Patriots

Dolphins player: Referee told me to 'stay off' Patriots QB Tom Brady after legal hit

Dolphins player: Referee told me to 'stay off' Patriots QB Tom Brady after legal hit

The NFL has been accused of doing too much to protect quarterbacks over the last decade or so, and Miami Dolphins linebacker Raekwon McMillan's latest comments won't do much to put an end to that view point.

McMillan told reporters Wednesday that the referee in Sunday's Week 2 matchup between the Dolphins and New England Patriots at Hard Rock Stadium told the Miami linebacker to "stay off" quarterback Tom Brady after a legal hit. Referee Bill Vinovich and his crew officiated the game.

It's impossible to know this official's rationale without hearing his side of the story. Maybe he felt that while McMillan's hit was legal, it was close to roughing the passer and he wanted to help the Dolphins linebacker avoid a 15-yard penalty later in the game. Or, it's possible, he didn't want the game to get out of hand given the lopsided scoreline throughout the afternoon. The Patriots ultimately won 43-0.

In fairness to the NFL, the rule changes it has made in recent years to protect quarterbacks were smart decisions. Quarterback is the most important position in the sport, both in terms of on-field performance and success from a business perspective. These players are the league's most marketable stars. In fact, a recent poll of league executives and other experts concluded that six of the 10 most marketable players in football were quarterbacks, led by Brady and Kansas City Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes (in that order).

Brady was on the injury report Wednesday with a calf injury, but it's not known if it happened on McMillan's hit.

McMillan's frustration is understandable, but we shouldn't be surprised that referees in 2019 are looking out for the safety of quarterbacks. And we should expect more caution going forward given the recent injuries to Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

Aaron Rodgers has great reaction to Tom Brady's critics>>>

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Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins picks Patriots' Julian Edelman as favorite player in NFL

Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins picks Patriots' Julian Edelman as favorite player in NFL

DeAndre Hopkins knows talent when he sees it.

The Houston Texans wide receiver is among the best -- if not the best -- in the game right now. But even he can't help but admire Julian Edelman's game from afar.

Hopkins recently raved about the New England Patriots' veteran wide receiver to ESPN's Sarah Barshop.

“[Edelman] always has a knack for getting the extra four or five yards,” Hopkins said. “He’s one of my favorite receivers in the NFL because of that. Because he keeps the chains moving.”

Jesse Palmer of NFL Network explained how Hopkins studied Edelman over the offseason:

Over the last ten seasons, Edelman has consistently served as Brady's security blanket on third down. While he may not have the name recognition of a wideout like Hopkins, it's easy to see why the Texans star singled out the Super Bowl MVP.

Hopkins has 47 first downs on his 75 catches this season, tied for second-most in the NFL with Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans and only trailing Saints WR Michael Thomas.

Looks like studying Edelman's game paid dividends.

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That 617 Life Podcast: Are the Patriots or the Cowboys America's team?

That 617 Life Podcast: Are the Patriots or the Cowboys America's team?

Shanda, Leroy and Cerrone bring you the hottest topics in Boston Sports right now. If you were Kraft, would you take Antonio Brown back? Let's be honest about who America's team REALLY is. Is the rest of the world getting a glimpse of the Celtics' true potential?

3:00 - If you were in Robert Kraft’s shoes, would you take back Antonio Brown?

9:30 - Cerrone brings you his ‘Cold cuts and hot takes’ where he breaks down who really is America’s team. Is it the Patriots or the Cowboys?

20:00 - Shanda sounds off: Bill Russell finally accepts Basketball Hall of Fame ring

24:00 - Reacting to Terrell Owens confronting Stephen A. Smith over Colin Kaepernick

28:00 - Did this Celtics West Coast trip prove to the doubters that the Celtics are legit?

32:00 - Players Call, we give a shout out to people who deserve some love.

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