FOXBORO, Mass. — Some leftover notes and nuggets from Friday’s New England Patriots media availability at Gillette Stadium:
— Running back James White has come a long way since 2014, when he appeared in just three games as a rookie.
White, one of the heroes of Super Bowl LI and an important cog in New England’s offense for the past three seasons, was announced Thursday as one of the Patriots’ six captains for the 2018 season. He and safety Patrick Chung were the two first-timers in that group.
“It’s definitely an honor to be elected by my teammates and to be a captain of the team,” White said Friday. “For me, it’s just try to lead by example, try to do things the right way, and at the same time, just go out there and perform every weekend and give the team the best I have.”
White, who is much more effective as a pass-catcher than he is as a rusher, played in 14 games for the Patriots last season, catching 56 passes for 429 yards and three touchdowns. The fifth-year pro could play an even more prominent role in New England’s offense early this season while wide receiver Julian Edelman serves his four-game suspension.
“He’s done a great job for us both on and off the field,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “He’s one of our most dependable players. Everybody has a lot of confidence in him because he’s earned it. He’s earned that confidence and trust from his teammates and his coaches by doing it on a consistent basis. There’s no real magic to that. It’s just going out there and being consistent and dependable. He’s done a great job of it.”
— Quarterback Tom Brady watched Thursday’s Atlanta Falcons-Philadelphia Eagles game with his son, who was paying particularly close attention.
Why? Because Brady’s son has Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan on his fantasy team.
“My son does fantasy football, and he’s looking at his projections for this week and going, ‘Dad, I’m supposed to lose,’ ” Brady said. “I said, ‘Well, none of that matters because, you know, you’ve actually got to go play the game.’ ”
Ryan wound up being an unfortunate fantasy play this week, though.
The 2016 NFL MVP completed just 48.8 percent of his passes for 251 yards and no touchdowns with one interception in an ugly 18-12 loss to the reigning Super Bowl champs. Atlanta’s only saving grace on offense was star wide receiver Julio Jones, who caught 10 balls for 169 yards.
— The Patriots will host the Houston Texans this Sunday in their regular-season opener. Brady & Co. squeaked by Houston 36-33 in Week 3 of last season, and the 41-year-old QB is expecting another tight contest.
“I think (the Texans) have some of the best players in the league at their position — J.J. Watt, (Whitney) Mercilus, (Jadeveon) Clowney,” Brady said. “… They were all in there the last time we played them, and we barely came back and won that game. That took everything we had and some luck to win that one last year.
“They’ve got a good offense, got a really good defense, good in the kicking game, well-coached. I mean, I expect it to go down to the end, and that’s where our mindset is.”
The Patriots currently are listed as 6 1/2-point home favorites on Bovada.
Thumbnail photo via Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports Images