Brady (thigh) understands sometimes he has to miss practice to stay fresh

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Brady (thigh) understands sometimes he has to miss practice to stay fresh

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady was not spotted at Patriots practice on Wednesday. Nor was he out on the fields behind Gillette Stadium last Wednesday. 

The hit Brady absorbed to his right knee back in Week 10, when Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor drilled him low, continues to be a factor for the 39-year-old MVP candidate. 

His attendance at and his participation in practice have been somewhat sporadic since the Chancellor shot: He was not on the injury report in the days following the hit, but during Week 12 he missed two practices and was limited in a third with a knee issue; in Week 13 he missed one practice and was limited in the next two; in Weeks 14 and 15, he participated in practice fully and was not listed on the injury report at all; in Week 16, he was back on the injury report -- this time with a thigh issue -- and was limited in his reps for the final two weeks of the regular season. 

Brady was asked on Thursday about the challenge of playing well on game days when his on-the-field work leading up to those games is not quite as intensive, or as frequent, as he'd like it to be.

"You always want to feel great on Sunday," Brady said. "You’d always like to practice every day, too. I think just some weeks it’s about prioritization. I’d like to do everything all the time, but sometimes that’s not possible.

"Practice is pretty demanding. Our practices certainly are, so sometimes if you practice it might set you back a little more than you would want. But everyone is dealing with different things and I think as a player you just have to try to be smart. You obviously want to practice because you want to be prepared to play, but sometimes if you overdo it, you’re not feeling as good as you want to on Sunday when you are playing.

"I think after 17 years I’ve got a pretty good balance for those things. I’m the type of person who likes to practice a lot. I’ve also been around long enough to know you’ve got to be smart too, so it’s just trying to find that right balance."

The Patriots are in a pretty good place at the moment in that they have three quarterbacks on the roster so when Brady needs a day off, Jimmy Garoppolo can fill in with the offensive starters while Jacoby Brissett takes the scout-team reps. 

Garoppolo's ability to give receivers, backs and tight ends a good look in practice, combined with Brady getting the rest he needs, has done wonders for the Patriots offense. From Week 12 on, the team went 6-0 and averaged 28.3 points per game. 

Jerod Mayo: 'Cyrus Jones will probably be most improved this year'

Jerod Mayo: 'Cyrus Jones will probably be most improved this year'

Jerod Mayo still has faith in New England Patriots cornerback Cyrus Jones.

The cornerback, who was the Patriots' top pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, struggled mightily in his rookie season. He fumbled his way out of a role on special teams, where he served as a returner.

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He then failed to perform at nickel cornerback, and the Patriots traded for Eric Rowe, who pushed Jones down the depth chart and often onto the inactives on game day. Jones' emotional outburst during Week 5 when he got ejected for punching Browns receiver Andrew Hawkins didn't help.

Despite all that, Mayo thinks Jones will turn things around.

"I think Cyrus Jones will probably be most improved this year," Mayo said in the latest edition of "The Ex Pats" podcast. "I want people to remember a rookie [Matthew] Slater. A rookie Matt Slater was terrible. He would sit here on this podcast and tell you he's terrible, and I think Cyrus Jones is more athletic than Matthew Slater. I think -- I know for a fact, because I've seen it time and time again, the biggest leap not only in athleticsm but also in confidence is from year one to year two."

Jones admitted to the Baltimore Sun that his rookie was "hell." He added he felt "embarrassed." The 23-year-old cornerback said he didn't feel like he was a part of New England's Super Bowl LI win.

“Failure is another opportunity to begin again more intelligently,” Jones wrote in a now-deleted Instagram post.

Mayo seems to think Jones has learned his lesson, and will rebound with the help of Bill Belichick. And the Patriots may need Butler to be the most-improved player. Malcolm Butler's future with New England has become uncertain, and the remaining top cornerbacks are over 6-feet.

The Patriots need a slot corner. Jones is the next man up.

"As much as the media has kind of battered this young kid, Bill's going to boost him up this entire offseason," Mayo said. "Bill -- he's the best at putting lowlights up after a game . . . But during the offseason, he kind of -- it's individualized coach. He knows this guy's confidence is in the toilet. He's going to boost him up as much as possible.

"You know [Jones] can play football. He played in the SEC. He played on the top team on the country, and was a standout performer. So this is a confidence issue. This entire thing is a confidence issue, and I think they fix that."

Report: Patriots asked Seahawks about a trade for Richard Sherman

Report: Patriots asked Seahawks about a trade for Richard Sherman

PHOENIX -- The Patriots pulled off what many considered a surprise free-agent signing when they acquired corner Stephon Gilmore. As it turns out, before they picked up the former Bills cover man, they inquried about a separate move that would have been even more eye-opening. 

According to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, ahead of coming to a deal with Gilmore, the Patriots were among the teams that spoke to the Seahawks about a potential trade for Richard Sherman.

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During the NFC coaches breakfast on Wednesday morning at the Arizona Biltmore, Seattle coach Pete Carroll acknowledged that multiple teams have contacted the Seahawks about Sherman. But, Carroll said, "I don't see anything happening at all."

Sherman, who turns 29 next season, will make $11.431 million for 2017. He's due $11 million in the final year of his contract in 2018.