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New England Patriots links 9/30/21 - Pats-Bucs Week 4 circus getting louder, inching closer

Daily news and links for Thursday

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New Orleans Saints Vs. New England Patriots At Gillette Stadium
Mac Jones gets the cardboard head treatment
Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images



  • Zack Cox picks out four things the Pats must do to upset Tom Brady and the Buccaneers In Week 4. 1. Get Trent Brown back.
  • Evan Lazar explains why Mac Jones is facing a high blitz rate, and to look for another blitz-happy defense with the Bucs next.
  • Andrew Callahan believes the Pats need to let Mac Jones play like Tom Brady to beat him. Jones has produced a higher completion percentage, higher yards per attempt average and more explosive plays when flanked by three wide receivers in a shotgun formation this season.
  • Ryan Hannable talks about how Mac Jones works extremely hard off the field when it comes to his preparation.
  • Alex Barth highlights Mac Jones on facing Tom Brady: ‘It’s really just us against the other team’
  • Karen Guregian writes Devin McCourty might know all of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski’s moves and tricks inside and out but he knows that alone doesn’t guarantee success.
  • Mike D’Abate (PatriotMaven) What N’Keal Harry’s return to practice may mean for the Patriots.
  • Evan Lazar offers some thoughts on the impact of the return of N’Keal Harry to the current WR corps and why you shouldn’t be too excited ... yet. (5 min. video)
  • Mike D’Abate (PatriotMaven) Patriots-Buccaneers Week Four Injury Report: White out; Several on defense limited.
  • Michael Hurley says everybody seems to have the Brady-Belichick relationship all wrong, and makes his Week 4 picks. Brady, winning on Sunday night, at Gillette Stadium? It’s inevitable.
  • Keith Pearson’s The Bet Box: Week 4. Tampa Bay at Patriots: Bringing pressure up the middle has been Brady’s kryptonite, but with this defense it’s hard to envision Belichick being able to duplicate his defensive masterpiece from the 2002 Super Bowl. Buccaneers, 34-16.
  • Matt Dolloff suggests 10 potential trade targets for the Patriots at running back.
  • Justin Leger passes along a report that James White is expected to miss the rest of the 2021 season. /Sad.
  • Mike Reiss highlights Bill Belichick showering praise on Tom Brady’s ‘unbelievably impressive’ achievements, as well as discounting Seth Wickersham’s newly-released book about him.
  • Sean T. McGuire highlights Bill Belichick when asked if he will have to manage Week 4 emotions: “No. I’m just going to focus on what I can do to help our team win Sunday night. Same thing I always try to do.”
  • Mike Reiss talks with Rob Gronkowski about what he misses about New England, his best season [I’m thinking 2011, and he’s answering “summer”], favorite beach and more.
  • Hayden Bird relays Julian Edelman’s thoughts on the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady matchup “This is a GOAT bowl.”
  • Adam London hears Tedy Bruschi weighing in with his own suggestion for the Tom Brady-Patriots separation.
  • Mark Daniels notes Bill Belichick wouldn’t say much about the claims made in a new book about the Patriots, but the coach did deny one claim about refusing to meet Tom Brady upon exit from the Patriots, and calls his relationship with Brady ‘good’.
  • One Patriots Place podcast: Clare, Murph and Steve talk Pats’ loss to the Saints and, oh yeah, Pats-Bucs. (75 min.)
  • Locked On Patriots podcast: Mike D’Abate and Steve Balestrieri discuss the injury to James White, the phases of the game most in need of improvement, the Buccaneers and the emotional impact of Tom Brady’s return. (38 min.)


  • Josh Alper (ProFootballTalk) N’Keal Harry back at practice for Patriots.
  • Albert Breer (SI) Mailbag: What should we make of some of these surprising starts? Plus, when the Patriots can be considered a real contender again?
  • Joel Corry (CBS Sports) Agent’s Take: Chiefs, Cowboys headline NFL’s most top-heavy teams for 2021 season; Saints round out top 5.
  • Nora Princiotti (The Ringer) As Tom Brady thrives in Tampa, Bill Belichick tries to rebuild his brain trust.
  • Kevin Clark (The Ringer) Tom Brady won the breakup. Can he also win the reunion?
  • Brooke Cerosimo ( Home again: Before Tom Brady returns to Foxborough, former NFL players share their own firsthand memories of facing the teams they once fought for.
  • Lorenzo Reyes (USA Today) Tom Brady returns to New England: A look at legend’s 44 greatest accomplishments.
  • James Jackson (ESPN) NFL Rookie QB Tracker - Week 3 didn’t offer much charm for these first-year signal-callers.
  • Gregg Rosenthal ( NFL QB Index, Week 4: Dak Prescott and Derek Carr fly up rankings, while rookies continue to struggle. Mac Jones 25th.
  • Cody Benjamin (CBS Sports) Week 4 NFL QB Power Rankings. Mac Jones 21st.
  • Shalise Manza Young (Yahoo! Sports) The must-play model for rookie QBs isn’t good for them or their teams.
  • Jay Busbee (Yahoo! Sports) NFL legends show why teams shouldn’t give up on rookie QBs too soon.
  • Jordan Dajani & Bryan DeArdo (CBS Sports) Week 4 injuries: A rundown of every team’s midweek injury report.
  • Pete Prisco (CBS Sports) NFL Week 4 odds, picks: Rams win but Cardinals cover in thriller, Tom Brady reigns over Patriots 28-19.