- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Cleaning out the notebook from the media-access period in the New England Patriots locker room on Tuesday:
Who’s drawing big crowds: Cornerback Darrelle Revis, safeties Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon, receiver Brandon LaFell, linebacker Jerod Mayo and undrafted free-agent tight end Justin Jones drew the largest media crowds.
Revis talks new points of emphasis. The NFL’s point of emphasis on defensive holding and illegal contact remains a hot topic among players, with Revis and McCourty both touching on it when asked. “It’s tough. It’s tough,” Revis said. “I think we just have to work through it. Teams have been working through it during this preseason. I think it’s a learning situation for everybody. It’s a new rule. The refs are trying to do best they can. As players, we’re trying to do the best we can by keeping our hands off the receivers down the field. That’s a learning process. Maybe in the regular season, things might change. You never know. At this moment, everybody is just trying to make sure they’re doing the right thing by following the rule.”
McCourty’s take. Count McCourty among those who would like to see fewer penalty flags on the ground. “Hopefully they just reduce the flags and we get to play a little bit,” he said. “Even last night, watching the [Cleveland-Washington] game, it just seems like every couple plays there is another flag. It will be tough for the people trying to watch the game who have work in the morning.”
Left side? Right side? Doesn’t matter to Revis. One indication that Revis' transition to New England is now complete came with his response to a question about him playing exclusively on the left side to this point. Revis' answer: “It is what it is.” Revis then went on to say he’s happy to play anywhere that makes the defense successful. We haven’t read too much into this area because the Patriots aren’t going to tip their hand at this point in the preseason.
Mayo doesn’t disclose reason for absence. Why was Mayo missing from practice all last week? He wouldn’t divulge, saying only, “I feel good. I went out there yesterday, ran around a little bit and feel pretty good.” Mayo wouldn’t specify if his absence was more injury-related or something more personal in nature. Asked if he will play Friday against the Panthers, Mayo deferred to coach Bill Belichick.
Harmon’s areas of improvement. When it comes to areas in which he feels he’s made strides since training camp began, Harmon pinpointed patience, man-to-man coverage and tackling.
Jones stuck around the area. Jones, who was released for a week before he was re-signed on Sunday, said he stayed in the area for the week he was unemployed. Fellow tight end D.J. Williams gets the assist for letting him stay at his place. “Coach told me I was making improvements; maybe it needed to happen a little quicker for him,” he said. “This is the time of year that a lot of guys are getting shuffled around.” Jones added that the speed of the game, specifically in the preseason opener against the Redskins, has been his biggest adjustment.
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