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A New England Patriots Community Blog



Updated: 2017-06-28T05:00:01-04:00

 



WATCH: Patriots HC Bill Belichick changes hoodie for designer clothes in fashion photo shoot; looks mildly uncomfortable

2017-06-28T05:00:01-04:00

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Bill Belichick loves Nantucket, and now he is on the cover of "Nantucket Magazine".

On January 27, 2000, a day that forever changed the National Football League, Bill Belichick became head coach of the New England Patriots. 17 years and five Super Bowl titles later, Belichick grew into an icon in the Northeast due to his unprecedented success and unconventional coaching style.

Defined by his now-famous slogans "Do your job" and "No days off", Belichick seemingly lives football 24/7. Every now and then, though, the curtain gets pulled back a little and offers a glimpse at Bill Belichick, the more-or-less private citizen – a man who enjoys golfing and summer days on Nantucket.

The latter in particular has become a regular refuge for Belichick between OTAs and training camp. It is therefore not all that surprising to see the future Hall of Famer on the cover of "Nantucket Magazine" together with his girlfriend Linda Holliday. Even though it still looks a little strange to see Belichick change his trademark hoodie for fine designer clothes.

Make sure to check out the newest edition of "Nantucket Magazine", featuring the story behind photographing "America’s Winningest Team", Bill Belichick and Linda Holliday.



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Patriots’ interior O-line has youth, continuity on its side

2017-06-27T12:00:03-04:00

David Andrews, Shaq Mason and Joe Thuney all logged over 1,000 snaps in 2016. All three are under 25. Only three years ago, the New England Patriots’ interior offensive line stood with a rookie center by the name of Bryan Stork and a pair of veteran guards bookending him in Dan Connolly and Ryan Wendell. It was a trio rooted with former undrafted practice-squadders by way of Fresno State and Southeast Missouri State, as well as a fourth-round Rimington Trophy winner out of Florida State. And it was one that combined to start a total of 36 games during the 2014 regular season under then-line coach Dave DeGuglielmo – not to mention Super Bowl XLIX. Time has had its way since then. Stork and Connolly are retired and Wendell was last a member of the Carolina Panthers. The three spots they once occupied have all been filled, and by players who very well could have been watching the Patriots face the Seattle Seahawks from their college apartments. David Andrews, Shaq Mason and Joe Thuney weren’t in the NFL back in February of 2015. Now they make up the next generation in Foxborough. The average age of trio is 23.6 years old, but youth isn’t always synonymous with inexperience. It wasn’t last year. Despite camp competition from the likes of Stork, Josh Kline, Jonathan Cooper and rookie sixth-round pick Ted Karras, it would be Andrews, Mason and Thuney who got the nod in the end. That inside three went on to tally a collective 3,245 snaps during the 2016 regular season, and huddled alongside one another up through Super Bowl LI. They started all but one game together. And with the 69-year-old Dante Scarnecchia overseeing, the combination was part of a front that ranked fifth in the league in sacks allowed, tied for 10th in quarterback hits allowed, seventh in rushing yards, and fifth in rushing touchdowns. There would be no semblance of a rotation. What was encountered was worked through, growing pains and all. Andrews, an undrafted free agent out of Georgia in 2015, nearly went wire-to-wire for the Patriots as a rookie before coming close again in his second campaign. The 24-year-old center logged 99.6 percent of the offensive snaps by the end of Week 17, and turned his tough, dependable play into pay by May when he earned a three-year, $9 million contract extension. Mason, a fourth-round pick from the same class, wasn’t far behind in terms of participation in 2016. The 23-year-old guard via the Georgia Tech spread-option played in all 16 contests and started 15 of them. Setting up shop on the B-gap shoulder of right tackle Marcus Cannon, he accounted for 90.9 percent of the offensive snaps to follow up a 10-start rookie showing. And then there was Thuney, checking in as the newest of the new. After lining up at all five spots during his North Carolina State tenure, the 24-year-old cut his teeth next to left tackle Nate Solder as a rookie in New England. Thuney started every game during his inaugural season, and despite wearing on as the months did, the third-rounder finished with as many snaps – 1,114 – as Andrews. It is solid ground to build on if you’re the Patriots. The body of work isn’t complete – Thuney received a 71.8 grade from Pro Football Focus while Andrews and Mason garnered a 79.8 and an 84, respectively, in 2016 – but there is time to make it so. Mason is under contract through the 2018 season, and Thuney and Andrews are not slated to become an unrestricted free agents until after 2019 and 2020. That continuity in the middle of things will tend to get underdiscussed during an offseason in which the Patriots added the likes of cornerback Stephon Gilmore, tight end Dwayne Allen, defensive tackle Lawrence Guy, defensive end Kony Ealy and wideout Brandin Cooks. It’ll tend to get underdiscussed when the organization drafts a pair of offensive tackles and waits until after the seventh round to pursue interior depth. That’s just as well for Andrews, Mason and Thuney entering 2017. If all goes according to plan, they won’t hear their names discussed muc[...]



QB Index: Tom Brady is the best quarterback in the NFL because he is the measuring stick for everyone else

2017-06-27T11:00:03-04:00

The Patriots quarterback is the best in the league and it’s easy to see why. The NFL Network has finished their Top 100 of 2017 rankings and Gregg Rosenthal decided to rank all 16 of the quarterbacks that cracked the list. New England Patriots QB Tom Brady led the list after extending his record for most consecutive finishes inside the top 10 (every single time). “There are times when Brady makes things look easy, and it usually starts before the snap,” Rosenthal writes. “Like when he shifts a receiver to match up with James Harrison, then hits said receiver for a huge gain. Or when the world assumes he'll lead the Patriots to a touchdown to start the first overtime in Super Bowl history, and then he does it. “Brady didn't win the MVP in the season where he made his strongest case as the greatest ever, a 15-game blitz that tops any stretch of his career, capped with 104 points in the playoffs and a comeback that will live on as long as Super Bowls are played.” This is a great way to describe Brady’s performance on the field- he makes almost every scenario look easy- but his league standing is much more apparent when you see how Rosenthal describes the other quarterbacks in the top five the list. #2 Aaron Rodgers “The bar is so high that Rodgers can finish with 40 touchdowns and seven interceptions in the same season that inspired many What's wrong with Aaron Rodgers? articles. His relative ups and downs put him behind Brady for now, but Rodgers showed again down the stretch last season that his best is better than anyone else's.” #3 Drew Brees “If not for Tom Brady, there would be countless articles written this offseason about Drew Brees' improbable victories against Father Time.” #4 Ben Roethlisberger #5 Matt Ryan “To be considered at the level of Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, Ryan still has to show he can perform at that level every season.” Rosenthal won’t even pretend that Roethlisberger can get to Brady’s level, but the other three quarterbacks use Brady as a measuring stick. When other quarterbacks are graded with phrases like “if not for Brady,” or “to be considered at the level of Tom Brady,” it’s clear that Brady is still at the top of his game. Once Brady is no longer considered the gold standard, then he have started his decline. But for now, it seems like all of Brady’s competition is fading away while he keeps getting stronger and better. Follow @PP_Rich_Hill Follow @PatsPulpit src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/like.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fpatspulpit%2F&width=450&layout=standard&action=like&show_faces=true&share=false&height=80&appId" width="450" height="80" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true"> [...]



New England Patriots links 6/27/17 - Trey Flowers brings most bang for the buck

2017-06-27T10:19:41-04:00

Daily news and links for Tuesday LOCAL LINKS Ryan Hannable wasn't surprised Tom Brady was named the NFL's best player in 2016. Brady finished with 3,554 passing yards, 28 TDs and two INTs on the way to the Patriots winning their fifth Super Bowl title. Mike Reiss gives his take on Tom Brady voted No. 1 in the NFL by his fellow players. NESN lists out the NFL Network's top 100 players. CBS Boston discusses the buzz that Tom Brady could be in line for a new contract this summer, despite already having a contract that runs through 2019. Kristen Parker (Patriots Wire) Who will be Tom Brady’s favorite target in 2017? Hal Bent (PatriotsInsider) Patriots pre-training camp 53-man roster projection. Lewis, Bolden, Baby Gronk cut. Phil Perry puts together his first 53-man roster projection for 2017: Defensive back, receiver depth stands out. Duncan Day (MusketFire) Trey Flowers, Elandon Roberts are huge bargains. Ty Brown (Patriots Wire) How Derek Rivers fits into the Patriots defense. Phil Perry notes David Harris gets Jerod Mayo's jersey No. 51. Ryan Hannable offers a series featuring the 20 most important Patriots in 2017: No. 20: DT Malcolm Brown. Hector Longo (All22) Quick thoughts if you’re planning a trip to New England Patriots training camp. Dont'a Hightower posts an Instagram photo revealing he will be part of NBC's 2017 Sunday Night Football open.  /Nice picture. Nick O'Malley presents his New England Patriots all-name team: From Dick Shiner to Earthwind Moreland. Interactive (ESPN) The Franchise QBs: Rank the top signal-callers in Patriots history. Ian Glendon (Cover32) Monday Morning Joe: It’s time to bring back NFL Europe. Henry McKenna (Patriots Wire) Former Patriots LB Jamie Collins acting like a diva with Browns. Hector Longo (All22) Would Mike Vrabel be a better option than Josh McDaniels to succeed Bill Belichick? /Initial reaction: No. Boston Herald Sidetrack: Dion Lewis, Stephen Belichick, Mark Wahlberg and more... Boston Globe Sports Log: Heart problems may end career of Saints' Nick Fairley. NATIONAL NEWS Top 100 Players of 2017 (NFL.com) No. 1 New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. (5.17 min. video) Kevin Patra (NFL.com) Tom Brady defies Father Time, reigns atop 'Top 100'. Instant Debate (NFL.com) David Johnson, Cam Newton, Aaron Donald deserved top-10 slot in 'Top 100'. Reactions (NFL.com) 10 players who just missed 'The Top 100 Players of 2017' list. /Where the heck is Devin McCourty??? (2.03 min. video) AFC East Reporters (ESPN) Q&A: How should the Patriots handle Jimmy Garoppolo's contract? Jonathan Jones (SI) After the Steelers, which NFL team boasts the best offensive trio in football? Jason La Canfora (CBS Sports) Paxton Lynch, Malcolm Mitchell and five more sleepers on the verge of breaking out. Conor Orr (NFL.com) Pats' Gilmore, Butler league's best cornerback duo? Kristopher Knox (Bleacher Report) Revisiting Patriots' best, worst moves of 2017 offseason. Matthew Chambers (The Falcoholic) The Falcons need a championship to get over Super Bowl 51: The Seattle Seahawks are still getting grief for their Super Bowl loss, which definitely pales in comparison to Atlanta’s. Kevin Clark (The Ringer) The imaginary quarterback market. Dan Graziano (ESPN) Owners, get your checkbooks ready: The next big-money QB deals. Ben Baskin (The MMQB) 10 Things I think I think: O’Callaghan’s story of coming out is a must-read: Plus, the Chiefs’ shocking front-office shake up, David Carr’s little bro gets paid, Winston vs. Mariota, and a thought experiment about the Falcons’ Super Bowl LI play-calling. Jeanna Thomas (SB Nation) Which NFL teams won’t live up to the hype this season? Albert Breer (The MMQB) Analytics and the NFL: Finding strength in numbers. Tom Taylor (The MMQB) Football’s next frontier: The battle over big data . David Steele (Sporting News) NFL GM rankings: Best, worst decision-makers in the league. No. 1 Bill Belichick. [...]



NFL Top 100 on 2017: Players from the 3-13 Bears make fun of the 1-15 Browns using Tom Brady and Le’Veon Bell as examples

2017-06-27T08:00:06-04:00

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How much further down can they punch?

The Chicago Bears were the 3rd worst team in the NFL in 2016. They posted a 3-13 record, ahead of only the 1-15 Cleveland Browns and the 2-14 San Francisco 49ers. They were terrible and lost a lot of their offensive talent heading into 2017. The Bears are almost assuredly in the same category of “bad” as the Browns and 49ers.

Don’t tell that to Bears EDGE Pernell McPhee or Bears LB Sam Acho.

McPhee and Acho joined NFL Network’s Top 100 of 2017 to discuss Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell and took their punches at the Cleveland Browns.

“There’s only two players that can go to Cleveland Browns and still be good,” McPhee said.

Tom Brady,” Acho replied quickly.

“Tom Brady,” McPhee agreed. “He could go to the Cleveland Browns and still be good. And I think Bell.”

“I don’t think Bell could do it,” Acho disagreed.

Well, look at that. We have the solution to the life-long question of “which players could save the Browns?” and the answer key is one single player.

Tom. Brady.

That’s it.

I’m going to be honest, too, I think the Browns are better than the Bears and I really hope that Browns players are interview in the NFL Network’s Top 100 of 2018 and throw some shade at Chicago.

“You know the only player that could be good on the Bears...?”



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New England Patriots 2017 roster breakdown: #48w TE Jacob Hollister

2017-06-27T07:00:02-04:00

Hollister and his twin brother were both signed by the Patriots after the draft. With opening day still three months away and the mandatory portion of the initial wave of offseason workouts over, we have entered the more quiet parts of the NFL offseason. However, while the football world seemingly turns slower these days it does not stop. During workouts and studying sessions, players still have a chance to lay the foundation for their spots on the team. Over the course of the next few months, we will take a look at the men fighting for them on the 2017 New England Patriots. 53 of currently 90 players will be asked to help the team defend its Super Bowl title. Today, we will continue the series with an undrafted backup tight end. Name: Jacob Hollister Position: Tight end Jersey number: 48w Opening day age: 23 Experience: Rookie Size: 6’4, 240 lbs. 2016 review: After stints at Nevada and Arizona Western Community College, Jacob Hollister joined the University of Wyoming prior to the 2014 season. He would go on to spend his next three years with the Cowboys – the most productive of which was his 2016 senior season: Hollister appeared in all 12 of Wyoming's games and set new career highs in most statistical categories. The Oregon-native caught a total of 32 passes for 515 yards and seven touchdowns over the course of the season. Proving to be a capable deep threat, he led all tight ends in the Mountain West Conference in yards per reception (16.7) while also being the premier player at his position in touchdowns and receiving yards. Furthermore, Hollister added two yards on one rushing attempt. However, he was not selected during the 2017 NFL draft and instead joined the Patriots – and his twin brother Cody, an undrafted wide receiver – as a free agent. 2017 preview: Jacob Hollister is probably among the undrafted rookie with the best chances of making the Patriots' 53-man roster. After all, he joins a tight end group in flux: It is led by veterans Rob Gronkowski (returning from a stint on injured reserve) and Dwayne Allen (added via trade earlier this year) but lacks consistent depth behind its two top options. The competition for what appears to be one final roster spot sees Hollister go against Matt Lengel, James O'Shaughnessy and fellow undrafted rookie Sam Cotton. While he brings a lot of upside and abilities as a pass catcher to the table, the 23-year old is a raw prospect and still needs to improve his overall game if he wants to win that battle and earn a spot on the team or the practice squad. Hollister especially needs to work on his blocking skills to beat out Lengel, Cotton and – the favorite as of right now – O'Shaughnessy. If he can do that over the course of the summer and become a more complete tight end in the process, it would not be a surprise to see him beat out his competition and earn at least a spot on the practice squad. Follow @BerndBuchmasser Follow @PatsPulpit src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/like.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fpatspulpit%2F&width=450&layout=standard&action=like&show_faces=true&share=false&height=80&appId" width="450" height="80" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true"> [...]



Martellus Bennett explains how Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are different quarterbacks

2017-06-27T06:00:02-04:00

The former Patriots tight end has worked with the two best quarterbacks in the league and shares insight on how they are different. Former New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett cashed in on winning the Super Bowl by signing a nice deal with the Green Bay Packers. He recently joined the NFL Network to share his rankings of quarterbacks that he’s played with. He gives mentions to former Cowboys QB Tony Romo and Giants QB Eli Manning, but ranks former Bears QB Jay Cutler in third place. That’s an interesting discussion since they’re all his former quarterbacks. What isn’t interesting to me is that he ranked Patriots QB Tom Brady second and Packers QB Aaron Rodgers first. I’m not sure what people expected; he’s playing with Rodgers now, of course he’s going to put Rodgers first. It’d be weird if he didn’t. Instead, I think it’s more valuable to look at how Bennett described both Brady and Rodgers because it reveals the differences in their playing styles. "With playing with Tom, it was a lot of coaching -- like little things," Bennett said. "Like the way he wanted you to get your head around quicker because he wants to get the ball out of his hands a little bit faster. So usually if I'm running a deep over route and I'm catching it 17 yards on the number on the other side, with Tom, he might throw it in between the 'backers. So if there's a little opening, he's ready to let it go right there. Just trying to see the game how he sees the game. "And with Aaron, his ball is a little bit different. He's a little more athletic, and he can whip things a little bit different, you know. So he doesn't have to set his feet all the way to throw the ball 80 yards or anything like that. But me and him, it's all the same thing. Like, my body language is totally different for him." "Tom is arguably the greatest to ever play the game,” Bennett continued. “A great teacher, a great teammate, great person," Bennett said. "But I just learned a lot about football just from him. He taught me so much more. I'm a way better player this year than last year after leaving the Patriots. I thought I grew as a player a lot just learning how to play and being in a role." So to summarize, Brady wants to get rid of the ball quickly to move down the field and operates the offense on a tight schedule so if he sees a window open down the field, the receiver had better see the same opening. It’s a tightly constricted and well-oiled offense. It seems like the Packers offense relies more on Rodgers’s athleticism as the quarterback can buy time for plays to develop down the field and he doesn’t have to set up his throwing motion in any consistent fashion before throwing the ball. It’s more of a backyard style of play. Both can clearly work and both quarterbacks are well suited for their respective styles of offense- and the offenses are clearly developed with their skills in mind. Bennett was a fantastic tight end for the Patriots in 2016 and did everything that the team asked of him. It will be fun to watch him produce with another great quarterback for a team that the Patriots can’t face unless it’s in the Super Bowl. Follow @PP_Rich_Hill Follow @PatsPulpit src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/like.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fpatspulpit%2F&width=450&layout=standard&action=like&show_faces=true&share=false&height=80&appId" width="450" height="80" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true"> [...]



What NFL players said about Patriots QB Tom Brady ranking #1 in NFL Network’s Top 100 of 2017

2017-06-27T05:00:02-04:00

The New England Patriots quarterback is the best player in the NFL. Back in 2011, the NFL Network kicked off their inaugural Top 100 players ranking, created from votes by the players themselves. New England Patriots QB Tom Brady was #1 after being the league’s first and only unanimous MVP in 2010. Brady moved from #1 for 2011 to #4 for 2012, #4 for 2013, #3 for 2014, #3 for 2015, and #2 for 2016. The NFL Network released their top 10 for 2017 and Brady is back at #1 once more. Brady is the only player to rank inside the top 5 for every single list; he’s also the only player to rank inside the top 10 for every single list. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers joins Brady as the only two players to rank in the top 20 of every list (Rodgers has two 11th place finishes). “As long as Tom Brady’s here,” former Browns and current Jets LB Demario Davis said, “he’s got that #1 spot.” Brady is coming off one of the three best years of his career- along with 2007 and 2010- and he’s improved as a player in each year since 2013. He’s gotten more mobile, he’s improved his deep ball, and he’s showing greater command of the offense than ever thought possible. “The way he came back off the suspension this year, he had something to prove,” Bills OG Richie Incognito said. “We all knew it was going to be rough when he got back, so we stole a win from the Patriots early in the year at their place, and when Tom came back, it was the same old Tom, carved us up for I think like 45 points.” (note: it was only 41 points) Brady led the Patriots to the biggest comeback in the first overtime game in Super Bowl history. The Patriots trailed 28-3 and scored 31 unanswered points to win the fifth Super Bowl in franchise history. “Seeing the character that he has and the ability to not give up, he’s a champion because of it,” Falcons EDGE Vic Beasley said in what had to have been a painful interview. Beyond his personal mentality, part of Brady’s championship ability is how he makes the players around him better and elevates their play. “If you don’t create pressure and if you don’t hit Brady, everybody knows what that man’s gonna do,” Broncos EDGE Shane Ray said. “You’ve got [Chris] Hogan looking like he’s offensive player of the year, nobody even knew who Hogan was coming out, so that just shows you the kind of player he is to be able to make his teammates great.” Brady’s level of play is so incredible he’s converting the final naysayers into believers. “I think he’ll do it for at least five more years,” Buccaneers WR Mike Evans said. “He’s the best ever. I hate to say it [because] I’m a Peyton Manning fan, but I’m a realist and Tom Brady is the guy.” And Eagles FS Malcolm Jenkins put Brady’s resume in perfect context when analyzing his claim to be the G.O.A.T. “I mean, you’ve always got two sides of the argument usually when people are talking about ‘greatest,’” Jenkins said. “It’s like, well, how good are you, what are your stats, what do you look like on the field, and then there’s the people who always want to validate it by wins and championships. Well, he’s got both. And I don’t think how you can argue, or who you can compare him to to say he’s not the best of all time.” Brady is back on top of the league and there’s no sign of him slowing down. Hopefully he’ll be back at #1 in 2018 with a sixth Lombardi Trophy. Follow @PP_Rich_Hill Follow @PatsPulpit src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/like.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fpatspulpit%2F&width=450&layout=standard&action=like&show_faces=true&share=false&height=80&appId" width="450" height="80" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true"> [...]