"If there were no scoreboard, then people wouldn’t tune in and watch. There’s only one stat that matters."
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has never been a fan of looking too deeply at the stat sheet, but he took it a step further on Monday. When asked what the most important stats were after wins and losses, Brady essentially said, in so many words: none of them.
Brady said that people only watch football "because there's a scoreboard," according to Tom Curran of CSN New England, basically saying that people wouldn't watch if it were just about guys throwing footballs around with no winner or loser crowned. Brady went on to say that winning games "is the most important thing certainly for this organization."
In other words: Brady feels that wins and losses are all that matter in the NFL. Still, with all respect to him, we're going to continue looking at every single stat, perhaps too closely, despite the fact that he says you "can't sit here and compare one year to another year or compare this player to that player," since that's ... kind of what we do.
"Week 1, I'll be ready to go."
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones had his season cut short due to a foot injury in 2013, but he's expected to be ready and at 100 percent for the start of the upcoming season. It's unclear when Jones will return for certain, though. He's been doing light running and other drills, but hasn't yet gone full speed, and may be waiting for training camp to do so.
Jones did, however, tell SI.com that he will be "ready to go" for Week 1. A player of Jones' caliber doesn't necessarily need to play in the preseason, but coming back sooner rather than later will help shake off some of the inevitable rust. Whatever the case, he's expecting to be starting when the Falcons host the rival New Orleans Saints on Sept. 7.
After posting 1,198 yards receiving on 79 receptions in 2012, Jones' was limited to just five games in his third season.
"The bottom line is it was a team function. Nobody forced Lane to do that."
Responding to concern over a recent tweet, which contained a $17,746.86 dinner receipt and the implication that he had to pay for a "rookie dinner," Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman Lane Johnson says people are overreacting. The Miami Dolphins' scandal with Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito brought hazing and bullying in the NFL to the surface a year ago, and the league has been trying to distance itself from the issue ever since. Johnson said that the whole thing was his idea, to "keep the tradition going," and that he didn't pay for it all on his own regardless, according to PhillyMag.com.
Further, teammate Jason Kelce called the dinner a "bonding experience," and said that it was a "team function." Kelce said that the first thing he does when he gets a raise or promotion is take his family and friends out to dinner. "Nobody forced Lane to do that," he said. Whatever the case, it's not likely we'll see a drop in concern for this kind of thing given how much attention the Dolphins scandal received through the end of last season.
"I'm going to get a fine, period."
-Nate Burleson, Cleveland Browns
Former Detroit Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson is planning on doing something that will net him a fine when he plays his former team on Aug. 9 for the Cleveland Browns' preseason opener. Burleson doesn't have any ill will for his former team and isn't planning on doing something that could hurt anybody -- he simply plans on excessively celebrating, according to MLive.com.
Appearing at a charity game on Saturday, Burleson told reporters he's wracking his brain "figuring out what celebration I'm going to do." He also said that he's going to tell his coach ahead of time that he will be getting a fine. Burleson was well-liked in the Detroit locker room, so his celebration, if he scores, will be light-hearted more than anything. But Burleson does note that it will also be a "poke in the back," to let the Lions know they should have held on to him this offseason.
"It's not like we didn't work hard in Carolina, but we work a little harder [in New England]."
-Brandon LaFell, New England Patriots
Wide receiver Brandon LaFell signed with the Patriots this offseason after getting his career started with the Carolina Panthers. This past season, the Panthers established themselves as one of the top teams in the NFL, but LaFell feels like his new team works harder at practice. "The way we work, the way we practice, is all new. It's not like we didn't work hard in Carolina, but we work a little harder here," LaFell said, as noted by ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss.
The article suggests that veteran players can often experience a "culture shock," based on the no-nonsense approach to practice and preparation in New England. Head coach Bill Belichick runs a tight ship in Foxborough, so it's not surprising to hear LaFell say this, though there will probably be more than a few annoyed Panthers fans.