Patriots

Jacoby Brissett tells story of awkward meeting with Bill Belichick after trade to Colts

Jacoby Brissett tells story of awkward meeting with Bill Belichick after trade to Colts

Getting traded can be an uncomfortable experience for players. That especially can be the case when the head coach isn't a man of many words.

Former Patriots quarterback Jacoby Brissett had that experience in 2017 when he was traded to the Colts for wide receiver Phillip Dorsett. In Wednesday's episode of Barstool Sports' "Pardon My Take" podcast, Brissett detailed the awkward meeting in which Bill Belichick informed him of the deal.

“At the time Julian [Edelman] had got hurt, and we were looking for a receiver,” Brissett said. “That was pretty much it. I just froze sitting in front of him. I wasn’t talking, he wasn’t talking after he told me why, so I just got up and left. … Saw him at the [Kentucky] Derby and it was all good. But he was just like, ‘Yeah, good luck’ and I was like, ‘Alright, I guess. I don’t know what the hell is going on right now’ and then I had to get on a flight to go to Indy.”

Despite the awkwardness of his departure from New England, Brissett makes it clear he's still on good terms with Belichick along with several other former and current members of the Patriots, including Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo.

"We all meet each other there," he said. "The first year we did, my rookie year. Then last year because I was in Indy, and there were in Boston, I drove up because it was like a two-hour drive for me, so I drove up. It’s a great trip. You don’t remember it. You just go back and look through your text messages and see what the hell everyone was saying. It’s a great trip.”

With Colts QB Andrew Luck healthy, Brissett could find himself having another awkward conversation in the near future as the 26-year-old signal-caller is a valuable trade chip with the 2019 season approaching.

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Browns better than Patriots in 2020? Former NFL player makes bold claim

Browns better than Patriots in 2020? Former NFL player makes bold claim

The New England Patriots have spent much of the last 20 years at the summit of the NFL -- the most successful franchise of this century. Over that same time, the Cleveland Browns have been one of the league's worst teams, with only a single postseason appearance since 2000.

Could these teams begin to switch places in 2020?

Last season was supposed to be the Browns' return to the spotlight, and the playoffs. Expectations were high for quarterback Baker Mayfield, star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and an up-and-coming defense. Instead, Cleveland got off to a horrible start in 2019, losing six of their first eight games, including a Week 7 loss to the Patriots at Gillette Stadium. 

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Despite all that unfolded in Cleveland last season, many experts are still high on the Browns' chances in 2020. In fact, one of them is even willing to predict the Patriots will be worse than the Browns.

“When you look at those two teams and the difference in the trajectory of what we feel they’ll be, I believe that the Browns will be a better football team than the New England Patriots this year," ESPN NFL analyst Ryan Clark said on the "Get Up" morning show earlier this week. 

"I believe that the Browns young quarterback (Baker Mayfield) will play better than the young quarterback in New England. And when you put all of these things together, that leaves Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots on the outside of the playoff picture and (Browns coach) Kevin Stefanski and the Cleveland Browns in.”

Oddsmakers don't agree with Clark. 

The Browns are underdogs to reach the playoffs with +137 odds at the DraftKings Sportsbook, while the Patriots are expected to make the postseason at -177 odds.

It's also hard to trust the Browns until they show the mental toughness required to play football into January. Bad penalties, turnovers, poor coaching and other avoidable mistakes have plagued the Browns for many years, and last season was no different.

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Another factor working against the Browns is their division. The AFC North is not a joke.

The reigning division champion Baltimore Ravens went 14-2 last year and should again be a top Super Bowl contender. The Pittsburgh Steelers have been a playoff team for much of the last two decades, and they'll be aided by the healthy return of veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who missed most of 2019 due to injury. The Cincinnati Bengals are the worst team in the division, but selecting Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow with the No. 1 pick in the 2020 draft has renewed hope in Cincy.

It's not inconceivable for the Browns to be better than the Patriots in 2020. The Patriots will have plenty of challenges, too, most notably adjusting to a new starting quarterback. New England's schedule also is among the toughest in the league, and the defense lost several key players in free agency.

Still, it's hard to bet against a Belichick team, especially when the other team in the conversation is the Browns. The smart money in this debate is with the Patriots.

Patriots' Stephon Gilmore hard at work in new offseason training video

Patriots' Stephon Gilmore hard at work in new offseason training video

NFL teams have not been able to conduct normal offseason workouts, rookie camps and other activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but players are still finding ways to stay in shape and prepare for the 2020 season.

That includes New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who recently worked out with former NFL defensive back Dre Bly, who's currently the cornerbacks coach for the University of North Carolina football team.

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Check out some footage of Gilmore's workout in the tweet below:

Gilmore arguably is the Patriots' best player following quarterback Tom Brady's departure in free agency. In Pro Football Focus' recent ranking of the top 50 players gonig into the 2020 season, Gilmore was the only Patriot to make the list.

The veteran cornerback is coming off back-to-back seasons of first team All-Pro selections, and in February he was named the AP Defensive Player of the Year Award winner for the 2019 campaign.

The Patriots saw a lot of veteran players from their defense leave as free agents this offseason. Luckily for New England, its secondary remains one of the best groups in the league, and Gilmore's presence as the sport's premier shutdown cornerback is the primary reason for that.