New England Patriots News 7-12 and Notes Around the AFC East

New England Patriots News 7-12 and Notes Around the AFC East

Steve Balestrieri
July 12, 2015 at 06:00am ET

Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski among absentees at Patriots practice
Bill Belichick feels late improvement an output of full season's work
Stephen Gostkowski earns AFC special teams player of the week
Buckley: Patriots are clearly the best team, and that's a little boring
Patriots notebook: Robert Kraft thankful for team's recent run

Good morning, here are Sunday’s Patriots news notes and what’s happening around the division:

Brady Appeal To Hear Verdict Soon?: This week Roger Goodell was talking to ESPN in Idaho at a conference when asked about the appeal of Tom Brady and he stated that he was close to making a decision and it may come as early as next week.

The league did finally make a decision on the Greg Hardy appeal. Hardy, the Cowboys LB was originally suspended for 10 games for committing domestic violence on his girlfriend. He was convicted in court, but when Hardy asked for a jury trial, his girlfriend refused to appear and the charges were eventually dropped. His suspension is now four games.

So the way the situation currently stands, Hardy was found guilty of assaulting his girlfriend and threatening a witness and is suspended for four games. Brady meanwhile, was probably “generally aware” that Patriots sideline personnel “more probably than not” deflated the football to under the league prescribed PSI and is suspended for the same amount of time.

Does that seem remotely in the realm of consistency to anyone?

Bill Belichick may be spending more time in the Worcester area in the near future. Amanda Belichick, Bill’s daughter was named the head lacrosse coach for Holy Cross. With his son Stephen coaching with him at New England, his personal coaching tree continues to grow. Congrats to Amanda.

Brady, Gronk Make Top 10 of NFL Top 100 Players: Patriots QB Tom Brady and TE cracked the NFL’s Top 10 of top 100 players in a poll recently released by the NFL.

It is interesting to note that at this time last year, many were questioning whether Gronkowski would ever be the same after so many injuries and Brady was widely considered no longer an elite quarterback.

While their 2014 seasons vaulted themselves back into the top 10, many Patriots fans have taken umbrage with Brady being ranked lower than Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers. While that debate could on and on ala the Brady – Manning debate, here’s one tidbit to keep in mind.

No one doubts the talent of Rodgers but he and the Packers offense could manage two second half field goals letting a big lead slip away in the NFC Championship game before losing in overtime. Seattle’s defense in the last eight games prior to the Super Bowl allowed a total of 78 points an average of 9.75 points per game.

In the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl with the defending champion Seahawks holding a ten-point lead, Brady led the Patriots on an epic comeback. Brady’s final two drives in the fourth quarter were completed with laser like precision with him going 14-16 for 130 yards and two touchdown passes leading the Patriots to a 28-24 win.

Polls are polls and everyone is entitled to an opinion, but Super Bowl wins speak volumes.

Belichick Lets Gronk be Gronk: In a small but fascinating piece by Mike Reiss, he quoted an excerpt from the upcoming Rob Gronkowski book “It’s Good to be Gronk”.

In it, he quotes Gronkowski in a chapter of the book telling of Belichick questioning the tight end’s notorious party life style. But when Gronk tells the coach it fuels him to work harder, Belichick responds with “whatever works for you” as he walks away.

The entire piece can be read here: It is fascinating because it delves in the Belichick method of team building and coaching. While no two players are the same, he recognizes the work ethic of the big man while just giving him a not-so-subtle reminder that he needs to tone it down a notch.

No blow-ups, no shouting matches, nothing said to the press, a quick sideline one-to-one conversation that got the point across and recognized the hard work. Small things like this make Belichick the coach he is.

Redskins Name Draws Ire of Courts: While not Patriots news, it was interesting that a judge this week struck a huge blow against the Washington Redskins by removing the team’s trademark regulations. This move has been a source of decades of controversy by many Native Americans who find the team name “disparaging”.

This may open the door for certain people who have been after Washington to change the name of the team, something the franchise has fought.

Kerry Byrne of Cold Hard Football Facts penned a fantastic piece back in 2013 on the origin of the name. Byrne who is part Native American himself, (Nipmuc/Micmac), traces the ancestry of the name back to Tamanend also known as Tammany a 17th century Delaware Indian who befriended William Penn.

Tammany was revered by Colonial America and was dubbed the Patron Saint of America. He was referred to as King Tammany by future President John Adams back in 1777.

American colonists dressed as Indians, “Redskins” during the Boston Tea Party, signifying that they were identifying with Native Americans rather than the British Crown. Tammany’s likeness was the original design for the Redskins as well as the Boston Braves baseball team. But history has a way of re-writing itself.

One has to wonder if a franchise is ever granted to London, if the good people of England would object to New England’s choice of the team name. Most back in 1776 would not have considered them “Patriots” back then.

Eastbound and Down…..News from around the AFC East:

Jets Announce Training Camp Schedule: The New York Jets announced their training camp schedule recently with the players reporting on July 29 and the first day of practice beginning on July 30.

The Jets camp will take place at the Jets practice facility at Florham Park. A “Green and White” practice will take place on August 8 at 7 p.m. in MetLife Stadium.  The team will also hold a Family Night at Hofstra University on Aug. 23.

Dolphins Fans Considered Worst in the NFL: In yet another study deemed to find the most passionate fans in the league by Emory University, the Miami Dolphins fans are considered the worst in the league.

The study by Emory’s Manish Tripathi and Mike Lewis tried to find the “most avid, engaged, passionate and supportive fans.” They used a comparison of the team’s revenue, against its performance on the field and the size of the team’s market.

Just for comparison, New England’s fans came in at #2 behind Dallas while the Jets fans rank as the #5 best fans while Buffalo’s come in at a disappointing 28th.

Bills Top 5 Positions to Watch at Camp Doesn’t Include QB: BuffaloBills.com recently posted a five positions to watch at the Bills training camp which opens on July 30 and surprisingly QB was not among them.

The Bills official website listed the top five positions to watch as Wide Receiver, Safety, Offensive Tackle, Running Back and Tight end.

While there will certainly be some good positional battles going on at those spots, shouldn’t the most important position and one where there the Bills and new coach Rex Ryan have no clear starter be listed as least top five? Interesting take by the team there.

Thoughts go out to family of former Raiders and Alabama QB Kenny Stabler who passed away this week of cancer at the age of 69. Stabler was the face of the Raiders offense during their prolific run through the mid-70s.

Stabler brought the Raiders a Super Bowl after the 1976 season that many Patriots fans will remember as the infamous “Ben Dreith” game, with the Sugar Bear Ray Hamilton "roughing the passer" penalty that wouldn't be a penalty today let alone 1976. This was long before anyone heard of the Tuck Rule. But Stabler was a cool customer and a great QB and the bigger question now after his death is why isn’t he in the Hall of Fame?

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