Curran: Putting the 'Patriot Way' in perspective

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Curran: Putting the 'Patriot Way' in perspective

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO - A well-done preview of the 2011 Patriots was presented by Andy Benoit in the New York Times. In it, Benoit shrugs away the notion of the "Patriot Way" saying scheme and personnel are the bellwethers of success in New England, not a workmanlike, selfless approach. "Locker room chemistry and teamwork and all those convenient Disney movie elements are great, but in the end, football is about the battle that takes place on that 10053 piece of turf," writes Benoit. "And those battles often dont come down to wanting it more or overcoming adversity they come down to out-scheming and out-executing the enemy."I'm with Benoit. The notion that grown men walk into Foxboro and become lemmings incapable of independent thought because Bill Belichick is in charge ispablum. Butdismissing the fact that sometalented players often tamp down their self-interest for the Patriots is not a myth. Those that do so - and it's not been unanimous - are still in it for themselves. They all want something- theirnext contract, validation, accolades, the chance for their children to see them play in the NFL, a championship ring, the satisfaction of playing the most evolved version of professional football we've seen - requires a little professional self-denial and a lot of trust inThe Hoodie. On Tuesday, wide receiver Deion Branch - a malcontent when he left here in 2006, a smiling foot soldier now - spelled out why so-called "bad boys" keep it under wraps. "When you label somebody a bad boy, you never know what somebody's been through," Branch cautions. "Say if I'm acting up somewhere else. My reasons for acting up may be because of this or that. Coming here, you know it's all business. You come in here and do your job. You do your job, everything'll be straight. Everybody wants to win. We play this game because it's a great job, but guys want to win. I think winning satisfies everything. And that's what we're all about over here."While Belichick exerts a certain amount of Big Brother-ly authority over his playerspublic comments and talking points, he does not tend to impose great personal restrictions on veteran players. Expectations? Yes. But he lets them be adults. "It ain't nothing where guys are hard on each other around here," Branch insisted. "You're still a man, everybody respects each other but you have to come to work. Come in and do a job. They pay you."It's really not that complicated. And Belichick has figured that the old guy who's a good guy and still can play, he might like it here. A guy like Andre Carter, formerly of the Redskins. He was asked Tuesday about whether Albert Haynesworth can change his reputation in New England. "That's up to Haynesworth," Carter answered. That's the crux of it. It is up to the player here. For some, it's Eden. For others it's Parris Island. "There'sa lot of veteran guys, a lot of great leadership, you see a lot of guys up-and-coming," Carter said when asked about the mix in New England. "This is just a great organization. It's all about one team and that's something I've admired. Everybody comes here to work."I'm going to go hard until I can't go no more," Carter promised.
Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.

Hightower, Branch will begin training camp on PUP list

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Hightower, Branch will begin training camp on PUP list

The Patriots will be without two of last year's defensive starters when training camp begins later this week. 

Both Dont'a Hightower and Alan Branch were placed on the physically unable to perform list on Monday. They are eligible to come off the list at any time. Once they are removed from the list, they will be eligible to practice fully. Players on PUP count against the 90-man training-camp roster.

Undrafted rookie tackle Andrew Jelks will begin camp on the active/non-football injury list. The Vanderbilt product dealt with knee injuries that kept him off the field each of the last two seasons. 

Neither Hightower, nor Branch, nor Jelks participated in spring practices at Gillette Stadium. Hightower was present for voluntary work, but during practices open to the media he typically did some conditioning off to the side. Branch skipped optional team activities (as he usually does), and though he was in Foxboro for mandatory minicamp, he did not practice during that three-day stretch.

Hightower was limited last season with knee and shoulder injuries. The MMQB.com's Albert Breer said on Sports Sunday that Hightower's health concerns made teams reticent to make him offers that would lure him away from New England. 

Report: Patriots in talks with CB Brandon Flowers

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Report: Patriots in talks with CB Brandon Flowers

In what’s been a somewhat busy offseason for their secondary, veteran cornerback Brandon Flowers is in talks with the Patriots, according to Adam Schefter. 

Flowers, who spent the first six seasons of his career with the Chiefs and last three with the Chargers, was released in March. He is set to meet with the Cardinals this week as well. 

The Pats lost cornerback Logan Ryan this offseason, but landed the top free agent corner on the market in Stephon Gilmore. A potential addition of Flowers might give them an insurance policy if second-year pro Cyrus Jones fails to improve from a dismal rookie season. 

Flowers was limited to just six games last season, as a concussion ended his season in December. He has played in at least 11 games in the rest of his NFL seasons. His lone Pro Bowl nod came in the 2013 season.