he could have back, throwing inside on a route that Josh Boyce broke out on. Garoppolo was picked on the play by Zack Bowman at the Patriots 39. It set up a field goal, with some help from a 38-yard run by former Boston College star Andre Williams. Dobson caught two passes on three targets for 51 yards while Tim Wright was also targeted three times, catching two for 20 yards.

As for the starting left guard spot, Josh Kline, as will likely be the case in the season opener, got the call in the first game since the trade of Logan Mankins to Tampa Bay. Kline was the only projected offensive line starter on the field to begin the game. Jordan Devey got the call at left tackle, Bryan Stork was the center while Chris Barker was the right guard and Cameron Fleming started at right tackle.

James Morris, the rookie undrafted linebacker out of Iowa, had to be helped off the field late in the second quarter with a right knee injury. His return is questionable. Morris has impressed the Patriots coaching staff in training camp and got the start at middle linebacker on Thursday night.

Brandon Browner was one of the projected starters to play a majority of snaps in the first half, in part because his four-game suspension begins at the start of the regular season. Receiver Brian Tyms is in the same position, as he will miss the first four games (if he makes the squad) due to a PED violation for testing positive for Adderall.

Read More: Aaron Dobson, Jimmy Garoppolo, New England Patriots, New York Giants
Setting the scene: Patriots wrap up preseason at MetLife against Giants at 3:53 pm ET
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A sunlit MetLife Stadium awaits the Patriots as they conclude the preseason against the Giants. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

A sunlit MetLife Stadium awaits the Patriots as they conclude the preseason against the Giants. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — As it has been the last three days in New England, it will be sunny and warm come kickoff Thursday night here at MetLife Stadium as the Patriots wrap up the preseason in their annual exhibition against the Giants.

The forecast calls for sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 70s for the 7:30 p.m. kickoff. There could be a bit of a breeze to deal with as the forecast also predicts winds out of the northeast at 13 MPH but those could be lessened somewhat by the elevated and closed structure of MetLife Stadium.

As for who will play in this game, the biggest news figures to be the debut of second-year wide receiver Aaron Dobson for the first time since a screw was placed in his left foot during offseason surgery in March.

The Patriots have been steadily giving him more and more reps during practice but this will be his first game action, according to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. His roster spot is likely not in any jeopardy but he has lost time in the all important battle for reps with receivers Brandon LaFell and Kenbrell Thompkins, as the Patriots continue to search for downfield targets for Tom Brady.

WEEI.com’s Chris Price notes that it’s usually not a good sign for veterans if they play more than 10-15 snaps but that rule of thumb could be altered somewhat with the trade of Logan Mankins this week, as Bill Belichick and company look to firm up the starting left guard position.

The initial candidates figure to be Josh Kline, Jordan Devey and Marcus Cannon.

Rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will get the start and, barring injury, will likely play the entire game. The reason for that is twofold. There is no reason to expose Tom Brady to any potential injury and the Patriots would like to protect Ryan Mallett since he could be on the trade market before the regular season, especially since St. Louis lost starting quarterback Sam Bradford to a torn ACL last week against the Cleveland Browns.

Tim Wright, the tight end acquired in the Logan Mankins trade, could make an appearance with the Patriots on the sidelines but might figure to stay there all night at the Patriots protect him for the regular season and since he is still acquainting himself with a new playbook.

While he won’t play, Brady is still a sidelight to this game, as he reportedly was “very upset” by the trade of his longtime starting left guard on Tuesday. Several players admitted they were stunned by the news when informed by Belichick before Tuesday’s practice.

Giants quarterback Eli Manning is expected to play from 15 to 18 snaps along with his starting unit, as Tom Coughlin doesn’t want his starters sitting for 18 days between their last preseason game last Saturday against the Jets and their season opener Monday, Sept. 8 in Detroit.

Patriots players will have Friday off, and possibly the weekend, before returning to work next week in preparation for the Sept. 7 opener in Miami against the Dolphins. While players have Friday off, the coaches will be hard at work making decisions on final roster cuts. The Patriots, and all 32 NFL teams, must get down to the 53-man limit by 6 p.m. Saturday evening.

Read More: Jimmy Garoppolo, Josh Kline, Logan Mankins, Tim Wright
Report: Tom Brady ‘very upset’ with Logan Mankins trade 08.27.14 at 4:45 pm ET
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In a video on BleacherReport.com, veteran NFL reporter Jason Cole said that the trade of Logan Mankins to the Buccaneers for Tim Wright and a draft pick was not well-received by Patriots players. In particular, he said, Tom Brady was “very upset”€ with the move.

Tom Brady had a very emotional reaction to what happened yesterday. He was not happy with this move,” Cole said. “There’€™s usually a very special bond that you have between offensive linemen and quarterbacks; quarterbacks depend on those guys so much. That relationship can get very rough at times, they’€™ll talk to each other in very harsh terms because everything is so on the line, they’€™re so nerve-wracked about it, but I will say Brady, initially, he was very upset with this trade. We’€™ll see how he reacts going forward; he usually finds his calm after a day or two.”

“€œOther players on the team were also a little bit concerned about what is the direction necessarily. I think there is some understanding that the team needed a tight end, but why would you necessarily give up a player of his caliber for a short-term fix at tight end?”

As has been reported, Cole said that the Patriots had asked Mankins to take a pay cut after the Pro Bowl in February. He also said that the savings from trading Mankins had nothing to do with trying to sign other players such as Darrelle Revis.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Logan Mankins, Tom Brady,
5 most important Patriots not named Tom Brady 08.26.14 at 12:00 am ET
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There’€™s no need to debate who is the most important member of the Patriots. Quarterback Tom Brady has been the single most integral part of New England’€™s football success on a week-in, week-out basis for the last decade-plus. But who makes up the rest of the nucleus? With the 2014 regular season looming, here are the five most important Patriots not named Brady — in no particular order.

Wide receiver Julian Edelman — Edelman has emerged as Brady’€™s go-to target of choice over the last year-plus. The former college quarterback topped the 100-catch mark last season, becoming just the third pass-catcher of the Brady era to come away with at least 100 catches in a season (Troy Brown and Wes Welker are the other two.) Over the course of the summer, he displayed an almost creepy level of chemistry with the quarterback. In two preseason games, Edelman has showed that regardless of what happens with Rob Gronkowski‘€™s health in 2014, he will be one of the fundamental elements of the New England passing game. In two preseason games Brady targeted Edelman 10 times, and the receiver caught all 10 passes.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski — Gronkowski is the difference-maker, the sort of offensive option who can help New England get to its ultimately goal. The only question is his health — the big tight end played in his first 46 straight games in the NFL, but since his forearm snapped blocking on an extra point against the Colts in 2012, he’€™s only played in nine of a possible 26 games. It’€™s important to note that the Patriots looked like they learned to survive without him down the stretch and into the postseason last year. According to Football Outsiders, the Patriots averaged 32 points per game and 5.94 yards per play with Gronkowski in the lineup from Weeks 7-14. Without Gronkowski (from Week 15 through the end of their postseason run), New England averaged 30.8 points per game and 5.82 yards per play. It was a drop-off, but not the dramatic dip that some may have anticipated. At the same time, the real struggles in other areas (red zone presence, blocking) have created an environment where it’€™s simply not sustainable to think the Patriots could hope to win a Super Bowl without him.

Cornerback Darrelle Revis — Revis has only been a part of the New England roster for a few months, but he already figures to be a vital part of any success the Patriots have in 2014. Even for a future Hall of Famer it can be an occasionally dicey proposition joining a new team, but he’€™s managed to fit in seamlessly. As a new face, he has managed to walk a fine line between being deferential to the established veterans who were already on the roster, but at the same time he’€™s managed to carve out a leadership position of his own. He was the guy who led a group of defensive backs out to Arizona for offseason workouts with his trainer, and the younger defensive backs (including Logan Ryan and Duron Harmon) have confessed to picking his brain on more than one occasion. He hasn’t played a ton in the preseason (we had him at 36 snaps — with penalties — through the first three games of the preseason, and has one pass completed in his direction in that time), but it certainly appears he’€™s not hampered by any of the knee woes that managed to keep him sidelined for almost the entire duration of the 2012 season.
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Read More: Darrelle Revis, Devin McCourty, Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski
Jimmy Garoppolo on starting Thursday night: ‘I’m excited about it. … It’s going to be fun’ 08.25.14 at 1:08 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Jimmy Garoppolo is pumped up about getting his first NFL start in the Patriots’ preseason finale Thursday night against the Giants at MetLife Stadium.

“I’m excited about it,” Garoppolo said in front of his locker Monday after being tabbed the starter by Patriots coach Bill Belichick. “It’s a good opportunity to get out there and get some quality reps. It’s going to be fun.

“I came in with mindset that I’m going to practice and study as if I was the starter. If you want to be a successful player in this league, you have to take the mental reps, the physical reps and take advantage of your opportunities.”

Garoppolo has thrown four touchdown passes in the first three preseason games, including at least one in each of the contests. He said Monday that he’s been able to get into a rhythm with his offensive teammates.

“Just get in a rhythm with the offense,” Garoppolo said. “I have a great group of guys around me who have really made my job a lot easier. So, just week in and week out, just improve and if you do that, it’s makes your job a lot easier.

“You always want to come in with a good attitude and thinking that you’re going to succeed in everything. Having that mindset really helped out a lot.”

Garoppolo said he still has a healthy perspective on his role with the team, as he is battling with Ryan Mallett to be Tom Brady‘s back-up.

“I’m still a rookie so I have a have a long way to go and a lot to learn still,” Garoppolo said. “That playbook is pretty thick so it’s just one of those things that if you keep learning, day in and day out, then you’re on the right track.

“That’s just part of being a rookie. Each day if you keep improving and learning the system that much more, things will just gradually slow down for you.”

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Read More: Jimmy Garoppolo, New England Patriots, Ryan Mallett, Tom Brady
Chandler Jones on MFB: ‘I take every game seriously’ at 1:03 pm ET
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Chandler Jones

Chandler Jones

Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones and wide receiver Julian Edelman stopped by the WEEI studio at Gillette Stadium on Monday for a visit with Middays with MFB’s Christian Fauria and guest host Danny Picard. To hear the interviews, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Patriots are coming off a strong effort in their third preseason game, a rout of the Panthers. But Bill Belichick is known for not allowing the team to accentuate the positives very long.

“Coach is very consistent with his coaching. He’s going to coach you the same way if we win or if we lose. And that’s what makes him such a great coach,” Jones said. “He’s going to pick out the things we did wrong, and he’s going to tell you about the things you did right. A lot of that is being a professional athlete — you know when you did good or you did bad. You’ve been playing the sport for this long, you know.”

Many people look at the third preseason game as the most important, but Jones insists that he doesn’t value one more than another.

“See, I don’t look at it that way,” he said. “A lot of different people look at it differently. I take every game seriously, like it will be the last game of the season. I know some people say, ‘It’s just preseason,’ but this is an opportunity for our team to go out there and get better week in and week out. I’m excited. I’m excited for this team to go forth into Week 1.

“As far as the preseason games, some people call it the dress rehearsal, but I take every game seriously.”

Neither play knew what to expect in terms of participation in the final preseason game against the Giants.

“Around here they keep you on your toes with everything,” Edelman said. “They don’t tell you how long you’re going to play, this, that. It’s like everything’s a test. Every week you don’t know how much you’re going to be playing, this, that, and you kind of have to just prepare every day, every week, even in the preseason you’re going to be playing a lot. Because they might say you’re not playing one week or something, and they throw you in there at the last minute, probably just to try to get a test of your mental toughness or something like that. That’s huge over here with the situational and the mental aspect of the game.”

Edelman, coming off a 105-catch season last year, acknowledged he’s reached a new comfort level with Tom Brady, but he’s wary of what can happen once the real games begin.

“Yeah, it’s probably the most confident I’ve ever been. With that said, it’s a lot different circumstances from the years in the past with how things are going and how things are now,” he said. “We’ve had some good plays and we’ve had some bad plays. There’s a lot of things that we have to work on that will get exposed in the regular season. We still have a week, two weeks, to try to get that done.

“When we go out there — we’ve got the Giants this week, we play Miami, a divisional game, first game of the year. Things always on opening day, as Christian can second, it doesn’t always go the same way, everyone’s kind of new, there’s always a crazy play here or something’s going on, it’s the start of the season. So you’ve really got to get ready for those situations and being able to adjust like that.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, chandler jones, Julian Edelman, Tom Brady
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