Brady Feels Good at 39 @nepatsgirl87

Brady Feels Good at 39 @nepatsgirl87

By: Kristen Parker @nepatsgirl87

On his weekly interview on The Kirk and Callahan Show on WEEI early Monday morning, Tom Brady said, “I know I’ve talked at length about how I’ve felt over the years and I feel better now at 39 than I did when I was 29 – and I feel like it’s due to a lot of things. I feel like I’m in a good routine and if I play a game like I did [Sunday], I feel like by Wednesday practice, you know, I’m geared up to go.” This is good news for Patriots fans who are all hoping that Brady plays well into his 40s (at least).

Besides taking in a college football game and a trip to Italy, Brady tried to keep to his regular diet and training routine during his four weeks off. In his private workouts, he ran drills similar to regular practice and absorbed some hits. He wanted to stay sharp and simulate a game as much as he could so “when [he] came back, it felt like that wasn’t the first time I was touched in four weeks. That was an important part of preparation.” All of that definitely helps with staying fit and feeling young.

Brady said that “it comes back pretty quick. Wednesday (practice) was decent, Thursday I felt a little better out there and Friday I felt way better than Thursday. So I was hoping Sunday I’d feel better than I did on Friday.” It is refreshing to know that even at an older age, he is still able to make plays, pick apart defenses, take hits and even run like a cheetah once in a while. Brady does have a little work to do on his dab or superman impression or first down celebration.

Next up, we are on to Cincinnati.

 Photo credit: www.bostonglobe.com

Welcome Back, Tom @nepatsgirl87

Welcome Back, Tom @nepatsgirl87

By: Kristen Parker @nepatsgirl87

Tom Brady returned from his four-game suspension on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. After weeks of speculation of how Tom Brady would play, it looked like he was never gone.

On the opening drive, Brady was 4 out of 5 for 65 yards and capped the drive with a touchdown run by LeGarrette Blount. With the Patriots’ second possession, Brady passed to Martellus Bennett, who walked right into the end zone for the touchdown. Next drive, Brady hit a deep pass to Chris Hogan for 43 yards, which set up another touchdown to Martellus Bennett. For Bennett’s third touchdown of the day, Brady threw 37 yards to the open tight end. Brady finished off the day completing 28 of 40 passes, racking up 406 yards, three touchdowns and a passer rating of 127.7.

The Patriots fans showed up for their favorite quarterback’s return. They chanted “Brady! Brady! Brady!” from pre-game through the end of the game. The cheers did not go unnoticed by the quarterback, “I’ve got amazing fans and so much support for along time. We’ve been at rallies where there’s millions of people, and training camp where there’s 27,000 people at practice. I think we’ve got the best fans in the world. They showed up (Sunday), and it was great to hear them. Hopefully that’s the way it’ll be for the rest of the year.”

Brady’s teammates were also happy to have him back. According to receiver, Chris Hogan, “he didn’t look rusty to me.” Gronk made up a new word to describe his feelings, “Tom always brings the ampness.” Edelman was thrilled, too, “It’s exciting. He hasn’t been here in four weeks, so any time you get back one of your teammates that you train with, go to training camp with, play with for a number of years, it’s exciting.”

As vintage as Brady was on the field, was as typical as he was after the game. He felt like “the team played really well. It was fun to be a part of it.” Brady went on to say that he “think[s] there as plenty of rust out there. I can do better in a lot of areas.” If Brady can get better than he played Sunday against the Browns, then watch out NFL because you are going to be in a for a long, rough season. 

Photo credit: Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Patriot’s Coaches Strategy: Before Brady and Upon His Return via Jeff Jardine (@pilldude)

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Well it looks like the return of Tom Brady went about as well as could be expected for us Patriot fans.  Did it go as the coaches predicted?  What is their coaching strategy for the rest of this season?  What was their strategy for the first four games without Brady?  I will attempt to answer these questions for you.

With the Deflatgate scandal now over, the Patriot’s coaching staff can approach the rest of the season with their full arsenal of players, plays and plans.  When the season started, the Patriot’s coaches did their most vital and strategic planning for the first four games that would be played without Brady and a few other important players like Gronk and Rob Ninkovich.  The coaches had to map out a plan against their opponents and do it with a more modest lineup.  This stretch of games was looked on by most observers as a “hang on for dear life stretch” where the Pats may have to play catch up with the rest of the AFC.  I believe realistically the coaches thought that they could finish 2-2 and if they finished 3-1 that would be fabulous.  Well, great job coaches and players you accomplished that feat and with a little luck could have been 4-0.  The crunching of the playbook to encompass a more concise list of plays for Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett to run without oversimplifying was the key.  The Patriots turned themselves into a run first team which most teams could not have seen coming, but the coaches knew it would.  The reemergence of LaGarrette Blount and the great play of a retooled offensive line was a job that the coaches and players should be proud of.  The 3-1 record after the four games was about as good as anyone could reasonably expect and still allows the Pats to possibly win the AFC East and secure a first round playoff bye possibly.

The strategy with the return of Brady was truly evident with today’s game against the Browns.  Brady was back to the passing game with a great mix of short and long passes as well a mix of receivers.  He was hitting quick hitches to people like Edelman and Gronk while hitting Bennett and Chris Hogan for some longer gainers.  The coaches did not back away from Brady’s strengths and banked on him being sharp upon his return.  He was as sharp as a diamond drill bit today 406 yds and 3 TDs and never played much of the fourth quarter.  That’s pretty damn sharp.  The coaches could have opted to stay with a running game since it was working for the most part, but they did not back away from their strengths.  Their strategy of utilizing their strengths and allowing their best players to play was a key.

I fully expect the Patriot’s coaches to be as ready for the rest of the season as they were for today.  There is no reason to think otherwise.  Expect them to keep other teams guessing and using their strengths such as two Pro Bowl tight ends, receivers like Edelman and Hogan, and of course Tom Brady.  There is no reason to feel like the Patriots could not run the table for the rest of the season and make Roger Goddell look like the dufus that he is.  I still think Robert Kraft, Coach Belichick, and Tom Brady will enjoy getting the Lombardi trophy handed to them by the big dufus Goddell.  Let’s keep up the great work coaches and players and finish off this season in style with a win at SB LI.

Pats vs. Browns Matchup @nepatsgirl87

Pats vs. Browns Matchup @nepatsgirl87

By: Kristen Parker @nepatsgirl87

The New England Patriots and Cleveland Browns have only met 23 times in the regular season. The Browns are actually up on the Pats 13-10 all-time. Coach Belichick has been on both sides as the winner.

The last time these two teams played was 2013 in Foxboro. It was a close game, with the Patriots winning 27 to 26. The Browns have lost the last 5 out of 6 meetings with the Pats.

The Browns are struggling this year as the only winless team left in the NFL. The Patriots are coming off a shutout loss to the Buffalo Bills, but are still sitting on top of the AFC East at 3-1.

Who to Watch For

This week is anybody’s guess as to how McDaniels runs the offense. The heavier run game, has worked more or less over the last three weeks. However, with Tom Brady back in the game, the passing game might pick up momentum.

It looks like rookie quarterback, Cody Kessler gets the start against the Patriots. He has started in Cleveland’s last two losses against Miami and Washington. Kessler is not a mobile quarterback, so keeping him in the pocket should be easy enough for the Pats defense. He averages just over 230 yards passing, 6 yards per pass and a touchdown.

Browns’ wide receiver, Terrelle Pryor is the guy to watch downfield versus Malcolm Butler. So far this year, Pryor has had just one game over 100 yards and one touchdown, but he does average over 15 yards per catch. He can catch, run and throw the ball, so it will be important to keep defenders close by. Belichick said that Pryor “[has] been really impressive. He has shown the ability to really do everything that you could ask of a receiver really, or a football player….He’s a dynamic player for the Browns and has a lot of different skills.” Kessler does not usually throw deep, but Pryor has a height advantage on Logan Ryan and Malcolm Butler. Kessler might want to test the Pats defense.

Isaiah Crowell is the guy on the round that the Patriots need to keep contained. Crowell is in his third year with Cleveland. He is the Browns’ leading rusher with nearly 400 yards and 3 touchdowns this year. The Patriots sit in the middle of the pack in the NFL at 15th against the run. It is important they do a better job than last week at holding Crowell to short yards and no first downs.

Browns Cornerback, Joe Haden discussed the problems defending Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett. He said they are “very, very good receiving tight ends and both of them are big dudes that can block so they are Tom Brady’s main targets. You just have to make sure you stay on top of them.” Haden will have his hands full with either of these tight ends because of their height advantage on him. Haden does have two interceptions in the last two games, so Brady will have to keep an eye on him.

Prediction

I said it last week and I will repeat it this week. Tom Brady is a master at picking apart defenses. He can usually find the weak spot and make plays to take advantage of that weak spot. This week, the Patriots do have the luxury of Tom Brady back at center.

The Patriots have Tom Brady back. He has a chip on his shoulder. The rest of the team has a chip on their shoulder. I say Patriots 35, Browns 10. 

Photo credit: www.bdcwire.com

Could the Unthinkable Happen? By @alykins32

Could the Unthinkable Happen? By @alykins32
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CBSsports.com

For hundreds of years people have been attempting to find their fortunes at the bottoms of cups. They would pour hot water over tea leaves and then drain the water. The pattern that the tea leaves remained in would tell the fortunes of those that sought it. I feel like this is what people should do when attempting to prognosticate what the head coach of the New England Patriots will do in regards to personnel. Myself, I enjoy to list the craziest ideas in numbered order have an equal number of darts. I draw a circle on the wall and the closest dart to the bullseye will probably happen. And that that emerged this week? Belichick trades away star tight end Rob Gronkowski.

On the surface this is just an asinine idea. A once in a generation talent. A perfect blend of size and speed and blocking ability. Safeties and cornerbacks can’t tackle him, and linebackers can’t keep up with him. In the prime of his career, he can look forward to many more years of pro bowl level production. His team friendly deal makes him one of the best bargains in football. All of these reasons point to why the Patriots would be crazy to trade him away. But lets just try for a minute to understand why it could look attractive.

The pass catching tight end market has exploded since he signed his record setting contract. What he signed for an unheard of 6 year 54 million dollar contract as a second year player has been surpassed in annual value. Jimmy Graham, Travis Kelce, Jordan Reed and Julius Thomas all signed deals exceeding what Gronk makes a year and Zach Ertz and Charles Clay are just behind that. If the rumors are true and he is upset with that contract then he would require even more money. There is no doubt that fully healthy he is a better player than all of those top end tight ends. And if the recent contract restructure did not assuage his feelings of respect than imagine the contract that would. This type of deal is the antithesis of what the Patriots are.

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Boston globe

You could be saying, that it’s just money, they’ll always find cap space, etc. And you’d be correct. The patriots would have no problems paying that sort of contract to an All World tight end that loved the game and was available no matter what. This is the next problem, that last time Gronkowski played in all 16 games of the regular season was…? Go check, I’ll wait. 2012! The same year he signed his mega contract was also the last year he played in all the games. And assuming he plays out the rest of the games this season, he has played in just under 12 and a half regular season games a year. And therein lies the rub. In order for a favorable renegotiation of that contract you would expect that he was a model football citizen, the best teammate, hugely impactful on the field and an iron man. Its that last point that is the only one in question.

Those are all the reason why Gronk himself could be the reason he is a candidate for trading. And if that was all, it’s nowhere season enough to trade the tight end. Here’s another. Bill Belichick believes in the power of trades. Even beyond the nickname he gets of “Trader Bill” around draft time. He can trade a role player for late round draft picks, swap players at positions of needs and occasionally grab a disgruntled star for peanuts. He has even been known to trade away a star player, now and again. And when you consider the haul he could get, Jimmy Graham was traded for a near pro bowl center and a late first round pick, even with an onerous contract. The prospect of a package of players and picks could almost get one salivating.

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Etsy.com

Now, I am not advocating for the trade of Gronkowski. I just looked down at my wrist and saw my “WWBBD?” bracelet. I have seen this man became the moneyball executive of the NFL. Whenever he sees market inefficiencies he will exploit them. When those avenues dry up and become a trendy method of coaching he will abandon them. It’s difficult to see them and impossible to understand what is going on in the mind of Bill Belichick. But rest assured he will not hesitate to do what he thinks is best for increasing his team’s chances to win.

Cleveland homecoming part 2. @chamet123

Cleveland homecoming part 2. @chamet123
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Barkeviovs Mingo #51

This Sunday, Sunday, Sunday, two Patriots will be making their return to Cleveland. Jabaal Sheard and Barkeviovs Mingo, two talented players, the Browns let go. Sadly this is something they are used to. When you look at their track record they have lost Travis Benjamin (Chargers), Karlos Dansby (Bengals), Jabaal Sheard(Patriots), Barkeviovs Mingo (Patriots), Buster Skrine (Jets), Alex Mack (Falcons), Mitchell Schwartz (Chiefs), Tashaun Gibson (Jaguars), D’Qwell Jackson (Colts), and Jordan Cameron (Dolphins). You get it right? It is just unfortunate Cleveland couldn’t hold on to these talented players. But with everything so questionable from the coaching staff to the front office you can’t blame some of the players who left via free agency. Joe Thomas, their offense tackle, has spoken on this topic since they are playing the Patriots this week and he has to go against his former teammates Sheard and Mingo. “When you keep doing that over and over again (hitting the reset button), you really lose all your middle class on your team and so guys like Buster Skrine, Jabaal Sheard, D’Qwell Jackson, Jordan Cameron, Travis Benjamin, those are the guys that they disappeared even though those were the guys that you drafted them, spent the time developing them and right when they’re hitting stride in the peaks of their career, they end up going somewhere else and having great success for somebody else.” I agree with Joe here. It seems the players in Cleveland end up becoming solid under the radar guys, then when they hit the spotlight with a New England or Cincinnati their talent is shown on a bigger stage. Their loss is our gain with Sheard and Mingo.

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Jabaal Sheard stopping Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor

Jabaal has made his presence felt on New England’s defense as an established pass rusher and can make some plays in the backfield. Mingo is a mystery, because he has not been in the rotation with the first string defense in the New England system. But his film with LSU and the Browns shows that he can be an explosive pass rusher and make plays in the backfield. He just needs to learn the defense and get experience in this scheme which could happen with Shea McClellin being out due to a concussion. Against the Browns though, Mingo and Sheard have said the same thing, its just business as usual.The Browns have shown their ability to run the ball with Isaiah Crowell, pretty effectively. This offensive line could pose a challenge for New England when it comes to the running game. As far as the passing game, Jabaal could make his presence felt more often than against the run. In the end I believe Sheard and Mingo will have their revenge against Cleveland and come away with a win, welcoming Rob Ninkovich and Tom Brady back.

References: Joe Thomas Quote- Mary Kay Cobat.  Twitter @MaryKayCobat.

A Missed Opportunity? @chamet123

A Missed Opportunity? @chamet123

Twitter: @chamet123

Well this came as an unexpected surprise, or did it? The Patriots recently have let go of Jonathan Cooper. Cooper has not been practicing due to a foot issue and hasn’t been right since. He could clear waivers though and come back to New England. But honestly, I don’t believe the Patriots need him. Jonathan was traded to New England for what I considered a depth move, in case someone where to go down.But it is hard to be utilized when you miss practice and don’t get an understanding of the play book. Plus I believe the Patriots still like LaAdrian Waddle and Ted Karras. Not only that the offensive line has been playing pretty well so far. An indicator to that could be LeGarrette Blount being one of the league leaders in rushing yard this season. The pass protection could use some improvement as they have allowed 19 quarterback hits and 8 sacks, but it is the beginning of the year so I’m not hitting the panic button yet.

As for the other offensive linemen, this move could allow LaAdrain Waddle and Ted Karras to get an opportunity. Lets also bring up The Patriots also let go of Clay Harbor and put Jacoby Brissett on IR. This move opens up another roster spot, so the Patriots can active Tom Brady and Rob Ninkovich, and add another player to the roster. There was an interesting story on Monday, when Marcel Reece worked out in New England, and is apparently following the team’s Twitter page. It was fun speculation, but you never know.  Ultimately we could see Cooper back in New England after he clears waivers, unless another team really wants to give him a chance. Also for those of you panicking about the Chandler Jones trade. Those draft picks ended up becoming, Joe Thuney and Malcolm Mitchell, so even if Cooper leaves New England. I say New England still got something in return for Chandler Jones. Plus getting rid of Chandler opened up the cap for Chris Long who in my opinion is out playing Chandler. Just saying.