|Rob Gronkowski zeroing in on top spot of Tom Brady’s list of all-time favorite targets||10.17.16 at 12:37 pm ET|
We have tracked Tom Brady’s big board of favorite receivers several times over the last few years, but with Rob Gronkowski continuing to move up the list and Julian Edelman landing in the top 5 this year, we figured it would be a good time to revisit the latest totals. As always, we have to point out that these are not career totals, but only catches from Brady during regular-season contests:
Most catches from Brady, regular-season games only:
1. Wes Welker (563 catches in 78 career regular-season games with Brady)
2. Rob Gronkowski (391 catches in 82 games)
3. Deion Branch (328 catches in 89 games)
4. Julian Edelman (327 catches in 89 games)
5. Troy Brown (323 catches in 84 games)
6. Kevin Faulk (310 catches in 117 games)
7. Randy Moss (192 catches in 36 games)
8. Aaron Hernandez (175 catches in 38 games)
9. David Givens (158 catches in 53 career games with Brady)
10. David Patten (157 catches in 54 games)
Here’s the rest of the top 20:
11. Danny Amendola, 144 catches. 12. Ben Watson, 142. 13. Daniel Graham, 117. 14. Brandon LaFell, 107. 15. Shane Vereen, 106. 16. Danny Woodhead, 92. 17. Christian Fauria, 79. 18. Brandon Lloyd, 74. 19. James White, 65. 20. Antowain Smith, 64.
Five thoughts on the list:
1. Other than Gronkowski, the top 6 consists of only smallish, “make-you-miss” guys who had the sort of field awareness to understand what the quarterback needed and when, particularly when it came to reaching the sticks. Says something about the comfort level Brady has with some of those guys, especially Welker. Of course, in the rush to praise Gronkowski, it’s easy to dismiss Welker and his tremendous run, but it’s even more amazing to consider that Welker lost almost a full season with Brady (2008) because of the QB’s knee injury. Welker is already head-and-shoulders above the rest of the pack. If the two were able to stick on another 80-catch season, it’s unfathomable what they might have been able to accomplish.
2. That being said, can Gronkowski pass Welker? Going into Week Six, he’s 172 catches off Welker’s mark. If he can finish this season with somewhere in the neighborhood of 75 catches (an eminently reachable goal, considering his slow start), that would give him 453 at the end of the 2016 season — 110 shy of Welker’s mark. If he and Brady stay healthy, he could pass Welker somewhere toward the middle of the 2018 season.
3. In such a short span (36 games, the fewest in the top 10), Moss’ numbers are ridiculous. If he had all of 2008 with Brady, and found a way to work before his 2010 trade, he could have certainly landed in the top 5.
4. Amendola has gotten off to a slow start, but he should almost certainly break into the top 10, and could climb as high as No. 9 before the end of the season. White is the latest name to land in the top 20, thanks in large part to his nice day Sunday against the Bengals. He’s one of four “third-down backs” who have reached the top 20.
5. The guys who are on the active roster now who are closest to the top 20? Running back Dion Lewis has 49 catches, while tight end Martellus Bennett is already up to 11 in two games with Brady. One guy who just missed out was Aaron Dobson — the wide receiver who was cut loose this season had 53 catches from Brady in his three seasons with New England.
|Magnificent 7: On Hall of Fame weekend, these current and former Patriots deserve consideration for Canton||08.07.16 at 6:37 pm ET|
On Hall of Fame weekend, here are seven current and former Patriots who deserve to be a part of the conversation when it comes to Canton.
Bill Belichick: There will be some critics who don’t agree, but as his boat reminds us, Belichick has won four titles as a head coach and two as an assistant. That’s six rings. SIX. That should be enough to gain entry on the first ballot, critics be damned.
Tom Brady: There will inevitably be some Deflategate drama when his name is raised, but four Super Bowl wins and a pair of MVPs should be enough to get him through on the first ballot.
Ty Law: I wasn’t a big believer in the possibility of a Law candidacy for the Hall. But a closer look at the numbers over the last few seasons reveals the fact that he’s at least worthy of a debate. His resume is pretty impressive, especially when stacked against others in Canton: Three Super Bowl rings, two All-Pro nods and 53 career picks, which puts him 24th on the all-time list. He was a semifinalist last year, but might need an advocate — like Ron Borges, who worked hard to get Andre Tippett in — if he wants to make it.
Adam Vinatieri: The automatic default is to reject the idea of a kicker in the Hall of Fame. But when it comes to Vinatieri, it’s hard to go against him. The best big game kicker of his generation, Vinatieri has played in five Super Bowls and won four rings. Two Super Bowl titles were ultimately decided on the strength of his right leg. When all is said and done, he should become the second pure kicker to reach the Hall. (Jan Stenrud is the only pure placekicker in the Hall of Fame. George Blanda and Lou Groza are also in Canton, but also did other things in addition to their work as kickers.)
Randy Moss: If Moss doesn’t get in, they should shut the place down. He’s second all-time in receiving touchdowns with 156 (trailing only Jerry Rice), third in all-time receiving yards (behind Rice and Terrell Owens) and 11th on the list of all-time catches (982). He’s got his detractors — he doesn’t have a signature moment, which many Hall voters require when it comes to wide receiver — but come on. He was an absolutely transformative presence for a decade.
Vince Wilfork: We’ve been on this for a while now, but it’s worth reiterating that because of his longevity and his track record as an absolutely vital part of a consistently good-to-great team over the course of a decade, he deserves a spot in the discussion when his time comes. The voters aren’t crazy about interior defensive linemen who don’t pile up sack numbers — most of the linemen who have gotten a spot have either been big sack guys or other defensive ends — and so he’s probably a long shot. (Nose tackles are few and far between.) As a result, Like Law, Wilfork probably needs to have someone advocating for him in the room when he comes up for discussion.
Gino Cappelletti: One of the best players of his era, Cappelletti played wide receiver and kicker for the Patriots for 10 years, and led the American Football League in scoring five times. (He retired as the AFL’s all-time leading scorer with 1,130 points.) The 1964 AFL Most Valuable Player played receiver and kicker, he was the face of the franchise throughout the 1960s, and had one of the most memorable careers of any of the old AFL stars.
Also worthy of consideration but failed to make the cut here for various reasons: Rob Gronkowski (who could be on the list sooner rather than later if he continues on his current path for another couple of years), Willie McGinest, Wes Welker, Rodney Harrison, Richard Seymour.
|Kevin Faulk: Tom Brady could call 2 big-name former teammates to workout with him during suspension||08.01.16 at 10:05 am ET|
When Tom Brady is suspended for the first four weeks of the season he cannot have any contact with his teammates or be at the Gillette Stadium facility.
So what will he do to stay sharp?
Former teammate Kevin Faulk speculated he may call on two of his former teammates to work out with him during the month of September.
“He’s definitely going to work,” Faulk on NESN in a segment set to air Monday night. “There’s no doubt in my mind. He’s probably going to do the same regimen he’s been doing for the last how many years he’s been playing football, stay in that routine, and yes, I’m almost positive Wes Welker is going to be here. He probably will reach out to Randy (Moss), and Randy will come because Randy’s in still good shape. Real good shape.”
Welker remains a free agent after spending the end of last season with the Rams, while Moss hasn’t played since 2012 and is now an analyst with ESPN.
For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.
|Former Patriots WR Randy Moss to appear on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown this season||07.18.16 at 11:18 am ET|
Get ready for a lot of Randy Moss on TV this fall.
ESPN confirmed Monday morning former Patriots wide receiver and six-time Pro Bowler Randy Moss will serve as an analyst on Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown from the site of each week’s Monday Night Football game this season.
He will also contribute to ESPN’s annual Super Bowl week coverage.
“ESPN is the No. 1 sports channel in the world,” Moss said in a press release. “Now I’m a part of a network I grew up running home to watch. The team that has been put together has so much football knowledge to share and I can’t wait to get started. I feel very blessed and excited for this opportunity. It’s going be a great and fun year.”
For the past three years, Moss worked as a NFL analyst for FOX Sports on the Sunday morning FOX NFL Kickoff pregame show, among other programs.
For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.
|Sean McDonough added to Monday Night Football, Randy Moss joining ESPN amid changes to football coverage||05.09.16 at 3:03 pm ET|
Significant changes are coming to ESPN’s football coverage.
Mike Tirico, who has voiced Monday Night Football since 2006, is leaving ESPN for NBC. He is being replaced by former Red Sox play-by-play man Sean McDonough, who will work alongside incumbent Jon Gruden.
That’s not the extent of the changes, however. According to The Big Lead, Mike Ditka will no longer be on ESPN’s Sunday Countdown program, though he will remain with the network. Cris Carter and Ray Lewis are reportedly done at ESPN, with The Big Lead reporting that Randy Moss will join ESPN after working for Fox Sports last season. Matt Hasselbeck and Charles Woodson are being added to ESPN’s Sunday coverage.
|Randy Moss still raves about Patriots, calls them his ‘No. 1 team’||12.18.15 at 9:58 am ET|
Wide receiver Randy Moss hasn’t played for the Patriots since 2010, but the star wide out still raves about the organization any chance he gets.
On Thursday, Moss went on “The Garbage Time” podcast with host and Massachusetts native Katie Nolan. Moss touched on a number of subjects, mostly touching on his time in New England.
“I’m very glad to be able to be a part of that organization because when I first got there, I thought I knew football, there was all these numbers that I put up, I’d been in the end zone multiple times, but when I got there, I got humbled very quickly to understand that, man, I don’t know football,” Moss said.
“So I think that’s why I think I hold the Patriots up on my list as the No. 1 team, I mean I was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings, I still have love for Minnesota, but the success that I was able to have in New England, you know, coming out of Oakland, a lot of people were trash talking, bad mouthing me, talking about how my skills were diminishing, and things like that, so I just really put in a conscious effort in to really go out there and just prove people wrong and I just had fun doing it, gained some friends a long the way, I was definitely blessed to be a part of that organization.”
Deflategate was also brought up, as Moss saw some connection between that and Spygate from the 2007 season. He noted the family-like bond shared by the team and coaches.
“Yeah, the Deflategate nonsense,” Moss said. “I think that we come together as a family to understand that one of our ‘brothers’ slash dad has been attacked and coach just tried to humble us and have us really focus and pay attention to the task at hand and that’s going after each and every day at practice to make yourself better, individually and collectively, and then once the game time comes, one of the things that I did learn in New England is that if you … do the things asked of you, Sunday is just easy.
|Rodney Harrison on OM&F: Tom Brady ‘out for vengeance’ against NFL||09.22.15 at 12:01 pm ET|
NBC Sports NFL analyst Rodney Harrison made his weekly appearance on Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Tuesday to discuss Tom Brady‘s start to the season and how this year’s team compares to 2007. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.
Brady is off to a tremendous start to the season, as through the first two games he has gone 63-for-91 passing (69 percent) for 754 yards, seven touchdowns and no interceptions. He hasn’t let his age affect his play and has used the Deflategate saga as motivation.
“I’ve always said, when you obtain the level of success Tom Brady has obtained, you need something to push you, and I think this was a mistake by the entire league. I think he’s out for vengeance,” Harrison said. “He’s not going to ever come out and say anything, but it’s a focus that even when I was on the field opening night, I saw it in his eyes. I saw that special look. I saw that same look I saw in ’03 and ’04 in the Super Bowl, and it’s scary when Tom Brady gets like that.
“When you get older people start to say you lose it, but I think you become a lot more focused on taking care of your body, not partying, not drinking, not hanging out. You’re more structured. You have family life and things are kind of slowing down for you. Tom Brady, I mean, the work he and Alex [Guerrero] have been doing is absolutely fantastic. He looks tremendous and I am so happy and so proud of him.”
Brady torched the Bills defense for 466 yards passing in Sunday’s win. Harrison was surprised at how successful Brady and the Patriots were.
“I was surprised. I thought on the defensive side of the ball they would be a lot more prepared,” he said. “I was really surprised because all summer we heard about Miami and Buffalo being the two teams to challenge the Patriots. It was a flat out embarrassment and shows you can talk all you want during the week, but in order to beat the Patriots you have to execute on Sunday.”
“The one thing that I kind of noticed with the Buffalo Bills — you get into a situation where you’re up 37-13 or whatever it was, I was a little surprised that he kept passing the ball because that is an opportunity to run the ball, milk the clock, maybe run some play action and lessen the chances of someone getting hurt,” he added. “When you’re playing against hot heads like the Buffalo Bills and those young guys in the secondary, I was just so afraid someone was going to try and take a cheap shot on Rob Gronkowski, go at his knee and try and take him out for the season. I looked at the Patriots and I felt like they should have ran the ball more and really worked on milking the clock.”
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