Looking into Michael Floyd's first-round pedigree

Looking into Michael Floyd's first-round pedigree

Michael Floyd was the 13th overall pick in a 2012 draft class that wasn’t known for having great receivers. He ultimately didn’t prove to be worth that in Arizona over five seasons, but he nevertheless comes to New England with something of a high pedigree. 

So, where did that billing come from? 

The answer is kind of boring, but it’s a combination of physical attributes and numbers. At 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, Floyd had better size than the draft’s top-ranked receiver (Justin Blackmon) and his competition to be the second receiver taken (Kendall Wright). He also held the Notre Dame school record with 37 touchdown receptions over his four seasons, two of those seasons came under Charlie Weis.  

Holding him back were his three arrests for alcohol-related incidents, including a DUI, but his 4.47 second 40-yard dash (faster than the 5-foot-10, 196-pound Wright’s showing) cemented himself as a first-round prospect. 

From NFL.com after the 2012 scouting combine: 

Floyd is a polished receiver who shows the ability to release and burst off the line of scrimmage despite his frame. He is a solid route runner who will consistently make the big catch. He is an excellent athlete who is strong and contributes in the run game with his physicality on the edge. A receiver who is tough across the middle, Floyd will make the tough catch and get up-field. Floyd brings that No. 1 receiver presence to the next level and projects to produce to that standard. Floyd's explosiveness off the line and frame when catching balls make him a presence that is felt by opposing defenses. As a blocker, Floyd will do more than just mirror defenders, as he will come down the line of scrimmage and crack linebackers. He is a red zone threat at any level and his projectability to the next level is a major key to his high draft value.

[Looking back at that draft and it's a whopper of a reminder to not get too caught up in however the wind happens to be blowing at the combine. After the aformentioned three receivers and then A.J. Jenkins, Brian Quick and Stephen Hill were taken, it was the draft's seventh receiver, Alshon Jeffrey, who proved to be the stud of the class. As you may recall, his stock plummeted because he'd put on weight.]

Floyd’s selection by the Cardinals set him up to be their No. 2 until he would, in theory, he surpass Larry Fitzgerald, a succession plan the Texans managed to execute a year later by taking DeAndre Hopkins to team with and eventually replace Andre Johnson. 

Yet, Floyd never quite took off as a No. 1 in the making. Though he led the team in receiving yards in 2013 and 2014, he was third on the team in receiving yards in three of his five seasons in Arizona, including the past two. To be fair, this season has seen him out-targeted by running back David Johnson, so he was working as the team’s No. 2 receiver, even if not by much over John Brown. 

Coming to New England, maybe he’ll make an impact the way Deion Branch did immediately in 2010 or the way Jabar Gaffney eventually did in 2006. He’s got a lot riding on this stretch with New England, as he’ll be a free agent at season’s end and teams might not be enamored with a receiver who failed to reach his potential in two spots, even if he was a first-round pick. 

Brady's goal vs. Lions: Feel the rhythm of the game

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Brady's goal vs. Lions: Feel the rhythm of the game

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady's not looking to see a specific number of snaps or throw a certain number of passes. He just wants to get into a rhythm. 

That's his goal for Friday's game in Detroit. It's a pretty abstract concept, a football game's rhythm. Yet it's one of the things quarterbacks reference all the time. There's a pacing, a feeling, that takes some time to adjust to behind center. When you have it, you know it. When you don't, you're not exactly sure how long it might take.

For Brady, someone who missed the first month of last season and came back to perform at an MVP level, it probably doesn't take all that long. But the process still exists, and he's looking forward to going through it again later this week. 

"For me, it’s just feeling the rhythm of the game, and it’s different than practice," he said Wednesday. "The rhythm of practice is very different, and the only way to simulate the game is to play. I can draw on a lot of experience, but it’s nice to get out there and actually do it. I mean, it was fun being out there last week. It will be, obviously, fun being out there this week, but you’re just trying to build up for one game, the start of the season in September. Everything is building toward that."

What's particularly helpful in these preseason games, Brady explained, is getting out there with new teammates to work together at a different pace. This year in particular, there are plenty of new faces surrounding Brady in the huddle between receiver Brandin Cooks, running back Rex Burkhead, tight end Dwayne Allen and others.

"Those snaps that you’re taking with new players are really important," Brady said. "It was nice to get Rex a touchdown pass [in Houston], and just for him to feel what it’s like for all us to look at another guy’s eyes in the huddle during the course of a game and saying, ‘Look, this is where we’re at. This is football. This is exactly what we’re going to be doing when the season kicks off on Thursday night.' "

Belichick on bubble players stressing: 'That's what you sign up for'

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Belichick on bubble players stressing: 'That's what you sign up for'

FOXBORO -- Even though the games don't count yet, this is a stressful time of year for NFL teams. 

It's one thing to be a coach. There are decisions to make in terms of how your team will be built. There are preparations to make for Week 1, but there are also still two preseason games ahead.  That's a good number of balls in the air, or "plates spinning," as Tom E. Curran likes to say.

But to be a player, particularly a player on the fringes of what will be the 53-man active roster, is an entirely different ordeal. Veteran players could see their careers end soon. Young players could be forced to uproot and try to start anew somewhere else. Livelihoods are on the line.

There's stress. 

Bill Belichick was asked in a press conference on Wednesday how important it is for players on the bubble not to press too much at this time of year despite that stress. But as Belichick put it, stress is simply part of the job. It's unavoidable no matter what time of year it is, which means that in a way, playing and performing under stress now might be a good indicator of how certain players will handle it down the line. 

Here's Belichick's answer in full: 

"I think that's a good question. It's a fair question," Belichick started. "But this is the National Football League, and there's pressure every week. There's pressure this week. There's going to be pressure in September. There's going to be pressure in October. There's going to be pressure in November. We're going to be under stress all year. Every week. And we're going to be under stress out on the field every week against every opponent. Playing in the National Football League that's what you sign up for. If you're looking for vacation weeks and weeks off or we play some Division 4 team, all that, that doesn't happen in this league. There's stress every week.

"There's stress in training camp. Yeah. There's plenty of it. There's stress on the coaching staff to get the team ready, to pick the right players. There's stress on each player to establish his role, or make the team, or play for playing time, whatever it is. There's stress on everybody, and there's stress on every team. We're not in any different situation than any other team in the league is. Every player on every one of those teams is having the same thoughts that our players are having, I'm sure. One way or the other. Either the guys who think they're on the team are trying to get ready to have a good year, or there are a lot of guys who aren't sure whether they're on or they're not or what they're role is. And there are a lot of coaches who don't know the answer to that question either. We're trying to figure it out. There is no right answer at this point. It's still a process.

"But there's pressure every week in this league so if there's too much pressure in August, there's probably going to be too much pressure in November. This is the world we live in. If you tell me a week in the National Football League when there's not pressure, I don't know when that is. Every week's a tough week. Every week's a good team. Good players, good coaches who work hard and have a lot of good things you gotta deal with. And if you don't deal with them, you're not winning that week. That's the NFL."