Fantasy or Reality: Patriots season expectations

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Fantasy or Reality: Patriots season expectations

Opening day of the Patriots regular season is less than two weeks away, so what better time to make some predictions for key players on this team?

The "Uno Sports Tonight" crew did that Thursday, with Mike Flynn of 98.5 The Sports Hub and the Boston Herald's Steve Buckley stopping by to make some predictions on important questions involving Patriots skill positions.

The first question:  Will Stevan Ridley will surpass 1,300 yards rushing this season?

Flynn was not convinced.

"I got fantasy. I think he has the ability to do, the line to do it, but I think Blount is going to make the team and he's going to take away a lot of those  carries, Bolden will take those carries," Flynn said. "Vereen's your third-down back and they run so many different packages, just when you think you can tell who is the running back, they throw somebody else in there."

The next query moved over to the defensive side of the ball, and pondered the impact Chandler Jones could have in year two.

Following an opening six-sack season cut short by injury, can Jones reach double-digit sacks in his sophomore campaign?

Buckley was emphatic with his answer.

"I think it's a slam-dunk reality because I think he is going to be a great, great player and I believe most of those sacks were early in the season." Buckley said. "So, when you factor in a year's experience and a year's health, I think he gets it."

Finally, the issue of Danny Amendola's health came to the table. 

The former St. Louis Ram has been no stranger to injury and if such ailments pop up again, the Patriots receiving corps could be in deep trouble.

Asked if Amendola can remain on the field for at least 14 games, Flynn would not even commit to that.

"I'm going to say fantasy. You know last couple years, has been injured," Flynn said. "You look at a couple of games, especially his big games, stuff over the middle, he may play 13, I think I'm going to go fantasy."

Do you agree with these takes? Any of these suggestions that you feel differently about? Have your say in the comments section below.

The case against Tom Brady playing to 45 isn't as strong as you think

The case against Tom Brady playing to 45 isn't as strong as you think

Robert Kraft relaying Tom Brady’s intention to play another six or seven years was . . . alarming. Brady is 39 and will be 40 when next season begins. Six more years would make him 45. Seven more years would make him 46. Math life. 

But back to the “alarming” thing. As you’ve probably heard by now, quarterbacks don’t usually play to their mid-40s, and they certainly don’t play at a high level into their mid-40s. As such, it’s easy to laugh off the idea that Brady could do it. 

(No it isn’t. This is Boston and a lot of people would probably bet their lives that Brady could win a Super Bowl at like 65.)

At any rate, the problem with writing off Brady’s six (or seven)-year plan is that the cases against it aren’t entirely relevant. 

The list of the oldest quarterbacks in NFL history is not impressive. The top eight is led by a guy who was pretty much a kicker who played to 48 and rounded out by a hobbled Brett Favre at 41. 

So in that respect, nobody has played great into their mid-40s. But it’s also worth noting that nobody great has really attempted it. 

Of that list, which also includes such names as Vinny Testaverde, Warren Moon, Doug Flutie and Mark Brunell, only Favre was a starter in his final season. Steve DeBerg was retired for four-plus years and came back for one more season as a backup at 44. Pro-Bowlers like Moon and Brunell had seen their stars fade years earlier.

Basically, the super old quarterbacks sucked and good quarterbacks didn’t last until they were super old. By even reaching what he’s done now, Brady has proven to be an outlier. 

The gawd Michael Hurley illustrated Brady’s prowess last season compared to other Hall of Famers (or eventual Hall-of-Famers) at age 39. Brady had the highest completion percentage (67.4) and a staggering 112.2 passer rating; the next-highest passer rating was by Moon, who posted a 91.5 mark. 

The other guys? Peyton Manning sucked (9 touchdowns, 17 picks -- but one Super Bowl, nerd!) and Favre was all over the place (28 touchdowns, 15 picks), while Len Dawson, Sonny Jurgensen and Johnny Unitas all played eight games or fewer. 

Conclusion: Even great quarterbacks can’t do what Tom Brady has done. He is one of a kind, so comparing lesser players to him when determining whether he can do something might not be the most foolproof (it’s foolproof, not full-proof; look it up) strategy .

Additionally, as Tom E. Curran pointed out Tuesday on "Quick Slants," Brady’s preparations to play into his mid-40s are over a decade in the making, dating back to what Curran estimates to be his early days with Alex Guerrero around 2005 or 2006. Curran noted that as being the time that Brady went from more traditional training and nutrition to being the pliability and hydration-obsessed freak he is today. 

Do you think 2010 Brett Favre was in anywhere near the shape Brady is? Of course not. Do you think Peyton Manning had even half a right arm in the 2015 season? Of course not. Comparing Brady to old quarterbacks past is obviously a stretch from a performance standpoint, but it also is from a physical standpoint. 

So yes, Brady playing at a high level until 45 or 46 would be unprecedented, but then again doing what he’s doing now is already unprecedented. We’re comparing the best to ever do it to a bunch of mortals.  

Jerod Mayo has some advice for Malcolm Butler - Get insurance!

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Jerod Mayo has some advice for Malcolm Butler - Get insurance!

Mike Giardi and Jerod Mayo talk about the potential of a Patriots reunion with Darrelle Revis. Mayo thinks if he is motivated, he can still play, but that's a big IF in Jerod's mind. Plus, is Revis a sure fire Hall of Famer?

Giardi and Mayo also discuss Cyrus Jones, who had a rough rookie year for the Patriots. Jerod thinks he could make a major leap in his second season and play a huge role.

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On Malcolm Butler, Mayo has one piece of advice - stop being so emotional! He talks about how Butler has no leverage as a restricted free-agent, and the Patriots are in the right. Mayo stresses to Butler that insurance can offset any fears for playing for what he believes his market value is.

 Giardi goes 1-on-1 with Saints reporter Nick Underhill about the latest rumors from the owner's meetings regarding Malcolm Butler, and how his acquisition could prevent Drew Brees from considering going to a title contender when his contract is up in 2018.