Here are a few more quick hits about the New England Patriots to get you through your day. Don’t forget, training camp starts three weeks from Thursday.
Changing of the guard
For the first time since his rookie season in 2000, quarterback Tom Brady will take the field without Josh McDaniels roaming the sideline. McDaniels held various coaching positions in New England from 2001-08, but he was hired as the Denver Broncos’ head coach during the offseason.
McDaniels was the team’s quarterbacks coach for the last five seasons and was also the offensive coordinator from 2006-08, so he and Brady had a strong bond together. With McDaniels now out of the picture, the Patriots promoted Bill O’Brien to quarterbacks coach, and it is believed O’Brien will call the offensive plays from the sideline.
“Josh and I had a great relationship,” Brady said. “That’s part of the NFL. Things change every year. There’s 13 new head coaches, and he’s one of them. I really hope that we find ways to move on without him. We’ve started that process. It doesn’t stop for anybody around here. You leave, and somebody else fills your spot and you’re anxious for the opportunity. We’ve got to work hard to get up to speed on everything. The coaches that are in that role are really doing that.”
In like a Ryan
Apparently, new New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan has a sense of humor. Now that he’s facing the media on a regular basis, he’s letting it shine.
Ryan told the New York media last month he’s “not here to kiss Bill Belichick’s rings” and actually has plans to contend for a Super Bowl title. Hey, a guy’s got to have goals, right?
Patriots linebacker Adalius Thomas knows Ryan from their days together with the Baltimore Ravens, and he wasn’t all that surprised to hear the comments.
“It’s Rex,” Thomas said. “It was funny. You guys aren’t used to that, though.”
But Thomas refused to stir the pot any further.
“It’s funny,” Thomas said. “It’s a sense of humor. It’s something that you normally don’t see in the media in June. It’s something you guys really jump all over and really go all over from New York to Miami and then come here with it and expect me to pump gas on it. No, no thank you.”
Tight end Alex Smith is coming along during his first session of camps with the Patriots, and he’s been learning the offense along with Shane Waldron, who is in his first season as the team’s tight ends coach. But Smith said Waldron isn’t acting like a rookie in his new gig by any means.
“I wouldn’t have been able to tell,” Smith said. “He seems to have everything down pat. He has the offense like the back of his hand right now. He has been a big help for me just bringing me along. Like I said, I started from scratch, and he’s filling me in as quickly as possible. I’m really impressed with what he’s doing right now.”
Ride for Randy
Christopher Price, a great friend of mine and a sportswriter who has covered the Patriots for the better part of the last decade, is helping host the sixth annual “Ride for Randy” on July 18 in Brewster, Mass. The ride helps benefit the RPM Fund, which was established in the memory of Randy Price, Chris’s brother who lost his battle with cancer in 2003. The RPM Fund presents annual sportsmanship awards to aspiring Olympic athletes in the sport of skeleton, which Randy was so passionate about. To learn more about next week’s ride or to donate to the RPM Fund, please visit rpmfund.org.
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