It Is What It Is
Follow football writer Christopher Price at In addition, get the latest updates at
A Patriots Blog Blog Network

Gregg Doyel on D&C: Patriots ‘in same sentence’ as 1919 Black Sox

01.29.15 at 12:53 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Gregg Doyel

Gregg Doyel

Appearing on the Dennis & Callahan Show Thursday morning from Radio Row in Phoenix, Indianapolis Star columnist Gregg Doyel went to the extreme of comparing the Patriots’ alleged transgression in regards to Deflategate to the White Sox fixing the 1919 World Series.

“In 1919 the Black Sox rigged the World Series to lose it. In 2015 is what is being accused is the Patriots rigged the AFC Championship Game to win it,” Doyel said, adding, “You’€™re saying we had a team rigging a World Series in 1919 to lose it and we think that’€™s the worst crime ever. Having a championship game rigged to win it, it’€™s in the same sentence.”

When questioned about how he could compare the magnitude of potentially adjusting air pressure inside footballs to fixing a World Series, Doyel didn’t back down.

“It’€™s rigging a game,” he said. “Either you’€™re playing on an even playing field and giving the other team a chance to win it or lose it fairly, or you’€™re rigging the game. It’€™s rigging the game. I don’€™t know what else to say, it’€™s rigging the game.

“The football is the most basic thing you play with. That’€™s the actual ball and it’€™s every single play.”

Doyel went on to explain how he thinks the recent controversy has put a permanent scar on not only the perception of the Patriots, but also Tom Brady.

“This could be the greatest quarterback, coach combo ever, and that’€™s how it will go down in your neck of the worlds. In the other 49 ½ states they cheat and so how good are they? That’€™s the legacy and I’€™m going to tell you that’€™s true. This is not me saying they cheated the Colts, but this is me saying legacy is perception.

“Here’€™s the thing with Brady, with me specifically ‘€¦ He’€™s evolution. He’€™s bigger, taller, better looking, more talented, smarter, funnier. I think he’€™s fabulous and untouchable, until about a week ago. Now, you know what, he’€™s just like everybody else. I think the legacy is he’€™s a great, great, great quarterback, comma, just like everybody else.”

To listen to the entire interview, click here.

What’s on tap for Patriots-Seahawks in Arizona on Thursday?

01.29.15 at 6:00 am ET
By   |   Comments

PHOENIX — The game is getting closer and closer, as Thursday will be the last day of player access for both teams this week. They will also practice in the afternoon.

Here is a complete media availability schedule for Thursday:

8:00 MT Bill Belichick press conference
8:15 MT Tom Brady press conference
8:30 MT Patriots player media availability
10:15 MT Pete Carroll press conference
10:30 MT Richard Sherman press conference
10:45 MT Seahawks player availability

Here are a few of the top stories and audio segments from Wednesday:

Why Tom Brady is facing make-or-break Super Sunday? By Kirk Minihane
From Needham to Middlebury to the NFL for Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka. By John Tomase
Group dynamic: Patriots running game poised to make history. By Chris Price
Replacing a legend: How Patriots went with Dave DeGuglielmo to take over for Dante Scarnecchia. By Ryan Hannable
How Bill Belichick goes all Papa Bear for his players. By Mike Petraglia
Gordie Gronkowski joined Middays with MFB.
Mike Florio joined Dennis & Callahan.
ESPN Sports Science guy John Brenkus joined Dale & Holley.

Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Super Bowl XLIX,

Replacing a legend: How Patriots went with Dave DeGuglielmo to take over for Dante Scarnecchia

01.29.15 at 2:23 am ET
By   |   Comments
Offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo had a tough job replacing Dante Scarnechia but he did it well. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo had a tough job replacing Dante Scarnechia but he did it well. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — It’s never easy replacing a legend — just imagine what it’s going to be like for whoever has to replace Tom Brady.

That was exactly what Dave DeGuglielmo was facing this season when he became the first Patriots’ offensive line coach in 24 years, as Dante Scarnecchia retired after last season. Scarnecchia had been a coach in the NFL since 1982, including different stints with the Patriots along the way.

Bill Belichick was asked Wednesday why he went with DeGuglielmo and the process that led to the hire to replace one of the greatest offensive line coaches in the history of the NFL.

“He was available –€“ he wasn’€™t in football last year,” said Belichick. “We interviewed him at the end of the season — I think it might have been during the bye week last year before the Indianapolis game if I remember correctly, but somewhere in there. Because we knew that Dante [Scarnecchia] was going to be retiring, we wanted to kind of try to jump on the process. Met with our staff, we all spent time with him, brought him back for a second interview and hired him. So not a normal process I would say. Again, he’€™s got a lot of experience, works hard, knows our system very well.”

DeGuglielmo was no stranger to people in the Patriots organization, as he served as the offensive line coach of the Miami Dolphins when current Patriots tight end coach Brian Daboll was the offensive coordinator a few years back.

He is also a local, being born and growing up in Lexington, Massachusetts and having coached at Boston University when they had a football team.

He has served as an offensive line coach with the Giants from 2004-08, the Dolphins in 2012 and the Jets in 2013. He said coaching the Patriots as a local isn’t easy.

“It’s harder to be a Bostonian and work for the Patriots than it is to be a New Yorker or a Californian because everyone and their brother knows my name and when guys [in the media] tear me apart in the media my mom feels bad,” DeGuglielmo said. “I know it’s part of the business, but mom feels bad. When it was the Jets killing me, my mom didn’t read it because she wasn’t opening up the [N.Y. Post]. She didn’t care.”

The 46-year-old didn’t even think about who he was replacing when he started with the Patriots, as Belichick wanted him to be himself, and no one else.

“Actually he wants me to be me,” said DeGuglielmo. “He wants me to coach the way I coach. He wants me to be who I am all he time because he is who he is. Everyone in our building is free to be who they are. The difference is they don’t parade me out [in front of the media] which I appreciate.”

With that being said, the transition didn’t go as smoothy as one would’ve hoped.

The Patriots started the season 2-2 and the offensive line wasn’t performing very well, as Brady was sacked nine times over the first four games and the offensive line was struggling to find a combination that worked. Even with the issues, he didn’t let that affect the transition and his first four games with his new team.

“It [was] more of a perceived heat,” he said. “As long as Bill [Belichick] was pleased with what I was doing I followed his message, we stayed on the track, we stayed on what we do and it worked out some games better than others, but it worked out fairly well.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Dante Scarnecchia, Dave DeGuglielmo, Super Bowl XLIX

Acting like Seahawks: How Patriots scout teamers are preparing starters for Super Bowl

01.29.15 at 12:59 am ET
By   |   Comments
Patriots backup Jimmy Garoppolo has been playing the role of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in practice the last week-plus. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Patriots backup Jimmy Garoppolo has been playing the role of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in practice the last week-plus. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

CHANDLER, Ariz. — When it comes to preparing the Patriots’€™ defense for Sunday’s Super Bowl, some of the most vital individuals won’t even see the field during the game.

In the days leading up to the Super Bowl, backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is playing the role of Seattle’s Russell Wilson, while a crew of backup running backs — including Jonas Gray — have been trying to replicate the work of Marshawn Lynch. And a trio of young receivers in Josh Boyce, Brian Tyms and Jonathan Krause have tried their best to prepare Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner and Kyle Arrington for Seattle receivers Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse.

How good a job they did preparing the New England defense over the course of the two-week run-up to the game will play a sizable role in how the Patriots fare on Sunday.

In terms of prepping for the role of Wilson, Garoppolo said he’s been able to watch extra film on the Seattle superstar, and has come away impressed.

“He’s a very, very talented quarterback,” he said. “He can do a lot of things — he can run, he can throw a deep ball, the intermediate stuff. He extends plays with his feet. He’s a heck of a player. So re-enacting him for the defense, it’s pretty tough. But I think I’ve been giving them a pretty good look.”

It’s been the same story all year long.

“As a group, we put in a little extra time every week trying to get that look down to the best of our ability,” Garoppolo said. “The better look we give them during the week, the better they will be able to play on Sunday.”

According to Tyms, working on providing the best possible look is a collaborative effort between the scout teamer and the player who will line up opposite him.

“It’s hard to implement a receivers’ moves because everybody is their own person,” Tyms said. “But for the most part, we try and communicate as far as on certain routes, ‘Does he use that release?’ So on certain routes, I will hit them a certain way. At the same time, I’m still trying to win. I don’t want to give anyone anything easy, because this game, no one gives you anything easy. Especially at this level. There’s a lot of communication.

“When we’re on scout team, we really, honestly, try and go hard at our defense. I’m not trying to go through the motions. Nobody does,” he added. “Me, Jimmy, Josh, nobody does. We’re really trying to go at them like it’s a game. So we figure the harder we go, the harder they have to go, and the better we make them. The better they make us, because we’re going against the best DBs in the game right now. That’s the mindset.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Brian Tyms, Jimmy Garoppolo, Jonas Gray, Josh Boyce

Wednesday Patriots practice pool report: Tom Brady takes all the reps despite battling cold

01.28.15 at 11:41 pm ET
By   |   Comments

PHOENIX — With it being Super Bowl week each team gets assigned a pool reporter to view practice all week (similar to training camp) and then submit a pool report after.

USA Today’s Jarrett Bell was there for the Patriots practice. Here are a few of the highlights:

— The team practiced outdoors at the Arizona Cardinals training facility.

— Drills included third downs, red zone snaps and various down-and-distance challenges.

— Bryan Stork, who didn’€™t practice when drills began last week while nursing a knee injury, practiced without any apparent setback.

Tom Brady took all the snaps according to coach Bill Belichick

For more Patriots news, check out

Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Super Bowl XLIX,

Bryan Stork (knee) limited in first Patriots practice in Arizona

01.28.15 at 7:21 pm ET
By   |   Comments
Bryan Stork

Bryan Stork

PHOENIX — The Patriots held their first practice in Arizona Wednesday afternoon and got some good news on the injury front as they only list five players total on the practice report.

After practicing all week on a limited basis last week, rookie center Bryan Stork (knee) did once again Wednesday. He missed the AFC championship after injuring his knee in the divisional round. All signs point to him being ready for Sunday.

Dont’a Hightower (shoulder), Chris Jones (elbow) and Sealver Siliga (foot) were all limited in the session.

Tom Brady (ankle) fully participated.

Brandon Browner (knee) and Brandon LaFell (shoulder/toe) have been removed from last week’s bye week report.

Here is the complete practice report:

Limited participation

LB Dont’a Hightower (shoulder)
DT Chris Jones (elbow)
DT Sealver Silga (knee)
C Bryan Stork (knee)

Full participation

QB Tom Brady (ankle)

Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Patriots practice report, Super Bowl XLIX,

Brandon Browner breaks down difference between Richard Sherman and Darrelle Revis

01.28.15 at 6:57 pm ET
By   |   Comments
Brandon Browner has helped spark the Patriots secondary to new heights with a physical style of play. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Brandon Browner has helped spark the Patriots secondary to new heights with a physical style of play. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

CHANDLER, Ariz. — Darrelle Revis and Richard Sherman are considered the two best cornerbacks in the NFL. They’ll be playing on the game’s biggest stage Sunday.

They’ve shown over the course of their careers that they are both great but play the game with different approaches.

How are they different? Let someone who’s played with both explain.

“We play a lot more man to man over in New England,” Brandon Browner said Wednesday. “They play a lot of cover three in Seattle. [Sherman] plays to his leverage, knowing where help is coming from. He is a cerebral football player and so is Revis. Revis, he just has a nice balance about his game. It never seems like he takes a false step left or right. His game is pretty smooth and polished. It seems like he isn’€™t running as hard as the guy he is covering. The guy he is covering always seems like he is sprinting and (Revis) kind of has a jog about his game.”

Browner admitted he doesn’t watch them during games because he’s busy with his own responsibilities.

“€œI haven’€™t learned too much, but I do watch them because I am a fan of the game,” Browner said. “I do like to compare and contrast things that I do good and things that they do good. I can’€™t say I learned too much. We kind of talk to each other, both guys, we kind of bounce ideas off each other.”

Much was made of Browner saying he would go after the injured elbow of Richard Sherman this week. But he reiterated Wednesday that statement was taken out of context since reporters don’t have a personal understanding of his friendship with Sherman.

“I couldn’€™t have drawn it up any better,” Browner said. “Those guys are my best friends. It is a blessing to be in this game with those guys.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Brandon Browner, New England Patriots, nfl, Seattle Seahawks
Latest on Twitter
Patriots Box Score
Patriots Schedule
Patriots Headlines
NFL Headlines
Tips & Feedback