Patriots

Patriots fans won't like where Chris Simms ranked Tom Brady among top NFL QBs

Patriots fans won't like where Chris Simms ranked Tom Brady among top NFL QBs

If there's one thing nearly all New England Patriots supporters and football fans around the NFL can agree on, it's that Tom Brady is one of the top-five quarterbacks in the NFL right now.

One person who doesn't view Brady as a top five quarterback is NBC Sports' Chris Simms, who is in the process of revealing his top 40 QBs in the league. He has Brady ranked ninth and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees ranked 10th. 

Here's the rest of his list. The top eight will be revealed soon.

Simms' list, as you might imagine, received a fair amount of passionate feedback, including from one of Brady's former rivals. Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner seemed be in disbelief over Brady and Brees being placed so low.

Simms explained his rationale for Brady's and Brees' rankings in the following tweets:

The Patriots do put a great system around Brady, but he's not a system quarterback. How many quarterbacks could have made some of the plays, particularly on third down, that Brady converted late in the fourth quarter and in overtime against the Kansas City Chiefs during last season's AFC Championship Game? The list is very, very small.

Brady is coming off his sixth Super Bowl championship, and oddsmakers like the Patriots' chances of winning a seventh next season. 

He completed 65.8 percent of his passes for 4,355 yards with 29 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 2018. Those stats are really good, and yet so many people have concluded Brady had a down year. You could make a case that Brady is no longer the best quarterback in the NFL entering 2019, but to say he's not in the top five or seven doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

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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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Bill Belichick talks relationship with media, when reporters 'cross the line'

Bill Belichick talks relationship with media, when reporters 'cross the line'

It's hard enough to get Bill Belichick to talk to the media, much less talk about them.

But the New England Patriots head coach pulled back the curtain Wednesday for a special occasion.

Belichick joined Red Sox manager Alex Cora, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens and Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy on WEEI's "Ordway, Merloni & Fauria" for a rare "coach's roundtable" as part of the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon.

At one point, each coach was asked how they approach the media. As expected, Belichick gave the most brief answer, but his response was still interesting.

"Things are a lot different than they were at a different point in time. It is what it is," Belichick said, via WEEI.com. " ... Everybody is trying to do the best they can. I think there are times when -- I think when it gets personal, I think that is crossing the line.

"You can think whatever you want about my coaching — good, bad, I have heard all of it. That is your opinion and I have no problem with that. I think when it gets personal with players and other people within the organization, I don’t think that is where it belongs, but I don’t have any control over that. Whatever it is, it is. I just try and do the best I can for our football team."

Belichick's answer checks out, as trying to get him to talk in specifics about his players -- especially when injuries are involved -- is like pulling teeth. Just look at his comments from earlier this week about reinstated wide receiver Josh Gordon, which included a pair of snarky remarks and a loud snort.

The Patriots coach wasn't alone in his opinion, though. Stevens, who's as polite as they come while dealing with reporters, admitted he gets irked when he feels his players are being unfairly criticized in the media.

Belichick certainly sets the bar in Boston when it comes to keeping the media at arm's length. But at least he's willing to admit where he draws his battle lines.

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