Chung, Gregory challenge each other to bolster defense

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Chung, Gregory challenge each other to bolster defense

FOXBORO -- Patrick Chung and Steve Gregory haven't been playing together for long, but they're engaging in friendly competition with one another like old friends.

When Gregory intercepted a Chase Daniel pass in the third quarter of New England's 7-6 win over the Saints on Thursday night, Chung let him know that the next one was his.

"That's just the nature of the beast," Gregory said with a smile. "He had to get one, too. He had to keep up, you know?"

Chung did keep up with a pick of his own in the same quarter. Saints quarterback Sean Canfield made it easy on the Patriots safety when he plugged one into the breastplate of Chung's pads.

Though Gregory's interception seemed to provide more of a challenge -- he bobbled the ball several times before finally securing it -- Chung was happy to snag a turnover of his own.

"I'm taking any interception," Chung said. "Easy, hard, kind of hard -- I'm taking all of them. It felt good."

Keeping the Saints out of the end zone on Thursday felt even better, though, he said.

"We played good," Chung said. "We have to watch some film, obviously. I can't really give you a full explanation on that but for the most part we played good. We held them to six points so that's always good."

Gregory said that this current iteration of the Patriots defense is "taking pride" in trying to erase the stigma of being ranked 31st in the league last season. If they are to get better, the improved play at the back end of the defense will be one of the reasons why.

Both players feel like they're well on their way to getting there because of the strong bond they've already formed this preseason.

"He's been amazing," Gregory said of Chung. "He knows the scheme, knows the system so he's been helping me a lot with that. We've just been communicating, talking a lot, trying to learn each other's ways of playing so it's been great so far."

"We kind of help each other," Chung said. "He's a veteran he knows a lot of things that I don't know and he helps me out. I've been here for a while so I kind of help him out. It's kind of like a relationship. Relationships can only get stronger so we're going to see how that goes. But yeah, I love playing next to him and he helps me out a lot."

Patriots training camp: Who will be this year's Zach Sudfeld?

Patriots training camp: Who will be this year's Zach Sudfeld?

Mike Giardi and Phil Perry continue their Countdown to Camp as they discuss several story lines that we will hear a lot of.

Jets coach Todd Bowles: 'Garoppolo can play'

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Jets coach Todd Bowles: 'Garoppolo can play'

The Jets don't have to play the Patriots during the first four weeks of the season, but they'll be watching as their division rivals go to work with Jimmy Garoppolo behind center. 

Jets head coach Todd Bowles is expecting more of the same from New England despite Tom Brady's four-game suspension.

"Garoppolo can play," Bowles told the New York Daily News. "They don't worry about who they have. They just have a system in place and they go play football. I think people underestimate that. You still have to knock off the champs. It's theirs until somebody takes it from them."

The Patriots haven't had a quarterback other than Brady take snaps of consequence since Brady tore his ACL in Week 1 of the 2008 season. Garoppolo is still a relative unknown given his 31 total pass attempts over the last two years, but with coach Bill Belichick still on the sidelines, and Belichick's system still in place, Bowles is assuming the Patriots will be a very good team once again -- even without their best player for the first month of the season. 

"They got a good team," Bowles said. "It's not just us. It's everybody. We split 1-1 (against them last year). They're a tough team. They're a tough out. They've had a coach and a quarterback and a system in place for a long time. There's a bunch of ways to skin a cat. They've found pretty good ways to skin it. They do what they have to."

Patriots celebrate 15-year anniversary of 2001 team with videos, Hall exhibit

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Patriots celebrate 15-year anniversary of 2001 team with videos, Hall exhibit

The Patriots have announced a series of initiatives to celebrate the 2001 Super Bowl championship team on the 15th aniversary of their title-winning season.

Throughout the course of the 2016 season, the Patriots will feature special content online and on Patriots All-Access that will lead up to Dec. 4, when Gillette Stadium will host a reunion of the 2001 team during halftime of the Patriots-Rams regular-season matchup. 

The Patriots have already featured images of moments from the 2001 campaign on tickets for their eight regular-season home games. They'll also have a special exhibit dedicated to the 2001 team at The Hall at Patriot Place beginning in the fall. In addition, issues of Patriots Football Weekly this year will include posters of shots from the 2001 season. 

"The Super Bowl XXXVI win over the Rams was the first championship for our team and will always hold a very special place in our hearts," Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft said in a statement. "The victory made everyone that ever wore a Patriots uniform or rooted for the Patriots on the bleachers at Foxboro Stadium feel proud to be a fan. I know I am looking forward to reliving some of those great memories throughout the 2016 season."

The Patriots said that video vignettes focused on the 2001 season will launch this week on Twitter and Facebook as well as on Patriots.com.