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Patriots News October 3, Brady’s Return, Players to Watch vs the Bucs

Steve Balestrieri
Steve Balestrieri on Twitter
October 3, 2021 at 5:00 am ET

Patriots News October 3, Brady’s Return, Players to Watch vs the Bucs(PHOTO: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
Posted: Oct 03, 2021 05:00
🕑 Read Time: 6 minutes

Good morning, here is your Sunday Patriots news 10-3, and AFC East Notes.

Gameday, as the Patriots face a big game against the Super Bowl Champion Buccaneers tonight on Sunday Night Football. The Bucs seemingly have few if any weaknesses, (other than a banged up and depleted secondary) so, this will be a big measuring stick for the rebuilding Patriots. 

While the talk all week is centered around the upcoming novel about the team, the game is by far the most important aspect of this week. And it will be good when this week is over given the over-the-top hype non-football topics we’ve been subjected to and (at least here), have tuned out from. 

No AFC East notes this week, but we’ll have them back next week. 

Have you checked out our sortable stats for the Patriots? It is a great resource for all of the players on the roster.  

Quick Hitters For the Pats, and the NFL: 

James White: The Patriots’ sparkplug running back was placed on IR with a hip subluxation injury that will probably end his 2021 season. He was injured during the game last week against the Saints and his loss is a big blow on and off the field. 

White is the Patriots’ best receiver out of the backfield and his loss leaves the Patriots thinner at the position with Damien Harris, J.J. Taylor, rookie Rhamondre Stevenson, and veteran Brandon Bolden. Malcolm Perry is on IR but is eligible to return. 

James White

The Patriots will miss James White on and off the field. (Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports photo)

Tom Brady: The return of Brady to Gillette Stadium is notable not just for his playing in his former home turf but with just 69 yards passing, he will pass Drew Brees for the most regular-season passing yards in NFL history. Brady already owns the record for regular and post-seasons combined.  Rob Gronkowski won’t play this week as he has bruised ribs, but his last catch as a Patriot was the big play in the Super Bowl from Brady that set up Sony Michel’s game-winning touchdown. Now all three are elsewhere.

It will be interesting to see if the NFL stops the game to recognize Brady’s accomplishment as they did with Brees when he broke Peyton Manning’s record. Breaking the record in Gillette is the perfect place, except that Brady will be in a different uniform in doing so. 

Bill Belichick: The Patriots’ head coach was inundated with questions unrelated to the game this week. Finally, on Friday, he was asked if he would have had as much success if he didn’t have Tom Brady as the QB. “Of course not,” Belichick said. 

Nick Folk: With both Folk and Quinn Nordin injured, the Patriots have been doing their due diligence and worked out kickers Riley Patterson and Brett Maher this week. They also worked out long snappers Turner Bernard and Ryan Langan. 

Raekwon McMillan: After suffering a torn left ACL during training camp resulting in him being placed on IR, McMillan (25), still remains in the Patriots’ future plans. 

Field Yates of ESPN reported that the team signed him to a one-year contract extension. He had previously torn his right ACL while a member of the Miami Dolphins.

4th & 2 Podcast: If you haven’t checked out our podcast, “Patriots 4th & 2” in a bit, please check it out. Derek, Russ, and I spoke about the Saints game and tonight’s game with the Bucs.

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.

Tailgate Food: What’s everyone eating for their pre or post-game tailgate/home feast today? Since it is a later night game start, we’re eating early. Our plan is to smoke a pork tenderloin with root veggies (potato, sweet potato, baby carrots, and parsnips) which is a family favorite. 

During the game, some nachos will be on the slate for sure. What’s on the menu this week for everyone? 

Ivan Fears Comments on Tom Brady Are Gold:

In the interview with the media this week Ivan Fears, who is never at a loss for words waxed about Tom Brady when he was asked about him. Fears was a coach for Brady’s entire time with the Patriots.

Ivan Fears the longtime Patriots’ running back coach is a straight shooter and always is good for a great quote. (Stew Milne – USA TODAY Sports photo)

“I love Tom Brady. I always have,” Fears said. “I spent 20 years with the young guy. I am very honored to have played or been a part of the team with him. I still think he’s the greatest, but right now that S.O.B. is the enemy. So, however you put it, he’s coming in as the enemy.”

“I still love him. I think he’s a great person. But I’m not going to be sharing any love when it comes to game time and we’ll share that love afterward when it’s all said and done,” added Fears. “I think he’s a hell of a player. He’s a great person, a hell of a player, hell of a leader. God, he’s got all that stuff going. You know, we miss him — or I should say I miss him as a person. I think that’s the way, the right way — I miss him as a person. 

“Right now, I’m happy for him for the success he’s had and I’m looking forward to trying to beat his butt. And that’s what counts. That’s all that matters right now. We’re going after each other.”

Patriots Players to Watch Today:

Every week we look at the game within a game. Here are our players to watch from a Patriots perspective today. 

Christian Barmore —  The Patriots’ rookie defensive tackle will be a key player to watch tonight. The key to attacking Tom Brady isn’t rushers off the edge as he steps up easily to deliver the ball. But the key for the Patriots is rushing right up the middle and it’s that pressure that Brady has always had the most trouble with. Barmore has shown good push in his pass rush. He’ll have to step it up this week.  

The Entire OL — Mac Jones has been hit far too often in the first three weeks of the season, and it is time that they start putting some solid efforts together. The Saints miss Jason Pierre-Paul and their pass rush hasn’t been the factor it was last year. They have just three sacks on the season. If the Patriots are going to hang with the Bucs tonight, the protection around Jones has to be much better.

J.J. Taylor —  The Patriots’ running back has been thought to be the heir apparent to James White as the Patriots’ third-down back. Because of White’s injury, the future is now for Taylor. He has big shoes to fill and he’ll no doubt have some help by Rhamondre Stevenson in subbing in for Damien Harris. 

Matthew Judon — Judon has come completely as advertised this season and leads the team with 3.5 sacks but has been excellent overall. While Barmore and pressure up the middle is our key, Judon can still bring the heat and force Brady up into a condensed pocket if all of the pieces are working together. 

Jonnu Smith — The tight end had a nightmarish afternoon against the Saints but is too talented to derail his season. The key is bouncing back and doing it quickly and no doubt Smith probably wanted to play the Bucs right away after that game. Look for Mac Jones to get Smith and Hunter Henry involved in this one early. 

Week 4 Predictions:

The slate of games for Week 4 and my predictions for this week.

Thursday Night Football
Cincinnati over Jacksonville  1-0

Sunday –
Washington over Atlanta
Buffalo over Houston
Detroit over Chicago
Dallas over Carolina
Indianapolis over Miami
Cleveland over Minnesota
New Orleans over NY Giants
Tennessee over NY Jets
Kansas City over Philadelphia
San Francisco over Seattle
Baltimore over Denver
Green Bay over Pittsburgh
LA Rams over Arizona
Sunday Night Football
Tampa Bay over New England
Monday Night Football
Las Vegas over LA Chargers


Last Week:        11-5
Season:             29-19

Last Season:   169-86-1

2019 Season:   162-93-1 


“We’ve talked about that for two decades. I think I’ve been on the record dozens of times saying there’s no quarterback I’d rather have than Tom Brady, and I still feel that way. I was very lucky to have Tom as the quarterback, to coach him, and he was as good as any coach could ever ask for..”

Bill Belichick’s comments when asked about having Brady with the team for two decades.


“So, how was your week?”

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on Stitcher and Streamyard as Russ Goldman, Derek Havens, and myself from discuss the latest Patriots news and game analysis.

Featured photo of Mac Jones and Jonnu Smith: (USA Today photo)


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Forget the Hype, Belichick’s Patriots Just Need This Win

About Steve Balestrieri

A former US Army Special Forces NCO and Officer, Steve has been following the Patriots since their days at Fenway Park. Steve has worked in the film industry and wrote as an Military Editor at, as a reporter for the Millbury Daily Voice, Millbury-Sutton Chronicle, and the Grafton News. He's also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Bill Belichick Christian Barmore Drew Brees Hunter Henry James White Jonnu Smith Mac Jones Matthew Judon New England Patriots NFL NFL all-time passing yards leader Patriots Patriots edge rushers Rob Gronkowski Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tom Brady

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