|01.23.11 at 7:55 am ET|
Ten mostly Patriots-related thoughts to keep you busy between now and the kickoff of championship Sunday:
1. Is a week enough time to start going back and revisiting what happened in that divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium? If you think you’re over it, the guys at the always awesome show ‘NFL Playbook’ (Mike Lombardi and Brian Baldinger, two of our personal favorites) have a look back at how the Jets were able to beat the Patriots. If you can stomach it, it’s a fantastic breakdown of what happened last Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
2. Speaking of the divisional playoff, there’s an interesting story here from New York Daily News’ sports media columnist Bob Raissman, who believes the CBS broadcast crew of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms let Bill Belichick off too easy in the wake of last week’s divisional playoff contest, and even suggested they show bias toward the Patriots and coach Bill Belichick. Nantz and Simms responded to the criticism in a Fanhouse story here. A good look at what some broadcasters have to go through on a weekly basis when it comes to chargers of bias, as well as how they respond to them.
3. Another good read here at Pro Football Talk, which picked up the story of former Patriots fullback Heath Evans lacerating the Dolphins for hiring former New England assistant Brian Daboll as their new offensive coordinator. Evans, speaking on ESPN 760, said, ‘The Dolphins probably just got worse. When he was in New England, he was never a guy that I would have considered the brains of the operation.’ Evans was with the Patriots for two of the seven seasons Daboll was an assistant with the Patriots, but it seems like the two never really got along. ‘As soon as I saw it I second-guessed the decision,’ Evans said. ‘A franchise that is really just struggling for success, why do you take an unproven commodity? I second guess it. I don’t know.’
4. The Patriots had a phony Twitter account pop up this week, one that purportedly belonged to wide receiver Julian Edelman. That one was sniffed out by teammate Darius Butler, who asked the fake Edelman to text him. That was enough for Butler, who said it was no good. (The Patriots official Twitter feed also debunked the idea that Danny Woodhead was on Twitter.) The following are verified accounts: Vince Wilfork, Kyle Love, Ron Brace, Rob Gronkowski, Deion Branch, Matt Light, Gary Guyton, Leigh Bodden, Sergio Brown, Darius Butler, Tony Carter, Devin McCourty, Jarrad Page, James Sanders and Bret Lockett. A good rule of thumb? If there is any question, check with @realpatriots for verification on the account.
5. There are two local connections in Sunday’s championship games that might have gone unnoticed. First, Green Bay’s offensive coordinator Joe Philbin has deep New England roots, having been born in Springfield, MA., and having held three different stints as a college coach in the New England region: offensive line coach at Worcester Tech (1986-87), offensive coordinator/offensive line coach at Northeastern (1995-96) and offensive coordinator,/offensive line coach at Harvard (1997-98). Second, you could count the number of Cape Cod natives who played in the NFL on one hand, but Wellfleet’s Mike DeVito is a defensive end with the Jets who is looking to do the lower Cape proud. (He played at Maine from 2003-2006.)
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|01.22.11 at 7:29 pm ET|
Seems that someone has discovered some of these shirts floating around out there. (Credit alert Tweeter @AhoyNickStevens with the picture.) No great surprise ‘ companies print up batches for both sides to cover their bases and to hand them out to the winners as soon as the game is done (these bring up a tough memory for any Patriots fan) ‘ but it is a surprise that they have become public, especially in a game where both sides might be angling for some bulletin-board material.
If the Steelers got ahold of these, it wouldn’t be the first time that a T-shirt has played a role in an AFC Championship Game at Heinz Field. Prior to the 2001 game in Pittsburgh, the Patriots discovered boxes of Steelers championship swag next to their locker room. Patriots coach Bill Belichick took one and gave it to New England safety Lawyer Milloy, who put it on the Patriots’ blackboard. And after the Patriots’ 24-17 win, the New England players returned to the locker room and gleefully stomped on the T-shirt.
|01.22.11 at 9:32 am ET|
According to Denton County (Tx.) records, former Patriots wide receiver Terry Glenn was arrested early on Thursday morning and released that same day on $3,011 bond for driving while intoxicated and possession of marijuana.
Glenn, 36, spent parts of 12 seasons in the NFL after the Patriots took him in the first round (No. 7 overall) of the 1996 draft. He set an NFL rookie record by catching 90 passes in his first season with the Pats, and ended up catching 329 passes over his six years with the Patriots.
But his tenure in New England was also characterized by off-field problems, including an arrest in 2001 for assault and battery on the mother of his son. He was deactivated by the Patriots for most of the 2001 season, during their Super Bowl run, and the Patriots traded him to Green Bay the following summer for two fourth-round draft picks. After one season, Green Bay traded him to Dallas for a draft pick, and Glenn spent the next five years with the Cowboys.
However, since his release from the Cowboys in 2008, he has been arrested multiple times, according to several reports. He was cited and handcuffed but not arrested in late-2005 — while still a member of the Cowboys — for public intoxication when a cop found him urinating outside of a restaurant. In early 2009, he was arrested for public intoxication and marijuana possession. In Jan. 2010, he was arrested on grand theft auto charges for not returning a rented car. In Sept. 2010, according to Denton Co. records, he was arrested and released on a $500 bond for marijuana possession.
|01.21.11 at 3:15 pm ET|
With thoughts of the NFL Draft are cropping up among those Patriots fans choosing to look forward instead of back, let’s take a look at some of the results from the NFL Combine last year and how they translated into production on the field in 2010. Today … the 40-yard dash:
Best 40-yard dash times:
QB: Jarrett Brown (4.54) — The West Virginia product was signed by the 49ers as a rookie free agent, but had to settle for a spot in the practice squad. He was ultimately released, but did sign with the Browns on Jan. 6.
RB: Jahvid Best (4.35) — The former Cal running back was taken 30th overall by the Lions. He played in all 16 games, but rushed for just 555 yards on 171 carries (3.2 avg.), along with four TDs. He battled Turf Toe for much of the season. (To see Best’s run, click here.)
WR: Jacoby Ford (4.28) — (Patriots’ wideout Taylor Price was second at 4.41) — Was drafted in the fourth round by the Raiders after turning in the combine’s best 40-time. He proved one of the league’s best return men, bringing back three kickoffs for touchdowns. Ford caught 25 balls for 470 yards and two touchdowns. (To see Ford’s run, click here.)
TE: Dorin Dickerson (4.40) – The former Pitt star was drafted in the seventh round by the Texans. He played in seven games, but didn’t make a catch.
OL: Bruce Campbell (4.85) — A product of the University of Maryland, Campbell was taken by the Raiders in the fourth round. The Raiders moved him from tackle to guard, and while he did play special teams, the 6-foot-6 lineman had a hard time cracking the team’s starting lineup. (To see Campbell’s run, click here.)
DL: Dexter Davis (4.64) — Hailing from Arizona State, Davis was taken by the Seahawks in the seventh round. He played in 15 games, making 13 tackles while notching a sack. (To see Davis’ run, click here.)
LB: Jamar Chaney (4.54) – The Mississippi State product went in the seventh round to the Eagles. Chaney got his big chance when Philadelphia starter Stewart Bradley dislocated his elbow in Week 14, allowing the rookie to step into the starting lineup. He finished with 42 tackles for the season. (To see Chaney’s run, click here.)
CB: Brandon Ghee (4.45) — After finishing at Wake Forest, Ghee became a third-round pick of the Bengals. He would play in six games, primarily appearing on special teams, finishing with nine tackles. (To see Ghee’s run, click here.) (The Patriots’ Devin McCourty had the fourth-best 40-time among cornerbacks, coming at 4.48. See see his workout, click here.)
S: Taylor Mays (4.43) — After being taken out of USC in the second round by the 49ers, Mays finished with 38 tackles. He made some news when he criticized his former college coach, Pete Carroll, for not preparing him for the NFL Draft. (To see Mays’ run, click here.)
|01.21.11 at 1:03 pm ET|
Sports Illustrated and NBC Sports football analyst Peter King made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Friday to talk about the NFL playoffs. To hear the interview, including King’s thoughts on Bill Belichick‘s legacy, the NFC championship game and the Tom Jackson controversy, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
King said in the days before the Jets knocked off the Patriots, Rex Ryan went to his staff and defensive team leaders and asked them for suggestions on how to stop the Patriots offense. Explained King: “He said, ‘Listen, if you’ve got some ideas, give them to us. We’re looking to do new things to try to confuse the Patriots.’ And I think what they ended up doing was basically fairly consistently putting [Antonio] Cromartie and [Darrelle] Revis alone with whoever the Patriots put outside. It wouldn’t have mattered whether it was [Wes] Welker, it wouldn’t have mattered whether it was Deion Branch ‘ I guess most often it was probably Deion Branch and [Brandon] Tate.
“And they said we’re not going to concentrate ‘ I’m not saying we never will ‘ but we’re not going to concentrate on giving them any safety help. They’ll just handle those guys, and then we’re going to cloud the middle of the field, and we’re going to make Tom Brady, when he looks over the field, we’re going to make him look at traffic everywhere he looks. I think that’s, in essence, a lot of what happened in this game.”
As for why the Patriots were not able to successfully combat the Jets’ strategy, King said: “I’m not really sure what you can do without either sort of the blazing speed or the big, type Calvin Johnson or Randy Moss in his prime on the outside to really affect the game. For instance, I think that the Pittsburgh Steelers probably right now are more well equipped to face that secondary because they’ve got three speed receivers that they can put on the outside now. It’s going to be difficult, in my opinion, anyway, for the Jets to match up the way that they were able to match up on the Patriots.
“To me, I think it just underscores the need that ‘ Randy Moss is gone, but it doesn’t mean that you don’t need a big receiver in a game when you’ve got two really good cover corners. A big receiver in that game would have gone a long way ‘ a big, athletic receiver.”
King also addressed the league’s warning to players about trash-talking and then targeting players on the field. “I think the league didn’t want to come out and single out the New York Jets for basically doing this trash-talking,” King said. “But I think they wanted the Jets and every other team to know that we’re not going to tolerate having guys talking about bounties, and having guys talk like that any more.”
Added King: “Once they figure out this CBA, I think that’s one of the things they’re going to talk about. It’s just a coincidence it’s happened at the same time that we’re talking about civility in the country, but I don’t think that Roger Goodell and the NFL believe that’s a very smart way to showcase your game to have one player saying publicly, in very strong language, cursing another player on the team. And same thing with Bart Scott. I think those things are both bad. And I think those are things that the NFL really wants to eradicate.”
|01.21.11 at 9:45 am ET|
ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning to talk about ESPN colleague Tom Jackson and his controversial comments this week, as well as Sunday’s conference championship games. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Schefter said he had not heard the clip of Jackson saying he picked the Patriots in a blowout to motivate the Jets and later backtracking on that claim, but he said Jackson puts a lot of thought into his picks.
‘The one thing about Tom, he is the most thoughtful analyst and one of the most thoughtful people I’ve ever met in my life,” Schefter said. “I listen to him come up with some of the viewpoints that he does and I’m blown away by it, because they’re deep. He really gives a lot of thought. I did notice on Saturday, the things he was saying about the Jets were very interesting to me, very interesting.’
After the guys played the clip for him, Schefter said it was probably a situation where saying anything at all just made things worse. ‘I can’t speak to this instance, but sometimes, anybody when they’re in a bad situation, sometimes they say something and it makes the situation look or sound worse. Sometimes you just say, ‘I said what I said, and that’s it.’
‘I have not spoken to Tom about this. I haven’t seen him since the show last Sunday. I have not seen him since Bart Scott‘s postgame rant. I’ll see him this weekend. The one thing I come back to is there’s nobody I know who’s smarter about these things, more insightful, and why he said some of those things, I just can’t answer that. I don’t know.’
When asked to pick a player who might stand out this weekend, Schefter turned his attention to Green Bay. ‘I’m big on the Packers. I think they’re the best team left in the postseason and I think they have the best quarterback left in the postseason. I think they’ve got the best defensive players left in the postseason in Clay Matthews and Tramon Williams, Charles Woodson. I just think they’re loaded.’
Schefter said he’s taking the Jets in another upset in the AFC. ‘I think that Pittsburgh is a little beat up after playing a physical game against Baltimore. I think they have some question marks at some key spots, at offensive tackle, at cornerback. I think the Jets are rolling, beating the Colts and Peyton [Manning] in Indy, Tom Brady and the Patriots in New England, and I think that they’re so confidently cocky that they believe, they’re convinced, they’re going to Pittsburgh and going to beat the Steelers.’
|01.20.11 at 8:03 pm ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady underwent surgery on his right foot Thursday at Massachusetts General Hospital, according to multiple media outlets. (Tom Curran of Comcast New England said Brady was out of surgery at 4:30 p.m.) Brady underwent the procedure to repair a stress fracture, one that hobbled him over the course of the 2010 season. According to medical experts, the type of surgery Brady underwent should leave him with a few months worth of rehab, but if all goes well, he should be OK for the start of training camp, if not sooner.