We’re finally at the end of the work week and here’s a look at this morning’s top stories.
Brady Working Out At TB12 Center – With Brady absent from the team’s OTAs this week, a new report on Thursday revealed that the veteran quarterback is getting his work in at the TB12 Sports Therapy Center, which is located at Patriots Place.
Brady is reportedly there working out with Alex Guerrero, getting himself ready for a season where he’ll be 41 and entering in to his 19th year in the NFL. The fact he’s staying away and working out with Guerrero has some wondering if an issue remains between he and Bill Belichick, who reports claimed banned Guerrero from Gillette Stadium last season and sparked a reported rift between Brady and his long-time coach.
The quarterback’s absence has led to increased reps in practice for back-up Brian Hoyer and new draft pick Danny Etling, who have been getting all the work in while Brady has been away from the stadium.
It’s likely tough for the newcomers, who have had an opportunity to begin getting into a rhythm fielding passes and getting their timing down with Hoyer and Etling. They’ll essentially have to start all over again when the mandatory practices are held and Brady returns. Everyone knows Brady’s standards are high when it comes to receivers, so they may find themselves under pressure once Brady takes over and begins pushing them.
Mandatory minicamp starts on June 5th, lasting three days when the team practices on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of that week.
McCourty Comments on Anthem Policy – Devin McCourty has been among several Patriots who were part of a group of players here in New England who protested during the National Anthem last season and he’s not happy about the NFL’s recent policy change.
McCourty, who was among 17 players who knelt during the National Anthem last season following comments from President Donald Trump who said the league should “fire or suspend” players who protest, spoke out following the league’s recent decision to restrict players from being able to kneel before the anthem, instead forcing them to stay in the locker room.
McCourty took to Twitter and backed up comments by Malcolm Jenkins and former Patriot Chris Long, with Long being the one who was the most vocal after posting his response on Twitter.
McCourty quoted Long’s and Jenkins’ statement and wrote, “Couldn’t have said it better @MalcolmJenkins and @JOEL9ONE so I won’t try I’ll just leave these here.”
Long wrote in his Twitter post that the NFL’s policy change wasn’t about patriotism but stemmed from a “fear of a diminished bottom line”.
“Don’t get it confused,” wrote Long. “These owners don’t love America more than the players demonstrating and taking real action to improve it. It also lets you, the fan, know where our league stands.”
As for McCourty, he was vocal last season as well, with the president’s comments at the time sparking anger with he and his teammates, leading them to join together and kneel that weekend prior to the team’s match-up against the Texans.
“Obviously, it won’t be seen as the right thing to everybody, but I think in our hearts, what we focus on the most was that we were trying to do the right thing today,” said McCourty at the time via MassLive.com. “I’m proud of our guys and I’m proud of the group and the guys I get to go out there and play football with. They’re all great guys. They’re better people than they are football players.”
With more players speaking out around the NFL, it definitely seems like this issue may be far from over.
Van Noy Loses Bet to Kids – Kyle Van Noy is a competitive player and unfortunately, it cost him a bit this week.
According to the Boston Herald, the veteran linebacker had a little fun on Wednesday spending some time with 10 foster children at Splitsville Lanes at Patriot Place as part of a charity event for his foundation and was challenged by the kids to bowl a strike. The penalty? He reportedly had to drop and give them 20 pushups.
Van Noy, who isn’t one to back down from a challenge, did his best but came up short and he stayed true to his word, running off twenty in front of everyone who was on hand to witness it.
“They’re serious,” said Van Noy after completing the task, “but I hold my word to my bet. And I lost.”
It’s a nice story and Van Noy has been one of the bright spots in the Patriots defense since arriving here in New England. He finished the 2017 regular season third on the team in tackles on defense with 73 along with 5.5 sacks, 9 QB hits and 7 tackles for a loss. He also defended two passes.
Odds and Ends: Dont’a Hightower was spotted at practice Thursday via photos on the team’s website, which is good news. Hightower suffered a torn pectoral muscle that sidelined him for 2017 and having him back is certainly a positive for a defense that definitely missed him last season … Also at practice was Derek Rivers, who was reportedly a full participant. Rivers is expected to potentially give the team some help at pass rush and showed flashes last year before suffering a season-ending knee injury … Several Patriots made a trip to Boston this week as part of an effort to plant 37,000 flags in Boston Common to honor fallen veterans. According to the team’s official site, among those were Joe Cardona, Rex Burkhead, Dwayne Allen, Derek Rivers, Eric Lee, Eric Rowe, Cole Croston, Andrew Jelks and Riley McCarron … The Patriots changed their website recently, taking on the same layout/functionality as NFL.com. It’s a significant change since the club has been the leader in coming up with new technology and had stayed away from having the same look/style as the other teams. However, that seems to not be the case after this recent change … Out in Los Angeles head coach Sean McVay has been impressed with newcomer Brandon Cooks. McVay could be heard in this video commenting on the speed of the veteran wideout, who has been impressive so far during the Rams OTAs. While this news may be disappointing for those who will miss him here in New England, the Patriots traded him and came away with pretty good value after receiving a first round pick this offseason. That pick resulted in the selection of offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn.
Posted Under: Daily Patriots Notebook