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Week I: Patriots-Cardinals Connections

A look at Patriots-Cardinals connections as we head into the regular season opener on Sunday.

NEW ENGLAND TIES

  • Arizona defensive coordinator James Bettcherwas the linebackers/special teams coordinator at the University of New Hampshire in 2011, helping the Wildcats rank in the top 20 nationally in both punt return and punt coverage.
  • Cardinals S Tyvon Branch went to the University of Connecticut.
  • Cardinals G **John Wetzel *played at Boston College.
  • Arizona rookie G Cole Toner went to Harvard.

ARIZONA TIES

  • Patriots RB D.J. Foster went to Arizona State and is originally from Scottsdale, Ariz.
  • Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski attended the University of Arizona.

FORMER PATRIOTS

  • OLB Chandler Jones was originally drafted as a first-round pick by the Patriots in 2012 and played for New England through the 2015 season. He made 52 starts during his time with the team and recorded 217 tackles, 36 sacks, 10 forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, one INT and eight passes defensed. His 36 sacks rank second only to Hall of Famer Andre Tippettfor the most by a Patriots player in his first four NFL seasons.

FORMER CARDINALS

  • DL Alan Branch played for the Cardinals from 2007-10.
  • G Jonathan Cooper played for Arizona from 2013-15.

FORMER NFL TEAMMATES

  • Cardinals G Evan Mathis played with Patriots FB James Develin in Cincinnati as well as with Clay Harbor and Dion Lewis in Philadelphia.
  • Cardinals TE Jermaine Gresham and QB Carson Palmer played with Patriots FB James Develin at the Cincinnati Bengals.

FORMER COLLEGE TEAMMATES

  • Patriots CB Cyrus Jones played with Arizona DT Ed Stinson at Alabama. Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower and Stinson were also defensive teammates at Alabama from 2010-11.
  • Patriots DL Anthony Johnson was defensive teammates with Cardinals ILBLamar Louis, S Tyrann Mathieu, and ILB Kevin Minter at Louisiana State.
  • Patriots G Jonathan Cooper and OLB Kareem Martin were teammates at North Carolina from 2010-12.
  • New England OL Cameron Fleming and DB Jordan Richards played with Cardinals DE Josh Mauro and RB **Stepfan Taylor *at Stanford.
  • Patriots DL Malcom Brown played with Arizona OLB Alex Okafor and WR *Jaxon Shipley at Texas.
  • Patriots CB Cyrus Jones and LB Dont'a Hightower played for Alabama while Cardinals offensive assistant Kevin Garver worked for the Crimson Tide.
  • Cardinals strength and conditioning coach Buddy Morris worked at the University of Pittsburgh while Patriots DL Jabaal Sheard and RB Dion Lewis played for the Panthers.
  • Cardinals special teams coordinator Amos Jones coached special teams, linebackers and outside linebackers at Mississippi State when Patriots special teams coach Joe Judge was a graduate assistant.

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