Patriots

Patriots WR coach raves about 'highly motivated' Josh Gordon, Demaryius Thomas

Patriots WR coach raves about 'highly motivated' Josh Gordon, Demaryius Thomas

FOXBORO, Mass. -- Veteran wide receivers Josh Gordon and Demaryius Thomas are back practicing, and the New England Patriots are enjoying it very much.

“They’re a lot of fun to work with, man,” Patriots wide receivers coach Joe Judge said after Monday's practice. “A lot of fun to work with. They come to work everyday with a smile on their face. They come to work everyday highly motivated. They get on the field and compete. They’re a ton of fun to be around. I’ve enjoyed every minute I’ve had to work with those guys.”

What makes Gordon, specifically, so fun to be around?

“He loves football," Judge said. "He works hard, and he competes. When you step between the lines, that’s just fun.”

It's hard to predict what the Patriots will get from Gordon and Thomas this season.

Gordon, when on the field, is a real game-changer with his ability to make tough, contested catches and stretch the field as a deep threat. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw for 56 more yards per game last season when Gordon played compared to when he didn't. Brady's passer rating and yards per attempt also were better with Gordon. The concern with Gordon is him staying out of trouble. He's been suspended multiple times in his career and has a history of substance abuse. Gordon was reinstated by the NFL earlier this month after having been suspended indefinitely since December.

Thomas has enjoyed an impressive career but is 31 years old and coming off an Achilles tear suffered in December. He's confident in his ability to produce at a high level this season, but an Achilles injury is among the toughest to come back from.

It's encouraging for the Patriots that both of these wide receivers are healthy enough to be on the field and practicing. The real fun will come if that remains the case into the regular season because if fully healthy, this group of wideouts could be among the deepest and most talented the Patriots have had in a long time.

How N'Keal Harry stays engaged despite limited game action>>>

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device

Patriots Talk Podcast: A detailed look at why Tom Brady's time in NE is winding down

patriots_talk_podcast_cvs.png
NBC Sports Boston Illustration

Patriots Talk Podcast: A detailed look at why Tom Brady's time in NE is winding down

For 19 seasons, Tom Brady has been the unquestioned starter at quarterback for the New England Patriots. And for 19 years, he has started every game that he has been healthy for.

But ahead of the 2020 offseason, Brady's status with the organization remains as questionable as ever.

For the first time in his career, the 42-year-old Brady will be set to hit unrestricted free agency. He agreed to a restructured contract with the team this offseason, but it only gave him a pay raise this season and guaranteed that the team couldn't slap him with the franchise tag.

While Brady could return to the Patriots, it's possible that he could choose to go elsewhere if the team doesn't commit to him financially or surround him with better weaponry.

On the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast, Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry discussed the possibility of Brady leaving. And as Curran pointed out, that topic hasn't been broached with much seriousness despite the fact that free agency is closer than some may realize.

We're talking about a seismic occurrence in the arc of the dynasty that is basically 90 days away. They could come to some kind of conclusion and rectify it and he might finish his career here, but it doesn't smell that way.

It's important to note that nothing is set in stone, and the Brady-Patriots relationship has endured for two decades for a reason. Despite some strain in the relationship at times, things have always been smoothed over. 

That said, there are some quarterback-needy teams that could attempt to lure Brady away from New England in an attempt to put their team over the top. Curran and Perry identified a few different options on the podcast, one of which was the Los Angeles Chargers.

Hear more from Curran and Perry on the latest episode of "The Patriots Talk Podcast," which drops every Tuesday and Thursday as a part of the NBC Sports Boston podcast network.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Breaking down the Patriots' keys to victory vs. Chiefs

Breaking down the Patriots' keys to victory vs. Chiefs

The New England Patriots will look to avoid their second straight loss on Sunday, but it won't be an easy task.

They'll line up against the Patrick Mahomes-led Kansas City Chiefs in a rematch of last year's AFC Championship Game, which the Pats won 37-31 in overtime.

This time, the game will take place at Gillette Stadium where the Patriots have won 21 straight including the postseason to match the longest streak in team history. To make it 22, they'll need more of a spark than they've gotten recently from their struggling offense.

Of course, with last year's NFL MVP under center for the Chiefs, the Patriots defense will need to be the shutdown unit we've seen all season long.

On the latest Patriots Talk Podcast, Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry went into more detail on what the keys to a victory will be for the Patriots on Sunday.

"Do you think the Patriots' pass rush against a hobbled still -- not exactly where he was at the end of last year -- Patrick Mahomes could be the key to this game for the Patriots? 'Cause I do," Curran said. "I think you move him, you get to him, it changes everything. Same way it did with Dak Prescott, I felt."

As for the key offensively for the Patriots, that's the player they spent a second-round draft pick in October.

"If the New England Patriots keep the Kansas City Chiefs under 20 points on Sunday, then they are everything we cracked them up to be defensively all season long. That's my pledge," Curran said. "If the Kansas City Chiefs get over 20 points, the Patriots are not going to win. And if they do get over 20 points and I'm wrong, and they do win, it's because of Mohamed Sanu.

"Mohamed Sanu to me is the most important player on this Patriots offense over the last four games and into the playoffs. He is the linchpin."

Listen to the full episode below:

>CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE PATRIOTS TALK PODCAST<

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.