Five Things to Watch: NFL Week 1

Five things I’ll be looking at in the first week of the 2017 NFL season:

1. How will Tom Brady play in the Patriots Thursday night opener against the Chiefs?

At age 40, Brady has shown no signings of slowing down in training camp. And if Brady is still Brady, they are three games – two home playoff games and the Super Bowl – away from a sixth Super Bowl title before they inflate their first football.

With Brady, they are a lock to make the playoffs again since they play in a division with the Jets, Bills and Dolphins. But sometimes aging quarterbacks can just suddenly fall off a cliff. Or decline slowly.

Brady will be under the microscope for any signs of slowing down all season. Oh, and the other thing about the opener is the reception the Patriots fans will give Roger Goodell. How many will wear the clown T-shirt that defensive coordinator Matt Patricia wore getting off the plane after the Super Bowl? What will their signs say?

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Cutler move shows Dolphins still paying a price for past personnel sins

The Miami Dolphins’ desperation move to bring Jay Cutler out of retirement once Ryan Tannehill was injured is another example of how a team can be haunted for years by mistakes of past regimes.

That’s because neither Tannehill nor Cutler should be their quarterback.

Their quarterback should be Drew Brees, but the Dolphins bypassed him twice early in his career.

In the 2001 draft, they took cornerback James Fletcher with the 26th pick in the first round. Brees went to San Diego with the first pick of the second round even though Dolphins general manager Rick Spielman said before the draft that three members of his staff had looked at every college pass by Brees.

According to a story written in 2009 by Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, who still covers the team, Spielman told him after the draft they didn’t feel Brees was that much better than incumbent Jay Fiedler. Later, the story changed that then coach Dave Wannstedt pushed Fletcher instead of Brees.

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