Patriots

Is Danny Amendola returning to the Lions a signal?

Is Danny Amendola returning to the Lions a signal?

Danny Amendola’s going back to the Lions.

That doesn’t really tip the NFL’s balance of power. But it is a tipoff.

Either Amendola and Tom Brady weren’t the free agent package deal they were reported to be or — and this is the more likely scenario — the sure thing was the smart thing for the 34-year-old wide receiver.

Amendola’s decision to return to Detroit raised some eyebrows in Foxboro where it was taken as a sign that players may not be able to wait on Brady’s free agent decision.  

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Does it matter to Brady whether or not he’s able to round up a collection of players he’s familiar and comfortable with? To some degree, it has to.

So much of the Patriots’ 2019 offensive struggles were related to the learning curve the majority of Brady’s receivers faced.

He did little to mask his frustration that the team marched into camp with N’Keal Harry, Jakobi Meyers, Gunner Olszewski, Maurice Harris, Bruce Ellington, Matt LaCosse, Dontrelle Inman and Braxton Berrios as the complements to Julian Edelman and Phillip Dorsett.  

And it went about as Brady expected as the combination of inexperience, unfamiliarity and ineptitude left Brady flinging the ball into the cheerleaders at an alarming rate.

If Brady and the Patriots can’t reach an agreement before free agency, he’s lighting out for the territories. Which means unfamiliarity with personnel, scheme, city, coaching staff, owner, GM, scouting department, etc. wherever he goes.

It was easy to project Amendola as a comfortable wingman for Brady. Even at 34, he’s still incredibly reliable. In four of the past five seasons, he’s caught 65, 61, 59 and 62 passes. His outlier season was injury-marred 2016 and he atoned for the 23-catch regular season by ripping it up in the playoffs. He also delivered the Patriots to Super Bowl 52 with his fourth-quarter performance in the AFC Championship Game.

Amendola coming off the board underscores the fact that — wherever he goes — Brady’s starting fresh.

That may not faze him in the least. Especially if — during the recruiting process — he’s enthusiastically embraced and told he’ll be owner-operator of an offense rather than assistant manager.

In how many cities might that happen? Probably a few.

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Take Nashville, for instance. Brady’s never thrown a pass to Adam Humphries, Jonnu Smith, A.J. Brown or Corey Davis. There will be a learning curve. But there will also be a better offensive line, a more potent running game (especially if the Titans retain Derrick Henry) and one would think 37-year-old offensive coordinator Arthur Smith can see his way clear to letting Brady have a big say.

It’s worth noting that, when the Patriots practiced with the Titans in August, Brady eviscerated their defense with Berrios and Meyers as his main targets that week. That probably left as much of an impression about what Brady is capable of as the Patriots playoff loss last month.

But moving on — even to a franchise that rolls out the reddest of carpets for him — means radical change. The easiest thing in the world for Brady to do would be to shrug his shoulders and come back to the Patriots.

Does he want to come back to a familiar situation where he’s been increasingly uncomfortable?

Or does he want to deal with the unfamiliarity and short-term discomfort because he believes it will feel differently in the end?

Happy 3-28, Patriots fans! That could mean only one thing

Happy 3-28, Patriots fans! That could mean only one thing

While this quarantined life most of us have been living has some of us losing track of dates and even days of the week, here's a reminder that it is indeed March 28.

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That would be 3-28.

And in New England, 3-28 brings to mind one thing.

Super Bowl LI.

The Patriots, of course, were on the 3 end, and the Atlanta Falcons 28, when late in the third quarter, New England's comeback began. The rest is happy history for Patriots fans. 

So, on 3-28, guess what's trending on Twitter? It's Saturday, by the way. 

New Orleans Saints fans like to remind their NFC South rivals what day it is, too:

To get a good look at the comeback, you can tune into FOX Sunday at 3 when the Patriots' 34-28 victory is re-aired.

 

Report: Patriots do FaceTime interviews with NFL Draft prospects

Report: Patriots do FaceTime interviews with NFL Draft prospects

As a result of the coronavirus crisis, FaceTiming has become the way of the world for NFL teams interviewing college prospects ahead of the April 23-25 draft.

The Patriots are no exception. They've held FaceTime interviews with several players, Justin Melo of Draft Wire reports. Among them LSU guard Damien Lewis, Boise State offensive tackle Ezra Cleveland and Michigan State defensive line teammates Kenny Willekes and Raequan Williams.

Lewis, 6-foot-3, 322 pounds, was a second-team All-SEC selection and part of a unit for the national champion Tigers that won the Joe Moore Award as the nation's best college O-line. He projects as a "scheme-specific" starter by The Draft Network, better in a pass-heavy offense.

Cleveland, 6-6, 311, is projected as a mid-round pick. One of the draft's more athletic tackles, he ran a 4.93 40-yard-dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, the only O-lineman to crack 5.00. 

Willekes, 6-4, 252,  returned from a broken leg for his senior season and earned a second-team All-Big Ten spot after leading the Spartans with 16 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks and is projected as high as a late first-rounder. Williams, 6-4, 300,  is projected as Day 3 project type pick by NFL.com.