NFL news and notes: Patriots' Tom Brady has a new workout partner; Jets' Sam Darnold details 'rookie wall'

Super Bowl 53: Seven key quotes from Patriots' media availability

The AFC East has belonged to Tom Brady and the Patriots since the early-2000s. But that doesn’t mean the other teams in the division don’t carry any intrigue.

While Tom Brady enters his age-42 season, the Bills and Jets are still entering a new era with second-year quarterbacks Josh Allen and Sam Darnold, respectively. And from the sound of it, they’re only getting better.

Here are a few headlines from around the NFL:

Bills QB Josh Allen raves about new wide receiver Cole Beasley

Bills quarterback Josh Allen has a gigantic arm, but his best friend this season may be a receiver who makes his living close to the line of scrimmage — Cole Beasley.

The Bills acquired Beasley this offseason, and Allen is already raving about what he could mean to the team.

“It’s big, especially for the type of offense that we run,” Allen told The Athletic. “A good example, New England had Julian Edelman for a long time. Tom (Brady) trusts him, knows where he’s going to be, knows his body language. It’s no secret that we run a similar offense to the Patriots, and we want to utilize our slot guys, too, to make somebody miss and get up field.”

Beasley, 29, tallied 65 catches for 672 yards and three touchdowns in 16 games in 2018. In eight seasons with Dallas, he totaled 319 receptions or 3,271 yards and 23 touchdowns.

Tom Brady ‘flashes’ workout video on Instagram

Tom Brady ignited the Patriots fanbase Wednesday when he posted a video to Instagram that showed him throwing to suspended wide receiver Josh “Flash” Gordon.


Practice makes perfect.

A post shared by Tom Brady (@tombrady) on Jun 19, 2019 at 6:09am PDT

Though Gordon is serving an indefinite suspension, The fact that the two are practicing together is an indication that Gordon will be factored in the team’s plans in 2019.

Gordon signed his restricted free-agent tender with New England in April and is scheduled to earn a base salary of $2.025 million should he be reinstated.

He could be permitted to play as early as the start of training camp, though there has been no recent update on Gordon’s status.

Jets QB admits he hit ‘rookie wall’

Sam Darnold’s rookie season sparked serious optimism for Jets fans. But as it turns out, Darnold’s NFL incarnation was more taxing than anyone knew.

“That rookie wall is real,” Darnold told the team’s website.


The fellas #LFG

A post shared by Sam Darnold (@samdarnold) on Jun 13, 2019 at 2:01pm PDT

Darnold said a late-season injury allowed him time to decompress and come back with a different outlook on the game.

“It was starting to become a lot. I had some family stuff I was dealing with too, towards the end of the year right when I got hurt,” Darnold said. “So it was just a lot and I think for me it was taking a step back and realizing, ‘Hey, man. This is a game. You’re supposed to go out there and have fun, not be so stressed.”

Lions QB Matthew Stafford dealt with broken back last season

According to Mike O’Hara, who writes for the Lions’ official website, quarterback Matthew Stafford played through a broken back last season.

All that had previously been reported during the season was that Stafford suffered a back injury after he was tackled 11 times against the Rams in Week 13, and then he was limited in practice for the next three weeks. Before that, he suffered a chest injury in Week 1 against the Jets and a pinky injury in Week 8 against the Seahawks. 

Stafford still managed to start all 16 of the Lions’ games, but Detroit saw a significant drop in his production from recent years. He completed 66.1 percent of his passes for a career-low 3,777 total passing yards and 21 touchdowns, though he extended his consecutive start streak to 128 — the sixth-longest streak in NFL history.

Panthers offensive line taking shape

Protecting Cam Newton will be key for the Panthers this season, and as training camp nears, the unit tasked with job is taking form.

Tackle Daryl Williams didn’t participate in team drills during minicamp with Carolina, but according to the team’s website, Williams is on track for training camp after what head coach Ron Rivera called “a great offseason.”

Rookie second-rounder Greg Little signed a four-year deal with the team Wednesday. Though he struggled in rookie camp, he’s expected to be a starter Week 1.