Thursday's Patriots News & Notes 7/3

Ian Logue
July 03, 2014 at 09:39am ET

Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski skip OTA
No Brady or Gronk, but plenty of storylines at Patriots OTAs
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski not at the start of the team's OTA's today
NFL notes: Don't be surprised if Deatrich Wise Jr., Derek Rivers rise up for Patriots
New Patriots DL Danny Shelton preps to hit the hill

Patriots receiver Aaron Dobson had one of the longest receptions in the NFL in 2013. (USA TODAY Images)

Some news and notes on this Thursday:


An article this offseason regarding the fact Tom Brady may be slipping caught the attention of most fans here in New England who disagreed that New England's signal caller may no longer be one of the NFL's elite, and a recent study by ESPN's Mike Sando seems to have squashed that premise among 26 insiders around the league.

According to the study, 25 of 26 of them ranked Brady as the top quarterback as they broke the individual players into tiers.

Said one offensive assistant that took part, "Brady might be the best because he does it with the least every year, just about," this offensive assistant said. "To me, there is no falloff with that guy. If he played with what Rodgers and Peyton and Brees have played with, it would not even be close. He has not had an outside guy since Randy Moss. These other guys have outside guys coming out of their ears, especially Peyton and Rodgers. It is such a difference when you have outside guys that can stretch, like Manning had in Indy. Then he'd kill you with the inside guys. Brady doesn't have half the skill players that Manning has. The thing that is scary is that sneakily, the Patriots were pretty good last year anyway."

These participants ignored the numbers put forth previously this offseason and apparently went by what their eyes told them, which more or less goes along with what those who follow this team closely already knew anyway.


After immediately releasing him following the news of the murder charge last year and the subsequent press conference by head coach Bill Belichick, the Patriots haven't said much regarding former tight end Aaron Hernandez.

However, after having to appear in court, the lawyer for the team, attorney Andrew Phelan, said on Wednesday that, "The Patriots believe under the terms of that contract that they owe not another penny to Mr. Hernandez," regarding discussion of the $3.25 million contract signing bonus from Hernandez's deal he received from New England.

The tight end has filed a grievance seeking that bonus, along with $82,000 he believes the team still owes him.

However, Hernandez's attorney, John Fitzpatrick, is arguing that the attempt to prevent the team from paying Hernandez is "fundamentally unfair" because Hernandez needs the money to pay for his defense in the three killings and the civil cases. He wrote that depriving Hernandez access to his earnings "would impair his state and federal constitutional rights to counsel and to due process."

It's hard to imagine how that is the Patriots' problem.  They originally gave him that contract with the intention of seeing him play football and have a productive career on the field and with his family at home.  Instead Hernandez put himself in this position, and the team appears set to ensure that paying him anything more than he had originally received isn't going to happen.


Patriots rookie receiver Aaron Dobson had a decent start to his career in 2013, finding himself in the top 10 for longest receptions in the NFL during 2013.

Dobson's 81-yard touchdown reception against the Steelers in Week 9 tied him for eighth in the NFL with the Rams ' Tavon Austin.  That 81-yard catch was also the longest offensive play for the team in 2013, with Danny Amendola's 57-yard reception in that same game as the second longest for the Patriots.

The rookie also had the third longest play for New England last season, having hauled in a 53-yard catch against the Bengals in week 5, along with holding the 9th spot thanks to his first ever NFL reception that went for a 39-yard touchdown in week 2.


Sean Leahy of the Boston Globe has questions for teams around the NFL regarding a variety of topics in what is a decent glance at each club - READ MORE

A good read from the Providence Journal's Mark Daniels on Matthew Slate - READ MORE