Danny Amendola returns to Gillette Stadium with the undefeated Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Brandin Cooks just had a superb receiving game for the Los Angeles Rams in their fourth straight win Thursday night.
The New England Patriots, meanwhile, are sitting at 1-2 and looking for answers at wide receiver as they get set to play the fourth game of Julian Edelman’s four-game performance-enhancers suspension.
Asked Friday if it is frustrating to see his receivers go elsewhere and have success, Tom Brady said, “Not really. I’m happy for those guys.”
“Usually when you leave it’s because you get good opportunities in other places,” he added. “I’m usually generally frustrated by football in general just because it’s a frustrating sport. But I’m sort of happy for guys when they do well.”
Brady said he didn’t watch Cooks catch seven passes for 116 yards and a touchdown in the Rams’ win, saying only, “They have a good team. To be undefeated you have to be good.”
Through that Thursday game, Cooks, traded to Los Angeles for a first-round draft pick that turned into now-injured offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn, has 26 catches — two more than the New England wide receivers combined.
Phillip Dorsett, Chris Hogan and Cordarrelle Patterson have combined for 24 grabs, 230 yards and three touchdowns. Cooks has almost twice as many yards, 452, as the Patriots, and has scored the one TD on Thursday.
Amendola, who left the Patriots via free agency, has 11 catches for 100 yards, also for an undefeated team.
“He’s a great friend. I’m happy for him and his opportunity,” Brady said. “He’s playing well. He was a great player for us. I have a great friendship with him and we’ll be friends for the rest of our lives.”
New England acquired Josh Gordon from Cleveland in time for last week’s game, but Gordon didn’t suit up. Asked Friday if Gordon will play this week, coach Bill Belichick said, “We’ll see.”
The Patriots have not lost three straight games since 2002. Last week, in the Sunday night loss at Detroit, they fell to 12-2 since ’02 after a September loss. They are in the rare position of being two games behind someone – Miami – in the AFC East they seem to own by birthright.
Does that make this a must-win situation?
“These games are important. Division games, that’s what it’s all about, so . they’re 3-0 and we’re looking up at them,” Brady said. “Obviously, we haven’t played the way that we all think we’re capable of playing, this is the next game, so it’s going to be a great opportunity for us to go out there and see if we can put together four quarters of good football.”
He noted the key is the way his team starts the game. The numbers back him up: New England never trailed in the opening win against Houston but fell behind 14-0 at Jacksonville and 13-0 at Detroit, where the offense was invisible until the second quarter.
“You get behind 10 points or 14 points at the start of games and you’re looking uphill all game,” Brady said. “It’s tough to win like that and we’ve done that the last two weeks. So we’ve got to try a different style this week and see if we can get ahead, see if we can play from ahead.”
Last week, Brady, who has thrown six touchdowns passes and two interceptions, was guilty of throwing a pick — he had two through 10 games last year, none in the first four — into double coverage, and also of an intentional grounding.
“I’d always love to play great,” he said. “I don’t always make great decisions out there. But I’m trying. You don’t get awards for trying in the NFL, so we’re trying to play better than we played last week.”
A video surfaced Friday of Brady doing teammate James White’s touchdown dance, the “Kodak Black,” something Brady hopes to do Sunday.
“That’s his move so he’s trying to teach me something out there,” Brady said. “He’s pretty good at it, so I got a long way to go.”
White agreed: “He has a lot of work to do.”
So Brady said he was “going to be going home tonight and working on it – see if I can get in the end zone and do something special.”
Source: The Associated Press