1. I don’t know how I missed this video, but NFL.com compiled the Best of QB Tom Brady Mic’d Up, which is must-watch television. If you’ve watched every piece of “Mic’d Up” over the past decade, you’ll probably have seen all of it, but I actually hadn’t seen his interaction with WR Kenbrell Thompkins after the SHOWPONIES catch against the Saints.
I think Brady’s leadership is on full display as he acts as both a commander and a supporter. Everyone listens when he speaks, but he can also geek out with his teammates when they make a big play. He’s not too important where he can’t issue a high-pitched scream in excitement.
2. The Ringer’s Robert Mays has published a list of the top 5 players that Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has unabashedly praised over the years. Patriots and those that have played under Belichick are not eligible for the list. #1 is Ravens FS Ed Reed, of course, and the list features the likes of QB Peyton Manning and WR Larry Fitzgerald. Do you think anyone is missing?
I feel like there are two types of praise for opposing players. There are the base platitudes (“This 3rd string quarterback can do it all, we have to be ready.”) and then there is serious fandom for what other players can accomplish. I feel like former Chiefs and Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez could have found himself on the list, as could former Bears and current Jets RB Matt Forte. But Mays constructed a pretty good list.
3. FiveThirtyEight’s Chase Stuart has analyzed the draft pedigree of players on every team and how reliant teams can be on top draft picks. For example, the Cardinals rely on first round picks at quarterback, offensive line, wide receiver, and tight end. Naturally, the Patriots have invested little on the offensive side of the ball.
Think about it- only four starters on offense were drafted in the first three rounds: LT Nate Solder is the lone 1st round pick, TEs Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett were 2nd round picks, and LG Joe Thuney was a 3rd round pick. RG Shaq Mason was a 4th rounder, RT Marcus Cannon was a 5th rounder, Brady was a 6th rounder, and Julian Edelman was a 7th rounder. Everyone else was undrafted.
Per Stuart’s calculations, the Patriots have the 2nd least amount of draft capital invested on offense, ahead of only the Seahawks. The Broncos rank one place ahead of the Patriots. I think it’s easy to argue that these three teams have been the best in the NFL over the past five years.
4. Defense is a different story for the Patriots. They’ve relied on former 1st round picks Chris Long, Malcom Brown, Dont’a Hightower, and Devin McCourty. They start former 2nd round picks Jabaal Sheard, Alan Branch, Jamie Collins, and Patrick Chung. Duron Harmon and Logan Ryan were 3rd rounders.
Malcolm Butler is the lone defensive player with more than 50% of the snaps this season to be drafted outside the 3rd round. That’s a lot of well-regarded talent.
5. The NFL has been caught playing the PR game, again, and this time it’s Giants K Josh Brown. Brown was arrested for domestic violence in 2015. The NFL claimed they ran their own investigation that warranted reducing Brown’s suspension to one game in 2016. The NFL tried to say that they were rejected in their attempt to find relevant information surrounding the case. They were, of course, lying.
Deadspin has looked into the requests made by the NFL to the legal authorities and it turns out that they’ve had all the information that the news outlets have had for months. It turns out that the NFL investigator failed to identify that he was working with the NFL, that “the league never submitted a formal public records request clearly from the NFL," and he still received the records.
So the NFL is trying to pass the buck to the Sheriff’s Office since they’ve been caught in the midst of their own lie. They were hoping that no one would catch them. Now they’ve been caught and they’re going to make a big stink of it. Some think the Giants benefit from favoritism from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, the same way the Ravens did at first. Brown will be made an example of- just like Ray Rice- despite the fact that there are league policies in place for these exact violations.
The NFL should be ashamed of itself. Unfortunately, they don’t appear capable of experiencing shame.