Phase Three of the Patriots offseason program opens on Tuesday morning at Gillette Stadium with the first of three practices. According to Article 21, Section 2 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, here are the rules and regulations around Phase Three:

(iii) Phase Three. Phase Three shall consist of the next four weeks of the Club’s offseason workout program. Subject to the additional rules set forth in Subsections 5(a) and 5(c) of this Article and Appendix G to this Agreement, during Phase Three each Club may conduct a total of ten days of organized team practice activity (“OTAs” or “OTA days”). The restrictions set forth in Subsection 5(b) of this Article shall not apply to OTA days. The Club may conduct a maximum of three days of OTAs during each of the first two weeks of Phase Three. A maximum of four days of OTAs may be conducted during either the third week or the fourth week of Phase Three, with the Mandatory Veteran Minicamp (Article 22, Section 2) to be held during the other week. During weeks in which the Club conducts only three days of OTAs, the Club may also conduct a fourth day of non-OTA workouts, but such activities shall be subject to the rules governing Phase Two workouts, as set forth in Subsection 2(b)(ii) of this Ar­ticle. During Phase Three, all coaches shall be allowed on the field. No live contact is permitted. No one-on-one offense vs. defense drills are permitted (i.e., no offensive linemen vs. defensive linemen pass rush or pass protection drills, no wide receivers vs. defensive backs bump-and-run drills, and no one-on-one special teams drills involving both offense and defense are permitted). Special teams drills (e.g., kicking team vs. return team) are permitted, provided no live contact occurs. Team offense vs. team defense drills, including all drills listed in Appendix G to this Agreement, are permitted, provided no live contact occurs. Clubs may require players to wear helmets; no shells are permitted during Phase Three of the Club’s offseason workout program or any minicamp.

Rookies will be made available to the media this week, with first-round pick Malcom Brown set to meet with reporters on Wednesday, and some of the rest of the first-year players on Thursday. For the media, the lone access to OTA workouts will be on Friday at Gillette Stadium.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

According to the Associated Press, Tom Brady‘s appeal of his four-game suspension for his role in Deflategate won’t be heard by Wednesday, which was initially believed to be the 10-day dead

According to the Associated Press, Tom Brady‘s appeal of his four-game suspension for his role in Deflategate won’t be heard by Wednesday, which was initially believed to be the 10-day deadline for the hearing to be held.

However, late Monday night, there was some confusion about the overall timeline. In an e-mail with, legal analyst Michael McCann said that May 27 deadline for the hearing that was reported is questionable for a few reasons, but is ultimately a “non-issue” and won’t have a sizable impact on the proceedings.

“I’m not sure May 27 is the deadline, when the appeal appears to have been filed on May 14, and 10 business days from that would be Friday, May 29 — since it doesn’t include the day it was filed, or Memorial Day,” said McCann, who is also the founding Director of the Sports and Entertainment Law Institute at the University of New Hampshire School of Law.

“Also, usually in an event like this when a party has a right to a deadline, that deadline is considered voluntarily waived or postponed when that party takes an action that could cause delay,” McCann added. “Here, the NFLPA petitioned commissioner Roger Goodell to recuse himself. That would seem to give him grounds to take longer than normal.

“My expectation is this deadline proves to be a non-issue.”

In addition to the four-game suspension for Brady, the Patriots were also fined $1 million and stripped them of a first-round draft pick next year and a fourth-rounder in 2017 for their role in Deflategate.

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Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

For Patriots fans, it was picture perfect weather to rally behind their picture perfect quarterback.

For Patriots fans, it was picture perfect weather to rally behind their picture perfect quarterback.

According to the “Free Tom Brady” rally Facebook page, over 600 people committed part of their Memorial Day Sunday to show their support for the embattled Patriots quarterback in Lot 4 of Gillette Stadium.

Fans showed their disgust for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and their support of Tom Brady. (Maggie Meyer/Getty Images)

Fans showed their disgust for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and their support of Tom Brady. (Maggie Meyer/Getty Images)

Fans Attend "Free Tom Brady" Rally

Fans show their support for Tom Brady Sunday at Gillette Stadium. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Blog Author: 
Price tells Greg about what is in store for football fans and Patriots fans beyond Deflategate. We will, after all, move on at some point.
Greg and Chris discuss where we are with Tom Brady's fight against the NFL in the Deflategate suspension.

[0:01:52] ... can never this cute little dig and airmen or writing ways and Peyton Manning left the colts. Saying. That robberies never been missing. In I was mistaken in chip I don't get the fact that you ...
[0:03:45] ... we want my my point pain patriot fans you are now the Oakland Raiders owner felt. Like I'll be an embrace that embrace the hate from other teams in other cities. All at west Phil welcome ...
[0:05:05] ... without extreme duress. You look at the track record of the National Football League when it goes into court. And you look at the track record in the National Football League when it goes up against someone like Jeffrey Kessler. You don't feel really good about your chances not to say Castro's undefeated in Nazi Kessler. You know it might move might not slip up in court here there but when you look at the overall body of work when you look at what he's been able to do for a number of people he's represented as part of the National Football League players association. You you know you speak to a case like this. If you're Tom Brady you feel good about going into court against the National Football League point. And it's as your mind or opinion changed at all. In regards to Tom Brady and what he would accept what he might except in terms of punishment because they are bigots that you. I've felt steadfast ...
[0:06:35] ... out in this case and he's going to fight going. I think Tom Brady would rather gnaw off his own right all government been miss a single snap. Regular season practice or otherwise I think he's going to go he's gonna go all out in this case I mean he's gonna continue to fight this. I also think that. The National Football League the players association in this. There role is going to become increasingly important we saw at the Smith on Friday outside the lines on Friday talk about this. And talk about how the world report that a great job for the climate delivered exactly what the client wanted. I think we are going to hear more and more from the National Football League players association. And I believe I saw this in a couple of places this week I believe this to be the case. ...

Trags calls the boys to discuss the latest on Deflategate, Kraft's decision to not continue the fight and where we go from here. He gets into the latest on Brady as well. Also, we get a battle between Trags and Greg on Led Zep vs the Beatles.
Robert Kraft decided not to continue the fight against Roger Goodell and the NFL in the Deflategate saga. Greg and Chris talk about why Kraft made that decision, the fan reaction and if it will stick with him long term. Some fans are disappointed, but we get a few callers who are strongly supporting Mr. Kraft.
Tom Brady met the media last year while at his celebrity touch football game, which benefits Best Buddies. (Paul Marotta/Getty Images for Best Buddies)

Tom Brady met the media this time last last year at his celebrity touch football game, which benefits Best Buddies and is part of a charitable weekend for the quarterback. (Paul Marotta/Getty Images for Best Buddies)

1. The sports media calendar starts to fill up again this week. First and foremost, there’s the potential to hear more from quarterback Tom Brady prior to his annual Best Buddies charity event, set for Friday and Saturday. In year’s past, Brady has made the rounds in a series of pre-promotional interviews in the days leading up to the event, and has spoken at halftime of his celebrity touch football game at Harvard on Friday night. In the wake of the news regarding his suspension, it’s not clear if he’ll address the Wells Report, but it should be an interesting few days for the quarterback. In addition, the Patriots are scheduled to make their rookies available to the media on Wednesday and Thursday. The introduction of the first-year players, which was delayed in the wake of the Deflategate news, will include first-round pick Malcom Brown on Wednesday, as well as other members of the rookie class on Thursday. In addition, there will be access to OTAs on Friday.

2. If Brady will be sidelined for a stretch in 2015, the natural question arises: Do the Patriots need to add a veteran signal-caller as a backup to (presumed) starter Jimmy Garoppolo? New England does have Garrett Gilbert (who ended the 2014 season on the practice squad) as the only other quarterback on the roster, but examining the list of available free agents (a group that includes Matt Flynn and Mike Vick), it doesn’t look like there are a lot of potential fits in Foxboro, even on a part-time basis. At the same time, there are financial ramifications to consider. While the move wouldn’t likely break the bank, signing a veteran as a backup for the start of the season would mean that the contract for the additional quarterback would be guaranteed. Considering that said backup would likely be jettisoned soon after Brady returns, it’s worth wondering if the Patriots would be inclined it spend that sort of money on someone who — in an ideal world — would be holding a clipboard for a few weeks. From this viewpoint, if a former Brady backup does become available between now and the start of the season (Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett come to mind), the Patriots could add them after Week One. That would give New England a relatively inexpensive insurance plan if something did happen to Garoppolo in the opener. Regardless, it’s another team-building question that needs to be taken into consideration as the team sits and waits for Brady’s appeal to take place.

3. Ever since rookie salaries became slotted, the race to get draft picks signed and into the system has lost some of its old drama. Currently, the Patriots have nine of their 11 draft picks signed, with only first-rounder Brown and fifth-rounder Joe Cardona yet to agree to contracts. Cardona (Navy) is the last fifth-round selection to sign, and given his background, it’s reasonable to speculate how much of that has to do with his uncertain future as it relates to a possible military commitment. As for Brown, he is one of 11 first-round picks who have yet to sign. Overall, as of Tuesday (according to our friend Brian McIntyre), over 80 percent of the 2015 class has signed/agreed to terms, including 91 percent of Day 3 picks.

4. The Dolphins are all in. If the free-agent addition of Ndamukong Suh wasn’t enough of a sign earlier this spring, that fact was hammered home this week when they went and gave a $96 million deal to quarterback Ryan Tannehill. (While guaranteed money is the bottom line and contracts can always be re-worked, it’s remarkable to think that the Dolphins narrowly avoided becoming the first team in NFL history to have two players with $100 million contracts in Suh and Tannehill.) In addition, Miami has spent heavily this offseason to retain veterans like Mike Pouncey, Cameron Wake and Branden Albert. Their spending is part of a “win now” attitude, according to owner Stephen Ross. However, it’s a huge gamble for the Dolphins, who could face their financial reckoning in 2016 unless several of their players volunteer to re-do their deals. Miami is already $17 million over the cap for next year, and the money it has committed to this season and beyond could hamstring their team-building process down the road. Ross should be applauded for ponying up the dough to try and build a winner, but that short-term financial thinking approach could spell disaster in the long term if the Dolphins can’t capitalize in 2015.

5. While NFL training camps are still a few months away, the Canadian Football League will kick off their preseason workouts this week north of the border. While the news that Michael Sam joined Montreal drew some attention, from our perspective, there are a few former Patriots worth keeping an eye on as the CFL season approaches: In Montreal, wide receiver Chad Johnson, who spent a forgettable 2011 season with the Patriots, as well as defensive end Aaron Lavarias, who was on and off the Patriots roster in 2011 and 2012, are both on the Montreal roster with Sam. Wide receiver Tiquan Underwood — most famous for being cut the night before Super Bowl XLVI — is a member of the Hamilton receiving corps, while wide receiver Lavelle Hawkins, who had a cup of coffee with New England in the summer of 2013, is in camp with British Columbia. And veteran Austin Collie, who spent time with New England at the end of the 2013 season and distinguished himself as a receiver who developed a good chemistry in a very short time with Brady, is also on the roster with the BC Lions.

6. We highlighted some scouting departments changes a few weeks ago, and while there have been no seismic alterations in the New England front office this offseason, a good way to keep up with all the personnel moves in scouting departments across the NFL is Dan Hatman’s blog. We’ve relied on Dan’s analysis and football wisdom in the past, and he’s an excellent follow for insight into the world of NFL scouting. According to Hatman, the Patriots recently promoted Jonathan Howard to the role of Northeast Scout. Howard, who got his undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis and his master’s in sports management from UMass, was hired as a scouting assistant in 2013.

7. There were all sorts of conflicting reports over the last week or so, but all indications seem to point to the fact that the Texans, Bills and Redskins (in that order) are the favorite to be featured on this year’s edition of “Hard Knocks.” John McClain of the Houston Chronicle was the first to report on the fact that Houston has the upper hand, and over the course of the last few days, Buffalo and Washington have all apparently dropped off. The Texans figure to be one of the more compelling teams in the league in 2015, with J.J. Watt and Jadaveon Clowney. It should be fun for New England fans to at least get a look behind closed doors at a team with a heavy Patriots influence that includes head coach Bill O’Brien, defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel, assistant coach Mike Vrabel and former players Vince Wilfork, Mallett and Hoyer.

8. We’ve always been fans of the work of Jimmy Kempski, who has put together some really interesting positional breakdowns by age across the NFL. This week, he took a look at the average age of the offensive starters for all 32 teams. At this time of year, it’s difficult to get a precise reading on just how old any team is because there will inevitably be plenty of roster shuffling between now and the start of the regular season. At the same time, with the draft and free agency pretty much completed, this study gives you a pretty good idea of where each team is in relation to the rest of the league. Kempski finds that the Patriots are expected to go into the 2015 season with the second-oldest set of offensive starters in the league. New England’s average age of 28.55 is second only to Denver’s 29. Cleveland (28.18), New Orleans (28) and Chicago (27.82) round out the Top 5. Check out Kempski’s complete breakdown here.

9. Looking around for research for another story, we stumbled on some stats of some of the best 38-year-old quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. (Don’t ask how.) With Brady set to turn 38 this August, we started wondering what might be a realistic level of expectation for the New England quarterback this season, at least from a statistical standpoint. Here are five notable signal-callers, and a look at what they did the year they turned 38:

a) Peyton Manning. The Broncos QB finished his 2014 season with a 66 percent completion rate, 4,727 passing yards, 39 touchdowns and 15 picks for a team that lost in the division round of the playoffs to the Colts. All things being equal, it’s the best statistical season of any 38-year-old QB in the history of the game.

b) Brett Favre: The Packers quarterback bounced back from an awful stretch of seasons with an impressive 2007. That year, he got Green Bay to overtime of the NFC title game, and finished with a 67 percent completion rate, 4,155 passing yards, 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

c) Kurt Warner: Warner got the Cardinals to the Super Bowl as a 38-year-old, and ended the regular season with a 66 percent completion rate, 3,753 passing yards, 26 touchdowns and 14 picks.

d) John Elway: As a 38-year-old in 1998, Elway didn’t put up the sort of numbers that Manning, Favre or Warner did, he still went out the way any quarterback wants to finish — in his final season, he completed 59 percent of his passes, finished with 2,806 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, but was still the oldest starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl.

e) Joe Montana: Montana turned 38 in 1994 when he was with the Chiefs, and in his last year as a starting quarterback, he completed 61 percent of his passes, threw for 3,283 yards, and had 16 touchdown passes and nine interceptions. His team lost to Miami in the wild card round of the playoffs.

10. This has been out there for a few days now, but it was interesting to see this short workout video put together by Julian Edelman, who continues to be the franchise leader when it comes to establishing his marketing brand. (Check the JE11 logo that pops up at the end.) First of all, a handful of Patriots have worked out together on the West Coast the last few years. Whether it was making a pilgrimage to the House of Brady or simply some more informal work (those sessions were occasionally organized by former teammate Stevan Ridley), there have always been a few guys who have spent quality time in Southern California in the offseason, and it appears the Golden State native Edelman is doing the same. Second, for a guy who enjoyed being America’€™s guest for the first month or so after the Super Bowl, it certainly doesn’€™t appear that he’s spent a lot of time lounging around, getting fat and eating burgers. And third, the ever-so-brief appearance of Garoppolo got some people speculating that the two are working together in anticipation of Brady missing a few games to start the season. Regardless, it certainly appears that Edelman isn’t planning on resting on his 2014 achievements.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price