Julian Edelman has never been shy about how he feels about Tom Brady — he “loves him to death” — but the Patriots receiver acknowledges that for now, their on-field bromance is a thing of the past.
“The train keeps moving,” Edelman said Monday in his first chat with the New England media since January. “As it will when I’m not playing here … it just always keeps going.”
Edelman’s eyes are on the future and he’s as interested as anyone to see who emerges as the new conductor of the Patriots’ offense. Edelman wasn’t about to make predictions, but he was struck by Cam Newton when they worked together recently before camp started.
“I mean, he’s a specimen for sure,” said Edelman, “When you first meet him, just his stature — the dude is large, put together well, and he’s got great energy. He’s got a great energy about himself. I was really impressed with his work ethic and his mind-set, just like I’ve been impressed with [Jarret] Stidham’s and [Brian] Hoyer’s — I’ve thrown with those guys as well.‘'
So often considered the little engine that could early in his career, Edelman quickly developed into one of the main fuel injectors for New England’s often high-octane attack.
He’s looking to continue to be that vital cog, but he knows the chemistry he built with Brady over their 12-year run, won’t happen overnight no matter who wins the QB job. It’s why he was so excited to get in some off-campus workouts in with Newton, Stidham, and Hoyer. Without the benefit of an offseason program, those reps are invaluable to learn a teammate’s tendencies and try to develop some timing.
“I think anytime you’re spending time with guys that deliver the football, quarterbacks, especially on your own and away from facility, that’s when you get to learn each other on a whole other level, not just as a football player, but as a person and as a family man and everything,’' Edelman said. “When you learn those things, those are how relationships and trust are what they’re built from. And I think all the quarterbacks, Jared and Hoy and Cam, they’ve all been very excited to go out and just say, ‘Hey, let’s throw. Let’s throw. Let’s throw.’ ‘'
Edelman is coming off one of the best seasons of his career (100 catches, 1,117 yards, 6 touchdowns), grinding through much of the 17-game slate with injuries, including a rib ailment that hounded him nearly from start to finish.
Asked how he’s feeling physically, Edelman spoke more in generalities and shrugged off last year’s bumps and bruises.
“It’s football, everyone gets banged up, everyone’s dealing with something, and then this year in the offseason, you try the whole time to get your body feeling the best it can and you get ready to prepare your body for football. So that’s where we’re at right now,’' he said. “It’s been a crazy offseason … So, there’s been a lot of adjusting and the body’s feeling better and better each day. That’s what you strive for, improvement and continuing to do that with conditioning and all those types of things that we do.‘'
Edelman then tried to lighten the mood.
“I don’t know if I answered that question, but health questions are very scary to me in this organization,’' he said with a grin.
The 34-year-old Edelman, who has 717 catches for 7,949 yards and 41 TDs (including the playoffs), was asked if he can believe how quickly he’s gone from unknown seventh-round pick to Super Bowl MVP.
“Yeah, it’s definitely crazy. I can remember like it was yesterday when I was a rookie and time flies when you’re having fun and had a lot of fun here and hopefully this fun continues and that’s what we’re looking forward to is playing some football and continuing that. That’s all I got for you.‘'
Patriots sign RB Miller
The Patriots continue to build their roster to the 80-man limit with running back Lamar Miller agreeing to a one-year deal pending a physical his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told ESPN.
A former Dolphin and Texan, Miller tore his left ACL a year ago in an exhibition but is expected to be ready to play this season. In seven seasons, including playoffs, Miller has rushed for 6,029 yards and collected another 1,643 in receiving yards.
The Patriots have nice depth at running back, though Sony Michel (foot) is on the PUP list. James White, Rex Burkhead, Damien Harris, and J.J. Taylor round out the crew.
The club is also is expected to sign tight end Jordan Leggett and defensive tackle Darius Kilgo, according to an NFL Media report.
Leggett was drafted in the fifth round by the Jets in 2017. He caught 14 passes for 114 yards in 2018 and spent last season on the Buccaneers’ practice squad. Kilgo spent parts of 2016 and 2017 on the Patriots active roster and practice squad.
In addition, ESPN reported the club is expected to sign offensive lineman Tyler Gauthier, who spent last year on the Patriots practice squad and was recently released by the Jaguars.
New England now has a full roster.
The Patriots will once again face a bevy of mobile quarterbacks this season, including the top four rushers from 2019 — Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson, Arizona’s Kyler Murray, Buffalo’s Josh Allen, and Houston’s Deshaun Watson. Seattle’s Russell Wilson and Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes are on the slate, too.
Lawrence Guy thinks seeing Newton day in and day out will help the defense in its preparations.
“When you look around the league, there’s a lot of mobile quarterbacks, and he’s one of them — he’s one of the top ones to this day. So, you have to be like, ‘How can we use his mobility?‘ ’' he said. “… Because as a defense, you get different teams [in] different weeks, and we’ve got that aspect right now. We’ve got [QBs] that can move. We’ve got people that can throw. We’ve got people that can change up plays. So, it just helps you develop more and more as a team, and it helps [us defend] that situation and style of football.”
Getting lined up
Isaiah Wynn said offensive line coaches Cole Popovich and Carmen Bricillo have made the post-Dante Scarnecchia transition easier because both worked under the legendary assistant, who retired in the offseason. Wynn said consistency, which Scarnecchia always preached, was the top thing the left tackle wanted to work on in the offseason, including nutrition and training. “I don’t want to speak too much on it because I’d rather show it on the field,” Wynn said. “I’ve just been working on my consistency in all aspects. That’s one thing that will be a lot different this year will be consistency in all aspects of my game.’' … Edelman, Guy, and Wynn all remarked on the energy that Newton has brought to Gillette. Wynn said Newton brings “a good juice” to the facility.