No Huddle: Vereen on screens

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No Huddle: Vereen on screens

Running back Shane Vereen and punter Zoltan Mesko met with reporters after Sunday's training camp session. Here are the highlights from each huddle.

Q: It looks like the offense is working on screen passes. That fits well into your kind of game, right?
Shane Vereen: "I think it just fits into the offense. Weve got to be able to do multiple things as an offense and weve got to be able to do them well. In order to do it well youve got to practice it.

Q: What makes a screen pass effective?
SV: "Its effective because it puts defenses on their heels, but it also just opens another chapter of our offense.

Q: Do you enjoy the play?
SV: "I enjoy anytime the coaches can get the ball in my hands and anything I can do for the team.

Q: What are you hoping to accomplish during training camp?
SV: Im hoping to get better. There are a lot of areas where I need to improve personally and there are a lot of areas that Id like to get better at. Thats what Im trying to do this camp.

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Q: Do you feel like guys are enjoying their time together right now?
Zoltan Mesko: Its good to struggle together and go through the ups and downs in camp. Thats the way teams get gelling. We hope to come together at the point when the season starts.

Q: Think you'll do a lot of fake punting this season?
ZM: Whatever the coaches tell me, Ill be very eager to do.

Q: Have you watched much of the Olympics?
ZM: Ill watch it at lunch time a little bit and a little bit at night on the tape replays. Its pretty cool to watch everything.

Collins gets his pay day as Patriots prepare for Super Bowl

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Collins gets his pay day as Patriots prepare for Super Bowl

NFL Siberia can’t be all that bad. The Cleveland Browns have signed Jamie Collins to an extension that keeps him off the free agent market.

The former Patriot, stunningly shipped out of town on Halloween, has agreed to a reported four-year, $50 million deal with $26M in guaranteed money.

As eyebrow-raising as the move was at the time, this is an all’s well that ends well story.

Collins, a reluctant Patriot once it came clear the team wouldn’t to aim a confetti cannon of money at him, gets the desired big-dough deal. He didn’t drape himself in glory with his level of play this year in New England, but his agitation over making $900K this year was understandable.

The Patriots -- who made the deal not knowing exactly how it would work out with Collins’ fleet of replacements (primarily rookie Elandon Roberts and, October acquisition Kyle Van Noy) -- have played better defense since Collins has been gone and are headed to the Super Bowl.

Would they have been better if Collins stayed? The answer to that is a question: Which version of Collins, the irked one or the motivated one?

Collins did nothing to veil his desire for a huge contract, saying at the end of the season he’d stay with the hapless Browns if the money was right. Now that he’s decided the money was right, what kind of Collins will the Browns get? With $26M guaranteed, the Browns have tethered themselves to the 27-year-old Collins for a chunk of his prime. The shorter term is ideal for Collins because -- if he performs to his capability -- he’ll be able to see another lucrative deal before he’s too aged.

The deal will certainly be noticed by Collins’ former teammates, primarily Donta Hightower who will be a free agent at the end of the season.

The Patriots could franchise Hightower (last year’s tag number was more than $14M) but that’s not going to be ideal for either side. Hightower will want to get the windfall of guaranteed money that comes with a long-term deal and the Patriots may be reluctant to pay that much to a player that’s got an injury history and plays one of the game’s most violent positions.

A lot’s going to happen between now and the time the Patriots have to make their decision. A good deal of it will happen in the next 12 days. If Hightower stealthily saves the Super Bowl as he did in 2014 with his first-down tackle on Marshawn Lynch … how do you put a price on that?