Ravens' Pees will try to jam Patriots system

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Ravens' Pees will try to jam Patriots system

FOXBORO -- Dean Pees spent six seasons in New England, his final four years as the team's defensive coordinator.

Pees and the Patriots parted ways after the 2009 debacle against the Ravens in the playoffs and -- after two seasons as Baltimore's linebackers coach -- Pees is now running the Ravens' defense.

But Pees, who's taking over for Chuck Pagano (head coach of the Colts), hasn't tried to reinvent the wheel in Baltimore, said Tom Brady.

"He's been in that system and knows those players, and theyve got a lot of playmakers and I think hes great at using those guys really doing what they do best," Brady explained. "Ray Lewis is a big time playmaker, Ed Reed is, Haloti Ngata; Lardarius Webb has turned into one of the best corners in the league. Theyve got a lot of great players that can really wreak havoc. I think Dean does a great job of putting those guys in positions where they're able to make those plays and its not so scheme-oriented where sometimes Ray is out of a play -- Rays in every play. Im sure thats just the way he wants it, too."

Brady fully expects tweaks from Pees this week as he prepares to face his former team. There's different personnel on hand here but the fact Josh McDaniels -- a Patriot contemporary of Pees' during their time here -- is running the offense can at least give Pees insight into what McDaniels' tendencies might be.

"The base of their defense has been the same way for a long time; the coordinator probably has the most different flavor," said Brady. "How they're going to play us, we dont know that. They're going to have their own game plan. I'm sure its not going to look like the Eagles game plan. Theyll have probably their core things they do and from week to week some different looks, some different blitz looks.

"Like last week, well probably have to make some adjustments over the course of the game, because its still early in the year and things still havent really played out," Brady added. "You dont have your whole playbook in, so to speak, so theyre just trying to find ways to screw us up a little bit and vice versa."

Like last week, the chess match will be interesting. Especially now that the Patriots will be revamping what their offensive plans are without Aaron Hernandez in the mix. We could see something Sunday we haven't seen in either of the two games.

From both teams.

NFLPA tells rookies to be like Rob Gronkowski

NFLPA tells rookies to be like Rob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski is a model citizen in the NFL. In fact, the NFL Players Association is advising rookies to be more like Gronk, according to The Boston Globe

The New England Patriots tight end has developed a name for himself on and off the football field. With that attention comes branding. And at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere from May 18 to 20, the NFLPA encouraged rookies to develop their own brand -- much like Gronkowski.

“Some people think he’s just this extension of a frat boy, and that it’s sort of accidental,” Ahmad Nassar said, via The Globe. Nassar is the president of NFL Players Inc., the for-profit subsidiary of the NFLPA. “And that’s wrong. It’s not accidental, it’s very purposeful. So the message there is, really good branding is where you don’t even feel it. You think, ‘Oh, that’s just Gronk being Gronk.’ Actually, that’s his brand, but it’s so good and so ingrained and so authentic, you don’t even know it’s a brand or think it.”

Gronkowski's "Summer of Gronk" has indirectly become one of his streams of income. The tight end makes appearances for magazines and sponsors. Because of his earnings from branding and endorsements, he didn't touch his NFL salary during the early years of his career.

Gronk was one of three players who were the topics of discussion during the symposium. Dak Prescott and Odell Beckham were also used as examples of players who have been able to generate additional income from endorsements. Beckham, in particular, has been in the spotlight off the football field. He's appeared on the cover of Madden, and just signed a deal with NIke which is reportedly worth $25 million over five years with upwards of $48 million over eight years. His deal, which is a record for an NFL player, will pay him more than his contract with the Giants.

“A lot of people talk to the players about, ‘You should be careful with your money and you should treat your family this way and you should treat your girlfriend or your wife.’ Which is fine. I think that’s valuable,” Nassar said, via The Globe. “But we don’t often give them a chance to answer the question: How do you see yourself as a brand? Because Gronk, Odell, none of those guys accidentally ended up where they are from a branding and marketing standpoint.”

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL


Tom Brady delivered a video message last week at the funeral of Navy SEAL Kyle Milliken, a Maine native and former UConn track athlete killed in Somalia on May 5.

Bill Speros of The Boston Herald, in a column this Memorial Day weekend, wrote about Milliken and Brady's message.   

Milliken ran track at Cheverus High School in Falmouth, Maine, and at UConn, where he graduated in 2001. Milliken lived in Virginia Beach, Va., with his wife, Erin, and two children.  He other Navy SEALs participated in a training exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011 where he met and posed for pictures with Brady.

Speros wrote that at Milliken’s funeral in Virginia Beach, Va., Brady's video offered condolences and thanked Milliken’s family for its sacrifice and spoke of how Milliken was considered a “glue guy” by UConn track coach Greg Roy.

Milliken had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning four Bronze Star Medals and was based in Virginia since 2004.  He was killed in a nighttime firefight with Al-Shabaab militants near Barij, about 40 miles from the Somali capital of Mogadishu. He was 38.

The Pentagon said Milliken was the first American serviceman killed in combat in Somalia since the "Black Hawk Down" battle that killed 18 Americans in 1993. 

In a statement to the Herald, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said: “It was an honor to host Kyle and his team for an exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011. It gave new meaning to the stadium being known as home of the Patriots. We were deeply saddened to hear of Kyle’s death earlier this month.

“As Memorial Day weekend approaches, we are reminded of the sacrifices made by patriots like Kyle and so many others who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend and protect our rights as Americans. Our thoughts, prayers and heartfelt appreciation are extended to the Milliken family and the many families who will be remembering lives lost this Memorial Day weekend.”