Notes: Physicality picking up in training camp


Notes: Physicality picking up in training camp

By Tom E. Curran Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO - Rain forced the Patriots inside their practice bubble on Monday afternoon. The urgency imposed this week by head coach Bill Belichick and his staff forced the aggression to escalate. There were several solid hits in the nearly three-hour practice but the best action centered --- as it has for most of this training cam -- around the second-year tight ends. Rob Gronkowski delivered two crunching blocks during practice, rag-dolling linebacker Gary Guyton on one and leveling safety Sergio Brown on the other. Meanwhile, tight end Aaron Hernandez got absolutely leveled by safety Patrick Chung. "I wasn't expecting it but it was still a good little pop and it got me aggravated," Hernandez admitted. "He plays hard and you gotta be ready at all times."On Saturday, Bill Belichick spoke about how important this week of preparation was to the team. The intensity seems to have been ratcheted up accordingly. Hernandez said a hit like Chung's is necessary to prepare a player for the season. He added,"you need to learn how to hold onto the ball which we learned last week."
Hernandez put the ball on theground twice in the preseason opener. Wes Welker confirmed personnel man Nick Caserio's contention that Welker's moving well in this camp.
"I feel great," Welker said. "I feel like I've gained a step from two years ago. This is the best I've felt in a long time and I just want to continue to play well and get better." Asked which aspect seems different, Welker said, "The main thing is getting off the ball and that's something I lacked a little bit before but that was last year."As for an appraisal of Chad Ochocinco, Welkerempathized with the transition, saying, "You can't ask any more of a guy coming in here and trying to learn the offense. It's frustrating at times as it was for me whenI first got here. There's always that learning curve."Specifically, what's difficult?
"There's just so much," he said. "So much language, so many signals, so many route conversions. It's all the way around it's not one thing it's so many things."Welker deftly eluded a question about entering the final year of his contract saying he's "concentrating on the here and now." Ochocinco seemed perturbed when a sideline throw from Tom Brady wasn't where Ocho wanted. Ocho blurted out a loud, "Come on, man!" The two players had a running dialogue over the next few minutes. Defensive end Andre Carter was outstanding in 1-on-1 drills against linemen. Fellow DEs Eric Moore and Mark Anderson toiled after practice for several minutes working on their 1-on-1 moves as well. Julian Edelman, Brandon Tate, James Sanders and Mike Wright all worked out separate from the team on Monday.
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Patriots players got a refresher on NFL social media policy because of Brown

Patriots players got a refresher on NFL social media policy because of Brown

FOXBORO -- Antonio Brown's live stream of coach Mike Tomlin's postgame speech on Sunday had a ripple effect that traveled all the way to New England: Just in case Patriots players weren't familiar with the league's social-media policy, they were reminded of it this week. 

"We were reminded of that," receiver Chris Hogan said. "I’m not sure what the timing is, but obviously, I don’t think we’ll see guys doing that in the locker room."

Players are prohibited from using social media in the locker room until media outlets have been given an opportunity to talk to players following games. Brown's Facebook Live video, which garnered national attention almost as soon as it went online, was shot well before the visitor's locker room at Arrowhead Stadium opened following Pittsburgh's win over Kansas City.

"We have a team policy on that," special teams captain Matthew Slater said. "Strictly enforced. We go from there."

Of course part of the reason the video became as widely disseminated as it did was because it caught Tomlin calling the Patriots "a--holes."

"I have a lot of respect for Coach Tomlin," Slater said when asked about Tomlin's speech. "I appreciate the way he prepares his team. I’ve had a good working relationship with him over the years, and it will continue to be that way."

Both Slater and Hogan insisted that their focus will be trained solely on preparing for what Tomlin and his players will do when they arrive to Gillette Stadium Sunday night -- not what they say leading up to kickoff.

"You come in here, you're automatically bought into what we preach here, what coach [Bill] Belichick preaches," Hogan said. "It's football. We're 100 percent football here. It's not about anything outside. Between the media or whatever it is outside of football, whatever we're doing. When we come here, it's 100 percent football. That's all we're focused on is the opponent we're playing that week."