July 26, 2013

Patriots ready to turn to football

The players will be focusing on the game starting Friday after an offseason of distractions.

By Mike Lowe mlowe@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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Tom Brady will be facing more questions than usual this season: not just the Aaron Hernandez arrest, but a complete revamping of receivers with the New England Patriots.

The Associated Press

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New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady says the Aaron Hernandez case has been "zero" distraction for him.

The Associated Press

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PATS' OPENERS

PRESEASON: 7:30 p.m. Aug. 9 at Philadelphia Eagles

SEASON: 1 p.m. Sept. 8 at Buffalo Bills

Veteran Leon Washington, signed in the offseason, adds depth and a great return player.

Defensively, the Patriots need to continue their improvement. Re-signing cornerback Aqib Talib was a big step. With him at one corner, the Patriots can move Devin McCourty to safety, where he looks much more comfortable.

Of course that leaves the other corner open to competition, especially with second-year player Alfonzo Dennard's legal issues. He has to return to Nebraska on Aug. 12 for a DUI charge, then has another appearance scheduled for Aug. 27 regarding an alleged probation violation.

Given all the losses on offense, the defense is going to have to play better this year.

"As a team," said Wilfork, "if we approach it together and if we come on this field and practice and get better each day as a team, then we'll be OK."

But even he realizes this off-season will continue to challenge the team as it tries to get ready for the season.

"I think it's going to test this team's chemistry," he said. "It's going to test everyone that's in this locker room, individually and as a team. It's going to test us to see how important football is to us."

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

mlowe@pressherald.com

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

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