Quarterback compliments go to Brees on Tuesday


Quarterback compliments go to Brees on Tuesday

FOXBORO -- Every week in New England there's buzz over the work of an elite quarterback. There was more of the same this Tuesday, people just weren't talking about Tom Brady.
Drew Brees is in town.
"I mean, you talk about trying to play those top guys in the league like Tom Brady and now having Drew in here, we dont get a break, so you really have to try to be perfect," Devin McCourty said after the joint practice session. "It sounds crazy so you try to be perfect on every play but when you go against quarterbacks of that caliber you really do because you know 90 percent of the time theyre going to be perfect. The ball is going to be where it has to be and you really have to play very well on defense to try and compete with those guys."
Brees had the best completion percentage among NFL quarterbacks, 71.2, in 2011. He was No. 1 for total yards (5,476) and touchdowns (46), and No. 2 for attempts for game (41.1). The numbers blow his statistics from 2010 -- the last time the Patriots and Saints met during preseason -- out of the water.
New England's defense is well aware.
"Hes a hell of a quarterback," said Vince Wilfork. "Hes very smart, hes very passionate about what he does and so is everybody else around him: the offensive line, his backs, his receivers."
"Thats just a good football team; offensively theyre very, very, very good. Going against them, seeing Brady and now Brees, its tough matchups for this defense, but they can make us better and thats what were looking for: to be better as a defense and hopefully we can help this ball club win some ball games this year."
Wilfork is smart to put Brady and Brees in the same sentence. Saints defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo did the same thing.
Who knows better?
In his 30-year career Spagnuolo's coached against both quarterbacks (it was his Giants 'D' that gave Brady fits in Super Bowl XLII). On Tuesday, he said each presents unique challenges to even the best defenses.
They run the whole show. Not every quarterback can process everything going on in their mind. I have videotape of both of them with the TV cameras looking at them as they call out the signals, their eyes on the clock. Theyre looking at what the secondary is doing, they find out what the front is and get them in the right place and if youre one of the ten guys playing with those guys on offense, you know your chance for success on every play goes up.

Sanu on Patriots' Super Bowl comeback: Lady Gaga's long halftime hurt Falcons

Sanu on Patriots' Super Bowl comeback: Lady Gaga's long halftime hurt Falcons

Three weeks removed from his team blowing a 25-point, second-half lead in the Super Bowl, Mohamed Sanu offered a possible explanation for the Atlanta Falcons losing their edge against the Patriots.

Lady Gaga.

More specifically, it was the half-hour-plus halftime show that interrupted the Falcons' rhythm, the receiver said Friday on the NFL Network's "Good Morning Football."

“Usually, halftime is only like 15 minutes, and when you’re not on the field for like an hour, it’s just like going to work out, like a great workout, and you go sit on the couch for an hour and then try to start working out again,” Sanu said.

Sanu was asked if the delay was something you can simulate in practice. 

"It's really the energy [you can't duplicate]," he said. "I don't know if you can simulate something like that. That was my first time experiencing something like that."

Patriots coach Bill Belichick did simulate it. In his Super Bowl practices, he had his team take long breaks in the middle.

Sanu also addressed the Falcons' pass-first play-calling that didn't eat up clock while the Patriots came back.

"The thought [that they weren't running the ball more] crossed your mind, but as a player, you're going to do what the coach [Dan Quinn] wants you to do." Sanu said. "He's called plays like that all the time."


It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade


It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

The Patriots received a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018 from the Browns in return for Jamie Collins. That's how the trade was described on the league's transaction wire. 

The "condition" of that fourth-rounder? Well, if the Browns received a third-round compensatory pick in 2017, the Patriots would nab that pick instead. 

On Friday, the NFL announced that the Browns had in fact been awarded a third-round compensatory pick, which meant that almost three full weeks after Super Bowl LI, everything was still coming up Patriots.

In actuality, the odds were pretty good all along that the Patriots would get what they got

Cleveland lost Pro Bowl center Alex Mack in free agency last offseason when he opted to sign with the Falcons. Because compensatory picks are based on free agents lost and free agents acquired, and because the Browns did not sign any similarly-impactful free agents, there was a good chance Mack's departure would render a third-round comp pick that would be shipped to New England.

Had Mack suffered a significant injury that forced his play to drop off or limited his time on the field, a third-rounder may have been out of the question, but he played well (named a Pro Bowler and a Second Team All-Pro) and stayed healthy -- lucky for the Patriots -- missing just 17 total snaps in the regular season. 

The Browns comp pick that will be sent to New England is No. 103 overall. The Patriots were also awarded a fifth-round comp pick, No. 185 overall. That was a result of the league weighing the departures of Akiem Hicks and Tavon Wilson against the arrival of Shea McClellin.

The Patriots now have nine selections in this year's draft: One first-rounder; one second-rounder; two third-rounders; one fourth-rounder*; two fifth-rounders; two seventh-rounders.

The third-round compensatory pick acquired by the Patriots carries additional value this year in that it is the first year in which compensatory picks can be traded. A near top-100 overall selection may allow the Patriots to move up the draft board or build assets in the middle rounds should they be inclined to deal. And we know they oftentimes are. 

* The Patriots forfeited their highest fourth-round selection in this year's draft as part of their Deflategate punishment. They acquired a fourth-round pick from the Seahawks last year. Because that would have been the higher of their two selections, that's the one they'll lose. They will make their own fourth-round pick at No. 137 overall.