|05.21.15 at 2:12 pm ET|
The comments from Darrelle Revis regarding the Patriots and Deflategate weren’t tremendously surprising — after all, the former Patriots cornerback went all-in on the heel turn among New England fans in March when he decided to return to the Jets. So when he said “(the Patriots) have a history of doing stuff. You can’t hide that. Tom was there when they did that stuff in the past,” it wasn’t all that shocking.
While Revis was quick to note that quarterback Tom Brady was a “Hall of Famer” and will “go down as one of the greatest — if not the best — quarterback that’s ever played,” his most recent comments stand in stark contrast to where Revis stood in the days before the Super Bowl. The week after the AFC title game, the cornerback was asked for his thoughts on how Brady handled things when he talked to the team about the Deflategate.
“He stood up and spoke and said, “I know this is a distraction and we have to keep focus as a team,'” Revis said of Brady. “We have a big game to play and that is something he wouldn’t do. (Brady) wouldn’t break any rules. It was basically just to clear the smoke.
“I think at that point you want your leader to stand up and say a couple of words for us to move forward because it can be a distraction and it can bother us,” he added. “This whole experience, this Super Bowl experience. Definitely it shows a lot of character in him to stand up and speak to the whole team.”
Not so sound overly naive, but such a dramatic 180-degree turn for Revis in a four-month period is truly jarring. Why did he do it? It’s always possible that time — and the benefit of hindsight — has given him the opportunity to speak more freely than he did in the past. So we’ll give him a pass there. Was it possible that he never really considered himself a Patriot, as Manish Mehta suggested on WEEI Thursday morning? Perhaps. After all, no player in the free-agent era has done a better job maximizing his financial potential than Revis, a practice that has left some questioning his loyalty. (Some would call him a mercenary.) Maybe this is just his own way of demonstrating brand loyalty.
In the end — despite all of the nice things they said about each other over the course of the 2014 season — the only thing certain is the fact that Revis’ flip-flop will provide more bulletin-board material for Brady when he goes up against his old teammate for the first time Oct. 25 at Gillette Stadium.
|05.21.15 at 12:01 pm ET|
There is no doubt that Shaq Mason has what it takes to succeed at the NFL level as a run blocker.
Mason was one of the reasons why Georgia Tech’s run-based scheme was so successful the last few seasons — behind an offensive line that included Mason at one of the guard spots, the Yellow Jackets were at or near the top of the NCAA in most major rushing totals in 2014, including total rushing yards (4,789, first), yards per carry (6.1, tied for fifth) and rushing yards per game (342.1, second).
While part of that was due to the fact that almost no one ran the ball more often last year than Georgia Tech (its 790 rushing attempts were second only to Air Force in total chances), the very fact that the rest of the NCAA knew what was coming and couldn’t stop it anyway is a tribute to the way the Yellow Jackets were able to run the ball as well as they did.
Chief among the reasons for their success was Mason, a three-year starter at guard who was a first-team USA Today All-American in 2014. Put on some of his highlights, look for the No. 70, and Patriots fans will start to be reminded of another offensive lineman who was described as salty and tough when he came out of Fresno State 10 years ago:
The questions for the fourth-round pick out of Georgia Tech lie with his pass-blocking skills, and whether or not he’ll be able to adjust to life at the next level. (Despite the fact that he has impressive run-blocking skills, there are only three pass plays in the above highlight reel.) When he does see his first NFL action, it’s not like he’ll be dropped into the deep end of the pool without a pair of floaties and asked to swim — the Yellow Jackets did attempt 203 passes last season — but at this point in his development he’s raw. As a result, the technique and footwork that comes with consistently working in pass protection at the NFL level could present something of a learning curve for the 6-foot-1, 310-pounder.
But as far as Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson is concerned, there’s no concern about whether or not Mason — whose full name is Shaquille Olajuwon Mason — can make the transition.
“I don’t think there’s any question he’ll be able to make the move from college to the pros as an offensive lineman,” Johnson said of Mason, who was taken 131st overall by the Patriots earlier this month. “People make too big a deal out of that transition — there are plenty of players in his shoes who have done the same thing, and done it well. He’s a good player and has good feet and knows how to use that leverage to his advantage.”
|05.21.15 at 9:38 am ET|
New York Daily News Jets columnist Manish Mehta joined the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning to talk about Darrelle Revis’ comments to him regarding the Patriots and Tom Brady. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Revis spent one year with the Patriots, winning a Super Bowl title, but then departed for the Jets via free agency after the Patriots didn’t pick up his $20 million option. Mehta was asked if Revis never felt like a Patriot, and he said that would be “fair to say.”
“That’s probably fair to say,” said Mehta. “He hasn’t came out and told me that specifically, but judging by his reaction to coming back to New York and feeling comfortable in this area. It is a place he had played for obviously at the outset of his career and an area he likes a lot and an organization — even though it is a different coaching staff now.
“I think that is fair to say, although he hasn’t came out specially and told me he never felt like a Patriot because I think when he was with [Bill] Belichick he learned a lot from Belichick, he bought in and he obviously played a great deal in their Super Bowl title.”
Mehta said Revis wasn’t reluctant to say what he did about the Patriots on Wednesday, as he’s the type of player to speak his mind when he wants.
“No. I wouldn’t say that,” Mehta said. “He also has a history with the Patriots prior to playing for the Patriots, that a lot of these other guys who have played for Belichick didn’t have, so he does have a unique perspective. The thing I know about Darrelle Revis, knowing him since he came into the league years ago is that he does speak his mind. He took a brief rest there up in Foxboro, but his personality is such that if he believes in something he’s going to say it and he’s obviously a caliber of player that carries a lot of clout. He doesn’t really care what you think, if that’s what he believes he’s going to share it with you.”
Mehta did add Revis still has great deal of respect for Brady and feels like he will be a Hall of Famer.
“I will say that Revis was very clear that he’s always had a lot of professional respect for Tom Brady and he does think he’s going to be a Hall of Famer, without a doubt and he does think he’s one of the greatest quarterbacks,” said Mehta. “The way he described it was, ‘if not the best’ quarterback to ever play, so in terms of how any potential wrongdoing with these footballs affects Brady’s legacy, I think Revis believes that Tom Brady is an all-time great regardless of what happened. He just doesn’t have the fact, he doesn’t know what happened. He was unaware of it.”
|05.21.15 at 8:46 am ET|
Prior to leaving the NFL’s owners meetings in San Fransisco Wednesday evening, Patriots owner Robert Kraft had a few words for reporters, a day after he said he would “reluctantly accept” the penalties handed down to the team for their role in Deflategate.
“I only care about our fans,” said Kraft to reporters. “I did my part to be a good partner, I think. The most important thing to me is that the fans of the New England Patriots know that I’m always trying to look out for our team’s best interests now. I think this was in the best long-term interest of the team.”
The Patriots were fined $1 million and lost two draft picks — a first rounder in 2016 and a fourth rounder in 2017. Tom Brady and the NFLPA will still go ahead with their appeal of his four-game suspension.
For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.
|05.20.15 at 9:20 pm ET|
Former Colts general manager Bill Polian, who pushed for a series of very specific changes to the pass interference rules as part of the competition committee after his Indy team was humiliated in the playoffs a decade ago, said Tuesday that it was “obvious” the Patriots proposed the changes in the extra-point rules for their own benefit.
Speaking with Sirius/XM Radio, Polian said the reason New England advocated pushing the PATs back to the 15-yard line was because it would give teams in “northern climes” an advantage late in the season.
“This was, in a different form, proposed by the New England Patriots. The reason they proposed it is obvious,” he said. “In January and December, and even in late November, in northern climes (like) Foxboro, Buffalo, Cleveland, Chicago, Pittsburgh — well documented, of course, in Pittsburgh at the open end of the stadium, how difficult it is to kick field goals. The team from the northern climes that plays and practices in the harsher weather — the old Meadowlands being a prime example of that — has a decided advantage. And they wouldn’t have proposed it if (the Patriots) didn’t think it would help them.”
Polian isn’t a fan of the new rules.
“This is emphasizing the kicking game at the most critical part, when really, the longstanding philosophy has been to de-emphasize the kicking game whenever possible,” said Polian, who currently works as an analyst for ESPN. “We want touchdowns rather than field goals.
“Somehow or other, as a traditionalist, as a guy who learned the game at the feet of Paul Brown, Jim Finks and Don Shula, I have a hard time getting my arms around this,” he added. “I worry about an AFC or NFC championship being decided on a missed field goal or a missed extra point from 32 yards in snow, on ice, in January. I think that’s a miscarriage of justice, if you will. I would’ve much preferred to see it stay where it was, because I didn’t see anything wrong with it.”
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|05.20.15 at 6:56 pm ET|
But in an interview with Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, Revis took some thinly veiled shots at Brady and the Patriots in the wake of punishment handed down for their alleged role in Deflategate.
“Everybody’s blowing it up because it is Tom Brady,” Revis told the Daily News Wednesday. “I understand that. But if [the NFL] feels he did the crime or he did something and they want to penalize them, then that’s that. [The Patriots] have a history of doing stuff. You can’t hide that. Tom was there when they did that stuff in the past.”
The remarks were the first from Revis since the punishment was levied by the National Football League.
Revis, according to Mehta, made it clear that he was unaware of any wrongdoing by Brady in his one season with the Patriots that ended with a Super Bowl title.
But Revis did hint that the franchise’s rule-breaking history, such as Spygate, likely played a role in this latest punishment.
“New England’s been doing stuff in the past and getting in trouble,” Revis told Mehta. “When stuff repeatedly happens, then that’s it. I don’t know what else to tell you. Stuff repeatedly happened through the years. You got SpyGate, you got this and that and everything else. Obviously in those situations in the past, they had the evidence. So they did what they needed to do.”
|05.20.15 at 3:09 pm ET|
Speaking publicly for the first time since the release of the Wells Report, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he admired the decision of Patriots owner Robert Kraft to not fight any potential punishment around Deflategate, but said the move will not have an impact when it comes to the appeal of quarterback Tom Brady.
“I look forward to hearing from Tom if there’s new information, so we can get this right,” Goodell said at the conclusion of the NFL meetings Wednesday afternoon in San Francisco.
Goodell said he had not made a decision on the NFLPA’s request to recuse himself as the hearing officer in Brady’s appeal.
“I have great admiration and respect for Tom Brady, but the rules have to be enforced on a uniform basis,” Goodell added of Brady, who is facing a four-game suspension. “Any time anyone’s suspended from a game that they love, it’s difficult.”
Goodell was not sure of a potential date for the appeal, saying that he has been focused on the business at the league meetings. He added that he looks forward to speaking with Brady, saying “the key for us” is to be able to allow for any information that Brady and the reps have when it comes to the story to be added.
Goodell also indicated that while he anticipates changes in the pregame protocol when it comes to how footballs will be handled, those changes have yet to be put in place.
He was also asked if the NFL told the Patriots to suspend two team employees, Jim McNally and John Jastremski for their role, and Goodell answered, “No.”
On Tuesday, Kraft said he would “reluctantly” accept the penalties imposed by the league after the investigation into the team’s use of underinflated footballs in last year’s AFC title game — a $1 million fine, and the loss of draft picks in 2016 (first round) and 2017 (fourth round).
The commissioner praised Kraft for his decision.
“The decision Robert made was his decision,” said the commissioner. “I admire and respect Robert, as you all know. We’ve had plenty of discussions over the last couple of weeks, and this was his initiative and something he wanted to do, and I certainly admire the step he took.”
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
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