Patriots

Four Patriots are the greatest of all time at their positions, per ESPN list

Four Patriots are the greatest of all time at their positions, per ESPN list

Sure, there have been bumps along the way. But New England Patriots fans truly are witnessing a golden era for what's become the model NFL franchise.

ESPN provided more proof of this Wednesday while rolling out an ambitious project that anoints the single greatest player at every position as the NFL enters its 100th season.

The Patriots, as you may expect, were impressively well-represented, with four players/coaches making the list: Tom Brady as the greatest quarterback, John Hannah as the greatest offensive guard, Adam Vinatieri as the greatest kicker and Bill Belichick as the greatest coach.

Think about that for a second: By at least one media outlet's judgment, the Patriots currently employ the greatest quarterback and the greatest coach in NFL history. During the early 2000s, they had three of the 23 greatest players/coaches ever in the same room.

No wonder New England has six championships, nine Super Bowl appearances and 16 AFC East titles since Belichick and Brady came to town in 2000.

(One could also make the case for Rob Gronkowski as the greatest tight end of all time, although Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez is a worthy choice.)

Hannah's Hall of Fame career shouldn't get lost in the modern-day shuffle, either: The 10-time first-team All-Pro is considered one of the best offensive lineman in NFL history, period, and ESPN included an apt quote about Hannah from former Patriots coach Ron Erhardt:

"I used to see people all the time who just would dive to get out of his way."

It's also worth noting that Brady, Belichick and Vinatieri are the only three active NFL members on ESPN's all-time team, as Vinatieri is still kicking for the Indianapolis Colts while Brady and Belichick gear up for their 20th season together.

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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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Josh Gordon appreciative of Patriots' support: 'I love these guys'

Josh Gordon appreciative of Patriots' support: 'I love these guys'

Josh Gordon is settled in and feeling more comfortable than ever in his second year in New England.

It hasn't been the easiest road for the Patriots wide receiver, who was acquired from the Cleveland Browns 12 months ago. Gordon played in 11 games with the Patriots last season before being suspended for violating the terms of his reinstatement under the league's substance-abuse policy.

But the 28-year-old has received immense support from his Patriots family through it all, and for that he's appreciative.

“It feels like I am back home," Gordon told reporters on Thursday. "It is a home environment. I love these guys. They corralled around me to support me, showed me love and I appreciate that each and every day that I am here. It is easy to come in and do what I have to do."

Gordon was reinstated on Aug. 16 and immediately made his presence felt in the season opener vs. the Steelers, notching three receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown. Through two weeks, he's feeling far more confident with his role in the Patriots' offense.

“Last year was kind of on the fly," Gordon said. "I got traded in the season and had to pick it up as I was going along and with the injury at the same time. It was a lot to take on. This year, I have more familiarity with it, got extra time in the offseason to study what I already knew and when I got in here I was able to pick it up where I left off and even better I would say.

"It is pretty smooth right now.”

So far, so good this season for Gordon as he looks ahead to Sunday's AFC East matchup against the New York Jets.

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