Patriots

Ten most important Pats heading into 2015: Chandler Jones

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Ten most important Pats heading into 2015: Chandler Jones

Starting today, and leading up to the first day of training camp, we’re going to look at the most important Patriots, counting down from 10 to 1. I went through my vast reservoir of contacts in the league and in the Foxboro offices to come to some sort of consensus.

Okay, I didn’t even come close to doing that. I trust my eyes and this is what they tell me as we head into the 2015 season.

10. CHANDLER JONES

Why? It’s time. This should be his Front Four. Jones has the most talent in that group, the most explosiveness. He’s entering the prime of his career. He can also set himself up for a megadeal when his current contract expires in two seasons (the Pats picked up the fifth-year option this offseason).

Previous Performance: In 2014-15, before he injured his hip in week 7 versus the Jets, the former Syracuse product had 4 1/2 sacks and 15 QB hurries. Impressive, especially when you consider the fatally flawed game plan that had him playing inside in the season opener at Miami and made him a non-factor.

The year prior, in just his second season in the league, Jones looked like he was developing into one of the most well-rounded defensive ends in the NFL. He finished with double-digit sack totals and, for the most part, was solid versus the run. Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia kept him on the field in all situations. Jones was quickly becoming a foundational player, and played more defensive snaps than anyone on the roster.

Questions surrounding the player: Injuries, for starters. Jones missed a huge chunk of games last season, and when he returned he lacked his usual burst off the edge. He did have a sack in the Super Bowl, but spent a fair portion of the offseason on crutches and rehabbing that hip. He was not available during OTAs, although for a player with his experience, that’s not a huge red flag unless the healing has been slowed.

Also, to be an elite DE, which Jones has the tools to become, you want to see him give the business to the game’s best left tackles. That hasn’t been the case, unless you count D’Brickshaw Ferguson has one of the best of the best (Jones usually gets the better of DBF).

Overall Outlook: Jones is a player ascending. If he can avoid a serious injury, this should be the year he post career-bests in sacks, pressures and QB hits, especially when you consider the addition of Jabal Sheard, who should help keep both Jones and Rob Ninkovich a little fresher than they’ve been because of depth issues the past two seasons. Sheard > Zach Moore and Andre Carter (admit it, you forgot he was on the 2013 roster).

Book claims Brady 'had enough' of Belichick after 2017 season

Book claims Brady 'had enough' of Belichick after 2017 season

According to a new book written by ESPN's Ian Connor titled "Belichick: The Making of the Greatest Football Coach of All Time," the rift between Tom Brady and Bill Belichick may have been even more serious than originally thought.

The book claims that following the 2017 season Tom Brady wanted to part ways with his longtime head coach.

"If you're married 18 years to a grouchy person who gets under your skin and never compliments you, after a while you want to divorce him," a source told O'Connor. "Tom knows Bill is the best coach in the league, but he's had enough of him. If Tom could, I think he would divorce him."

O'Connor writes that Brady seriously reconsidered his future in New England up until late March, but the Jimmy Garoppolo trade ultimately left Brady feeling obligated to stay with the Patriots.

"But in the end, even if he wanted to, Brady could not walk away from the game, and he could not ask for a trade. The moment Belichick moved [Jimmy] Garoppolo to San Francisco, and banked on Brady's oft-stated desire to play at least into his mid-forties, was the moment Brady was virtually locked into suiting up next season and beyond. Had he retired or requested a trade, he would have risked turning an adoring New England public into an angry mob."

"Belichick: The Making of the Greatest Football Coach of All Time" will be released Sept. 25.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Bill Belichick doesn't comment on Josh Gordon trade

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NBC Sports Boston Photo

Bill Belichick doesn't comment on Josh Gordon trade

1:11 - Bill Belichick didn’t have much to say about acquiring Josh Gordon. Tom Giles, Michael Holley, and Danielle Trotta discuss if Josh Gordon will be able to turn his career around in New England.

6:55 - Evan Drellich joins BST from Yankee Stadium to discuss the Red Sox bullpen blowing yet another save, and how David Price can help the Red Sox clinch the A.L. East on Wednesday night in New York.

11:45 - DJ Bean, Abby Chin, and Michael Holley talk about the ESPN top 100 NBA players list, where Jayson Tatum will be ranked in the top 30.

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NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE