Good morning, I’m stepping in for Steve Balestrieri this weekend. He’s away with his family for personal reasons so I’ll do the best I can to fill in for him. So let’s get to it.
Quick Hitters for the Patriots, and the NFL:
Cam Newton vs Mac Jones: I mentioned this earlier in the week but when it comes to Newton, the likelihood of him being under center to start the year is probably pretty high, or at least as long as he can come out and be productive in camp.
While Jones has reportedly been the more accurate of the two players, the lack of experience may be what holds Bill Belichick from putting him out there to start the season.
Tom Curran brought up the point in a recent podcast that Newton’s size and athleticism and ability to improvise will probably give him an edge over the rookie to begin the year, which could play a big factor in that decision.
“When you get in against Miami and it’s 3rd-and-6, and you’re like, ‘holy crap, I have no idea what they’re doing’, and Cam gets to his third step and he’s thinking that, he can take off,” said Curran. “That’s something that Mac Jones is not going to be able to do. And that’s why I truly believe that unless you see an absolute knock-out performance by Mac Jones and you have a clear demonstration that Cam Newton is an impediment to the success of the offense, then Cam Newton is going to start.”
As a result, barring a meltdown, it will probably be Newton calling signals in Week 1. What happens after that will be up to him and it’s up to Jones to keep building momentum when he next hits the field one month from now.
Mac Jones: Speaking of Jones, he recently joined Damien Harris and helped out during a flag football camp in Lynn, MA, which was hosted by the New England Flag Football League.
The two helped campers with football but Jones also gave some life advice to the group on hand, reminding them that how they do in school more than anything else.
“First of all, take care of your school work,” said Jones via USA TODAY. “That’s like the most important thing. You can’t do anything in life without a good education. So, do that all the way through college and also just work hard, be a good teammate. Football specifically is a team sport and you’ve got to be a good teammate. It’s not one guy that makes all the plays. It’s the whole team. So, if I was younger and I could do it all over again, I would just be the best teammate I could be, which I always was and I always try to be now that I am in the NFL.”
Jones speaks from experience. He took care of business both on the field while leading Alabama to a National Championship, as well as in the classroom. The former Tide QB finished his master’s degree with a 4.0 GPA.
Brian Hoyer: According to NFL Network’s Mike Giardi, Hoyer is who he believes will be the back-up this season should things work out where Jones ends up as the starter early in the season.
Giardi said on a recent Next Pats Podcast that he believes Newton won’t want to be a back-up if that’s how things play out and that he’ll want to part ways and seek a shot to be a starter elsewhere.
“I think if Cam is the starter and then gets replaced, then I think Cam’s not gonna want to be here anymore,” said Giardi. “So, I’m thinking Week 5 for Mac Jones as the sort of obvious slot-in for him to take over the job. Is Cam gonna really want to be around for 12 more weeks — and I think this is a playoff team, so beyond that — as the backup?”
Jarrett Stidham: Giardi also said in the same podcast he believes Stidham won’t be on the roster this year. He believes that Stidham’s opportunity has already passed and it’s just a matter of time before he ends up playing elsewhere.
“I don’t think Jarrett Stidham makes it to September with this team or makes it past that final cut,” Giardi said. “I think he’s gonna be in the Jacoby Brissett for Phillip Dorsett, I think that’s what we’re looking at with him, or a late-round pick for Jarrett Stidham. I just kind of feel like everything went past him at this point and he’s an afterthought in the competition.”
“And while Hoyer’s working with the scout team against the No. 1 defense, the value there is obviously he knows the offense better than anybody else, he is here to help Mac master this and feel comfortable, he’s been in this role before, and I just think that’s where we’re headed.”
Chase Winovich: Several writers this week seemed to be high on the Steelers consummating a trade to bring Winovich to Pittsbugh, which saw several articles mentioning that possibility.
Winovich’s status with the club has been a little strange this offseason, with his lack of playing time last year and whispers about issues with him internally contributing to rumors about his future with the football team.
The former Michigan standout seemingly tried to quiet those rumors this week, Tweeting on Thursday simply, “I love being a Patriot.”
His status will be one people will be watching next month as he’s shown flashes of being an impact player, but there’s clearly an issue that kept him from seeing more action last season.
In the meantime, on a more humorous note, Winovich also put his Roomba up on Ebay this week, signing it while saying “for $500, I will essentially vacuum your house every day.” So if you’ve ever thought of buying one, there’s an autographed one by Winovich on Ebay that is available.
Tom Brady: Obviously, Brady’s comments during HBO’s recent, “The Shop Interrupted”, which featured Brady, Chelsea Handler, Kid Cudi, Draymond Green, Maverick Carter and Paul Rivera made some noise this week.
The quotes in question came from the promo, where Brady voiced his frustration on a team losing interest in him last year when he was a free agent.
Here’s the full part of that promo, including Rivera making an offhanded comment that Brady responded pretty strongly to.
“There was a story in free agency, one of the teams, they were interested, and then all of a sudden, they weren’t interested at the very end,” said Brady. “I was sitting there thinking, you’re sticking with that m—–f—–? Are you serious?”
“Tom probably had no desire to go to that team, but now, it’s like, “why don’t you want me?,” said Rivera.
“Absolutely,” said Brady. “When I look back, I’m like, I think no f—-n way I would have went to that team, but they said they didn’t want me and I know what means, I know what that feels like and I’m going to f–k you up because of that.”
Some thought initially that it may have been the 49ers he was referring to, but it’s doubtful there’s “no way” he would have gone there being as he would have been playing for his childhood team and would have been closer to his parents.
Others thought it may have been the Saints. But the one that seems to possibly make the most sense may have been the Dolphins, who Mike Lombardi believes was really the one Brady may have been referring to.
“I think the team is Miami,” said Lombardi via USA TODAY. “On the Eastern Seaboard, they had Ryan Fitzpatrick. Now, he would say you’re sticking with that m———- for Fitzpatrick. if you know Brady, he wanted to be (in) the East, he wanted to get back at New England, and what better way to get back at New England than go to Miami.
“You got Flores down there, they had plenty of cap room — remember they signed all those guys last year. They had a ton of cap room. And you’re sticking with that m———? Like, you’re sticking with Ryan? You don’t want me? Like Flo, you know me. You know me.”
For now, only Brady knows who it really was, and he just added that chip to his shoulder. Obviously, it doesn’t matter anyway since, clearly, he made the right decision.
Gilmore is key to the Patriots secondary in 2021.
Gilmore’s Future Remains a Question Mark:
Stephon Gilmore’s status still remains a big question and this week former agent, Joel Corry, appeared on The Next Pats Podcast with Phil Perry discussing possible scenarios on the cornerback’s future.
Corry believes that the two sides will probably figure things out, but he also feels that Gilmore does hold a little bit of leverage.
“To a degree because Belichick, with Robert Kraft’s checkbook, didn’t make all these moves to be 7-9 again and miss the playoffs,” said Corry, when asked if he thought Gilmore had any leverage. “So if they don’t have Gilmore around, they don’t have another number one corner on the team. So yeah, it does give him a little bit of leverage.”
“But if I’m the Patriots, I’m hesitant about paying him on a going-forward basis because rarely do you have cornerbacks years 32, 33 and 34, which Gilmore would be 2022 and beyond, play at a Pro Bowl level. Champ Bailey did it for a couple years, he was a Pro Bowler, Charles Woodson at 35, but he was really kind of a hybrid slot corner then moved to safety the following year. You had Charles Tillman at 31 do it, and Richard Sherman at 31 in 2019. Other than that, the past ten years, you don’t have cornerbacks who are 31 and older go to the Pro Bowl. So what you’d be getting from Gilmore in a going-forward basis would most likely be diminishing returns unless he can defy the odds.”
One thing Corry did point out is that he believes Gilmore will be here when camp opens, primarily because holding out of the preseason doesn’t seem like the most financially viable move. Corry went over the numbers and Gilmore’s absence would cause him to forfeit a sizable amount of money if the veteran stayed away.
“The penalties now are a pretty good deterrent,” said Corry. “If you are a player who is on a veteran contract, then it’s $50,000 per day and that fine can no longer be forgiven, it’s mandatory and training camp is going to run anywhere from 35-40 days. So you’re looking, if you held out of training camp, upwards of a $2-million fine. The fines have increased dramatically to deter players from holding out.”
“Then there’s another penalty that Gilmore has. Since he signed his contract as an unrestricted free agent, he’s also subject to an additional fine that is mandatory of one week’s salary for each preseason game missed. So 1/18th of his $7-million base salary is slightly under $390,000. So that’s $390,000 salary, practically, for each preseason game that he misses. There are three preseason games, so you’re basically over a million dollars in addition to the potential $2-million in fines. So that’s a pretty dramatic fine that can’t be forgiven.”
“Obviously, he wasn’t happy with his contract or they wouldn’t have made the adjustment last year, where they essentially pulled $4.5 million out of this year’s base salary and put it into 2020, then added an incentive that he didn’t earn for $2-million for being defensive player of the year.”
As far as what he believes it might take to get Gilmore signed, Corry believes it would take a multi-year deal similar to what Darius Slay signed after Detroit sent him to Philadelphia in a trade last offseason.
“I would want a 3-year extension and to me, the minimum would be in the Darius Slay range,” said Corry. “Darius Slay at 29, when he was traded from the Lions to the Eagles, signed a 3-year extension at the time, which made him the highest-paid cornerback in the league for $50.05-million over the three years. The structure was very team-friendly, so I wouldn’t want his structure.”
“But basically, you’d have to get me in the $17-million per-year range on an extension and that would make Gilmore the 4th-highest paid cornerback in the league as the salary pay scale for that position is currently constructed.”
How things play out will obviously be at the forefront and Mike Reiss last week wrote that he believes the two sides appear to be in a position where reaching common ground remains a possibility. Hopefully, we’ll avoid a lot of this potential speculation and the two sides will simply figure it all out before training camp gets here.
Brady added another chip on his shoulder before signing in Tampa.
Tom Brady’s Full Transcript from HBO’s “The Shop Interrupted” Appearance:
For anyone wondering what else was said, here’s the entire transcript of his bits from the episode:
When the cast joked, “Tom, you keep winning for f—-n forever…”
“That’s not happening, not forever, no. We’re coming to the end…it’s coming to the end.”
When told he didn’t look like it was coming to an end ‘at all’:
“So much of it for me is about, having perspective. After a while, you go, ‘holy s–t, like, what happened? There was times where, yeah, I was young and really enjoyed the moment of sports and then thought, after we won our third Super Bowl, I was really young, 25, I made some comment like, ‘man maybe there’s more to life than this’. And then we didn’t win a Super Bowl for 10-years and I was like, ‘F–k man, this is really hard’. And then the next time we won the Super Bowl was like the most amazing experience of my life because I had [the] perspective of not doing well and then, you know, taking it for granted when it did go well, and then realizing at this moment, ‘Oh, my God, that was like, impossible.”
On the most recent parade:
“It was fun. I had been in the Northeast for twenty years you know, so it’s like freezing cold. Every time we won, it was like 38 and you were freezing. By the end of the parade, you were like, ‘Get me home’. This, we’re out on a boat, it’s 85 degrees, we’re drinking tequila all day and I’ve got the Super Bowl trophy in my hand, I’m in my boat, Chelsea [points to her] is where the other boat is, and I’m like, ‘I’m going to throw it to my boys over there.’
“So I throw it, and the bottom of this trophy is sharp, I mean, it could have gone so bad.”
On the fact people on his boat were telling him it was a bad idea:
“That was my daughter. So she’s 8-years old at the time and she goes, ‘Daddy, daddy no, no, no, no, no!”
On what it’s like being the ‘most judged athlete’ in the world and where does the confidence come from?
“At this point, I’ve had a lot of experience and I think for me, I was very blessed to have the right people come into my life at the right time. Alex [Guerrero], my great friend, my brother, you know, he’s out here with me today, I was struggling with how to take care of my body. I wanted to play sports, but my body hurt all the time. My right elbow hurt every time I threw, so I started working with them and all the pain in my elbow went away.”
“I take care of my body so that, when I go on the field, it’s actually feeling great because every athlete loves to feel great. I see all these NBA guys getting hurt all the time. In my mind, I’m thinking, it’s so easy. You just, no offense, you don’t have to run that far, you know what I mean? There’s not a lot of contact. You’ve got nice comfortable shoes on, you know what I mean? It’s nice climate all the time. Man, if I was a basketball player, I always thought, “Lebron, man if he felt 100% every night, it would be scary. I’ve been very fortunate to feel, not always 100%, but close to that.”
Draymond Green on that comment: “I think there’s always, you see it from your perspective, and we’ll see it from our perspective. What we see as a basketball player is, well as a football player, I don’t have to be in as great of shape because you stop after every play. You can get caught on a basketball court and be running for seven minutes straight without a timeout back and forth.”
“By the way, I’m not getting out there on a f—-n football field. I’m good on that.”
On a previous comment where LeBron James pointed out that football players don’t have to play both offense and defense:
“I’m not a big comparison person like that, because it really just depends on what style you like. You could say, ‘Well, you may be the most accomplished, I would say like, ‘OK, yeah, I’ve won a lot of games, Super Bowls and so forth, but my style of play might not fit everybody else’s, what their view of that position should be. I can really just be the best with the body that I was given.”
“There’s certain things that I certainly cannot do and I had the awareness to realize, ‘O.K., I can’t do those things. You can’t do everyone else’s job. I can’t block, tackle, run, catch. Sure as hell can’t run, but I can throw the s–t out of the ball, so let me just do that. Let me do that really well and I think if I can do that, then the team, certainly, could use me for that.”
On his thoughts on Green holding back comments in interviews to not get fined:
“As long as I’ve watched you play, I can’t imagine you don’t say what you think. I think, ‘Wait a minute, you’re holding back? What else is in there?”
“You’d be shocked. I’ve learned how to tailor it a little bit, you’d be shocked, Tom.”
On if there are moments where he’d like to be like Green and say what he really thinks and take the fine:
“What I say vs what I think are two totally different things. I would say 90% of what I say is probably not what I’m thinking which is challenging, you know? I really admire people that actually can do that and say what they think because they invite a lot of other things into their life. I think there’s part of me that doesn’t like conflict, so in the end, I just always try to play it super flat.”
“From a strategic standpoint, I never want to give away, like, what we’re doing. I usually say the opposite. If they’ve got a sh—y corner, I’ll be like, ‘That guy’s unbelievable. I don’t even know how they complete balls over there.’ In my mind, I’m thinking, ‘I’m going to light that m—–f—– up all-day. Because I don’t want to give them any…and then when it comes to other things, I think there’s part of it that’s – so much is giving other people your power, you know? Like, why can what Chelsea say really affect me? In my view, it shouldn’t, or else, you have power over me based on what you say.”
“I try to think a lot before I speak. Some people, like my wife, for example, she just let’s it come out. It’s like foom, and it’s out, and I’m like, ‘Holy s–t’ and you know what? She’s right. Her instincts and her nature is usually right with a lot of the things that she says and thinks and I’m always like, ‘How does she do that because I’ve got to think about it for five or ten minutes and think, ‘How do I really deal with this particular situation or answer because I don’t want to say something that in the end, I’ll be like, ‘(sighs)…I wish I had said something different.”
On his thoughts on Naomi Osaka:
“You feel for the 22-year olds that are in the position that, look, there’s a lot of things happening in their life. We all go through things, I went through a lot of things in my late teens, early 20s, I didn’t know how to deal with a lot of things that were coming in because there was no training guide with how to deal what was happening in my life, you know? Now as someone who is twice her age, you have compassion and empathy for that and then you hope that she can deal with that. Because you wouldn’t want that to take away…if her true joy is playing tennis, you don’t want something like that taking away from what her joy should be.”
“Marshawn Lynch, that was the most beautiful thing, ‘I’m just here so I don’t get fined.’ You know what I mean? He put no mental energy into any question and he didn’t get fined for that. It was a very hard thing to do and there’s so many times where I’m like, Oh, I wish I could just go, ‘I’m just here…’ I mean, I’ve said that 50 times and you know, never done it. One day I’ll do it before I retire.”
On if he feels like he has that freedom:
“No, definitely not. No, because I think you’re in an enterprise, and I’m an employee of that enterprise, you know? I’m not my own entrepreneur where I can make my own individual choices and I think I’ll get there at some point where I can and then I’ll choose to, you know…but you’re still in this structured system so you’ve got to feel like you’ve got to play by, at least, I have to play by their rules. So there’s definitely times where you don’t want to play by the rules.”
A Quick Look back at the 2002 PreSeason:
Coming off of their first Super Bowl victory, it’s interesting to look back at where the team was heading into that following season.
With Foxboro Stadium having been demolished after the team completed construction of Gillette Stadium, Belichick spent that preseason not only getting the club ready for the preseason, but also had to spend time himself spending time with his fellow coaches getting used to the new logistics.
Prior to their first exhibition game against the Giants, the team spent time that week trying to get used to their new digs, even though they would be on the road that week.
“The main thing we’re going to try to do is get acclimated to the new stadium, the field, the 40-second clock, whatever the wind conditions are, the lights, get a feel for the footing, and all of those type of things,” Belichick told the media at the time. “We’re going to have a normal practice. We’re not going to do anything that hasn’t been done in the last week.”
“[We’re going to get acclimated] to the conditions, and check out the phones in the coaches booth, and the coach to quarterback system, and all of those little things that are apart of a game-day operation, so that if there are any bugs we can start to work them out, not that I expect any.”
I was actually at that game against the Eagles, thanks to Patriots forum member Dwayne Perkins, who reached out and invited me. The stadium certainly didn’t disappoint as it was definitely impressive at that the time. Obviously, a lot has changed since then but it still remains a terrific venue and it’s certainly evolved quite a bit.
One recent change happened this week when the club added a much larger scoreboard this offseason, which will be available when fans are finally able to be on hand later this season.
PITTSBURGH TALKED SOME TRASH THAT PRESEASON:
But what was interesting that year were some quotes that came out prior to the Patriots embarrassing the Steelers on the road to start the season, where Pittsburgh gave New England some bulletin board material, which is how we’ll close this out:
“I don’t think nobody shut me down; [Ty Law and Otis Smith] are just two average corners. When you got two good safeties, your corners can gamble a lot more. They were kind of bracketing me. Otis would come up and jam me at the line and jump outside, and he’d let me go inside knowing that he had help over the top. They were giving me everything inside and taking everything from me deep and outside.
“I wouldn’t say they shut me down. They got like two or three pass-interference calls when they played me man to man. They got out of that real quick and they went to bracketing me. They were forcing me [inside] and I’m running straight on to the safety. I can’t do nothing but run curls and in routes. They were taking away everything outside.”
WR Plaxico Burress, August 24, 2002 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Me and Ty Law, we still have some unfinished business. I worked all off-season looking forward to this game. ”
WR Hines Ward, August 27, 2002 Pittsburgh Post Gazzette
“I am in better shape than [Belichick] is. He is a good football coach, but if it did come down to a one on one match up I will take him on it.”
Bill Cowher September 3, 2002
Lastly, be sure to check out our NFL News page which has up-to-the minute news from all the sources from all 32-teams, including individual team pages. I’m also working with Miguel Benzan on a brand new site for him, so you’ll hopefully see that in the coming weeks as well.
In the meantime, have a great week and I’ll be back at it Monday morning with daily reports after a brief hiatus on Friday. And best wishes to Steve and his family and we look forward to when he returns.
Follow me on Twitter @IanLogue or email me at [email protected]
Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on Stitcher and Streamyard as Russ Goldman, Derek Havens, and Steve Balestrieri from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news and game analysis.
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: 2002 Patriots Preseason 2002 Patriots Season Bill Belichick Bill Cowher Brian Flores Brian Hoyer Cam Newton Chase Winovich Chelsea Handler Damien Harris Draymond Green Jacoby Brissett Jarrett Stidham Kid Cudi Mac Jones Maverick Carter Miami Dolphins New England Patriots New Orleans Saints Paul Rivera Phillip Dorsett Pittsburgh Steelers Plaxico Burress Ryan Fitzpatrick Stephon Gilmore Tom Brady