Brady not getting sentimental about WR battle


Brady not getting sentimental about WR battle

FOXBORO -- Everybody can't stay. That's the bottom line.

The Patriots have more talented and accomplished wide receivers in camp than available roster spots.

The team will likely keep four players whose sole job is wide receiver. Brandon Lloyd and Wes Welker are on the team.

A good player -- and a guy who's got history with this organization -- is going to go. Might be Deion Branch. Might be Donte Stallworth. Might be Jabar Gaffney.

But it probably has to be one of them.

Asked about this battle for survival shaping up between friends, Tom Brady was almost emphatic in explaining why it has to be this way.

"I think competition is good for all of us," he began. "I think its up to everyone to earn the spot. You have to earn it every year. I think the one thing about this place is theres no entitlement to the positions out here. You do it based on what you earn and thats why you come out here every day working hard to develop that trust from your coaches and your teammates so that they want you out there.

"And part of being a team player is doing whats best for the team and if someone is better than you, then its better for the team for that person to play," Brady continued. "Thats why you come out here and you work hard. You work hard in the offseason to be prepared and you work hard in training camp to get an opportunity and then you work hard once you get an opportunity to take advantage of your opportunity."

So far in this camp, Stallworth is the backup to Lloyd, while Gaffney and Branch battle for the third wideout spot.

Gaffney is taking most of the reps with the presumed first team. Gaffney and Branch have not been seen on the field at the same time, amplifying the fact they are in direct competition. Money doesn't really enter into the equation with these guys. Gaffney is on a two-year deal valued at 2.3 million with a 250,000 bonus. Branch signed a one-year, 1.325 million deal in March. And Stallworth signed a one-year, 875,000 contract.

Branch, one of the most likable Patriots of the glory years and a brilliant sidekick to Brady for so long, is 33. He's up against it.

Brady the quarterback, cannot afford to get sentimental.

"The more good football players you have on the team, the better you're going to be," he reasoned. "Its better to have guys competing for spots than hoping guys were better than what they are. Its better to have a lot of good players than not have a lot of good players. Weve got some depth at the receiver position; I dont know how its going to sort out, but based on what we do out here on the field, thats everybodys opportunity: quarterback, running back, receiver, tight end. I mean, weve got a lot of competition at a lot of positions."

Are Patriots still 'pissed off' at Ravens for Deflategate role?

Are Patriots still 'pissed off' at Ravens for Deflategate role?

The Patriots should always be motivated heading into games against the Ravens. After all, Baltimore might be the team’s primary rival. 

Yet Monday’s matchup might be about more than past meetings. It could be a revenge game for the Ravens’ role in the Deflategate fiasco. 

As Tom E. Curran notes in the above video, the then-recently eliminated Ravens set off the ordeal when they tipped off the Colts entering the 2014 AFC Championship game. From there, the year-and-a-half-long saga played itself out, ultimately resulting in Tom Brady accepting a four-game suspension from the league. 

Curran and Mike Giardi discussed whether Monday could be a revenge game, with them both concluding that they feel the Patriots are still “pissed off” at the Ravens. 

"I’m just reading the tea leaves,” Curran said. “Bill Belichick will usually throw bouquet after bouquet at the Baltimore Ravens any time they play, from Ozzie Newsome, to George Kokinis, to Eric DeCosta, to John Harbaugh, Dean Pees, everyone. Not a lot of that today. Make of that what you will; I don’t think it’s a coincidence because I do know that when the Patriots were going through the process early on, the fact that the Ravens had dropped a dime -- their assistant special teams coach Jerry Rosburg calling the Indianapolis Colts and saying, “Look there was some foolishness going on with the K balls.’

“Additionally, when that email from the Colts to the NFL was sent to Mike Kensil, it said, 'It’s well-known throughout the league that the Patriots screw with the balls after they’ve been checked by the officials.' So if that conversation was going on during the week between those two teams, one certainly has to surmise that they also spoke about the fact of deflating footballs. 

“So as much as John Harbaugh has tried to dissuade anyone from thinking there was involvement, Dean Pees was interviewed by Ted Wells, Jerry Rosburg was interviewed by Ted Wells. Those are the only two principals from other organizations who were involved, so yeah, I think they’re still probably pretty pissed off about it.” 

What if Belichick had coached the Ravens? 'I think we would've been competitive'

What if Belichick had coached the Ravens? 'I think we would've been competitive'

FOXBORO -- Ever wonder what might've been if Bill Belichick had remained the coach of the Browns, and later the Ravens, after they moved from Cleveland? He says he doesn't.

[And maybe it's a good thing that he doesn't, as his last memories with the organization saw fans literally rip the team's stadium apart and throw it onto the field.]

"I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about it, no," Belichick told Baltimore reporters during a conference call on Wednesday. "I try to think ahead and make the best of the situation that I’m in, which is what I tried to do when I was in Cleveland. I took a team that wasn’t very good in 1991, prior to free agency and all of that, had a real good team in 1994. The team moved in 1995."

The decision to move the team helped undo the Browns season in 1995, and Belichick was later fired. There's little denying, though, that he left the pieces of a competitive roster behind. And he helped stock the Ravens' cupboard with valuable assets.

Five years after Belichick's tenure in Cleveland had expired, the franchise won a Super Bowl with linebacker Ray Lewis -- drafted with a pick Belichick had acquired -- as its foundational piece. 

"We made a trade that provided two first-round picks that Ozzie [Newsome] did a great job with," Belichick continued. "Ozzie and Ray Lewis were two of the cornerstones of that eventual championship team.

"I have a lot of confidence in my ability, I had a lot of confidence in the coaching staff and the players that we had at that time – 1995 wasn’t obviously a great year for us. I don’t think we need to talk about that. We all know what happened. But yeah, I think we would have been competitive if I had been the head coach there. I think we would have been competitive. We had a good team, we had a good staff, and we had a lot of good players.

"Ozzie did a good job with that team and made it better, and they won a championship five years later [with] some of the same players that we started with. But you know, it wasn’t my choice, Ted [Marchibroda] came in there and was going to transition that for what they needed at that point in time. But I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about it, no."