Thursday's New England Patriots Links 9/8

Ian Logue
September 08, 2011 at 09:43am ET

Patriots’ Malcolm Mitchell happy with rehab progress
Free agent WR Eric Decker says he would be 'good fit' with Patriots
Man charged with robbing Gronkowski's home arraigned
Buckley: What will Tom Brady do when he retires from football?
Tom Brady teases with Instagram comment

Sorry for the delay.  With yesterday's big media day there was quite a bit going on this morning and putting this together took longer than expected.

So here are today's top stories.

Mike Reiss has an entry this morning taking a closer look at the changes to New England's secondary, and after the recent personnel changes examines how each player will fit this season.

Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald has an article on the recent personnel changes, with Bill Belichick telling the media yesterday that everyone who is here needs to earn their keep to be a part of this team.
“We have a saying around here, ‘It doesn’t matter how you get here, it’s what you do here,’ ” Belichick said. “I think that’s the way I think we should coach the team and I think that’s what the players expect. Nobody is on a scholarship, everybody has to earn their keep.”

Rich Garven of the Worcester Telegram also has an article on Belichick, who talked about the decision to cut Gerard Warren, and said they simply had to 'drop him' to make some other moves.
“I thought he did a good job,” Belichick said of Warren, who was thought highly of by his teammates for his leadership and composure. “We carried him on our roster, and then we had to drop him to make some other moves. I thought he played very competitively.”

Rick Morwick of the Johnson County Daily Journal has a local take on newly acquired linebacker A.J. Edds, with the former Columbus resident seeing a new door open here in New England.

Tom Layman of the Boston Herald has an article on Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, and writes that the Patriots finally have a solid tandem on a position that had been in flux until those two were drafted last season.

Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald writes that their father described yesterday as "greatest day of my life" when asked about having two of his boys on the same team.

Guregian also has a good article on Dolphins coach Tony Sparano's experience of watching his job be shopped around for during the offseason.

Monique Walker files her notebook this morning, which leads off with Tom Brady joking that Rob and his newly signed brother Dan Gronkowski were probably putting each other in headlocks in the locker room after being reunited together here in New England.

Glen Farley of the Enterprise News writes that after their defensive line acquisitions this offseason, the Patriots have definitely packed on some pounds - about 810 of them to be exact.

Farley also has a piece in the Taunton Gazette on the fact that the seven rookies on their roster will continue with their education with this football team on Monday night.

Mark Farinella of the Attleboro Sun Chronicle has an article on the fact that even Brady still gets excited for the season opener.

Monique Walker has an article on the fact that the team is still working out the kinks in the offense, with Brady saying that they're a long way from figuring out where they're going to be.

“I think we’ve been a little bit inconsistent over the course of the preseason and we’re trying to get a lot of things straightened out,’’ Brady said yesterday. “We’re trying to do the things that we’ve consistently done well, whether it’s in training camp, in practices or in games. We haven’t had a ton of practices, so that’s where the inconsistencies come up.

“We’re a long way from figuring out where we’re going to be. I’m sure every week we’re going to improve and keep working hard at it, but we’ve only been together for five or six weeks. I’m sure [some] things are going to be good and [there’re] going to be things we need to correct. Hopefully we do enough to win.’’

Ian Rapoport has an article on the fact that Brady is itching to get back on top of the NFL World - which is some place they haven't been in seven years and he's focused on working toward getting back there.
“There’s only one team every year that has a good season, and we haven’t been that team in a long time,” Brady said. “How this team takes to that challenge, we’ll see. This team has never been together in this current state with that opportunity. It (stinks) to lose at the end of the year, there’s no doubt about that. But we’ve got a great opportunity to be on this team with opportunities this year and we’ll see if we can take advantage of them.”

Guregian also has an article on the fact that there's been quite a Super Bowl drought here in New England.

Glen Farley has an article on the fact that the Patriots have struck it rich at 'the pigskin pawn shop' as he looks at some of the guys the team has brought in off the 'scrap heap'.

Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe has an article on the defensive line, which she expects New England will be creative with their pass rush against the Dolphins next Monday night.

Greg Bedard of the Globe has a great piece on some of the methods teams use to try and disrupt opposing quarterbacks.

Christopher Gasper has a good article with a couple of quotes from NFL legend David "Deacon" Jones - and points out that before Jones, there was no such thing as a "sack".

Young also has a look at the offensive line and writes that despite some changes, as a new season dawns there is still continuity in the group that will try and keep Brady upright this season.

Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald also has an article on the offensive line, with Matt Light saying that Brady counts on them to allow himself to do his job.
“It’s our No. 1 job, you know?” Light said. “He’s not standing back there to try to avoid people for any number of reasons.”

Tom Layman of the Boston Herald has an article on the fact that Deion Branch will likely be a big key in helping to get all the receivers on the same page heading into Monday night's game.

Rich Thompson has an article on Rob Ninkovich, who is looking forward to facing his old team during the Patriots season opener.

The media was able to view a screening of the upcoming documentary with Bill Belichick last night, and Chad Finn of the Boston Globe has a great article this morning with his take of the film, along with the fact that he writes it reveals two sides to the guy who's brought three championships to this region. has a preview for the upcoming game, with some interesting facts and numbers included in this piece.

Greg Bedard and Daigo Fujiwara have a cool look at New England's front seven, showing the alignment in a 3-4 defense vs. a 4-3 defense that allows you to tab back and forth and includes an explanation for each spot.  Check it out.

Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald has an article this morning that the Patriots have their sights set on the Jets after dealing with a difficult playoff loss to New York, with Belichick telling the newspaper he's feeling pretty good about their chances against them this season.
“I think we have a chance,” Belichick told the Herald in his understated way. “I think there are some things that are OK. I think there are some other things that need work. Whether those will work out or not, I don’t know. I honestly don’t see how anybody can know where they are right now. You haven’t faced teams that game plan for you and attack your weaknesses.”

Rapoport also has another piece calling the Patriots and Jets the "Beasts of the East".

With a lot of speculation swirling right now regarding Colts quarterback Peyton Manning's status for this season Tom Curran has an article on the fact that Troy Brown said that Belichick is at his best when game planning against them.
"Every week we played the Colts it was intense," Brown said Tuesday night. "Those were the days Bill (Belichick) was at his best and making sure you had everything about the Colts covered - offensively, defensively, and definitely don't let them beat you on special teams, because that was the weakest part of their team. When they did punt."

Jerry Spar of has an article on the fact that the Patriots ranked #3 on the Forbes money list, with the team coming in valued at $1.4 billion.

Courtney Johnson of the Foxborough Patch has an article on the fact that former Patriots offensive lineman Joe Andruzzi is scheduled to speak at the Patriots Hall at Patriots Place tonight at 6:30.  Anyone can get in, with a ticket price that is $25 and includes an autograph, as well as an admission to the Hall.

For anyone who hasn't seen it yet, I posted a video last night of Brady's new UGGs commercial - which oddly enough doesn't feature much from their spokesperson.

And finally an interesting note out of the Chicago Tribune, with Brad Biggs reporting that Brandon Meriweather received a substantial pay raise after being cut by New England.  According to Biggs Meriweather went from being scheduled to earn $1.65 million with the Patriots, to $3.25 million with the new deal he recently signed with Chicago.  He's expected to be in the starting line-up this weekend against Atlanta.