Patriots

Lawyer Milloy with a great Tom Brady story for The Camera Guys

Lawyer Milloy with a great Tom Brady story for The Camera Guys

The NBC Sports Boston Camera Guys caught up with former Patriots All-Pro safety Lawyer Milloy, who relayed a great story about Tom Brady's rookie season in 2000.

It seems one night at a team dinner where Brady's sister had come along, veteran tight end Rod Rutledge made a remark about her that the then-rookie quarterback took exception to. That's when...well, we'll let Milloy tell the story to The Camera Guys:

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Patriots QB Jarrett Stidham 'has a lot of great qualities,' says Matthew Slater

Patriots QB Jarrett Stidham 'has a lot of great qualities,' says Matthew Slater

Matthew Slater is the latest New England Patriots player to give a positive review of young quarterback Jarrett Stidham.

The Patriots selected Stidham in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, and after not getting many regular season reps as a rookie, he's now the leading candidate to replace Tom Brady after the six-time Super Bowl champion left to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency.

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Taking over for the greatest quarterback in NFL history will be an enormous challenge for Stidham (or whoever wins the starting job for Week 1), but Slater is optimistic about the 23-year-old's talent and mental makeup.

"He's a great kid, and I think that’s the thing that is going to matter the most with any player – who is he as a man, who is he as a person, what’s he motivated by? He’s just a great kid to be around," Slater said Monday during a media conference call. "He brings a lot of positive energy, he’s always got a smile on his face, and you can tell he’s very appreciative of the opportunity that he had last year and the opportunity that he’ll have going forward. So, certainly he has a lot of great qualities that can make him a good player at the quarterback position. Coach Belichick and his staff wouldn’t have brought him in here if they didn’t think he had those qualities.

"I think at that position, almost more than any other, it’s going to be the intangibles that get a guy to maybe a successful position. So, I think he’s got some good traits. I think he’s going to be a good player. His attack, his approach is going to have to be one day at a time, just like any of us. I think it’s important, and I’ll certainly encourage him, just to be himself – be himself, continue to be the person that he is, continue to be the teammate that he is, and we’ll just take this thing one day at a time."

Slater isn't the only Patriots player who's given a positive review of Stidham of late. Veteran safety Devin McCourty praised Stidham's poise and maturity (among other qualities) during a recent episode of his "Double Coverage" podcast and on a media conference call last week.

Stidham showed flashes of his exciting potential during last year's training camp and preseason, and now he should get the opportunity to prove he's capable of being a quality starting quarterback in the NFL. Even though this will be a brand new and difficult challenge for him, he does have some good experience to help him. Stidham played against SEC competition for two years as Auburn's starting quarterback before spending all of 2019 learning from Brady and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.

Patriots fans will love Slater's mindset on the team's 2020 goals

2020 NFL Draft: Prototypical Patriots fits at safety

2020 NFL Draft: Prototypical Patriots fits at safety

We're getting into the portion of the Prototypical Patriots series where the unusual nature of this offseason — where everything that happens both draft-related and otherwise, obviously — is colored by COVID-19.

When it comes to drafted defensive backs, the Patriots have largely taken athletes who have tested very well. Athleticism matters on the back end in New England. But this year, it's harder than ever to know exactly where certain prospects fall on the athleticism spectrum.

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First, there was what happened at the combine in February. With a heavily-altered schedule for prime-time television ratings, many players opted to skip certain portions of the athletic tests. Others skipped them altogether, thinking they'd have a chance to record numbers at their pro days. Then COVID-19 wiped out those pro days.

As a result, we're dealing with less information than usual at this time of year. Still, we can try to peg Patriots fits based on their heights and weights, their college résumés and the programs from which they hail. Here are the safeties we've tabbed this offseason as "prototypes" for New England.

Click here for the gallery.