Monthly Archives: November 2019

Jarrett Stidham Jersey

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Quick-hit thoughts and notes around the New England Patriots and NFL:

1. Stidham enjoying QB education behind the scenes: While some rookie quarterbacks get thrust into action right away — such as the Cleveland Browns’ Baker Mayfield, who faces the Patriots on Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET (CBS) — Jarrett Stidham falls on the opposite side of the spectrum. Stidham has transitioned from Auburn starter to Patriots backup, a position he has come to appreciate as he works to show he can be the team’s quarterback of the future.

Sharing a meeting room with Tom Brady, 42, has been an education in and of itself.

“I’ve just tried to sit back and watch what he does. You can learn a lot from just watching,” Stidham said last week. “He’s very open to conversation with me, too, which is great. If I have a question about anything, he’s always willing to help me out. He’s been great.”

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Chris Berman and Tom Jackson recap the weekend’s games with extended highlights and analysis.

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Brady’s contract expires after the season, and while he has said he hopes to play until he’s 45, the Patriots have been eyeing his eventual successor since selecting Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round of the 2014 draft. Their recent history sparks confidence Stidham could be it. Consider that among Brady, Garoppolo (49ers) and 2016 third-round choice Jacoby Brissett (Colts), quarterbacks with Patriots ties are 17-2 as starters this season.

Coach Bill Belichick was complimentary of Stidham last week, saying: “He’s handled everything we’ve thrown at him. In practice, he does a good job. He gets a lot of passes on our defense.” But Belichick also noted that it’s always different in a game, which will be the ultimate barometer for Stidham, who was selected in the fourth round (No. 133 overall).

Last week in practice, Stidham played the scout-team role of Mayfield, which meant showing his athleticism and a willingness and ability to throw the football anywhere on the field. The 23-year-old, who is married and sometimes gets ribbed by his rookie teammates for his maturity, has embraced the opportunity to grow without a bright spotlight shining on him.

Patriots QB Jarrett Stidham on learning from Tom Brady: “If I have a question about anything, he’s always willing to help me out.” Kathryn Riley/Getty Images
“The position I’m in now, I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” he said at his corner locker, which was previously occupied by Rob Gronkowski. “I’m getting to learn from Tom and Josh [McDaniels] and Mick [Lombardi] and Coach Belichick — so many great coaches and players around me. It’s just good to get a taste of that side of it,” he said.

“After this week, it will be halfway through, Week 8 now. I’m still learning a lot, which is awesome. That’s what I come into work every day and I’m really excited about, because there’s a ton I’m still learning about the offense — plays and defenses. That’s the most fun part, and I’m around great teachers.”

Off the field, the native of Stephenville, Texas, has learned something else about autumn in New England.

“The trees are a different color. It is beautiful,” Stidham said with a smile. “That’s something I don’t think I’ve ever got to experience.”

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“I don’t put much thought into it,” Tom Brady said of Brown’s apology. “It’s his choice, good for him.”

“It’s good he’s in a place of apology, but I really don’t know what to say about it,” Jason McCourty added.

James White echoed McCourty’s sentiments, adding he’d welcome Brown back, but added “it’s not my choice.”

Patriots 6-0 After Pulling Away from Giants
Well, what if Brown’s return wasn’t the only earth-shattering transaction conducted by the Patriots down the stretch?

What if Rob Gronkowski can pull double duty at Super Bowl LIV? He announced on Tuesday that he’ll be hosting a beachfront bash the night before the Super Bowl in Miami, but can Gronk return to the Patriots prior to the Nov. 30 deadline to be eligible to play that weekend as well?

This is a pipe dream, one that has a microscopic chance of coming to fruition. Call it less than one tenth of one percent of a chance of happening.

Martellus Bennett Describes Sleeping on Gronk’s Couch[NECN] Martellus Bennett Talks Brady’s Future, Sleeping on Gronk’s Couch
Super Bowl Champion and former Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett tells all in this interview with Raul Martinez.(Published Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019)
Don’t pretend, however, that the Patriots couldn’t use the talents of Gronk and/or Antonio Brown to ensure they’ll be able to slip over to “Gronk Beach” following a walkthrough on Saturday morning the day before the big game.

With news that neither Mohamed Sanu (ankle) nor Phillip Dorsett (concussion) didn’t participate in Wednesday’s practice, the levee could be ready to break on the paper-thin depth chart New England has assembled among its pass catchers. Dorsett, for what it’s worth, was seen during the portion of practice available to the media, as well as in the locker room on Wednesday afternoon after suffering a head injury against the Eagles.

Still, if neither Sanu nor Dorsett were to miss a significant amount of time, do the Patriots need Antonio Brown? There’s a difference between having a need and being a luxury. Bringing him back at this point could have ramifications beyond merely stunting the development of N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers.

Charge Against Patriots Player Michael Bennett Dropped in Texas
What sort of message would it send to the locker room if Brown were brought back after the way he conducted himself in his 11-day stay in New England in September?

Brown, who remains embroiled in an investigation into a sexual assault he allegedly committed while a member of the Steelers in 2017 and 2018, would be subject to the commissioner’s exempt list if he were to sign with the Patriots — or any NFL team.

Despite the serious allegations surrounding Brown, which he denies, he appeared to have been in the clear — at least for this season — in avoiding league discipline, until he allegedly threatened another woman accusing him of sexual misconduct.

12 Amazing Images From This Year’s Patriots Super Bowl Parade12 Amazing Images From This Year’s Patriots Super Bowl ParadeNBC10 Boston/Mark Garfinkel
Gronk, meanwhile, has been toying with Patriots fans when it comes to a potential comeback ever since announcing his retirement in the first place in March.

Arguably the greatest tight end to ever play the game, it’s hard to see any way in which a comeback for Gronk could be a negative. Ben Watson, 38, would slip behind Gronk on the depth chart, while at least one of Matt LaCosse or Ryan Izzo would likely be shown the door. No harm, no foul there, as both LaCosse and Izzo have battled injuries all year and have been ineffective when they have managed to crack the lineup.

New England’s optimal skill position set would consist of Brown, Sanu and Julian Edelman at wide receiver, with Gronk at tight end and James White in the backfield. That wouldn’t just be the greatest grouping in the NFL, that would perhaps rival what the Patriots threw out there in 2007 with Randy Moss and Wes Welker.

Pats Host Halloween for Pediatric Cancer Patients[NECN] Pats Host Halloween for Pediatric Cancer Patients
The New England Patriots hosted their annual Halloween party for pediatric patients who have cancer.(Published Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019)
There would be no more mopey Tom Brady press conferences akin to what transpired on Sunday after a 17-10 win against the Eagles, in which New England’s only touchdown was scored on a trick play.

Good luck figuring out who to double cover in that lineup. Swap out Sanu for Dorsett on certain plays, give Gronk a breather with the reliable Watson — a member of that 2007 team, lest we forget — and spell White with the shifty Rex Burkhead on occasion.

If Sony Michel can fix whatever’s ailing him, and the Patriots actually had a running game to go along with all of this, then seriously, just hand over the Lombardi Trophy now.

Brady Discusses the Future Ahead of Pats-Browns Game[NECN] Brady Discusses the Future Ahead of Pats-Browns Game
Tom Brady addressed the media Friday ahead of Sunday’s Patriots game against the Cleveland Browns.(Published Friday, Oct. 25, 2019)
New England remains well-positioned to take home its seventh championship of the Brady-Belichick era, regardless of any far-fetched fantasies involving Brown or Gronk.

At this point, wouldn’t it be more satisfying to win it all without either of them?