New England Patriots

The New England Patriots held their first two padded practices of the season over the weekend. Yet, dominating the discussion is Tom Brady’s answer to a question about Julian Edelman’s suspension.

What are we calling this one? Storm-Off-Gate? I’m-Out-Gate? I-Have-No-Comments-That’s-Just-Ridiculous-Gate? Unfortunately, that has been most of the focus over the past few days, rather than the football team getting ready for the season. There’s actual football being practiced and actual games are coming soon, yet it’s still all about the needless drama at Patriot Place.

Quickly, here’s my take on the matter … it’s a valid question to ask Brady about the speculation around Edelman’s connections to Alex Guerrero and the TB12 Center. He was asked if he felt the speculation is fair. Brady could’ve easily said no, it’s not fair, and left it at that. Not that he needed to say anything on the matter, but ending the presser the way he did only invited stronger, more widespread reactions. Ben Volin also could’ve asked the question in a way that didn’t imply he was talking about people other than him doing the speculating. But the essence of the question is not out of line, nor was Brady declining to answer it.

Now, back to football … I was not in attendance for the last two Patriots practices on Saturday and Sunday. I’ll be back there on Wednesday. But a lot of the regulars who are actually on the Patriots beat were at Gillette to cover the goings-on, and there were things to take from the practices that related to (say it with me) football. Here’s a sampling of the most eye-catching observations from the last two days of camp…

Jeff Howe, The Athletic, on Saturday:

— “[Jordan] Matthews caught his first two passes from Brady in this practice. They also missed a connection on a difficult sideline pass in front of Eric Rowe. After that period, Brady walked over to give Matthews some advice on the play, perhaps how to get himself in better position with that type of pass.”

— “Brady was 0 of 2 with a pick when targeting Rob Gronkowski (more on that in the safeties section below). He didn’t hit any tight ends in practice.”

— “The starting [running back] trio was again a mixture of Rex Burkhead, James White and Mike Gillislee. [Sony] Michel and Jeremy Hill filtered in from there with the occasional dose of Brandon Bolden, and Ralph Webb has remained with the rookie offense.”

— “Trent Brown was the best player on the field in the first padded practice, and it’s become apparent why the Patriots have given him the first crack to win the left tackle job. He was as powerful as you’d imagine, but he is quicker than expected while pulling into space.”

— “Stephen Gostkowski was giving holding tips to Corey Bojorquez. That would obviously be an important part of the job if Bojorquez wins the competition with Ryan Allen.”

Howe, from Sunday:

— “Sony Michel had a better day than Saturday, when he lost a careless fumble. Michel caught a screen pass from Brady on the first live rep of the day and took it a long way. He also cut through two levels of the defense on one run that stood out. He took advantage of Gillislee’s absence. Interestingly, this was the second time in four practices when the Patriots have opened with a Brady screen pass to Michel.”

— “The Patriots are finding interesting ways to get the ball into Cordarrelle Patterson’s hands on offense, that’s for sure.”

— “During a bubble screen to Hogan, Trent Brown was in space to block cornerback Ryan Lewis, who is eight inches and 185 pounds lighter than the tackle.”

— “Danny Shelton continues to anchor the front against double teams. He’s been getting looks over Malcom Brown in early-down situations. Shelton won’t give much of a pass rush because that’s not his style, but he could be a real asset to free up his teammates. He looks impressive.”

Doug Kyed, NESN, from Saturday:

— “Patriots defensive end Deatrich Wise Jr. beat left tackle Trent Brown twice in one-on-one pass rushing drills. He also swatted away a pass at the line of scrimmage during team drills. Wise has unique length for his position, and he definitely uses it to his advantage in multiple facets of the passing game.”

— “Wide receiver Jordan Matthews made two impressive snags. He caught a ball out of the air off of a Stephon Gilmore deflection, and he made a falling, toe-tapping grab on the sideline.”

Kyed, from Sunday:

— “Tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Jacob Hollister, running back James White and wide receivers Phillip Dorsett, Chris Hogan and Julian Edelman worked separately with quarterbacks while their teammates were working on kickoff and form tackling drills. It should be viewed as a positive sign that Hollister and Dorsett are included in that group. They could take on greater roles with Edelman out the first four games of the season because of a suspension.”

Kevin Duffy, Boston Herald, from Saturday:

— “DE/LB Harvey Langi flashed speed and power off the edge in one-on-one drills. The 6-foot-2, 250-pound Langi is an intriguing talent. He missed most of his rookie season after sustaining injuries in an October car crash.”

— “TE Jacob Hollister and RB James White received some work with QB Tom Brady and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels at one point. That’s a promising sign for Hollister, who could make an impact as a second-year player.”

Duffy, from Sunday:

— “The goal line defense stood out. The trio of Malcom Brown, Adrian Clayborn, and Patrick Chung shut down Sony Michel on the first rep, blowing up the right side of the line. On the next, Trey Flowers was at the bottom of the pile as Rex Burkhead was stopped short of the end zone.”

Greg Bedard, Boston Sports Journal, from Saturday:

— “This could have just been a one-day thing for the coaches to take a look, or Patrick Chung could have just had a light day, but there was a lengthy stretch of practice where the veteran safety was not in the base defense and, instead, it was Duron Harmon. While things certainly fluctuate based on opponents, this would be a fairly sizable change if the Patriots stick with it.”

What’s Next?

The Pats have their annual evening workout for season ticket holders, which takes place inside the main stadium at Gillette, on Monday night. They’ll get back to regular practice times/locations on Wednesday.

— By Matt Dolloff,

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at