Too much blame being put on Brady

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Too much blame being put on Brady

There was a time (about 13 years ago) when the Patriots were not special. They were not Goliath, they were not a powerhouse, they were not "Brady's Bunch."

Then, one fateful day, Tom Brady came onto the field and changed all that.

Playoff runs. Magic. Super Bowls. 10, 12, 14 and even 16 win seasons became the norm. Lots of hair tosses and commercials. Dramatic comebacks. Record-breaking seasons. One of the most dominant franchises in sports history. A culture change in New England.

On Friday, Felger and Mazz debated whether the 2012 version of Tom Brady is being blamed too much for not living up to the other-worldly performances we've come to expect of him.

Some say Brady's age is getting to him and he's going to have more "off performances" like we saw in Seattle last week as part of that aging process. Don't tell that to Felger.

"For the love of God, the reason the Patriots knock on the door every year is because of Tom Brady," said Felger.

But there's also the group of people who refuse to believe the infallible Brady could ever succumb to something as mortal as age.

"That's just denying reality," said Felger. "That's just denying the condition of the human body in that sport.

The middle ground is acknowledging he's not quite what he was, but he's still damn good enough. And I think that's the middle ground and it feels like there's too many people on either side of it."

Both Felger and Mazz admit that Brady's performance has started to slip, but both note that it's not that pronounced, and when you consider how much better he was than every other quarterback in the league, his "slip" still has him above most every other quarterback in the league.

But there's one thing that's driving Mazz crazy.

"How much are they going to ask this guy to cover for? How long is this going to go on? He's been covering their ass for five years. He got them to two Super Bowls. But the point is, they've been asking him to cover up their shortcomings for four years. And now he's starting to slip and it's 'I'm tired of Brady'?

When you ask one guy to cover up all your mistakes, year after year after year... how much can he do?"

One thing is clear, there are about 30 other teams in the league who would love to have a quarterback like Brady leading their team, and both Felger and Mazz think the fans who already have Brady should be both realistic and grateful.

Steelers show up to training camp with ridiculous cars

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Steelers show up to training camp with ridiculous cars

The most annoying logic in sports is the “Look at the silly things this team is doing; that’s why they STINK!” logic.

Let people do what they're going to do. The Texans didn’t lose because they were wearing letterman jackets and the Dolphins haven’t failed to reach the playoffs because T-Pain re-did their fight song. Teams win and lose because of what they do on the field. 

Anyway, the Steelers showed up at training camp in some bonkers vehicles. That’s why they stink. 

This will factor in 0.00 percent to how the Steelers fare this season, but it makes one kind of wish Adalius Thomas was still in the league because maybe he’d have that flying car by now.  
 

No Patriot more excited to return than Rob Gronkowski

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No Patriot more excited to return than Rob Gronkowski

FOXBORO -- The most excitable player on the practice field on Day One of Patriots training camp wasn’t some young kid getting his first taste of the massive crowds at Foxboro for practice, or established veterans like Stephon Gilmore and Brandin Cooks, or even Tom Brady, who lives for this.

The player who was bouncing from first step to last was none other than Rob Gronkowski. 

“I’ve definitely had a longer vacation than a lot of guys,” said Gronkowski. “I’d probably say I was the most eager to get going, to get rolling.”

Gronkowski hasn’t played in a game since he suffered a season-ending injury back in the Week 12 win over the Jets. Back surgery followed and while the imposing tight end has been ahead of schedule the entire time, seeing is believing.

Gronk made a handful of nice grabs, including three in the end zone. All resulted in an exuberant display from the 28-year old.

"It’s football," he said. "Just when you’re feeling good out there and making plays you just want to have fun. That’s the whole game of football. Have fun out there, enjoy it and have competition. Competition is huge. That’s what gets you better. That’s what makes you better as a player. That’s what makes the team better -- competition.”

Running around in shorts and shells is a continuation of a process that saw Gronk work with the team during both OTAs and mini-camp. This weekend, another milestone, practicing in full pads, not that there’s a rush.

“I don’t mind the first two days without pads,” he said. “I’m not going to lie. You wanna get acclimated to football and to the movements and everything. You want to get your body back to it. It’s been a while since you’ve been having competition like that . . . but then after that, you’re ready to roll.”

And when that time comes, Gronk will welcome this defense -- and any other -- taking their shots.

“I always want to take hits. When we put those pads on, I’m going to definitely be ready. I am going to be ready to take hits, ready to play ball.”

He’d better be. Gronk punctuated those scores with spikes and dancing and some other nonsense that will no doubt be filed away by the defensive player. Of course, they can’t light up their own tight end, and who would want to extinguish that passion anyway?

"I don’t even notice know what I did,” he said. “It wasn’t like a real spike, it was just like tossing it to the ground. Juiced up, just trying to make plays out there.”