Ryan passes on chance to claim he's underrated

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Ryan passes on chance to claim he's underrated

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
Bait dangled in front of Rex Ryan's face during an NFL Network interview with Michael Irvin Thursday night. The big man didn't bite. Attempting to goad Ryan into complaining about being underrated, Irvin referenced last season's AFC Divisional Playoff game when the Jets battered Tom Brady and pulled an upset at Gillette. "Bill Belichick gets that gameplan we're talking about it forfive months, 'The brilliance of BB!' " Irvin prodded."Do you believe that you -- head coach -- gets the credit you deserve for things you do on the field?"I can put my resume out there, stats, with anybody thats ever coached in this league," said Ryan. "Thats a fact. Defensively, thats a fact. But I dont need any credit; I just want to win. I want what Bill Belichicks got. I think Bill Belichick is the best coach in this game; I dont even think its close. But Im trying there. I know one thing, and he knows: Im going to compete with him every time we play him."Ryan couched last year's playoff game as a contest between himself and Belichick. But he told Irvin -- who sounded during the interview like he'd just come out of either dental surgery or the local -- "If it ever comes down to just me versus him, we're gonna end up on the short end of the stick. But when it's about us and it's our football team versus his football team, that's where I have even more confidence."About the game plan itself, Ryan said, "Sometimes it's a simple game made complicated by coaches.I try to take that out. Let's make this game about what it's meant to be played like. Fast, physical and fun." It's a good, quick interview. Nothing too sensational. But a must-watch simply to see Irvin phrase a question about Nnamdi Asomugha in which he says, "Nummy. What happened with the Nummy deal?" Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Gronkowski healthy enough to participate during Patriots OTA practice

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Gronkowski healthy enough to participate during Patriots OTA practice

There's one where he makes a one-handed catch and celebrates with his arms outstretched as he glides into the end zone. There's another where he leaves his feet to go up and over safety Devin McCourty to come down with a pass. 

Judging by some of the pictures that have surfaced on Patriots.com of Rob Gronkowski participating in an OTA practice earlier this week, the All-Pro tight end seems to be feeling pretty good. 

Gronkowski, who agreed to an incentive-laden contract restructure for the upcoming season, is returning to action after undergoing season-ending back surgery last year so there was some question as to just how prepared he'd be to participate in practices this spring and summer. 

Again, judging by the photos, the answer is he's ready to ready to run routes on air and make contested catches against defenders.

Reporters will have an opportunity to watch the team practice on Thursday, the first workout open to members of the media, which will allow us to judge Gronkowski's mobility and his level of participation more fully.

Another takeaway from the photos on the team website is that Gronkowski was not required to wear a non-contact jersey during the session. Contact is not allowed during this phase of the offseason training program, but players returning from injury (and quarterbacks) will still wear red jerseys to inform their teammates they're not to be touched. For instance, Jonathan Freeny, who was placed on season-ending injured reserve about a month into last season, donned a red non-contact jersey in one image.