Arrington steps up and into prime role in Pats 'D'

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Arrington steps up and into prime role in Pats 'D'

FOXBORO -- You could call him lucky. You could say Kyle Arrington's two interceptions Monday night were a right-place, right-time kind of thing.

The Patriots secondary, overall, couldn't care less about what you think.

"We go out there with the attitude of playing with a chip on our shoulder," said James Ihedigbo. "People can criticize and say what they want. In the secondary, all we have is us, and we've got to go out there each week with that mentality."

Be clear: Ihedigbo, Arrington and the rest knew they were hunting a wounded deer in Chiefs back-up Tyler Palko. The question wasn't if Palko would be intercepted, it was a matter of how many times. The answer, housed within New England's 34-3 win, is three . . . two by Arrington.

His first pick came just before the first half's two-minute warning and gave the offense a chance to bolster its 7-3 lead. The second came off a tip-drill on a second-and-eight throw in the third quarter. Arrington snatched the ball out of the air and ran 16 yards before being brought down.

"Being a left-handed quarterback, a lot of balls are going to come to our right -- the side I'm on -- so I just prepared and tried to keep out of his vision on a lot of his throws," said Arrington. "He throws off his back foot a lot and balls sailed out a few times, so keep out of his vision and try to make a good break on it was key."

It doesn't sound much like luck.

Monday's interceptions were numbers six and seven for the season -- the league's best total. Arrington's postgame podium appearance highlighted his preparation. For as bad as Palko was at times -- Philip Adams' end zone pick was grabbed out of triple coverage -- the secondary didn't just bank on his inexperience.

"It's definitely guys putting work in during the week," Ihedigbo said. "It's studying as a group, studying real concepts. We knew the type of throws we'd be getting in this game: shots, quick throws . . . getting the ball out of Palko's hands quick."

Not having much film on him complicated the assignment. A crucial part of Monday night's plan was making in-game adjustments.

"It's tough because its offense in itself -- each week they do different things, each game they have different route concepts," said Arrington. "We knew that Kansas City would try to have a simple offense because it's Palko's first start; it couldn't be that complex. After the first couple of series we settled in, we knew what the game plan was going to be, and we attacked it. "

Arrington's teammates say he sets a prime example. He only knows one speed in practice: Full-tilt. Ask him about progress and he'll be frustrated he isn't there yet. Ask him about one interception and he'll be thinking about the ball he dropped.

Though injured corner Devin McCourty is still breaking down film and studying with the active secondary, he's not on the field to set the tone for his teammates.

More pressure for Arrington. The others say he's handling it well.

"He's a competitor," said corner Antwaun Molden. "Iron sharpens iron, so when Kyle's out there making plays it helps each and every one of us to make us want to step up and make a play too -- step our game up."

Molden almost had a pick of his own in the end zone.

He and the rest will have more chances over the coming weeks as the Patriots face more ailing opponents (and some hapless quarterbacks): Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Washington, Denver, Miami, Buffalo. The fact that some will poo-poo the New England secondary's flexing against weaker foes doesn't bother them. Arrington says he likes the potential of this crew and will be happy to exploit whatever opportunities keep them moving forward.

He grows; they grow.

"The bar has always been set with us," said Ihedigbo. "Regardless of what the critics say, we don't listen to that. We just come in here and work hard. Hard work plays off."

In other words, they make their own luck.

Patriots training camp: Who will be this year's Zach Sudfeld?

Patriots training camp: Who will be this year's Zach Sudfeld?

Mike Giardi and Phil Perry continue their Countdown to Camp as they discuss several story lines that we will hear a lot of.

Jets coach Todd Bowles: 'Garoppolo can play'

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Jets coach Todd Bowles: 'Garoppolo can play'

The Jets don't have to play the Patriots during the first four weeks of the season, but they'll be watching as their division rivals go to work with Jimmy Garoppolo behind center. 

Jets head coach Todd Bowles is expecting more of the same from New England despite Tom Brady's four-game suspension.

"Garoppolo can play," Bowles told the New York Daily News. "They don't worry about who they have. They just have a system in place and they go play football. I think people underestimate that. You still have to knock off the champs. It's theirs until somebody takes it from them."

The Patriots haven't had a quarterback other than Brady take snaps of consequence since Brady tore his ACL in Week 1 of the 2008 season. Garoppolo is still a relative unknown given his 31 total pass attempts over the last two years, but with coach Bill Belichick still on the sidelines, and Belichick's system still in place, Bowles is assuming the Patriots will be a very good team once again -- even without their best player for the first month of the season. 

"They got a good team," Bowles said. "It's not just us. It's everybody. We split 1-1 (against them last year). They're a tough team. They're a tough out. They've had a coach and a quarterback and a system in place for a long time. There's a bunch of ways to skin a cat. They've found pretty good ways to skin it. They do what they have to."

Patriots celebrate 15-year anniversary of 2001 team with videos, Hall exhibit

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Patriots celebrate 15-year anniversary of 2001 team with videos, Hall exhibit

The Patriots have announced a series of initiatives to celebrate the 2001 Super Bowl championship team on the 15th aniversary of their title-winning season.

Throughout the course of the 2016 season, the Patriots will feature special content online and on Patriots All-Access that will lead up to Dec. 4, when Gillette Stadium will host a reunion of the 2001 team during halftime of the Patriots-Rams regular-season matchup. 

The Patriots have already featured images of moments from the 2001 campaign on tickets for their eight regular-season home games. They'll also have a special exhibit dedicated to the 2001 team at The Hall at Patriot Place beginning in the fall. In addition, issues of Patriots Football Weekly this year will include posters of shots from the 2001 season. 

"The Super Bowl XXXVI win over the Rams was the first championship for our team and will always hold a very special place in our hearts," Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft said in a statement. "The victory made everyone that ever wore a Patriots uniform or rooted for the Patriots on the bleachers at Foxboro Stadium feel proud to be a fan. I know I am looking forward to reliving some of those great memories throughout the 2016 season."

The Patriots said that video vignettes focused on the 2001 season will launch this week on Twitter and Facebook as well as on Patriots.com.