Chandler Jones is finally starting to become comfortable in his new environment.
After habitually turning Pro Bowl offensive tackles into stammering fools during the preseason when trying to describe what it was like to block him, and doing so again in the season opener by beating former All-Pro Michael Roos for a strip sack, the New England Patriots rookie defensive end is no longer just a goofy kid with potential.
"It gave me a little bit of swagger, I'll say," Jones said. "But I have a lot of work to do. ... Being humble is key, nobody likes a cocky player, at all. There's a big difference between being cocky and being confident."
Jones hasn't been given the opportunity to even straddle the line between confidence and cockiness. Coach Bill Belichick reacted to the first-round pick's debut performance by saying that he has more work to do "than, like, anybody," and his teammates never let an opportunity pass to knock him down to size without seizing it.
As Jones fielded questions Friday, he stood at his locker without a shirt on. Sensing an opportunity to dig into the rookie, Tom Brady shot across the room and let him have it.
"Jeez, Chandler. Put a shirt on," Brady shouted. "Seriously, you're going to get (strength coach) Harold (Nash) fired."
Brady was clearly joking, but Jones immediately became frantic and asked everyone around him if Brady was talking to him. When he finished taking inquiries, Jones, his tail between his legs, meandered over to Brady to apologize.
"Tom, I'm sorry," Jones said. "I didn't have a chance to put a shirt on. They rushed me."
The Patriot Way is in full effect.
Relaxed and ready: It was a quiet day at Gillette Stadium as the Patriots put the finishing touches on their preparations for Sunday's game against the Cardinals. There is some concern about stopping Larry Fitzgerald -- "I think the whole league wants to know how to stop him," cornerback Devin McCourty exclaimed -- and return man Patrick Peterson, though the team seemed mostly relaxed. This was best displayed with Belichick, who moved about the facility in a pair of flip-flops and an inside-out hooded sweatshirt.
Injury report: The Patriots are close to full health. They had perfect attendance at Friday's practice and did not list anyone as doubtful for Sunday. Questionable: OL Dan Connolly (head), OL Sebastian Vollmer (back), OL Nick McDonald (shoulder), CB Alfonzo Dennard (hamstring), CB Sterling Moore (shoulder), RB Shane Vereen (foot), TE Daniel Fells (shin); Probable: S Patrick Chung (shoulder).