Brady prepares, but doesn't get caught up in Jets Week

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Brady prepares, but doesn't get caught up in Jets Week

FOXBORO -- It's known simply by two words: Jets Week.

Say no more, say no more. The Jets will be in Foxboro this weekend for a Sunday afternoon showdown against the Patriots, and you can be sure that it's all the buzz around New England.

Tom Brady has started in 22 games against the Jets including two postseason games. The Patriots record in these games is 16-5. (He appeared but did not start in one other, a loss, for an injured Drew Bledsoe . . . remember that?)

But despite the team's superb record against the Jets, Brady's performances haven't always been great. He's thrown for three or more touchdowns just three times over his career against them and has amassed his career 96.6 QB rating in just ten of those 21 starts.

He knows firsthand that New York certainly gets up for the occasion.

"It's a great rivalry, there's no question," Brady said. "We've had so many meaningful games against these guys. And it's like, we do the scouting report and they go though the names on the list, and I go, 'I know every single one of these guys. Why are we talking David Harris, and Antonio Cromartie?' They have a few new faces in there but this defense presents some great challenges for our offense, and ones we've faced since Rex Ryan has been the head coach of that team. It's a great rivalry, it's a fun game for us players. And it's always had meaning behind it. It's never been a meaningless game, so this one will be no different than that."

With both division rivals entering the game at 3-3 and tied for first place (or last, depending on how your glass looks right now), both sides know that the winner of Sunday's game could greatly benefit later on in the season if the division remains close. Preparation is, as always, key.

While New England had to cram for last Sunday's game against the Seahawks, they are obviously more familiar with what the Jets do. They play them at least eight times in-between Seattle games.

"When you play a team you don't play very often you try to get up to speed as quickly as you can and understand their strengths and weaknesses," Brady said. "Certainly a team like the Jets we know what they do well and we try to find ways to exploit the things that we don't think they do very well."

As far as all the hype surrounding the game, Brady isn't getting caught up in any of it unlike, ahem, some of us.

"I don't have to write any stories or anything like that. I just have to show up and do my job," he said.

It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

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It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

The Patriots received a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018 from the Browns in return for Jamie Collins. That's how the trade was described on the league's transaction wire. 

The "condition" of that fourth-rounder? Well, if the Browns received a third-round compensatory pick in 2017, the Patriots would nab that pick instead. 

On Friday, the NFL announced that the Browns had in fact been awarded a third-round compensatory pick, which meant that almost three full weeks after Super Bowl LI, everything was still coming up Patriots.

In actuality, the odds were pretty good all along that the Patriots would get what they got

Cleveland lost Pro Bowl center Alex Mack in free agency last offseason when he opted to sign with the Falcons. Because compensatory picks are based on free agents lost and free agents acquired, and because the Browns did not sign any similarly-impactful free agents, there was a good chance Mack's departure would render a third-round comp pick that would be shipped to New England.

Had Mack suffered a significant injury that forced his play to drop off or limited his time on the field, a third-rounder may have been out of the question, but he played well (named a Pro Bowler and a Second Team All-Pro) and stayed healthy -- lucky for the Patriots -- missing just 17 total snaps in the regular season. 

The Browns comp pick that will be sent to New England is No. 103 overall. The Patriots were also awarded a fifth-round comp pick, No. 185 overall. That was a result of the league weighing the departures of Akiem Hicks and Tavon Wilson against the arrival of Shea McClellin.

The Patriots now have nine selections in this year's draft: One first-rounder; one second-rounder; two third-rounders; one fourth-rounder*; two fifth-rounders; two seventh-rounders.

The third-round compensatory pick acquired by the Patriots carries additional value this year in that it is the first year in which compensatory picks can be traded. A near top-100 overall selection may allow the Patriots to move up the draft board or build assets in the middle rounds should they be inclined to deal. And we know they oftentimes are. 

* The Patriots forfeited their highest fourth-round selection in this year's draft as part of their Deflategate punishment. They acquired a fourth-round pick from the Seahawks last year. Because that would have been the higher of their two selections, that's the one they'll lose. They will make their own fourth-round pick at No. 137 overall.

Gronkowski says he has 'no doubt' he'll be ready for start of next season

Gronkowski says he has 'no doubt' he'll be ready for start of next season

When it comes to projecting Rob Gronkowski's health, it's been best to steer clear of absolutes. There have been too many injuries, too many surgeries, to predict exactly how he'll feel months in advance. 

Still, in speaking with ESPN's Cari Champion recently, he said he had "no doubt" he'll be ready for Week 1 of the 2017 regular season. 

"Yes, for sure," he replied when asked if he expected to be good to go. 

Gronkowski also fielded a question about his long-term future in the sit-down. Lately it's been his coach Bill Belichick and his quarterback Tom  Brady who receiver all the life-after-football queries, but Gronkowski, 27, was asked how much longer he'd like to play. 

"I’m not really sure," he said. "I mean, I still love playing the game, and as of right now, I want to play as long as I possibly could play. My mindset is to keep on going."

Gronkowski landed on season-ending injured reserve in December after undergoing a procedure on his back -- his third back surgery since 2009. He's had nine reported surgeries -- including procedures on his knee, forearm and ankle -- since his final year at the University of Arizona.