Patriots

Patriots win at same rate vs. rest of NFL as they do vs. AFC East

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Patriots win at same rate vs. rest of NFL as they do vs. AFC East

In his Football Morning in America column, Peter King shined a light on how much better the Patriots have been since 2003 compared to the rest of the AFC East. 

As King points out, the Patriots have gone 189-51 (.788 winning percentage) since 2003 while the Jets, Dolphins and Bills have won 109, 106 and 102 games, respectively, and have winning percentages of .454, .442 and .425.

King’s conclusion that the Patriots have been a crapton better than their divisional opponents for a 15 seasons is spot-on even if it isn’t a revelation.

But be careful of taking the next step and inferring that the Patriots have built that gaudy winning percentage because they’ve fattened up on the AFC East.

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Because the Patriots have won at almost the exact same rate against the rest of the NFL as they have against their division.

The Patriots are 71-19 since 2003 in the AFC East. That’s a .788 winning percentage. Outside the division, they are 118-32 (.786).

King goes on to add that, when the league realigned in 2002, it would have been so much more competitive if the Colts remained in the AFC East instead of shipping to the AFC South.

He’s right but only to a point. Since 2001, the Patriots are 14-5 against the Colts (.736). Throwing out the last six games since 2011 that Peyton Manning wasn’t there for, the Patriots were 8-5 (.615) against Indy (8-4 if you throw out the 2008 game when Matt Cassel started for New England).

The reason it’s important to give the full context of the Patriots domination inside their division and out is because the past 20 years have been a historic run. Historic runs deserve accurate historic perspective.

And too often -- particularly around here -- you get inch-deep analysis branding the AFC East as a parade of Tomato Canzzzzz the Patriots knock down like ducks in a shooting gallery when the truth is, the whole damn league’s been ducks in a shooting gallery for them since 2003.

Anticipating the reaction of “Butbutbut . . . J.P. Losman! Cleo Lemon! Geno Smith!”, the reality is the league is loaded with bum quarterbacks and slow-twitch head coaches. It’s not an AFC East thing.

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Lombardi doesn't see a 'Day 1 starter' at QB in this draft

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Lombardi doesn't see a 'Day 1 starter' at QB in this draft

If anyone could provide insight into what Bill Belichick and the Patriots might be thinking on the eve of the NFL draft, it's Michael Lombardi. The former Pats staffer and Belichick confidant once dubbed "one of the smartest people I know" by the coach.

Lombardi joined Phil Perry this week on "The Next Pats Podcast" to look ahead to a draft he doesn't seem enamored with - particularly at quarterback for those thinking the heir to Tom Brady might be selected this weekend.

Lombardi was on Belichick's staff the last time that attempt was made - when Jimmy Garoppolo was drafted in 2014.

"Tom has defeated Father Time," Lombardi told Perry. "When we drafted Jimmy Garoppolo in 2014, did anybody think Tom would last another five years?  Anybody who said yes, other than Tom, probably wasn't telling the truth. Tom's just remarkable..."

As for this draft class of QBs, Lombardi said: "I'm not sure there's a quarterback in this draft, [rumored No. 1 pick Kyler] Murray included, who doesn't have some kind of fault in them...I have a hard time looking at this draft and saying [of the QBs] this guy's a Day 1 starter or a Pro Bowl player. "

Lombardi echoed Belichick's comments at the coach's pre-draft meeting with the media about the difficulty involved in evaluating college passers because of the level of competition they're coming from.

"Nobody ever talks about the level of competition and that's really the challenge of evaluating college players," Lombardi said. "When you watch pro players it's easy because they're going against other pro players."

And what might the Pats be looking for tomorrow night with pick No. 32? Lombardi sees them leaning toward defense.

"I think the thing about the Patriots is they realize that they've got to get a good player at 32," he told Perry. "If it's a corner that they like, that can come in and play a role for them this year, I think they could pick the corner. If there happened to be a linebacker or a defensive end that could rush, they can do that. It's going to be what the player's skill set is, what he could do this year and what impact he could utilize within there. You know there's always the chance he [Belichick] could trade down for more second-round picks."

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Julian Edelman recruits Zion Williamson to be new Patriots tight end

Julian Edelman recruits Zion Williamson to be new Patriots tight end

Zion Williamson in all likelihood will be the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, but Julian Edelman still made his best pitch for the Duke standout to join the Patriots instead.

Edelman tweeted out a photoshopped image of Williamson holding up a Patriots jersey with Robert and Jonathan Kraft, and he let the 6-foot-10 18-year-old know about the Pats' open tight end position.

Edelman isn't the only Patriot recruiting athletes from other sports to take Rob Gronkowski's place at tight end. Tom Brady did the same Tuesday night with Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara.

As for how the Patriots are realistically filling Gronk's void, they signed both Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Matt LaCosse in free agency. They also could look to add more depth at the position via the NFL Draft, which begins on Thursday.

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