Brady: You can't sit around and mourn

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Brady: You can't sit around and mourn

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady took the podium this week in an unusual circumstance.

The Patriots have a losing record.

Only three games have come and gone in 2012, but this is a team that played 145 consecutive games at .500 or better, the longest streak of its kind in NFL history. In New England, the possibility of three losses in a row is a "situation." Or at least that's how it was being posed to players in the locker room.

Brady went through a gauntlet of "What's gone wrong?" queries Wednesday.

"Its not like we sit here and look in the locker room and say, Wow, were terrible, we cant make any plays, were not even in these games,'" the quarterback said. "Were right in them; we just have to do a better job in certain areas. If we do that, well start winning close games. If we dont, well have a miserable year. No one wants that around here.

"Thats really what my concern is: How the team responds . . . this is about winning."

It's an inarguable point. What will be scrutinized and criticized is what the Patriots do about it. Brady knows better than anyone.

"We have to obviously make improvements because what were doing isnt good enough. Thats in any area -- thats certainly that everyone has to look at what they can do better to really help the team win. So, its frustrating when we lose. Its been two weeks in a row and obviously nobody feels very good about it."

New England can stop its slide Sunday in Buffalo.

There's no point in asking if the game is a must-win -- every player on every team will tell you every game is 'must-win.'

But is it fair to assume some urgency? Sure.

"All of our energy and focus is on this particular opponent and the challenges they present, certainly a big challenge for us. Theyre a very good team, very well coached and they play well at home. Its going to be a battle."

Buffalo knocked New England off its high horse last year with a 34-31 win at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Brady threw four interceptions on a beautiful September afternoon.

To avoid a repeat performance of that, or to avoid a continuation of... this, the Patriots will need to hone its killer instinct. Brady said after the Baltimore game Sunday that its something the team currently lacks.

Only one of New England's six losses in the last two years was by more than four points -- an eight point defeat in Pittsburgh the night before Halloween 2011.

What it comes down to, as far as Brady is concerned, is playing the best football when the pressure is highest.

"I think its just more that whether you make the play or you dont make the play on Sunday, certainly sometimes you just dont make the play. To not be aware of the situation is another thing. I think hes always trying to coach us to be aware of the situation. Whether we execute it great or not, you can know exactly what to do and how to do it but you just dont get it done. I dont think its from us not knowing whats going on out there. I just think we need to a do a better job executing."

Be clear: Brady wasn't moping about having a losing record through three weeks. Using failure as motivation is much different than rolling around, getting comfortable in the mire.

"You cant sit around for four days and mourn a loss and say, God, this is the end of our year," he said. "I mean, were 1-2, were not in a good position right now, were in the exact position we deserve to be in, and weve got to do something about it. So the energy and attention is focused on this opponent and how we can be better and how we can play better so that hopefully if we play well, we can get to 2-2.

"That's the only place we can go from here."

That's their hope, anyway.

Hawkins says he passed up more lucrative deals to sign with Patriots

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Hawkins says he passed up more lucrative deals to sign with Patriots

The Patriots went into Wednesday with what could have passed as the deepest receiving group in team history, yet by lunchtime they had added another. 

Former Browns and Bengals wideout Andrew Hawkins announced on Twitter (via uSTADIUM) that he had chose to come to terms with New England. He explained that the opportunity to work with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick proved to be enough to convince him that he should pass up more lucrative offers from other clubs.

"After giving it a lot of though, I've decided that I'm going to join the New England Patriots," he said. "Super excited about the opportunity, man, to join the reigning football champions. In Cleveland, I said it was about joining a contender, and the Patriots are the contender, the reigning champs.

"The program is top-notch, and you get the opportunity to play with the best quarterback and the best coach in NFL history, man, so it's super exciting. It was never really about the money. To be honest, I passed up on deals that were probably double the compensation . . . but it was all about winning for me at this point, and putting myself in the best position to do so."

Hawkins (5-foot-7, 180 pounds) may be a familiar name to Patriots fans as he caught four passes for a season-high 56 yards and one touchdown against New England in Week 5 of last season. He finished the year with 33 catches for 324 yards and three scores. The 31-year-old has recently seen his name in the headlines as he completed his Sports Management degree at Columbia and graduated last week. 

The Patriots have receivers room that's currently pretty loaded with talent. Brandin Cooks, Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola and Malcolm Mitchell figure to make up the top end of the depth chart, while former practice-squad wideouts Devin Street, Devin Lucien and DeAndrew White figure to compete for playing time as do undrafted rookies Austin Carr and Cody Hollister.

"Nothing's for sure. I got my work cut out for me. It's an opportunity," Hawkins said. "That's how I'm approaching it. Going there and seeing how I stack up with the best and try to earn my keep and prove my worth. I'm jsust excited to get there, get to work, and hopefully I can be part of something special and kind of join that Patriot legacy."

Would Gronk benefit from work with Guerrero? Revisiting Brady's response

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Would Gronk benefit from work with Guerrero? Revisiting Brady's response

Back in December, after Rob Gronkowski underwent back surgery, Tom Brady was asked by WEEI's Kirk and Callahan show if the oft-injured All-Pro tight end would benefit from work with Brady's "body coach" Alex Guerrero.

It's a question worth asking again this week as news surfaced on Tuesday that Gronkowski and the Patriots agreed to restructure their deal for 2017. Gronkowski now has the opportunity to be paid as the top tight end in the league should he hit certain statistical benchmarks or be named an All-Pro.

But to reach those goals, he'll need to stay relatively healthy throughout the regular season. In seven seasons as a pro, he's been able to do that four times.

Perhaps an altered regimen, one like Brady's that focuses on pliability, would help him in his pursuit of maxing out his 2017 salary. When Brady was asked about a potential partnership between Gronkowski and Guerrero late last season, he said that the two had already done some work together. 

"I mean Gronk is so hard working, and Gronk has spent a lot of time with Alex at different points," Brady told WEEI at the time. "Gronk has his rehab and he’s going to do it, and I have no doubt he’s going to come back stronger and better than ever. All of us learn every year about things that work and don’t work. And it’s really up to the individual.

"Gronk, it depends what all the . . . I don’t want to single out Gronk because he’s the only one that's injured. There's a lot of players that get injured over the course of the year, and then you go about changes in your routine because you think this may work and this may not work.

"To me, I feel like it’s very touch-and-feel with how you do take care of your body. Some weeks it is a little more strengthening. Some weeks it’s a little more conditioning. Some weeks it’s a little more pliability depending on how your body feels. I don’t think people spend enough time on pliability at all. I think that is the missing third leg to what athletes in high school should be learning and college athletes. We learn at a young age it’s all about strengthening and conditioning. And strengthening at the expense of pliability, to me, gets you injured. If you’re injured you can’t play. If your body is your asset and you’re injured, you’re not going to have much of a career for any athlete."

Gronkowski's already had himself one of the best careers of any player who has played his position. But figuring out how to extend his career despite the pounding he has taken -- and surely will continue to take -- is a complicated endeavor. Does it mean improved pliability? Better nutrition and hydration? More sleep? 

In reality, any player would probably benefit from any of those things . . . as well as luck. Brady's admitted that some of the injuries Gronkowski has suffered in the past have been unavoidable.

"He’s dealt with certain things that are almost impossible to avoid on the football field," Brady said. "Sometimes it’s just bad luck. For me, I try and do all the things I can do to avoid as many things as possible and be as proactive as possible so that I can try to be out there every week. I believe that if you have a great foundation, it ends up being a lot harder to get hurt.

"That’s kind of where I focus my time and energy over the course of the week so that . . . you know you’re going to get hit, you know you’re going to sustain these impacts, and how can your body be prepared to withstand those things?"

Taking up Brady's workout routine resistance band excersise-for-resistance band exercise probably doesn't make sense for a 265-pound player who needs to be strong enough to block defensive ends and sturdy enough to absorb high-speed collisions down the seam. But sprinkling in some of the elements of Brady's prep, if he hasn't already, might not hurt. 

And after his recent contract restructure, Gronkowski may have more incentive than ever before to tinker with his program in the hopes of staying on the field.