With uncertain schedule, Brady returns to familiar territory


With uncertain schedule, Brady returns to familiar territory

By Danny Picard

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady wasn't present at the start of Tuesday's practice, but the angst level in Patriots Nation -- so high two weeks ago when Brady missed his first practice -- is non-existent. After all, the Patriots' quarterback has missed the last two Wednesdays and still played, and played well, in the next game.

More of a concern is the fact that the team's preparation schedule is all over the place with only three days between Sunday's win over the Colts and Thursday's Thanksgiving Day matchup against the Lions. Brady even pushed up his day to speak to the media in this compressed week.

"I think it has its physical challenges and its mental challenges," Brady said of the short week. "We got after it pretty good yesterday. No one is really sure what day it is around here. It doesn't feel like a Tuesday, I'll tell you that. But as football players, we adjust. We do what we've got to do. We put a lot of installation in and try to understand what they do well, and what they don't do so well, and try to go out there and execute well on game day."

Brady pounded home the notion that coach Bill Belichick doesn't allow for any type of psychological letdowns. And the Pats -- a couple of of them, at least -- have been through this before; they defeated the Lions, 20-12, on Thanksgiving Day in 2002.

"It was a very inconsistent day on offense," Brady remembered. "Tedy Bruschi had an interception return for a touchdown. I hit Troy Brown on a late third down that helped seal the game, but other than that, we didn't do much offensively.

"You've got to get up, ready and early. It's an early game, earlier than we normally play 12:30 p.m. instead of 1 p.m., and it's about 48 hours away, so we've got to really get excited for the game and understand what we're going into."

The good thing is, the Lions have to deal with just as quick a turnaround as the Patriots do. They're just able to do it without much travel.

But going to Detroit isn't entirely foreign territory for Brady. His days playing at the University of Michigan always bring back positive memories.

"I think it was very rewarding for me," said Brady on his time as a Wolverine. "I had so many great friends and coaches over the years. It's a very tough football program and I think our head coach, Lloyd Carr really demanded the best out of us every day in practice, very much along the lines of what Coach Belichick does. That taught me about competition and what it means to be a leader.

"That was always a big thing we talked about at Michigan, was our leadership and our effort and our toughness. That definitely prepared me for playing for Coach Belichick. It's a great school, and it's always fun going back there and seeing a lot of my old friends."

Brady admitted that he couldn't play in Michigan's current system, under coach Rich Rodriguez, who utilizes quarterback Denard Robinson as more of a "wildcat" type QB.

"I'm the slowest guy out there on the field, so, yeah, it's a little different watching them now," said Brady. "Whatever it takes to beat Ohio State, not that we've done that very often lately, but hopefully it's our year."

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard

Patriots represented at Stanford, Utah, Missouri pro days


Patriots represented at Stanford, Utah, Missouri pro days

The Patriots had a busy day of gathering intel on Thursday. A very busy day. 

While Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia represented the Patriots at Ohio State and Notre Dame, respectively, the team had other representatives at high-profile pro days around the country including Stanford, Missouri and Utah. 

Here are a few of the players the Patriots were able to get a better look at . . . 

Stanford: The Patriots have shown plenty of interest in players coming from David Shaw's program in the past (Cameron Fleming, Jordan Richards), and they'll undoubtedly appreciate the talents brought to the table by two of the school's projected first-rounders in Solomon Thomas and Christian McCaffrey. Thomas is a powerful 6-foot-3, 273-pound defensive lineman who can play just about anywhere up front. McCaffrey, meanwhile, is one of the most athletic running backs in this year's class. He worked out as a receiver on Thursday and could fill a multitude of roles as a pro, whether it's as a back, a slot receiver or a kick-returner. The Patriots would need to trade back into the first round to have a prayer at landing either player. 

Utah: The Utes have a handful of draftable offensive linemen and one who is expected to come off the board in the first round. Garrett Bolles, who lit up the combine, might be the top tackle available -- and there are those who believe he's just starting to tap into his potential. Isaac Asiata is a monster guard (6-3, 323, 34-inch arms) who put up more bench-press reps than any other offensive lineman at this year's combine, and center JJ Dielman is an intriguing later-round option. One of the quickest risers in the pre-draft process? Marcus Williams, who is an eye-popping athlete. He was top-five for those at his position at the combine in the vertical, broad jump and three-cone drill, and he looks like a ready-made NFL free safety. The Patriots are pretty well stocked at that spot, but if they're picking at the bottom of the first round and going with the best player available, they may very well think that's Williams. 

Missouri: Defensive players were in focus for scouts and coaches at the Tigers pro day, and Charles Harris was the headliner. One of the most impressive players within a very deep class of edge defenders, the 6-3, 253-pounder appears to have the quickness and burst to give NFL tackles fits. One of Harris' teammates up front, Josh Augusta, ran a pretty ridiculous 40-yard dash Thursday, clocking in just a shade under five seconds. Ridiculous, why? Because he's a defensive tackle who wighed 390 pounds during the season. That's moving. Augusta dropped down to 347 after being diagnosed with a thyroid issue in January and is looking to get to 335. Corner Aarion Penton can competes well for the football, but his size (5-9, 177) may scare teams off until late in the draft. 

Curran: Patriots, Darrelle Revis have not discussed deal

Curran: Patriots, Darrelle Revis have not discussed deal

The Patriots and Darrelle Revis have not discussed a deal that would bring the cornerback back to New England, according to CSNNE's Tom Curran.

This comes after CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora reported multiple anonymous NFL executives were convinced Revis would return to the Patriots.

Revis spent one season with the Patriots in 2014 when New England won Super Bowl XLIX. However, the Patriots did not pick up Revis' second-year option in the following offseason, and he elected to sign with the New York Jets in free agency. He played 14 games in 2015 and 15 games in 2016. He finished last season with 53 tackles, five pass deflections and one interception

The 31-year-old cornerback declined significantly during the 2016 season. Even Tom Brady said he noticed Revis was struggling phyiscally in the Patriots' Week 12 win over the Jets.

"I know he's not feeling great," Brady said in November. "I could see after the game, he winced a few times getting up. It looked like his leg was bothering him a little bit. But he's still very close on a lot of those plays. Even though you're hitting them, he's still very competitive.

"He's been one of the great players in the league for a long time. He's given up more plays this year than in the past, but you've gotta have a lot of respect for his style and his game."