For Brady, it’s NO-TAS: Big deal or not? We say maybe
For New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, OTA’s are NO-TA’s this spring.
Big deal? Semi-big deal? Not a big deal at all?
The Gillette Stadium Soap Opera continues, we’ll go with door No. 2, semi-big deal. It’s not colossal, and here are the reasons why:
The OTAs are “voluntary” and Brady, of course, has volunteered a lot over the years. When the season starts in September, a lot of this will be forgotten. Brady is not going to lose his edge September through possibly February because for whatever reason he hasn’t been at Gillette in May.
Second, the Patriots have dropped hints they fully expect him to attend the mandatory mini-camp. Now, if he’s not around for that, it’s a biggie.
What makes it somewhat significant are a few things:
One, Brady has always been there for these workouts, and as the real football work starts this week with 7 on 7 and 11 on 11 drills, the guy throwing the majority of the passes will likely be backup Brian Hoyer. Not what we’re looking for.
Two, Brady has always made a big deal that the OTA work is important. Some of the receivers he has little connection with, such as the rookies, plus seldom-used veteran Phillip Dorsett, and late 2017 veteran signee Kenny Britt. Brady always will tell you the work done in May with a certain guy enabled him to make a key play here or there during the season.
Three, the Patriots usually make a big deal of the importance of these outdoor gatherings. Let’s harken back to the spring of 2015, about three months after cornerback Malcolm Butler became a Super Bowl hero. Butler showed up late for OTA workouts after he missed a flight, and the Patriots (Bill Belichick) decided to not allow him to take part in a portion of the on-field workouts as, well, punishment. Thus, if the Patriots feel Butler missing the “voluntary” report time was a big deal, one would think they feel this is too.
Now, of course, it’s quite possible that Brady has already spoken with Belichick or offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels about not coming, that he wants to do his own thing, spend more time with his family, etc. etc. Or it’s possible the soap opera surrounding training guru Alex Guerrero and perhaps a desire for a contract extension has kept him silent, not communicating at all. Perhaps Belichick will shed some light on it when he is slated to address the media on Tuesday. Doubt it.
Now, the fact that tight end Rob Gronkowski hasn’t shown is not a surprise. He is likely waiting for his contract to be reworked for the upcoming season, and that can’t be done by NFL rule until Thursday. He’s met with Belichick already (likely very much a one-sided conversation) thus there’s probably something worked out there. He, too is expected for the mandatory mini camp early next month.
This whole thing just shows there’s the chance the quarterback can say “No way” to the Patriot Way.
And that times have indeed changed at Gillette Stadium as the spring of Patriot fans’ disconent continues.
Tom King can be reached at 594-1251, firstname.lastname@example.org., or @Telegraph_TomK.