Tom Brady turns 41

An entertaining Pats notebook on a 90-degree day

Happy Birthday Tom Brady

Tom Brady turned 41 today. The crowd sang happy birthday to Brady. Though it was hot so the melody was weak. The big debate on the team is what to get Brady. "It's hard to shop for a guy who has everything," WR Julian Edelman said. Belichick was vague - saying he had a couple of things planned.

Perhaps, Tom Brady could spend the night with Bill Belichick watching episodes of Tom v. Time. On the menu, would be humble pie, avocado ice cream, and water with plenty of electrolytes. If the two get tired of water, they can switch to Brady's almond milk. Sounds appetizing. Your humble correspondent will stick to chicken and mashed potatoes.

Eric Rowe feeling more comfortable with the Defense

CB Eric Rowe has learned an important lesson of being an NFL cornerback: one can do everything right while in coverage and the receiver can still make the catch. Rowe never understood this lesson better than when he had perfect coverage on Julio Jones's circus catch in the Pats Super Bowl win over Atlanta in 2017. The catch might have been one of the greatest in NFL history. Rowe couldn't believe it.

"I thought there is no way he (Jones) got two feet down," Rowe said. "Then you look at the replay and he did get both feet down. I just couldn't believe it."

For those who forgot the catch, Jones leaped over Rowe - caught the ball, got one foot down and then the second foot down at the last second. Fortunately, for Rowe and the Pats that moment is a blip in what turned out to be the most amazing comeback in Super Bowl history. Belichick wants to force opponents to make incredibly difficult plays in order to win. Belichick constantly tells his defense don't give up any easy plays - make the opponents earn it.

In the Super Bowl against Atlanta, Belichick wanted to force Jones (the likely best receiver in football) to make catches near the sidelines and prevent him from running over the middle of the field where he has more space with which to operate and can use his tremendous speed to gain a lot of yards after the catch.

"Yeah, it was a good moment for all of us; coaches, players, anybody who has on the field. Sometimes great players make great plays. I would say, defensively, that’s what you want to force your opponents to do, is to make as many great, spectacular plays as possible and not give up the easy ones. Occasionally, sometimes you do everything as well as you can do it, maybe perfectly, and other great players do it maybe just a little bit better. We've been on both sides of that. So has every other team, but that’s the National Football League. In this league, players make great plays. Especially on the defensive side of the ball, there are times where there’s great execution between the quarterback and the receivers. We certainly see it on the practice field out here at times where you can do everything right and they still complete it, but I think that’s what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to force them to do everything right. At some point you might have to just take your hat off to them and say it was a great play. Let's see if they can do it again. We try to make it as hard on them the next time," Belichick said Friday.

Rowe is an easy-going player who has learned a lot from No. 1 corner Stephon Gilmore.

"Stephon is not one to say a lot but I learned from watching him and his technique," said Rowe who will likely be the Pats No. 2 corner with the departure of Malcolm Butler.

The Philadelphia Eagles originally drafted Eric Rowe in the second round. Ironically, Rowe started his first game as a member of the Eagles in 2015 against the Patriots where he recorded a team-high three pass deflections (the Eagles upset the Pats that day). The Pats traded for Rowe just before the 2016 season. Rowe played in all three post season games in post season that resulted in the Pats fifth Super Bowl victory. Rowe had 11 tackles, one interception and three passes defensed during the playoff run. Rowe grew up in Klein, Texas (right near Houston) where he served as a senior captain of the football team and was named Klein's most valuable defensive back as a junior and senior. Rowe also lettered in basketball in high school. Rowe then earned a bachelor's degree in business from Utah. Rowe made an impact immediately when he matriculated at Utah as he started all 13 games in 2011. Interestingly, Rowe spent time at safety in college and now is playing cornerback in the NFL a transition that is always not easy to make. S Devin McCourty began his career with the Pats as a corner and now plays safety.

It's 2018 in case you forgot

Whenever Bill Belichick is asked a general question about how training camp has changed or if it is more difficult to develop young players now because of the shortened training camp schedule, Belichick has reminded the happy press core that it is 2018. He does not want to talk about when he received his first coaching job for $25 a week with the Baltimore Colts in 1975, the Pats decision to take an intentional safety on a punt in their win over the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football in 2003, or the decision to bench Malcolm Butler even though that technically occurred in 2018. It was back to the future at Gillette stadium on Friday, however, when Belichick said he is not worried about getting a player ready for the 2029 season. The future is off limits too! Wondering if Mel Kiper has a mock draft yet available for 2029. Belichick will be 77 in 2029, Brady will be 52 and owner Robert Kraft will be 88.

By then, one might have an idea regarding why Malcolm Butler did not play in the Super Bowl.

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