Brady: Momentum doesn't carry over in NFL

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Brady: Momentum doesn't carry over in NFL

FOXBORO -- The New York Giants lost five of their final eight regular-season games in 2011. And they won the Super Bowl.

The Packers went 3-3 in their final six regular-season games in 2010. And they won the Super Bowl.

The Saints lost their final three regular-season games in 2009. And they won the Super Bowl.

The Cardinals went 2-4 in their final six regular-season games in 2008. And lost the Super Bowl on a miraculous last-minute drive by the Steelers.

The Giants lost two of their last three regular-season games in 2007. And they won the Super Bowl.

The Colts lost three of their final five regular-season games in 2006. They allowed 219, 275, 133, 191 and 150 yards on the ground in those games. And they won the Super Bowl.

Momentum? History says it starts when the regular-season ends and not before.

"I think you want to be playing well so you have confidence going into the playoffs, theres no question about that, but like I said, whatever we do this weekend isnt going to have any bearing on what happens in the playoff game the following week," said Tom Brady. "Whats going to have a bearing on the playoff game is how we prepare for that week and the opponent and our scheme and our execution. Were trying to build some confidence this week in what were doing, go out and have good practices, and go out and see if we can execute better than we have been."

This week's opponent is the Miami Dolphins. By the time they kick off at 4:25 pm, the Patriots should know their chances of earning a first-round bye. A Texans loss to the Colts earlier in the afternoon would open the door for New England to get a bye with a win. If the Texans win, the Patriots would need an improbable win by the Chiefs over Denver later in the evening to have the same shot.

Brady said the team will be up-to-date on what the scenarios are.

"I'm sure well all be aware of that, yeah. No question," he said. "But I dont think that changes what our goal is for the weekend. I think were trying to win this game regardless. It could be different if some other teams win, but thats really out of our control. Were just going to go out and try to win."

Gronk 'taking all positives' out of new preseason approach

Gronk 'taking all positives' out of new preseason approach

For the first time since 2012, Rob Gronkowski played in a preseason game. It was uneventful, much like a majority of this training camp for the Patriots tight end. No touches, no seismic collisions, and no problems in 14 snaps. Was it worth it? Gronk says yes.

“I just felt the benefit when I was out there; the speed of the game, live game speed. It’s been a while for me,” he said. “I felt the benefit of getting in sync blocking-wise, the cadence and everything like that. I’m taking all positives out of it.”

But this isn’t even remotely following the plan over these last handful of seasons. The Pats have treated Gronk differently than just about everyone else. He wasn’t required to play in these games in August. Heck, there were times when his presence in practice wasn’t mandatory. Gronk had his own set of rules. This approach surely isn’t that.

“No matter what it is, preseason,” said Gronkowski. “I’ll be ready to play 60 minutes. The past has been the past, but it was great going out there and getting some work.”

Not exactly enlightening, but were you expecting something else?  Unless we’re getting a joint statement from Gronk INC and the Pats brass, that’s usually how these press briefings go, mixed in with the occasionally goofy Gronkowski. Yes, we got that too when Gronk was asked who would win the Floyd Mayweather/Conor McGregor fight.

“We don’t make predictions,” answered Gronkowski, before backing away from the podium, smiling brightly and commending himself for doing a good Bill Belichick imitation. It wasn’t all that, and maybe it wasn’t that funny, but the big fella is always looking to bring a little levity to just about any situation. 

That trend continued as we tried to delve deeper into his newfound relationship with Tom Brady’s body, Alex Guerrero. So much is made of Guerrero’s belief in muscle pliability and hydration, but there’s also that diet, and a cookbook of Brady’s to boot. The quarterback has proclaimed all of those meals to be delicious. Gronkowski gave it mixed reviews, saying some of the dishes were “kind of hard to eat” although others got the seal of approval: “they’re really, really good.”  Gronk also made sure to clarify that giving up booze in-season is the norm. 

“I don’t do that stuff right now,” he said. “It’s football time. I’ve never really have done that stuff during football time.”

But that he’s approaching the season differently is clearly a nod to Gronk’s football mortality, and the desire to wring out more than just a couple more years from his battered body. He believes Guerrero’s methods are paying dividends, though again, he wouldn’t elaborate how or compare this season to previous ones.

“It’s hard to say because I couldn’t tell you how I felt in the middle of August every single year,” said Gronkowski. “It’s always a new year, and they all blend together, and now going into my eighth season now, it just feels good to be out there practicing every day with the guys.”

Burkhead not spotted at the start of practice for second consecutive day

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Burkhead not spotted at the start of practice for second consecutive day

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady went into detail on Wednesday as to why it's important for him to play with some of his new teammates during the preseason. Even exhibition games are played at a different speed than practice, he explained, and so to be out there mimicking what will happen Week 1 is critical. Brady even went out of his way to mention Rex Burkhead specifically, saying that it was nice to get Burkhead a touchdown against the Texans last weekend. 

Might Burkhead's preseason reps be limited later this week in Detroit? The former Bengals running back has not been spotted at the beginning of Patriots practices on Tuesday or Wednesday. Injury reports are not released during the preseason, so it will be worth watching pregame Friday whether or not Burkhead is on the field and in uniform. 

Burkhead looked healthy by the end of his time playing in Houston -- his final play was a 22-yard catch-and-run touchdown -- and he spoke to reporters on Monday afternoon. 

Also missing from Wednesday's session were Malcolm Mitchell, Matthew Slater, Matt Lengel, Shea McClellin and Tony Garcia. Undrafted rookies Keionta Davis and Andrew Jelks (NFI) were present but not in uniform for the shells-and-shorts session. 

Mitchell played in New England's preseason matchup with Houston but appeared to tweak his knee during one of his first snaps on the field. He stayed in the game, but he has not been seen by reporters at either Patriots practice this week.