Vince Wilfork knows the OTAs will help the defense be a stronger unit this season.
Jeff Howe describes how Tom Brady's presence at OTAs rubs off on his teammates' work ethic.
When the "franchise" walks through the Gillette Stadium doors, the tenor of the Patriots changes.
Quarterback Tom Brady hasn’t been at every voluntary workout this offseason, but he’s been a consistent presence during the first two weeks of organized team activities, which have been well-attended practices. Brady maintained the OTAs have been important in terms of building chemistry and communication, as well as setting a good foundation for training camp.
Brady’s presence, his teammates insist, rubs off on their work ethic. The Patriots have enough veteran leaders on each side of the ball to set the tempo in his absence, but the atmosphere changes when Brady is at the facility.
"Tom is our leader," Deion Branch said. "When he’s here, we’re ready to roll. When he’s not here, guys have got to pick it up."
"Same guy, but coach (Bill) Belichick has given him way more power and control," Branch said. "This is his team. This is his franchise. Tom, however far we go, it’s because of our quarterback."
"I think that he’s right," Wilfork said. "It was a level that, you had guys that played this game for a long time, had been in this system for a long time and they just knew how to play. When you’re around something for so long, you adapt, you can start doing some different things and move around differently because you know it so well. Being a young defense (last year), I think with the lockout and all of that, I think we struggled at certain points with some of the things that we did. Hopefully, it can be better this year.’’
"That’s always an issue. If you can force teams into third downs, then you have to be able to get off the field," he said. "Sometimes we did and sometimes we didn’t. Every year that’s a focus point. Being able to get turnovers defensively, get off the field on third down and create negative plays, all those things are goals that we want to achieve throughout the year. The first step to all of that is now. Getting guys in here for OTAs, getting familiar with one another, seeing how each other plays and getting the system down and just working on things that you need to work on. That’s what we’re doing now and hopefully that can pay off for us."
- Paul Perillo reassures Patriots fans that Tom Brady's leadership remains very much one of his biggest strengths.
- Erik Scalavino gives us the latest news and notes from Thursday's OTA practice.
- Patriots Today - Veterans lead the way: forward. (2.35 min. video)
- Patriots Today - Edelman soaks in the knowledge. (1.41 min. video)
- Patriots Today - Branch making the most of OTAs. (1.27 min. video)
- Patriots Today - Hello from OTAs. (3.30 min. video)
- Patriots Today - Tom Brady chats at OTAs. (12.13 min. video)
- Player Interviews: Vince Wilfork (10.08 min. plus Transcript), Tom Brady (11.40 min. plus Transcript), Deion Branch (7.22 min.), Danny Woodhead (2.44 min.), Patrick Chung (2.15 min.) and Julian Edelman (5.53 min.)
- PFW in Progress - The PFW crew breaks down the latest news from a busy day at OTAs. (2 hour program)
- Jeff Howe describes how Tom Brady's presence at OTAs rubs off on his teammates' work ethic.
- Shalise Manza Young reports Tom Brady is a team player all the way.
- Greg A. Bedard shares his OTA notes from yesterday's session, including a rave review of WR Brandon Lloyd's route running.
- Christopher Price shares his notes from Thursday morning's OTA session.
- Field Yates offers a handful of observations from practice.
- Tom E. Curran observes that technique tweaking -- even when it comes to Brady's throwing motion -- seems to be a focal point during OTA work at Gillette.
- Tom E. Curran notes Deion Branch says Josh McDaniels has brought some new tricks to the Pats offense.
- Christopher Price finds the Patriots' veteran receivers all welcome the positional battle.
- Ryan Hadfield sees Patrick Chung seizing a leadership role in the secondary.
- Tom E. Curran reports Vince Wilfork says a full offseason is going to help the team's young defense.
- Karen Guregian finds Vince Wilfork was 'kind of surprised' by Pepper Johnson's move to linebacker coach but he says it isn't a big move for the D-line.
- Mike Petraglia notes Vince Wilfork points out one thing the Celtics and Patriots have in common - 'A lot of heart.'
- Karen Guregian mentions that so far Julian Edelman has not been asked to attend any of the defensive meetings.
- Jeff Howe Patriots Notebook: Patrick Chung is entering the final year of his rookie deal but he won't let it affect him this season; Tom Brady and Deion Branch both admit that there have been a few changes to the offense Josh McDaniels will be running in NE; OTA non-participants include Gronkowski, Spikes, Mankins, Vollmer, Waters, Addai and Slater; Addai & Slater worked with a trainer on the sidelines.
- Albert Breer (NFL.com) Minicamps: Patriots moving past Super Bowl hangover. (1.23 min. video)
- Chris Burke (SI) Brian Hoyer trade remains a possibility for Patriots.
- PFW Staff (Pro Football Weekly) AFC rookie long shots to watch. Patriots: CB Alfonzo Dennard
- Elliot Harrison (NFL.com) Top NFL streaks. No. 7 Brady's nine consecutive games with at least two TDs and no INTs; No. 4. Patriots win 21 consecutive games.
- Hub Arkush and Eric Edholm (Pro Fotoball Weekly) Best offense in the NFL: Patriots vs. Saints. (5.27 min. video)
- Jim Steeq (Nat'l Football Post) The 17-game season.
- Michael David Smith (ProFootballTalk) Darrelle Revis doesn't know if he'll hold out from training camp.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Goodell says bounties are no longer part of the NFL culture.
- Josh Alper (ProFootballTalk) Jonathan Vilma: NFL wouldn't give me evidence.
- James Walker (ESPN) Is fixing the Pro Bowl a lost cause?
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Pro Bowl was likely never going away.