McDaniels on Brady: 'Tommy is ready to go and looks ready to go'

McDaniels on Brady: 'Tommy is ready to go and looks ready to go'

Josh McDaniels saw Tom Brady for the first time in about a month Monday. Brady arrived at Gillette Stadium, met with his offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, and had the look of an athlete who was ready to complete, McDaniels explained.

"I didn’t notice any difference," McDaniels said during a conference call on Tuesday. "It was four weeks, and it felt like it went fast. Tommy is ready to go and looks ready to go . . . We’ll see how everything goes tomorrow at practice and kind of just build one day at a time as we go through the week."

Wednesday will mark Brady's first practice with the team since his four-game suspension began, and McDaniels said that he expected that part of the week -- as well as the rest of the team's preparations for Cleveland -- to "be as normal as it could be." Maybe that answer is an acknowledgement that Brady will have to make up for lost time after missing the first quarter of the season, but McDaniels seemed determined to make this week like any other.

"The biggest thing is to go through our preparation as we normally do to prepare for the opponent and to prepare for what our game plan is and how we want to execute it, and go out there and use our opportunities on the field to execute and to get back into playing football, and being around his teammates and running our offense and doing the things that we ask the quarterback to do here," McDaniels said.

"I don’t see it being much different in terms of a normal game week. We’ll try to do all the right things in terms of preparing and getting ready to play a team that we know very well and are hard to get familiar with and go there and play a game on the road in a tough place to play."

McDaniels compared this week to dealing with a player coming back off of an injury or some other type of extended absence. There will be a catch-up period, but the train has to continue to move, and the returning player -- as well as his coaches -- have to be able to keep up. 

Obviously, as McDaniels hinted, Brady's 16 years of experience in an offense that he has helped mold will help him assimilate more quickly than others.

"I think experience helps any player," he said. "If they’re injured or what have you, they come back, or if they miss some time for whatever reason. But I also think there’s an acclimation period in the game of football that’s hard to simulate unless you’re playing football. Like I said, we’re going to do the best we can to prepare and take every opportunity in practice and take advantage of all the reps that we have in the periods that we can be out there working together to just make sure that Tom is as capable on Sunday to do his job."

Reports: Patriots among NFL teams taking a look at Manziel

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Reports: Patriots among NFL teams taking a look at Manziel

Johnny Manziel said 10 days ago, "I'd go to New England in a heartbeat," when asked about the Patriots as a potential landing spot.

That seemed like wishful thinking at the time, but they're taking a look at him...along with 12 other NFL teams, according to ESPN's Eric Williams. 

Tom Brady's current backup Brian Hoyer is, like Manziel, an ex-Cleveland Browns quarterback. Manziel would again be competing with Hoyer for the Pats' No. 2 job should New England take a chance on "Johnny Football", the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner from Texas A&M, who's been out of football the past two years because of substance abuse and emotional problems.

FOX Sports' Bruce Feldman had it at 12 teams watching Manziel work out at the University of San Diego and said the Patriots gave Manziel a weigh-in.


Patriots re-sign offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle

Patriots re-sign offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle

The Patriots have agreed to re-sign offensive lineman LaAdrian Waddle, his agent Scott Casterline confirmed on Twitter.  Waddle hit unrestricted free agency when the new league year began and made a visit to the Cowboys earlier this week. In the end, though, he chose to return to the team that claimed him off of waivers at the end of the 2015 season.

Waddle, who turns 27 in July, appeared in 12 games last season for the Patriots. He was the first right tackle the Patriots turned to when Marcus Cannon suffered an ankle injury mid-season against the Chargers. He ended up playing 51 snaps against the likes of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram without allowing a sack. He then started the next three games against the Broncos, Raiders and Dolphins and held star rushers Von Miller, Khalil Mack and Cameron Wake -- all of whom rush primarily off of the offensive right -- without a sack. 

Injuries forced Waddle (380 snaps on the season) to split the right tackle position with Cameron Fleming (543 snaps), but he was the primary backup when healthy. Waddle started the Divisional Round playoff game against the Titans but suffered a knee injury and was removed for Fleming. 

Both Fleming and Waddle visited the Cowboys this week, and the fact that Waddle has re-signed with the Patriots may impact Fleming's decision moving forward. 

The Patriots went to great lengths to build tackle depth last season, and adding Waddle to the roster helps them retain some of that depth after losing their left tackle, Nate Solder, to the Giants via free agency. Waddle could be an option on the left side, but the vast majority of his work since entering the league as an undrafted rookie in 2013 has been on the right side. 

The Patriots now have Fleming, Marcus Cannon, Cole Croston, Tony Garcia and Andrew Jelks on their depth chart at tackle. Croston, Garcia and Jelks are all headed into their second years as pros. Croston remained on the 53-man roster all season -- an indication that the Patriots liked him enough not to expose him to the waiver system -- but did not see meaningful snaps. Garcia and Jelks both missed the entirety of the 2017 season on reserve lists. 

Once the Patriots lost Solder to the Giants, it seemed to be of paramount importance that the Patriots re-sign either Waddle or Fleming. Behind Cannon, there were simply too many question marks not to have one return. The Patriots could opt to draft a tackle, but this is considered an average year at that position in that there are few ready-made NFL players and several developmental types.

Before the Super Bowl last season, I asked offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia how the team was able to manage offensively with backups at right tackle for much of the season. 

"It's not like [Fleming and Waddle are] not good players," Scarnecchia said. "They are good players. Their skill set seemed to fit that position pretty well. They have the traits that we covet. And they're both really smart guys, very willing learners, and they're both driven to be good and they want to play good. And I think all those things have manifested themselves when they've been out there playing. And we've been very, very pleased with what they've done for us this year, essentially splitting that position."

Asked about the aspects of the game the Patriots worked on with both Waddle and Fleming last year, Scarnecchia said, "For us it transcends everything. Obviously run-blocking and pass-blocking. They're both good at those things. Are they great at those things? No. But they've been able to steadily improve over the last two years to the point where we put them out there and no one's worried. And it's been that way the whole season after Marcus got hurt. Yeah they've done a nice job for us."