Patriots

Bill Belichick on Patriots' turnover at WR: 'You control what you can control'

Bill Belichick on Patriots' turnover at WR: 'You control what you can control'

FOXBORO -- It's been a revolving door at the wide receiver position for the New England Patriots through the first seven weeks of the season.

The obvious example is Antonio Brown's brief tenure in New England. The Patriots took a chance on the troubled wideout by signing him to a one-year deal in early September, then released him shortly after their Week 2 matchup against the Miami Dolphins.

Then there are the injuries to Phillip Dorsett and Josh Gordon, which have opened the door for rookies Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olsewzki to contribute some weeks.

And of course, there's the latest acquisition of ex-Falcons WR Mohamed Sanu and the subsequent placement of Gordon on injured reserve, possibly ending the 28-year-old's Patriots career.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was asked Friday about how difficult the turnover at the wide receiver position has been this year.

"It'd always be ideal to have everybody available all the time and use the same people every week of the season," Belichick said. "That's just not the way it is in the National Football League or anywhere else. You control what you can control, and what you can't control you try to work around and do the best you can with it.

"Sometimes that's a different position, sometimes it's the same position. Sometimes it's not that much, sometimes it's a lot. There's other teams in the league that deal with injuries just like we are, just like everybody else is. There are other things to deal with besides injuries but that's just -- it's the National Football League. It's a long season, it's a tough game."

The Patriots' wide receiver situation only will get more interesting once 2019 first-round draft pick N'Keal Harry returns from IR. The rookie has been practicing with the team and will be eligible to play in Week 9 when they visit the Baltimore Ravens.

As for whether Harry's pending return had anything to do with the decision to place Gordon on IR, Belichick didn't offer a clear yes or no. He did, however, remind us once again that this is the National Football League, and there's a limit to how many receivers they can keep on board.

"Well I mean, look, we're not going to carry 10 receivers on the team so something's got to happen," Belichick said. "I don't know what. Can't carry that many players at the same position. At some point, numbers have to become a factor. This is the National Football League, this isn't college."

Belichick and the Patriots are set to take on the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, and the newly-added Sanu is expected to make his Pats debut.

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Sources: Tom Brady and family preparing to leave New England

Sources: Tom Brady and family preparing to leave New England

Tom Brady doesn't officially become a free agent until the new league year begins on March 18, but the rumors are already flying about the New England Patriot quarterback's future.

A report surfaced earlier in the week that Brady and his family purchased a home in Greenwich, Connecticut. As NBC Sports Boston's own Tom E. Curran pointed out, that is false.

But that doesn't mean Brady isn't planning on making a move.

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Thursday night on "Arbella Early Edition," Gary Tanguay revealed that a source told him Brady and wife Gisele Bundchen are looking to leave New England.

"I was told today by a source the family is planning to leave the area," Tanguay said. "The priority this time is to let the kids finish school this year, then they're gone."

Tanguay's report doesn't mean Brady is definitely leaving New England, but talks of him and his family looking to live somewhere else continue to gain steam.

If Brady indeed is moving on from New England and looking to start a new chapter, some of that could do with his desire to finally make the money he's worth in free agency.

According to Tanguay, Brady is "embarrassed" by the number of quarterbacks in the league that make more than him and has been fed up about it dating back to the summer, before he signed his contract extension.

Thirteen quarterbacks, including Brady's former backups Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett, make more on average annually than the six-time Super Bowl champion according to overthecap.com.

The truth is, we won't know for certain what's going through Brady's mind until the ink is on paper for the 42-year-old's new contract. Until then, it's going to be a stressful offseason for Patriots fans.

Curran: Is this newfound time a silver lining for Patriots?

Patriots Talk Podcast: What exactly are the Patriots up to right now?

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

Patriots Talk Podcast: What exactly are the Patriots up to right now?

Needless to say, it's unusual for the New England Patriots to have so much down time in January. Typically, they're playing in the AFC Divisional Round. And the AFC Championship Game. And often, the Super Bowl.

But this year, they were eliminated in the Wild Card Round for the first time since 2009. And now, they have a lot of time on their hands.

And while their early playoff exit was surely discouraging, the Patriots could stand to benefit from this extra time.

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On the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast, Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry discussed how the Patriots could utilize the extra time and the positive impact it could have on the organization.

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Curran pointed out that because the team has so often been playing into February, their already thin staff has been stretched thin come draft season, which explains why the team has had some draft misses in recent seasons.

Really, it comes down to 312 days of prepreparation were sacrifice. And so for a bare bones organization in terms of both front office and coaching staff -- these guys have had shorter offseasons by a month on average than any other team in the NFL.

So on one hand, it's remarkable and it's a high-class problem. On the other hand, isn't it somewhat inevitable that you might have some draft swings and misses?

Perry agreed with Curran and brought up that the fact that the extra time off will give Belichick a real chance to thoroughly evaluate his roster.

I think for a team that is looking at a reboot, one of the sort of ironic things about that is that now you have time to really think that through in more detail and not to say that Bill Belichick isn't planning or looking at his roster, how it's constructed, how the contracts set up and trying to plan ahead. I'm sure he is doing that to a certain extent.

But you can only spend so much time on those things when you're getting ready for the divisional round, the AFC Championship Game every year, the Super Bowl every other year.

This surely makes sense and is definitely a positive for the Patriots. Perhaps with that extra time, Belichick can find a way to retain Tom Brady while significantly upgrading his supporting cast.

For more on the Patriots offseason plans, potential changes in their front office, and predictions for the AFC and NFC Championship Games, check out the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast, which drops every Tuesday and Thursday as a part of the NBC Sports Boston podcast network.