Patriots

Stallworth: 'I'm a lot more mature now'

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Stallworth: 'I'm a lot more mature now'

FOXBORO -- After Donte' Stallworth re-signed with the Patriots in March, agent Drew Rosenhaus revealed it was his client's wish all along.

He said, Drew, you got one thing to do for me this offseason: Get me to New England, Rosenhaus said.

Stallworth took a break from Tuesday's workouts to talk about his desire to re-join the Pats.

"Being here it's obviously a special place and I've always had a lot of respect for Mr. Kraft and really the whole organization and a lot of the players here," he said. "Still got a lot of friends on the team, so I just thought that it made a lot of sense for me to come back here and try to help this team win some ballgames."

New England won plenty of games in 2007 when Stallworth was last here. It's the one that eluded him -- the Super Bowl -- that he's after.

He said chasing a championship again as a Patriot is a thrill. If not a little strange.

"It was interesting. It was a little weird feeling. It was kind of surreal," Stallworth said of his return. "But honestly, I think it took about a week or so to get adjusted and to really realize that, hey, I really am back; it's not just a dream. It's been good being back and seeing a lot of the same, familiar faces -- friendly faces."

Though there's temptation to submit to that time warp feeling when seeing Stallworth at Gillette, reality stubbornly elbows in.

Stallworth is 31 years old. He hasn't been with a team for consecutive seasons since his first four years (all in New Orleans) in the league. He hasn't started a game since 2008. And those 46 receptions he had for the Patriots? Stallworth didn't even have half that in a solid 2011 for Washington.

His focus isn't on the numbers. When Stallworth tweeted "This time around, things will be different," on the day he signed, the thinking was big-picture positive.

"I'm a lot more mature now than I was in 2007," he said. "I feel like I'm playing better. I'm in a better place mentally, physically and I just felt like at that time I was still trying to mature and grow into a professional athlete. I feel like I'm a lot further down the road than I was last time."

He believes his game is actually better now.

"I think, back then, I was really more relying on my talent. Now that I'm going into my 10th year, I think I run better routes now and understand different coverages and what teams are trying to do. That's a big thing because you always hear people say this game is 90-percent mental and 10-percent physical... I don't know who came up with that percentage, but I would say that it's fairly accurate for certain reasons.

"You just look at a guy -- not by any means, don't take this wrong like I'm comparing myself to Jerry Rice -- but Jerry Rice wasn't the most talented guy. But he was the best receiver to ever play this game just because he understood what defenses were trying to do. He understood the little nuances of zone coverages and things like that. That's something I've gotten a lot better at as I've gotten older in my career."

His is a smart attitude to project, considering there are 12 receivers coming into camp; the competition is eagerly anticipated.

Stallworth said the chance is all he needs.

"I think you just come to the reality that basically you have one shot to prove yourself. Whatever happens after that is really up to me and my performance."

No joint training camp for Patriots takes away scouting opportunities

No joint training camp for Patriots takes away scouting opportunities

When the Patriots announced their training camp dates last week, it carried all the standard information you'd expect: Camp kicks off on July 26 on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium; it's the 16th consecutive training camp at the Patriots facilities in Foxboro; practice sessions remain free and open to the public. 

What was not part of the announcement was when the Patriots might be getting together with another club for joint practice sessions. 

The Patriots have held joint practices with other teams every year since 2012 (in 2011 there were no joint sessions following the lockout), but it looks like that streak will be broken this year barring any unforeseen late changes to the schedule. Typically Bill Belichick's club has worked out with clubs it will take on in preseason contests No. 1 or 2. Sometimes, as they did last season, the Patriots will square off with both of their first two preseason opponents. 

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This year those two first Patriots opponents, both of which are traveling to Foxboro for the exhibition games, are the Redskins and Eagles. Washington has a unique partnership with the city of Richmond during training camp, which may have made a multi-day trip to New England difficult. Philadelphia, meanwhile, announced recently via coach Doug Pederson that it would not be participating in joint work this summer. 

"I don’t think it’s an every-year thing. Last year it was great for us. It was a great change up to go against Miami,” Pederson said. “Sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Teams are already booked, teams are already full or doing other things. For us, it’s just let’s get better as a team.”

For the Patriots, if there are no joint practices, that will mean a few things. 

First of all, it will mean the most competitive reps they take will likely have to come during preseason action. One of the reasons Belichick has been so in favor of joint sessions is because it gives players a chance to work against an unfamiliar opponent competitively, but in a relatively controlled environment. That's not the case during preseason action. The Patriots could hold competitive inter-squad scrimmages to help make up for the lack of joint-practice reps, but there's a reason the Patriots have gone out of their way to host an opponent or visit one in years past.

Second, no joint practices means the Patriots will lose a valuable scouting opportunity. Without a few days to work with another club, Belichick and his staff are down a few days of up-close-and-personal evaluation. 

Every time the Patriots have met another team in camp since 2010, they've later taken a chance on an opposing player they saw during those practices. That includes last year when the Patriots worked against the Texans and later brought both Eric Lee (via the Bills practice squad) and Riley McCarron into their locker room. (There's still time for the Patriots to add someone they saw while practicing against the Jaguars last year.)

If there's one tangible impact the lack of joint practice sessions could have on the Patriots, it could be to their roster. Those workouts aren't the be-all-end-all when it comes to scouting, but they clearly have value. 

Here's a full rundown of the Patriots joint-practice opponents who were eventually acquired by New England . . .

2017 vs. Texans: DE Eric Lee, signed off of Buffalo practice squad in 2017; WR Riley McCarron, signed to practice squad in 2017. 

2016 vs. Saints: WR Brandin Cooks, acquired in a trade in 2016.

2016 vs. Bears: TE Rob Housler, signed to a future contract in 2016.

2015 vs. Saints: DL Akiem Hicks, acquired in a trade in 2015; LB Ramon Humber, signed as a free agent in 2016; Cooks.

2014 vs. Redskins: DL Frank Kearse, signed as a free agent in 2016; CB EJ Biggers, signed as a free agent in 2016.

2014 vs. Eagles: CB Bradley Fletcher, signed as a free agent in 2015.

2013 vs. Buccaneers: LB Jonathan Casillas, acquired in a trade in 2014; TE Tim Wright, acquired in a trade in 2014.

2013 vs. Eagles: S Patrick Chung, signed as a free agent in 2014; WR Damaris Johnson, claimed on waivers from Houston in 2015; CB Bradley Fletcher, signed as a free agent in 2015.

2012 vs. Saints: RB Travaris Cadet, signed as a free agent in 2015; Casillas; LB Ramon Humber, signed as a free agent in 2016;  DL Akiem Hicks, acquired in a trade in 2015.

2012 vs. Buccaneers: RB LeGarrette Blount, acquired in a trade in 2013; CB Aqib Talib, acquired in a trade in 2012; Biggers; LB Dekoda Watson, signed as a free agent in 2015.

2011: No joint sessions following NFL lockout.

2010 vs. Saints: Humber; DE Will Smith, signed as a free agent in 2014.

2010 vs. Falcons: WR Michael Jenkins, signed as a free agent in 2013.

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Tom Brady throws to Julian Edelman in latest Instagram video

Tom Brady throws to Julian Edelman in latest Instagram video

Tom Brady posted a dual-purpose Instagram video on Sunday morning.

The one-minute video, laid over a track by Dorchester rapper Cousin Stizz, served as both an ad for TB12 Sports Therapy and confirmation (if there was any doubt) that Brady is putting in the time.

The video opens with Brady lying flat on his back in his Chestnut Hill home getting a rubdown on his right shoulder from body coach and TB12 partner Alex Guerrero.

Brady extols the importance of pliability – no man has ever done more for one word than Brady’s done for the word “pliable” – then the piece cuts to a field where Brady – in helmet and shoulder pads – is throwing to Julian Edelman.

It looks like the thing was shot at Pine Manor College. It may have been Thursday.

Beyond the Brady angle is the fact that Julian Edelman is also featured in the video.

Edelman, who also trains with Guerrero, is appealing a four-game suspension PED suspension. Guerrero released a statement reiterating TB12’s “natural, holistic, appropriate and, above all, legal approach to training and recovery for all of our clients” on the same day news of Edelman’s positive test came down.

Despite that and the fact Edelman’s positive test fostered speculation that whatever he tested positive for must have come from TB12, the video is proof Edelman isn’t being shunned by Brady or Guerrero despite the fact the positive test the negative pub it generated.

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