New England Patriots Rumors & News

Latest On Tom Brady’s Sunday Availability

Barring something crazy, Tom Brady will almost certainly suit up for another AFC championship game on Sunday despite suffering an injury in practice this week.

The cut the Patriots’ 40-year-old quarterback suffered on his throwing hand required several stitches, Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston tweets. Curran notes Brady will play against the Jaguars, although few considered the prospect he wouldn’t.

A source informed ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss the collision that caused the injury was “minor.” Reiss adds Brady is not believed to have suffered any ligament, tendon or bone damage.

While Curran reported Brady was not taking snaps under center when he returned to practice Friday, Reiss received conflicting viewpoints of whether this will be an issue come Sunday. One source said Brady “should be OK” for Sunday while another added it’s possible this freak ailment could affect him to some degree in the game.

Reiss notes Brady threw the ball well in practice on Friday and believes he can execute the Pats’ game plan effectively. New England did not bring in another quarterback to work out this week after the setback, per Reiss. Brian Hoyer is the only other passer on the Patriots’ active roster or practice squad.

Brady battled an Achilles injury this season but has not missed a game due to injury since 2008.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Poll: What Will Be The Super Bowl LII Matchup?

It’s almost here! Super Bowl LII is just a few weeks away, and by Sunday night, we will know what teams will get the chance to play for the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Championship weekend is headlined by a team that everyone thought would be here and three others that have overcome the odds for their opportunity to play under the brightest of lights on February 4. But what will that matchup be come when all is set and done on Sunday? Here are the breakdowns of all four teams that are now a win away from appearing in the Super Bowl.

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New England Patriots (14-3)

The defending Super Bowl champs will play in their seventh straight AFC championship game. They’ve won two of the past three Super Bowls and have the greatest coach-quarterback combo in the history of football. However, even entering the playoffs as the favorite, New England has still faced some challenges in the last few weeks. The organization had to deal with a bombshell report that cited major drama between the three most powerful people in the Pats franchise. Despite the story, the team made easy work of the Titans in the divisional round. They’ll face a much tougher test on Sunday against the Jaguars, and they will have to win with Tom Brady dealing with a thumb injury. The five-time Super Bowl winner will almost assuredly be playing this weekend, but it could put more pressure on the team’s stable of running backs to make plays in the rushing and passing game. The Pats defense took a big step up in terms of pressuring Marcus Mariota and a repeat performance in that aspect will go a long way in the Pats getting to their second straight Super Bowl.

Jacksonville Jaguars (12-6)

The Jags were expected to beat the Bills in the Wild Card round, but pulled off an upset of the Steelers in the Divisional round. Blake Bortles and the offense picked up the pace last Sunday, and they’ll need to continue that type of production in order to keep up with the Patriots in the AFC Championship. The team is still led by a fast and opportunistic defense that can cause turnovers at any time. If they can get pressure on Brady, especially with an injured thumb, they may be able to provide their offense with some breathing room throughout the game. The formula remains the same if the Jags are to pull an even bigger shocker on Sunday. They must run the ball, control the clock, play stellar defense and mix in some big plays if they hope to play in their first Super Bowl about two weeks from now.

Philadelphia Eagles (14-3)

The Eagles were a rare underdog as a number one seed in the second round of the playoffs. However, Nick Foles and the offense were just productive enough for the defense to hold the Falcons out of the end zone late in the fourth quarter. Philadelphia is going to need a better effort against a better Vikings team that is possibly the most complete team in football. The Eagles ran the ball a ton last Saturday and found a nice rhythm offensively when Doug Pederson allowed Foles to have options to either pass or run later in the game. They’ll likely do this again to help their quarterback think less and find Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz and others for first downs. The Eagles defense led by the likes of Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Vinny Curry and Timmy Jernigan need to force mistakes and give the offense some short fields so they can put enough points o the board to win the game and advance to the team’s second-ever Super Bowl.

Minnesota Vikings (14-3)

Mike Zimmer‘s squad doesn’t seem to have a weakness on their roster. They can run the ball with Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon. They have an explosive passing game that can work in the redzone or down the field with weapons like Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen and Kyle Rudolph. The defense has playmakers in every unit as well, so it’s tough for the opposing offense to exploit a certain area when on the field. Nevertheless, the team needed the “Minnesota Miracle” at the end of the game against the Saints in order to advance further into the postseason. They’ll face a different type of team in the Eagles who are more based of their pass rush and controlling the clock. The Vikings will be favored on Sunday because of the way Case Keenum is playing compared to Foles. But the Eagles won’t likely roll over because of the great front seven and the mistakes that they can create on passing downs. Minnesota’s offensive line could be the key to a victory because it would allow Keenum to find his playmakers on the outside to help put up points and force the Eagles to take their chances on Foles’ arm to win the game.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Tom Brady's Thumb Injury

Tom Brady suffered a “painful” thumb injury during a practice that took place at the beginning of the week, reports Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston. According to Curran, the 40-year-old quarterback cut his thumb badly when a running back smashed it while the team was running a play at practice. However, Curran notes that Brady can throw, but doesn’t know exactly just how much it will affect the Patriots gameplan this Sunday.

Patriots Re-Sign PR Bernard Reedy

The Patriots announced that they have re-signed punt returner Bernard Reedy. Reedy will be eligible to play in this weekend’s AFC title game against the Jaguars. Bernard Reedy (vertical)

The Pats will have to make a roster move in order to bring Reedy back into the fold. That will likely be accomplished by placing cornerback Jonathan Jones on IR. On Wednesday afternoon, New England opted against activating wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell from injured reserve, which cleared the way for Reedy to rejoin the team.

Reedy, 26, spent 2017 with the Patriots and Bucs. In total, he returned 18 punts for 175 yards plus seven kickoffs for 145 yards.

The Toledo product caught on with the Pats’ taxi squad in November after the Bucs ended his lengthy Tampa Bay stay. Despite being with the Bucs since the 2015 season, the former 2014 UDFA only saw live action in ’17.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Won’t Activate Malcolm Mitchell

The Patriots have decided against activating Malcolm Mitchell in advance of the Wednesday deadline, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. That means that Mitchell will be out of action for the AFC championship game as well as the Super Bowl, should the Patriots make it. Malcolm Mitchell (vertical)

This was the expected outcome as Mitchell did not suit up for Wednesday morning’s practice. Ideally, the Patriots would have liked to have the 24-year-old on the field. As a rookie in 2016, Mitchell had 32 catches for 401 yards and four touchdowns. This year, he was set to have a larger role in the offense before a nagging knee injury sidelined him in the preseason.

The Pats brought Mitchell back on the practice field in late December, giving them three weeks to decide whether to activate him. In theory, the Patriots could have put him on the 53-man roster and left him on the bench for the AFC title game, giving them the option of playing him in the Super Bowl in a couple of weeks. Ultimately, they felt that they would rather preserve their depth elsewhere with a healthy player.

Heading into the big game against the Jaguars, the Patriots still have a solid cast of receivers including Brandin Cooks, Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola, Kenny Britt, Dwayne Allen, and Chris Hogan.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Prepared To Lose Coordinators

Replacing both Patricia and McDaniels will be a tall task, but the belief in Foxboro is that Bill Belichick will be able to keep things moving with new coaches in each role. For now, that’s all on the backburner as the Pats get set for the conference title game against Jacksonville.

The Patriots are on the verge of losing both of their coordinators, Matt Patricia and Josh McDaniels, to head coaching jobs. Will things roughly stay the same, even after two of the league’s most talented young assistants move on?

I mean, I believe so,” said Patriots captain Duron Harmon (via Phil Perry of CSNNE.com). “The culture is built. The culture is built. This is two decades of winning. A winning franchise. Coach Belichick is going to make sure whoever is in the defensive room is going to be the right guy to display the message and the picture that he wants his defense to play with. That goes through the defensive coordinator, whoever he hires.”

Mike Munchak Declines Second Interview With Cardinals

Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak has turned down the chance for a second head coaching interview with the Cardinals, a source tells Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com (Twitter link). With Munchak out of consideration for the job, Patriots linebacker coach Brian Flores is now a leading candidate for the job. Mike Munchak (vertical)

It’s not immediately clear why Munchak has removed himself from consideration for the Cardinals job. As PFR’s Head Coaching Search Tracker shows, Munchak is also a candidate for the Giants’ head coaching vacancy, but that job likely belongs to Pat Shurmur. With rumors swirling about Todd Haley‘s departure, one has to wonder if Munchak is in the mix to become the Steelers’ new offensive coordinator.

Munchak went just 22-26 in three seasons as the Titans’ head coach, but was said to have made a great impression on Cardinals brass. The Cardinals will now dig deeper into Flores – despite his lack of coordinator experience – as well as Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Josh McDaniels Prefers Titans To Colts?

Josh McDaniels will be the next head coach of the Colts. Or maybe not. Josh McDaniels (vertical)

The Titans canned Mike Mularkey on Monday morning, opening up speculation that the Titans have their eye on another head coaching candidate. If that preferred candidate is McDaniels, then they could have a match. As Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (Twitter link), the belief prior to the Colts report was that McDaniels would prefer the Titans to all of the other available coaching jobs. McDaniels is high on Marcus Mariota‘s potential and also has concerns about Andrew Luck‘s health.

McDaniels may have had a verbal agreement with the Colts, but there’s nothing in writing as the Patriots’ season is still ongoing. Until then, there will be speculation surrounding a reunion between McDaniels and former Pats exec Jon Robinson,

Giants Down To Shurmur, McDaniels?

And then there were two. Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels are the finalists for the Giants’ head coaching position, according to Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press (on Twitter). Pat Shurmur (vertical)

It appears that McDaniels is now a leading candidate for three different head coaching vacancies. Over the weekend, it was reported that he is set to take the Colts’ head coaching job. However, the Titans parted ways with Mike Mularkey on Monday morning, leading to speculation that McDaniels could be in play for Tennessee.

A Shurmur hire could be a popular one in the tri-state area, particularly after he called the game-winning play in Sunday’s thrilling win over the Saints. If he is indeed the next head coach of the Giants, however, fans could be waiting until February for that to be made official. If Shurmur and the Vikings get past the Eagles on Sunday, they’ll be Super Bowl bound.

Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks was said to still be in the running for the Giants’ job, but it appears that is no longer the case. Meanwhile, Shurmur was believed to be a leading candidate for the Cardinals’ vacancy, so they may have to shift their focus elsewhere.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Kraft, Brady, Belichick To Meet After Season

  • Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link) reports that Patriots owner Robert Kraft, head coach Bill Belichick, and quarterback Tom Brady will meet this offseason to clear the air and to resolve whatever tensions exist among themselves. While reports of discord within the organization were likely overblown, Rapoport says there is indeed some tension within the triumvirate, and since Belichick and Brady are not going anywhere until they choose to leave, it makes sense that the three men would want to hash out their issues.