Patriots

Curran: Everybody has a sad because Tom Brady walked away

Curran: Everybody has a sad because Tom Brady walked away

Is a person obliged to respond to damaging, fact-free speculation about his business? 

Especially if a statement has already dismissed this speculation as unfounded (cue the: “Yeah, what else are they going to say???” retort). Should another statement be made that just gives the fact-free speculation more traction? 

Saturday afternoon, Ben Volin of The Boston Globe asked Brady, “When Julian [Edelman] tested positive, a lot of people connected it to Alex Guerrero. What’s your reaction to that? Do you think it’s fair?”

Brady scoffed, then said, “I have no comments, just ridiculous.” He then smiled, said, “I’m out,” and walked away. 

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Since this happened Saturday, everybody hasn’t yet had their bite at the apple, their chance to “weigh in.” Now that Monday’s here, the reviews are in. And Brady is being roundly described as “soft.”

We have e-mail chains each day prior to our NBCSports Boston shows. Brady’s so far been derided as sensitive and compared to a 3-year-old. And it’s still early.  

Apparently, his line of thinking should have gone a little like this . . . 

You want to write a story about my close friend and teammate who failed a PED test and is going to sit out a quarter of the season? 

You’re wondering if I’ll distance myself from his indiscretion and throw in with my other close friend and business partner, who’s been widely and repeatedly denounced in the local media as a snake oil salesman? 

And when I’m done talking off-the-cuff after a two-hour padded practice in tropical heat, my answer’s going to be dismissed as an overly-defensive crock with a few knee-slappers about avocado ice cream squeezed in?

Definitely!!!

How was Brady supposed to traipse through that verbal minefield? A minefield that’s there simply because of the obvious desire to see Guerrero and all the TB12 hokum discredited?

(DISCLOSURE!!! In 2013, I saw Guerrero twice for an old-man injury. Paid for his services. It worked. I’d happily recommend him to anyone with a nagging injury. And I’ve bought whey protein from TB12 as well.)

Was Volin entitled to ask the question? Sure. It was Brady’s first access of camp, anyone can ask what they want. 

But feeling aggrieved on Volin’s behalf at a request for Brady’s reaction to “a lot of people!” spitballing about Brady and Guerrero’s business based on something Edelman did? Or offended that Brady ended the press conference and walked away? That itself seems a soft reaction. 

Brady knows by now that his decision to create the sovereign country of TB12 changed things permanently. If you’re going to build an empire, marry the world’s most famous supermodel, appear in movies, hobnob nonstop with the elite at glitzy awards shows, dress weird, make a spectacle of yourself on social media, build a California palace and evangelize about the how-to handbook for life you created with your body coach, well, you’re asking for it. 

“It,” he has now come to realize, includes steady criticism and scrutiny from the region’s paper of record on everything from his charity work to how long he kisses his kids. And a true devotion to make Guerrero seem batcrap crazy and dangerous. 

Brady’s reaction came because the question presumed he was obligated to answer what he sees as an ongoing effort to discredit Guerrero and TB12. 

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I don’t feel badly for Brady. It is what it is and this is the life he chose. He’s the one who, for lack of a better phrase, “put it out there.”

But I also don’t begrudge him for drawing up his own rules of media engagement. 

We’re all remoras to the Great White that is Brady. Media. Fans. Teammates. Coaches. The league itself. Clusters of suckerfish that hang close and feed, feed, feed on the content Brady provides on and off the field.

And on Saturday, even in giving the media nothing, he gave them plenty. 

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Next Pats Podcast: How Dalton Keene can transform Patriots offense

Next Pats Podcast: How Dalton Keene can transform Patriots offense

In the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots addressed their need at the tight end position by selecting Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene with back-to-back picks.

Keene, a Virginia Tech product, is a particularly intriguing rookie due to his versatility. Anyone who knows Bill Belichick knows that the Patriots head coach loves a player who can act a swiss army knife and can be effective no matter where you put them on the field, and Keene was exactly that during his college years.

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Brad Cornelsen, Keene's offensive coordinator at Virginia Tech, believes Belichick and the Patriots will be pleased with everything the young tight end brings to the table as a player. On the latest Next Pats Podcast with Phil Perry, Cornelson explained how Keene excelled at multiple roles on offense and can translate that experience to the NFL.

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In high school he was a quarterback, I mean he did a little bit of everything so we knew there was some versatility when he came. But I think his natural spot when he showed up was kind of that hybrid guy for us between tight end and kind of back. And so, playing him in the backfield quite a bit in the run game, blocking, kicking out edges, getting on the perimeter, those were the ways we kind of used him initially. Certainly the prototypical guy that you can split out that can line up at slot ... great hands, great concentration, doesn't hardly drop anything ...

The swiss army knife. He can do it all and has done it all for us. It didn't surprise me when I saw the team that drafted him, just the reputation that the Patriots have for really placing such a huge value on tough, smart football players.

Obviously, Keene's primary responsibility to begin his NFL career will be to develop as a tight end. But Perry brings up the interesting scenario of Keene teaming up with Danny Vitale at the fullback position.

I look at the San Francisco 49ers and their usage of [Kyle] Juszczyk, an athletic fullback, and then I look at the two athletic the Patriots have at fullback themselves now in Vitale and Keene, and I wonder if we won't see something similar in New England in 2020. I would say of Vitale and Keene, both very different types of players from James Develin. James Develin was a sledgehammer ... I wouldn't look at Vitale or Keene as someone who's necessarily going to come right away and fill that same type of role ...  I think that these two guys that they have now, they're both a little bit lighter ... I would say both are more explosive athletes and both are probably more dynamic in terms of what they can provide a passing game as receivers themselves.

Also discussed on the latest episode of the Next Pats Podcast are how Keene got the nickname "Rambo," how having an athletic fullback could help quarterback Jarrett Stidham, and much more.

Check out more of the Next Pats Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network or watch on YouTube below:

What will new QB coach Jedd Fisch bring to Patriots offense in 2020?

What will new QB coach Jedd Fisch bring to Patriots offense in 2020?

Editor’s note: In the coming weeks our Patriots insiders will be speaking with beat writers from around the NFL to get an outside view on what the future holds for the Patriots. Today’s team: The Los Angeles Rams with Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated.

One under-the-radar personnel move made by the New England Patriots after the 2019 season was the hiring of Jedd Fisch as quarterbacks coach in January.

Fisch spent 2018 and 2019 with the Los Angeles Rams as an assistant offensive coordinator. His experience as an offensive coach dates back to 2004, when he was an offensive assistant with the Baltimore Ravens.

Since then, Fisch has spent time with numerous teams including the Jacksonville Jaguars, where he served as an offensive coordinator in 2013 and 2014. Before joining the Rams, Fisch was an offensive coach at Michigan (2015-16) and UCLA (2017), where he also was named an interim head coach.

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On the latest edition of Patriots Opposing Views, Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated shed some light on what Fisch will bring to the Patriots in 2020.

"Very much a quarterbacks guy," Breer said about Fisch. "I'm sure [Bill] Belichick's connection to him at least to some degree came through Mike Shanahan. Mike Shanahan helped welcome Jedd Fisch into the league, and he's clearly been a part of the development of Jared Goff over the last couple of years, went to a Super Bowl with Jared Goff at the quarterback position. He was a part of that room.

"Everywhere he's been, he's been locked in on the quarterbacks. My feeling is [the Patriots] brought him in for very Jarrett Stidham-specific reasons. His experience, again, is working with young quarterbacks. He was a college coach both at UCLA and at Michigan. And so, I think part of the reason you bring him in is to give Jarrett Stidham one more resource to work with."

Considering Stidham's inexperience at the pro level, it makes sense to give the 2019 fourth-round draft pick every resource possible to help expedite his development. While Fisch may not be a household name, his role is tremendously important to Stidham and the Patriots' success in 2020.

Stidham will have plenty of coaches in his corner as he prepares to take over for Tom Brady. Along with Fisch, Bill Belichick, Josh McDaniels, and veteran QB Brian Hoyer each will play a major part in getting Stidham ready to lead the Patriots offense in Week 1.