Patriots notes: Rookie RB Ridley looks strong


Patriots notes: Rookie RB Ridley looks strong

By Tom E. Curran Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
Rookie running back Stevan Ridley, who's been issued No. 37, has a nice shake to his running style and can thump as well. During a 9-on-7 drill, he came through the guard-tackle hole near the goal line and was met hard by linebacker Dane Fletcher who left the collision shaking his left arm after what may have been a mild stinger.

Defensive tackle Mike Wright, laid up for much of last season with the aftereffects of a concussion in the Colts' game, looked like a beast in the morning practice. Very impressive explosiion and penetration on a few plays.

The Patriots quarterbacks took part in the ever-entertaining barrel drill in which the quarterbacks try to loft 25-yard passes into a trash barrel positioned at the back of the end zone (good practice for fade routes). Jonathan Crompton canned one of his throws while Ryan Mallett and Tom Brady both had throws rattle around the rim and out.

The quarterback motion that Mallett is most reminiscent of? To me, it's Randall Cunningham. A little long but a classic, over-the-top delivery. With his size, he is always throwing "downhill" meaning his ball will do well in the wind as he keeps the point down, something Tom Brady is outstanding at accomplishing.

Rob Gronkowski made an outstanding one-handed catch in the seam on a throw from Crompton.

Brady threw an uncharacteristic camp interception, looking for Julian Edelman down the right sideline. Devin McCourty undercut the route with Brandon Meriweather in behind Edelman. On the next play, Brady was nearly picked again, this time by Brandon Meriweather. There seemed to be a miscommunication between he and Gronkowski on which way Gronk should have turned.

The Patriots played a lot of four-man fronts during drills.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.

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


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. 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).

Brady to Amendola on Facebook: 'Paddle's fixed. Time for a rematch!'


Brady to Amendola on Facebook: 'Paddle's fixed. Time for a rematch!'

When Danny Amendola told the world on Tuesday that he's better than Tom Brady at ping pong, the quarterback must have been listening. 

On his Facebook page, Brady published a snarling image of his face Photoshopped onto the body of a table tennis player. That paddle he broke after losing to Amendola three years ago? It's fixed, Brady explained in the caption. And he's ready for a rematch.

Talk about intimidation.

Wilfork embracing modeling, tells Brady to put him in touch with Gisele's people


Wilfork embracing modeling, tells Brady to put him in touch with Gisele's people

Vince Wilfork will be one of many well-known athletes to strip down and pose nude for photographs in ESPN The Magazine's's Body issue, joining a group that includes Cubs pitcher Jake Arrietta, Broncos defensive end Von Miller and Heat guard Dwyane Wade.

Judging by his latest tweet, the former Patriots defensive lineman -- who is listed at 325 pounds -- is getting pretty comfortable with the idea of becoming a model.

Now it's up to Tom Brady to play match-maker, it seems. Gisele retired from the runway last year so maybe her people are on the lookout for some new talent.