Patriots

Falcons coach explains what allowed Atlanta to make trade with Patriots

Falcons coach explains what allowed Atlanta to make trade with Patriots

The Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots are in two different situations with regards to the tight end position.

The Patriots tried to improve their tight end situation by acquiring Eric Saubert from Atlanta via trade in exchange for a conditional seventh-round draft pick Monday. Saubert caught five passes for 48 yards and zero touchdowns for the Falcons in 2018.

Falcons head coach Dan Quinn explained to reporters following the trade about what made the deal possible from Atlanta's perspective.

The Falcons have plenty of tight end depth and a clear No. 1 player atop their positional chart in Austin Hooper, who tallied 71 receptions for 660 yards and four touchdowns last season. Backup tight end Luke Stocker signed a two-year contract with the Falcons in March and was Pro Football Focus' highest-graded tight end in the AFC South division last season. 

The Patriots, meanwhile, lack quality depth at tight end and and don't yet have a suitable replacement(s) for the recently retired Rob Gronkowski. New England signed veteran tight end Benjamin Watson in May, but he's suspended for the first four games of the 2019 regular season due to a failed drug test. Matt LaCosse entered training camp as the leading candidate to be the No. 1 tight end for Week 1, but he suffered an apparent leg injury in the first preseason game against the Detroit Lions and didn't practice Monday.

Tight end could be one of the biggest weaknesses for the Pats in 2019 after it was a huge strength for the franchise over the last decade. The dropoff from Gronkowski to New England's current group of tight ends is pretty steep.

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NFL Rumors: Antonio Brown sent "intimidating" text messages to artist accusing him of sexual misconduct

NFL Rumors: Antonio Brown sent "intimidating" text messages to artist accusing him of sexual misconduct

After a Sports Illustrated story detailed new allegations against Antonio Brown, the Patriots' wide receiver reportedly sent "intimidating" text messages to the accuser. 

An artist, who accused Brown of sexual misconduct after he made a sexual advance toward her and fired her for not reciprocating, received messages from Brown after SI released the original story.

Photos of the messages are included in the story, including Brown asking his associates to investigate his accuser. The artist, who has remained unnamed, had her lawyer write to the NFL for the intimidation to stop, according to Robert Klemko. 

Here is part of what the accuser's lawyer had to say:

Our client ... is understandably frightened by these text messages, which are clearly intended to threaten and intimidate her. While she certainly qualifies as a ‘starving artist,’ she has never approached Mr. Brown, nor will she, about seeking money to compensate her for his sexual misconduct, contrary to his allegations in the text messages.

According to the story, the NFL responded to the letter within an hour and arranged a phone call between investigators and the artist's attorneys. The Patriots and Brown's agent Drew Rosenhaus did not comment. 

Sports Illustrated also texted the number used in the group messages associated with the alleged intimidation, asking the number linked to Brown if they would confirm nor deny the charges brought to him. The number responded with, "foh clown."

The wide receiver is also facing allegations of sexual assault and rape from Britney Taylor. As of now, Brown has not been placed on the commissioner's exempt list and is eligible to play Sunday against the Jets.

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Tom Brady and Jamal Adams sound off on NFL officiating during Jaguars vs Titans

Tom Brady and Jamal Adams sound off on NFL officiating during Jaguars vs Titans

Tom Brady couldn't contain his disappointment in NFL officiating Thursday night after Titans edge rusher Kamalei Correa was flagged for roughing Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew. 

Here's the play that netted the Jaguars 15 yards during a first-half drive:

For two seasons now, the NFL has been trying to protect quarterbacks from plays where defensive players drive them into the ground on sacks and/or QB hits. Plenty of quarterbacks have suffered collarbone and/or shoulder injuries that cause them to miss significant time, so the league has put an emphasis on calling bigger hits on quarterbacks. 

But sometimes, plays like these don't warrant a 15-yard penalty and players have been expressing their frustration lately. 

Jamal Adams was recently fined for a hit on Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield on Monday Night Football, calling the league a "damn joke" for fining him. And if a quarterback is complaining about a rule protecting quarterbacks, then it's probably time to reconsider how it's being called out on the field. 

Brady and Adams will square off against each other this Sunday when the Jets visit the Patriots in Week 3, so it'll be interesting to see what Adams will do if he has a chance to put a hit on Brady, and how the QB will react if it happens. 

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