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Patriots Talk: Results Of The Patriots Off Season So Far

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Patriots Talk: Results Of The Patriots Off Season So Far

This week will mark the end of the New England Patriots activities and the official wrap up of the third phase of the off-season program for all teams. The team won’t be officially taking the field in Foxboro again till late July The next time the team officially takes the field will be at the start of training camp in late July. (between either the 21st-30th)

And with this conclusion, the Boston media and NFL analysts have seen what the Patriots are currently capable of. And we have learned who stands out, who struggles and those who are still unknown. Here is what has been seen in the Patriots’ OTAs:

The Stand Outs

Tom Brady: Unsurprisingly, Tom Brady has shown no real decline in his game. The average onlooker wouldn’t be able to tell if this Brady was any different from how he was 5 years ago or maybe even 10. His hard work ethic and overall dedication to perfecting his play is evident. Brady is reaching the age of 40 by next month, but many so far don’t see how he doesn’t continue to play at a high level come September. Brady’s arm strength in particular is still in top form. This can likely be thanks to thanks to his quarterback coach, Tom House, former relief pitcher for the Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners. House has been a long time coach within both baseball and football and has worked out with several NFL quarterbacks such as Drew Brees, Andy Dalton and Matt Ryan just to name a few. Brady’s relying on his technique and footwork have been a key development over the years as he has become more focused on his longevity.

Rob Gronkowski: So far, Gronk hasn’t missed any practices during the OTAs. This is a massive relief to anybody that is on the Patriots roster. Gronk being a 100 percent means he will be making a potential comeback in 2017 that we will likely not see coming if he lives up to his new contract.

Brandin Cooks: So far has been a big standout. His speed and overall route running have been a sight to see at OTAs, but the biggest worry coming into it was his connection with Tom Brady. Transitioning from a future Hall-of-Famer like Drew Brees is seemingly a pretty huge thing when ti comes to the best Quarterback of all time in Tom Brady. He has been taking on the team head on and has been the first one in front during the practice drills.  He was together with Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan the most out of any three-receiver sets.

Jonathan Jones: He is currently the most likely candidate to fill in the cornerback position as nickelback. With Stephon Gilmore and Malcolm Butler already locked in as the two top cornerbacks coming into this season, it a fight for the third spot. Jones, was brought in out of Auburn as an undrafted free agent and initially many didn’t expect him to get as far as he has. His opportunity coming into 2017 season could be a huge stand out year for him.

Ones With Struggles

With how many injuries the team has taken, this could be a list in of itself. Players like Dont’a Hightower, among others, wasn’t at 100 percent during OTAs. Players who didn’t fully participate include: Hightower, receiver Malcolm Mitchell and safety Duron Harmon. This means that they could be possible candidates for PUP list at the start of July training camp if they don’t have any updates after this.

In a addition, backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a leg injury during practice and will likely be put onto the PUP for awhile.  Defensive players Kony Ealy and Lawrence Guy have missed practice time, so their situations will likely be important going forward. Especially since Ealy and Guy will likely be important to the pass rush going forward as the only real factor for a pass rush was with Trey Flowers.

Cyrus Jones has been a big concern as he has continued to struggle at special teams again in OTAs. He will likely be a big concern for this as he was put out of the season when he made to two huge errors during the Patriots-Ravens game last year. At this time, it seems he will more likely be pushed to practice squad if he doesn’t improve by much as he has snaps at nickelback but it seems he will likely be only a backup at best with this current time.

THE UNKNOWN

Alan Branch was the only player didn’t have any attendance at OTAs this year. The team still had 100% of the team attended for mandatory minicap, there was no signs of Branch at voluntary workouts. This wasn’t a shock to the team since Branch has never attended a voluntary workout over his career. Instead, Branch choose to stay in his home in Arizona for the beginning of the offseason. Whether his physical condition upon return will be enough to pass the conditioning test will be very critical as he was the main support for the Patriots run defense last season.  His time spent not with the team could be an important factor moving forward.

For the rest of the team, the interior offensive line depth is important. Right now, Ted Karras will be getting significant work this season behind starting center David Andrews as his backup. As for the overall depth, the only players not part of the starting lineup are guards Chase Farris and Jamil Douglas. Both players only made the practice squad last year, and their development is critical in the event of injury to starters Joe Thuney (who made all rookie team at his position last year) and Shaq Mason. Even though the players are well maintained, it is clear that the team is thin at their offensive line and how this could effect things moving forward with their long time QB in Tom Brady is something to be careful of.

Overall, the team has shown alot of positives but there is much that will need to be done come July. Players that stand out are going to need to be prepared for when the team has joint practices with the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars on August 15th and 16th.

New England Patriots

Patriots Talk: Josh McDaniels And The Colts Wouldn’t Have Worked Out

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A Case of Behind The Scenes

 

 

Josh McDaniels and the Patriots thought their time to depart after their tough loss in Super Bowl 52 was unavoidable. However, not only did Josh McDaniels get extended, but its been many rumors that Robert Kraft had contacted McDaniels literally hours before he was suppose to take off Tuesday for Indianapolis.

 

It’s difficult to know anything within the Patriots’ organization as they have remained firm in not explaining what goes on behind closed doors. However, multiple sources over at ESPN for the past week since the story broke out about McDaniels’ abrupt decision to not become the Indiapolis Colts Head Coach. The way things broke down was that Kraft and Bill Belichick got together and sat down with McDaniels. With Defensive coordinator, Matt Patricia going to Detroit, this seemed like a desperation move to maintain the coaching staff from the previous season.

 

However, according to ESPN writer Mike Reiss, there was more to the situation then just that. In one of his articles regarding the McDaniels’ decision, he stated:

 

Belichick offered to include McDaniels on more of the inner workings of the organization, from roster construction to financial/salary-cap related considerations. That was viewed as “extremely valuable” to McDaniels. Ownership also endorsed it as a way to extend Belichick’s influence on the organization in future years, although no assurances were given to McDaniels that he would succeed Belichick. McDaniels, who a source confirmed got a significant raise, has privately said in the past that he did not want to be the coach who succeeds Belichick. Although he since may have changed his mind, McDaniels knows Belichick, after five Super Bowl victories, will be a hard act to follow.

Beyond financial and professional stability, McDaniels also was thinking of his family. He wanted a long-term commitment from the Patriots so his four children, ages 12 to 3, would be able to attend the same schools over the next several years. The transient life of a coach doesn’t always make that possible.

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Former NFL Official Claims Eagles Used Illegal Play To Win Super Bowl

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Did you have doubts that the Eagles lined up correctly on the Nick Foles touchdown catch?

Well, you are not the only one with a former analyst now claiming that Philly was indeed lined up illegally on the play.

Appearing on the Talk of Fame Network, former head of officiating and FOX rules analyst Mike Pereira said the Eagles were in fact lined up illegally.

“I know the league came out and said that it’s a judgment call, which it is,” Pereira said, via Pro Football Talk. “The down judge, who was the one that [the play] was on his side of the field, they felt that it was his judgment, and [receiver Alshon Jeffrey] was close enough. Well, he wasn’t. They lined up wrong.

“Not only that, it’s a trick play. And if you’re going to run a trick-type play, then you have to be lined up properly. You could either have six men on the line, or you could have an ineligible number lined up at the end of the line, which was the case. I know what the league has said, but they would have been a lot more comfortable if they would have called an illegal formation.

“We always use a yard [within the line of scrimmage], maybe a yard-and-a-half. But that’s two [yards], and even a little bit beyond two. It’s kind of one of those that has no effect on the play. I get it. But they didn’t line up properly. And it really should’ve been called.”

Bottom line is it was simply a judgment call be the officials, might have been the completely wrong judgment, but based on what we know about Super Bowl LII the New England Patriots were never going to win the game. The Malcolm Butler benching paired with Doug Pederson‘s mindset of keeping his foot on the gas and exposing New England’s weaknesses were the reasons the Patriots lost the game, not this particular play.

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Boston Herald Runs Ron Borges’s Tom Brady Hoax Story

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Thursday night Boston Herald reporter Ron Borges penned a story with this headline “Tom Brady wants to get paid like Jimmy G, or he’ll skip OTAs”. A headline and a story that was uncovered as a hoax on Friday.

The Kirk and Callahan show on WEEI revealed that one of their texters pretended to be Tom Brady’s agent Don Yee when texting Borges. The texter dubbed “Nick in Boston” informed Borges that Tom Brady intended to sit out New England’s preseason workouts unless he was paid like Jimmy Garoppolo who signed the largest deal in NFL history on Thursday.

K&C tweeted out the screenshots of texts with Borges outing the story as a complete and utter hoax.

Borges story was actually refuted right off the bat on Thursday night with both NBC Sports Boston and NESN claiming the story held no truth.

As for Borges, this is not his first major failure as a reporter. Since the Herald ran the story they are now looking into the matter.

Overall tricking Borges isn’t a great thing to do. Lying about someone’s identity is never nice with some reporters coming to the defense of Borges. But it is hard to have sympathy for a “journalist” that failed to check his sources and run with a story with only one source confirming of a major story.

Either way, there is no truth to a Brady holdout.

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