Written by: Ian Logue
Posted July 7, 2015 at 6:00 am
Patriots fans haven’t had the opportunity to see much ofÂ last year’s first round selection Dominique Easley, but off the field he’s proving to be the type of player who if his play can match the size of his heart, he should be fun to watch in the coming years.
The second-year defensive lineman is facing high expectations as New England starts making a youth movement up front on the Patriots’ defensive line. Â But the biggest impact he’s been making so far have been coming from his efforts off the gridiron as he’s worked on bringing awareness to an illness that hits close to home.
According to Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe, Easley’s sister,Â Destinee, was diagnosed with fibromyalgia five years ago, which is a chronic disorder that causes widespread pain and fatigue. Â It’s been something which, at times, has left her too tired to go to get out of bed and go to school and now Easley is trying to use his new-found fame in the NFL to try and make a difference with a disorder that affects an estimated 5 million Americans.
â€śJust being at the stage that Iâ€™m at can really help bring awareness to the illness,â€ť he told the newspaper. â€śIf I wasnâ€™t in the NFL, there wouldnâ€™t be the awareness going on that Iâ€™m bringing because of the position that Iâ€™m in.â€ť
Easley has established a website,Â EasleysAwareness.com, which states his mission is, “Destined to Cure Fibromyalgia through awareness and education.” Â He encourages everyone to join him as he tries to fight this battle that will help people around the world.
Easley is scheduled to take part in an upcoming football camp on July 25th where Centers for Integrative Medicine and Healing will partner to help stomp out the disease through an NFL kids’ skills camp called ‘Champs Camp’.
The camp will be held for children ages six through 17 and will teach offensive and defensive skills. It’s scheduled to take place on Sunday, July 25 at Hormel Stadium in Medford, MA. Participants will compete in NFL combine style drills designed to increase speed, agility and stamina.
According to a recent press release,Â doctors from CIMH will be on site to perform free health screenings for children and their mothers, while also distributing health and prevention handouts. Â They’ll also beÂ administering free Acupuncture tests. Â Portions of the proceeds from Champs Camp will go to Fibromyalgia research.
For now Easley’sÂ motivation remains his sister, who he said inspires him to push forward during those times he thinks he potentially isn’t able to do something.
â€śThatâ€™s my baby sister. Seeing her go through pain every day and not be able to walk or even get out of bed sometimes, I have no excuse to say that I canâ€™t do something,â€ť Dominique told the newspaper. â€śSheâ€™s been fighting since she was 11. Itâ€™s really more of a motivation for me.â€ť
Yet another great reason to be rooting for him when he takes the field this season.
Written by: Ian Logue
Posted July 6, 2015 at 6:00 am
Earlier this year Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski was given the franchise tag designation, with the veteran signing his tender back on March 6th that will see him earn a guaranteed salary of $4.6 million for 2015.
That’s good news for New England, who now has him at least under contract for the 2015 season. Â He’s coming off of a career season that ended with Gostkowski winning his first Super Bowl championship, while also quietly establishing himself as one of the best kickers in the game.
Gostkowski’s been an unbelievable replacement for former Patriot Adam Vinatieri, who had been a steady contributor before departing for Indianapolis via free agency following the 2005 season. Â 2014 was one of Gostkowski’s best seasons, with the veteran hitting an NFL-best 35-of-37 field goals (94.6%) which was a career high in accuracy. Â He alsoÂ became the seventh kicker to earn 100 points in the postseason and kicked touchbacks on all five of his kickoffs against the Seahawks in the Super Bowl.
While Gostkowski signed his tender just four days after being the designation, one of the bigger questions now will be whether or not the Patriots have a long-term deal in the works for a player who should be considered a priority heading into this season. Â July 15th marks the final days for players who received the franchise tag to be able to sign a multi-year extension with their current team. Â While Gostkowski may have already signed his tender, that doesn’t rule out the possibility for him to get a longer deal if the two sides can reach an agreement.
Given how important the kicking game is, especially in a stadium as difficult to kick in as Gillette, it would be hard to imagine the Patriots trying to find a replacement for a guy who has been so consistent. Â Kickers don’t tend to get a lot of credit but Gostkowski is now among the NFL’s elite, having actually lead all kickers in points in every season since 2012.
Now the biggest question will be whether or not he’ll get a deal that runs longer than this season. Â He seemed pretty happy to sign the tender, which made him the highest paid kicker in the league. Â Now it will be interesting to see ifÂ New England is able to extend him for the foreseeable future, which will be something to watch in the weeks ahead.
Written by: Ian Logue
Posted June 30, 2015 at 5:00 am
Brady and the Patriots will be back in action in another month. (USA TODAY Images)
For any fans looking forward to seeing the Patriots back in action, the team released the opening dates for training camp for next month, signaling that football season is inching a little closer.
New England will kickoff their 2015 Training camp on July 29th, with the first public session set for Thursday July 30th behind Gillette Stadium. Â It’s an opportunity for families to come and get an up close look of the defending champions as they start getting ready for the season, although no times have been announced just yet.
During the preseason the team posts daily updates on Patriots.com, which is where anyone attending should check before making the trip to the stadium in the event of any schedule changes or cancellations. The team’s first exhibition game is set for August 13th against the Green Bay Packers at 7:30pm.
Written by: Ian Logue
Posted June 25, 2015 at 9:25 am
This is how out of hand things have gotten.
Five monthsÂ since DelfateGate started, Tom Brady remains in a battle he seemingly can’t win against a commissioner who seems like he’s got plenty to lose himself as this ridiculous scandal continues on.
After nearly losing his job last year during the whole Ray Rice fiasco, Goodell is now in a position where even if he realizes how horrifically flawed the Wells Report was, reversing Brady’s punishment could put him back in the crosshairs, which is somethingÂ that obviously wouldn’t be a good thing for him.
But not punishing a guilty playerÂ properly the first time around shouldn’t be corrected by punishing a potentially innocent player to make a statement. Â Ask anyone why they think Goodell won’t eliminate Brady’s suspension and the answer is always the same: he can’t because of how it will make him look after the millions spent on the Wells report and everything else that’s transpired along with it.
And honestly, that’s really the bigger problem with what’s going on here.
In the real world, a guilty or innocent verdict is supposed to be decided by an impartial party with nothing to lose or gain either way. Â It’s not supposed to be decided by someone with so much at stake, but that’s where we are right now and all that’s left is to wait and see what Goodell’s decision will be after Tuesday’s hearing.
Looking back, this whole story has become a media circus that’s gone beyond logic and reason at this point. Â What could have – and should have – been quietly solved behind closed doors instead blew up into a national story that became bigger than it needed to be, and now this monster has reached the point of no return withÂ Brady seemingly on the hook toÂ pay the price, regardless of whether or not he even had anything to do with it.
That’s beyond wrong. Â If you go back and follow how this whole mess unfolded, the Saturday press conference following the AFC Championship Game by Bill Belichick was one of the most telling moments of this entire process, and the one that certainly sticks out among everything that’s happened.
The normally media-resistant coach, the master of “ignore the noise”, was seemingly so irritated by everything being written and said about the club that he opened the press conference by announcing his reasoning for calling it because he clearly wanted to try and set the record straight.
“I feel like this is important because there have been questions raised and I believe now 100 percent that I have personally, and we as an organization, have absolutely followed every rule to the letter,” said Belichick. Â “I just feel that on behalf of everyone in the organization, everyone thatâ€™s involved in this organization, that we need to say something.”
Belichick – very wisely after already having been down this road previously with the league during the spygate mess, which we’ll get to in a moment – waited until he had all the facts before formulating a response, which involved the team reenacting the football preparation process that they go through on a weekly basis to try and understand why there was aÂ loss in air pressure that lead to the Colts accusations and subsequent league investigation. Â As he does with everything else, he was thorough in making sure he understood exactly what happened and why the Patriots’ footballs tested below the 12.5 psi requirement by the NFL. Â He explained it in-depth, citing the scientific reasons behind the results. Â That brought out quite a few people who tried to use his press conference as a chance to make themselves relevant, tellingÂ the world that Belichick was wrong and full of it. Â They poked fun and tried to poke holes in things that he said, even though Belichick readily admitted this wasn’t exactly his forte, using a My Cousin VinnyÂ reference as he explainedÂ he wasn’tÂ “an expert in football measurements.”
“Iâ€™m just telling you what I know,” said Belichick. Â “I would not say that Iâ€™m Mona Lisa Vito of the football world, as she was in the car expertise area, alright?”
The experts mocked him and discredited his results. Â However, the only problem is it doesn’t change the fact that whatÂ Belichick told the world on that Saturday wasn’t just based on scientific theory. Â It was something he witnessed with his own eyes.
Some believe that even if he’s innocent, Brady should just concede against the NFL.
The bad news isÂ we live in a world where the perception is generally centered around people whoÂ only hear what they want to hear. Â Once someone’s mind is made up, there’s usually no changing it. Â That was brought front and center during that same afternoon when a reporter decided that he’d bring up the topic of spygate, yet another topic that left the Patriots in bad shape in the public eye and continues to plague them in the court of public opinion.
It’s another frustrating topic to try and discuss, since any non-Patriots fan who didn’t follow it closely still believes Belichick’s team broke the rules competitively, which wasn’t the case. Â New England was punished for a procedural violation, ignoring a requirement by the league that prevented teams from using video equipment from the sidelines, while many other teams were using video equipment from other parts of the field. Â By league rules the footage was never used during games and it was done primarily to steal defensive signals from the other teams, a widespread practice around the NFL that went back undercover after the incident was placed in the spotlight thanks to an angry then-Jets head coach Eric Mangini.
“I mean, look, thatâ€™s a whole other discussion,” said Belichick after addressing it for the first time when asked during that Saturday press conference. “The guyâ€™s giving signals out in front of 80,000 people, OK? So we filmed him taking signals out in front of 80,000 people, like there were a lot of other teams doing at that time, too. Forget about that. If we were wrong then weâ€™ve been disciplined for that.”
“The guyâ€™s in front of 80,000 people. 80,000 people saw it. Everybody [on the] sideline saw it. Everybody sees our guy in front of the 80,000 people. I mean, there he is. So, it was wrong, we were disciplined for it. Thatâ€™s it. We never did it again. Weâ€™re never going to do it again and anything else thatâ€™s close, weâ€™re not going to do either.”
Goodell came down hard on the Patriots for that primarily because a memo was sent out prior to when it happened, which since the Patriots seemingly ignored it, seemed to be the reason the penalty was as harsh as it was. However, one small part that tends to get overlooked by those who feel it was just the Patriots involved in that practice was the fact all of the evidence was destroyed by the league. That should have been an indication about the fact that Belichick likely exposed how widespread the practice was and the NFL decided to simply sweep the matter under the rug having already embarrassed New England enough while likely preventing any additional team from public embarrassment.
What people don’t realize is that the Patriots never cheated, they just ignored a memo asking teams to essentially be a little more discrete about the practice of trying to steal opponents signs.Â But try and explain that to a non-Patriots fan. Â And then go punch yourself in the face, it will probably be less painful.
Public perception “is what it is” and you can’t change the minds of people whose mind is already made up. Â The sad thing is there are people out there who feel Brady shouldn’t continue his fight feeling that, win or lose, it’s not going to change the minds of people who already believe he broke the rules.
That’s hardly the point. Â Just because you’re accused of a crime that’s gotten a lot of play in the media and has shaped public perception of your guilt doesn’t mean you shouldn’t fight it if you’re actuallyÂ innocent. Â It’s doubtful an average person would accept guilt in something they didn’t do just because the majority of people following the caseÂ believed theyÂ were guilty.
Yet there are people who feel that’s what Brady should do. Â That argument is absolutely mind-boggling, butÂ stillÂ there are people who feel he’s better off to try and acceptÂ the minimum and move on.
At the end of the day, he may not have a choice. Â The difference between this and an actual legal battle is the fact that he’s being punished by the company he essentially works for under the terms of a labor agreement he’s under for that company. Â That leaves him without a lot of options, but clearly he’s going to try and exhaust all of them before he makes the decision to call it quits.
Following the Wells Report, there have been additional studies whichÂ have argued the flawed science behind it and has made a strong case that the Patriots and Brady did nothing wrong. Â Â It’s pretty sad that if Brady is, in fact, innocent Goodell doesn’t seem prepared to admit the mistake, which if you really think about, it absolutely is unbelievable.
But that’s unfortunately what it’s come to. Â Basically this has become a one-way street, with the only one that’s supposed to admit any wrongdoing is Brady. Â The word “integrity” has been thrown around for months, but itÂ seems like it’sÂ only been used when it’s madeÂ the necessary argument. Â If at the end of the day GoodellÂ believes Brady didn’t ask anyone to break any rules, heÂ should summon some integrity of his own and go against public perception byÂ doing the right thing and admit theÂ NFLÂ may have actually beenÂ wrong.
That appearsÂ unlikely and it seems we’re way too far past that. Â Brady was said to be sincere and genuine Tuesday when he spent 10 hours in New York trying to prove his innocence. Â The bad news for the veteran quarterbackÂ is thatÂ guilt and innocence don’t seem to be the pointÂ anymore, and that’s ultimately the biggest travesty of all of this.
Written by: Ian Logue
Posted June 23, 2015 at 9:30 am
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has already become an elite player on the gridiron since being drafted by New England, but despite his success, it hasn’t changed who he is off the field.
The veteran tight end may have taken some grief for his fun-loving lifestyle outside of football, but he’s spent much of this offseason at various charity events and football camps while also enjoying being able to workout and prepare for the upcoming season, something he hasn’t been able to do over the last couple of years due to a couple of significant injuries he’s been forced to deal with.
He’s grown up quite a bit since he got here, and he doesn’t get quite enough credit for the type of person he really is. In fact, Peter King of MMQB pointed out a couple of interesting excerpts from his upcoming autobiography “It’s Good to be Gronk”, which shows how smart Gronkowski really is in terms of how he lives his life and how he spends his money.
â€śTo this day, I still havenâ€™t touched one dime of my signing bonus or NFL contract money. I live off my marketing money and havenâ€™t blown it on any big-money expensive cars, expensive jewelry or tattoos and still wear my favorite pair of jeans from high schoolâ€¦ I donâ€™t hurt anyone (except Gord with the occasional kick to the groin), I donâ€™t do drugs, I donâ€™t drive drunk, I donâ€™t break the lawâ€¦ Iâ€™m a 23-year-old guy just looking to have a fun time.â€ť
It was a nice look at a guy who despite some of the criticism has remained someone who has stayed true to himself while doing things the right way, and at just 26-years old hopefully still has plenty of great years in a Patriots uniform still ahead of him.
Written by: Ian Logue
Posted June 22, 2015 at 8:00 am
After over five months and a multi-million dollar investigation, Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will meet as the Patriots quarterback starts the process of appealing his four-game suspension.
Brady will reportedly be in New York for the appeal, which is scheduled for 9:30am on Tuesday and will likely challenge the Wells Report, which most feel failed to provide any significant evidence to prove Brady knowingly asked for the footballs to be inflated below the legal limit, or that anything illegal was done at all after a flawed analysis as it pertains the Ideal Gas Law.
A recent report by AEI took it even a step further, which concluded that it is “unlikely that the Patriots deflated the footballs,” pointing out the difference between how much time had passed as the Colts footballs warmed while the officials were testing the Patriots’ footballs, which seemingly explained why the ones from Indianapolis were within the limits, while New England’s were below.
For the most part the Wells report deals with assumptions and throughout the 243-page report, it fails to come up with any real damning evidence aside from a few cryptic text messages between two Patriots employees who complained about the stringent standards Brady has when it comes to the preparations of the footballs, yet never discusses any real illegal activity or that Brady had any request for them to do anything outside the NFL rule book.
Brady will finally sit down with Goodell on Tuesday. (USA TODAY Images)
The penalty seemed to hinge on the 90 seconds spent in the bathroom by Jim McNally and thatÂ withÂ two bags of footballs, McNally had the time to take air out of them before putting them all back in the bag and exiting on his way to the field.
In a report released by the team last month, they claim video footage shows that at no time did McNally act out of the ordinary on his way into the bathroom, or when he exited. Â With so much at stake, one would believe that he would have shown more haste and intent on trying to get a job like that done, yet that wasn’t the case.
But for now Goodell isn’t backing down and the two will finally face off Tuesday morning as the process begins to hopefully overturn Brady’s suspension. Â Reports have said the veteran quarterback is looking to not only have the penalty removed, but that he’s not accepting any less than full “exoneration”. Â When this whole debacle began Patriots owner Robert Kraft said he’d be looking for an apology if the team was found to be cleared of any wrongdoing. Â After later backing down to “end the rhetoric”,Â it’s now in Brady’s hands as he takes on Goodell in what will likely be one of the most significant moments during this process.
Everything seems to indicate he’s prepared to see it through. Brady’s a guy who hates to lose, and hopefully this is a challenge he’s able to win after an investigation that hasn’t proven anything, other than the fact the league needs to acknowledge that they failed to gather all the facts before damaging the legacy of one of the greatest players that represents it.
Let’s face it, Goodell should have done the right thing and looked at the Wells report and realized he needed more than “more probable than not” before imposing this type of penalty. Â Instead, he took what Wells gave him and ran with it, which now has the NFLPA and Brady’s lawyers hell-bent on taking him on and potentially bringingÂ a situation that he’s essentially created to the point of no return, and now it may reach aÂ level he’s not going to like.
Hopefully for Brady’s sake, they know what they’re doing. Â He seems adamant that he did nothing wrong, and accusing an innocent person is never a good thing, especially when there certainly doesn’t seem to be enough in terms of facts to back up what he’s been charged with.
Fortunately, he’ll finally get his first chance to defend himself Tuesday.
Written by: Ian Logue
Posted June 17, 2015 at 8:05 am
Tuesday was the first of three practices as the Patriots began their minicamp sessions at Gillette Stadium, and there were some interesting notes from the first day as New England started their final set of practices before training camp opens next month.
There were some notable names missing from the opening practice, with the Boston Herald reporting that Chandler Jones, Jamie Collins, Sebastian Vollmer, Brandon LaFell and Matthew Slater among the bigger names absent, as well as Dane Fletcher, Chris Jones and Ryan Wendell. Â Also not on hand were Jerod Mayo, Dont’a Hightower and Sealver Siliga, although each are recovering from significant injuries and it wasn’t much of a surprise to find out they weren’t out practicing.
Amendola has reportedly look strong so far during Patriots minicamp.
(USA TODAY Images)
Danny Amendola was a player who had a big afternoon, with the veteran receiver reportedly making some terrific plays and showing his athleticism after making some leaping grabs as well as scoring a touchdown. Â Amendola came on strong at the end of 2014 and appears to be regaining his confidence, which could certainly be good news for the Patriots as they’re already coming off a solid year offensively and gaining more productivity from Amendola in 2015 will only make them that much better.
Also making some plays was receiver Josh Boyce, who reportedly had several receptions from Brady during the practice, although he was among receivers who had a drop during the session. Â However, one of the players to keep an eye on appears to be newly acquired tight end Scott Chandler, with the former Buffalo Bills player making a terrific play and catching a touchdown over Devin McCourty. Â He appeared to get banged up toward the end of practice with an apparent rib injury, but most reports seem to believe it’s nothing serious.
New quarterback Matt Flynn was part of the mix but it was Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo who continued to look sharp, with Garoppolo rebounding from the rough outing he had during OTAs and playing well on Tuesday. Â According to media reports, he finished 26-of-32 in 11-on-11s with one interception, while Brady finished 24-of-33. Â Both quarterbacks were 5-of-6 during 7-on-7s. Â According to NESN.com, Garoppolo also reportedly saw extra time working with Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski, with the second-year quarterback getting some additional reps in with the two veteran players.
Tyler Gaffney also had some good moments, with the Boston Herald reporting that Tuesday was one of the most active days he’s seen after catching four passes and taking several handoffs during the 11-on-11 period with Garoppolo.
So far at cornerback Logan Ryan and Malcolm Butler have been seeing the majority of the work, with the two obviously expected to be pushed into a larger role after the Patriots saw Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner depart in free agency.
Ryan had a decent afternoon, although according to the Herald, he did get beat on a couple of plays. Â For now he’s just continuing to work on getting better during these practices.
“Itâ€™s always an opportunity. You play the position. You do all the work, and you lift all the weights to get the ball thrown at you,â€ť Ryan told the newspaper. â€śItâ€™s an opportunity to make an interception, itâ€™s an opportunity to make plays, so when a quarterback challenges you, thatâ€™s the name of the game. Youâ€™re not going to win every single challenge, you just got to stay consistent out there and play within the scheme. Thatâ€™s when plays happen.â€ť
Written by: Ian Logue
Posted June 16, 2015 at 6:00 am
As we beginÂ the final stretch before training camp, hereâ€™s a daily look at some Patriots on the roster where weâ€™ll individually preview them heading into the 2015 season. Â Todayâ€™s edition, Patriots tight end, Rob Gronkowski.
In 2014 the Patriots needed one key player healthy for the whole season to make sure they finally had what it took to win their fourth championship.
Fortunately, after two seasons of battling injuries, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski had his best season since 2011 and by the time it ended his team hoisted the Lombardi Trophy after beating the Seahawks in Arizona.
Itâ€™s been a long time since he hasnâ€™t spent an offseason trying to bounce back from an injury, and the good news is heâ€™s been able to spend this offseason focusing on preparing for 2015.
Gronkowski was a beast in 2014 for the Patriots. (USA TODAY Images)
Coming back from offseason knee surgery, Gronkowski got off to a slow start in 2014, but by midseason he hit his stride and finished with his second-highest career total ever, catching 82 passes for 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns.
He got stronger as the season went on, and during the postseason finished fourth in the NFL in both receptions and yards, catching 16 passes for 204 yards and was tied with Danny Amendola and Dallas’ Terrance WilliamsÂ for the NFL lead in touchdown receptions with three.
But overall his presence on the field created match-up nightmares and it opened up the Patriots’ passing game, with New England outscoring opponents 108-62 during the postseason. Â He’s a difference-maker on the field, and having him healthy for the playoffs clearly was one of the big reasons the Patriots won it all in 2014.
DID YOU KNOW?:
Gronkowski was absolutely unstoppable down in the red zone in 2014, finishing with 13 catches, 12 of which were first downs along with 11 touchdowns. He also hit an NFL milestone after becoming just the first tight end in NFL history to score 10 or more receiving touchdowns in fourÂ seasons.
Gronkowski also eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards in a season for the second time in his career, and is now one of nine tight ends in NFL history with two 1,000-yard receiving seasons and the only Patriots tight end to achieve that feat.
He also became the first tight end in NFL history to catch at least 10 touchdowns in four separate seasons.
Now that heâ€™s healthy, thereâ€™s plenty of reasons to believe Gronkowski could be headed for his best year yet as the veteran heads into his sixth NFL season. Â His most productive campaign was back in 2011 when he caught a career high 17 touchdowns and set the NFL record for most touchdowns by a tight end in a season.
He mayÂ eclipse that total this season, and he’ll be joined by free agent tight end Scott Chandler, with the two expected to create some match-up nightmares for opposing teams in the coming year.
Another healthy season for Gronkowski should set New England up for another productive year. Â Heâ€™s already on his way to becoming one of the best to ever play his position and 2015 should be another terrific chapter of his already incredible career.
Written by: Ian Logue
Posted June 15, 2015 at 7:52 am
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady joined his teammates at Robert Kraft’s house on Sunday night as the players received their Super Bowl ring after beating the Seahawks earlier this year.
For many of the players, it was their first career championship. For Brady, this was number four and the photo below Tweeted by the team was a reminder of how special a player he really is after this accomplishment.
Most players go their entire NFL careers without ever winning one, so the fact Brady has been able to win four is simply incredible.
It’s still hard to believe he’s currently suspended for the first four games of 2015, although for now the battle quietly continues as Brady is still in the middle of the appeal process with the NFLPA and his legal team.
Some additional photos Tweeted by the team from last night:
Written by: Ian Logue
Posted at 6:00 am
As we beginÂ the final stretch before training camp, here’s a daily look at some Patriots on the roster where we’ll individually preview them heading into the 2015 season. Â Today’s edition, Patriots receiver Julian Edelman.
Players like receivers Dez Bryant and Calvin Johnson tend to get a lot of press each season, but there’s something that both players have in common when it comes to Patriots receiver Julian Edelman.
Neither player has as many catches as Julian Edelman over the last two seasons, nor has either been fortunate enough to win a Lombardi Trophy during their careers.
During 2013 and 2014, Bryant caught 93 passes in 2013, and 88 in 2014, while Johnson caught 84 in 2013 and 71 in 2014. Â Edelman, meanwhile caught 105 in 2013 and 92 in 2014. Â Not bad for a former 7th round draft pick, who has outperformed both former number one picks in this category over the last two years.
Edelman had a terrific year in 2014, and was a key piece of the Patriots Championship run. (USA TODAY Images)
Edelman finished the 2014 regular season with 92 receptions for 972 yards and four touchdowns over 14 games, with the veteran missing the final two games, the last of which was a meaningless game against the Buffalo Bills. Â During the postseason, Edelman was a key player during their championship run. Â Against the Baltimore Ravens, he caught 8 passes for 74 yards but threw a 51 yard touchdown to Danny Amendola, which tiedÂ the game at 28-28 in the 3rd quarter during their 21 point second-half performance and helped them win their AFC Divisional battle against Baltimore 35-31.
But Edelman stepped up when it mattered most, catching 9 passes for 109 yards, including the go-ahead touchdown with just over two minutes to go in Super Bowl XLIX. Â Overall it was a terrific year for the veteran receiver, who after the departure of Wes Welker has thoroughly cemented his place in Patriots history with his best years still ahead of him.
DID YOU KNOW?
Edelman was a key performer in helping the Patriots move the chains during the regular season, and actually finished with the highest completion percentage when targeted by Brady on 3rd down among receivers with 10 or more 3rd down catches. Â He was targeted 28 times and had 22 receptions (79% completion rate) including 15 first downs.
Edelman also lead the team in 2014 with the most fourth quarter receptions, finishing with 19 receptions for 270 yards along with a touchdown. Â HeÂ was also a threat running the football, finishing withÂ a career high 10 carries during the regular season, includingÂ 7 first down conversions (70% success rate). Â He also finished with 3 receptions of 40+ yards, which was another career best.
Edelman has led the team in receptions the last two seasons and there’s no reason to believe his reception total shouldn’t approach the one-hundred catch mark once again in 2015. Â He should be poised for another productive season now that the Patriots have added former Bills tight end Scott Chandler, who should be an effective player in New England’s offense, as well as the fact New England will be starting the season with a fully healthy Rob Gronkowski.
Overall this team is returning their entire offense this season, with Edelman expected to again be a key contributor. Â The only thing that could affect his overall numbers could depend on how many games Tom Brady misses, with the veteran QB’s total for now sitting at four games as he continues the appeal process with the NFLPA and his legal team.
Either way after seeing what he accomplished last season, it should be exciting to see how Edelman follows up a pretty solid performance. Â He spent Sunday night collecting his first Super Bowl championship ring, but if he plays like he did in 2014 this season, there are certainly plenty of reasons to believe he could end up in position to win another in 2015.