Brady reflects on how to motivate Patriots teammates


Brady reflects on how to motivate Patriots teammates

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady is a future Hall of Famer, perhaps the greatest quarterback of all-time.

Yet Brandon Lloyd, Ryan Wendell, Michael Hoomanawanui -- any Patriot who plays, really -- can be at ground zero on the play that alters the team's 2012 season.

Football is unique because -- even when it "comes down to" a team's most important player -- successful performances are contingent on others doing their jobs well. There is no "clearing out" as there is in basketball. You can't make an end-to-end rush as in hockey. No one man can throw a shutout as in baseball.

Where would Eli Manning be without David Tyree, Mario Manningham or Asante Samuel?

Where would Brady be without Adam Vinatieri?

Brady is demanding during games. You can see that in his demeanor between the lines and when he reaches the bench. He'll go to the verbal whip to push his teammates to perform at a higher level.

On Wednesday, I asked Brady about toeing the line with his teammates between criticism and support as the Patriots come off an uneven performance and head toward the playoffs.

"I'm only as good as the guys around me and they're only as good as I am," Brady said Wednesday morning at Gillette Stadium. "Part of that is motivating each other so that we can all be on the same page and all be at our best."

Remaining at the top in a league rigged to bring everyone to the middle requires a different mindset. There is no "good enough."

"We get that from our coaches," said Brady. "We take the lead from our head coach who talks about getting better and making improvements and certainly not focusing on the things we're doing well but on the things we need to improve."

The Patriots don't muddy the water with a lot of different notions having to do with progress or checkpoints. Billl Belichick said before the San Francisco game that every decision is made with winning in mind. "What else is there?" he asked. "What else is there to talk about?"

Well, in professional sports there are now -- and have always been -- myriad other dynamics that can detract from the bottom line of winning.

Among them? Feelings. Finances. Distractions.

Who's getting paid too little or too much? Who's being put out to pasture or played more than he deserves? Who's paying attention to his personal statistic and who needs to be more selfish and assert himself? Who shows up late and doesn't lift as hard as he should because he wants to get home? Who blows practice assignments?

Can a 35-year-old future Hall of Famer translate his feelings into words usable to a 23-year-old fringe player?

"We all have our own feelings about how things are and we express those in different ways," said Brady. "It's all in hopes of winning games and to be at our best when we need it the most.

"Every team is different, every player is different and the motivations are different for different players but obviously, we're all here to win," he added. "That's what our ultimate motivation is as a team. And part of being part of a team is being selfless and giving up whatever individual goals you may have for the benefit of the team. It's all about teamwork and what we can build together."

Patriots represented at Stanford, Utah, Missouri pro days


Patriots represented at Stanford, Utah, Missouri pro days

The Patriots had a busy day of gathering intel on Thursday. A very busy day. 

While Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia represented the Patriots at Ohio State and Notre Dame, respectively, the team had other representatives at high-profile pro days around the country including Stanford, Missouri and Utah. 

Here are a few of the players the Patriots were able to get a better look at . . . 

Stanford: The Patriots have shown plenty of interest in players coming from David Shaw's program in the past (Cameron Fleming, Jordan Richards), and they'll undoubtedly appreciate the talents brought to the table by two of the school's projected first-rounders in Solomon Thomas and Christian McCaffrey. Thomas is a powerful 6-foot-3, 273-pound defensive lineman who can play just about anywhere up front. McCaffrey, meanwhile, is one of the most athletic running backs in this year's class. He worked out as a receiver on Thursday and could fill a multitude of roles as a pro, whether it's as a back, a slot receiver or a kick-returner. The Patriots would need to trade back into the first round to have a prayer at landing either player. 

Utah: The Utes have a handful of draftable offensive linemen and one who is expected to come off the board in the first round. Garrett Bolles, who lit up the combine, might be the top tackle available -- and there are those who believe he's just starting to tap into his potential. Isaac Asiata is a monster guard (6-3, 323, 34-inch arms) who put up more bench-press reps than any other offensive lineman at this year's combine, and center JJ Dielman is an intriguing later-round option. One of the quickest risers in the pre-draft process? Marcus Williams, who is an eye-popping athlete. He was top-five for those at his position at the combine in the vertical, broad jump and three-cone drill, and he looks like a ready-made NFL free safety. The Patriots are pretty well stocked at that spot, but if they're picking at the bottom of the first round and going with the best player available, they may very well think that's Williams. 

Missouri: Defensive players were in focus for scouts and coaches at the Tigers pro day, and Charles Harris was the headliner. One of the most impressive players within a very deep class of edge defenders, the 6-3, 253-pounder appears to have the quickness and burst to give NFL tackles fits. One of Harris' teammates up front, Josh Augusta, ran a pretty ridiculous 40-yard dash Thursday, clocking in just a shade under five seconds. Ridiculous, why? Because he's a defensive tackle who wighed 390 pounds during the season. That's moving. Augusta dropped down to 347 after being diagnosed with a thyroid issue in January and is looking to get to 335. Corner Aarion Penton can competes well for the football, but his size (5-9, 177) may scare teams off until late in the draft. 

Curran: Patriots, Darrelle Revis have not discussed deal

Curran: Patriots, Darrelle Revis have not discussed deal

The Patriots and Darrelle Revis have not discussed a deal that would bring the cornerback back to New England, according to CSNNE's Tom Curran.

This comes after CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora reported multiple anonymous NFL executives were convinced Revis would return to the Patriots.

Revis spent one season with the Patriots in 2014 when New England won Super Bowl XLIX. However, the Patriots did not pick up Revis' second-year option in the following offseason, and he elected to sign with the New York Jets in free agency. He played 14 games in 2015 and 15 games in 2016. He finished last season with 53 tackles, five pass deflections and one interception

The 31-year-old cornerback declined significantly during the 2016 season. Even Tom Brady said he noticed Revis was struggling phyiscally in the Patriots' Week 12 win over the Jets.

"I know he's not feeling great," Brady said in November. "I could see after the game, he winced a few times getting up. It looked like his leg was bothering him a little bit. But he's still very close on a lot of those plays. Even though you're hitting them, he's still very competitive.

"He's been one of the great players in the league for a long time. He's given up more plays this year than in the past, but you've gotta have a lot of respect for his style and his game."