Patriots

Watson's healthy, which may make rest of AFC ill

Watson's healthy, which may make rest of AFC ill

If you don't know that Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson wears number 4, don't worry.

John Harris is positive that, soon enough, you will.

"If No. 4 stays healthy, I think the Texans are right in [the] conversation (for the AFC Championship)," Harris, a Houston sideline reporter, told Tom E. Curran on Thursday night's edition of Quick Slants. "I think [the Texans] are going to be right in there because No. 4 gives [them] a chance every time he goes out on the field, no matter who he's throwing to. [They] got a shot because Deshaun Watson's healthy.

"If he's not healthy, they'll be 4-12 again."

Watson was the Texans' starting quarterback for 6 1/2 games last season, taking over from Tom Savage at halftime in Week 1 and holding the job until suffering a season-ending ACL tear in practice prior to the eighth game. While the team had a losing record (3-4, counting the Week 1 loss) during his tenure, a lot of that was due to a wave of injuries that decimated the defense; he completed 61.8 percent of his passes for 1,699 yards and 19 touchdowns, with only 8 interceptions, and had a 103.0 passer rating. In addition, his mobility and speed gave the Texans an added dimension that was a true headache for opposing defenses. Houston was 1-8 after he went down, which resulted in the 4-12 record Harris mentioned.

Now he's back and -- according to Harris -- he's better than ever.

"I don't want to scare everybody throughout the AFC, but Deshaun -- from the day that he was cleared, the first day of training camp -- he was like the old Deshaun," said Harris. "He was running around in practice, he did some things in the preseason scrambling out . . . His scrambling ability, his ability to get out of the pocket, those things are still there.

"The ability to create plays made [the Texans'] offense one of the most fun offenses to watch throughout the NFL. When he, Will Fuller and DeAndre Hopkins were on the field together in four games, they averaged 40 points [a game]. . . . I haven't seen an offense (like this in Houston) since the Warren Moon run-and-shoot days (with the Oilers in the 1980s and early '90s). I mean, we had guys like (former and present Patriots backups) Ryan Mallet and Brian Hoyer (at quarterback), which you guys definitely know about, we watched those guys kind of muddle through -- [and] I don't even want to talk about Brock Osweiler."

Now?

"Deshaun is right there." said Harris. "Deshaun is right where he needs to be."

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Why an ESPN reporter is convinced Tom Brady will leave Patriots

Why an ESPN reporter is convinced Tom Brady will leave Patriots

As Tom Brady's free agency approaches, the language of the reporting about him is getting stronger.

NFL reporter Jeff Darlington joined ESPN's "Get Up!" on Thursday to state quite confidently that he believes Brady will sign with another team rather than return to the New England Patriots for a 21st season.

"There are people very close to Tom Brady who are being told by Tom Brady, 'It's not going to happen. I'm going somewhere else,' " Darlington said. "That's the way we're operating here.

' ... I am now at the point where I would be stunned if Tom Brady returns to the Patriots."

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According to Darlington, Brady is looking at free agency as a way to "reinvigorate himself and do something different" by joining a new team.

Which team could that be? Joining Tom E. Curran on a recent episode of NBC Sports Boston's Patriots Talk Podcast, Darlington mentioned the Tennessee Titans and Las Vegas Raiders as favorites to sign Brady.

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Brady has familiarity with Titans head coach and former Patriots teammate Mike Vrabel, while it was reported earlier this month that the Raiders are prepared to offer Brady a two-year, $60 million contract, which may exceed what New England is willing to give him.

Not all hope is lost for Patriots fans: Darlington added that even those "close" to Brady could see Patriots head coach Bill Belichick convincing the 42-year-old quarterback to stay for another year.

But Darlington also offered this warning:

"We need to wrap our minds around the fact that it is far more likely that Tom Brady will not be back with the Patriots."

UPDATE (8:50 a.m. ET): The Boston Herald's Karen Guregian and The Athletic's Vic Tafur both followed Darlington's comments with their own reports that don't bode well for Brady returning to New England.

Patriots DE Chase Winovich pleads for Tom Brady to stay in New England

Patriots DE Chase Winovich pleads for Tom Brady to stay in New England

Chase Winovich is all of New England right about now.

The Patriots defensive end clearly isn't a fan of the idea that Tom Brady may suit up for a new team in 2020. On Wednesday, he took to Instagram to beg Brady to re-sign with the Pats, and he did so in hilarious fashion.

"'To stay or to stay... 🤔' #pleaseDad #NotAllowedtoLeave #goat #shakespeare," Winovich wrote.


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The "Shakespeare" is a nice touch, but history tells us Brady may not be amused. Winovich may be on to something with the "#pleaseDad" hashtag, though.

Winovich, drafted out of Michigan 19 years after his favorite QB and fellow Wolverine, will have to wait impatiently like the rest of us until Brady makes his much-anticipated decision. The 42-year-old officially becomes a free agent March 18 if he and the Patriots can't agree on a contract extension before then.

The Tennessee Titans, Los Angeles Chargers, and Las Vegas Raiders each have been named as potential suitors for Brady in free agency.