Is Brady 'a winner' or isn't he?

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Is Brady 'a winner' or isn't he?

Greg Cosell posed an "intellectual challenge" on the NFL Films blog Wednesday morning.

Is Tom Brady a winner or isn't he?

Not so fast. The answer is not as simple as the question makes it seem. Hence, the challenge.

The discussion jumps off two points raised by Ross Tucker when he and Cosell last talked on Sirius XM's "The Morning Kickoff."

Tucker separated Brady's career into the following parts:

1. First five years as a starter. (He threw a grand total of three passes in his rookie season of 2000.) 2. His last five years not including 2008, when he tore his ACL in the opening game of the season.

Fair enough.

Now for Cosell's investigation into what it means to be "a winner."

"Think back to his first Super Bowl victory against the St. Louis Rams. New England won that game with an Adam Vinatieri field goal on the final play. Two years later, Vinatieri essentially did the same thing against the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII. For the sake of discussion, lets say Vinatieri missed both of those kicks (each was more than 40 yards). Then the Rams and the Panthers, respectively, won the toss in overtime and the Patriots never got the ball back.

"Would Bradys performance have been any less impressive in those games? Obviously not. What would be different is our collective perception of his performance. He would not have been acclaimed a 'a winner.'"

Interesting idea. And the conclusion.

"My broader objective is to compel a re-thinking of the 'winner' concept," Cosell wrote. "When you drill down deeper, its really a term that has almost no meaning."

Well, we know he wasn't lying to call it a challenge.

Floyd looks to improve rapport with Brady: 'Tom likes things a certain way'

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Floyd looks to improve rapport with Brady: 'Tom likes things a certain way'

FOXBORO -- Michael Floyd has been with the Patriots for about a month, and he admits he still has a lot to learn.

Specifically when it comes to his rapport with Tom Brady, Floyd knows there's room for improvement. Against the Texans last weekend, he was targeted three times. One led to a pick. Another was almost picked. One was caught for nine yards. 

On the intercepted pass and the near-interception, Floyd ran slant routes from the left side of the Patriots formation, but he appeared to run them in ways that Brady didn't anticipate. Instead of coming back toward the ball as it approached, Floyd leaked up the field, perhaps hoping to turn what would be an intermediate gain into a bigger play. 

On WEEI earlier this week, Brady took the blame for the pick. But Floyd shouldered his share of responsibility for the turnover on Wednesday.

"You just gotta come downhill," he said. "Obviously at this time of the year, a lot of guys are really checked in on film work and how you play and splits and stuff like that. You gotta make sure you're really fundamentally sound and come downhill to every single ball."

It's one of many lessons Floyd has tried to absorb since being claimed off of waivers by the Patriots in mid-December.

In the regular-season finale against the Dolphins, he looked to be learning at an impressive rate as he caught three passes for 36 yards and laid a monster block that helped spring Julian Edelman for the longest touchdown reception of his career. 

As he prepared for the AFC title game, though, he acknowedleged that he has a way to go -- particularly when it comes to understanding the nuances of how his ever-demanding quarterback wants things done.

"I've only been here a month so I think that's every single day," Floyd said of getting to know Brady's preferences. "I gotta keep my head in the playbook and ask questions. That's what I do every single day. There's nothing wrong about asking a question. They see that I'm the new guy here, and I -- for the most part -- get all the answers that I need."

He added: "Tom likes things a certain way. Me being the new guy, or any of us, we make sure that we do it that way."

Patriots-Steelers practice report: Full participation for Pats

Patriots-Steelers practice report: Full participation for Pats

Wednesday's practice participation/injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Steelers game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
WR Danny Amendola (ankle)
TE Martellus Bennett (knee)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder)
WR Chris Hogan (thigh)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (knee)
DL Jabaal Sheard (knee)

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

DID NOT PRACTICE
RB Le'Veon Bell (not injury related)
K Chris Boswell (illness)
S Sean Davis (shoulder)
C B.J. Finney (illness)
WR Darrius Heyward-Bay (illness)
QB Zach Mettenberger (illness)
QB Ben Roethlisberger (not injury related)
LB Vince Williams (shoulder)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
LB Anthony Chickillo (ankle)
TE Ladarius Green (concussion)
S Michael Mitchell (not injury related)

FULL PARTICIPATION
LB James Harrison (shoulder/triceps)
DE Ricardo Mathews (ankle)
RB Fitzgerald Toussaint (concussion)