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Patriots.com News Blitz - 1/12/2012

Tom Brady increases his intensity. The Patriots continue to improve their health. It’s all inside today’s edition of the Patriots.com News Blitz.

Jason Cole of Yahoo.com writes about a worried Chad Ochocinco. The wide receiver is in his first year and recently approached fellow receivers Deion Branch and Wes Welker to ask, "Is Tom OK?" Ochocinco was referring to quarterback Tom Brady and his recent mood. "I was like, 'Is Tom OK?' You know, he's intense, but this was like a whole new thing, man. They were like, 'It's that time of the year, you just have to understand,' " Ochocinco said. "I've been around a lot of really competitive people and I've had Carson Palmer and Jon Kitna as my quarterbacks. You know that quarterbacks are a little different. They have to act a little different because of the position. But Tom has taken that to a whole different level." Brady's intensity was on full display in a recent press conference: Reporter: "I know you take losses very hard. How long did it take you to get over that Jets loss last year in the playoffs? Brady: "I don't know. I don't remember." Reporter: "Has that been on your mind this season?" Brady: "No. I haven't thought about anything about last year or last week. I'm trying to think about today and talking to you guys and get done with this and then go back to work." Brady is 4-5 in his last nine playoff games.

Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald writes about recent comments from offensive tackle and three time Super Bowl champion Matt Light. When asked about the Patriots recent playoff problems Light said, "I mean, obviously we haven't done well enough," he said and, really, was just getting warmed up. "It sits in all of our minds for the guys that have been here and been a part of that. You work that much, you put that much time into a season, you have success to a degree during the regular season and then you go out and you can't get it done in the postseason."

Jeremy Lundblad of ESPNBoston.com looks at possible records Tom Brady can set when the Patriots play on Saturday. With a victory over the Denver Broncos, Brady would join Joe Montana as the only quarterbacks with 15 postseason wins. He's currently tied for second with Terry Bradshaw and John Elway. With a loss, Brady would become the fifth quarterback to lose four straight playoff games.

Michael Whitmer of the Boston Globe writes about recent comments from tight end Aaron Hernandez about the Patriots offense. "They got to pick their poison,'' Hernandez said. "Whoever they want to focus on, we got more options than they can focus on.'' Hernandez had a career high nine receptions on Dec. 18, the last time the Patriots faced the Denver Broncos. Hernandez was given many opportunities due to increased coverage on Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski.

Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com writes about Patriots guard Logan Mankins coming back from injury. Mankins sprained his MCL in the Dec. 24 game against the Miami Dolphins. "I think we've seen progress out of everybody [on the injury report]," Bill Belichick said Thursday morning. "All the guys are out there working and I think each one of them is making progress, and we'll see how things go here after stringing these days together. We'll probably have some game-time decisions. But definitely, a lot of these guys are close and getting better." Other players on the injury report include tackle Sebastian Vollmer, wide receiver Deion Branch, defensive back Devin McCourty and quarterback Tom Brady.

Jeff Howe of NESN.com writes about what Patriots players expect from the Gillette Stadium crowd on Saturday night. "I expect it to be electric," said right guard Brian Waters, who will make his postseason debut for the Patriots. "It's the playoffs. It's a great opportunity for everybody, whoever is touching that field from both sides. I think the energy will be high. I expect it to be as electric as it's been. It was electric out there, so I expect it to be even better here."

Christopher Price of WEEI.com writes about two defensive players who did not play in the Dec. 18 match-up with the Denver Broncos; Brandon Spikes and Patrick Chung. The Patriots defense allowed over 150 yards rushing in the first quarter last game against the Broncos and Spikes and Chung are expected to help defend the run. "Whenever a player comes back in, there's always an adjustment period," said coach Bill Belichick when asked about Spikes. "That's true of every player. I don't think it's any different for him than it would be for anybody else. He has two years of experience. He's a physical inside linebacker that's been a productive guy for us. The more players we have that can contribute the better. He's one of them."

Tom Curran of CSNNE.com writes about the Patriots playoff experience, both good and bad. The Patriots did not lose any of their first 10 playoff games with Tom Brady at quarterback but have lost five of their last nine. "You can only say one thing about experience," Patriots left tackle Matt Light said Wednesday at Gillette Stadium. "It either served you well or it meant nothing. We hope that for the guys that have been there and done that, that the experience that we have will actually propel us into the next game and do something for us rather than talk about, 'Hey, we have a lot of guys with experience but we couldn't go out there and show any of it on the field.' That's a long way of saying that I don't think the experience means a whole lot unless you do something positive with it."

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