Picked-up pieces around the Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Some picked-up pieces from around the Patriots:

1. Belichick shares a part of coaching philosophy. Coach Bill Belichick had answered a question on safety Steve Gregory when a reporter followed up by asking if reliability and dependability were as important as potential. Belichick then shared a part of his coaching philosophy: “We like to say that dependability is more important than ability.”

2. Maine’s Mulligan checks in. The signing of Maine native and former Maine Black Bear Matthew Mulligan had one television station from Maine in attendance today, with the 6-foot-4, 267-pound tight end drawing a big crowd in the locker room. Between the Maine television station and beat man Mike Lowe of the Portland Press Herald, there was a neat hometown feel as Mulligan (wearing No. 88) spoke to reporters. Mulligan relayed how he never played football at Penobscot High School in Howland, Maine because the school didn’t have a team. Playing for the Patriots is essentially coming home for him for his wife and their 5-month-old daughter. “My phone definitely blew up when we made the official signing,” he said.

3. Locker-room feel. There was an overflow of reporters that led one player to stop in his tracks upon his arrival to the locker room. It had a playoff-type feel to it. Players drawing larger media crowds included Mulligan, tight end Rob Gronkowski, safety Steve Gregory, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, and receivers Kenbrell Thompkins, Aaron Dobson and Danny Amendola. On the standard opponent conference calls, Bills coach Doug Marrone and quarterback EJ Manuel spoke with New England reporters.

4. Receivers getting off the line. Receiver Danny Amendola held court and one of the topics brought up to him was the Bills’ defensive style. Amendola said that the Bills will mix it up as all teams do, but they have played a lot of man coverage with a single-high safety in the preseason. “It’s going to come down to beating man coverage, catching the ball, and making plays,” he said. Figures to be a good test for the team's young receivers.

5. Belichick on EJ Manuel. Asked about rookie Bills quarterback EJ Manuel, who was named the opening day starter on Wednesday, Belichick said: “An athletic guy. He hasn’t played a lot; he played against Indianapolis [in the preseason]. Good arm, good athlete and a very productive player in college.”