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Countdown to camp: Quarterback

07.25.15 at 3:09 pm ET
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Tom Brady led the Patriots to a fourth Super Bowl title last season. (Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

Tom Brady led the Patriots to a fourth Super Bowl title last season. (Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

As training camp approaches, we’ll offer a position-by-position breakdown of the 2015 Patriots. We started with the wide receivers and moved on to the tight ends and offensive line. Now, it’s the quarterback.

Depth chart (regular-season stats via Pro Football Reference): Tom Brady (373-for-582, 64 percent, 4,109 yards, 33 touchdowns, nine INTs), Jimmy Garoppolo (19-for-27, 70 percent, 182 yards, one touchdown), Matt Flynn (8-for-16, 50 percent, 66 yards, one INT with Green Bay).

THREE THINGS WE KNOW

1. Tom Brady has done things that no other quarterback has managed to accomplish. In what was one of the most challenging seasons of his career, he capped it off with a fourth Super Bowl title. And while measuring a quarterback using “wins” is a dicey proposition at best, now he can add lines to his resume that no other quarterback can claim. No quarterback has gone 13 years between Super Bowl titles. No other quarterback has won four titles in the salary cap/free agent era. And no other quarterback has won his first title (like Brady did in Super Bowl XXXVI) and then, come back to win a championship with a completely different roster around him while still with the same franchise (like Brady did in Super Bowl XLIX). While there will be debate about Brady’s status among the greats of the game, at this point, even the most ardent Deflategate truthers have to acknowledge his accomplishments. What he did against the Seahawks last February — particularly in the fourth quarter — was awe-inspiring stuff. In the final quarter against a terrific pass defense, Brady went 13-for-15 for 124 yards, two touchdowns and a passer rating of 140.7. Given the magnitude of the moment as well as the skill set of the opponent, it was perhaps the finest late-game performance of his career. In the end, Julian Edelman is admittedly a little biased, but he summed up the feelings of many after the Super Bowl when asked about Brady. “Tom is the best ever,” Edelman said. “I’m a big Joe Montana fan. I thought he was the best and everything. He’s won four, he’s undefeated in four. But they didn’t have the salary cap back then. He had some great players around him and some great defenses and all that. Tom Brady came out here and he’s been to six Super Bowls (and) he’s won four with the salary cap. It’s hard to argue against that.”

2. Brady doesn’t go deep like he used to, but for what the Patriots ask him to do, he’s still the best in the league at following through with the game plan. It feels like we’re nitpicking here, but Brady’s deep attempts have been limited over the last two seasons. Last year, he averaged 7.06 yards per pass attempt (21st in the league) and he was at 6.92 in 2013 (22nd in the league). That’s down from a career-best of 8.6 in 2011. (He was second to Aaron Rodgers that season.) There are a few factors at play here, including the lack of a consistent deep threat in the New England system. (Would that number increase in 2015 if Aaron Dobson were on the field consistently?) And part of it is playing to the strengths of the passing game, particularly Rob Gronkowski and Edelman, who excel in short and intermediate work. But part of it is also Brady’s accuracy on the deep ball, which is not what it used to be. At the same time, he’s still doing an excellent job of hitting his targets, as his 64.1 percent completion rate in 2014 was fifth best in his career. The same is true when measuring his performance via quarterback rating, where his 97.4 mark last season was also fifth best in his career. In the end, the Patriots will likely take the tradeoff.

3. It sounds like Jimmy Garoppolo is ready to go for 2015. In an interview with his personal quarterbacking guru over the offseason, it was revealed that the backup is more than ready to go for the start of his second season in New England. “I talked to Bill (Belichick) at the combine, and I asked him how Jimmy was doing,” recalled Jeff Christensen. “He said ‘(Jimmy) looks like a linebacker. He works out like a linebacker. He acts like a linebacker. I really like him a lot, coach. You did a great job with him. Thank you.'”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Countdown to Camp, Jimmy Garoppolo, Matt Flynn, Ryan Mallett

Hall of Fame clarifies reasons for not allowing Junior Seau’s family to speak at induction for ex-Pats linebacker

07.25.15 at 12:35 pm ET
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MALIBU, CA - JULY 24:Athlete Junior Seau takes part in the Madden NFL 10 Pigskiin Pro-Am on Xbox 360 event  on July 24, 2009 in Malibu, California.  (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

MALIBU, CA – JULY 24:Athlete Junior Seau takes part in the Madden NFL 10 Pigskiin Pro-Am on Xbox 360 event on July 24, 2009 in Malibu, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

There’s now some clarification as to why Junior Seau‘€™s family is not being allowed to speak at his Hall of Fame induction ceremony next month.

The New York Times reported Friday that Seau’€™s daughter Sydney would not be allowed to speak on behalf of her late father on the occasion of his induction, with only a video telling Seau’€™s story. Seau, who committed suicide in 2012, was diagnosed after he died with CTE, brought on by hits to his head.

Instead, the Hall issued a statement late Friday indicating that since 2010, posthumous inductees had always been enshrined simply with a video, and no presentation.

“The policy of the Pro Football Hall of Fame since 2010 regarding individuals enshrined posthumously provides for an expanded presenting video (longer than the videos of living inductees) followed by the traditional unveiling of the bronzed bust and no additional comments made from the podium,” the Hall of Fame said in a statement issued late Friday via Pro Football Talk. “This policy is not precedent setting and was implemented for the first time in 2011 when former Los Angeles Rams great Les Richter was inducted posthumously. The Pro Football Hall of Fame looks forward to honoring the careers of Junior Seau and the seven other members of the Class of 2015 during the upcoming Enshrinement Ceremony.”

Seau played for New England, Miami and San Diego over the course of his career. He suited up for the Patriots from 2006 through 2009.

Read More: hall of fame, Junior Seau,

Report: Colts, Ravens owners most vocal against NFL reducing Tom Brady suspension

07.25.15 at 12:20 pm ET
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According to ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti and Colts owner Jim Irsay are the two most vocal owners arguing against the NFL reducing Tom Brady‘€™s four-game suspension for his role in Deflategate.

“[By reducing the suspension] you’€™re angering some of the hard-core owners out there,” said Paolantonio on San Diego’€™s ‘€œMighty 1090’€ Friday. “I know who they are and I’€™m gonna name ‘€˜em right now: Jim Irsay of the Colts. Steve Bisciotti of the Ravens and others in the AFC who believe the Patriots have gotten away with murder for years and have not been publicly punished properly.”

This isn’t exactly surprising considering the whole Deflategate saga started with Colts’ general manager Ryan Grigson sending the NFL a letter the week of the AFC title game accusing the Patriots of deflating footballs.

The Patriots beat the Ravens in the divisional round, using a trick formation leading to the game-tying touchdown. Ravens coach John Harbaugh was upset with the referees with allowing the formations to happen and Tom Brady fired back after the game, saying the Ravens should study the rule book.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Deflategate, Jim Irsay, Steve Bisciotti,

Report: Patriots extend Ryan Allen for 3 years

07.25.15 at 11:15 am ET
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Ryan Allen

Ryan Allen


It’s been a good offseason for two key members of the Patriots’ special teams unit.

Less than a month after signing kicker Stephen Goskowski to a four-year contract, the Patriots have come to terms with punter Ryan Allen on a three-year contract extension, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who cited Allen’s agent Sean Stellato. Financial details of the deal have not been announced.

This is Allen’s third season in New England, after winning the job from Zoltan Mesko during training camp in the summer of 2013.

Allen earned a look as an undrafted free agent out of Louisiana Tech and averaged 45.9 yards per punt in his rookie season. He bettered that last season with a 46.4 yards-per-punt average.

His highlight came in the Super Bowl when he boomed a punt of 64 yards, setting a Super Bowl record.

Read More: New England Patriots, Ryan Allen, Super Bowl XLIX, Zoltan Mesko

Report: Junior Seau’s family won’t be allowed to speak at Hall induction for ex-Patriots linebacker

07.24.15 at 4:49 pm ET
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Junior Seau played the better part of four seasons for the Patriots. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

Junior Seau played the better part of four seasons for the Patriots. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

The family of the late Junior Seau will not be allowed to speak at his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame later this summer, according to the New York Times.

The former Patriots linebacker, who committed suicide in 2012, was scheduled to be one of several former players inducted on August 8. However, it was reported Friday that the Hall of Fame will not let his daughter Sydney or anyone else speak on his behalf. Instead, the Hall will show a highlight video of Seau’s career.

“It’s frustrating because the induction is for my father and for the other players, but then to not be able to speak, it’s painful,” Sydney told the Times. “I just want to give the speech he would have given. It wasn’t going to be about this mess. My speech was solely about him.”

The move is an apparent attempt to dodge any questions regarding Seau’s suicide in 2012 and the subsequent diagnosis of traumatic brain injury that doctors said they believed was brought on by hits to his head. There’s also the matter of the lawsuit that Seau’s family has filed against the league.

Joe Horrigan, a spokesman for the Hall of Fame, told the Times that Seau’s brain injury and suicide have nothing to with the decision to only show a video.

Seau played for New England, Miami and San Diego over the course of his career. He suited up for the Patriots from 2006 through 2009.

Read More: Junior Seau,

Report: NFL believes Tom Brady ultimately will accept reduced suspension in Deflategate case

07.24.15 at 12:20 pm ET
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The back and forth continues between Tom Brady, the NFLPA and the league continues.

According to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report, the NFL is of the belief it will “wear [Brady] down and get him to accept a deal that will include him missing games as a result of the Deflategate investigation.”

In his video posted to Bleacher Report, Cole went on to say: “Exactly what Brady will agree to and the wording of that penalty is what will be interesting to see because he will want to have a denial that he had anything to do with the deflation of footballs and ultimately this will be about him not cooperating with the league.

“But the key thing here for the league is that they believe the pressure point is going to be at the start of training camp — if they can get the deal done then because at that point in time, Brady will want to focus on football almost exclusively and get the entire Deflategate matter put behind him and in the rear mirror as he goes towards the 2015 season.”

Brady’s appeal of his four-game suspension was heard on June 23. Training camp gets underway next Thursday.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Deflategate, Tom Brady,

Report: Tom Brady’s Deflategate appeal ruling unlikely to come Friday

07.24.15 at 9:51 am ET
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So much for the Friday afternoon news dump.

Multiple reports now indicate that a ruling on Tom Brady‘s appeal in the Deflategate case will likely not come Friday.

While NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said earlier this week there is no timetable for a decision, the delay continues to drag on. Thursday marked the one-month anniversary of Brady’s appeal hearing with Goodell in New York. In addition, Patriots training camp is set to open next week.

The news was first reported by ESPN’s Ed Werder.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Deflategate, Tom Brady,
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