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Pats ready to get back to their roots

09.09.09 at 12:14 am ET
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Thanks to the Patriots’ Twitter feed, this is a picture of what will greet the Patriots when they arrive in the locker room Wednesday morning. The team will wear the old-school throwbacks in their regular-season opener Monday night against the Bills, one of four games this year they will don the old “Pat Patriot” logo as a part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the AFL.

Pats sign Agnone to the practice squad

09.08.09 at 8:39 pm ET
By   |   Comments has confirmed a report the Patriots have signed tight end Robbie Agnone to the practice squad. A league source said the Delaware product worked out for New England today, and was signed to the eighth and final practice squad spot. A 6-foot-6, 256-pound tight end who was in camp with Washington, he was cut by the Redskins this past weekend. In the preseason, Agnone had three catches for 37 yards.

UPDATE, 8:41 p.m.: The Patriots have just confirmed signing. The press release is below:

The New England Patriots signed rookie TE Robbie Agnone to the practice squad today. The Agnone signing filled the remaining position on New England’€™s eight-man practice squad.

Agnone, 6-6, 260 pounds, was originally signed as a rookie free agent out of Delaware by the Washington Redskins on April 30, 2009. He was waived by Washington during their final cuts.

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Nick Caserio, Dean Pees and Bill Belichick Q&A, 9/8

09.08.09 at 6:49 pm ET
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Thanks to the Patriots’ PR staff, here are the transcript of the Q&A’s from earlier today between Nick Caserio, Dean Pees and Bill Belichick and the media.
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Report: Robbie Agnone rounds out Pats’ practice squad

09.08.09 at 5:45 pm ET
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Multiple reports are now saying that former Redskins tight end Robbie Agnone will be the eighth and final member of the Patriots’ practice squad. Released on Saturday by Washington, Agnone is a 6-foot-6, 258-pound tight end out of Delaware who had 147 receiving yards as a senior with the Blue Hens.

H/T to Mac’s Football Blog

Pats’ braintrust talks about Seymour deal

09.08.09 at 4:25 pm ET
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Just finished up a conference call with Patriots Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio, defensive coordinator Dean Pees and head coach Bill Belichick. (We’€™ll have the transcript from all three calls up shortly. UPDATE — They can now be seen here.) Predictably, the Sunday trade of Richard Seymour to Oakland was the lead topic, but all three declined to comment on the situation in any great length.

Belichick said he couldn’€™t speak on the topic, saying, ‘€œWe don’€™t have the rights to Richard, so I can’€™t make any comments about him or his situation.’€ He did acknowledge Seymour’€™s contributions to the Patriots, but like Pees and Caserio said, said the focus is now about looking forward, not back.

“I think we all know what type of player Richard was and I’€™ve commented on that many times in the past,” Belichick said. “They’€™re a lot of things that Richard did well, but that’€™s the way it is and we’€™re moving forward and our team’€™s moving forward.”

When he was asked if the defense was as good going forward, Belichick responded quickly.

‘€œWe’€™ll find that out starting this week,’€ he said.

Caserio would not comment when asked if the trade of Seymour would effect possible negotiations with nose tackle Vince Wilfork. Wilfork is entering the final year of his contract and has publicly asked for an extension, but so far, the two sides have yet to reach an accord.

“Any negotiations with any player [are] between the player and the club,” Belichick said when asked if the Patriots were any closer to a deal with Wilfork in the wake of Seymour’s departure. “And so that’€™s the way it will always be here.”

However, Caserio did seem optimistic about the futures of two young players who might be asked to shoulder the load going forward, rookies Myron Pryor and Ron Brace. Both defensive linemen saw extensive time in the preseason, and both will likely see an increase in playing time this season now that Seymour is out of the picture.

“I think they have worked hard. They’€™ve put themselves in a position where I think they have an understanding of some of the things we’€™re going defensively. They have some experience in the preseason, so I think they’€™re moving in the right direction,” Caserio said. “They wouldn’€™t be on our roster if we didn’€™t feel good about the progress and the direction that they’€™re headed.”

Pees also sounded an optimistic note when asked about Pryor and Brace.

“I’€™m pleased with the rookies,” Pees said. “I think they’€™ve all made progress. I think all the rookies all along the line have gotten better, as rookies do. They’€™ve got a long way to go, but they fit in well. They’€™ve worked hard. They’€™re continuing to improve all the time.”

The Seymour trade is the latest in a steady stream of veteran departures. Rodney Harrison, Mike Vrabel and Tedy Bruschi were all steadying veteran influences in the New England locker room over the last few seasons, but they have all retired or been traded since the end of last season.

Pees said the changes will allow for some of the younger players to step up and assume leadership roles.

“Somebody’€™s got to step up and be the leaders, and we’€™ll find out who those are,” Pees said. “Coaches change, players change. It presents new opportunities for other guys to become leaders. The torch always gets passed on good teams to somebody else, and now it’€™s their opportunity.”

Belichick acknowledged the changes, but said that’€™s simply part of life in the NFL.

“That’€™s part of the National Football League. It’€™s part of every football team, really, and so we always deal with that,” Belichick said. “I think we have a lot of good leaders on our team and especially on the defensive side of the ball.

“Each team has its own chemistry, its own dynamics, and I think ours is very good. It’€™s different, but I think that our players, especially some of the players that have not only been here longer, but have a significant role on our team, have done a excellent job with their ability to lead and set a positive example for our football team, regardless of what side of the ball they’€™ve been on. No doubt about it. It’€™s different, but I think it’€™s good.”

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Some highlights from Tom Brady’s Q&A with D&C

09.08.09 at 12:06 pm ET
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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance with WEEI’s “Dennis & Callahan” this morning, and touched on a number of topics. Here’s a portion of the interview. (To listen to the whole thing, click here.)

Would you be depressed if you found yourself in Seymour’s shoes?
I’m sure those guys don’t feel like they have no shot. You know, things change very fast. They change for all of us. They changed for me quite a bit last year in that first regular-season game. They changed for Richard. They changed for guys this past weekend. And the reality is you just have to learn to adjust, and that’s just the way it is. Football is unconditional love. It is. It’s tough in a lot of ways, because you develop relationships with your teammates, and these are your friends, your family. You spend more time with these guys than you do with your own family. A guy like Richard, who has meant so much to the organization, after being here for going on his ninth season with three championships and being a team captain. He’s just a wonderful person. He is a professional, I know that. He works very hard. He’s going to bring a lot to that organization, so as much we we’ll miss him, they’re getting a great player.

Do personnel moves like this effect the way players play and think about an organization?
Well, everybody’s in a different situation in the locker room, and when you subscribe to being a part of a team, you subscribe to the best interests of the team. My role as the quarterback is not to make personnel moves. It’s not to determine whether those personnel moves were right for the team or not right for the team. My job is to show up and do my job the best I can do it. I think that’s really stressed. That’s not only in football — that’s in everybody’s job. Unless you’re the one writing the check, you really don’t have a lot of say in much. And it’s a different reality I think for us athletes, because our entire life, we’re the ones who did call the shots. Even in Little League baseball, when we wanted to pitch, we pitched. If we wanted to play point guard, we played point guard. If we wanted to shoot the ball, we shot the ball. That’s just cause we were probably the better of the athletes on the team. But when you get to the professionals — even in college, to a a degree. But we were even the best players on our college teams. It’s just a very different environment when you get to the professional level. We’re all concerned … our goals are the team goals. And at the same time, you have to understand what’s best for the team isn’t always what’s best for you as a player. And it’s a real fine line, because you want to feel the commitment and the loyalty to the team, but you’ve gotta it doesn’t go both ways, and that’s OK, because we’re getting a lot out of it as well. I think having the opportunity to win, the opportunity to play and improve as a player, those are all things that being in the situation that we’re in with the Patriots, there’s nothing more than you could really ask for.

How did you react? How did you find out and what was your initial reaction when you heard the news?
I got a call from Dan Koppen who was at the stadium. I was driving down, and he told me. We as players, we adjust too. I guess they don’t surprise me anymore because I’ve been here for so long. It’s kind of like, “Wow.” It was really unexpected. I think it was unexpected for all of us, because Richard’s been out there every day and has been starting the games and … but like I said, that’s not something we focus on in our job. We’re not worried about the 53-man roster. We’re worried about what can I do to be prepared to help the team win. Those are the tough decisions that every coach has. There are 32 coaches across the league that had really tough decisions to make. This, I know, was a tough one for Coach Belichick.

But of those 32 coaches, I don’t think there’s another one who would make this move. Is this one of the reasons you thin so highly of Bill Belichick, that he has the guts to make a move like this?
I think Coach Belichick, he’s an incredible coach and he’s an incredible motivator. He’s able to get everyone to buy into what is best for the team. And I think over the years I’ve gained so much confidence in what he does because [the moves] turn out right, you know? The decisions turn out right. And what he says, actually happens, whether it’s on the field or off the field, whether it’s offseason or in-season. We had Coach Rivers from the Celtics come in and talk to our team yesterday, which was really fascinating. And I think they — Coach Belichick … is a different type of coach than Coach Rivers. But they both find ways to motivate the players in order to buy into that team concept. And I think every player who comes to our team, they buy in pretty quickly, just because it works. And there’s things at times that are frustrating at times about being a part of it. But at the end of the day, I’ve seen a lot of players leave the organization and not be as productive as they were when they were here. And I’ve seen guys come from other organizations that become much more productive than they’ve ever been. So that tells me that even though I haven’t had the chance to be in another organization, how Coach Belichick runs the team and how Mr. Kraft runs the franchise, they’ve got the track record and they’ve got it right.

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Harrison: Seymour “not thrilled” to join Raiders

09.07.09 at 10:53 pm ET
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According to this report from Pro Football Talk, former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison says that he’s spoken to former teammate Richard Seymour since Seymour was shipped to Oakland for a first-round pick in the 2011 draft, and the defensive lineman is “not thrilled” about joining the Raiders.

“Who would be thrilled to go to the Oakland Raiders? Maybe somebody who’s happy to just get a chance, but not a guy like Richard Seymour, a five-time Pro Bowler,” said Harrison, according to reporter Tom Curran. “For a veteran player to go to Oakland at this juncture, it’s just difficult.

“Put yourself in his position,” Harrison added. “He’s going from a first-class organization to one of the worst in the NFL. You have the head coach fighting the assistant coaches, the owner involved in the day-to-day operations, guys who don’t believe in the quarterback. . . .  Tom Brady to JaMarcus Russell?  Come on. Is that something to look forward to? Why would he be excited?”

Meanwhile, out west, the Raiders sit and wait for their newest defensive lineman. Oakland coach Tom Cable told reporters earlier on Monday that he had already spoken with Seymour, and that some things still need to be worked out between Seymour and the Patriots.

“We have attempted to make a deal. There are some issues still between him and the Patriots that are being worked out,’€ Cable said. “(We’€™re) hoping that that will get resolved as quickly as possible. We know that the player wants to be here but we have really no control over those issues. So that’€™s really all I’€™m going to talk about it for now.’€

Patriots spokesman Stacey James told The Associated Press he was unaware of any difficulties surrounding the trade, which was announced by New England on Sunday and confirmed by Cable.

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