Patriots prepare for Saints with situational football

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Patriots prepare for Saints with situational football

FOXBORO -- The Patriots were given the day off on Saturday, but as wide receiver Donte' Stallworth pointed out on Sunday, that day off isn't what it seems.

"The first thing about being here, there are no off-days," said Stallworth after Sunday's session.

With the first preseason game on Thursday night, and practices scheduled with the New Orleans Saints the days leading up to that game, the Patriots certainly can't afford to have any "off-days."

The joint practices will be refreshing for both teams in the dog days of training camp, as Stallworth pointed out on Sunday.

"It's always fun to be able to play against, or even practice against other teams," said Stallworth. "After a while, your teammates, they start to know what you're doing, and vice-versa. Whenever you bring in a new team, it's always good to be able to compete against a different team."

While practicing and competing against their own teammates, Stallworth and the Patriots have been focusing on situational drills to make sure that they are prepared for anything that comes their way. That was evident on Sunday, as Tom Brady tried to work in a fake-spike in the no-huddle offense. His pass, deep down the left sideline, however, was overthrown, intended for Stallworth.

"Bill does a great job of putting us through situations," said Stallworth. "It's interesting, the way he does his training camps. That's why, every situation, we're always prepared for it, because Coach puts us through every single situation that can come up in a game, every situation possible."

Brady's passion was shining bright on Sunday, but not in the way he would have liked. Brady's frustrations with receiver routes and blocking forced him to yell, "What are we doing?!?!" toward the end of practice.

"That's how he's always been, as long as I can remember," said Stallworth. "Nothing's going to be perfect, but if you strive for perfection, then you're going to be pretty damn good. And that's one thing that Bill always preaches to us. And Tommy's that same way. He's a fiery, passionate guy. And when things aren't going right, things that we've done before aren't going right, then Brady's going to let us know. He's the leader of this team, and guys follow his lead."

Tom Brady claims No. 1 spot on NFL's top 100 list

Tom Brady claims No. 1 spot on NFL's top 100 list

The NFL Network revealed the final 10 players on its annual Top 100 list Monday night and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady finished in the No. 1 spot.

On NFL.com, the Top 100 list is described as the answer to the question, "Who are the top 100 players in the NFL today?" If that's the criteria -- and not simply performance in 2016 -- then Watt's complaint actually doesn't hold much water. If he's healthy, no one would argue that he's one of the best 35 players "in the NFL today."

Several Patriots players made the cut on this year's list: Rob Gronkowski (No. 23), LeGarrette Blount (No. 80), Julian Edelman (No. 71), Dont'a Hightower (No. 94) and Malcolm Butler (No. 99). 

Brady was also voted in as the No. 1 player back in 2011. 

NFL's Top 10 list revealed Monday night: Where does Tom Brady wind up?

NFL's Top 10 list revealed Monday night: Where does Tom Brady wind up?

NFL players vote every year on which players should make up the list of the best their game has to offer, but it's an imperfect system. And that's probably putting it lightly. 

The NFL Network will reveal the final 10 players on its annual Top 100 list Monday night at 8 p.m. It will be an order that has been chosen by some players, not all. Of those who took part, some hastily made their way through a handful of names at the end of last season handing over their choices. 

Yet it's the list the league ends up with, for better or for worse, prompting responses like JJ Watt's when he found out he was No. 35 this year after playing in three games last season. 

On NFL.com, the Top 100 list is described as the answer to the question, "Who are the top 100 players in the NFL today?" If that's the criteria -- and not simply performance in 2016 -- then Watt's complaint actually doesn't hold much water. If he's healthy, no one would argue that he's one of the best 35 players "in the NFL today."

This year, several Patriots players from 2016 made the cut: Rob Gronkowski (No. 23), LeGarrette Blount (No. 80), Julian Edelman (No. 71), Dont'a Hightower (No. 94) and Malcolm Butler (No. 99). 

Tom Brady will be the last of Bill Belichick's players to be named. He's lumped into a Top 10 that will include Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Ezekiel Elliott, Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham, Julio Jones, Von Miller and Khalil Mack.

Here's what we think the list should look like when the curtain falls on the finale of this flawed endeavor:

10. Elliott
9. Beckham
8. Bell
7. Brown
6. Ryan
5. Jones
4. Miller
3. Mack
2. Rodgers
1. Brady