Willie McGinest

Willie McGinest expects Cam Newton to be Patriots' starting QB in Week 1

Willie McGinest expects Cam Newton to be Patriots' starting QB in Week 1

The leading candidate to start at quarterback for the New England Patriots is Cam Newton, and former Pats linebacker Willie McGinest expects the 2015 NFL MVP to win the job in training camp.

There are four quarterbacks on the Patriots depth chart -- Newton, Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer and Brian Lewerke -- and head coach Bill Belichick told reporters last week that "everyone will get a chance to prove themselves."

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McGinest, who's now an analyst for NFL Network, recently gave his take on the Patriots' quarterback situation.

“Well, they say it’s a competition, but if you are asking my opinion, I expect to see Cam Newton start at the quarterback position," McGinest said Wednesday on WEEI radio show "Dale & Keefe". "If he’s healthy, he’s the guy.”

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One thing Belichick values tremendously is versatility, and McGinest pointed out that Newton brings plenty of versatility to whichever offense he's playing in.

"If you talk to a lot of offensive coordinators and you say, hey, if you had a Cam Newton, what does that bring to your offense? The first thing they'll say is versatility," McGinest explained. "A guy you can do multiple things with within the offense. Cam has beat a lot of people with his legs, and he's had his share of injuries, but he's strong, he's big, he's physical, he can move the pocket. So, now you can incorporate those RPOs, those zone runs, those spread passes. It keeps defenses off-balance. And he can still throw the ball down the field from the pocket and be accurate.

"And he has something to prove. Here's a guy who's pretty much at the bottom of what quarterbacks are making this year and he felt like he was done wrong, so you're getting a guy with a chip on his shoulder that if he's 100 percent healthy, he brings so much to an offense. Josh McDaniels is going to have a field day with designing plays around Newton and the rest of the personnel."

Newton played in just two games last season due to injuries, and a shoulder ailment bothered him for a large portion of the 2018 campaign. If Newton is able to stay healthy and be on the field for a full season, there's no reason why he can't rediscover the form that made him a top 12 to 15 quarterback in the league for much of his career.

And as McGinest pointed out, Newton is highly motivated to play at a high level. You can bet he wants to show that teams passing on him in free agency was a mistake, while also setting himself up for another huge payday next offseason.

Ex-Patriot Matt Light shares epic tales about pranking Bill Belichick

Ex-Patriot Matt Light shares epic tales about pranking Bill Belichick

There are common pranksters, and then there's Matt Light.

The former Patriots offensive tackle was notorious for pulling elaborate pranks during his 11 seasons in New England from 2001 to 2011, and no one was off-limits.

Case in point: Light had the audacity to prank the Grinch himself, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.

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Light recently joined ex-Patriots teammate Willie McGinest on NFL Network to share not one but two stories of him pulling one over on Belichick and living to tell the tale.

Light's first gag was replacing Belichick's computer mouse with a "shocking mouse" that would zap the Patriots head coach when he touched it. Here's a shocker: Belichick didn't like that.

"That did not go well," Light recalled. "He lost all of the information on his computer, he was angry at me for about a month, I had to run a little extra in practice. But we made it through it."

Belichick's assistant, Berj Najarian, even told Light that he "went a little too far" with the mouse prank.

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And yet the Patriots' chief prankster went back for more. Light also detailed the time he gave Belichick an exploding pen as a gag and tried to play it off like someone set him up.

"I remember taking a ball up, and I handed him the ball and said, 'One of the vets asked me to get this ball signed, coach.' And he looks at the pen funny and he hits it and it surprised the heck out of him," Light said. "And I turned around like, 'Oh come on guys!' like they set me up."

To be honest, we're surprised Light lasted 11 seasons in New England after stunts like that. (The offensive lineman also once tricked Brandon Meriweather into giving Belichick his bar tab; check that story out in the video player above.)

Then again, Belichick isn't exactly the curmudgeonly coach he comes off as to the media. In fact, McGinest noted that Belichick was all smiles as he made Light run extra sprints (even if it was a vengeful smile).

Light eventually made it to the Patriots Hall of Fame, too, so it appears he emerged from these bold pranks unscathed.

Willie McGinest explains why Tom Brady decided to sign with Buccaneers

Willie McGinest explains why Tom Brady decided to sign with Buccaneers

Many are still trying to wrap their heads around Tom Brady reportedly choosing to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency.

It isn't the move most expected. If Brady were to leave the New England Patriots after 20 seasons, teams such as the Los Angeles Chargers, Las Vegas Raiders, San Francisco 49ers and Tennessee Titans seemed like the most appealing options. Nonetheless, it'll be TB for TB12.

Wednesday on NFL Network, Brady's former Patriots teammate Willie McGinest explained why the 42-year-old quarterback ultimately decided to go with the Buccaneers, and the reasoning is pretty straightforward.

"I would say Tom wanted to go somewhere where he wanted to go in and be a part of a team that's already established," McGinest said. "That has the playmakers and guys around him to give himself, not only him, but his team, a chance to win football games. It's always been about winning at the highest level ...

"He's not trying to rebuild. Wherever he was going to go, was somewhere where he wanted to win. His expectation has always been to go be the best player he can be. Not talk about what he's done in the past, but just start to build and do what he's doing in the future. He's excited about the opportunity."

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While the Bucs haven't exactly been the model franchise in recent years, they aren't lacking in talent heading into 2020. They still boast two of the best wide receivers in the game in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Brady also will have a pair of talented tight ends to throw to in Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard.

With Brady in the fold, one can expect Tampa Bay to be a real threat in the NFC South. It likely won't be the cakewalk the AFC East has been for Brady throughout his Patriots career, but it's safe to assume Brady will welcome that challenge.