Patriots

Postcard from Patriots minicamp: Stephon Gilmore picks up from where he left off

Postcard from Patriots minicamp: Stephon Gilmore picks up from where he left off

FOXBORO — The Patriots had a gorgeous day weather-wise for Day 2 of minicamp, and the pace seemed to be elevated a touch, with coaches Josh McDaniels, Dante Scarnecchia, Jerod Mayo and Joe Judge among those audibly encouraging (or admonishing) their players. Here’s what we saw . . . 

WHO WAS THERE

None of the big-name players who were present for Tuesday’s practice were absent Wednesday. That meant Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, Dont’a Hightower, Devin McCourty and Kyle Van Noy were back at it for another day. Van Noy spent some time on a lower field but later came back to participate in the session with his teammates. 

Isaiah Wynn was present and participating in drills, but he did not take part in team work. That Wynn was able to push off the Achilles he tore last summer is a positive development as he gets ready for his sophomore season. If he can be on the field for training camp, there’s a good chance he’ll be the front-runner for a starting role opposite Marcus Cannon. With Wynn not taking part in team work, Joe Thuney played left tackle in those periods.

WHO WASN’T 

Sony Michel continues to miss time. He wasn’t available for the second day of minicamp. He finished last season healthy enough to take critical late-game handoffs in the Super Bowl, but he has had long-standing knee issues and could be buying as much time as possible for his knee to rest until camp begins. 

Nate Ebner was not participating, as was the case Tuesday. He watched from the sidelines in a red hoodie. Rookie offensive lineman Yodny Cajuste was also unavailable for practice. 

VISITOR CHECK-IN

Robert Kraft arrived to the workout late into the session. On Thursday night he’ll host last year’s team at his home for their championship ring ceremony, which is expected to include players from last year’s club who are no longer playing for the Patriots. 

Coaches from the Iowa football program, including head coach Kirk Ferentz, were back at Patriots practice for the second straight day. 

FAKE FOOTBALL, REAL NOTES

Early in the practice, the Patriots offense went through some half-speed two-minute work. Lining up alongside Tom Brady were tight end Matt LaCosse, receivers Julian Edelman, Maurice Harris and Phillip Dorsett, and running back James White. N’Keal Harry took snaps with Brian Hoyer, as did receiver Braxton Berrios.  

Harris continued to have an impressive minicamp, catching both of Tom Brady’s first two passes in a late-practice period where the Patriots played 11-on-11 and had to deal with music blaring over a public address system to simulate crowd noise. Brady also hit Ben Watson and Phillip Dorsett for completions while dealing with the noise. Stephon Gilmore had a near pick of Brady in the same period. 

The play of the simulated-noise session was a leaping grab in the end zone by N'Keal Harry from Brian Hoyer. Harry deflected the ball to himself while draped in coverage and secured the football before hitting the ground. Hoyer was so fired up he ran to Harry to celebrate with him. He was stopped by Van Noy on his way to the rookie who had a tough Day 1 of minicamp, but Hoyer got there eventually and several offensive teammates congratulated the first-round pick on the grab.

Berrios was among the receivers who had drops Wednesday. Undrafted rookie slot receiver Ryan Davis also had a drop in a contested-catch drill. 

Stephon Gilmore had a nice pass-breakup on a Tom Brady attempt to Phillip Dorsett late in the practice. Jamie Collins had a breakup (that should’ve been a pick) of Brian Hoyer early in the practice. Jonathan Jones also had a breakup of a Hoyer throw. Duke Dawson had a near breakup during one drill that had defensive players (and coaches, Mayo specifically) ready to go crazy. 

Julian Edelman, Berrios and Dorsett worked as punt-returners, as did Harris and Gunner Olszewski. Gunners in punt drills were Matthew Slater, Jonathan Jones, Ryan Davis and Damoun Patterson. Quarterback Danny Etling worked in as a member of the punt coverage team at one point. 

During one special teams period, Brady and McDaniels worked closely with Harry on some red-zone work. They specifically seemed to be hammering away at back end-line attempts floated high and out of reach of imaginary defenders. 

Just a reminder that minicamp isn’t real football: During one 11-on-11 drill, rookie Ken Webster broke up a Brian Hoyer pass. Webster was promptly reprimanded for breaking up the pass in a drill that was less than full speed. Not all drills — even 11-on-11 drills — are created equal. 

The Patriots worked on a ball-security drill late in practice. Matt LaCosse, Ben Watson, Derek Rivers and Jakob Johnson were among those who fumbled. 

As was the case on Tuesday, Jarrett Stidham worked closely with Mick Lombardi in the same way that young quarterbacks used to work with former assistant quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski. 

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Patriots' Stephon Gilmore disagrees with Rex Ryan's critique of Amari Cooper

Patriots' Stephon Gilmore disagrees with Rex Ryan's critique of Amari Cooper

Former New York Jets and Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan made waves Friday for his harsh critique of Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper.

On ESPN's Get Up, Ryan blasted the Cowboys for signing Cooper to a five-year, $100 million contract this offseason. It's one thing to be critical, but Ryan even went as far as to call Cooper a "turd," which probably isn't the most politically-correct way to evaluate a player.

“I wouldn’t have paid this guy. To me, this is the biggest disappearing act in the National Football League,” Ryan said. “He doesn’t show up on the road. He doesn’t show up against — when the competition’s good, when he’s against the top corners, that guy disappears.

“This is who he is. Doesn’t love football. Hell with it, he stops his routes, he does all this. I wouldn’t have paid this turd. No way in hell. No way in hell would I have paid this guy.”

So yeah, pretty harsh.

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New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who played for Ryan on the Bills from 2015-16, caught wind of his former coach's comments and made it clear he disagrees.

That's some high praise from the two-time first-team All-Pro. Especially after Gilmore locked Cooper down back in November by holding him without a catch.

Both Ryan and Gilmore are entitled to their opinions, but calling Cooper a "turd" was a bit over the line. After all, Cooper is coming off a 2019 season in which he tallied 79 receptions while setting career-highs in both receiving yards (1,189) and touchdowns (eight). Not exactly turd-like.

Anyway, Gilmore definitely has Ryan putting his foot in his mouth after those controversial remarks.

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NFL Rumors: Number of teams interested in Brady 'bigger than people realize'

NFL Rumors: Number of teams interested in Brady 'bigger than people realize'

On the surface, it didn't seem like Tom Brady had a lot of free-agent suitors. After announcing that he wouldn't be returning to the New England Patriots, the two teams he was connected to were the Los Angeles Chargers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

But evidently, there were more than just a few teams that showed interest in Brady this offseason.

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In a recent appearance on WEEI's OMF show, ESPN's NFL insider Adam Schefter confirmed that many teams had conversations about Brady this offseason.

"There were a lot of teams that went through the conversation of if and when Tom Brady does hit the market, do we make a move," Schefter said. "There were teams out there that had that conversation that you’d be surprised to hear. It wasn’t just a few teams."

But just how many teams were interested in Brady? Schefter couldn't quite say, but he did say "the number was bigger than people realize."

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Throughout the lead-up to free agency, Brady was connected to a number of other teams in rumors, including the Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, Las Vegas Raiders, and even the San Francisco 49ers. So, it stands to reason that some of those teams, and potentially others, at least discussed the possibility of bringing in Brady.

Of course, all of these teams chose different paths at quarterback. The Colts elected to go with Philip Rivers on a one-year deal for a very specific reason. The Titans handed Ryan Tannehill a four-year extension. The Raiders elected to stick with Derek Carr but added Marcus Mariota to compete with him. And the 49ers, fresh off a Super Bowl appearance, are continuing to trust Brady's former backup, Jimmy Garoppolo, as their starting QB.

Ultimately, the number of teams interested in Brady never mattered much. There only needed to be one to get him to leave New England. That's exactly what happened and now, Brady will be suiting up for the Bucs.

Meanwhile, the Patriots will begin the post-Brady era in 2020. Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer are the only two QBs on the roster, and Stidham is favored to be the starter at the moment.