Chandler Jones' early polish is impressive

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Chandler Jones' early polish is impressive

FOXBORO - After just four padded practices, it's a tad early to debate whether Chandler Jones deserves All-Pro consideration.

But the rookie first-rounder from Syracuse has been surprisingly competent for a player who figured to be facing a long period of acclimation.

Rep after rep, drill after drill, play after play, the long, lean Jones has shown he's not going to shrink in the face of stepped-up competition. Frequently matched up with left tackle Nate Solder, Jones has won more than his share of battles and shown surprising strength and an array of moves.

The fact that Jones is enjoying himself is written all over his face every time he takes his helmet off. He rarely stops smiling.

"I'm having a great time. I'm enjoying everything. I'm having a phenomenal time," said Jones after Wednesday's practice in the stadium. "What I'm doing is treating every day like game day and I'm just letting those days stack and then stringing them together."

The player Jones was most often compared to when he was drafted was Jason Pierre-Paul of the Giants. Pierre-Paul had a very solid first season (4.5 sacks, six pass deflections, two forced fumbles) but turned into a force in his second season. It stood to reason that Jones would follow a similar track. And he quite possibly still could. But there are signs at this early stage that he hasn't yet bumped into anything he can't handle. He isn't just fast, quick, strong and long. He's putting pass rush moves together.

"I've known of the moves, I've seen them done before but my job every day is just to polish my craft and try to work on each and every move so I can have two or three moves to perfect and hopefully you'll see them on Sunday," said Jones.

The transition from college to the NFL at the edge position in the Patriots defense can be a rocky one. Players like Shawn Crable and Jermaine Cunningham are examples of how tough it can be.

Asked about that, Bill Belichick said the move to coverage responsibilities is what makes it hard.

"They go from being essentially a 4-3 end to a 3-4 outside linebacker and going into coverage," he explained. "Thats a huge transition because thats something that theyre not used to doing. If theyre going from a defensive end to a defensive end then its just going into the National Football League. Youre playing against bigger players with a little bit of different scheme, but youre just playing against a lot better players than you played against in college at the same position."

The nature of the current passing game in which quarterbacks are taking shorter drops and completing 65 percent of their passes regularly has changed the edge position in some ways. The ball comes out more quickly so ends have to compensate in other ways. One of those ways is simply disrupting by raising your arms. Pierre-Paul is a master at deflecting passes at the line of scrimmage. Jones has been described as having "vines for arms."
"I think the game is kind of ever-changing. Its not the same now as it was five years ago," Belichick explained. "It wasnt the same five years ago as it was five years before that. You can just keep right on going back."
Jones' exuberance, even as camp starts to grind, is unstinting.

"I had a dream and my dream was to play in the NFL and now that (I've realized that dream), I'm going to take advantage of it," he said. "If I'm not walking off the field exhausted, I'm not doing my job."

Brady on Thomas criticism: 'I love Earl . . . Wish him the best'

Brady on Thomas criticism: 'I love Earl . . . Wish him the best'

Tom Brady was getting hit from all sorts of different angles on Saturday night. Not only was he dealing with Texans pass-rushers Whitney Mercilus and Jadeveon Clowney, he was also catching social-media shrapnel from Earl Thomas and Ray Lewis. 

Thomas was adamant that Brady had an easy road every year because he played in the AFC East. Lewis, meanwhile, got on Brady for complaining to officials when he thought they should have called a penalty for roughing the passer. 

On Monday, joining WEEI's Kirk and Callahan program, Brady responded to both. 

"I don't think I've ever been one to, you know, say something negative about anybody," Brady said of Thomas, who missed the end of the season with a broken leg. "It's just not my personality. I love Earl. I think he's a hell of a player. I really wish him the best in his recovery."

When it came to Lewis' critique, Brady acknowledged he complained to the officials. And he noted that it might've worked. Soon after he threw a fit when a flag wasn't thrown, the Patriots did pick up 15 extra yards when Clowney was tagged with a roughing-the-passer call.

"We had a lot of battles with Ray on the field," Brady said. "And yeah, I would love to try to make sure the officials are paying close attention. If we can get one of those 15-yard penalties, those are important."

Brady on Brown Facebook video: Wouldn't go over well with Belichick

Brady on Brown Facebook video: Wouldn't go over well with Belichick

We know how Bill Belichick feels about social media. For years now he's been openly mocking the names of different platforms. 

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How then would Belichick feel about one of his players streaming his postgame speech live to an online audience of thousands? Probably not great. 

"That's against our team policy," Tom Brady told WEEI's Kirk and Callahan Show on Monday morning. "I don't think that would go over well with our coach."

Brady was referencing the video posted to Facebook Live by Steelers wideout Antonio Brown late Sunday night. With over 20,000 fans watching, Brown streamed the postgame locker room prayer as well as Tomlin's speech. 

Tomlin called the Patriots a-holes, and he made note of the fact that because the Steelers-Chiefs game had been pushed to Sunday night the Patriots had a day-and-a-half more to rest and prepare than the Steelers did. Then when he spotted a player on his phone, Tomlin told his players to get off social media -- all while Brown continued to stream from behind a bank of lockers. 

"Every coach has a different style," said Brady, who recently began using an Instagram account. "Our coach, he's been in the league for 42 years and he's pretty old school. He's not into social media, and I think he lets everyone know that. I think our team has a policy. We don't show anything that should be private because he feels when we are inside our stadium, inside the walls, there has to be a degree of privacy that we have. What's done in the locker room should stay in the locker room."