The Patriots have been a point of conversation for a bunch of players and coaches, whether directly or indirectly. Here's a summary of the talking points:
Top rated Navy long snapper Joe Cardona on meeting current Patriots free agent long snapper Danny Aiken:
"I've gotten to meet Danny a couple of times it's been awesome hanging out with him and getting to bounce ideas off of him and really talk about long snapping."
Top rated Louisiana-Monroe kicker Justin Manton's thought on Adam Vinatieri's legacy:
Q: Do you think Vinateri is a Colt more than a Patriot?
A: No, I don’t. It’s funny you said that. He’s definitely a Patriot.
Division II guard Ali Marpet notes that he has a meeting with the Patriots.
Florida State tight end Nick O'Leary talks about Patriots center Bryan Stork:
"Me and Bryan talk all the time. He’s actually down here right now. We’ll probably get together when I get done with the Combine. He didn’t talk much at Florida State unless it was guys he was close with."
Stanford offensive tackle Andrus Peat on former teammate Cameron Fleming:
I’d say there’s been a great culture of offensive linemen [at Stanford], guys like David DeCastro, Cameron Fleming, and David Yankey. The work ethic and toughness that they bring. I really learned a lot from them.
2nd ranked Miami tight end Clive Walford on his NFL comparable:
"[I emulate] Rob Gronkowski. Sky’s the limit [if I had his size], like it is now. I [study his games], occasionally. I don’t catch every single game, but every playoff game this year I did watch. I watched every single game that he played. [His best skills are] running with the ball after the catch, making crucial blocks, pass protecting. Pretty much everything. He’s an all-around tight end."
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert on comparing Pittsburgh to the Patriots:
"I think we always try to compare ourselves with the teams that made the playoffs, which we were one of them, and the team that ultimately won the Super Bowl. I think in the Patriots case, they’ve had a Hall of Fame quarterback for a lot of years and they’ve done a great job of retooling their team around that player. Obviously Tom Brady has been a huge part of that success.
As you look through history most great teams are teams that have been able to have sustained success, have had a great quarterback and he certainly has been one of them. And they have done a great job of retooling around him."
Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak on building a team like the Patriots:
"I think everybody looks at the successful organizations in this league, and they have consistently been and set the bar in this league, been very successful. But Denver has been very successful too. I think you look at your situation, how do you get better? You’ve got to stay focused on yourself.
"I think if you’re worried about everybody else or chasing one team, you’re probably going to make some mistakes so we’ll stay focused on us trying to get better, try to hang on to some of our guys here, try to get better in free agency, try to get better in the draft and move forward and go to work"
Bills head coach Rex Ryan was asked multiple questions about the Patriots:
"It was terrible [to see the Patriots win the Super Bowl], next question (joking).
"No, you know what? That was a great game, obviously a great game. I think it was anticipated it was going to be a great game. You had two outstanding teams, both of them really well coached. And, obviously, it was an outstanding game.
"I’m not [going to talk about DeflateGate], obviously I think they earned the Super Bowl, period. That’s the way I’d see it.
"Alright, now, I was waiting. I knew [a question about Darrelle Revis winning the Super Bowl] would come from somebody. See my first year, I would have swung at that pitch, and probably been fined for tampering or something like that. This time, no way am I going to talk about somebody else’s player, so I refuse to do that.
"Well, I get the questioning [about comparing the Bills to the Patriots], but, I think it’s more of the fact that these are the world champions so you want to beat them, period. There’s no doubts. If you’re going to try to knock one team off it would be the world champions. That’s not just me, that’s where everybody wants to get that level. Obviously we’ve got a lot of ground to make up."
Jets head coach Todd Bowles on his predecessor's approach to coaching:
"I don’t think [a rivalry with the Patriots] means anything to us right now. Right now, we’re trying to become the New York Jets and we’re trying to become a winning ballclub. We’re going to concentrate on us. You can’t beat the Patriots in February.
"Just beating the Patriots is not going to cut it if you lose to everybody else. We’ve got to have a growth process of how to win while we’re winning and trying to win and beat more than just the Patriots."