Conspiracies don't bother Belichick

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Conspiracies don't bother Belichick

Were officially 10 days into the Patriots season, and over those 10 days, weve been inundated with no fewer than 10 times as many theories on whats going on with Wes Welker.

Yes. Thats 100 theories. And yes, thats probably a low estimate.

The best part? No one has a clue. No one has the slightest clue. Its left us all utterly confused, angry and desperate for answers. In turn, its led to a level of wildly creative, conspiracy-fueled speculation usually reserved for the likes of JFK, Jimmy Hoffa, Jamie Lee Curtiss gender, John Claytons ponytail and Marilyn Manson's true identity.

Did you hear the one about the Pats benching Welker on Sunday so that he wouldnt break Troy Browns record before the halftime HOF ceremony?

Did you hear the one about how this entire controversy is a Trojan Horse designed to blindside the Ravens on Sunday night?

Did you hear that Wes slept with LeBron James mom?

On one hand, its so frustrating to not know the truth. We not just as football fans, but also as human beings hate not knowing the truth. And every season, on at least a few occasions, Bill Belichick becomes that proverbial annoying kid on the playground: I know something you dont know and Im not gonna tellllll you. (Only if that kid was hopped up on enough depressants to paralyze a rhino). Every season, it drives us nuts. And every season, we eventually fall back into the same desperate routine.

OK, this has gone too far. Belichick NEEDS to speak up. He NEEDS to explain himself. Hes making it worse. Hes only fueling speculation. Hes making this a bigger deal than it needs to be and its hurting the team.

Most of the time, we can even convince ourselves that this is true.

But its not. No matter how we try to rationalize Belichick's need to break the silence, he doesn't need to do anything. More importantly, he wont do anything. Has Belichick ever cared about speculation? Has he ever worried about public perception? Has he ever felt that whats going on out here has any effect on whats going on in there?

IGNORE THE NOISE.

Thats the sign that stares every member of that organization in the face every time they walk in and out the Patriots facility. And it's not just a suggestion. It's an order, a mantra, a way of life and the only way that Belichick cares to go about his business.

Bottom Line: He knows what's going on with Welker. Josh McDaniels knows whats going on with Welker. Welker knows whats going on with Welker (or at least he finds out a few minutes before kickoff). As far as Belichick's concerned, the people who need to know already know. Everything else? Just noise. So, they're going to ignore it. Regardless of how twisted our collective panties become over the issue.

But of course, in situations like this, there are conspiracies and there are realities. And as the Patriots prepare for this weekend's trip to Baltimore, and do so looking to avoid their first 1-2 start in more than a decade, there are a few realities that Belichick and McDaniels need to, and, we can only assume, will come to grips with.

Namely, this one: Julian Edelman is not Wes Welker.

Has Edelman made significant strides as a receiver? Sure, though it wouldn't have taken much. Did he have the most impressive and productive summer this side of Miguel Cabrera? Sure, if they say so. Does he have a future as a legitimate NFL receiver? We'll see.

But for now, there's no conspiracy or speculation necessary to explain the undeniable fact that in terms of this Sunday night, on the road against the Ravens, with Aaron Hernandez on the sidelines in a sweat suit or at home on his couch the more we see of Wes Welker, the more likely the Pats are to come out on top.

The less we see of him, the less convinced we'll be that all this commotion is in the name what's best for the team.

And the conspiracies will live to see another week.

Might as well start working on some good ones in advance.

Did you hear that Belichick took a flyer on Edelman in the last round of his Wesleyan alum fantasy draft?

Did you hear that Welker's actually Paul from The Wonder Years?!

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Tom Brady comes up if you Google 'Owner of the Jets'

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Tom Brady comes up if you Google 'Owner of the Jets'

No clue why this happens, but if you google “owner of the Jets” or “owner of the New York Jets,” Tom Brady comes up. It was posted on reddit Thursday and then a follow-up google confirmed it. 

Tom Brady does not own the New York Jets. Woody Johnson does. Brady is 23-7-0 lifetime against the Jets in the regular season and 1-1 in the playoffs, though. 
 

Postcard From Camp, Day One: Gronk puts on a show

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Postcard From Camp, Day One: Gronk puts on a show

FOXBORO -- Day 1 of Patriots training camp practice featured a little bit of Rob Gronkowski news before the session. During the session, Gronkowski put on a show.

In shells and shorts, the Patriots tight end put his trademark style on display by catching touchdown passes during 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 work and then hamming it up -- perhaps practicing for the regular season when the restrictions on celebrations have been pulled back a bit by the NFL.

Before the session, Bill Belichick said that Gronkowski had "no limits" in practice. The 6-foot-6, 265-pounder certainly seemed to be feeling just fine.

WHAT WE SAW
* Rob Ninkovich, Kony Ealy and Joe Cardona were not spotted at practice. Dont'a Hightower and Alan Branch began camp on the PUP list and did not participate Thursday.

* With two of the roster's perceived top defensive ends not present, the representatives for that edge group on Day 1 were Trey Flowers, Derek Rivers, Deatrich Wise, Geneo Grissom and Shea McClellin.

* During 3-on-4 drills at the goal line, Gronkowski put on a show. The drill may have been only semi-competitive at times but when Gronk caught a touchdown, he celebrated with gusto and the crowd ate it up.

* Jimmy Garoppolo took off for an early lap alongside backup center Ted Karras after a fumbled quarterback-center exchange. Working out the kinks. It's early yet.
 
* Austin Carr had a good release and then caught the "period-winner" to make defensive backs do pushups at the end of a 2-on-2 drill at the goal line. The undrafted rookie receiver from Northwestern earned plaudits from Jimmy Garoppolo and the rest of his offensive teammates for his performance. Even receivers coach Chad O'Shea was fired up, telling the rookie to celebrate after the fact. Carr's in the running for more reps with Andrew Hawkins now out of the mix.

* Justin Coleman made a nice pick with his hands to start things in a positive direction for the defensive backs during 2-on-2 work. Undrafted rookie Kenny Moore also made an impressive pass breakup while in coverage of Malcolm Mitchell.

* Cyrus Jones dropped a kickoff very early in the practice. He looked more smooth during punt-return work. He worked alongside undrafted rookie Will Likely during a punt-return drill.

* During kickoff work later in the session, Dion Lewis and Danny Amendola were the first two returners taking reps. Matthew Slater was also back there in his traffic-cop role. Rex Burkhead, James White, Jones and Likely also took part.

* Cooks ran one around the edge off of motion during 11-on-11 work. It'll be interesting if the Patriots try to implement him in that fashion during the season. He took occasional sweep handoffs while with the Saints with varying levels of success.

* Following the first 11-on-11 period of the day, Tom Brady and Garoppolo worked a side-session with Josh McDaniels and Dion Lewis. Brandin Cooks and Julian Edelman also had a quick conversation with Brady.

* Another side session came later that featured Edelman, Cooks, Dwayne Allen, Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Hogan and Devin Lucien.

* Grissom appears to be one of the primary beneficiaries when it comes to playing time with Ninkovich and Ealy out. Rookie Derek Rivers also saw work with regulars. At the linebacker level, Jonathan Freeny appear to be one of the first off-the-ball options, along with Shea McClellin.

* Late in the practice, Brady and Garoppolo worked with a group of centers that included Karras, David Andrews, Joe Thuney and Jamil Douglas. Douglas spent much of last season on the Patriots practice squad.

11-on-11
* Brady incomplete for Cooks down the middle. 0-for-1.
* Brady complete for Gronkowski short. 1-for-2.
* Brady incomplete for Cooks. Broken up by Butler. 1-for-3.
* Brady complete to Gronkowski in the back of the end zone with Freeny on him. 2-for-4.

* Garoppolo complete to Gillislee short. 1-for-1.
* Garoppolo incomplete to Edelman. Broken up by Rowe. Thrown behind a bit. 1-for-2.
* Garoppolo complete to Edelman with Cyrus Jones in coverage. 2-for-3.
* Garoppolo complete to Mitchell. 3-for-4.

* Brissett complete to Foster. 1-for-1.
* Brissett complete to Cody Hollister. 2-for-2.
* Brissett complete to Lucien. 3-for-3.
* Brissett complete to LeShun Daniels. 4-for-4.

* Garoppolo complete to Allen down the seam. 4-for-5.
* Garoppolo complete to Allen with Harris in coverage. 5-for-6.
* Garoppolo incomplete to Edelman with Butler in coverage. 5-for-7.
* Garoppolo complete to White with McClellin in coverage. 6-for-8.

* Brady complete to Cooks deep with C. Jones in coverage. 3-for-5.
* Brady complete to Burkhead with Van Noy in coverage. 4-for-6.
* Brady complete to White. 5-for-7.
* Brady complete to Edelman with C. Jones in coverage. 6-for-8.

* Brissett complete to Foster deep with Thompson in coverage. 5-for-5.
* Brissett incomplete to Lucien. Pass breakup by Kenny Moore. 5-for-6.
* Brissett incomplete. 5-for-7.
* Brissett complete to Lucien. 6-for-8.

11-on-11 HURRY
* Brady complete to Cooks. 6-for-9.
* Brady complete to Cooks. 7-for-10.
* Brady complete to Cooks. 8-for-11.
* Brady complete to Burkhead. 9-for-12.
* Brady complete to Burkhead. 10-for-13.
* Brady complete to Hogan. 11-for-14.
* Brady complete to Hogan. 12-for-15.

7-on-7 HURRY-UP
* Brady complete to Cooks on low throw. 1-for-1.
* Brady incomplete for Gronkowski. Broken up by Van Noy. 1-for-2.
* Brady complete for Gronkowski. 2-for-3.
* Brady complete for Edelman. 3-for-4.
* Brady incomplete for Hogan in back of the end zone. Broken up by J. Jones. 3-for-5.
* Brady incomplete for Edelman. 3-for-6.

* Garoppolo complete to Mitchell. 1-for-1.
* Garoppolo complete to Carr. 2-for-2.
* Garoppolo complete to Lewis. 3-for-3.
* Garoppolo incomplete to Mitchell. Broken up by Ebner. 3-for-4.
* Garoppolo intercepted by Richards. Intended for Develin on scramble drill. 3-for-5.
* Garoppolo intercepted by Rowe. 3-for-6.

* Brissett incomplete for Slater. 0-for-1.
* Brissett complete for Slater. 1-for-2.
* Brissett complete to Lucien. 2-for-3.
* Brissett incomplete. Broken up by...the paddle guy. Defense loves it. 2-for-4.

LATE 11-on-11
* Brissett complete to Foster.
* Brissett incomplete to Washington.
* Brissett complete to Jacob Hollister.
* Brissett incomplete out of the back of the end zone.
* Brissett incomplete. Batted down by Wise . . . and Wise wasn't trying.