It's doubtful that any team, in any sport, ever entered a year with the bar set so high as the 2017 Patriots.
Debating if they'll win the division is, to virtually everyone, like debating if the sun will rise in the East. Conference champions? A given. Another Super Bowl crown? Expected. An undefeated season? There, THAT'S the challenge in many minds.
And to Tom Brady, that's absurd. Beyond absurd.
Speaking on WEEI's Kirk and Callahan this morning -- his preseason appearance tied into the station's annual Jimmy Fund telethon -- Brady shot down the notion that this team compares to any of the five Pats Super Bowl champions, or the 2007 team that went 16-0 in the regular season.
“It's so far from those types of things," Brady said. “I mean, you're talking about some incredible teams that I've had an opportunity to be on, very lucky to be on. This team is so far from where we need to be. We have so far to go.
"It's really unfair to set expectations. It's really a setup -- for this team, we need to be focused on so many other things than what people may think about us or say about us. There's so much improvement we need to make."
Spoken like a true Bill Belichick Patriot. As was his closing thought:
"We'll be able to write our own chapter. Hopefully it's a good one."
FOXBORO -- The Patriots will see some familiar faces Sunday when they play the Dolphins and former New England interior lineman Ted Larsen.
Then again, a suddenly interesting Bill Belichick noted Friday, the Patriots are used to seeing their players of seasons past end up elsewhere. In his estimation, the Patriots see their former players stay in the league moreso than most other organizations.
“There’s 70-something guys in the league like that that have been here and are playing for somebody else, or whatever the number is,” Belichick said when asked about facing Larsen. “It’s a lot. Seventy to 90, somewhere in there, depending on how you want to count the practice-squad players and today’s waiver wire vs. yesterday’s waiver wire. There’s a lot of guys out there. It’s one of the highest numbers in the league.”
Asked to clarify, Belichick responded, “I think we have more [former] players that are playing on other teams than other teams [do], or one of them. I don’t know if we’re the highest. We’re one of the highest; I can tell you that. We’re up there pretty high, but it depends on how you want to count them: starters, roster players, IR, practice squad. You can run the list that you run and count them up how you want to count them up, but we’d be up there pretty high.”
Belichick loosely estimated that there might be an average of three former Pats per team in the NFL. Of course, the actual number varies from team to team, with the Colts’ roster essentially looking like a Patriots museum.
Interestingly enough, the question of the total number was explored this offseason by Pats Pulpit, who determined in May that there were 91 former Patriots on other rosters.
LANDOVER, Md. - Kirk Cousins threw two touchdown passes to compensate for a pick-6, and the Washington Redskins beat the New York Giants 20-10 on Thursday night on a drab field in a drab game between two injury-depleted teams that did not look ready for prime time. Click here to read more.