FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Quick-hit thoughts and notes around the New England Patriots and NFL:
1. Brady appreciates history lessons through Peyton's Places: Tom Brady was walking out of the locker room Friday afternoon when he stopped to talk about the NFL's 100-year anniversary and how much he's enjoyed studying the history of the game this year. His primary material has been Peyton Manning's series, "Peyton's Places."
"I've watched them all so far. I love football, bro," Brady said with a smile. "It's a great show. As a fan of football, it's good to learn about the history of the game -- about two-quarterback systems, and trophies, fantasy football, the draft. I learned a lot of things -- probably a lot of things guys here never learn."
Peyton's Places, which is streaming on ESPN+, is a 30-episode series celebrating the NFL's 100th season by reliving the greatest moments in the league's history through conversations with former players, coaches and celebrities. Brady, naturally, will be part of the series as his rivalry with Manning was one of football's all-time greats.
One of the episodes that Brady particularly enjoyed was Joe Namath's guarantee of a victory in Super Bowl III, which is timely to revisit with the Patriots playing host to the New York Jets on Sunday. As it turns out, Brady took part in an interview with Namath on Monday night on Westwood One radio.
"That was awesome. That guy is a legend, an amazing guy. What a great player for the league," Brady said. "My dad loved him."
2. Trickle-down effect of AB's departure: The Patriots' release of receiver Antonio Brown has a domino effect at the position with multiple players. My view:
It increases the reliance the team has on starter Josh Gordon, which given his history, comes with some risk.
It increases the odds that undrafted free agent Jakobi Meyers (NC State) will be active on game day as a No. 4 option -- primarily as an inside receiver.
And it shines a bit of a brighter spotlight on first-round draft choice N'Keal Harry (IR/eligible to return after Week 8) and Cameron Meredith (non-football injury/eligible after Week 8) as possibilities to bolster the ranks in the second half of the season.
It's still a solid group, but Brown -- from a pure football sense -- made it a special group.
3. Roberts' new schedule -- captains meeting Friday at 7 a.m.: Fourth-year Patriots linebacker Elandon Roberts is a first-time captain and the captains meet every Friday at 7 a.m. "I'm enjoying it. It's a learning experience at the same time," Roberts said. "You look at guys like Devin [McCourty] and Tom and Slate [Matthew Slater] and [Dont'a] Hightower, and you see what they do around the team. Now you also see the type of things that they see on the other side of it, and how they operate." Meetings don't last more than 45 minutes, with Roberts saying he hasn't had to adjust his schedule to accommodate, as he's traditionally an early riser.
4. How experience as players has Mayo, Brown making impact as coaches: Ever since linebackers coach Pepper Johnson left the Patriots following the 2013 season, the staff hasn't had the perspective of a former player to lean on. That has changed this year with inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo and coaching assistant Troy Brown. Nine-year captain Devin McCourty explained how players have benefited. "You talk about some of the film we see, and some of the big games, and now to get a hands-on [teaching on] not only techniques, but understanding their mentality and how they viewed things has been awesome," he said. McCourty detailed one example of Mayo, who was a league-leader in tackles during his career, going through the finer points of tackling with the team. "That knowledge is so valuable, to soak that in."
5a. Did You Know, Part I: The 1921 Akron Pros hold the NFL record for most games in a row without allowing a touchdown -- at nine. On Sunday, the Patriots can become the first team in the modern era to start a season without allowing a touchdown in the first three games. The 1937 Bears were the last team to accomplish the feat.
5b. Did You Know, Part II: The fewest points allowed through three games in the Super Bowl era is 13 -- by the 2001 Packers and 2004 Seahawks.
6. Brady's gesture goes a long way with White: Patriots running back James White, now in his sixth year with the team, said it meant a lot that Brady stopped by his annual "Sweet Feet for Strikes" charity event on Monday. The event raised more than $250,000 for Boston Medical Center, according to White, who told a neat story of how Brady signed the prosthetic leg of one patient who is a high-level Paralympic athlete focusing on the heptathlon. "She was really excited," White said. "Anytime any of my teammates come out -- we don't get that many nights off, days off -- it means a lot, and it was pretty cool for Tom to come out and interact with some of the fans. He touched some people while he was there."
7. Scarnecchia's insight on offensive line: Veteran offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia held court with reporters on Friday, and as usual, shared detailed, unfiltered insight on some key pieces up front:
Fill-in center Ted Karras has passed the test so far: "We could not be any more fortunate than to have a guy like that who can play all three of those positions and the wheels don't come off the offense. He's a good worker, a tough guy, he has character. Maybe he doesn't have quite the skill as some guys, but you're going to get everything this guy has. That's all we care about. We'll be fine."
Veteran left tackle Marshall Newhouse has made an impression: "This is a smart guy. I really have been very impressed with him, not only his intelligence and football IQ, but his study and work ethic to learn our offense has been exemplary. This guy has great character and he's a pro. We have to get him a little better in shape and he's working at it."
Starting center David Andrews, on IR, is still involved: "I miss not having him on the field, but he's in every meeting, because he's such a great guy. We can't dwell on that. We have to refocus on the guys we have, nurture the guys we have, and get them ready to play. He's part of that process."
Left guard Jermaine Eluemunor getting up to speed after a trade from Ravens: "He's lost some weight, got in better shape. He's a smart kid, a good kid, and a tough kid."
8. Patriots get Benenoch without giving up a pick: When the Patriots were looking to fortify their offensive line in late August after a string of injuries, they had Tampa Bay's Caleb Benenoch on their radar, but the Buccaneers ultimately held on to him. New England ended up making three deals for offensive linemen Korey Cunningham, Eluemunor and Russell Bodine (no longer with the team), and now after signing Benenoch on Tuesday, they get a player they had previously targeted without having to give up compensation. Benenoch's contract is for one year and worth up to $1.4 million, which reflects how there was some competition for him (Benenoch had workouts with the Texans and Lions). As it turns out, Benenoch's desire to play for Scarnecchia -- who views him more as a tackle than a guard -- tipped things in the Patriots' favor.
9. Fears -- running game behind passing game: Ivan Fears, the Patriots' longtime running backs coach, noted how a string of injuries along the offensive line has created an additional obstacle to get the running game started through the first two weeks. The Patriots have totaled 225 yards on 64 carries (3.5 average), but Fears sees better days ahead. "The running game is definitely behind the passing game right now," he said. "Timing is everything. We've had a lot of injuries after training camp. Now those guys have to learn the plays, the concepts, the terminology, the nuances that go along with being on the offensive line. That's what affects us the most. It's a learning process. We're trying to come together as a group and it's going to get there."
10. Brady laments decline of hard-nosed, disciplinary coaches: In his radio interview on Westwood One, hosted by Jim Gray, Brady made a connection to Patriots coach Bill Belichick and some of the all-time greats. Brady's thoughts on the decline of disciplined coaching was notable. "I've seen some Bear Bryant. I've seen some Paul Brown. I've seen a lot of Vince Lombardi. And I think Coach Belichick -- that way of coaching, as a disciplinarian, is going out of style in the NFL, unfortunately," he said. "That's the only coach I've ever known. I think it's an amazing way, an amazing style, is you coach the players and give them the truth. You motivate them to be the best they can be. Without Coach Belichick coaching me the way he has, there's no way I would become the player I am today."