Ties bind a few Ravens to New England

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Ties bind a few Ravens to New England

FOXBORO - The Patriots and Ravens play so often, there are few secrets between the two teams.

And with James Ihedigbo, Arthur Jones and Corey Graham, there are probably even fewer than normal.

Jones, a Ravens defensive lineman, is the older brother of Patriots rookie defensive end Chandler Jones. Ihedigbo, a safety and special-teamer for Baltimore, was with the Patriots last season and played a key role and spent time with the Patriots in camp.

Graham, a corner, is a Buffalo native who went to UNH. All have friends and family who may have split allegiances this week when the Ravens and Patriots play in the AFC Championship game, but the Brothers Jones, of course, have the closest binding ties.
Jon "Bones" Jones, the famed UFC fighter, will be at the game Saturday, according to Arthur Jones. Also "a couple of cousins and a bunch of friends."

Arthur's hoping to see Ravens hats on as many members of the entourage as possible, he told Ravens media Wednesday.

Arthur Jones said he talked to Chandler Tuesday, two days after he tweaked an ankle in Sunday's Patriots win.

"Weve been going back and forth talking crap," said Arthur. "Really, I have been just seeing how hes doing. I know he got rolled up bad last week, so I was trying to figure out if he was going to play or not and get the inside scoop. But hes doing a good job not telling me anything. Hes not telling me anything, but I think he is going to be out there. Hes a hard-worker. I know hes getting treatment on it hard.

Ihedigbo, meanwhile, is staunchly a member of the Ravens now.

"Its exactly where its supposed to be," he said. "Im here as a Raven. I love being here, Im proud to be here and Im proud to go out with these guys and fight for the opportunity to go to the Super Bowl.

Released by the Patriots on August 31, he signed with Baltimore on September 2. He played in all 13 games for the Ravens, starting three. But he's not sure he can give much inside knowhow about New England's inner-workings.

I dont know if it helps at all," Ihedigbo said when asked about what advantage he can provide. Teams change every year, but one thing we know is Tom Brady is a phenomenal quarterback. He does a great job with that offense in terms of getting those guys the ball, and thats really our focus on defense. We have our hands full.

Ihedigbo defers to the coaches when discussing the things Brady does well.

"A lot of coaches who are coaching here have gone against him a lot longer than Ive been in the league six years," Ihedigbo pointed out. "So, I dont know how much intel I can give into that. But, everyone knows Tom Brady and the kind of quarterback he is and the things he can do with that offense.

Ihedigbo also noted that "Life Without Gronk" is not going to mean a day off for the Ravens defenders.

"They do a lot of the same things (whether Gronkowski is available or not. "Gronk is a phenomenal player he had a tough injury, so he wont be playing but besides that, in terms of that offense, theyll do what they do. Their offense is explosive, they get the ball going downfield, they move at a high pace and they score touchdowns. Our job is to stop them.

Graham notes that, "All of my roommates were big-time New England Patriot fans in college, and all of my friends still to this day are die-hard Patriots fans and Red Sox fans. It is a big game for me, obviously. I went to college New Hampshire in that area. I was up there all of the time. I know what it is like. They have die-hard fans out there. Obviously, you dont want to lose against the Patriots, especially when all of my friends are going to be out there probably with a Patriot jerseys on. Its going to be a little different his week, but no matter who you are playing, you want to go out there and win. This is for all of the marbles to get to the Super Bowl, so this is ever bigger.

Mayock: If I'm Cleveland, I'd be 'stoked' to land Garoppolo for No. 12 pick

Mayock: If I'm Cleveland, I'd be 'stoked' to land Garoppolo for No. 12 pick

NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock quarterbacked a marathon conference call with reporters from around the country on Monday in order to shed some light on the prospects who will compete at the combine later this week. One thing that stood out? He's not ready to crown anyone in this year's crop of draftable signal-callers.

As a result of the dearth of pro-ready talent at quarterback, Mayock recognized Patriots backup Jimmy Garoppolo as perhaps the top target for any quarterback-needy team. Garoppolo might interest the Cleveland Browns in particular, Mayock noted, because of the number of picks they have near the top of the draft.

"In my opinion," Mayock said, "if I'm the Cleveland Browns and I've got No. 1 and No. 12, if I came away with either [defensive end Myles] Garrett or [defensive tackle] Jonathan Allen at No. 1, and gave up the 12th pick in the draft to get Garoppolo? I would be stoked.

"I would feel like I had a difference-maker on defense and we had a quarterback on offense. Now let's get to work. We got five in the first 65 picks. Let's get to work. From my perspective, especially looking at the quarterbacks this year, if they gave up No. 12 and could get Garoppolo, I'd be all over that."

Patriots promote coaching assistant Nick Caley to tight ends coach

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Patriots promote coaching assistant Nick Caley to tight ends coach

As the Patriots so often like to do, they promoted from within to fill an open coaching position on Monday. 

The team announced that they've named Nick Caley as their tight ends coach, filling the vacancy left behind when Brian Daboll accepted the offensive coordinator position at the University of Alabama last week. 

Caley was a coaching assistant with the Patriots for the past two seasons after spending a decade in the college ranks at John Carroll (2005-06), Akron (2006-07), Auburn (2008), Iowa State (2009-11), Eastern Illinois (2012), Arkansas (2013) and Florida Atlantic (2014).

Caley is one of several John Carroll products -- including director of player personnel Nick Caserio, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and assistant quarterbacks coach Jerry Shuplinski -- working for the Patriots at the moment. He graduated from the Jesuit university situated just outside of Cleveland in 2006.