Patriots

Demaryius Thomas confident he can produce at a high level: "I still can go"

Demaryius Thomas confident he can produce at a high level: "I still can go"

FOXBORO – Demaryius Thomas and Tom Brady seem to have become fast friends, at least judging by the amount of time they were seen on the sidelines last week talking and laughing during the team’s preseason game with the Panthers.

To hear Thomas talk on Sunday, you can appreciate why Brady might be a fan.

Speaking for the first time since joining the Patriots as a free agent in April, Thomas stressed again and again that Job No. 1 is being someone Brady can trust.  

“Being dependable and consistent,” said Thomas when asked what he needed to provide the quarterback. “Those two things are the biggest things you can do for a quarterback. Being consistent and dependable.”

Which is precisely what Brady is looking for as a revamped fleet of receivers and tight ends keep trying to get up to speed with the Patriots before the opener September 8.

Thomas, who’s coming back from an Achilles tear suffered at the end of 2018, sounded very confident in his ability to play at the same level he always has.

“I still can go,” said Thomas, who took part in his first full practice last Tuesday. “I still can go. Like I said, knock a little rust off and just keep hitting the days.”

So the explosion is there?

“I can feel it,” he said. “I can feel it certain days and certain days I can’t. It’s a thing that I feel when I play and I still got it. I touched it here and there but some days some stuff it bothers (me).

“I don’t think it’s a crazy challenge (to get back to a high level),” he said. “I think it’s a challenge to me to keep going out and doing what I’ve done my whole career. It’s a tougher challenge because here they expect more and it’s a little different than where I’ve been but I’ll be all right.”

The 31-year-old Thomas said he still “getting the hang of” the Patriots offense but said his time with the Houston Texans and former Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien last season helped him get a grasp on some of the concepts New England uses.

There’s still a couple of things I have to pick up but so far so good,” he said. “I’m just trying to fit in where I can and ask as many questions as I can.”

Thomas said he consults everyone – from Julian Edelman to the running backs to defensive players – for assistance on the little things that will help him be ready to contribute.

The essence of his job, he said, is “being in the right spot and catching the ball.”

“I still got some work to do but it’s getting better and better, I’m learning a lot,” he said. “Everything (Brady) tells me I’m taking in and same with Coach McDaniels. Everything they tell me I try to take the field.”

The Patriots wide receiver depth chart is a little murky. Edelman is at the top of it but rookie N’Keal Harry has been down for nearly two weeks. Undrafted rookie Jakobi Meyers has had an outstanding camp and preseason but still has a ways to go before he’s got full command. Phillip Dorsett is dependable but is more a complementary piece. And Josh Gordon just took part in his first full practice Sunday.

Thomas appreciates what Brady needs and also the work the quarterback puts in.  Asked what surprised him about Brady, Thomas said, “Just being able to be around him and learn the game. Sit beside him and see him go through the things he does before practice and see him be able to do it at the age he is. He’s still got zip on the ball and still the best in the game at what he does.”

As for being in New England, Thomas said, “It’s different. The way they go about it, I see why they win so much. Everybody do their job. Nobody try to do too much.”

If Thomas can do the two things he mentioned – be in the right spot and catch the ball – that will be plenty for Brady.

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Tom Brady trails only one player in latest 2019 NFL MVP betting odds

Tom Brady trails only one player in latest 2019 NFL MVP betting odds

The New England Patriots offense looks like a juggernaut through the first two weeks of the 2019 season, but there's still one player with better odds than Tom Brady to win NFL MVP.

The Patriots quarterback has thrown for 605 yards with five touchdowns and zero interceptions over two games. He's also completing 68.8 percent of his passes and has a near-perfect passer rating against blitzes.

These stats are impressive, but he still trails Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes in several stat categories. Mahomes also happens to be the clear early favorite among oddsmakers to win the league's MVP award.

Here are the latest MVP odds from Caesars Palace:

Mahomes leads the NFL with 821 passing yards, and his eight touchdowns are tied for the league lead. The Chiefs, like the Patriots, are 2-0 after a pair of dominant performances.

The Chiefs quarterback won the Associated Press NFL MVP last season, and we haven't see a repeat winner of this award since Peyton Manning in 2008 and 2009. Brady last won in 2017 and has three AP MVPs on his resumé.

Both Brady and Mahomes will be top MVP candidates throughout the season, and the outcome of the Week 14 showdown between the Patriots and Chiefs at Gillette Stadium in December could play a meaningful role in the final voting. 

Latest Patriots vs. Jets Week 3 spread is laughably big>>>

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Patriots' Matthew Slater got to channel his Hall of Fame dad at the goal line

Patriots' Matthew Slater got to channel his Hall of Fame dad at the goal line

Matthew Slater, the Patriots' All-Pro special team ace, found himself added to the Patriots goal-line package four times in their blowout victory over the Dolphins on Sunday.

Two of those snaps resulted in touchdowns - Sony Michel's 1-yard run on the opening drive and Tom Brady's sneak in the third quarter.  

What's he think of his less-than-familiar role as an added blocker in the jumbo package? He learned from the best.

“I try to do my best Jackie Slater impersonation there,” Slater told reporters in the locker room Wednesday in Foxboro. His father, Hall of Famer Jackie Slater, anchored the Rams offensive line for 20 years.

“I get to live my dream out of being a blocking guy like my dad was. I’ve always enjoyed doing that. If the team asks you to do something, you try to step up and do it and help the team in order to be successful. I always get a kick out of that when I get a chance to do it.”

With only two tight ends currently on the 53-man roster, Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo, who were both used in those goal-line packages, Bill Belichick can count on the versatile 34-year-old veteran to pick up the blocking slack.

"Matt’s done that before, and it just really depends on what we’re trying to do and what the options are,” Belichick told reporters at his Wednesday press conference. “We have a couple of receivers that are fairly new to the team in terms of being on the field like with Antonio [Brown] and Josh [Gordon]. We have other receivers like Gunner [Olszewski] and Phil (Dorsett) that aren’t the biggest guys, physically, in terms of putting them on the goal line or dealing with things like that."

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