Tom Brady were on the field in Foxboro Thursday.  (Elsa/Getty Images)

Tom Brady were on the field in Foxboro Thursday. (Elsa/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — The Patriots just put the wraps on an OTA session on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium. The workout ran for just under two hours, and was held in numbered jerseys, helmets and shorts. (Shout out to a handful of players, including running back Brandon Bolden and wide receiver Aaron Dobson who were in long sleeves, a bold move on such a hot day.)

The following players were not present for the workout: wide receiver Julian Edelman, cornerback Malcolm Butler, cornerback Logan Ryan, running back LeGarrette Blount, defensive back Duron Harmon, running back Dion Lewis, defensive back Nate Ebner, long snapper Joe Cardona, offensive lineman Tre’ Jackson, offensive lineman Josh Kline, offensive lineman Shaq Mason, defensive lineman Frank Kearse, offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer, offensive lineman Nate Solder, wide receiver Danny Amendola, tight end Rob Gronkowski, defensive lineman Alan Branch.

One of the biggest things that stood out was the fact that most all of New England’s veteran offensive playmakers: Gronkowski, Edelman, Amendola, Lewis and Blount were all not present. In addition, a sizable chunk of what will likely be the starting offensive line was not on the field. At the running back spot, that allowed several of the guys who are presumably at the back end of the depth chart get some work. D.J. Foster did nicely when it came to keeping up with the veterans in a pass catching drill for the backs. Along the offensive line, the lack of starters also allowed some of the youngsters and new faces to get plenty of reps alongside Brady. As Dante Scarnecchia indicated a few weeks ago, rookie offensive lineman Joe Thuney was inside.

When it came to reps at the quarterback spot, it didn’t appear that the Patriots were looking to get more work for backup Jimmy Garoppolo at the expense of Brady. Wide receiver Chris Hogan with a nice catch in the corner of the end zone via Brady on a passing drill. Rookie Devin Lucien also hauled in a fade pass from Brady later in the same drill. (Hogan had a couple of other really nice grabs, including a one-hander from Brady later in the day.) Keshawn Martin had a few nice grabs in traffic.

Meanwhile, Jacoby Brissett had a couple of overthrows, but had a nice connection with Malcolm Mitchell later in practice down the sideline, and looked like he was throwing the ball with more authority as the session continued. Cyrus Jones had the pick of the day when he stepped in front of a Brissett pass for Lucien near the end of practice and brought it out of the end zone.

In these sorts of workouts in the past — particularly the spring sessions — Brady has gravitated toward a handful of guys who had most favored nation status with the quarterback. In previous years, that group has included (but not been limited to) Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Edelman and Gronkowski. With most of his buddies not present on Thursday, it appeared he spent most of his time with Garoppolo and new tight end Martellus Bennett. Bennett also spent time chatting with Garoppolo.

Later in the workout, off to the side, Brady was paired off with Bennett, new tight end/fullback Clay Harbor and fullback James Develin. (Toward the end of practice, Brady went off to work with another grouping that included Bennett, Mitchell, Nate Washington and Aaron Dobson.) While that was going on. Brissett was throwing to a group of skill position players at the other end of the field that included Hogan, Martin, Dobson and Washington. Bennett looked good for much of the day — he had a really nice catch in a red-zone drill later in the day where he wrestled the ball away from Pat Chung. But it wasn’t all good news for the newcomer, who dropped a pass in 11-on-11 drills and was forced to run a lap. Geneo Grissom and Darryl Roberts also had to run laps as well.

Martin, Jones, Chris Harper, V’Angelo Bentley were all spotted returning punts at the end of practice. It’s not known if it was physical ailment or just a way to stay warm, but during the special teams portion, Jamie Collins spent time riding a stationary bike. (He didn’t spend a lot of time on the bike, for what it’s worth.)

The Patriots dipped into the music just after the midway point of the workout with a little Guns N’ Roses (“Welcome to the Jungle”), James Brown (“Living in America”) Bon Jovi (“Living on a Prayer”) and U2 (“Beautiful Day”) among others.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
The Patriots filed an amicus brief supporting the NFLPA against the NFL with Deflategate. (Kevin Jairaj/USA Today Sports)

The Patriots filed an amicus brief supporting the NFLPA against the NFL pertaining to Deflategate. (Kevin Jairaj/USA Today Sports)

On Wednesday, the Patriots filed an amicus brief supporting the NFLPA in their case against the NFL pertaining to Deflategate in the Second Circuit. The purpose of the brief is to encourage the Second Circuit to rehear the case.

Here are a few takeaways from the brief:

1. The brief, written by Patriots attorney Daniel Goldberg who is behind the Wells Report in Context, noted the impact the ruling has on the team. “Under the existing 2-1 decision, the Patriots stand to lose their All-Pro quarterback for 25% of the upcoming regular season based on a severely flawed process,” Goldberg wrote. “But the impact of the majority opinion is not limited to professional football. It threatens to undermine vital principles governing arbitration of collective bargaining agreements throughout the national economy.”

2. It also attacked commissioner Roger Goodell saying he treated Brady’s appeal “not as an appeal but as a continuation of the investigation.” Goldberg wrote: “The Commissioner made new findings and shifted the basis for his discipline of Mr. Brady in a decision from which Mr. Brady then had no appeal rights.” It also noted Paul Weiss didn’t allow Brady to see the notes of its interviews with NFL officials who observed the halftime testing of footballs in the 2014 AFC title game.

3. Goldberg went on to attack the Wells Report. “In short, the Commissioner relied on the Wells Report,” he wrote. “The Wells Report relied on Exponent’s ‘conclusion’ that science did not explain the PSI of the Patriots footballs. Exponent based that conclusion on assumptions from Paul Weiss. Those assumptions could only be tested by having access to the interview notes sought in discovery. The Commissioner refused to allow that discovery.”

4. The brief further attacked Goodell noting he was wrong about Brady and John Jastremski only speaking about preparing footballs for the Super Bowl in the days after the AFC title game. Brady did testify the two spoke of the PSI story because of the media attention it was getting. It also went against Goodell and the claim that destroying of Brady’s cell phone was an admission of guilt. The brief said Brady provided them with all the calls and texts they needed.

5. Lastly, it concludes with: “The panel majority’s opinion ignored or excused these fatal failings,” Goldberg wrote. “It endorsed the outcome of a highly manipulated and fundamentally unfair process designed and used by the Commissioner to reach and justify a predetermined outcome in violation of the CBA and this Court’s precedents. It renders meaningless the vital protections afforded by a bargained-for right to appeal and to obtain and present pertinent evidence. Its impacts will be felt far beyond the NFL. This Court should grant a rehearing and restore the fundamental fairness of arbitration appeals guaranteed by the CBA and this Court’s cases.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Tom Brady and Martellus Bennett faced off against each other in 2014. Now, they're teammates. (Winslow Townson/USA Today)On Thursday, we’re going to get a chance to watch real, live football.



The Patriots are going at the NFL.

On Wednesday the team filed an amicus brief supporting the NFLPA’s appeal of Tom Brady’s suspension in the Second Circuit. This is a legal brief against NFL and its legal position.

The Patriots are going at the NFL.

On Wednesday the team filed an amicus brief supporting the NFLPA’s appeal of Tom Brady’s suspension in the Second Circuit. This is a legal brief against NFL and its legal position.

One of the footnotes in the brief states: From the outset of this matter the League’s conduct reflects less than a search for the truth than pursuit of a pre-determined result and defense of a report, which despite no direct evidence of tampering or Mr. Brady’s involvement, was relied on to impose penalties with no precedent or correlation to the alleged defense.

The last time an NFL team took such action against the league was Al Davis and the Raiders.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Although Larry Fitzgerald may not want to see Tom Brady on the field Week 1, the rest of his teammates an

Most Cardinals want Tom Brady to play Week 1. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Most Cardinals want Tom Brady to play Week 1. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Although Larry Fitzgerald may not want to see Tom Brady on the field Week 1, the rest of his teammates and coaches wouldn’t mind facing the quarterback, which means he wouldn’t be serving his four-game suspension for Deflategate.

Fitzgerald’s reasoning is it would make life easier for the Cardinals in getting a win, but for some other players they want to go up against the best.

“I don’t want any excuses,” said offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Harold Goodwin, via AZ Central. “The level we’re at right now as an organization, as a team – because we think we’re one of the best teams in the National Football League – hey, when we’re playing another team we want them to be at full capacity, too.

“Down the road, I don’t want to hear ‘coulda, woulda, shoulda,’ because they’re missing a guy. Obviously, I would like Tom to play.”

Added linebacker Deone Bucannon: “I wouldn’t be a competitor if I said ‘not.’ I’m a competitor and he’s one of the best to ever do it. It would be awesome to play against him. I want them at their best because we’re definitely going to be at our best.”

The Cardinals are coming off a season where they lost in the NFC title game to the Panthers 49-15 and may have something to prove.

“I think everybody on this defense wants to see the best,” safety Tony Jefferson said. “I’ve never gone against Tom Brady before. I’ve played against Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers.”

The game will also feature Cardinals defensive end Chandler Jones facing his former team after being traded during the offseason.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Former Patriots backup quarterback Jim Miller

Jim Miller spent a year in New England backing up Tom Brady. (Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Jim Miller spent a year in New England backing up Tom Brady. (Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Former Patriots backup quarterback Jim Miller spoke with the It Is What It Is podcast this week and recalled how he used to break in game balls with Tom Brady.

Miller, who was on the New England roster in 2004 with Brady, said the process was a simple one: Each team would get two dozen footballs issued to them, and the quarterback would be allowed to break them in as they saw fit. Miller and Brady were of like mind when it came to the preferred state of their footballs.

“At the end of the week, when they would get a little scuffed up, you’d go through and pick out the footballs that you’d like to throw with on Sundays,” he said. “I was like Tom — I’d like mine on the lower level of inflation. To me, it’s just how the ball feels in your hands. It’s the texture of it. You want a certain way.

He added: “We would pick out the footballs. I’d say, ‘Hey Tom, is is a great one. Tell me how it feels.’ He’d say, ‘Yeah, put that one in the pile, Jim.’ That’s what we would do. And then, as the season goes along, some of those footballs get taken out of circulation — let’s say 10 out of those 24 — and you’d break in 10 more than would be introduced into the population. But always, you’d always want them on the lower level of inflation.”

While the rules around pregame treatment of the footballs have since been changed since 2004 — Brady and Peyton Manning pushed through a rule more than a decade ago to make things easier for quarterbacks when it came to picking out game balls — Miller said that for a quarterback, it’s all about comfort and confidence.

“There’s always going to be certain preferences,” said Miller, who was in the league from 1994 until 2005. “[Quarterbacks] want to be confident on game day.”

Miller, who said the league has “botched [Deflategate] from the very beginning,” hopes Brady will be cleared sooner rather than later.

“I hope so,” said Miller, who is currently a co-host of “Movin’ the Chains on Sirius XM. “I don’t think he did anything disingenuous with the footballs. I don’t think it had any bearing on that AFC championship game whatsoever.

“When you’ve got league officials who have been in the league — Walt Anderson, he’s been in the league, he has 19 years of experience. And he’s losing the footballs the day of the game. Not following the proper protocol,” he added. “Then you have the NFL this past year doing their own investigation where they are [looking at] certain games and inspecting the PSI levels of certain footballs and not releasing that information. In terms of the integrity of the game, I just think the NFL really comes out with a little bit of egg on their face because it’s made them look extremely poor.”

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

In the latest It Is What It Is podcast, Chris Price talks with former Patriots backup quarterback Jim Miller about Tom Brady and his mindset as he continues to battle Deflategate. Miller offers up his own thoughts on Brady’s play and what sets him apart from other signal-callers of his generation, and also talks about what it’s like picking out game balls with Brady. Miller also breaks down New England’s offseason to this point on the calendar, and offers his thoughts on which team might be poised to challenge the Patriots in the AFC East.

Blog Author: 
WEEI