Patriots

Gray on weight: 'You feel lighter, you play a lot faster'

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Gray on weight: 'You feel lighter, you play a lot faster'

FOXBORO -- Did Jonas Gray look quicker to you in Thursday’s preseason opener versus the Packers? Did he look faster? There’s a reason behind that, one that goes beyond Gray’s initial acknowledgement postgame that he’d lost somewhere between 3 to 5 pounds. That weight loss may not seem like much - as I noted to the hulkish running back - but Gray says it goes beyond the physical benefit. It’s mental as well.

“I think its just a mindset,” said Gray after Monday’s training camp practice. “When you feel lighter, you play a lot faster. That physical part of my game is never going to leave, but being able to run away from guys and get more yards and get more out of plays, you know, from watching film last year and seeing runs I had that I could have taken the distance, or gained more yards on it, I knew this year that was going to be a difference between was I going to play more, or play a little bit.”

So the man who emasculated the Colts in prime time a season ago, rushing for 201 yards and 4 touchdowns to earn the cover of Sports Illustrated, worked harder than he’s ever worked during the offseason, to show not only the coaching staff, but his teammates, that this version of Jonas Gray is all about business.

“I knew,“ said Gray, “for the guys to be able to trust me week in and week out, I would have to come here in great shape and show 'em how serious I am about being a player on this team and helping this team out.”

That has been evident as camp has gone on. Instead of just running to the hole, or just working his way through it before slowing down, Gray is channeling his inner Jim Brown. Every run has purpose, and even when there is nowhere to go, the former Notre Dame product keeps those legs churning well after the whistle.

“One thing I knew the coaches wanted to see was [me] to do more stuff in the open field,” acknowledged Gray. “I’m trying to emulate that in practice so every time I get that opportunity if I’m stopped, I totally try to run through and get a good 10 to 15 to 20 yards down the field, to prepare myself mentally to do that.”

You can’t knock the hustle, and even Bill Belichick, who walked by Gray’s interview session with a wary eye, would probably agree with that.

QUICK SLANTS THE PODCAST: Jerod Mayo breaks down the best way for Patriots to attack Jaguars defense

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QUICK SLANTS THE PODCAST: Jerod Mayo breaks down the best way for Patriots to attack Jaguars defense

Jerod Mayo talks with Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry about the Patriots AFC Championship matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

(2:00) Jerod Mayo gives his X’s and O’s breakdown of the Jaguars defensive schemes and traits.

(5:00) Jerod gives his opinion on how the Patriots offense should attack the Jaguars defense.

(8:30) Could Gronkowski be the key to the Patriots offense? What would be the best way to use him?

(15:00) Does the Jaguars defense have a weakness against vertical routes?

(17:00) Jerod Mayo explains why James White could be a key once again for the Patriots. 

(21:00) Will Jaguars change their defensive scheme after allowing 42 to the Steeler?

(23:00) Will much will the Jaguars having the ‘nothing to lose’ mindset impact the game?

Jaguars have Ramsey's back

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Jaguars have Ramsey's back

Enough has been made of Jalen Ramsey’s bold proclamation that the Jaguars are going to win the Super Bowl despite the fact that they’re aren’t even on that stage yet.

I know it’s not how the Patriots do business but other teams do. Does it generally work? Well, no one can match the Pats sustainability but that doesn’t mean that style can’t be effective in shorter windows.

Look at the Seahawks or Ravens. Even the Giants could be boisterous. That leads me back to the Jags, who have Ramsey’s back.

“We’re so close that I think it’s OK to say, ‘Hey, we’re going to do this,’’’ said defensive tackle Malik Jackson.

“The man has confidence in his team,” added Abry Jones, also a defensive tackle. “What’s he going to say? He knows what we’re going up there to do. It’s not like he’s saying anything that’s not true.”

“He does things very passionately,” Calais Campbell told the Rich Eisen show. “You feed off that. When you see a guy who loves the game as much as he does, you can’t help but fall into the same mentality.”

That is what makes Ramsey different from say Mike Mitchell, the Steelers safety who ran his mouth weeks ago about beating the Patriots in the AFC title game and then stood outside the Jags locker room and yapped about what a long day the visitors were in forSunday. How’s that working out for Mitchell now? He’s at home while Ramsey is about to play in his biggest game as a pro.

“He’s going to talk, but he’s going to show up,” Yannick Ngakoue said. “I just don’t like people talking all week. You talk reckless, man, and you lose. It is what it is.”

That is not an indicator to the Jags that Ramsey is looking ahead.

“He’s just happy,” noted Ngakoue. “He understands we have a giant in front of us and he’s got to pay all of his attention to this team. We don’t even know who’s going to play in the Super Bowl…We understand we have to do what we have to do or we’ll be watching the Super Bowl at home like everybody else.”

Of course, Ngakoue, the gifted edge rusher on that fearsome front 4, had some pointed words to the Steelers after that 45-42 win Sunday saying “real people don’t say nothing. Real people are quiet but then throw the first punch…they thought they were bullies today. We were the bullies. See you next year.”

That’s not Ramsey’s modus operandi however. He got under A.J. Green’s skin so much that the normally peaceful Bengals wideout threw punches at the Jags corner during the game and reportedly wanted more after the game. Then - and now - Jacksonville seems okay with it so long as the All-Pro corner continues to deliver the goods.

“Everybody has their own persona,” said Leonard Fournette. “Whatever motivates them. We aren’t worried about two weeks ahead of us. We aren’t worried about the Super Bowl. It’s the next game. It’s Sunday in New England.”

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