Author Archives: Ian Logue

Ian Logue

About Ian Logue

Ian Logue is a Seacoast native and owner and senior writer for PatsFans.com, an independent media site covering the New England Patriots and has been running this site in one form or another since 1997.

Daily Notebook: Wednesday Patriots News and Notes 5/24

Ian Logue
May 24, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

Here’s a look at this morning’s top stories.

Gronk Agrees to Incentive Package – Looking at the $5.25 million tight end Rob Gronkowski was set to make in 2017, it left him well underpaid compared to his peers as he looked to bounce back after his 2016 season was cut short due to injury.   However, the Patriots reportedly agreed to a change to his contract and his new deal should give him plenty of additional motivation as he attempts to get back to the top of his game.

According to ProFootballTalk.com, Gronkowski now has a three-tiered incentive package for 2017 that raises his salary, provided he meets the parameters.

From ProFootballTalk.com:

According to agent Drew Rosenhaus, Gronkowski can earn another $5.5 million, another $3 million, or another $1 million under the following formula: (1) if he participates in 90 percent of the offensive snaps OR catches 80 passes OR gains 1,200 receiving yards OR scores 14 touchdowns OR is named a first-team All-Pro, Gronkowski will earn the extra $5.5 million; (2) if he participates in 80 percent of the snaps OR catches 70 passes OR has 1,000 receiving yards OR scores 12 touchdowns, he gets the extra $3 million; or (3) if he participates in 70 percent of the snaps OR catches 60 passes OR has 800 receiving yards OR scores 10 touchdowns, he gets the extra $1 million.

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that should he hit all his incentives, Gronkowski’s salary could reach $10.75 million.

The good news for Gronkowski is the fact that the majority of milestones he would need to reach in order to earn the incentives are all ones he’s hit in the past when he’s been healthy for 16 games, which is the biggest question the Patriots likely have heading into this season.

As the website points out, the good news for Gronkowski is the fact his base salary wasn’t affected and the team simply gave him attainable goals to raise his salary to a more competitive level with other players at his position, as well as potentially becoming the highest paid tight end in football.  The other obvious upside is if he’s putting up those types of numbers, the Patriots should certainly benefit in the win column.

Overall, it’s a win-win for both sides, and if Gronkowski can return to form, it will hopefully also open the door to a further extension to ensure he stays here for the foreseeable future.


Belichick is a big fan of joint practice sessions.

Patriots and Jaguars to Hold Joint Session – Preseason football in past years here in New England had offered up an opportunity for fans to get a free up close and personal look at opposing teams in the days leading up to the game, and they’ve had some great opportunities to get a first-hand look at some good teams and players.

Last year featured the Bears and Saints, who were each competitive clubs that made the experience fun to watch.  This preseason, there now sits a bit of the unknown with an up and coming team set to reportedly visit Foxborough in the coming months, with the Jacksonville Jaguars set to hold joint practices against New England.  The two teams will reportedly hold sessions on August 7th and 8th, with a preseason game that week scheduled on August 10th at Gillette Stadium.

For the Jaguars, it’s a great opportunity for first-year head coach Doug Marrone to get the chance to work with one of the best coaches in the game as he looks to try and get his Jaguars club headed back to being a competitive football team.

“Having the opportunity to practice with the defending world champions to begin our preseason schedule will be beneficial for our football team,” said Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone via the team’s release. “We appreciate Coach Belichick extending the invitation to our organization.”

As for the Patriots, one player who is already looking forward to the match-up is undrafted free agent cornerback and Jacksonville native, D.J. Killings, who can’t wait to compete against his hometown team.

“I’m just ready to whup ’em, for real,” he told the Boston Herald’s Adam Kurkjian. “First in college and high school, you’re like, ‘Oh, you know, the Jacksonville Jaguars, they’ve got some great players.’ Now, you respect them as players, but it’s like, ‘I ain’t looking up to y’all no more. It’s time for me to go against y’all.'”


Bruschi knows first hand how tough it is to go undefeated.

Bruschi Argues in favor of 2007 team – One of the topics discussed over the offseason given the amount of talent the Patriots have acquired is whether or not this year’s club is more talented than the one that managed to run off a perfect 16-0 regular season in 2007.

Tedy Bruschi was asked that very question on Monday on ESPN’s NFL Live program, and was pretty emphatic in his feelings on the matter.

“Overreaction! Are you kidding me?” Bruschi said via Mike Reiss. “That 2007 team, I’ll go straight to the defensive line, having [Vince] Wilfork, [Ty] Warren and [Richard] Seymour in front of me — three first-round picks. The talent we had along the front seven.

“Randy Moss, a lot of the guys they had on offense, especially. Tom [Brady] threw 50 touchdown passes. Wes Welker couldn’t be stopped in the slot. And you know what else is a talent? Mental toughness, and that’s what those guys had, because to go 16-0, to carry that burden.”

Bruschi might be a little biased given that he played on that football team, but there’s no question that winning all sixteen games is obviously an extremely difficult feat, especially since his club was only the second in league history to pull it off behind the 1972 Dolphins.

Mental toughness is indeed what it takes and one of the biggest questions is always how well will the new players adapt in a system that requires the same laser-focus from every player each week.

The former linebacker knows what it takes and like the rest of the fans here in New England, it will be up to the 2017 edition of this football team to prove themselves when they take the field together and begin playing meaningful games in the coming months.

Hollister Brothers Happy to Be Patriots – When you’re two brothers playing in completely different colleges, one of the last things you expect is to end up playing on the same NFL team together.

Landing on a team that happens to be the defending Super Bowl Champion would likely be considered an even bigger long-shot, yet that’s what ultimately happened to rookie free agents and twin brothers Jacob and Cody Hollister.

Where they went to college wasn’t even close to this region, with Jacob playing in Wyoming, while Cole played at Arkansas.  Yet it was the Patriots who gave them an opportunity and they’re both looking forward to having the chance to make the most of it.

“The whole process, two twins on the same team, it’s ridiculous. The odds are crazy, so having him here is great,:” Cody told the Boston Herald.  “Having family with you, we’ve been away from each other for three years, so being back together is an incredible experience. Learn better and we compete together, so there’s nothing better than that.”

According to the Herald, the two have spent plenty of time going over plays and formations while trying to figure out New England’s playbook, but they said it’s been a great experience and despite all the time they’re spending together, it never gets old.

“We get tired of each other, but it’s brotherly love,” Cody said. “Having him here is awesome.”

With OTAs already having started, the journey is well underway for two brothers pursuing the same dream.  The fact that they’re able to do it together, makes it an even cooler story and they’ll be fun to keep an eye on should they make it into the start of training camp.

 

Daily Notebook: Tuesday Patriots News and Notes 5/23

Ian Logue
May 23, 2017 at 7:00 am ET

Here’s a look at this morning’s top stories.

Johnson Backs Brady  – After Tom Brady came under fire last week thanks to comments made by his wife, GIsele Bundchen, who told CBS This Morning that her husband has apparently sustained concussions over the years despite the fact that the quarterback has never appeared on the injury report with one listed.

That likely means that if Brady was hurt, he didn’t say anything and the team was unaware that their quarterback was experiencing any issues.  That doesn’t surprise former Lions receiver Calvin Johnson, who told the Detroit Free Press that he’s the first to admit that he’s hidden them as well.

“Guys get concussions, they don’t tell the coaches,” Johnson told the newspaper this past weekend.  “It happens. I don’t tell the coach sometimes cause I know I got a job to do. The team needs me out there on the field. And sometimes you allow that to jeopardize yourself, but that’s just the nature of the world.”

Steelers quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, has taken a different approach.  Roethlisberger told The MMQB’s Peter King that he’s experienced his own issues but he’s opted to report them and he’s putting himself and his future above all else.

“I’m proud of it,” Roethlisberger told King via ProFootballTalk.com. “I have been just like Drew [Brees] where I haven’t reported things before either. Probably everybody who has ever played the game of football hasn’t reported an injury. For me it wasn’t about an injury—I’ve played through many injuries—but when you talk about your head, that is a different ball game.”

“You can replace a lot of body parts, but you can’t replace a brain. You see the effects of it from past players, players who have taken their lives, the CTE, all that stuff and, you know, I’m thinking about my family and long term. I love this game and I love my brothers that I play football with, and I would encourage any player who has an issue with their brain to just report it properly . . . We are blessed to play this game but we also have a life to live.”

His comments are in no way a shot at Brady, especially given his affinity for the Patriots quarterback that fans saw first hand after he got all geeked out last year when he awkwardly asked Brady to exchange jerseys prior to their match-up.  The two swapped jerseys after the Patriots beat Pittsburgh and that jersey is now hanging up in Roethlisberger’s office.

It’s a difficult dilemma and concussions remain the type of injury where if there was anything that could unexpectedly force Brady out of the game, that would likely be it.  Bundchen has already expressed concern about his future but for now Brady’s already made it clear he’s not worried, instead focusing on getting ready for yet another NFL season.


Clayborn finally got the recognition he deserves on Monday.

Clayborn Finally Gets In – One of the biggest problems with being so successful for so long is that the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady era has quietly drowned out some of the most talented players in the history of the franchise, but an important one finally broke through on Monday.

The team announced that former defensive back Raymond Clayborn finally earned his way into the Patriots Hall of Fame, beating out Richard Seymour and Mike Vrabel to earn the honor.

It was a well-deserved achievement for Clayborn, who was a finalist for the fourth-straight year and has faced an uphill battle against a fan base that has spent the last nearly 17-years watching one of the most remarkable eras in franchise history. With so many greats playing over that span, it’s muddied the waters for the fans who watched this team long before Belichick and Brady arrived, since most of the younger fans aren’t aware of what life was like back when Clayborn graced the field.

Clayborn played for New England from 1977 through 1989, enjoying a trip to the Super Bowl at the age of 31 after a 1986 season that saw the Patriots finish 11-5 playing for then head coach Raymond Berry, who saw his team lose a frustrating game against the Bears in the Super Bowl.  Clayborn played with a host of terrific players, including Steve Grogan, Sam Cunningham, Mike Haynes, Andre Tippett along with many more and Clayborn admitted he was surprised to see he earned enough votes to make it.

“I keep reverting back to the Super Bowls and previous years when I was a candidate; it always had gone to one of those guys. I thought the same thing was going to happen again,” Clayborn said Monday via Mike Reiss of ESPN. “I was totally surprised and very happy.”

Haynes to this day still holds the franchise record for career interceptions, having totaled 36 over his tenure with the team.  However, it’s a record he shares with former Patriots cornerback Ty Law, who also picked off 36 of his own.  But Clayborn admitted, that had it not been for Law’s final injury-plagued season in 2004, Law likely would have broken it.

“Ty’s last year with the Patriots, he was injured after he tied it. I believe he would have broken it if he hadn’t been injured,” Clayborn told Reiss. “I look at him officially as the guy that holds that record, because if he hadn’t of been injured, he would’ve gotten it. But I am proud of being tied with Ty Law, who I think belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”

Patriots owner Robert Kraft was the person who called Clayborn to give him the news and it’s an experience Kraft enjoyed, especially considering he was one of the fans who was at the games as a season-ticket holder during Clayborn’s incredible career.

“I was fortunate to be a season ticket holder during Raymond’s entire Patriots career,” Kraft said in a statement via the team’s official site.. “For the first half of his career, he teamed with Michael Haynes to form one of the best corner tandems in league history. Throughout his career, Raymond was a physical, shutdown corner.”

“One of my favorite memories was watching the 1985 team advance to the Super Bowl after Raymond helped us break the Orange Bowl curse when he stymied future Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino with a dominant performance against Pro Bowl receivers Mark Duper and Mark Clayton. Raymond had six passes defensed and an interception to help us claim our first conference title. It was the greatest upset victory in franchise history at the time and one the entire New England region celebrated.”

“It is a well-deserved honor and I look forward to presenting him his hall of fame jacket.”

Congratulations to Clayborn, as it’s definitely a well-deserved honor and it’s great to finally see him receive the recognition after his terrific career.

White Back on the Roster – The Patriots made a transaction on Monday, signing former Alabama wideout DeAndrew White back to a group that now features eleven receivers on the roster.

White, wore Aaron Dobson’s old #17 last year, spent the 2016 season on the practice squad after he was cut by San Francisco last September, and he joins fellow Alabama players Dont’a Hightower and Cyrus Jones among former Crimson Tide standouts.

During White’s time at Alabama, he totaled 94 catches for 1294 yards and 12 touchdowns from 2011-2014.  He was originally an undrafted free agent before joining the 49ers, and thanks to the fact he landed in New England last season, he’s already enjoyed being an understudy on a team that won a championship.  Now he’ll face the challenge of standing out among one of the more talented groups this club has ever had.

Edelman Celebrates A Birthday – Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman turned 31 on Monday and the team’s official Twitter account had a little fun to commemorate his birthday.

They posted a couple of Tweets, making light of one of the key moments in the Super Bowl, as well as providing fans with footage of the veteran wideout mic’d up on the field.

Great stuff and best wishes to a player who is obviously the heart and soul of the offense.

Daily Notebook: Monday Patriots News and Notes 5/22

Ian Logue
May 22, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

It’s the start of a new work week, and here’s a quick rundown of today’s top stories.

Belichick Pays Respects to Berman – Following a car accident that took the life of Chris Berman’s wife, Katherine, back on May 9th, Bill Belichick was among other big names from around the league who were on hand to pay their respects during a ceremony held for her last Wednesday.

According to the Hartford Courant, Belichick joined Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, former Bills quarterback Jim Kelly, as well as many of his former coworkers at ESPN.

Various people spoke at the memorial ceremony, which began around 1pm and lasted for about an hour, with Berman being the final speaker as he talked about their life journey together.

Berman, who has had various sit downs with Belichick over the years, has clearly earned the love and respect of so many during his career at ESPN and the sudden tragedy sparked an outpouring of support, which was obvious as nearly 500 people attended the ceremony for Berman’s late wife.

Meanwhile, the accident also took the life of 87-year old Edward Bertulis of Waterbury, who was killed when Berman struck his vehicle from behind with such force that it was overturned, leaving him trapped and calling for help following the accident. Bertulis initially survived but later died at the hospital.

While Berman’s loss stole the headlines, Bertulis’ story is a difficult and sad one as well as his death came while he was on his way back from visiting his deceased wife at the Mount Olivet Cemetary, which according to his daughter was something he had done every day since she passed away following their 64 years together.

From all of us at PatsFans.com, our thoughts go out to both families.


James White isn’t the only one with tough incentives in his new deal.

White Not the Only One With Difficult Incentives – Last week we mentioned the difficult incentives that James White has in his new deal but it sounds like he’s not alone, with one big-name veteran seeing similar struggles appearing in his deal.

According to the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin, much like White, former Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has milestones that may be well out of reach in his new deal with the New Orleans Saints.  Volin points out that in order to max out his incentives, Peterson will need to lead the NFL in rushing touchdowns and will also have to rush for at least 1500 yards.  He’s only ever rushed for more than 12 touchdowns in a season once during his career, which was back in his third year back in 2009.

As for the rushing total, he’s only ever rushed for over 1500 yards twice, rushing for 1760 yards back in 2008 and then his astounding 2097 yard total in 2012.  In his last full year in the NFL in 2015, he rushed for 1485 yards, with 11 touchdowns.

The difference between the two players is that White is in the prime of his career while Peterson is a player who has to prove he can still play.  But further complicating things for Peterson is the fact he’ll have to be productive in an offense that already has fellow running back Mark Ingram in their backfield, who rushed for over 1,000 yards last season.

“I figured we were going to draft somebody or get somebody in free agency, still might, I figured that was going to happen, so it’s not surprising to me,” Ingram told NOLA.com via FoxSports.com. “I don’t care who comes in, where I’m at, who I’m playing with. I’m always going to compete, I’m always going to do the best I can do and that’s just me, that’s how I’m built.”

It just goes to show that it’s not just young players who find themselves in tough contract situations, although White’s deal still remains one of the more puzzling ones we’ve seen given New England’s current personnel.  However, following LeGarrette Blount’s signing with Philadelphia, it ensured that there will at least be one fewer players to compete with for playing time this season.

Belichick Spends Saturday At the Preakness –  Bill Belichick took a little time off on Saturday as he and his longtime girlfriend, Linda Holliday, were in Baltimore for The Preakness.

Awesome day at the Preakness! 🏇🏼🏇🏼🏇🏼🎉🎉🎉#MyGuy 💜

A post shared by Linda Holliday✨ (@lindaholliday_) on

Belichick traded his normal hoodie attire to get all dressed up as the two took in the annual race, which saw Cloud Computing pull off the win in a close finish.

It will likely be the last break Belichick gets for the next month as the Patriots will begin OTAs this week.

Shanahan Still Has One Play He Regrets During Loss to Patriots – Kyle Shanahan has the unenviable position of lamenting his former team’s Super Bowl loss to New England, who obviously overcame the largest deficit in Super Bowl history to beat the Falcons back in February during Shanahan’s final game with the team.

The now coach of the 49ers said recently that he has one play that he wishes he could have back, which he felt was the turning point in the game.

“The second-and-10 that we got sacked on,” Shanahan told Rich Eisen during The Rich Eisen Show last week via CSNNE.com. “I wish I had dialed up something differently. And then the next play, we called an option to [Mohamed] Sanu, we got right back in field goal range, but we had a holding call on the play and it knocked us out some more, and an incompletion on the next one.”

That was a difficult sequence for Atlanta, who missed an opportunity to potentially put the Patriots away on that drive and it ultimately left the door open for Tom Brady and company to complete their incredible comeback.

Given that fans in New England can remember a couple of plays here or there during each of the Patriots last two Super Bowl losses that might have been the difference, it’s certainly a relief to be on the other end of things.  Belichick might be the first to admit he’s not perfect, but he and his staff made the right moves when it mattered in each of their last two championship runs and like Pete Carroll, Shanahan learned a tough lesson that will unfortunately likely stay with him for a long, long time moving forward.

Daily Notebook: Friday Patriots News and Notes 5/19

Ian Logue
May 19, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

We’re at the end of another work week, and here are the final notes as we close out the week.

Bennett Talks About the Patriots Epic Comeback – Martellus Bennett’s first and only season in New England will likely go down as the most memorable of his career, especially given that he helped the Patriots win their fifth championship.

But one of the things the now Green Bay Packer recently said he won’t forget was the atmosphere in the locker room when the Patriots found themselves trailing 21-3 after the Falcons had their way in the first half as New England struggled to get anything going offensively.

Despite their struggles, one of the things that stood out to Bennett was the fact that it was business as usual at halftime, and everyone remained focused on doing what they needed to in order to prepare to get back in the game.  In an interview with INC.com, the veteran tight end talked about what it was like after they walked off the field following a forgettable half of football.

“The Super Bowl, we’re down, we’re getting our ass kicked,” Bennett said via CBS Sports. “When we came into the locker room at halftime, there was no bickering, there was no bitching, there was no complaining, there was no moaning, there was no throwing chairs.”

Bennett also said that there were no rah-rah speeches.  Just an incredible amount of focus at the task at hand.

“There was none of this epic ‘We’re going to come back,’ ‘Rudy,’ ‘Remember the Titans’-type speech. There was none of that TV [expletive],” Bennett said. “When you looked around the locker room, you didn’t see anyone that was discouraged, you didn’t see doubt in anyone’s eyes, and that’s like all 53 guys. You looked around and you could see that everybody was determined to figure out what they could do to help us win.”

For Bennett, while he caught just one pass in the final half of play, it was a big reception where he caught a 25-yard gain on a 3rd-and-1 early in the fourth quarter.  That play was big because it kept the chains moving as New England went on to make it a two possession game thanks to Stephen Gostkowski capping the drive with a 33-yard field goal to cut the Falcons lead to 28-12 with 9:44 to go in regulation.

It ended up being a critical possession because on the ensuing drive by Atlanta, linebacker Dont’a Hightower’s sack and forced fumble of Matt Ryan saw the Patriots recover the football at the Falcons’ 25 yard line.  Five plays later, Brady found Danny Amendola for the touchdown and James White ran in the 2-point conversion, which made it an eight point game at 28-20.  We all know what happened from there as the team made history after completing the comeback.

History was something Bennett said at halftime they planned on making, which only makes it that much more amazing.

“[We] put our hands up, ‘Hey, this is going to be written in the history books. Patriots on three. One, two, three, Patriots, break.’ And the rest is history,” Bennett said.

Patriots Make Several Transactions – The Patriots announced three signings on Thursday, with free agent offensive lineman James Ferentz, rookie free agent tight end Sam Cotton, and fourth-round draft choice Deatrich Wise, Jr. all agreeing to deals with the team.

The most notable name getting under contract in this mix is Wise Jr., who certainly has some high expectations as he looks to earn a role on the team.  He told the Boston Herald on Thursday that he’s been studying past players and he’s looking forward to getting to work.

“We’ve just been talking football, but looking on film, watching Jamie Collins and Chandler Jones. I can see myself doing exactly what they did. Chris Long, those guys too,” Wise said Thursday at Gillette Stadium.

As for Ferentz, he’s spent the last two seasons playing for the Denver Broncos and played against New England in the AFC Championship when the Broncos beat New England to advance to Super Bowl 50.

Cotton played in 31 games during his career in Nebraska, totaling 185 yards on 17 receptions along with three touchdowns and joins a group looking to earn a roster spot in what should be a competitive tight end battle behind starters Rob Gronkowski and likely back-up Dwayne Allen.

The former Nebraska standout was spotlighted by HuskerOnline.com in an interview from last April, and he looks and sounds very similar to Gronkowski in terms of his appearance and demeanor.

Meanwhile, the team also released offensive lineman Chris Barker, who spent the last three seasons on New England’s practice squad.

McCourtys Receive Yogi Berra Museum Service Award – Devin McCourty recently received an award as he and his brother were honored in an inaugural awards dinner and ceremony in New York.

The event, which was co-hosted by former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason and Actor Robert Wuhl, was held with the intention of “saluting a remarkable group of individuals who embody the qualities that made Yogi an American treasure: respect, sportsmanship, perseverance, and excellence.”

There were several awards given out, including the Yogi Berra Museum Teammate Award , Yogi Berra Museum Humanitarian Award, Carmen Berra Award and the Yogi Berra Museum Service Award.

Devin and his brother Jason were the recipients of the latter award, with their work through their “Tackle Sickle Cell” foundation, along with their appearances and volunteer efforts within the community, earning them the recognition.

Devin expressing his gratitude for being recognized at the event.

“It was kind of shocking just because we grew up in that area. We were too young to watch Yogi, but knowing his name, the type of player he was and what he accomplished, it was kind of humbling,” Devin said via Patriots.com. “We were able to see his achievements off the field and what he did in that area. It kind of felt undeserving. With everything he accomplished it was definitely an honor to be mentioned in the same sentence as him.”

“Mutual Interest” Was There Between Jason McCourty and Patriots – There was plenty of speculation about the chance for Jason McCourty to end up in New England following his release in Tennessee and now that he’s signed with the Browns, McCourty admitted there had been some interest in having him join Devin here in New England.

“I think there was definitely mutual interest,” McCourty said of the Patriots on “Good Morning Football” Thursday via USA TODAY. “Me and Devin have never hid the fact that us playing together would be a dream come true. My mom kind of has hinted at that since we both got into the league. She knows it would be a lot easier only having to travel to one city during the season.”

“I think there was definitely mutual interest, but to be honest, the Patriots are kind of set at cornerback. They have a lot of talent in that room. There really wasn’t room for me. Me and Dev talked about that and that’s just the way of the league. I’m excited about the opportunity I have in Cleveland to work with those guys.”

It would have been fun to see, but he’ll now be a Brown for at least the next two seasons after signing a 2-year, $6 million deal with Cleveland.  What happens after that remains to be seen, but we’ll have to wait a bit longer for that possibility to come around again.

Cheerleader Writes About Failing to Make the Patriots Squad After Four Attempts – Scanning through the news, I came across a story that appeared in Galmour online about Wilmington native Paige Bennett, who has tried four times since 2013 to make the Patriots’ cheerleading squad and hasn’t quite been able to break through.

Bennett writes that she’s always wanted to be a cheerleader for the team and her mom actually owns a dance studio that has seen many of her alumni become cheerleaders for the club.  Bennett’s attempts at making the squad began back in 2013 when she was 20, and she wrote about the challenges she’s faced despite not having been able to reach her goal of making the squad.

One of the things that’s impressive about her is the progress from the disappointment she dealt with in the beginning, to her attitude about it now after the entire experience.

“This year was my favorite by far,” wrote Bennett.  “I felt more confident and more prepared than ever before. This process forces you to figure out who you are and what you bring to the table. It forces you to realize your worth and be confident in your individuality.”

“Nevertheless, my name wasn’t on the final roster after yet another journey through preliminaries, finals, and boot camp. Did I fail? Yes, yes I did. Am I okay? Better than ever. Failure means progress, and I’ve learned to embrace it.”

Bennett plans on coming back next year and making another run, and she’s just as determined as ever.

“Despite not reaching my goal—yet—I will be back next year,” wrote Bennett.  “I promised myself “I’ll keep going back until it no longer makes sense.” I think I’ll know what that means if and when the times comes, but now, I’m getting ready for next year.”

Best wishes to her, as after reading about her story, she’s gone from a girl just trying to make the cheerleading squad, to a well-rounded individual who is running marathons and has a terrific attitude, so hopefully 2018 will be her year.  You can follow her on Twitter at @pagebennett22.


IBelichick switched back to paper after frustrations with the tablets in 2016.

No Sideline Video For 2017 – For the second straight year, the NFL reportedly confirmed on Thursday that the use of sideline video will not be happening in 2017, with teams voting again to table the proposal.

Coaches have had access to tablets for a few years now, although one of the biggest frustrations we’ve heard have come from here in New England, with things bubbling over with Bill Belichick after he was seen slamming down his tablet back in Week 4 last season in a home loss against the Bills.

The biggest issue he had is just the fact that the performance and reliability of the technology was inconsistent, likely stemming from wireless network issues that have seemed to plague stadiums throughout the league that are still getting used to providing that type of technology in that environment.

“As you probably noticed, I’m done with the tablets,” Belichick said days after the game. “They’re just too undependable for me. I’m going to stick with pictures, which several of our other coaches do as well, because there just isn’t enough consistency in the performance of the tablets. I just can’t take it anymore.”

Belichick opted instead to go back to using still images printed out in black and white, which knowing how reliable that’s been compared to the problems they experienced with the tablet, made it more preferable.

“I’ll use the paper pictures from here on, because I have given it my best shot,” said Belichick. “I’ve tried to work through the process. But it doesn’t work for me, and that’s because there’s no consistency to it.”

Right now, what coaches have access to are still images.  When it comes to video, oddly enough several coaches sound like they don’t like the idea of having video on the sideline because they feel it devalues the time and energy they put in each week installing a game plan that opposing coaches would be able to review and adjust to in real time easier if they had the technology in their hands.

“I want to get beat on the field,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera told Kevin Clark of TheRinger.com via ProFootballTalk last year. “I don’t want to get beat because someone used a tool or technology  —  that is not coaching at that point. I work all week, I’m preparing and kicking your ass. All of the sudden you see a piece of live video and you figure out, ‘Oh crap, that’s what he’s doing.’ And how fair is that?”

Rivera sounded a lot like Belichick in his remarks, with the Patriots head coach known for his appreciation for the history of the game and the continued changes of the league don’t seem like they sit well him.  We’ve heard his thoughts as they pertain to the rule changes with kickoffs, as well as his frustrations with some of the defensive restrictions.  He obviously liked the game where it was before a lot of these changes were made.

It sounds like Rivera has a similar attitude, and he prefers to coach in a more traditional fashion, and he didn’t sound excited about the direction the game might have been going back when this topic initially came up.

“Where does it end?” Rivera told Clark. “Can you get text messages or go out there with an iPhone and figure out where to go? What are we creating? I know there are millennial players, but this is still a game created 100 years ago.”

However, tablet use on the sideline for instant replay is reportedly set to happen, which will likely affect challenges for the upcoming season.

It’s an interesting topic for a game that’s obviously evolved quite a bit over the years.   It’s hard not to wonder what the game will look like in 20 years after all the coaching greats have moved on, and how different it will look given all of the medical revelations that have emerged that have already sparked quite a few changes.

For now, from a technological standpoint, there at least won’t be this change for another year.  But what we do know is that while the league is constantly looking for ways to improve the game, it doesn’t sound like this idea has been very well received at all and that’s likely why it doesn’t seem like we’ll see it anytime soon.

Daily Notebook: Thursday Patriots News and Notes 5/18

Ian Logue
May 18, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

Here’s a look at today’s top stories.

Gisele Says a Little Too Much – Gisele Bundchen appeared on CBS This Morning on Wednesday and was asked about a variety of topics, one of which obviously included her husband, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Bundchen was asked about Brady’s future and if she’d like to see him retire from football, and the quarterback’s wife admitted that due to concussions he’s suffered, she does worry about him playing.

“He had a concussion last year,” she said via DeadSpin. “I mean he has concussions pretty much every—I mean we don’t talk about—but he does have concussions.”

The tough part is trying to piece together when he might have suffered those concussions, as they were never reported and he’s never been listed on the injury report as dealing with one.

As NFL Writer David Woods of theScore.com, points out Brady has never been listed with a concussion on the injury report over the past four years, nor has he ever been placed in the concussion protocol.

As a result, it’s a difficult situation and if Brady simply hid it from the team and their doctors, there doesn’t seem like there’s much that can be done.   According to  ProFootballTalk.com, the NFL and NFLPA will look into Gisele’s claims, although they released a statement saying that what they’ve looked at so far doesn’t show anything to indicate that Brady suffered a head injury.

“We have reviewed all reports relating to Tom Brady from the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultants and certified athletic trainer spotters who worked at Patriots’ home and away 2016 season games as well as club injury reports that were sent to the league office,” read the statement via PFT. “There are no records that indicate that Mr. Brady suffered a head injury or concussion, or exhibited or complained of concussion symptoms. Today we have been in contact with the NFLPA and will work together to gather more information from the club’s medical staff and Mr. Brady. The health and safety of our players is our foremost priority and we want to ensure that all our players have and continue to receive the best care possible.”

Gisele did say during the interview that she has her concerns about him continuing to play, with the more important goal being that he’s healthy and unaffected by the rigors of football once his career is over.

“I don’t really think it’s a healthy thing for your body to go through, do that kind of aggression all the time, that can not be healthy for you,” said Bundchen.  “I’m planning on having him be healthy and do a lot of fun things when we are 100 (years old) I hope.”

Winning another championship could certainly impact a potential retirement decision, especially since Brady recently said that winning a sixth title was a milestone he’d love to reach.  Whether or not he’d walk away after that remains to be seen, or if he’d instead just move on to trying to win “the next one.”

As he’s said previously, if he’s playing at a high level and he continues feeling the way he is right now physically, fans can likely expect the latter.

You can watch the full report in the Tweet below:


Blount finally agreed to a contract in Philadelphia Wednesday.

Blount Lands in Philadelphia – Despite the free agent tender placed on LeGarrette Blount, it appears the free agent running back will join the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017.

According to ESPN’s Josina Anderson, Blount has agreed to a contract with the Eagles, which is a deal worth a reported $2.8 million, including up to $1.55 million in incentives.  It’s a move that benefits the Patriots, who initially put the free-agent tender on Blount not long after it was rumored that the Baltimore Ravens were in contention for Blount’s services.

That seemed to scare off Baltimore and the fact that Blount will be playing for the Eagles in the NFC is a benefit since it keeps him off of a rival roster.  The other good news is, his signing keeps the Patriots in the mix in the compensatory formula, so it’s a win-win situation for both sides.

Blount had a solid career in New England, setting a franchise rushing touchdown record in 2016 with 18 during his final season, as well as 1161 rushing yards.  He also averaged 3.1 yards-per-carry in the postseason and scored a touchdown.


Former Patriot Vince Wilfork hasn’t decided on retirement just yet.

Wilfork Not Done Yet? – All signs seemed to point to the end of Vince Wilfork’s career following the end of the 2016 season, but it sounds like Wilfork hasn’t completely closed the door just yet.

Wilfork spoke to Sirius/XM’s “Good Morning Football” on Wednesday and said that he’s not retired and that he’s simply taking his time before he makes a final decision.

“Right now, I just want to make sure whatever decision I make … I’m 100 percent confident in,” he said via UPI.com. “And right now, the only thing I’m doing is enjoying the offseason like I normally do any other year. And I’m just taking my time with everything because I want to make the right decision.”

Texans General Manager Rick Smith told the Houston Chronicle last month that he’s under the impression that Wilfork wasn’t returning.

“I haven’t spoken to Vince Wilfork since last season,” said Smith. “My expectation is that Vince is not playing anymore.”

Wilfork’s season ended at Gillette Stadium back in January when the Patriots handed the Texans a 34-16 defeat in the AFC Divisional round.  The veteran finished that game with just one tackle but received a standing ovation when Texans head coach Bill O’Brien called Wilfork off the field, which saw the former Patriot blow kisses to the crowd as he walked to the sideline.

When the game was over, Wilfork felt it might be the last time he would take the field.

“No emotions and I will take my time and think about it,” said Wilfork back in January.  “I think I have played my last NFL football game. I will take the time and do my due diligence and sit back see if I really want to retire. We will see. I don’t know how long that will take. I will see, it doesn’t change the fact that I enjoyed every bit of my career; I enjoyed 11 great years in New England and enjoyed two great years in Texas with unbelievable teammates.”

Now the big question will be whether or not he’ll make it three, or if he’ll walk away.  For now, as he ponders his future, he’s also busy promoting his barbecue skills in a promotion with Kingsford, which during his time in New England saw him have players over his home over the years to enjoy his culinary skills.  However, as good as he is, he told the Was/hington Post that former teammate Tom Brady never tried his cooking.

“We kind of X’ed him out. He be on a certain diet,” Wilfork told the newspaper, referring to Brady’s strict diet.

“If Tom Brady would try my barbecue, maybe Tom Brady would turn into me,” Wilfork jokes. “I don’t think nobody wants that.”

He’s probably right.

Daily Notebook: Wednesday Patriots News and Notes 5/17

Ian Logue
May 17, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

Here’s a look at this morning’s top stories.

Ealy Enjoying  Being a Patriot – The acquisition of Kony Ealy hasn’t gotten much attention since he joined the Patriots earlier this offseason, but he spoke with reporters on Tuesday and he already seems like he’s fitting in pretty well.

Ealy seems to echo the sentiments of New England’s other new players in terms of how things are done here and like the others, he admitted that the emphasis on the details is something that definitely stands out.

“Just attention to detail is the [biggest] thing that sticks out that Coach Bill [Belichick] preaches on and off the field,” Ealy said during his press conference.  “It could be in many different categories but just being attentive.”

One thing that Ealy seems to enjoy is the energy and the overall environment, as he’s joining a host of players who have won two titles in three seasons, which obviously proves that how things are done here clearly works.  Now it’s just his job to try and get on board with it.

“I’m very excited. I love it here,” said Ealy.  “I love the people, the program, as far as how Coach [Bill] Belichick runs it. Everybody buys in. You can see the difference between that. I love it here and I’m going to continue to work my butt off and try to get better.”

Now he’ll spend the next few months trying to get acclimated and potentially do what other players in his situation have done after they’ve had a change of scenery here, which is have success as a Patriot.  Ealy said that while he doesn’t expect this to be his best year, he plans on trying to make sure he finishes 2017 as a better player, which is a goal he says he has every season.

“Well I think each year should be your best year,” said Ealy.  “You never should be complacent with the year you had previously. You should always want to get better and that’s what I plan on doing individually and with the team. I’m pretty sure everybody around here has the same attitude as far as that”


Edelman was the most targeted players in 2016.

Edelman Among Most Targeted – Pro Football Focus took a look at the most targeted receivers in terms of their production based on the number of “snaps in route” and Julian Edelman found himself in a list full of quite a few prestigious names in 2016.

The website found that Kansas City’s Tyreek Hill was the most targeted player out of the number of routes, having been targeted on 31.2% of them.  Behind Hill was Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans (29.0%), Cincinnati’s A.J. Green (28.2%), Atlanta’s Julio Jones (27.7%), New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham (26.8%) and Michael Crabtree (26.3%).

Rounding out the list was Edelman, who came in at 26.1%.

Overall, Edelman was actually targeted by Tom Brady 159 times with 98 completions (62%) during the regular season in 2016, as well as a team-high 49 on third down with 28 completions (57%), 24 of which went for first downs including two touchdowns.

His value to the team certainly can’t be overstated and when you see him in the mix in this context with so many great NFL players, it’s amazing how much credit he doesn’t receive on a national level.  Obviously, here in New England, fans are well aware of how important he is to this team and it’s hard to believe he’s heading into yet another contract year.

The website had another graphic on Edelman, showing that the receiver was also among the best in the league out of the slot in 2016.

One thing to watch will be how the addition of Brandin Cooks affects Edelman’s targets or if it will open up things for him even further, especially with Rob Gronkowski set to return this season.  Either way, it should be fun to keep an eye on, and hopefully #11 can go out and have yet another productive year.

McCourty Headed to Cleveland? – While there had been some speculation about free agent Jason McCourty joining his brother, Devin, here in New England, it looks like McCourty may be on the verge of landing somewhere else.

According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the former Titans defensive back had dinner with the Cleveland Browns staff members Monday night and visited the team’s facility on Tuesday.  He’s also reportedly set to take a physical there.

After having been released by Tennessee earlier in the offseason, there had been some hope that he could have ended up in a Patriots uniform, but part of what will likely come into play was something his brother mentioned,  which was that Jason is likely looking to be a full-time player and not a role player.  With newcomer Stephon Gilmore and incumbent Malcolm Butler (whose status was questionable with the team back when McCourty was first released), it’s a group with a fair amount of talent and relatively good depth. When you take that into consideration, depending on what defense they’re in, it could have have definitely affected McCourty’s playing time.

It would have been a fun story, but it looks like he may be joining Jamie Collins and the rest of the Browns defense as they look to get that club turned around.  It’s good news for Cleveland should it come to fruition, and considering how bad things have gone there in recent seasons, they definitely need all the help they can get.

Hightower Takes Notice – Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower was noted by Pro Football Focus as a player who was among some of the best in the league in terms of his effectiveness at putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks in 2016.

According to the website, Hightower trailed just Khalil Mack at having a success rate of 18.29% among all defenders with a minimum of 150 pass rushes.  It’s an impressive stat, especially considering that he ranked above Philadelphia’s Brandon Graham and Denver’s Von Miller in that category.

It’s yet another reminder of how important he is to their defense, and an even bigger reason to appreciate the fact the Patriots were able to come to terms with him on extension this offseason.

Hightower posted his reaction to the news on Twitter, and he was pleased with the results.

So there you go.

Vollmer Finally Reveals He’s Retiring – Multiple reports over this offseason had mentioned that Sebastian Vollmer looked significantly lighter and that all signs pointed to the former Patriots tackle potentially calling it a career.

According to NFL.com, Vollmer told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Tuesday that he plans on retiring from the game, confirming the suspicions that many had thought.  Vollmer suffered a season-ending hip injury in 2016 and the lingering pain he’s experienced from the injury reportedly sparked his decision.

The good news is, it sounds like we may see more from Vollmer, who is apparently enrolled in the NFL Broadcast Boot Camp in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey.

Vollmer, who is sitting in the back of Ross Tucker’s photo above, has reportedly lost 75 pounds, far below the 320-pound massive frame he carried during his playing days.

Best wishes to Vollmer, who has been a humorous guy on Twitter, although you need to understand German to get some of his jokes and words of wisdom.  Hopefully he’ll bring some of that personality to TV as he pursues a new endeavor now that his NFL days are finally over.

Daily Notebook: Tuesday Patriots News and Notes 5/16

Ian Logue
May 16, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

Here’s a look at this morning’s top stories.

Brady Humble, But Focused Heading into 2017 – If you’ve followed this team closely over the years, there’s been an odd shift in the dynamic over the past couple of weeks as the drum is quietly beginning to beat for those wondering how many more times #12 will take the field here in New England.

There have been several pieces recently pondering Brady’s remaining years, with the quarterback obviously closer to the end than many would like to think.  However, one piece on ESPN by Ian O’Connor seems to instead be pondering his legacy and how he compares with other such players who have changed the game forever.

In the NFL, there aren’t many who fall into that category.  You can go back to players like Joe Montana, Lawrence Taylor, Jerry Rice and Jim Brown, among others, and it becomes an interesting conversation.  The NBA obviously has Michael Jordan, who is the measuring stick in terms of his impact on the game and it’s the exact subject that O’Connor pondered as he conducted a recent interview with Brady.

Brady’s drive and determination is well-documented here in New England.  He wasn’t a naturally gifted athlete, but he’s certainly one of the best examples of how hard work can often make up for a lack of athleticism that plenty of other players who have played in the NFL were lucky enough to have had but were never able to take advantage of.

When you look at what Brady’s accomplished over his career, he’s in a unique situation considering he’s won 5 championships and his team appears loaded heading into 2017 with enough talent to potentially win number six.  It’s an incredible resume, and as he gets closer to the end of his career it’s hard not to begin the discussions about where he ranks among the best ever.


Is Tom Brady the “Michael Jordan” of the NFL?

But is he the greatest?  Here in New England, most of us believe it to be true and he’s been getting additional support from others in both the media and his peers who also agree.  But Brady doesn’t feel he’s worthy of those accolades, and he believes that it’s the situation he’s been in that has played the biggest part in his success.

“I don’t agree with that,” he said via ESPN, “and I’ll tell you why. I know myself as a player. I’m really a product of what I’ve been around, who I was coached by, what I played against, in the era I played in. I really believe if a lot of people were in my shoes they could accomplish the same kinds of things. So I’ve been very fortunate. … I don’t ever want to be the weak link.”

When asked about the “weak link” statement, Brady simply reminded O’Connor of his past history of already falling behind other players and constantly having to prove himself.

“I was the backup quarterback on an 0-8 team in my freshman year of high school,” said Brady. “I got to Michigan, I was seventh [string], and I had a hard time getting to be No. 2, and when I finally got to No. 1 there was someone else [Drew Henson] they wanted to be No. 1. I got to be a sixth-round pick behind a great player, Drew Bledsoe, and then I got an opportunity, and I’m still trying to take advantage of it. Part of who I am now is very much who I was, and that was cultivated growing up.”

As he heads into this season, where he’ll be the elder statesman at the age of 40, Brady sounds as relaxed as ever.  He’s already said previously during this offseason in a podcast with Peter King that the game is a little easier now because he’s already seen so much and “knows the answers to the test”.  The only problem is, if he slips up and starts accidentally getting any of those answers wrong, there is a quarterback on the roster who his coaches seemingly have confidence in thanks to the fact Bill Belichick held on to Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason.

Knowing the history since the team drafted Garoppolo, Brady hasn’t let his guard down and hasn’t been affected by his presence.  That’s something that already puts him ahead of past greats considering how he’s thrived instead of becoming bitter and frustrated.  Competition doesn’t scare him, and Brady said it continues to drive him.

“When you’re a member of a team sport, the best guy plays,” Brady said. “So I always want to make sure I’m the best guy, and I give our team a great chance to win. But if you’re ever not [the best guy], part of being a great teammate is letting the other guy do that, as well. Competition is what has always driven me. I’ve never been one that was hand selected, to be this particular player. … In high school, college, professionally, I think the greater the competition, the more that it really allows me to dig deep and bring the best out of me.”

Winning a fifth championship was pretty remarkable, especially considering what they overcame in order to make it happen.  As special as it was, Brady told O’Connor he’s aware of the significance behind winning a sixth title and it’s yet another challenge he’s looking forward to going after this season.

“The great part is the next one for me is No. 6,” Brady told him, “and I’m not on No. 1. I’m trying to reach No. 6 and I’m on No. 5. If I got to No. 6, that would have great meaning to me. It’s not trying to keep up with my idols. It’s not Magic, Jeter, Mariano [Rivera], Kobe, Duncan, guys more my age who I always admired. I just want to win because I owe it to my teammates. I’m working this year like I have none, and hopefully it results in a magical season.”

He can credit the system but it’s his attitude and his approach that will determine his future.  The drum may continue to beat as those out there wonder when it will end, but for Brady, it simply looks like he’s ready to keep marching on.


Belichick has done things his way, and it’s worked out pretty well.

Belichick Has a Reason For a Smaller Coaching Staff – Prior to this past NFL Draft, Bill Belichick appeared in an interview with ESPN’s Paul Rabil’s “Suiting Up” podcast and discussed a variety of topics, one of which involved his philosophy as it pertained to his coaching staff.

The Patriots have one of the smallest coaching staffs in the league, with Belichick joined by 13 total positional group coaches and assistants, and that doesn’t include their two strength and conditioning coaches.  According to Belichick, the reason behind limiting that number is because it makes it easier to get the message across.

“My philosophy, really, is that less is more, so I’d rather have fewer people doing more work than more people doing a little more work,” Belichick said via Mike Reiss. “As long as everybody is busy, as long as everybody feels productive, they feel good about what they’re doing and they feel like they’re contributing; I think when people have lag time and kind of not enough to do, that leads to getting distracted and complaining or being less productive. So even though you have more people, sometimes less work gets done.”

Looking around the AFC East, the Jets have 19  positional group coaches and assistants behind Todd Bowles, the Bills have 20 behind Sean McDermott and the Dolphins have 19 behind Adam Gase.

With each of those other teams, there are coaches who carry titles like Offensive and Defensive “Quality Control” (which New England doesn’t have) and a larger number of assistants than the Patriots have.  Belichick explained that having fewer chains of command is simply much easier when it comes to getting everyone on the same page.

“From a ‘getting everybody on the same page’ standpoint, which is critical, the fewer people you have to manage, the easier it is to get everybody on the same page,” said Belichick. “So if you’re talking to 10 people, it’s hard to get all 10 people doing the same thing or doing the right thing. Now you make that number 20, instead of 10, it’s even more difficult.

“If you have five people supervising another 15 people, now you have another layer there where you’re not dealing directly with everybody, and now you’re somewhat dependent on other people to relay the message the way you want it done and to monitor it that way. Certainly, there’s a degree of that, but as much of that I can eliminate, I think works better for me.”

It’s an interesting approach by a man who has obviously had plenty of success doing things his way.  Oddly enough, it’s something other teams don’t seem like they’ve been able to figure out, although this offseason has seen Belichick be about as vocal and candid about some things from that standpoint than he has during his entire tenure.

It just gives you some insight into how he thinks, along with why he’s become one of the best coaches in the game.

The full podcast can be found in Rabil’s Tweet below, which contains some other terrific comments from New England’s head coach.

https://twitter.com/PaulRabil/status/864091659583332352

PFF Has Interesting Brady Numbers – Pro Football Focus posted an interesting graphic Monday afternoon looking at how certain quarterbacks perform both when they’re able to be protected in the pocket vs when they’re under pressure, and last season saw Brady finish with one of the more notable stats as it pertained to what they were trying to point out.

The one flaw in this graphic that needs to be mentioned is the fact that while Brady saw the largest reduction in his completion percentage compared to other quarterbacks when he was faced with pressure, it’s worth noting that the dip was so large because Brady was the second-most accurate among the quarterback’s in this group (75.4% completion rate) when he wasn’t under pressure, and also the second-most accurate (47.2%) when he was under duress.  So it’s hard to really properly count this stat as a measurement aside from realizing just how good he is compared to the other names on the list.

It’s a reminder that numbers don’t always tell the whole story, and only further points out how good Brady was in 2016 despite what teams threw at him.

Quinn Defends His Defense During Super Bowl Collapse – Falcons coach Dan Quinn has had the entire offseason to relive the final minutes of their Super Bowl loss to the Patriots and when pressed recently about whether or not the moment was just too big for his team, Quinn disagreed and gave his reason behind why his defense couldn’t get a stop during New England’s historic comeback.

“That wasn’t it,” said Quinn via the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “The guys were gassed. We had never played in the 90s (snap count). We were not traumatized at all. You could tell there was nothing left in the tank. They would come to the sideline in the fourth quarter and nobody was talking because there was nothing left.”

However, give Quinn credit.  He’s spent much of his time taking responsibility for the loss and he’s taken it about as well as a coach could be expected.  It’s also lead to the mantra that he’s trying to instill in his team.

“Embrace The Suck,” Quinn reportedly repeated as he spoke to players during Friday’s minicamp. “Eat a crap sandwich with a smile. This is going to be hard. Your choice: It’s a victim’s mentality or a warrior mentality. It’s like, ‘I know this run is going to be long, and it’s going to be really hard. But here I go again.’”

Atlanta is a talented team with a bright future.  Now Quinn begins the same process the Patriots are going through, and he’ll have the same challenge of trying to guide his team back as both clubs try and ensure their paths cross once more next February.

Daily Notebook: Monday Patriots News and Notes 5/15

Ian Logue
May 15, 2017 at 8:00 am ET

Here’s a look at this morning’s top stories as we kick off this week.

Patriots Had Alternate Draft Plans – One interesting note that came out of Mike Reiss’ NFL notes on Sunday was the fact that the Patriots apparently had alternate plans for their first selection in the third round in this year’s draft.

New England traded down with Tennessee and moved back 11 spots in the third round, moving back from #72 to #83 following the transaction.  The reasoning behind why the Patriots apparently didn’t pick was because a player they wanted came off the board, forcing them to move on to the next player on their list.

According to Reiss, the Patriots were set to take Indiana’s Dan Feeney, but the Los Angeles Chargers snatched him away with the 71st selection and left New England with no other choice than to regroup and go in a different direction.  The Titans, meanwhile, selected receiver Tawan Taylor.  The Patriots went on to select defensive end Derek Rivers with the 83rd overall pick.

Feeney, who played both tackle and center in college, was a player who could have provided depth at both positions for New England, which are both spots, especially at center, that were lacking when the Patriots were on the board.

But following the draft, their loss proved to be Andrews’ gain after the Patriots ended up extending him on May 12th with a three-year deal, which will keep him here through 2020.  That’s great news for Andrews, who Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reported earned the respect of Tom Brady after the center seemingly had a better handle on the line checks compared to former center Bryan Stork, and that ended up seemingly playing a role in Andrews taking over before the team parted ways with Stork at the end of training camp.

It’s obviously a reminder that the Patriots trading down is usually a signal that the player they were interested in might not have been on the board, which turned out to be the case with how things unfolded on draft day.  However, it’s certainly a great and well-deserved turn of events for Andrews, who has done his job well and has been a big part of New England’s resurgence on the offensive line, which will hopefully continue when the team hits the field this season.


Blount’s position is rare to say the least.

Further Evidence Of How Rare Blount Tender Is – The news about LeGarrette Blount receiving the May 9 tender is something that has left most of us wondering about Blount’s reaction as well as why the Patriots’ opted to take advantage of the rule while other teams don’t.

As Ben Volin of the Boston Globe pointed out on Sunday, most free agents who don’t cash in during the period that would allow teams to be a factor in the compensatory formula typically don’t end up with big deals, so the fact that the tender includes 110% of the previous year’s salary usually doesn’t make sense from a fiscal standpoint.

Volin reported that former Packers president Andrew Brandt said he hadn’t seen a team use this in his 10 years in the league, and Reiss took it a bit further and pointed out that Peter Schrager of NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” program said the last time this happened was back in 2000, although it’s not known which player received the tender.

It’s definitely a strange situation, and given the tendency for things to change after the Patriots take advantage of something like this, it will be interesting to see if the NFLPA will look to make changes in the future to prevent this from happening again.


White has difficult incentives to reach in his new deal.

White’s New Deal Includes Difficult Incentives – James White’s contract extension may look great on paper, but Volin also pointed out Sunday that the veteran running back might have a difficult time reaching the incentives in his new deal.

According to Volin, the deal includes incentives of $250,000 for playing in 50 percent of his snaps, $250,000 for gaining 1,000 yards and another $250,000 for reaching 1,200 total yards.

The rushing yards seem unlikely given that White has 260 total rushing yards over his three years in the league, including the 166 yards he gained last season.  He’s never been a primary ball carrier, so the 1000 yard plateau seems somewhat out of reach.

His highest receiving total came last season when he finished with 551 yards during the regular season, which was ahead of the 410 he gained 2015.  Putting the two together, the 717 total yards he gained in 2016 was a career high and obviously pretty far off from the number he’ll need to hit in 2017 in order to hit the incentive for total yards.

Needless to say given the fact the Patriots already have Mike Gillislee, Dion Lewis, Rex Burkhead and potentially Blount, either the Patriots really do have bigger plans for White going forward, or his agent may not have served his client as well as he should.  As a result, it will be something to keep an eye on this season.

Running backs Visit Local Schools – Speaking of White, according to Wicked Local.com, the running back joined fellow teammate Brandon Bolden with a surprise visit to local schools back on May 3rd.

The two reportedly brought the Lombardi trophy to share with the students who got to hear about the experiences through Super Bowl LI, telling the story of their 25-point come back win over Atlanta.

White and Bolden also led students at each of the five schools in a touchdown dance contest and awarded the winners with the best moves with autographed footballs.  They also took photos with all the students and the trophy.

The team has always been active in the community and it’s fun to hear about stories like this, especially since they don’t always tend to get reported. And kudos to both White and Bolden, as it sounds like they definitely made everyone’s day during each of their visits.

Brady Tells Fans Not To Fear Madden Cover – “All Good”

Ian Logue
May 12, 2017 at 11:12 am ET

The announcement was made this morning that Tom Brady will be on the cover of the upcoming EA Sports NFL Madden game, which is a little concerning given the past history.

Rob Gronkowski made the cover last season and while the Patriots did win the Super Bowl, an injury ended his season and kept him from being an active participant during their championship run.

That further reinforced the “Madden Curse” that many fans were worried about when he made the cover, and now with Brady gracing the cover this year, those same fears were being thrown around on social media.  As a result, Brady took to his Facebook page with a video in partnership with EA Sports to try and reassure everyone who might be worried about him.

The veteran quarterback downplayed it, saying there’s no such thing as curses and that it’s “All Good”.

You can hear from him below:

Brady’s no stranger to beating the odds, including helping his team become the first to overcome a 19 point 3rd quarter deficit to win a postseason game after previous teams were 0-93.  That performance earned New England their fifth title and further entrenched him into the NFL record books.

Needless to say, fans should feel pretty good about his chances.

Daily Notebook: Friday Patriots News and Notes 5/12

Ian Logue
at 9:10 am ET

It’s Friday, and here’s today’s edition to close out the week.

Gable On His Tryout: “I feel like it went well” – It’s no secret that 2016 wasn’t the best season for Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski, and it sounds like New England’s audition of kicker Josh Gable went well enough where this might not be the last we hear of him.

The kicker appeared on SportsCenter on Wednesday morning and was asked about the tryout, which he seemed to be happy with.

“I felt like it went well. I got great feedback from the coaches,” Gable said on SportsCenter via Mike Reiss. “Joe Judge, the head special-teams coach, we basically talked through everything. He helped me out with a lot.”

He said during his interview that the Patriots were the first to hold a tryout for him, although he has received interest from “around eight teams”.

While it’s a little early to say a change is coming, the fact that Gable was even given a tryout was somewhat telling in that the Patriots seemingly are trying to make sure they have options if Gostkowski has issues again this season.

The veteran kicker didn’t seem like he had cause for concern after he received the full support of Belichick during his struggles in 2016, which saw him miss three extra points during the regular season, as well as five field goals.  He also missed two extra points in the postseason, including one in the Super Bowl.

“Nobody works harder than Steve. Steve’s a very talented player. He’s mentally tough,” Belichick said back in October after a win over Pittsburgh via ESPN. “We’ll work through it. Again, this is a tough place to kick. I’m not making any excuses but the kicker on the other side of the field had trouble too. But we have to make them.”

Gostkowski was given a lot of leeway but 2016 is now in the rear view and it’s Belichick’s job to try and make sure that he’s got a back up plan if his kicker struggles again.  He’s the master when it comes to doing his due diligence and now it’s up to Gostkowski to help convince him Gable’s services won’t be needed.


The Patriots’ tender of Blount narrows his options.

Trying to Make Sense of the Patriots Tender to Blount – It’s no secret that Bill Belichick’s mantra has always been that he’ll do whatever is best for the team, but New England’s decision to place the May 9 tender on LeGarrette Blount certainly raised some eyebrows this week, because it sends a clear message.

Belichick and the Patriots take no prisoners, and you have to wonder how Blount feels about the fact the team he helped win two championships is seriously impeding his ability to cash in for the second time after he revitalized his career yet again with them.

For those who aren’t aware, Belichick found yet another rule the league had in place that the Patriots exploited, tendering Blount, an unrestricted free agent, $1.1 million (or 110% of his total salary last season) for the 2017 season.  By doing so, if he receives an offer and signs with another team before July 22nd, Blount would count toward the compensatory pick formula for 2018.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Blount finds himself out of options if he stays on the market past that date, as he’ll only have the opportunity to play for the team that put him in this position, the Patriots, in 2017.

It’s an interesting move and Mike Reiss of ESPN tried to make sense of it, saying that the potential of having to part with a compensatory pick might have scared off the Baltimore Ravens, who were rumored to be in the mix for his services.

Our own Miguel Benzan who authors PatsCap.com covers it in depth and estimates Blount’s cap number will be $1.99M, factoring in his $1.1 million salary plus $100,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses ($6,250 per game) plus $40,000 in offseason workout bonus money plus $750,000 in LTBE (Likely to be Earned Incentives).

With the opportunity to still be able to return to New England, Reiss also points out that Blount would have incentives in his deal allowing him to earn just over $2-million.  Those incentives might be more difficult to reach this season considering the Patriots backfield is pretty crowded with Mike Gillislee, Rex Burkhead, and James White seemingly the three players who would most likely see considerable amounts of the workload.

As a result, it’s certainly a complicated situation.  Blount hasn’t Tweeted anything or reacted publicly since this unfolded, but this will obviously be another interesting story to follow until we see how it plays out.


Brady’s no stranger to people doubting him.

Bayless Believes Brady’s Playing For His Job – Skip Bayless is no stranger when it comes to making statements to get a rise out of people, and a Tweet late Thursday afternoon set off the masses when he suggested Tom Brady’s future might be in jeopardy.

Bayless Tweeted that while Brady is the greatest QB ever, he’s “playing for his job” this season because should he struggle, Belichick has Jimmy Garoppolo sitting there waiting.

It’s not that big of a hot take because there’s some truth to what he’s saying, which makes it less of a big deal if you really stop and think about it.

Brady’s been playing for his job since 2001, so it’s not exactly news.  Had he not played to his level the way he has each season, who knows where he would be right now.  All you need to do is look around the league to realize that there are no guarantees when it comes to the quarterback position, and things can change in a hurry.  The only key to job security is winning, which is essentially what has kept Brady in the driver’s seat as long as he has.  The only real difference between now and the years prior is simply the fact that the Patriots seemingly have someone behind him who can run the offense at a level Belichick has confidence in.  While Matt Cassel played well in 2008 after Brady suffered a season-ending injury in the home opener, Garoppolo seems to have the “it” factor Belichick seems to like that makes him a player who would provide less of a drop off if Brady was to go down compared to other back-ups who have come through here.

It’s really simple.  If Brady keeps playing like Brady and the Patriots keep winning championships, #12 will remain the starter.  If the team begins losing games, Belichick will have to look to someone else, just as he would have had Brady’s effectiveness as a starter had dropped off long before now.

Needless to say, nothing has changed.  It’s been this way from the moment he took over and Brady’s drive to be the best has kept him as the team’s starter and the results speak for themselves.  The biggest difference is the fact that the team finally has a player who can at least step in and make them competitive when that day finally comes.

It’s a bottom line game and winning ultimately trumps everything.  No one knows this more than Brady, who thanks to his consistency has avoided the fate lesser quarterbacks couldn’t.  If you don’t win, you’ll be replaced.   That’s just the way it is.

Fortunately Brady’s been a winner and as long as that continues and the rings keep coming, it’s safe to say his future will remain in his own hands.

Just like it always has been.