Patriots

Tom Brady shares perfect line Chris Godwin dropped to get on QB's good side

Tom Brady shares perfect line Chris Godwin dropped to get on QB's good side

Chris Godwin has a history with No. 12 and initially seemed reluctant to part with the jersey number he'd worn since high school.

But he's also a smart man.

That's why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver gladly switched to No. 14 last month to allow new quarterback Tom Brady to keep the number he'd literally built a brand around with the New England Patriots.

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That switch is paying off for Godwin, who apparently earned brownie points from Brady for how he handled the situation.

"You know what I love about Chris?” Brady said Thursday on NFL Network's NFL Draft-a-Thon, which raised money for coronavirus relief. "He called me up and one of the best things he ever said was, 'You know what, Tom? If I was in your position and a young player had (my number), I would want them to give it to me.'

"That shows you the kind of maturity a third-year, going-into-his-fourth-year player has. And that tells me what kind of person he is, what kind of teammate he is. So I was very, very impressed by that."

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Sounds like Brady has a new favorite receiver.

It also helps that Godwin has tons of talent: The 24-year-old finished third in the NFL in receiving yards last season with 1,333 and along with wideout Mike Evans combined for more receiving yards than New England's top five receivers combined in 2019.

Godwin recently admitted it will be challenging for he and Brady to develop football chemistry while socially distant amid the coronavirus pandemic. But the young wideout is off to a good start on the off-field chemistry portion of the equation.

Patriots' Gillette Stadium to host 20 percent of fans in best-case scenario

Patriots' Gillette Stadium to host 20 percent of fans in best-case scenario

Cam Newton could make his New England Patriots debut in front of 13,175 fans.

And that's the best-case scenario.

The Patriots announced Tuesday they expect Gillette Stadium to operate at 20 percent capacity for 2020 home games. That's if fans are allowed to attend games at all, which would need approval from state and local governments.

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If fans attend games, they'll be required to wear face coverings "at all times" inside the stadium and stay at least six feet from other parties, per the team.

To aid in physical distancing, the Patriots will distribute tickets in blocks of 10 seats or less and close off the eight rows closest to the field. The team also announced earlier this month that all ticketing will be digital and that parking at the stadium will be free.

Again, this all assumes fans will even be allowed at NFL stadiums -- and that the 2020 season will start on time -- as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the United States.

By announcing an 80 percent reduction in crowd size, though, the Patriots join several teams in at least acknowledging this season will look very different from years past, even under the best-case scenario.

Why Scott Zolak sees Jarrett Stidham, not Cam Newton, as Patriots' starter

Why Scott Zolak sees Jarrett Stidham, not Cam Newton, as Patriots' starter

The New England Patriots are saying all the right things. Stephon Gilmore recently said he's excited for Cam Newton to "compete for a starting job" at quarterback.

But we know this isn't a competition, right? There's no chance second-year QB Jarrett Stidham starts over a three-time Pro Bowler and former NFL MVP, right?

Scott Zolak believes otherwise. In fact, the former Patriots quarterback said Monday on 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Zolak & Bertrand" he envisions Stidham, not Newton, as New England's Week 1 starter based on conversations he's had with Patriots players and those close to the team.

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"I believe Stidham will be starting QB from the people I talk to and people that I trust: the players, people tied to the team, team captains," Zolak said, as seen in the video above. "The way they speak of Jarrett Stidham and the work he has put in."

Zolak also related that Stidham has been working out regularly but simply has been less public about it than Newton, who has posted several videos of his workouts to Instagram since joining New England.

"A lot of people thought Stidham was on a two-week vacation on a wedding tour down in Texas," Zolak said. "He did go to a wedding and spent time with family -- and he worked out every day with pro-caliber receivers. That's what I was told."

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Physical conditioning aside, Zolak believes Newton faces an immense uphill battle in learning the Patriots' offense during an unprecedented offseason in which players and coaches haven't been able to meet in person. In that sense, Zolak thinks Stidham has the upper hand after a year working under head coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

"I just don’t know if Cam Newton is gonna do this in 35 days and be ready to go unless some completely different offense that's going to run at 40% efficiency," Zolak said.

Of course, the Patriots signed Newton for a reason, and our Tom E. Curran recently reported New England is confident the 31-year-old QB will master the playbook. Curran has also indicated Newton is committed to the Patriots and wouldn't bail on the team if he wasn't named the starter out of the gate.

At the very least, though, it sounds like the starting QB job won't be handed to Newton. He'll have to earn it.