Pats announce roster moves

Here’s the release the Patriots just issued regarding Eric Alexander, as well as the release of three rookies:

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots re-signed exclusive rights free agent linebacker Eric Alexander today. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Additionally, the team released three players signed as rookie free agents this spring — tight end Tyson DeVree, defensive lineman Henry Smith and defensive lineman Casey Tyler.

\Alexander, 26, has played in 30 games over four seasons with the Patriots from 2004-07. The 6-foot-2-inch, 240-pound linebacker has recorded eight tackles (7 solo) and 26 special teams tackles in his career. Last season, Alexander set a career high with 14 special teams tackles, a total that ranked fourth on the team. The Louisiana State product was originally signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent on April 29, 2004. He was a member of the Patriots practice squad for the first 14 weeks of the 2004 season and was signed to the active roster on Dec. 20, 2004. He played in the final three games of the 2004 season, recording a pair of special teams tackles. In 2005, he played in one game and was a member of the practice squad for the remainder of the campaign. He spent the entire 2006 campaign on the active roster, playing in 14 regular-season games and notching 10 special teams tackles. He played in all three 2006 playoff contests and recorded his first career start in the 2006 AFC Championship Game, leading the team with 10 solo tackles.

DeVree, 23, was signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent on May 5, 2008. He finished his college career at the University of Colorado (2006-07) after transferring from Western Michigan (2003-04) after his sophomore year. The 6-foot-6, 245-pound tight end played in 44 collegiate games making 96 receptions for 987 yards and 15 receiving touchdowns.

Smith, 24, was signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent on May 2, 2008. He played two seasons at Texas A&M (2006-07) after beginning his collegiate career at East Central (Miss.) Community College. The 6-foot-3-inch, 315-pound nose tackle played in 26 games for the Aggies, totaling 56 career tackles.

Tyler, 22, was signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent on May 2, 2008. The 6-foot-6-inch, 310-pound defensive end played for four seasons at Portland State, where he played in 36 games with 32 starts and totaled 73 tackles for the Pirates.

Tom Brady Q&A, 6/7

Thanks to the Patriots’ PR staff, here’s the Q&A between Tom Brady and the media that took place today at Gillette Stadium:

Q: How are you, Tom?
TB: It’s going well. It was a good day of practice.

Q: Good to be back out there?
TB: Yeah. I think it’s been an exciting spring for the team. I think everyone is excited to be back and I think has a really good attitude. So we’re just looking forward to making some improvements in the next six weeks and then getting back here at the end of next month [for training camp].

Q: What are you looking to improve personally?
TB: I think it’s always team improvement. We’re always trying to find ways to evolve as a team and evolve as an offense. You realize that a lot of the things we did last year probably won’t work this year. It’s important to move forward and understand things that we need to do better. I’m not going to tell you guys [what they are] because I don’t want the Jets to find out. But there is plenty for this team to improve on.

Q: Do you think everyone has pretty much shaken off the Super Bowl loss?
TB: I hope so. There are a lot of new guys who weren’t a part of that, so they don’t bring any of those memories or that energy in here. The guys who have been here, Coach Belichick has really been preaching to us that what happened last year is something for us to learn from and move on from. In life, you don’t reflect too much on what happened in the past. You try to learn from it and build on it. We can only control what we did today, which in this case was a really good practice.

Q: Was it hard to stay focused on football with everything else going on in the off season?
TB: Well, it’s our job. When you show up here, you’re focused on your job, and when you leave here, you focus on other things. Part of being mentally tough in any career is showing up to work and doing your job. That’s what we get paid for so that’s what we’re here to do. We show up and play football.

Q: How happy are you to have Randy [Moss] back? Were you in his ear about coming back?
TB: Yeah. Randy and I, we have a great relationship. I know this is the place where he wanted to be and we wanted him. Usually the contract situations work out when that happens. He adds so much to this offense. I don’t know if you guys saw him out here the past few days, but he’s really in great shape. It was a great way to start his Patriots career last year. I’m sure he’s hoping to find ways to improve the things he needs to improve on. It’s great to have him out there.

Q: Is there any concern about the image of the organization when off field things pop up?
TB: No. I think we’re just in a different cultural climate right now. I think with the amount of information that’s out there, everybody can grab a hold of it instantaneously. We’re all human beings and we make mistakes- everyone [will make] mistakes going forward and in the past. Like everything, you try to learn from things you wish you didn’t do and understand that there is a reason for making those decisions. Like I said, when we show up here Coach does a pretty good job of keeping us focused.

Q: Did you find you needed more time after the Super Bowl to clear your head because of the outcome of it?
TB: Any time you lose a game, it’s disappointing. That one, because it’s the last game of the year, it’s very disappointing. But we’ve lost a lot of games in the past, too. The more you focus on what’s happened and what you can’t control, the less energy you’re going to focus on the things you need to do to improve. Coach Belichick, I think, gets it out of his mind pretty quickly. You evaluate the loss and hope you learn from it and then you move on. You gain the experience and the knowledge of what got you beat, or in some cases what helped you win the game, in this case we lost the game, and you try to incorporate those into what we’re doing this season.

Q: Is there any way the loss can be used as motivation this year?
TB: Every year has been a different year. This is a new team and there are new challenges. You come out here the first day and its not like this is the 2007 team revisited. There are new players and there’s a new element to what we’re going to face. We don’t pick up where we left off last year. We’re starting where everybody else is starting.

Q: But isn’t it good to know that all of those off field issues are all gone and you’re starting with a clean slate?
TB: Yeah. And like I said, what those stories create are nothing about football. We come out and we play football. That’s what we’re here to do. That’s really what we try to focus on when we show up here. The other stuff, you really can’t control. You control your decisions and whatever decisions you make, you pay for the consequences and then you move on. Justice has been paid and we’re showing up here with a new team and it’s a new season. Everyone is starting at the same spot.

Q: There was a radio interview a few weeks back where someone said you didn’t respect the Jets or something like that. Could you just clarify that?
TB: I have a great deal of respect of the Jets. They’re my favorite team in the league other than the Patriots. I love those guys. They’re the best.

Q: They’ve improved a lot in the off season. Do you think the gap between you guys and the rest of the division is going to be closer than last year?
TB: Yeah. We won every game in the division last year so it couldn’t be anything but closer. [Those teams will] make the improvements that they’re trying to make and that’s what’s going to make for a competitive division. We always have a very tough division. Even though we went undefeated [n the division] last year, those games were tight. The second Jet game was very tight. All those teams have made improvements. Every team is trying to make improvements. We’re trying to make improvements.

Q: How is the ankle and were you able to participate in the off season program as much as you have in the past?
TB: The ankle feels great. Yeah. It feels really good. I’ve been able to do pretty much everything. I’m still slow. I still can’t jump. I still don’t lift very much. That hasn’t changed.

Q: You’re going to be 31 in August. Do you still have the same passion? Do you still get as excited to get out here and meet the new guys and connect with the old guys?
TB: Sure. Sure. I think all of us do. It’s a lot of fun to play, and I think all of us are fortunate to be able to physically play and mentally deal with all the things you need to deal with as an athlete. I think we all realize that we’re way overpaid. It’s fun for everyone to come out here and to play. I’m always excited to be out here. This is what I love to do.

Q: Can you talk about Marcus Pollard as another veteran target, what he might be for you?
TB: Marcus has done a great job coming in here and learning what we do. He’s been to a couple of different offenses but he seems like he’s picked this one up pretty quickly. Veterans come along and they have their way of doing things and I think Marcus has been in some complex offenses. Just in the last few days he’s really taken to this offense and he’s made a bunch of plays in these camps.

Q: Do you sit down in the off season and think about what you accomplished last year?
TB: I think you try to take from the good things and you learn from the things you didn’t do so well. In a lot of games we won, we didn’t play as well as we’re capable of playing. In a lot of cases, we did play like we were trying to. The more consistent you can play well the more games you’re going to win. No team has gone undefeated in the regular season I think [other] than two teams. Are we trying to duplicate that? It’s a new team. We’re trying to get through training camp first. That’s the first goal for us. See what we can build on throughout the preseason. We have a long way to go.

Q: Did you bump into any friends on the Giants and talk to them about the game? Congratulate them?
TB: I saw Eli [Manning] a couple of times. Of course you congratulate them. To win a Super Bowl is a great accomplishment. There’s only one team that gets to do it each year. We’ve been fortunate to do it a couple of times. It’s an exciting feeling. There are a lot of things that come along with it. You just hope you get to enjoy it when you go through it. I hope we can go through it again at some point.

Q: How neat has it been taking in the Celtics games and living through them vicariously in their run to the championship?
TB: They’re fun to watch. I think it’s been fun to watch. It’s been fun to watch the city really rally around the team. They went from not a very good team two years ago to the best team in the league this year, so it’s a great start. There are a lot of guys [on the Patriots] who have played basketball, so a lot of guys follow them pretty closely.

Q: You don’t have basketball on your resume do you?
TB: Oh yeah. I played in high school.

Q: What position?
TB: I was a ball hog. I was ball hogging forward who couldn’t jump. I was a big 2. I didn’t pass much.

Q: Do you go into this year thinking that business is unfinished somewhat?
TB: Like I said, I don’t think it’s really a carry over this year. There’s a lot of time from February to when we start in July. A lot of things that happen. A lot of players come and a lot of players go. We have to worry about how to get all the new guys incorporated. This team is going to take on an entire different appearance. I hope what we put out there in the field is up to the championship level that we’ve put up in the past.

Q: This is the first time in a while that a third or fourth round pick at quarterback has come in. What are your impressions of Kevin O’Connell?
TB: He’s done a great job. He’s a nice kid. He’s a California kid, so naturally I like him. We have four [California quarterbacks] now. He works hard. I think that’s important for all quarterbacks here. He’s got some leadership ability. Physically, obviously, he’s very gifted. I know all the coaches like him. I’m just getting to know him. He’ll have to find a role on this team.

Patriots release Dragosavich

Here’s the release that was issued moments ago by the Patriots:

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots released rookie punter Mike Dragosavich today. Dragosavich was signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent on May 5, 2008.

Dragosavich, 22, finished his four-year college career at North Dakota State University as the school’s all-time leader in punting average (44.5 yards per punt). The 6-foot-5, 190-pound punter collected 158 career punts for 7,025 yards with 32 touchbacks, seven fair catches and 61 punts inside the 20-yard line. Dragosavich led the Great West Football Conference in punting during his senior season last year with an average of 45.4 yards per punt with 27 punts for 1,225 yards, eight touchbacks and 11 punts inside the 20-yard line. In 2006 with the Bison, he had 30 punts for 1,385 yards, seven touchbacks and 14 punts inside the 20-yard line. Dragosavich registered a career-long 79-yard punt at Southern Illinois while tallying 47 punts for 2,186 yards, 11 touchbacks and 20 punts inside the 20-yard line in 2005 as a sophomore. He notched career bests with 54 punt attempts and 2,229 yards as a freshman in 2004.

Release on Ross

Here’s the full release from the Patriots’ on the signing of Oliver Ross, which was made official this afternoon:

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots signed veteran offensive lineman Oliver Ross today. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Ross, 33, is a veteran of 10 NFL seasons with the Dallas Cowboys (1998), Philadelphia Eagles (1999), Pittsburgh Steelers (2000-04) and Arizona Cardinals (2005-07). The 6-foot-4-inch, 327-pound offensive lineman was originally drafted by the Cowboys in the fifth round (138th overall) of the 1998 NFL Draft. Ross has played in 89 career games with 52 starts.

The Iowa State product played in two games with the Cowboys as a rookie in 1998. The next season, he was released by Dallas following the preseason and was signed by the Eagles, for whom he was listed as a gameday inactive for 15 games in 1999. He spent part of the 2000 season on the Steelers’ practice squad before seeing his first significant game action in 2001. That season, he played in all 16 games with seven starts for Pittsburgh, seeing action at tackle and guard. From 2001-04, Ross played in all 64 of Pittsburgh’s games, totaling 35 starts over that span. In 2004, he started every game for the Steelers at right tackle. Ross was signed by the Arizona Cardinals as an unrestricted free agent prior to the 2005 season, starting 12 games while seeing action at both offensive tackle spots. He played in 11 games with five starts in 2006 before missing the entire 2007 season with a triceps injury.