Patriots

Sam Darnold explains what he meant by 'seeing ghosts' vs. Patriots defense

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USA TODAY Sports

Sam Darnold explains what he meant by 'seeing ghosts' vs. Patriots defense

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold was caught saying "I'm seeing ghosts" against the New England Patriots defense during the first half of Monday night's 33-0 loss.

Darnold was mic'd up for the game, and the ESPN broadcast showed him on the sideline making the surprising admission.

The 22-year-old quarterback explained what he meant by the ghosts comment, telling reporters after the game, "When I talk to the coaches, I've just got to be straight up. For me, I've just got to see the field a lot better, that's kinda what that means. It was a rough night out there. Obviously, I've got to be better and learn from the mistakes, but we will get better."

Darnold definitely didn't see the field well at all. He threw four interceptions, and each one happened as a result of a horrible throw/decision. The USC product also completed just 11 of his 32 pass attempts for 86 yards with zero touchdowns.

In fairness to Darnold, the Patriots have made many quarterbacks look pretty bad this season, but his performance Monday was a new low. Darnold had a 3.7 passer rating, which is the lowest mark by an opposing quarterback against the Patriots in Bill Belichick's 21-year tenure as the team's head coach.

Jets running back Le'Veon Bell told reporters that Darnold "learned a lot (Monday night)." He's certainly not wrong.

The next step for Darnold is taking this experience and using it to correct the weaknesses in his game that are holding him back from being a top-tier NFL quarterback.

Kyle Van Noy has priceless reaction to Darnold 'seeing ghosts'>>>

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Patriots ask QB prospect at NFL Combine how he'd feel about replacing Tom Brady

Patriots ask QB prospect at NFL Combine how he'd feel about replacing Tom Brady

The Patriots staffers who questioned Oregon State quarterback Jake Luton at the NFL Scouting Combine just came right out and asked it.

How would he feel about replacing a legend at QB?

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Luton, a 6-foot-7, 230-pound QB projected as a late-round pick, told USA TODAY he was a bit taken aback to get the Tom Brady question right off the bat. 

“I think that was a great question," he told Patriots Wire's Henry McKenna. "It was a fair question for them to ask.”

Listen and subscribe to Tom E. Curran's Patriots Talk Podcast here:

Luton said his demeanor would be an asset if he was indeed that next guy for the Patriots.

“Those are big shoes to fill. But for me, I’m a pretty even-keeled guy. I kind of reiterated that,” he said. "I’ve never let any of the outside noise distract me, so I don’t think that would be an issue. I’d bring it every day and prove that I’m a leader, no matter if it’s a high or a low. Keep doing it every day, however that works out. I’m not going to worry about filling anyone’s shoes. Just doing the best that I can do.”

Injury concerns have dropped Luton down most draft boards. He spent six years playing in college between Idaho and Oregon State and a forearm injury kept him out of what would've been his final college game against Oregon.

Luton was one of four QB prospects the Pats have met with at the combine in Indianapolis. Jake Fromm of Georgia, Jordan Love of Utah State (projected as New England's first-round pick in Phil Perry's latest mock draft) and James Morgan of Florida International, who met with them at the East-West Shrine Game, are the others.

It stands to reason that the others were asked the Brady question, too. And it was probably put to current backup Jarett Stidham before he was selected last year in the fourth round.
 

Patriots Talk Podcast: What challenges will Tom Brady face in a new system if he leaves Patriots?

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Patriots Talk Podcast: What challenges will Tom Brady face in a new system if he leaves Patriots?

Tom Brady's decision on where he'll play next season is obviously a big one.

The New England Patriots quarterback is set to hit the open market and plenty of teams this week at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis have discussed the possibility of adding him. If Brady does decide to leave New England, he certainly will face his challenges.

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On this week's episode of Tom E. Curran's Patriots Talk Podcast, Curran and former Brady backup Matt Cassel discuss - among other things - how difficult it could be for Brady to learn a new system.

While Cassel, who played for six NFL teams, is familiar with changing systems, he indicated that Brady, who'll turn 43 just after training camps open this summer, may have some difficulty with new terminology.

"The biggest challenge for anybody going into a new system is obviously learning the terminology," Cassel told Curran. "Over my career, I believe I've had 12 different coordinators in 14 years, so I'm accustomed to it, I know the process that takes place. Obviously, he's been in the same system for 20 some odd years, so it would be a big change if you're going to a new system with new terminology, how they call their protection scheme, route patterns, if it's a digit system, if it's a word system. I'd have to believe that if Tom [Brady] does go elsewhere, he would choose a place that has some familiarity with that system and how they call plays."

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While it can be difficult for a QB joining a new team, Cassel also tells Curran that it's the job of the coaches to make sure that players feel comfortable.

"Now, it's also about how much flexibility is the coordinator, the head coach, is everybody going to have because anybody that makes that commitment to bring Tom in, they obviously want him to be comfortable, and they won't want him to come in and have to learn a brand new system in its entirety."

If Brady does decide to step away after 20 years with Bill Belichick's team, he probably won't have too much of a difficult time given his championship resume -- especially if he gets some help with receiving talent.

We'll likely know where he's going soon after free agency officially begins March 18. 

Also on the pod, Curran discusses the reported meeting between Brady's agent Don Yee and the Pats at the combine and Phil Perry checks in from Indy with his three biggest combine takeaways so far. It's all on the Patriots Talk Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network.