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Patriots.com News Blitz - 1/30/2012

The Patriots arrive in Indianapolis for Super Bowl XLVI. Will Rob Gronkowski play? It’s all inside today’s edition of the Patriots.com News Blitz.

John Czarnecki of FoxSports.com gives his 10 players that will have the largest impact on Super Bowl XLVI. Patriots' headliners include tight end Rob Gronkowski, offensive tackle Nate Solder, running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, safety Patrick Chung and linebacker Rob Ninkovich.

Michael Whitmer of the Boston Globe writes about the impact Wes Welker will have on Sunday's Super Bowl. "The whole Wes Welker thing started when he was in Miami,'' coach Bill Belichick said yesterday, after the team arrived to begin preparations for Super Bowl XLVI. "He was a very frustrating player to coach against because we really couldn't handle him. He caught passes, he returned kicks, and then when [Olindo] Mare got hurt he went in and kicked extra points and field goals and kicked off against us, and that was annoying, too. We doubled him, we played him in a lot of different combinations. He was always the guy that we were trying to game plan for. When we had an opportunity to trade for him, we did that, and felt like he'd be a good addition to our team. And he has been.''

Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald writes about recent comments from Jerod Mayo about Super Bowl XLVI and comments from the New York Giants locker room. "We hear it sometime," Mayo said, "but at the same time, we always talk about ignoring the noise. We're focused on this game. They have a great team, great players. Whatever their opinion is, that's their opinion. We ignore the noise and let people do what they do. At the end of the day, you have to play between the lines. That's our mindset."   

Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com writes about recent comments from Bill Belichick during his first press conference of Super Bowl XLVI week. Belichick spoke on a number of topics but one comment stole the show. "I never had too much hospitality here (Indianapolis) until I went for it on fourth-and-2," he cracked. "I've been greeted a lot more friendly."

Mary Paoletti of CSNNE.com writes about one of Bill Belichick's biggest influences in his coaching career, his late father Steve Belichick. "I grew up with [football]," he said. "It was my life as a kid, what I first remember, 4, 5, 6 years old and for, obviously, the rest of my life. He had a huge impact on my childhood, my love for the game and my involvement in the game as a coach. Even though I played poorly," Belichick smiled, "it was still a good experience to play. But coaching's really always been my love. I think a lot of little things he did in terms of work ethic, teamwork, and being around the Naval Academy [influenced me]. Of course, that's a very unique atmosphere particularly as it relates to football -- the teamwork that comes with that and the commitment and so forth that those players and those teams had that I saw at a very young age: the Joe Bellinos, the Roger Staubachs, the Pat Donnellys. I know it's really hard to measure what percentage of an impact that was, but I'd say it was significant -- it was huge."

Dan Ventura of the Boston Herald writes about Super Bowl lessons that Matthew Slater learned from his father, former NFL player Jackie Slater. "To this day, my father still talks about the game," Slater said. "He can call out every play, he knows all the ebbs and flows of that game. Unfortunately, it didn't work out for him. It's definitely one of the biggest disappointments in his career, missing out on a world championship. Being the team guy that my father was, I know how much it meant to him and he shares a lot of those lessons with me. At the end of the day, football doesn't define who we are," Slater said. "The type of lives we live off the field is what should really matter. This is a game that we love and put a lot of time into, but it's important to remember that it shouldn't define us."

Ian O’Connor of ESPNNewYork.com writes about a "Giant" match-up of coaches this weekend when Bill Belichick and Tom Coughlin meet on Sunday in Super Bowl XLVI. Both Belichick and Coughlin were on the New York Giants coaching staff under Bill Parcells in the 1980's. "Oh, they're both terrific," Parcells said. "Belichick's body of work is among the best ever, if not the best ever. What are you going to do? Tom's done a really good job, and I'm just proud of them both."

Christopher Price of WEEI.com writes about his difference-maker for Super Bowl XLVI, BenJarvus Green-Ellis. This season Green-Ellis touched the ball 190 times, more than any other Patriots skill player. "Benny, since the day he got here, he's worked extremely hard," said quarterback Tom Brady. "He runs hard, he's tough, he's smart, catches the ball well. (His) blitz pickup is really good, he's got great vision, and he's hard to tackle. It's great; he's very consistent back there."

Phil Perry of CSNNE.com writes about recent comments from Patriots offensive lineman Logan Mankins. New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck called the Patriots offensive line "dirty" in a recent press conference. "That's all right," Mankins said. "We don't mind being called dirty or cheap or any of that stuff. That's a compliment to us."

Mike Rodak of ESPNBoston.com writes about the Patriots Super Bowl send-off party held yesterday at Gillette Stadium. About 25,000 fans packed into Gillette Stadium to hear coaches and players speak before heading to Super Bowl XLVI. "It's a great honor to be representing the AFC and New England in the Super Bowl," coach Bill Belichick told the crowd at the event. "We're really excited about the trip, appreciate the support. I'm sure we'll see some of you out in Indy. Go Pats."  Vince Wilfork, Deion Branch, Wes Welker, Kevin Faulk, Jerod Mayo and Tom Brady spoke for the players and Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft spoke to the crowd. "I want to thank you all for coming here today and giving us the warmest welcome in the history of this team, our send-off out to Indy, where we intend to do business," Kraft said.

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