FOXBORO — If you thought Tom Brady would be satisfied with four preseason series against the Panthers last Friday night, you don’t know Tom Brady.

FOXBORO — Tom Brady isn’t about to give away any trade secrets to how he plans to stay sharp during his league-imposed suspension for his role in Deflategate.

Tom Brady passes in the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady passes in the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium. (Jim Dedmon/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — If you thought Tom Brady would be satisfied with four preseason series against the Panthers last Friday night, you don’t know Tom Brady.

Speaking Tuesday at Gillette Stadium, the Patriots quarterback said he would like more playing time this Thursday night in the preseason finale before heading into a four-week suspension.

“I look at all these practices as ways to get better I have access to the fields and throwing to my receivers, so try to use those days as best I possibly can and just like I always would and I got another, hopefully, opportunity to play Thursday night, and be with the team Friday, and then try to do the best I can over the next month,” Brady said.

Brady’s suspension formally begins Sept. 5 as the team gets ready for the season opener Sept. 11 in Arizona. He can return Oct. 3 as the team prepares for the Week 5 contest in Cleveland on Oct. 9.

Brady completed just 3-of-9 passes for 76 yards but two of those were big plays. His first pass attempt on the first play of the fourth series was a slant completion to Aaron Dobson for 37 yards. His second completion went for 33 yards, on a perfect over-the-shoulder pass for a touchdown to Chris Hogan. His final completion went for six yards to Julian Edelman.

Does Brady still feel he needs the work?

“I mean all that’s up to Coach Belichick. I wish I’d play every game. I love playing practice, I love playing preseason games, regular season games, postseason games. I love thinking about football . It’s just the way it is. That part I think will be very challenging, watching those games in September, but I’ll find ways to preoccupy my mind.”

In the meantime, Brady thinks the team will be in good hands with a wealth of leaders.

“Well, we’ve got a lot of great leaders on this team, and the veterans, I think we’ve got a lot of really good players, I lot of really good leaders,” Brady said. “I think we’ve always done a good job cultivating guys to step in and fill the void, and I think we’ll do a great job of that. I think between our coaches and our players, we’ve got a lot of great leaders, and I’m very confident in that. So we’ll go out there and play with a lot of energy and emotion like we always do.

“It’ll be tough to watch. It’ll be fun to watch, in some ways, to see what it looks like when you’re not there, because it’s a different perspective. And then hopefully I can use that perspective and then come back with better perspective, saying, ‘Wow, I really noticed some things that maybe I wouldn’t have seen had I been there. So that’s what I’m gonna try to do.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
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Tom Brady speaks Tuesday at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — Tom Brady isn’t about to give away any trade secrets to how he plans to stay sharp during his league-imposed suspension for his role in Deflategate.

Still the questions came Tuesday, in what could be his last media availability before he begins serving his punishment.

How does he plan on staying sharp?

“We’ll see,” he replied.

Does he plan on staying locally?

“We’ll see,” he repeated.

Does he plan on revealing anything about the plan?

“No, I don’t. If someone else is in this situation in the future, I don’t want to give away my [secrets],” Brady smiled.

When the subject turned to what he will be feeling, he was a little more forthcoming.

“I’m pretty positive, so I’m gonna use these days the best way that I possibly can,” Brady explained. “So, I’m gonna try to get ready and do everything I can so I can be at my best when I have the opportunity to play in October. I try to just find different ways to be positive. It is what it is at this point, so we’ll do the best we can do.”

Reminded that the NFL has permitted him access to his personal health guru Alex Guerrero, Brady got a Peyton Manning-like shot in at the league.

“Well, that’s nice of them,” Brady laughed, before detailing what exactly Guerrero does for him. “We’ve been working together for over 12 years now so, he’s one of my best friends, so we’ll do what we always do. We use all these days in the best way that’s possible to stay prepared and stay sharp and I have ideas of what I need to do. And based on all the practices we’ve had and the limiting playing time we’ll have had, so my goals is to come back and be the best I can be, just like every other year, every other offseason, I’m gonna do the best I can do over these next however many days, 30 days or so, to do the same thing.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

ESPN NFL senior reporter Chris Mortensen, who has been battling throat cancer, joined Ordway, Merloni & Fauria during the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon on Tuesday morning to discuss his plight as well as his controversial handling of the Deflategate controversy.

Chris Mortensen

Chris Mortensen

ESPN NFL senior reporter Chris Mortensen, who has been battling throat cancer, joined Ordway, Merloni & Fauria during the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon on Tuesday morning to discuss his plight as well as his controversial handling of the Deflategate controversy. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.

Mortensen, 64, was diagnosed with Stage 4 throat cancer in January, when he finally went to the doctor after having issues with his ears and throat for a few months. He said he has finished treatment and now is in the recovery stage.

Although he drew the ire of Patriots fans after his tweet about the amount footballs were deflated in the Patriots-Colts AFC championship game in January 2015 turned out to be erroneous — yet he left it up for another seven months — he thanked New England for its support, recalling an experience at the Pro Football Hall of Fame earlier this month that put things in perspective.

“Going to the Hall of Fame for a day to accept the Dick McCann Award [Aug. 6], it just struck me as my wife and I were going from the car to a waiting room before we were going to receive a plaque, it was a man in a New England Patriots shirt who first stuck out his hand to shake my hand and say, ‘We’re all praying for you,’ ” he said.

However, Mortensen declined an opportunity to discuss the controversy and explain his handling of the story, saying his focus now is on his health.

“I’m at the point now — and my wife will tell you this, too — I’m living four-hour and four-hour blocks,” he said. “I can’t go back and retrace this at this point. There will be a time when we can have that discussion. I hope you will respect this. That’s one thing about surviving cancer is you don’t live, you can say day-to-day, but I find myself living in four-hour blocks. So for me to go back and revisit anything right now, it’s not the right time for me personally. I apologize.”

Added Mortensen: “I’m looking forward to getting back to work at some level. Being able to address football matters. Obviously the season is starting without Tom [Brady] at quarterback. That to me is a disappointing outcome. But that’s about all I really want to say on that topic, because I think my wife would probably hit me over the head for not focusing on what I’m supposed to focus on right now.”

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

At a Comedy Central roast of Rob Lowe that is set to air this weekend, former Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning — a friend of Lowe — got in a quick jibe at the expense of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

At a Comedy Central roast of Rob Lowe that is set to air this weekend, former Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning — a friend of Lowe — got in a quick jibe at the expense of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
With a relatively easy early schedule and Tom Brady not in the picture, John Harbaugh and the Ravens could put some early heat on the Patriots. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

With a relatively easy early schedule and Tom Brady not in the picture, John Harbaugh and the Ravens could put some early heat on the Patriots. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

The Patriots are going to be without Tom Brady for the first quarter of the season, and because of a few quirks — primarily, good health and a relatively easy schedule on the early going — some of their AFC opponents appear to be well-positioned to put a little heat on New England while Brady is on the sidelines.

Whether it’s the chance to make an early statement when it comes to the race for home field in the AFC or just the chance to get after the Patriots without their franchise quarterback under center, here are our picks for the five teams that have the best shot at taking advantage of the fact that New England will be missing its franchise quarterback for the first four games.

Ravens — Baltimore begins the 2016 season with its easiest five-game stretch of the year taking on the Bills, Browns, Jaguars, Raiders and Redskins, a group of teams that were a combined 16 games under .500 in 2015. If the Ravens are completely healed up after last year’s fiasco of a season, a quick start could have them jockeying for early control of the AFC with the Patriots. (Of course, Baltimore needs a good start because it has a rough stretch — over the second-half of the season, they have one of the toughest slates in the league, with road games in New England and Pittsburgh and home dates with the Steelers and Bengals.)

Steelers — The Steelers’ defense is not nearly the terror that it used to be, and Le’Veon Bell is facing an early three-game suspension. But the fact that the Pittsburgh offense (with Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger) can still run up and down the field with anyone means they will be a challenge for the Patriots all year long, provided they can stay healthy. Pittsburgh’s four-game slate to start the season is middle-of-the-road at best (home games against Cincy and Kansas City and road contests at Washington and Philly), but an above .500 start would certainly make the Oct. 23 game at Heinz Field between the Patriots and Steelers a game that could end up having home-field implications down the road.

Broncos — Denver’s quarterback situation is a bit murky right now — Trevor Siemian? — but that defense remains legit, and that’s what should have them in the mix throughout the year. Four of Denver’s first six games are against teams that did not make the playoffs last year and three of the first five are at home, two elements that should pave the way for a good start. As a result, if the Broncos are able to take advantage of a softer schedule early (at least following the Super Bowl rematch with the Panthers in the regular-season opener), the Dec. 18 game on Denver between the Patriots and Broncos could also go a long way toward determining home-field advantage.

Bills — Let’s make this really, REALLY clear: The inclusion of Buffalo on this list is not to suggest that the Patriots will have any sort of issues with the Bills throughout the bulk of the 2016 season. Buffalo is going to struggle to make it to 8-8 this season. It’s only to suggest the Bills could make things tough in the early going for New England for a few reasons, not the least of which is the fact that when Buffalo been able to get one over on the Patriots, it’s been because the Bills caught them slightly off-balance sometime around the start of the season. The truth is that If Rex Ryan can offer up enough to confuse Garoppolo by the time Week 4 rolls around and the Bills’ offense can finally get its you-know-what together, they probably represent the best chance for an opponents to beat the Patriots at Gillette with Garoppolo under center.

Texans — In this context, the biggest edge that Houston might bring into this game is a scheduling quirk — the Texans travel to Gillette Stadium on a short week, getting the Patriots in a Thursday night contest at Gillette Stadium. Granted, it’s not much, but getting Garoppolo on a short week could provide Houston with an opportunity not afforded the other three teams he’ll face over the first month.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Jimmy Garoppolo has had an up-and-down preseason. (Jim Dedmon/USA Today Sports)In the Patriots' preseason finale under Bill Belichick, the starting quarterback rarely sees the field.