Patriots

Matthew Slater endorses Joe Judge successor for Patriots special teams coordinator role

Matthew Slater endorses Joe Judge successor for Patriots special teams coordinator role

If any New England Patriots player could select the team's next special teams coordinator, it'd be Matthew Slater.

The 12-year-veteran has made eight Pro Bowls as New England's long-time special teams ace and had Joe Judge as his special teams coordinator for the past five seasons.

Judge now is head coach of the New York Giants, though, which means the Patriots need a new special teams coordinator for the first time since 2014.

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Slater, who's a pending unrestricted free agent but wants to re-sign with the Patriots in 2020, apparently has a name in mind: special teams assistant Cameron Achord.

"Assuming that’s the direction (head coach) Bill (Belichick) wants to go, I’m really confident in Cam,” Slater recently told The Athletic's Jeff Howe. “He is a bright young coach who really relates well to the players but has the players’ respect.

"I think he did a great job this year. He had some added responsibility. I think he did a great job of handling it. Conceptually, he understands how the team wants to play. He understands the skill sets the players have and putting them in position to have success. He did a good job of learning from Joe and Bill. I think he is equipped to do the job if his number gets called."

That's a pretty strong vote of confidence for Achord, who came to the Patriots as a relative unknown from Southwest Mississippi Community College in 2018.

New England reportedly has also considered re-hiring Scott O'Brien, who preceded Judge as the Patriots' special teams coach from 2009 to 2014. But Achord seems like the in-house favorite at the moment, and an endorsement from New England's resident special teams captain should help his cause.

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Patriots' Stephon Gilmore disagrees with Rex Ryan's critique of Amari Cooper

Patriots' Stephon Gilmore disagrees with Rex Ryan's critique of Amari Cooper

Former New York Jets and Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan made waves Friday for his harsh critique of Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper.

On ESPN's Get Up, Ryan blasted the Cowboys for signing Cooper to a five-year, $100 million contract this offseason. It's one thing to be critical, but Ryan even went as far as to call Cooper a "turd," which probably isn't the most politically-correct way to evaluate a player.

“I wouldn’t have paid this guy. To me, this is the biggest disappearing act in the National Football League,” Ryan said. “He doesn’t show up on the road. He doesn’t show up against — when the competition’s good, when he’s against the top corners, that guy disappears.

“This is who he is. Doesn’t love football. Hell with it, he stops his routes, he does all this. I wouldn’t have paid this turd. No way in hell. No way in hell would I have paid this guy.”

So yeah, pretty harsh.

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New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who played for Ryan on the Bills from 2015-16, caught wind of his former coach's comments and made it clear he disagrees.

That's some high praise from the two-time first-team All-Pro. Especially after Gilmore locked Cooper down back in November by holding him without a catch.

Both Ryan and Gilmore are entitled to their opinions, but calling Cooper a "turd" was a bit over the line. After all, Cooper is coming off a 2019 season in which he tallied 79 receptions while setting career-highs in both receiving yards (1,189) and touchdowns (eight). Not exactly turd-like.

Anyway, Gilmore definitely has Ryan putting his foot in his mouth after those controversial remarks.

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NFL Rumors: Number of teams interested in Brady 'bigger than people realize'

NFL Rumors: Number of teams interested in Brady 'bigger than people realize'

On the surface, it didn't seem like Tom Brady had a lot of free-agent suitors. After announcing that he wouldn't be returning to the New England Patriots, the two teams he was connected to were the Los Angeles Chargers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

But evidently, there were more than just a few teams that showed interest in Brady this offseason.

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In a recent appearance on WEEI's OMF show, ESPN's NFL insider Adam Schefter confirmed that many teams had conversations about Brady this offseason.

"There were a lot of teams that went through the conversation of if and when Tom Brady does hit the market, do we make a move," Schefter said. "There were teams out there that had that conversation that you’d be surprised to hear. It wasn’t just a few teams."

But just how many teams were interested in Brady? Schefter couldn't quite say, but he did say "the number was bigger than people realize."

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Throughout the lead-up to free agency, Brady was connected to a number of other teams in rumors, including the Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, Las Vegas Raiders, and even the San Francisco 49ers. So, it stands to reason that some of those teams, and potentially others, at least discussed the possibility of bringing in Brady.

Of course, all of these teams chose different paths at quarterback. The Colts elected to go with Philip Rivers on a one-year deal for a very specific reason. The Titans handed Ryan Tannehill a four-year extension. The Raiders elected to stick with Derek Carr but added Marcus Mariota to compete with him. And the 49ers, fresh off a Super Bowl appearance, are continuing to trust Brady's former backup, Jimmy Garoppolo, as their starting QB.

Ultimately, the number of teams interested in Brady never mattered much. There only needed to be one to get him to leave New England. That's exactly what happened and now, Brady will be suiting up for the Bucs.

Meanwhile, the Patriots will begin the post-Brady era in 2020. Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer are the only two QBs on the roster, and Stidham is favored to be the starter at the moment.