Patriots

Observations from Thursday's Patriots OTA practice

Observations from Thursday's Patriots OTA practice

Here’s a collection of observations from Thursday’s OTA practice which began right around 11 a.m. and just wrapped at 12:45. Most of the team adjourned to sprint up the punishing incline that’s come to be known as Mount Belichick at 12:30, and they came back for one more session after that. 

ATTENDANCE

Tom Brady wasn’t there. As you may have heard. Also, among the missing (or not spotted): Michael Bennett, Kyle Van Noy, Isaiah Wynn, Patrick Chung, Demaryius Thomas and Austin Seferian-Jenkins. 

WEATHER

Cool, windy with peekaboo sunshine. Low 60s.

NOTES

Patriots Hall of Famer Kevin Faulk was with the offense standing with the running backs. Not imparting much but a presence at the moment. Same with Troy Brown. 

Tight end Matt LaCosse looked like a very natural hands catcher.

Brian and Steve Belichick were both working with the defensive backs. 

Defensive line coach Bret Bielema and inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo worked together with some of the younger players for a session. Mayo was very animated. When things went well, you heard him. When they did not, you also heard him. 

In the 11-on-11 session — which is the contact equivalent of tossing it around on the side yard at a Memorial Day BBQ — Ben Watson made a nice catch in traffic on a throw from Danny Etling.

Rookie corner Joejuan Williams got turned inside out by Phillip Dorsett for a TD. 

N’Keal Harry caught a nice little inside TD coming from a spot attached to the line.

Rookie punter Jake Bailey practiced punts and kickoffs. He has a powerful leg and showed impressive hang time on his punts. Bailey was able to nail a few punts inside the 10-yard line, too.

Julian Edelman, Phillip Dorsett, Braxton Berrios, N’Keal Harry, Jon Jones, Maurice Harris, Rex Burkhead and an unidentified wide receiver (wearing No. 72) were the punt returners.

Left guard Joe Thuney spent time at first-team left tackle during drills. The Patriots were thin at the tackle spots with Isaiah Wynn and rookie Yodny Cajuste not participating.

Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer each threw interceptions.

Rookie corner Joejuan Williams had a pick-6 of Stidham.

Harry said Troy Brown has been working with him on his technique. He caught five passes (including a touchdown) with one drop during 11-on-11 drills. Harry had a strong showing overall.

Nick Goss contributed to this report.

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Is Tom Brady the GOAT? Jets legend Joe Namath believes so

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USA Today Sports

Is Tom Brady the GOAT? Jets legend Joe Namath believes so

It's universally understood in New England that Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback to ever. He's won more Super Bowls than any player ever and is in the NFL's top five in career passing yards, touchdowns and passer rating. 

Still, some around the country — perhaps those with personal vendettas against Brady and the Patriots — refuse to hand the GOAT status to TB12. Recently, NBC Sports' Chris Simms ranked Brady ninth among active quarterbacks heading into the 2019 season. 

But one legendary quarterback, Joe Namath, is with New England — and on the right side of history. During an appearance on Howard Stern's radio show on Monday, Namath unequivocally called Brady the best to ever lace up football cleats. 

"Tom is the best," Namath said. "I've been asked that question for many years. Johnny (Unitas) was great, Otto Graham, 'Slingin' Sammy Baugh, I'll go back. But meantime, Tom has been challenged more -- in recent history, certainly -- with more huge games than anyone I can remember."

Namath makes a good point. Brady has thrown the most touchdown passes (28 more than second place Joe Montana), has the most passing yards and has led the most fourth quarter comebacks (9) in NFL playoff history. He's also 6-3 in Super Bowls.

Namath famously won Super Bowl III after guaranteeing a victory and will always be a legend in the Big Apple, but New Yorkers might not be too happy with Namath now after he anointed their rival the GOAT.

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Former Bengal, Patriot Marquis Flowers opens up on the 'We're on to Cincinnati' game

Former Bengal, Patriot Marquis Flowers opens up on the 'We're on to Cincinnati' game

The New England Patriots weren't exactly in a great spot heading into Week 5 of the 2014 NFL season. The team was only 2-2 and was coming off a crushing 41-14 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football.

In that game, Tom Brady didn't look like his usual self. He had two picks, just 159 passing yards, and one touchdown pass that came when the team was already down 27-0. He was replaced late by Jimmy Garoppolo, who looked solid on the field. That led some to wonder if the Patriots dynasty was coming to an end.

Famously, after the game, Bill Belichick answered every question posed about the game with one simple response. "We're on to Cincinnati." The press conference went viral and put a spotlight on the Patriots' Sunday night clash with the Cincinnati Bengals.

That game ended up defining the season. The Patriots bounced back by smashing the Bengals by a final score of 43-17. Brady looked as strong as ever, and that was the first step for the Patriots to get back onto the Super Bowl path.

At least, that's how former Bengals linebacker Marquis Flowers remembers it. On Twitter, Flowers shared a brief memory of the game, including what his then-defensive coordinator said.

So, yeah. Clearly that type of hype up didn't work, especially since the Patriots were so desperate for a win at the time. And the "demise of the Patriots" storyline was clearly overblown considering that they've won three Super Bowls and appeared in a fourth since that game.

The D-coordinator's words and the headlines of the time make this an amusing anecdote that just makes the whole event that much better for the Patriots, in retrospect.

That said, It's easy to see why Flowers was able to laugh this off. Flowers was a part of the Patriots in 2017, so he has seen both sides of the "We're on to Cincinnati" game. Flowers likely enjoyed his time in New England, as he logged 30 tackles and 3.5 sacks in his best NFL season to date. He also got to play in the Super Bowl (although the Patriots fell in that game to the Philadelphia Eagles).

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