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New England Patriots Links 6/01/12 - No Question Brady is the Alpha Male of Patriots Pack

<em>Vince Wilfork knows the OTAs will help the defense be a stronger unit this season</em>.
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."

Karen Guregian notes Vince Wilfork agrees with Matt Light that the Patriots defense could use a healthier dose of swagger and intimidation.

"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."