Tag:Tom Brady
Posted on: July 30, 2010 4:27 pm
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Tom Brady speaking like a true Patriot

The art of speaking and saying nothing is mastered by anyone who has spent more than three years in the Patriots organization. (We’ll call this Patspeak). Today, Tom Brady exhibited textbook Patspeak when asked about his contract situation:

“I’ve always been privileged to play for Coach Belichick, who I’ve always said is the best coach in the history of the league. And Mr. Kraft, I have a great relationship with him. I’m not into playing games. I just want to come out here and do the best I can do. You know, whether you make $1 playing, or you make millions of dollars like we do make, I just really enjoy playing quarterback for this team. I have since the day I stepped on the field. It’s something I relish, and every year is an opportunity. You don’t get these opportunities back. I want to play for another 10 years hopefully. Each year is an opportunity for us to accomplish something pretty special. I don’t want anything to ever get in the way of that.”

-- Andy Benoit

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Category: NFL
Posted on: July 25, 2010 11:30 pm
Edited on: July 25, 2010 11:41 pm
 

Report: Brady at camp, contract 'within reach'

Getting in a tizzy over Tom Brady's contract status is more dramatic than Patriot fans need to be, but, well, there's probably no stopping them. Brady and Bill Belichick -- regardless of how well Matt Cassel performed two years ago -- are the two biggest keys to the team's success.

Good news on that front comes from ESPN's Adam Schefter , who reports that talks between Brady and the Pats are heading in a "positive" direction.
But one person familiar with the talks said there is ongoing dialogue that he described as positive and, while no deal is imminent, one now is within reach. Brady has one year remaining on his contract. Schefter also notes that there's good likelihood that an agreement could be reached this summer, with the uncertainties of the next CBA potentially holding it back.

Additionally, it appears as if Brady's holdout -- something that was believed to be a concern -- is unlikely to happen.

It seems unlikely that Brady isn't upset about the contract situation (especially giving his willingness to sacrifice cash on his previous deal for the good of the team), but it's now starting to sound more and more as if the whole "strained" relationship between the franchise quarterback and the brass is a little overblown.

We can put that all to rest (and end "Brady Watch") if Adam Caplan's report at Fox Sports is true . Caplan has a source that says Brady showed up for camp on Sunday along with the rookies. This of course would mean that there is no holdout and that talks between the Pats and Brady are indeed further along than we thought.

-- Will Brinson

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Posted on: July 23, 2010 10:45 pm
 

It's officially "The Brady Watch"

The clamor about Tom Brady possibly holding out in New England seems to be picking up. Right now, the general thinking is that it won’t come to that. Still, there could be animosity between the superstar quarterback and Patriot organization. Yesterday, Chris Mortensen appeared on ESPN’s NFL Live and had this to say: T. Brady

"On a scale of 1 to 10, and this is based on what current players [and] former players who know Tom or have spoken to him, and had some communication with him, they say his unhappiness is real, that it's above a 5 on a scale of 1 to 10.

“He's going to make $6.5 million this year. Robert Kraft, the owner, has alluded to the uncertain labor situation. Just as you see with the Broncos and Elvis Dumervil, if you want to get a deal done, you can get a deal done. [The Patriots] did one with Vince Wilfork.

"I think on principle, Brady is disappointed that they haven't stepped up and done the right thing. We'll see if something gets done. There has been a lot of speculation about whether he'd miss a day of training camp just to make a statement. I don't see that happening. Tom is too competitive. He's very professional. But the relationship has definitely chilled, and I think it has chilled on a business level and on a personal level."

--Andy Benoit 

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Category: NFL
Posted on: July 20, 2010 3:16 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2010 3:40 pm
 

Position rankings: quarterbacks

Josh Katzowitz and Andy Benoit saved everyone's favorite position ranking debate for last.

Josh Katzowitz’s top five

5. Aaron Rodgers, Packers

4. Brett Favre, Vikings

3. Philip Rivers, ChargersP. Manning (US Presswire)

2. Drew Brees, Saints

1. Peyton Manning, Colts


This top five quarterbacking exercise is interesting. You basically can put the league’s starting quarterbacks into three categories. The top guys (about seven players), who you’d pick if (for some reason) you needed somebody to go 80 yards in 2 minutes in order to save your mortgage. The middle guys (maybe nine players) who used to be really good but now aren’t or who are young but could turn out to be really good. Then, the lower-end guys (the rest) who are interchangeable and probably wouldn’t lead your team to the top of the division. In that end, this exercise isn’t that difficult, because, basically, we’re picking from about seven quarterbacks.

That said, I’d be surprise if anyone argued against Peyton Manning as the top quarterbacks in the league – and maybe one of the best-five of all time. I could run through the stats, but you know they’re awesome. Perhaps most impressive about Manning, like Favre, is that he’s so durable. Part of that has to do with the performance of his offensive line – Manning was sacked 10 times last year – but he’s also tough, never missing a start in his career (that’s 192 straight games).

Brees had an incredible year last season, recording a QB rating of 109.6 and completing an NFL-record-tying 70.6 percent of his passes. I’d feel safer with Manning with the game on the line, but not much. Rivers and Rodgers passed for at least 4,200 yards, 28 touchdowns and less than 10 interceptions last season. And it’s tough to discount Favre, especially after how he performed last year in his 19th season. Yeah, he plays cowboy too often and throws atrocious interceptions in clutch moments, but for consistent greatness, he’s tough to beat.

Andy Benoit’s top five

5. Brett Favre, Vikings

4. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers

3. Drew Brees, Saints

2. Tom Brady, Patriots

1. Peyton Manning, Colts

Josh, seven of the last nine Super Bowls have been won by quarterbacks who are NOT on your list. I can understand omitting Eli Manning – he ranks in the 10-12 range, not the 1-5 range. But I can’t, for the life of me, figure out how Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger don’t show up.

The only explanation for a “healthy-minded” individual omitting Brady is that said “healthy-minded” individual thinks Brady isn’t the same after his ’08 knee injury. True, Brady had some trouble getting comfortable in the pocket during the first half of last year, but he still finished the season with nearly 4,400 yards and 28 touchdowns. The knee can’t be THAT grave a concern.

The argument against Big Ben, I’m assuming, is that he’s suspended for character issues, which calls his leadership into question. Whatever. The man is 28 and already owns two rings. Physically-speaking, Roethlisberger is the most gifted quarterback in the NFL.
 
Go ahead and retort these Brady-Roethlisberger arguments – I’m prepared to argue all day. (And if you’re prepared to say that Brady has weapons around him, I’m prepared to say that he won his three titles with Troy Brown and David Patten; if you’re ready to mention Roethlisberger’s sack numbers, I’m ready to remind you that his improvised plays have been a more than adequate tradeoff, and I’ll also ask, “If sacks are so bad, then what is Rodgers doing on your list?”)

A few other notes from your list…

**I agree with your analysis on Manning and Favre. Something I’d add is that no two quarterbacks transform average receivers into stars like these two. Favre made the careers of Robert Brooks and Antonio Freeman. He built fantastic chemistry with Donald Driver. Most recently, he’s helped Sidney Rice recognize his full potential. Manning did the same with youngsters Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie last year. Think either of those guys could register 100 yards in a playoff game if they had a typical quarterback throwing them the ball?

**You give credit to Manning’s offensive line. Don’t. All the credit goes to Manning. The Colts offensive line is, at best, average. Left tackle Charlie Johnson is a plodder and both guards are undersized. Manning’s awareness and pocket presence explain the low sack totals. It’s the same case with Brees and the Saints’ line, by the way. Left tackle Jermon Bushrod is awful, and you know how I feel about Jon Stinchcomb. But even with iffy tackles, Brees almost never takes sacks.

**Like you, I put Manning ahead of Brees. My reasoning is that Manning has been playing at the highest of levels for about eight years. Brees, only three or four. That said, I have trouble following your logic when you write, “I’d feel safer with Manning with the game on the line, but not much.” Wasn’t Brees’s Super Bowl title clinched by Manning’s late fourth quarter pick-six?

Josh’s rebuttal

So, you’re going to choose one play to illustrate that Manning isn’t clutch at the end of games? Well, what about the 2006 season AFC Championship game when he led the Colts back from an 18-point deficit, including that game-winning 80-yard TD drive, to beat Brady and the Patriots? Can we count that? Manning’s been clutch for longer than Brees in this league. That’s why I went with Manning as No. 1. Which you agree with, anyway.

When I mentioned there were seven quarterbacks who could have made the top seven, I obviously was also talking about Brady and Roethlisberger. I’ve seen Roethlisberger play numerous times live, and, to me, he’s simply a notch below the guys I’ve listed. I didn’t factor the recent legal issues or the suspension into my equation, but the leadership issues I did. It’s just the way he’s perceived by his teammates and the fact that they’ve questioned his character on a number of occasions. It’s not a good thing. I don’t mind him taking sacks because, I agree, he makes so many plays off his freelancing that it tends to balance out. But I point you to his 2008 stats: 59.9 percent completions; 3,301 yards, 17 touchdowns, 15 interceptions. Those are not elite numbers. Hell, Chad Pennington had better numbers than that in 2008.

And you know what? I don’t have a great argument for excluding Brady, other than he didn’t seem like the same player last year after the knee injury. Plus, Matt Cassel had a pretty good year in Brady’s place, so in my mind, that diminishes Brady just a tad.

But if I had a mulligan, I think I’d replace Rodgers with Brady at No. 5.

Andy’s final word

Can’t let you off that easy, Josh – especially since this is our last position rankings debate. Putting Brady at No. 5 is inadequate. He’s at least 2 or 3. I will say, though, your point about Cassel is not a bad one. The Patriots went 11-5 under him and were hot down the stretch (they got screwed out of a postseason berth by the NFL’s flawed playoffs rules that put the 8-8 Chargers in the tournament that year). During that ’08 season, an immensely respected NFL analyst privately told me that you could argue Brady is simply the greatest system quarterback of all time. This analyst wasn’t saying he believed this, he was merely explaining that the discussion was worth having. We’ll save that discussion for another time. For now, I’ll keep it simple by honoring a Three-Time Champ.

Roethlisberger’s ’08 numbers are poor. And, from afar, he doesn’t appear to be highly respected by teammates. I get that. But again, this is a multi-time World Champion we’re talking about. If we had more Super Bowl winners in the league, you could leave the guy off. But it’s hard to go with Rodgers or Rivers when those guys have yet to build rich playoff résumés.

Final follow up on Manning: I’m not saying he isn’t clutch. He is. I’m just anticipating all the comments we’ll get from people griping that Brees should be No. 1 based on recent history.


Other positions: Safety | Cornerback | 3-4 Scheme Outside Linebacker | Punter  | Kicker | 4-3 Scheme Outside Linebacker | Inside Linebacker  | Defensive Tackle  | Defensive End | Offensive Tackle   | Center | Offensive Guard | Tight End | Wide Receiver | Running Back)

--Josh Katzowitz and Andy Benoit

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.

Posted on: July 12, 2010 7:11 pm
 

Matt Ryan the writer

Atlanta QB Matt Ryan fills in for Peter King in his weekly Monday Morning Quarterback column on SI.com , and he makes some fascinating comments about how he prepares in the offseason.

Basically, after reviewing film of his entire 2009 season, he requested video of six teams that have similar personnel to the Falcons – the Patriots, Colts, Cowboys, Saints, Packers and Chargers. Then, he studied each of the quarterbacks to see how they ran their offense so effectively.

Writes Ryan: “I learned several things about the game and about my own game during my film work, but I was mostly impressed with the patience under fire exhibited by (Peyton) Manning and (Tom) Brady.

“Both of those guys consistently take the underneath routes when they are given to them and don't ever think about going to another route until the defense takes the underneath route away. It amazes me how precise and accurate with the football all six of those guys are, and I can tell you that this was a really beneficial exercise that I feel will make me a better player as my career progresses.”

--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.



Posted on: July 5, 2010 9:31 pm
 

Tom Brady's frustration in New England

For a quick, rock-solid view of how the Patriots organization operates, what the NFL's uncertain labor negotiations mean for superstar players’ contracts and how it could all be leading Tom Brady to frustration in New England, read Albert Breer’s extra points cT. Brady (US Presswire)olumn.

Brady is reportedly not thrilled with his slow/non-developing contract negotiation. He has spent an unusual amount of time in California (i.e. away from Foxoro) this offseason. Pro Football Talk, adding to Breer’s article, says:

One point of frustration, we're told, comes from the manner in which the team has used Brady's willingness to take less than top dollar in the past as a tool for leveraging others in the organization (players and non-players alike) to do the same.  As we hear it, Brady never intended his decision to provide the franchise with a blueprint for squeezing his colleagues.

--Andy Benoit

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Category: NFL
Posted on: June 23, 2010 5:15 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2010 5:18 pm
 

More player reaction on an 18-game sked

In our neverending quest to find an NFL player – any NFL player – who will say they think playing an 18-game schedule is a great idea, we turn to SI.com’s Ross Tucker , who conducted a round table discussion to, well, discuss the possibility of enhancing the ledger.

We talked to Bengals OT Andrew Whitworth about this last week , and he didn’t like the idea. Patriots QB Tom Brady and Ravens LB Ray Lewis also have given their disapproval. What do you think the chances of us finding a member of the NFLPA who will say something – ANYTHING? – nice about erasing two preseason games and replacing them with real contests?

Here are a few quotes from the players:

“Nope.”

“No thanks.”

“Not interested.”

“No gracias.”

OK, I might be paraphrasing a bit.

Here’s what some of them actually told Tucker.

Derrick Brooks, free agent LB: "The owners can't have it both ways. If they want an 18-game season, then they need to say it. I know they are saying it publicly, but they are not saying it at the bargaining table. They need to tell us what they are going to give up and what we as players are going to get in terms of guaranteed money. We are asking for a certain percentage of the contract to be guaranteed if they want to add 120 or more plays a season."

Larry Izzo, free agent LB: “I think this is simply a diversionary tactic on their part. The owners get the full value of the ticket prices from the preseason games already. I think this entire CBA is a big PR battle and this is one of the league's strategies to win that battle."

Read the full article. Some interesting stuff in there.

And on a completely different topic, Tucker asked if there was any sympathy for Washington’s Albert Haynesworth. Six out of eight players said no.

--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.



Posted on: June 17, 2010 1:11 pm
 

Raging Debate Over 18-Game Schedule

The NFL Players Union isn’t thrilled with the PR campaign the NFL has put forth for extending to an 18-game season. After the two sides discussed the issue Wednesday, NFL executives (namely Packers president Mark Murphy) rushed to the media and spoke glowingly about what the league is calling an “enhanced season”.

Murphy said, “Part of it is really providing more value to our fans.”

The NFLPA responded by releasing comments from Ray Lewis and Tom Brady.

“I know our fans may not like preseason games and I don’t like all of them,” said Lewis, “but swapping two preseason games for two end-of-season games — when players already play hurt — comes at a huge cost for the player and the team.”

“I’ve taken part in several postseason runs where we have played 20 games,” said Brady. “The long-term impact this game has on our bodies is well documented. Look no further than the players that came before we did. Each player today has to play three years in order to earn five years of post-career health care.”

Because the preseason is a time for young fringe players to gain experience, Murphy said the NFL may consider establishing a developmental league to make up for the lost opportunities. (The NFL’s current D-League is known as the NCAA.)

The 18-game season will be a sizzling debate in the coming months. Under the CBA, the league has the right to expand to a 22-game season (18 regular season games; four preseason games). But because Roger Goodell and owners want to shorten the low-quality preseason, the league is pushing for an 18-regular, 2-pre season game format.

Expanding the NFL regular season by two games is the equivalent of expanding the Major League Baseball season by 20 games. The financial repercussions are significant and, as Lewis and Brady iterated, so are the physical ones.

--Andy Benoit

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