Ryan mum on Revis vs. Welker

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Ryan mum on Revis vs. Welker

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn FOXBORO The New York Jets have a lockdown cornerback in Darrelle Revis.

The Patriots have the most unstoppable receiving force in the game now, with Wes Welker.

A trip to Revis Island seems a given, right?

For all the talk that the New York Jets' loquacious head coach Rex Ryan spews out, mum's the word on his plans for how much Revis will spend defending Welker.

When asked who Revis will cover, Ryan said, "Whoever we put him on. How's that?"

Ryan later revealed that he does indeed have a plan in mind on how to use Revis against the Patriots.

"Whoever we put him on, he'll cover," Ryan reiterated. "If that's (Deion) Branch; if that's Welker. If that's Chad Ochocinco, Randy Vataha, he'll cover."

Welker has been among the NFL's more productive receivers since he arrived in New England in 2007, and is off to the best start catching the ball in his career.

Through four games, Welker leads the NFL in catches (40) as well as yards receiving (616).

Although the 40 catches has been impressive, his yards per catch average (15.4) is also a career-high for the nine-year pro.

"Wes is a really smart player," said Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien. "And understands our scheme and the opponent's scheme as far as defensively what he's seeing."

Ryan admits defending Welker is a bit challenging, even with a cornerback as talented as Revis.

"The big thing would be that he plays in the slot and a lot of times it's hard to get he's not just an outside receiver," Ryan said. "He's a slot receiver a lot of times."

Known primarily for finding seams across the middle of the field and in the flats, Welker is also managing to get balls thrown his way deeper downfield.

"A lot of that is dictated by the coverage they're seeing," Ryan said. "They were seeing a lot of Cover-2 (defense) this past week, and Welker kept beating them on 7-routes."

But Ryan is wise enough to know as well as Welker has played this season, his success is in many ways, indicative of the Patriots receivers.

"They're really smart. They identify the defense. They adjust routes based on the coverage, based on your leverage," Ryan said.

And nobody is doing a better job of that this season for the Pats, than Welker.

"He is obviously, he's a tremendous player," Ryan said.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

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.