Brady has nothing but options at wide receiver

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Brady has nothing but options at wide receiver

By Rich Levine
Standing Room Only

Theres no No. 1 receiver.

But thats how Brady likes it, right? Isnt he at his best when, as they say (and by they I mean everyone), his favorite receiver is the open receiver?

Personally, I thought he was pretty great the year he had a bonafide No. 1, set an NFL record for touchdowns, won 18 straight games and came within three or four fluke plays of winning the Super Bowl, BUT yeah, hes also pretty damn good when a No. 1 receiver isnt in the cards and for the second straight season, its not.

Welkers still the security blanket, and no one would be surprised if he grabs another 100 balls. The closer the Pats get to the goal line, the role of binky will shift to Rob Gronkowski whos in line for another double digit touchdown season (and thanks to the arrival of his brother, another 15 or so locker room rat tails). At this point, Aaron Hernandez is essentially a receiver a transition thats only enhanced by his adoption of Randy Moss old No. 81. (Oh man, what are they going to do when Randy comes back!?) Deion Branch will still be Deion Branch, for better (sure hands, clutch plays) or worse (injuries!). Julian Edelman will get one more chance to prove hes the next coming of Wes Welker before we resign to the fact that hes actually the next Tim Dwight (comparison only works with white guys, right?).

Can Taylor Price step in andor emerge as a deep threat? Is special teams captain Matt Slater only worthy of targets in the preseason? And what about Tiquan Underwoods Kid n' Play high top?! (OK, I know he was cut, but just wanted to talk about the hair one more time.) Those are all questions were asking right now, but since the start of this abbreviated training camp, the biggest questionstory at receiver has been, and will continue to be Chad Ochocinco.

Anyone who tries to tell you they know whats about to happen with Ocho is lying. No ones in his head. (Man, I just want five minutes in there.) And no ones sure of exactly how much he has left in the tank. Some say that hes been slow to pick up the offense, but with the amount of time Ocho spends studying, I have a hard time believing that will continue to be a problem and it still doesnt explain the drops.
At the end of the day (OK, preseason) the one thing we know, is that theres no No. 1.

With some QBs that might be a problem, but with Brady its an advantage.

Wilfork on Body Issue: 'Looking forward to what the locker room's going to say'

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Wilfork on Body Issue: 'Looking forward to what the locker room's going to say'

ESPN The Magazine's Body Issue won't hit newsstands until July 8, but Vince Wilfork gave people a not-so-little preview of what to expect this week.

The former Patriots defensive lineman, who is listed at 325 pounds but said he's weighed as much as 350 pounds, sat down for an interview about his size that landed on ESPN.com on Thursday.

"I just think it's a good idea for people that are bigger-boned," Wilfork said when asked why he posed nude for the Body Issue. "If people can look at me, a guy that's 325-plus, doing an issue like this, I'm pretty sure that they might have a little confidence.

"There will be critics, just like with everything else. I think a lot of people will get a laugh out of it, I'll tell you that. I'm looking forward to what the locker room's going to say. But at the end of the day, I'm perfectly fine with who I am as a person and what I have accomplished. It shows a lot of my personality."

You can read the full interview here, as well as watch a video that shows Wilfork in all his modeling glory.

Brady, Gronkowski make Top 10 of NFL Network's Top 100

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Brady, Gronkowski make Top 10 of NFL Network's Top 100

Ask a football fan in New England, and he or she might tell you that Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are the top two players in the NFL. A random NFL player might not be as generous, but on balance, Brady and Gronkowski's peers consider the Patriots stars to be among the top 10 talents in the league. 

The NFL Network announced the final 10 players to be included in their annual Top 100 list, a list voted on by players, and both Brady and Gronkowski made the cut.

The order of the top 10 has been determined, but has not yet been announced. Brady and Gronkowski are in the running for No. 1 alongside Odell Beckham Jr., Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Luke Kuechly, Cam Newton, Adrian Peterson, Aaron Rodgers and JJ Watt. 

The weekly series, which has counted down Nos. 100-11, will end on Wednesday, July 6 with two, one-hour episodes on NFL Network at 8 and 9 p.m. Highlights of each player will be featured, as will interviews with some of their teammates and competitors. 

"He plays with a chip on his shoulder he’s always had," Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins said of Brady, "that really separates him."

Of Rob Gronkowski, Texans corner Charles James II said, "He's a glitch on Madden."

The only other Patriots players included in the Top 100 were Julian Edelman (who came in at No. 87) and Chandler Jones (No. 48). Jones, now a member of the Cardinals, was the only Patriots defender involved. 

Corner Malcolm Butler, linebackers Jamie Collins and Dont'a Hightower and safety Devin McCourty all had an argument to be included but were left off. 

NFL.com contributors Gregg Rosenthal, Chris Wesseling, Maurice Jones-Drew and Ike Taylor put together their own individual Top 100 lists to supplement the one voted on by current players. Rosenthal included Collins (No. 64), McCourty (No. 73) and Butler (No. 99) in addition to Edelman (No. 84). Wesseling included Collins (No. 43), McCourty (No. 88) and Hightower (No. 91), but not Edelman. Jones-Drew included both Edelman (No. 62) and Butler (No. 95). Taylor included only Edelman (No. 89).