|02.20.15 at 6:10 pm ET|
One of those was criticisms was not from Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who actually defended Carroll’s play call.
On Dale & Holley in his season-ending interview, Belichick said the criticism was “totally out of line.”
Friday, speaking at the NFL combine, Carroll appreciated the support from Belichick.
“It is important, and I really care about that,” Carroll said to reporters. “Bill’s an extraordinary coach, and anything he says, people should listen to. In this case, he’s just respecting coaching. He understands the game. he knows what was going on exactly … he knows. He gets it.
“I’ve always respected the work Bill has done, the accomplishments, the achievements. For him to take the moment to do that, it’s very gracious of him. I think, we all care a lot coaches, we all care about the game. I think he made a statement, just to try and let people know, if they’re curious, what he feels about it. And I appreciate that.”
Carroll also noted the Patriots threw on second down inside the 10-yard line in the game as well, so he wasn’t the only one calling a pass play down by the goal line.
‘They’re in their sequence on the 6-yard line, when they scored, they ran on first down, made a few yards, they threw the ball for a touchdown on second down,” Carroll said. “It was a great play, great concept, got them ahead, all of that. We were kind of in a similar kind of mode.”
Now that a few weeks have gone by since the game, Carroll said he and the rest of the organization have moved on, and are now focusing on 2015.
“We’re in a situation that is notable, because of the way our game finished, coming off a Super Bowl, all of those things,” Carroll said. “We shared the experience with the world, and in that I feel there’s responsibility for us to really extend a message of accountability. Let’s get into the truth of what happened and then move on constructively and competitively and immediately as soon as you possibly can.”
|02.20.15 at 5:49 pm ET|
When meeting with the media Friday at the NFL combine, quarterback Jameis Winston certainly didn’t lack confidence.
This came up when he was asked if he saw it as a competition between he and Marcus Mariota as to who would be the No. 1 overall pick.
“I’m not into no competition type of thing,” Winston told reporters. “I’m in it to win games and be the face of someone’s franchise. This is no competition between just me and Mariota, because one thing about me, I plan on winning the Super Bowl next year so it’s going to be me vs. Peyton Manning and Jameis vs. Tom Brady. I want to be viewed like that.
“After all this combine stuff, you’re not going to hear no more about Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. I want my name to stay relevant for the next 15 or 20 years of my career.”
Before taking any questions, Winston admitted he’s had some issues in the past and he’s putting them behind him.
“First off, before we start anything, I want to let you all know I know made mistakes and I know I have a past but right now it’s about me moving forward and earning the trust of all these 32 teams out there,” Winston said. “And by saying that, I’m a competitor and I know what I’m capable of doing so I will be throwing [Saturday] at the combine.”
A picture surfaced on the internet this week of Winston working out, which caused some people to question his conditioning and overall shape. Winston isn’t worried about what his critics think.
“A lot of people thought I was fat, but I’m here, I’m proving everybody wrong,” said Winston. “I look good and I know it.”
Winston won the 2014 National Championship with Florida State before losing to Oregon in the Rose Bowl this past January.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|02.20.15 at 2:49 pm ET|
The Patriots struck gold last year when they selected Florida State center Bryan Stork in the fourth round.
Stork started at center in 11 games and was a key piece to the offensive line, specifically their turnaround after a rough first few weeks of the season, as Stork made his starting debut Week 4 in Kansas City.
Retired offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, who has helped the Patriots out at the draft the past two years, including this year, has a long-time friendship with Florida State offensive line coach Rick Trickett, which played a role in the Patriots selecting Stork last year.
With the Patriots potentially in need for another interior lineman this year, the Patriots could be targeting another Seminole this year.
One of those could be guard Tre Jackson, who reportedly had a meeting with Scarnecchia and the Patriots this week in Indianapolis. at the NFL combine.
Jackson said Stork was part of the Florida State offensive linemen coming together leading into their National Championship in 2014.
“I believe Bryan Stork’s last year is the year that brought us all closer together,” said Jackson to reporters at the combine this week. “We all had some adversity that we were facing, and our chemistry wasn’t as tight at the start of fall camp. Things that we went through it brought us all closer together. That bonded us and molded us into a brotherhood.”
Also reportedly meeting with the Patriots this week from Florida State was tackle Bobby Hart, another offensive lineman who the Patriots could target given their Seminole connection.
Another possible player from Florida State the Patriots could target is tight end Nick O’Leary, as a possible complement to Rob Gronkowski. O’Leary, the grandson of golfer Jack Nicklaus, is known for his great hands as he hauled in 48 passes for 618 yards and six touchdowns this past year.
|02.20.15 at 1:11 pm ET|
One of those backs could be Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah. He ran for over 1,000 yards in his final three seasons at Nebraska, including 1,611 yards on 264 carries in his senior year. He also can catch passes out of the backfield if needed, as he finished his career at Nebraska with 73 receptions.
If the Patriots were to select Abdullah (would seemingly have to be with one of their top picks as he is projected to go in Rounds 2 or 3), he would be replacing Vereen — someone who Abdullah thinks is very talented.
“Oh man, he’s nasty. He’s nasty,” he told reporters at the NFL combine. “I watch a lot of his film to help myself out on route running. He runs the best option route, I feel like, in the NFL right now. He does a good job of stemming the linebackers, snapping them off, using his head to get some separation. Outstanding hands. A guy who’s going to be in the league a long time if he continues to do that.”
As for a potential role in the NFL, Abdullah said he would do whatever is asked of him.
“I never like to put myself just in a role,” he said. “I like to be a guy who can play first down, second down, third down, but if a team drafts me and says, hey, this year, this is what we need you to do, yes sir, I’ll do that.”
The one issue Abdullah has is fumbling. The 5-foot-9, 195-pounder fumbled 24 times and lost 17 of them during his four years as a Cornhusker, something that would not go over well in New England with how much Bill Belichick values ball security.
He sees this as easily correctable.
|02.20.15 at 12:22 pm ET|
When free agency begins in early March, there are a handful of players across the league who could appeal to New England. With the understanding that the status of these players could change because of the franchise or transition tag, here are a few possibilities for the Patriots to consider. We have to stress that all of these guys aren’t necessarily considered the elite of the free agent class — instead, they’re players we think would be a good fit in New England. We already featured C.J. Spiller, Hakeem Nicks, Torrey Smith, Rahim Moore, Charles Clay, Jerry Hughes, Pernell McPhee, Orlando Franklin and Dane Fletcher. Today we’ll feature Roy Helu.
Position: Running back
Age: 26 (Dec. 7, 1988)
Weight: 215 pounds
The skinny: The running back has spent his first four seasons in the league with the Redskins, but a change of scenery might do Helu a world of good. After his rookie season where he ran for 640 yards on 151 carries, and also caught 49 passes for 379 yards, he hasn’t done much in his last three years partly because he’s shared duties with Alfred Morris. In 2012 he only played in three games because of Achilles and turf toe injuries. Although he was placed on season-ending injured reserve, he did bounce back in his last two seasons to not let the injuries affect his durability. He played in 16 and 14 games the last two seasons respectively — although he wasn’t as productive as in his rookie season.
Over the past two seasons Helu has totaled 490 yards rushing and five touchdowns. He’s also caught 73 passes for 728 yards and two touchdowns. Helu’s strength is catching passes out of the backfield, something not many running backs can do. Helu has also played on special teams throughout his career, adding to his potential value.
By the numbers: 11.4 – Average yards per catch for Helu in 2014, a very impressive number for a running back.
Why it would work: With Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen set to become free agents, the Patriots could potentially be in need of a running back, especially a veteran as they have LeGarrette Blount, Jonas Gray, James White and Tyler Gaffney already on their roster, but besides Blount all will be entering either their first or second year in the league. Coach Bill Belichick always seems to find a veteran at each position at a low cost to bring in during training camp and see how things work out. With the three running backs currently on the roster all very young in age, bringing in a veteran as opposed to filling the need through the draft might be the better route to go. Also, with Helu’s experience on special teams and how much Belichick values that, it’s just another reason he could be appealing to the Patriots.
|02.20.15 at 11:22 am ET|
NFL Network cameras caught two AFC East coaches, Bill Belichick and Rex Ryan walking into the NFL combine in Indianapolis together on Friday morning. Ryan was wearing a throwback Thurman Thomas No. 34 Bills jersey, and Belichick a gray hoodie for his charitable foundation.
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) February 20, 2015
|02.20.15 at 10:12 am ET|
On Wednesday and Thursday, we covered the wide receivers and running backs, respectively. In this post we’ll knock down the top 10 tight ends. I’ll be back with the quarterbacks Saturday morning. As always, I’ll be ranking these players with an eye toward future fantasy appeal, and this year’s tight end class is a bit more appealing that the 2013 group from that perspective.
As with the receivers and backs, I’ve broken the tight ends into tiers. As we move through the draft process, these rankings may move a bit, though I really doubt that anybody makes a move for the top spot. I’m that impressed with Maxx Williams. I’ll be posting full scouting reports on most of these tight ends in the coming weeks. Check weei.com later Friday, when Jim Hackett and I will be talking combine and looking ahead to 2015 fantasy drafts.
Maxx Williams, Minnesota
Yes, I am giving him his own tier. Williams is such a potent weapon as a receiver that I think he merits the distinction. The ex-Minnesota star is a mismatch nightmare, as I said the other day when I speculated about Williams as a potential Patriot. And, as much as I want to emphasize Williams’ receiving upside, it should be noted that he’s a solid blocker both in-line and out in space. He would fit right in on a team like the Patriots or the Eagles. If Chip Kelly fails to move up for Marcus Mariota, Williams would be a nice consolation prize.
Devin Funchess, Michigan
Jeff Heuerman, Ohio State
Clive Walford, Miami
Ben Koyack, Notre Dame
Funchess is working out as a receiver, and that most likely has something to do with his agent and the Jimmy Graham situation from last season. In my view, after breaking down his game film, Funchess is worth more as a joker tight end in the Aaron Hernandez mold than he is as a wide receiver. In the end, it may only be semantics. He’ll be a chess piece for some team, but he’s not game-ready. I expect a typical learning curve. Heuerman is an interesting player. He’s prototypically sized and I like his chances of early success because he’s been well-schooled by Urban Meyer. A good combine could raise his profile considerable. Walford is a traditional two-way tight end and he’s close to game-ready. His blocking chops should make him an every-down player eventually, and that lends itself to fantasy value. Koyack’s inclusion in Tier 2 may surprise some people, but I like his overall game. He’s a versatile receiver with good hands and he’s got plenty of potential as a blocker.