Good morning, here is your Sunday Patriots news 04-18 with Bill Belichick’s pre-draft press conference (more below), it is just another teaser that the 2021 NFL Draft is just a little bit more than two weeks away.
Please check out our draft profiles as we inch closer to the 2021 NFL Draft.
Have you checked out our team news feature for all 32 teams yet? It is a great resource to keep up with what is going on all across the NFL.
Quick Hitters For the Pats, and the NFL:
Bill Belichick: Belated Happy Birthday to the Patriots head coach, the coach turned 69 earlier this week, (where’s the Gronk message) but did get a nice message from Julian Edelman who tweeted “All I needed was an opportunity. Thanks for everything coach. Happy Birthday, BB.”
Trevor Lawrence: A quote by Lawrence was, in my opinion, blown way out of proportion by a number of media writers many of them nationally. Lawrence the consensus #1 pick in the upcoming draft was quoted by SI as saying “It’s hard to explain that because I want people to know that I’m passionate about what I do and it’s really important to me, but … I don’t have this huge chip on my shoulder, that everyone’s out to get me and I’m trying to prove everybody wrong,” he said. “I just don’t have that. I can’t manufacture that. I don’t want to.”
He shouldn’t have a chip on his shoulder. This guy has been the anointed “next great one” since he stepped onto a college football field. I think taking those comments and trying to turn it into that he isn’t committed to getting better is a major leap.
J.C. Jackson: The Patriots announced on Friday that Jackson had officially signed his second-round restricted-free-agent tender. With the salary cap down this year, restricted free agents such as Jackson have seen little interest although he will be an unrestricted free agent next year in 2022.
Jackson was second in the NFL with nine interceptions in 2020 and has been an absolute steal by Belichick after the Patriots signed him as an UDFA out of Maryland in 2018. He’s appeared in 45 games with 22 starts and has logged 17 interceptions.
Salary Cap Questions? Ask Miguel: There is no one with more knowledge when it comes to NE’s salary cap than our old buddy Miguel Benzan aka @Patscap. If you’re going anywhere else for salary cap information, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
4th & 2 Podcast – If you haven’t checked out our PatsFans.com podcast, “Patriots 4th & 2” in a bit, please check it out. Derek and I recorded an NFL Draft podcast that looked at defensive prospects on Thursday afternoon.
Russ Francis/ Chuck Fairbanks: The former Patriot tight end and head coach both should be in the Patriots team Hall of Fame…this will be on our Sunday posts until it happens.
A Second Appreciation For Julian Edelman:
Earlier this week, we posted a couple of stories on Edelman and his career and legacy with the Patriots. In one of those articles, Ian Logue wrote a very compelling piece, quoting Edelman’s book “Relentless” where he felt earlier in his career, that Bill Belichick challenged him and he responded. It and his quotes in there summed up his entire Patriots career perfectly.
We all know Edelman’s career numbers 620 receptions (2nd all-time on the Patriots), 6822 yards (4th all-time), and 36 TDs (9th). His post-season numbers show how he elevated his game in the biggest of circumstances with numbers 2nd in NFL history only to Jerry Rice. He caught 118 passes, 1442 yards, and 5 TDs.
The on-field moments are far too many to remember each one, but when the Patriots were in big games, especially in big moments, opponents knew his worth, and he saw frequent double and even triple teams.
But some of my best memories of how he brought out the best of some of his teammates and they in him. In 2014, when the Patriots signed Darrelle Revis, during training camp and practices the two would always line up against one another in positional drills. They loved to challenge each other and it was something to behold.
A few years later when the Patriots landed Stephon Gilmore it was much the same thing. They would compete hard but never in a way that didn’t show a ton of respect for each other. In those individual drills in camp, Edelman was as close to unrecoverable as anyone I’ve witnessed.
When the Patriots had joint practices against the Jaguars and Bears in particular I recall Edelman taking some corners to school in one-on-one situations.
We all reveled in how big a competitor Tom Brady was, in practice and in games. Edelman was much the same way; so it isn’t a shocker to why the two got so close not only on the field but off of it as well. The film of Edelman returning a punt for a touchdown against the Broncos and Brady running down into the end zone is a prime example.
Shortly afterward, the two were sitting on the bench and Edelman asked, “Were you in the endzone after the punt return?” Brady responded, “Yeah,…had to see my guy.”
Robert Kraft’s comments on Edelman were also a fitting tribute to the player as was Bill Belichick’s and leave no doubt as to his worth with New England.
“Julian Edelman is one of the great success stories in our franchise’s history. There aren’t many players who earn an NFL roster spot at a position they have never played before. Julian not only did that as a seventh-round draft selection, but he is retiring with the second-most career receptions in franchise history and as a three-time Super Bowl Champion, including his last as Super Bowl MVP.
“No one was more committed to his craft and honing his skills than Jules. His explosiveness off the line, quickness in his cuts, and elusiveness after the catch made him one of the hardest players to defend throughout his career. His clutch catches in our biggest games and overall toughness made him a fan favorite. Over the past 12 years, I have enjoyed watching him grow as a player, as a person, and as a father. In 2019, I had the privilege of traveling to Israel with Julian, which might be the only place where he is more popular than here in New England.”
Bill Belichick Pre-draft Presser Doesn’t Give Much Away (Surprise!):
Here’s to the press conferences by Bill Belichick which are already in mid-season form. While some of the media were complaining that Bill didn’t say much, like anything else, you have to read between the lines and also read the tea leaves a little bit if you want to glean anything from them.
Of course, it isn’t like anyone was truly expecting Belichick to state, “We’re going to make every effort to trade up to spot #”X” and trade for player “Y” were they? Or perhaps they were…if so, they haven’t been paying attention to the past 20 years.
On the subject of QBs however, again you have to read between the lines.
“I think we talked earlier about the draft process, some players didn’t play, some played a full season, some players played partial seasons. When you look at the players at that position, I think you see a lot of differences in the 2020 season.
“A lot of it is by conference, but there are some other circumstances as well. It’s an interesting class and group of guys. Some are very strong in some skills, and some seem very strong in other skills. It’s definitely an interesting group.”
As to which players fit the Patriots’ offense, Belichick didn’t seem like he was particularly married to any one style.
“I think every team has their own style of play, has their own type of offense, so you’re looking for a player who will fit your style, or maybe you want to adapt your style to that player,” Belichick said. “I think that’s the way it is, really, when you draft almost any player. If you have a player who has a certain skill set that is an impact player on your team, no matter what position he plays, you probably want to try to accommodate and play to his strengths, utilize his skills the best that you can, whatever position that is.
“So honestly, it’s not that concerned with what the general trends and all that are. It’s really just trying to help our team and trying to find the best methods we can to make our team as competitive as we can, no matter what that entails. There are certainly a lot of chapters in that book, a lot of different ways to do it. Ultimately, I think you want to enhance the skills of your players no matter what position they play.”
“Whoever the players are at whatever position you’re talking about, if you want to enhance their skills, you want to adapt a little bit of what your scheme is to do that,” Belichick said. “That’s really a decision that you have to make. We’ve had a couple different styles of player at that position. We tried to do that in those examples.”
Of course, Belichick may trade up and take CB Patrick Surtain with their top pick…that would set some people’s hair on fire.
“By any measure of what constitutes an elite NFL career – wins, championships, production – Julian has it all. Few players can match Julian’s achievements, period, but considering his professional trajectory and longevity, the group is even more select. It is historic. This is a tribute to his legendary competitiveness, mental and physical toughness and will to excel. Day in and day out, Julian was always the same: all out. Then, in the biggest games and moments, with championships at stake, he reached even greater heights and delivered some of his best, most thrilling performances.
“For all Julian did for our team, what I may appreciate the most is he was the quintessential throwback player. He could, and did, do everything – catch, run, throw, block, return, cover and tackle – all with an edge and attitude that would not allow him to fail under any circumstance. Julian Edelman is the ultimate competitor and it was a privilege to coach him.”
Bill Belichick’s comments about the retirement of WR Julian Edelman, a three-time Super Bowl champion, a Super Bowl MVP, and one of the best Patriots players ever.
“So, how was your week?”
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Posted Under: 2021 Patriots Draft
Tags: Bill Belichick Cam Newton Julian Edelman New England Patriots NFL Patriots Patriots 2021 draft Tom Brady