Patriots

Patriots may have healthiest Super Bowl roster of any team since 2013

Patriots may have healthiest Super Bowl roster of any team since 2013

Bill Belichick has a famous saying: "The best ability is availability."

And this year's New England Patriots have plenty of ability.

New England didn't list a single player on its initial injury report Wednesday as it prepares for Super Bowl LIII against the Los Angeles Rams. According to ESPN's Mike Reiss, you have to go back five years to find a Super Bowl team this healthy.

Five years ago brings us to Super Bowl XLVII, when the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers both entered the game with fully healthy rosters. (Ironically, that was the year Ray Lewis claimed he tore his triceps the night before the Super Bowl but played through it.)

Since then, every Super Bowl team has dealt with injury adversity -- including the Patriots, who didn't have Julian Edelman and Dont'a Hightower in Super Bowl LII and were missing Rob Gronkowski in Super Bowl LI.

But New England has been virtually injury-free this postseason, which has helped Belichick's squad score a combined 78 points in back-to-back wins over the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs.

That's a testament to the Patriots' medical staff and strength and conditioning staff, which both have the team in excellent shape entering the 21st week of the grueling NFL season.

"I really lean heavily on (strength and conditioning coach) Moses (Cabrera) and his staff on that part of it," Belichick said Thursday at his press conference, "on the training part of it, the conditioning, the volume that we do, the intensity that we do -- he's very good at that."

The Rams aren't exactly banged up, either: Kicker Greg Zuerlein and safety Blake Countess were the only two players listed on their injury report Wednesday. So, don't expect injuries to be an excuse on Feb. 3 in Atlanta.

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Breakfast Pod: Is wide receiver becoming a strength for the Patriots?

Breakfast Pod: Is wide receiver becoming a strength for the Patriots?

With Julian Edelman, Demaryius Thomas and Josh Gordon all back on the field, the Patriots are suddenly well-stocked at receiver, which ones make the roster? Also, a look at our 20-under-25 list.

1:14: Tom Curran and Paul Perillo break down which Patriots wide receivers will make the 53-man roster?

4:58: Do the Celtics have the most young talent of any team in Boston? A. Sherrod Blakely, Mike Felger, Tom Curran, and Danielle Trotta look at our top 20 under 25 players in Boston.

10:13: The Patriots welcomed back Julian Edelman, Demaryius Thomas and Josh Gordon this week, is the wide receiver position now a position of strength? DJ Bean, Tom Curran and Michael Holley break it down. 

LISTEN & SUBSCRIBE:

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Did Brian Flores troll Dolphins WR Kenny Stills with music selection during practice?

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File photo

Did Brian Flores troll Dolphins WR Kenny Stills with music selection during practice?

Either Brian Flores' music selection at Tuesday's practice was a wild coincidence, or the Dolphins head coach pulled an ultimate troll move.

Flores, formerly the Patriots' linebackers coach, played eight straight Jay-Z songs to begin practice in what seemed to be a response to Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills' recent criticism of the rapper. Stills has been outspoken about Jay-Z's partnership with the NFL along with his comment that he's "moved past kneeling" as a protest of racial inequality and police brutality.

That certainly doesn't appear to be an accident. If it indeed was intentional, you have to wonder about what Flores' intentions were with the playlist. Motivation? A harmless joke?

Whatever it was, Stills apparently knew about the selection of Jay-Z tracks in advance. 

Even if it was meant as a joke, many players around the league probably aren't laughing. Kneeling or not, the message sent by Stills and others who protest racial injustices remains incredibly important.

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