No Brady? No Problem According to McDaniels
By Karen Guregian
FOXBORO -- New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has no expectations on when he’ll see Tom Brady. And that’s fine with him.
“This is kind of similar to last year,” McDaniels said, referring to Brady skipping all the voluntary workouts, and appearing for the mandatory sessions only. “When he’s here, he’ll be here. When he’s not, he’s not. It’s voluntary. To each his own.”
Thus far, during the first few weeks of voluntary workouts, there hasn’t been much on-the-field activity. On May 20, passing camp starts. McDaniels, who has been in contact with Brady, said he had “no idea” if the Patriots quarterback might attend those sessions.
“When he’s here I’ll be happy to see him,” McDaniels said during a press gathering Friday. “I trust completely what he’s doing. I’m sure he’s in good shape, good condition, and preparing for the year.”
Brady’s absence from OTAs didn’t appear to have any major effect on the Patriots last season, as the 41-year-old quarterback led New England to a sixth Super Bowl title.
There were new receivers and tight ends to integrate last year.
It’s the same scenario this year with rookie wide receiver N’Keal Harry, newly signed wideout Dontrelle Inman and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins .
“I know he’s working his butt off, and he’ll be ready,” McDaniels said of Brady. “When he walks through the door, I’ll be excited to see him.”
Wait and see on Wynn
Offensive line guru Dante Scarnecchia continued to pump up Isaiah Wynn, the team’s first round pick from last season who is coming back from a torn Achilles. The expectation is for him to play left tackle, replacing Trent Brown.
Scarnecchia, however, said the goal right now is to get him well. That’s the first step.
“He’s doing good, he’s coming along. He’s gotta get well. We’ll see when that is,” Scarnecchia said of Wynn, “but I love the kid. I think he’s a good player. So we’ll just see.”
Thumbs up on Harris
Coach Ivan Fears had a huge smile on his face, talking about his running backs.
Asked about the newest member, third round pick Damien Harris from Alabama, Fears sounded pleased by the addition of the 5-foot-10, 216-pound back.
Fears said during the draft process he evaluated him on film.
“I loved him. I loved everything I saw,” said Fears. “He fits right in with our guys. He’s a little bigger back, which is something we could use. He’ll fit in with Sony (Michel) as a major runner. That’ll be his strong suit, I think. But he’s athletic, he’s intelligent, he’s got passion for the game. There’s something there. But we’ll see what he really does.”
Naturally, Fears is expecting bigger and better things from Michel.
“He’s got a lot of time now to learn about the things that he can do a hell of a lot better. You can always improve, everybody can improve,” said Fears. “He’s got to take that next step to build on what he started and that’s what we expect of him.”
Fears also loves having competition for jobs among plenty of bodies.
“We can’t have enough. In the middle of (last season), we were hurting. You never know what you’re going to need,” he said. “Getting another guy like this, a quality player, it’s a good deal for us.”
He’s a Rodney Harrison fan
Safeties coach Steve Belichick says he uses newly elected Patriots Hall of Famer Rodney Harrison as an example when coaching his players.
“Rodney Harrison was my favorite football player. I looked up to him. I still look up to him. He had such a tremendous outlook on the game,” said Belichick. “He played so hard. When we signed him I was in high school, I’ve idolized him ever since. I still talk to him to this day. Being a coach’s kid when you’re that young, people kind of treat you differently, but Rodney really humbled me and forced me to learn it the hard way, which I still appreciate to this day. I can’t say enough good things about Rodney.”