Belichick Ranks As Top NFL Coach (CSNNE)
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick topped the list of the best current NFL coaches according to David Steele of The Sporting News. The longtime New England mastermind beat out all 31 other current NFL coaches in large part due to his ability to consistently keep his team in the running for the Superbowl, with or without significant injuries, every year since his tenure began 15 years ago. Seattle's Pete Carroll and Giants head coach Tom Coughlin were next in line to round out the top three.
"It's going to be a long time before any coach is able to dislodge him from the top, even if he never wins another Super Bowl. What makes him special, heading into Year 15 in New England: You can hardly remember the last time the Patriots began a season without being one of the favorites to win it all. Tom Brady or not, that's indescribably hard to do…Start with Bill Belichick and work your way down," wrote Steele.
TE Kyle Auffray Signs with New England (Boston Globe)
First-year tight end Kyle Auffray signed with the Patriots on Monday. Auffray was originally signed by Arizona in May 2013 before being released before the start of the season. The 27-year old started his collegiate career as a quarterback for Mississippi State before moving to New Hampshire and transferring into the role of tight end. He was also used a punter in his final college season, averaging 37.7 yards from 71 punts. Rookie free agent Derrick Johnson was released by the team in order to make room for the newest tight end.
Edelman and Garoppolo Show Off During OTAs (NESN)
As the Patriots continue organized team activities, wide receiver Julian Edelman seems to be working hard on the field to impress coaches. Edelman was able to beat out newly signed corner Darelle Revis on three throws from Brady. The team began 7-on-7 and 11-on-11s with Brady going 9-for-12 during 11-on-11 drills.
Rookie QB Jimmy Garoppolo also stood out during Thursday's practice spreading the ball nicely as he targeted running backs and receivers, going 4-for-6 during his first 7-on-7s and 4-for-7 in 11-on-11s. Garoppolo also stayed late to workout with rookies Reece Wiggins, Jeremy Johnson, Jeremy Gallon and Wilson Van Hooser after practice.
The team, however, continued to rotate players throughout positions such as safety, cornerback, running back, tackle and wide receiver as the starting roster has not yet been decided.
Patriots Pick Up Jeremy Johnson (Providence Journal)
New England signed rookie free agent Jeremy Johnson on Thursday. The wide receiver caught 112 passes for six touchdowns and 1,112 yards in his senior season with SMU. The Patriots were able to pick up Johnson after releasing tackle R.J. Mattes on Wednesday as the team is now back to a full roster.
James Anderson Adjusting to OTAs (boston.com)
Linebacker James Anderson, one of the newest linebackers to sign with New England, must learn his third defensive system in the last three years. The veteran linebacker spent eight years with the Panthers before signing with the Bears last season. Anderson became a free agent after the 2013 season and was picked up by New England in early June after the team had started organized team activities.
"I feel like a rookie almost because it's a totally different defense than I've ever played," Anderson said on Thursday. "So just learning the techniques and how they want things done, I've got to spend a little more time in the playbook."
Primarily a strong-side lineman, Anderson spent 449 of 1,013 snaps in coverage last season, 222 in 2012 and 478 in 2011. The 6-foot-3, 235-pounder could be a great defensive asset in 2014 for New England who has struggled in coverage over the middle in the last few years, ranking 29th in tight end coverage in 2011 and 2012.
As Tom Brady hits the back nine of his career, the future Hall of Famer has more to prove in 2014…