Welker: Brady 'wants to do great and he is great'

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Welker: Brady 'wants to do great and he is great'

FOXBORO -- Thursday was not a good day to be Tom Brady's chin strap.
During the portion of practice in which the Patriots worked on their hurry-up offense, he dropped back and hit safety Steve Gregory square in the chest with a pass intended for someone else. Gregory plucked the ball out of the air and ran for a lengthy interception return before he was herded out of bounds. Brady ripped at the white piece of plastic hanging from the sides of his helmet and took a knee among the other offensive players who were sitting out of the drill. His no-huddle drive had been cut short, and he wasn't happy about it.
"He was pretty fired up," said Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker. "He's his own biggest critic. As much as coach even stays on him and everyone else, he's his own worst enemy sometimes. It's great to see. He cares. He wants to do great, and he is great."
Welker's right. Brady is great. Almost all the time. When he's been at his best during training camp, the ball comes out of his hand quickly, and it almost always finds the mitts of his intended target. Whether he's squeezing a pass in a tight spot on the goal line or lofting a fade route to one of his outside receivers, the ball usually ends up where it's supposed to be.
That's what made Brady's day on Thursday stand out so glaringly. He was long with a few of his passes. Others were deflected by defenders. In one stretch during 11-on-11 play, he went 1-for-6, with his last five passes falling incomplete. One was batted down by the defensive line. The next was too long for receiver Britt Davis. After that he fired a pass through Welker's hands on a bubble route. Following an incompletion to avoid a "sack" by Rob Ninkovich and an overthrow to an open Rob Gronkowski, Brady's series was over.
On the sidelines, before the first-team offense's next set of plays, Brady worked on hitting Aaron Hernandez with passes from just five yards away. Those kinds of short passes weren't the ones he was missing during practice, but it was clear he wouldn't let a bad five minutes in practice ruin the rest of his afternoon. He wasn't standing and watching, letting his frustration stew as he waited for his turn to throw. He was making the most of his time while on the field. Welker said that -- good day or bad -- Brady is constantly trying to improve his connection with his receivers.
"I think it's something you constantly work on," said Welker. "You try and get on the same page, understand. I try to win all my routes and know that he's going to put the ball where he needs to put it. It's an ongoing deal to get that chemistry."
Brady threw the interception to Gregory just a few minutes later. And though he was angered by it, Welker said those plays help make Brady the quarterback he is.
"It's good to see he's human sometimes," said Welker. "Everybody has bad plays out there. It's how you bounce back from them, how you go out there and compete and keep fighting and how you get after it out there. He's always understanding that and knowing if he makes a bad play he's going to come back ten times better the next time."

Brady to Amendola on Facebook: 'Paddle's fixed. Time for a rematch!'

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Brady to Amendola on Facebook: 'Paddle's fixed. Time for a rematch!'

When Danny Amendola told the world on Tuesday that he's better than Tom Brady at ping pong, the quarterback must have been listening. 

On his Facebook page, Brady published a snarling image of his face Photoshopped onto the body of a table tennis player. That paddle he broke after losing to Amendola three years ago? It's fixed, Brady explained in the caption. And he's ready for a rematch.

Talk about intimidation.

Wilfork embracing modeling, tells Brady to put him in touch with Gisele's people

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Wilfork embracing modeling, tells Brady to put him in touch with Gisele's people

Vince Wilfork will be one of many well-known athletes to strip down and pose nude for photographs in ESPN The Magazine's's Body issue, joining a group that includes Cubs pitcher Jake Arrietta, Broncos defensive end Von Miller and Heat guard Dwyane Wade.

Judging by his latest tweet, the former Patriots defensive lineman -- who is listed at 325 pounds -- is getting pretty comfortable with the idea of becoming a model.

Now it's up to Tom Brady to play match-maker, it seems. Gisele retired from the runway last year so maybe her people are on the lookout for some new talent.

Belichick: Buddy Ryan a father to 'a great football family'

Belichick: Buddy Ryan a father to 'a great football family'

Bill Belichick released a statement on Buddy Ryan's passing Tuesday afternoon. 

"Today is a sad day in football due to the passing of Buddy Ryan," Belichick said. "It was always very challenging to compete against Coach Ryan, who was father to a great football family that carries on his coaching and defensive tradition. My condolences are with the Ryan Family."

Belichick is certainly very familiar with Ryan's legacy and the tradition Ryan passed down to his sons Rex and Rob. The Patriots coach has competed against all three.

Rex Ryan has squared off with Belichick during his time as head coach for the Jets (2009-14) and Bills (2015-present), and their matchups go back to Rex's days with the Ravens (1999-2008) when he was a defensive line coach and then defensive coordinator.

Rob Ryan, like his brother, got his first NFL break when his father was the head coach of the Cardinals in the mid-1990s. His second break, though, came from Belichick. He joined the Patriots staff during Belichick's first year as head coach in 2000 and coached linebackers for four seasons in New England. He has since competed against Belichick as a defensive coordinator for the Raiders, Browns, Cowboys and Saints. Rob joined Rex in Buffalo this year to serve as an assistant on the staff there. 

For Belichick's thoughts on the impact of Buddy Ryan's famous "46" defense, we dug up some of his comments from a 2012 press conference that you can find here. He called the combination of Ryan's scheme and the talented players Ryan had at his disposal as defensive coordinator of the 1985 Super Bowl champion Bears "pretty unblockable."