Brady enters his 13th season as a pro with a résumé already unlike any quarterback who has played the professional game. Four quarterbacks have won multiple Super Bowl MVPs. Four have won three Super Bowls. Two have made five Super Bowl starts. Seven have won multiple regular-season MVPs. Seven have averaged 300 yards passing per game over a season. Seven have thrown 40 touchdown passes in a season.
But the kid from San Mateo is the only one to make every one of those lists. So will he wind up being the best ever? Maybe. But if he gets to that abstract mountaintop, it’ll be a result of a drive that wasn’t born of a desire to become a legend.
Chris Burke (SI) Busting myths about the 2012 NFL season.
Myth: The Patriots’ tight ends won’t repeat their 2011 success.
Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez gave opposing defensive coordinators fits last season en route to 169 combined catches and more than 2,200 yards receiving. Those numbers were way way up from 2010, when Gronk and Hernandez put up a total of 92 catches and 1,109 yards. So was last season a flash in the pan?
There is very little reason to think that heading into 2012. The Patriots’ offense now, more or less, revolves around how Tom Brady uses his tight ends. Wes Welker, he of the 122 catches last season, still plays a vital role but, especially in the red zone, Brady looks to his two big TEs first.
Even if opposing defenses have devised some way to try to deal with Gronkowski and Hernandez, the sheer physical advantages they have over the opposition can negate that. Think of Calvin Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald at wide receiver — even if you defend them perfectly, they can and will still beat you. It’s the same for Gronkowski and Hernandez over the middle.
- Andy Hart gives us his final Patriots roster projection. Hart gives Hoyer the boot.
- Patriots Today - Bold moves at running back? (2.22 min. video)
- PFW in Progress - The PFW crew breaks down Pats-Giants and discusses who will make the 53-man roster. (2 hour program)
- Mike Reiss highlights the competition at the center position and breaks down how they were used in last night's game.
- Jeff Howe notes the younger-than-usual group of RBs have so far shown up and performed in the preseason, showing improvement with their reps.
- Mike Reiss analyzed the special teams play Wednesday night, and notes Sergio Brown showed he can still be a factor.
- Field Yates tells us how the new rules could impact the Patriots.
- Tim Britton explains that for Belichick and the Pats, cutdown day is more complicated than we think.
- Karen Guregian takes a final stab at which 53 players will survive the final cuts.
- Mike Reiss, Mike Rodak and Field Yates each throw out their best guesses of how the team will look come Friday night.
- Greg A. Bedard welcomes us to Cutdown Day with the final version of his projected 53-man roster. No fullbacks.
- Zuri Berry takes a final look at who makes the Patriots' 53-man roster.
- Christopher Price forecasts the final 53. Fells makes it, Schiancoe goes on IR.
- The AP says it's now a waiting game for the Patriots as the team must trim the roster down to 53 players.
- Shalise Manza Young highlights Bill Belichick's conference call with reporters on the eve of roster cut-down day.
- Christopher Price tells us which NE defenders did the best job of getting after the QB this preseason.
- Tom E. Curran thinks the NFL, the replacement officials, and even the locked-out officials all deserve some blame for the mess in which the league now finds itself.
- Jim Donaldson explains why we should give the replacement officials a chance.
- Mike Reiss posts the transcript of his weekly online chat.
- Field Yates reports Donte' Stallworth was scheduled to work out for the Dolphins Thursday.
- Jeff Howe Patriots Notebook: Patriots will briefly look at the Titans this weekend and plan to practice Sunday and Monday; Pats kept Brady, a 4th QB, on the roster back in 2000 because the team didn't want to risk losing him on waivers; Those are the types of decisions that will have to be made across the NFL today.
- Analysts Report (ESPN) New England Patriots 2012 Preview.
- Josh Alper (ProFootballTalk) No update on Brian Waters' status.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) NFL announces new trade deadline, IR rules.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Return to practice under new IR rule opens three-week window.
- Cindy Boren (Washington Post) NFL replacement refs struggle in Giants-Patriots game.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Goodell doesn't rule out use of regular officials in Week one.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Breaking down the divide in the NFL-NFLRA dispute.
- Alan Grant (Nat'l Football Post) Pros vs. Joes: Replacement Referees will make for quite the reality check.
- Russell Baxter (Cold Hard Football Facts) 32 Teams and 32 Facts (give or take a few).
- Bucs' Cover 2 scheme vs. Patriots. (Nat'l Football Post) Chalk Talk video: Breaking down the