'I would have never taken Peyton over Brady'


'I would have never taken Peyton over Brady'

Covering the NFL for almost 20 years allows you to make relationships with a bunch of people. So I thought I'd tap into some of those people for a series of topics we've been kicking around.


The panel consists of one former Pats player still in the game, two scouts of AFC teams, one front-office member in the AFC, and one NFC scout. They all requested anonymity for obvious reasons (as the player said, "Hey, I might want to end up back there!"). I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I had talking to these guys.

Today's topic: Tom Brady

Scout 1: “When he says he has all the answers to the test, he’s not lying. Some of those Rex Ryan defenses back in Rex’s Jets days were able to confuse him. Ditto for [when Ryan was defensive coordinator in] Baltimore. Now? I can’t really remember a time when you popped in the tape and said, ‘Shit, they fooled him for a series, or a half or a game.’ It’s like he refuses to let you beat him, wherever it is that you’d try to find that edge.”

Scout 2: “Who could have predicted this?  You wondered about his long-term viability several years ago when they drafted [Jimmy] Garoppolo. It looked like the end was near. Maybe it lit a fire. Sometimes even Tom Brady needs that push. Now what can you say?  He’s gotten here and you can’t deny . . . the [overall] results. Brady was the best QB a decade ago and he’s the best QB now. That’s not how it’s suppose to go when that QB is 40." (Brady turns 40 Thursday, Aug. 3.)

Scout 3: “I remember the debate, Manning versus Brady. From a sheer talent standpoint, I think it was Manning, right up until the arm strength decreased, but I would have never taken Peyton over Brady in any of those years. Brady has a way about him -- we’ve had former Pats come through here and they back my opinion -- that Manning didn’t have. Slows it down when Manning would seemingly let it speed up, especially in those big moments. I’m surprised we haven’t heard a Joe Montana-like story about him, the one from the Super Bowl, when Montana pointed out John Candy in the end zone. I just think while hyper-focused, he knows how to put his teammates at ease. We would love to find that in a QB. So would every other team.”

Former Patriot player: “I loved competing against him, and I loved pissing him off. It didn’t happen often, but he’s so [bleeping] intense that every 1-on-1, or 7-on-7, or team period, he wants to beat you. Thing about it was, you get him once, he might come back at you the very next time. I didn’t keep score, but I’d guess that he won way more of those matchups then I’d like to admit.

“You know those training-camp practices, when it’s hot and humid and the crowds start to get smaller? Those days are the worst. You’re sore and tired and everything hurts. Bill [Belichick] wants to make it hurt. They all do. It sucks. But Tom’s one of those guys that won’t let the practice get away from us. He’s yelling at himself. He’s screaming encouragement at Gronk or [Julian Edelman]. He starts chirping at us. Man, does he love to shit talk us. Pisses you off. And before you know it, your energy has gone up because he’s talking. Now practice is better. Then it’s over. That’s not an accident.”

Front office executive: “Tom personifies everything you want in that position: Leadership, intelligence, toughness, his teammates clearly love him and, let’s not forget, talent. He has loads and loads of talent. Who gets better at 38? 39? You can’t do that without skill. Plus, that speaks to his work ethic, as well. If someone with his resume is still battling his ass off every day, how can I not push myself the same way? He’s the perfect player and while we’ll all be happy when he finally retires, I admire him.”

A bunch of unnamed assistant coaches told Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report they thought the drop off was coming this year. What do you think?

“I think those coaches have very little to base that on. I’m not sure I’d want those [coaches] on my staff. Tell me they aren’t on my staff.”  

Football Outsiders said there was a decrease in arm strength as last season wore on.

“You think Bill and [Josh McDaniels] aren’t paying attention to what his arm looks like, how it responds? I think in some of those conditions, he still managed to cut it through the wind and the elements. He doesn’t have the arm of, say, a Blake Bortles or Aaron Rodgers, but it’s obviously more than good enough to win with. He’s done that better than anyone in league history.”


What are the Patriots getting in Cordarrelle Patterson?

What are the Patriots getting in Cordarrelle Patterson?

The Patriots have made a trade with the Raiders to acquire receiver and special teamer Cordarrelle Patterson, according to a source. The deal, first reported by Pardon My Take, is an interesting one because it lands Patterson with the team that passed on the opportunity to draft him back in 2013. 


Bill Belichick dealt the No. 29 overall pick to the Vikings that year in exchange for four selections, including a second-rounder and a third-rounder. The second-rounder became Jamie Collins, and the third became Logan Ryan. The Patriots also took Josh Boyce with a fourth they received in the trade, and the fourth pick (a seventh) was traded to Tampa Bay in exchange for LeGarrette Blount. The Vikings took Patterson. 

Patterson's career to this point has been a mixed bag. One of the top athletes in the 2013 draft, the Tennessee product never quite panned out as a go-to No. 1 receiver. He has not missed a game in five seasons, but he has never cracked 600 offensive snaps in a single season. The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder has turned himself into more of a gadget receiver as well as one of the game's best special teamers. 

Here's what the Patriots are getting in Patterson . . . 

TOP-TIER SPECIAL TEAMER: Patterson has solidified himself as one of the NFL's best kick-returners. In five seasons, he's ranked as the top returner in terms of average yards per return three times. He's never been outside of the top 10 in the league in that category. Last year he was sixth in the NFL with a 28.3 yards per return average. Patterson has also become a highly-effective gunner on punt units, a role he thrived in once he embraced it, and he has kick coverage experience. Patterson has not been a punt-returner. He has just one punt return under his belt compared to 153 kick returns. Patterson has been named a First-Team All-Pro twice for his work in the kicking game. 

INCONSISTENT RECEIVER: Patterson has never been able to take his explosiveness and translate that into consistent production offensively. He's not thought of as a precise route-runner, and he has a reputation as a "body-catcher." Yet, because he's so dynamic with the ball in his hands, offenses in Oakland and Minnesota have found ways to get the ball in his hands. He'll align in the backfield, take reverses and catch screens just to try to get him the ball in space where he can let his natural abilities take over. If he gets a crease, he can create a chunk play in a blink. 

THE COST: Patterson is in the second year of a two-year deal he signed with the Raiders last offseason. He has a base salary of $3 million and a cap hit of $3.25 million. The Patriots will be sending a fifth-rounder to the Raiders and getting a sixth-rounder back. (As an aside . . . The Patriots have used one fifth-round pick in the last six drafts. It was spent on long-snapper Joe Cardona. Why are they constantly dealing fifths away? Inside the Pylon's Dave Archibald did an interesting piece on that topic about a year and a half ago. The gist is that a) there's a significant drop-off in your chances of finding a star in the fifth compared to the fourth, and b) the talent in the fifth round, by some metrics, hasn't proven to be all that different from the sixth or seventh rounds.) 

THE FIT: Patterson is a relatively low-risk acquisition because of his cap hit (which on the Patriots slots him in between Shea McClellin and Chris Hogan) and because of the draft capital required to nab him. Trading for a player like Patterson as opposed to signing another team's free agent has the added benefit of not impacting the compensatory-pick formula. Patterson also fills a few needs. His abilities as a kick-returner will be more than suitable with last year's primary kick returner for the Patriots, Dion Lewis, out of the mix. What Patterson can do as a gunner and in kick coverage will also be useful with Johnson Bademosi now elsewhere. There's also a chance Matthew Slater plays in a different city in 2017, in which case Patterson's contributions as a gunner and in kick coverage could be critical. With Brandin Cooks, Julian Edelman and Hogan all established in the Patriots offense, Patterson won't be expected to take on a heavy role in the Patriots offense. However, if he can pick up a new system, perhaps he could take on a role as a No. 4 or 5 wideout who benefits from plays designed to get him touches in space. Malcolm Mitchell, Phillip Dorsett and Kenny Britt -- now alongside Patterson -- will all be competing for time in New England's offense. Former Patriots coaching assistant Mike Lombardi seems to believe it's unlikely Patterson contributes offensively


Patriots acquire WR Cordarrelle Patterson in trade with Raiders

Patriots acquire WR Cordarrelle Patterson in trade with Raiders

The Patriots have acquired wide receiver and kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson in a trade with the Raiders, NBC Sports Boston's Phil Perry confirms.

Pardon My Take, a podcast by Barstool Sports, first reported the news.

Ian Rapaport of NFL Network reports the Patriots sent a fifth-round pick to Oakland and received a Raiders' sixth-rounder along with Patterson.

More to come...