McCourty addresses challenge of life without Brady for Patriots

McCourty addresses challenge of life without Brady for Patriots

Nobody is under the impression that being without a future Hall of Fame quarterback is a real positive for the Patriots.

Still, we’ve encountered resistance from Patriots over the years when it comes to acknowledging obvious adversity.

On Quick Slants Monday night, Patriots safety Devin McCourty said in reply to a viewer’s question that life without Brady is going to be a challenge. 

“Everyone’s going to talk about Tom, obviously. Starting quarterback, obviously our leader for the last decade-plus not being able to play in the first four games,” said McCourty. “We understand that. It’s been something that’s been over our head the past two years. Past that, we’re like every other football team. Guys have to come out and earn spots and compete.”

I asked McCourty if a silver lining to Brady accepting the suspension is the team being able to mentally move on from the uncertainty. 

“I would have rather had last year’s turnout because he wound up playing, but I think we know what we have to do,” said McCourty. “Obviously we support him and all the decisions made towards it but this is what it is now and we have to prepare and go out there and play.”

Camp opens on Thursday but all players are due to report on Wednesday. McCourty, Matthew Slater and all of the Patriots’ assistant coaches are scheduled to meet with the media on Wednesday.

 

Former EIU coach: Garoppolo's release second-quickest behind Marino

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Former EIU coach: Garoppolo's release second-quickest behind Marino

He may be biased, but former Eastern Illinois head coach Dino Babers thinks Jimmy Garoppolo is "exceptional."

Now the head coach at Syracuse, Babers stopped by ESPN's Mike and Mike show where he was asked about Garoppolo, who will likely start at quarterback for the Patriots while Tom Brady serves a four-game suspension to begin the 2016 season.

"You could see it after five passes. Jimmy Garoppolo was the William Tell, to me, of college football," said Babers, who was at Eastern Illinois for Garoppolo's final two collegiate seasons in 2012 and 2013. "I've never seen a quarterback that could hit exactly what he was throwing at. And I'm not talking about putting it on a guy's body. You put your hand out there, and he's sticking the ball right in the middle of your palm.

"You take that accuracy and you put it with someone that has the second-fastest release I've ever seen -- the only release I've ever seen faster was Dan Marino's . . . second fastest release I've ever seen -- and you got an outstanding quarterback."

That's some pretty lofty company for a player who has thrown just 31 passes during the first two seasons of his NFL career. But Babers has good reason to be a believer in Garoppolo's ability. In Babers' two seasons as head coach, Garoppolo threw for 8,873 yards and a whopping 84 touchdowns, breaking the school mark for career touchdown passes set by Tony Romo. 

"Dont' get me wrong," Babers added, "Tom Brady is the best of all the best. And I'm not saying he's going to take Tom's job. I'm just telling you, this young man is exceptional. If Bill Belichick put a second-round draft pick on him, he knows what he's doing."

McAdam: Red Sox should pass on this Sale

McAdam: Red Sox should pass on this Sale

BOSTON -- I'm not sure what the Red Sox would have to give up for Chicago White Sox starter Chris Sale.

For that matter, I can't say definitively that the two clubs have actually discussed a trade for Chris Sale, though it's logical to assume they have, even in a cursory way.

The White Sox, mired toward the bottom of the A.L. Central and with just one playoff appearance in the last 11 seasons, are said to be "open'' to listening for offers on Sale. That's both their right and their duty.

As for the Red Sox, given that they're a big-market club with plenty of resources and an expectation from a loyal fan base to compete for a championship every season, they're similarly smart to inquire.

Who knows? Maybe the White Sox have had their fill of Sale and ,in a fit of pique, might be desperate enough to take less than full value to rid themselves of a pitcher who's developed into quite the clubhouse lawyer of late.

But my guess is that the White Sox are demanding a lot for Sale. That makes sense, since, beyond his raging sense of entitlement, Sale remains one of the handful of best starters in the game and is under club control for another three seasons after this one.

Whatever the asking price is, however, it's almost certainly too much.

Sure, the addition of Sale might, on paper, make the Red Sox the favorites to win the American League pennant.

Again, on paper. Ask the New York Mets, who owned the best starting rotation in the game when the season began and now sit, uncomfortably, in third place in their own division.

So much for the best-laid plans.

But the focus here is on the cost, however unknown, to obtain Sale.

If obtaining Drew Pomeranz cost the Red Sox Anderson Espinoza, how much more would Sale cost?

Let's assume that the Red Sox consider Yoan Moncada essentially untouchable. That would mean Boston would have to essentially clean out the rest of its prospect inventory. Think: a package like Andrew Benintendi, Rafael Devers and Michael Kopech, and perhaps more.

Or maybe the White Sox want more established young talent, and have their eyes on Mookie Betts and more.

Argue, if you wish, that pitching is more important than offense, but giving up a leadoff man who's shown indications he could become a five-tool superstar? No, thanks.

There's also the matter of need. Unlike at the beginning of the season, the Red Sox can now lay claim to having a rotation in which every one of the five starters gives them a solid chance to win.

Yes, David Price has underperformed in a big way. But that's likely the result of adjusting to Boston and new surroundings. What are the odds that, at 30, Price has almost overnight permanently devolved into a mediocre starter after finishing second in the Cy Young Award voting just last fall?

Steven Wright has emerged as a consistent starter who's under control for the forseeable future. Rick Porcello, though not flashy, is pitching like the Red Sox envisioned he would when they dealt for him a season-and-a-half ago. Eduardo Rodriguez has overcome injury and delivery issues to fufull the promise he showed as a rookie. And Pomeranz could be an afforable middle-of-the-rotation for years to come.

Is Sale better than each one of them right now? Of course, Price included.

But is the Red Sox rotation so troubled that it must upgrade now or else? No. Is their an obvious weak link begging to be immediately replaced? No.

And this is not Chris Sale, free agent. This is Chris Sale, incredibly expensive trade piece.

What if they stripmined their minor-league system for Sale, and didn't win? Then what? What if they tore up their core of foundational players for Sale, only to find him incapable of surviving Boston?

As I confessed earlier, I'm don't know what the White Sox would want for Sale.

What I do know is that it would, by definition, almost certainly be too much.