Too much blame being put on Brady

914389.jpg

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.

Dont'a Hightower off PUP, returns to Patriots practice

patriots-donta-hightower-020916.jpg

Dont'a Hightower off PUP, returns to Patriots practice

FOXBORO -- On Tuesday at Gillette Stadium, Dont’a Hightower was in uniform and practicing with his teammates for the first time since training camp began last month. Hightower's participation means he has been removed from the physically unable to perform list. 

In full pads, wearing Alabama crimson underneath his Patriots jersey, Hightower took part in drills with on-the-line players early in the practice. Members of the media were able to watch only a few minutes of the workout following warm-ups. 

The players Hightower worked in with comes as little surprise as he has been used at the end of the line in certain packages in the past. With David Harris now in the mix at linebacker, and with Rob Ninkovich retired, it could free up Hightower to play more on the end of the line. 

Nate Solder, Deatrich Wise and LaAdrian Waddle were all back on the practice field for the Patriots Tuesday as well. Solder has yet to play this preseason, while Wise suffered a head injury in the team’s preseason-opener against the Jaguars. Waddle sustained a head injury last week.

Missing from the session were Rex Burkhead as well as Malcolm Mitchell, Matthew Slater, Shea McClellin, Tony Garcia, Matt Lengel, Derek Rivers and Andrew Jelks (non-football injury list).  

Burkhead seemed to finish Saturday's game in Houston without incident. He spoke to reporters on Monday, and there were no indications he was dealing with any physical limitations. Mitchell seemed to tweak something in his knee on his first play against the Texans, but he stayed in the game and caught two passes for 13 yards. 

Patriots documentary 'Do Your Job Part 2' debuts Sept. 3

belichick-do-your-job-screenshot.png

Patriots documentary 'Do Your Job Part 2' debuts Sept. 3

The Patriots' fourth Super Bowl title in 2014 brought with it an NFL Films' documentary titled "Do Your Job", named for the Belichickian mantra that continues to fuel New England's unprecedented run of success.

MORE PATRIOTS

So, naturally, title No. 5 has spawned "Do Your Job, Part 2," which features interviews with Bill Belichick and other members of the coaching staff and recaps another championship run - that included the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history - the 28-3 deficit the Pats wiped out against the Falcons in February. The hour-long special will premiere on NBC Sunday, Sept. 3 at 7 p.m. Academy-award nominated actor Edward Norton, a Boston native, is the narrator. 

The special re-airs on NFL Network on Wednesday, Sept. 6 at 8 p.m., followed by the "America's Game" episode that focuses on the 2016 Pats at 9 and the "NFL's Top 10", which will count down Tom Brady's 10 best games, at 10.

The Patriots open the regular season Thursday, Sept. 7, at Gillette Stadium against the Kansas City Chiefs at 8:30 p.m. on NBC. They'll raise their fifth Super Bowl championship banner in ceremonies before the game.