Patriots

Belichick: Brady's dependability 'right at the top of the list' of great qualities

Belichick: Brady's dependability 'right at the top of the list' of great qualities

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick has a saying: "Dependability is more important than ability." And no player during Belichick's tenure in New England has been more dependable than Tom Brady.

Since winning the quarterback job in 2001, Brady has missed starts for only two reasons: A torn ACL in 2008 and Deflategate. That's it. 

He has made 228 starts in that span, dealing with an array of injuries that have impacted his shoulder, ribs, ankle and hand just to name a few. Despite those, Brady has consistently performed as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. 

Yet as important as his performances have been, his ability to be available week-to-week, both on game days and during practices, has been priceless for the Patriots offense.

Take this week for example. Brady absorbed a hard shot to the area just above his right knee courtesy of Seattle safety Kam Chancellor in last Sunday night's loss to the Seahawks. Though Brady admitted after the game that the hit caused him soreness, he has not been limited in this week's practice, and he's in line to start during this weekend's homecoming against the 49ers -- his first game in San Francisco since entering the league.

"Very impressed," Belichick said when asked about Brady's durability on Friday morning. "There are a lot of great qualities that Tom has. That's right at the top of the list.

"Certainly it's very important for him to be healthy, but it's important for the team, on a weekly basis, to be able to go out there and practice and get the timing with the quarterback who's going to play in the game with the other people -- the linemen and receivers and so forth -- who are going to play with him. 

"If you're missing one receiver then maybe you get the timing with the other 10 players . . . If you're missing the quarterback, you could still get it and certainly we have a good quarterback in Jimmy [Garoppolo] and Jimmy could go out there and run everything that Tom can run. We've seen that. I'm not saying that he's not capable or qualified to do it. He is. And he does a great job of it. And when we put Jimmy in there, it's really seamless. You can't, unless you were actually looking at the position, if you could just block out that position and say which guy was in there at quarterback, I don't know if you would know a lot of times. 

"But for the quarterback to have that kind of consistency with the snap count, the cadence, the way that his voice or mannerisms or reminders in the huddle -- little things like that -- the whole timing at the line of scrimmage, and running the plays in practice . . . That is a huge carryover to the games. Again, Tom's consistency to do that, not only for himself but for the rest of the team, and the ability for the rest of the team to be able to count on that is very important."

There's a lot there to pick through, including Belichick's insistence that Garoppolo looks just as good as Brady does in practice "a lot of times," but Belichick continued to roll on the four-time Super Bowl champion and the preparation that he puts in to ensure that he's available for all of the games and practices he's participated in over the last 16 years. 

"Tom works very hard on his physical conditioning," Belichick said. "Recover, rest . . . It's really 24/7, 365 days a year. I don't know if it's 365 days a year. But every day that I see him here, he's doing those things. He's not just in here to put in time. He's in here to work on his training, work on his conditioning, get treatment, do whatever he can do to physically maintain or improve where he's at. Absolutely, it's a daily, multiple times a day, but it's a daily thing for Tom."

NFL Rumors: Patriots met with LB prospect Terez Hall last week

NFL Rumors: Patriots met with LB prospect Terez Hall last week

The New England Patriots have used a good portion of their 30 allotted pre-draft visits on offensive skill players, namely wide receivers and tight ends.

But they reportedly added a linebacker to the mix last week.

That'd be Missouri's Terez Hall, whom the Patriots hosted on an official visit last Wednesday, according to ESPN's Mike Reiss.

After injuring his pectoral muscle and running a disappointing 4.9-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, Hall projects as a late-round pick. But as Reiss points out, he still was important enough for the Patriots -- and new linebackers coach Jerod Mayo -- to devote time and energy on evaluating.

The Patriots "invest(ed) notable resources to finalize their evaluation of (Hall), with newly hired assistant coach Jerod Mayo playing a significant role in the process," Reiss wrote.

Hall joins Minnesota's Blake Cashman as the only two linebackers who reportedly visited the Patriots. It's not exactly a position of need, as Dont'a Hightower, Elandon Roberts, Kyle Van Noy and Ju'Whaun Bentley highlight a group that was solid in 2018. 

But it shouldn't surprise you that Bill Belichick and his staff are leaving no stone unturned before the 2019 NFL Draft begins Thursday.

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Former NFL GM sheds light on Patriots coach Bill Belichick's trade demeanor

Former NFL GM sheds light on Patriots coach Bill Belichick's trade demeanor

What's it like to discuss a trade with New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick?

Well, it doesn't sound like the six-time Super Bowl champion has much time for small talk. 

Ex-Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik, in a recent medial call with SiriusXM NFL radio, shed light on Belichick's demeanor during trade talks.

“Bill’s very cut-to-the-chase, as you can imagine,” Dominik said, as transcribed by The Boston Globe's Ben Volin. “I’ve done three or four trades with Bill, and everything is just like, ‘Get to the point, let’s go. Are you in? Do you want to do this or not?’ He’s not going to sit around and wait. I actually loved that. He got right to the point.”

Belichick isn't afraid to trade down or up multiple times during the NFL Draft. He's always looking for the most value, and sometimes that means stockpiling future picks.

The Patriots are in the enviable position of owning 12 picks in this week's 2019 NFL Draft, including six in the first three rounds. Only the New York Giants have as many picks at the Patriots.

With an abundance of picks and several roster weaknesses that must be addressed, it wouldn't be surprising for this Patriots draft class to be larger than normal. New England's offensive line, defensive line, wide receiver and tight end positions all have taken hits as a result of players leaving in NFL free agency or retiring.

That said, it's hard to imagine Belichick not making some sort of trade during the draft this week. He has enough selections to move up for a player who could play a key role on next year's team. A tight end such as T.J. Hockenson, who excelled as a pass-catcher and blocker for Iowa in 2018, is one such player worth trading up to draft.

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