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Retiring Patriots OL coach Dante Scarnecchia on D&C: ‘The game’s not forever’

01.24.14 at 9:59 am ET
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Dante Scarnecchia joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday to discuss his decision to retire from his position as a Patriots offensive line coach after 30 years with the team. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Scarnecchia announced his retirement on Wendesday.

“Well, I think it’€™s been something that I’€™ve considered actually over the last couple of years as you get into your 60s and, in my case, into the mid-60s — I’€™m three weeks away from being 66,” Scarnecchia said. “I just said OK.

“I can tell you I could keep going and I feel great and I love the game and all the rest of it. But at some point — and I’ve always told this to the offensive linemen whenever we lost a guy out of our meeting room who we all felt pretty strong about — that the game’€™s not forever. It’€™s not forever for the players and it’€™s not forever for the coaches.”

This past season Scarnecchia was the longest-tenured coach in the NFL after entering the league in 1982 and spending 30 of 32 seasons with New England.

“For some unbelievable and unexplainable reason, when we lost a coach out of here I was able to stay on with the coach that was coming in,” Scarnecchia said. “I don’€™t know how to explain that. When [Bill Parcells] came in here, I did not know Bill Parcells at all. For some reason three guys he was bringing in spoke on my behalf saying, ‘You ought to keep this guy,’ and I was fortunate to be kept on there.

“There were a couple of times where I was able to say — and it was when Parcells went to the Jets and he asked me if I would come along — I said I’ve got this daughter and she’€™s almost out of high school, and I can’€™t do that. I can’€™t do that,” Scarnecchia added.

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Read More: Bill Parcells, Dante Scarnecchia, Pete Carroll, Richard Sherman

In Focus: Charting offensive opportunities for Patriots skill position players

01.24.14 at 6:00 am ET
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Every week over the course of the 2013 regular season, we’€™€™€™ve had a list of the Patriots’€™€™€™ ‘€œoffensive touches,’€€ a running tally of which one of the offensive skill position players is getting the most looks. Like our weekly look at targets, it can occasionally be an inexact stat, but it remains a good barometer of how confident the coaches (and quarterback) are when it comes to the skill position players at their disposal. Here’€™€™€™s a breakdown of the New England offense for the 2013 postseason:

RB LeGarrette Blount: 29 (29 rushes, 0 catches), 2 negative runs
RB Stevan Ridley: 19 (19 rushes, 0 catches), 1 negative run
WR Julian Edelman: 16 (0 rushes, 16 catches)
RB Shane Vereen: 16 (9 rushes, 7 catches), 1 negative run
WR Austin Collie: 5 (0 rushes, 5 catches)
QB Tom Brady: 3 (3 rushes, 0 catches), 4 sacks, 1 kneeldown
TE Michael Hoomanawanui: 3 (0 rushes, 3 catches)
WR Danny Amendola: 3 (0 rushes, 3 catches)
WR Aaron Dobson: 2 (0 rushes, 2 catches)
TE Matthew Mulligan: 1 (0 rushes, 1 catch)
FB James Develin: 1 (1 rush, 0 catches)
P Ryan Allen: 1 (1 rush, 0 catches)

Some offensive notes from the postseason: The Patriots ran 73 plays against the Colts and 56 against the Broncos — the latter was the lowest total of the year for the New England offense. (The previous low was the 60 in an Oct. 6 loss to the Bengals.). … The Patriots ran 129 offensive plays in the 2013 postseason, and setting aside one kneeldown for Brady, eight of them were for negative yardage: four sacks of Brady, two negative runs for Blount (both against Indy), and one negative run each from Vereen (against Indy) and Rldley (against Denver). … In the postseason, 49 of their 129 snaps came in the shotgun (19 of the 73 against Indy, and 30 of the 56 against Denver). That’s a rate of 38 percent, slightly below their rate of 42 percent over the course of the regular season. (However, it’s worth mentioning that most of the shotgun sets for the Patriots against the Broncos came in the second half after New England fell behind by multiple scores and needed to step up the pace to try and get back into the game.) … In the two playoff games, the Patriots went no huddle on a total of four of their 129 offensive snaps (once against Denver and three times against Indy), a rate of 3 percent. That’s down from 11 percent over the course of the regular season.

By way of comparison, here’s a look at the offensive opportunities for the 2013 regular season. And here’s a look at the offensive opportunities from the 2012 postseason.

Browns hire Bills DC Mike Pettine, which means Josh McDaniels will stick with Patriots

01.23.14 at 4:03 pm ET
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The Browns officially named Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine on Thursday, which puts an end to the possibility — at least for now — that Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will leave New England.

McDaniels was interviewed for the job earlier this month, but turned down Cleveland. However, news over the last few days indicated that after being spurned by several other parties, the Browns had refocused their attention on McDaniels. That was apparently put to rest of Thursday when Cleveland owner Jimmy Haslam announced the hiring of Pettine.

New England had already lost three coaches since its loss in the AFC title game, as offensive line coach Dante Scarneccha, linebackers coach Pepper Johnson and tight ends coach George Godsey have all announced they will leave the organization.

Read More: Josh McDaniels, Mike Pettine,

With coaching vacancies in Foxboro, these names could be in mix for Patriots

01.23.14 at 1:44 pm ET
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With the recent exodus of coaches from the Patriots€™ staff — linebackers coach Pepper Johnson, offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia and tight ends coach George Godsey have departed — here are seven individuals could be the mix in Foxboro for either a new job with the Patriots or a promotion within the franchise.

Jim Schwartz — The former Lions head coach has been tight with Bill Belichick for several years. He worked with Belichick in Cleveland — the turkey sandwich story has been told and retold a million times (scroll down for the full tale) — before moving on to become a defensive coach for the Ravens and Titans. He was the head coach in Detroit from 2009 through 2013. Based on his work as a linebackers coach, he could be a candidate to take over for Johnson.

Greg Schiano — One of a handful of former college coaches Belichick cultivated a relationship with — Schiano was at Rutgers before moving to the Buccaneers, who fired him this month — Schiano reportedly is in the mix for the Browns head coaching job. If he doesn’t land with Cleveland, he could make his way to Foxboro to work on the defensive side of the ball. (One thing to remember when considering Schwartz and Schiano — Belichick has been very kind in the past to former head coaches who need a one-year, transitional job as assistants before they jump back into working as a coordinator or head coach. See Dom Capers.)

Brian Daboll — Daboll is already in the system, having returned last year to work as a vaguely defined “offensive assistant.” We know he had his fingerprints on several aspects of the offense in 2013 — for what it’€™s worth, during training camp, he was working extensively with the offensive line as well as Tim Tebow. (Remember him?) He wasn’t named to replace Scarnecchia as the offensive line coach but could move into Godsey’€™s role with the tight ends, or continue to serve as an unofficial offensive adviser.

Jerry Schlupinski — The Patriots have a track record of promoting from within, and if they go that route, Schlupisnki — a coaching assistant who joined the franchise in 2013 — could be their guy who has an expanded route in 2014. His pedigree is similar to personnel chief Nick Caserio and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels in that he made his bones at John Carroll University in Ohio — in fact, he played alongside them as a collegian. (He also worked at JCU as a coach.)

Joe Judge — Currently the assistant special teams coach, he could be another candidate to be promoted from within to take over one of the available positional vacancies. Judge has worked under special teams coach Scott O’€™Brien the last two seasons and has an impressive resume, having spent time as an assistant under Nick Saban at Alabama.

Patrick Graham — After spending a season as the defensive line coach, Graham could be shuffled back to the linebacker spot to take over for Johnson. (He was linebackers coach in 2011.) Then they would hire someone else to take over at defensive line. The Yale product joined the organization as a coaching assistant in 2009 and has worked as a defensive assistant as well as a linebackers and defensive line coach.

Matt Patricia — Graham’€™s coaching flexibility could also open up an expanded role for Patricia. It’€™s conceivable the Patriots could have Patricia handle a position grouping in addition to his current work as a coordinator. (They’ve done it for several seasons on the offensive side of the ball, where both Bill O’€™Brien and McDaniels have served the dual role of quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator.) Patricia also has experience coaching the linebackers, as he was there from 2006-10.

Read More: Brian Daboll, Dante Scarnecchia, George Godsey, Greg Schiano

Seahawks CB Walter Thurmond agrees with Bill Belichick about Wes Welker play: ‘It was really uncalled for’

01.23.14 at 1:05 pm ET
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The NFL might have cleared Broncos receiver Wes Welker for his hit on Aqib Talib that knocked the Patriots cornerback out of Sunday’s AFC championship game, but a player Welker will see in the Super Bowl wasn’t impressed.

“It was really uncalled for,” Seahawks cornerback Walter Thurmond told reporters Wednesday about the play. “The receiver ran right into the guy. I don’t know the extent of the injury Talib had, but I thought we were supposed to protect football players in this league now. I guess not. I guess that only goes one way.”

Patriots coach Bill Belichick on Monday called it “one of the worst plays I’ve seen.” Thurmond didn’t go that far, but he said a flag should have been thrown. He suggested that because Welker is a well-known receiver, he got the benefit of the doubt.

“If you’re intentionally coming at somebody, it’s supposed to be a flag,” Thurmond said. “But they didn’t throw the flag on him. Some players get away with a lot more than other players depending on status, but that’s just the nature of the game.”

Added Thurmond: “Welker had his head down, like he was coming down the whole time. That should be a flag, and he should be getting fined. There’s a whole bunch of things that should happen in that situation, but I don’t run the NFL.”

Thurmond said the Seahawks will have to be ready for such plays in the Super Bowl.

“We play a lot of man coverage, so we know they’re going to have a lot of crossing routes like that,” he said. “We’re preparing for that situation to occur. We know that kind of contact is going to happen because we play so much man, and we’ll be ready for it.”

Read More: Aqib Talib, Bill Belichick, Walter Thurmond, Wes Welker

Reports: TE coach George Godsey leaving Patriots to become QB coach for Texans

01.23.14 at 12:20 am ET
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The Patriots will lose their third coach in a week, as George Godsey will be joining Bill O’Brien‘s staff in Houston, according to multiple media outlets.

Godsey, who spent the last two seasons as the tight ends coach, will serve as the quarterbacks coach for the Texans. He follows linebackers coach Pepper Johnson and offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia out the door at Gillette StadiumJohnson announced Tuesday he was leaving, while it was revealed Wednesday that Scarnecchia will be retiring.

Godsey was originally added to Bill Belichick‘€™s staff as an offensive assistant on Feb. 17, 2011 before being promoted to tight ends coach a year later after Brian Ferentz left for Iowa. He has deep ties with O’Brien — during Godsey’s senior season as a quarterback at Georgia Tech in 2001, he was coached by O’€™Brien, who was the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach for the Yellowjackets at the time. After a stint as a player in the Arena Football League and as a coach at University of Central Florida, he was brought to New England as an offensive assistant by O’Brien.

In addition to the current exodus, there are conflicting reports about the status of Josh McDaniels. One report says the offensive coordinator is possibly back in the mix as a head coaching candidate with the Browns, while another report indicates he’s not a possibility at this time.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Bill O'Brien, George Godsey,

Report: Josh McDaniels possibly back in play as candidate for Browns head coaching job

01.22.14 at 11:43 pm ET
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The same week the Patriots lost offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia and linebackers coach Pepper Johnson, a new report indicates that the Browns have a renewed interest in hiring New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels for their vacant head coaching job.

Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com reported Wednesday night McDaniels and the Browns have had “more conversations,” and that McDaniels is “possibly back in the mix” for the position.

McDaniels acknowledged earlier this month that he was interviewed for the Cleveland opening but publicly bowed out of consideration, saying that he was going to stick with the Patriots.

“I’€™ll definitely be here,” McDaniels said on Jan. 14. “I think all it means is that, you know, I made the decision that this is the right time for me to be here. I’€™m really happy here. … I’ve said that numerous times. There’€™s not really much else to it. I don’€™t think it’€™s … you know, it’€™s a process you go through sometimes and you ultimately have to make choices based on what’€™s best for you and your family. That’€™s what I try to do.”

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Dante Scarnecchia, Josh McDaniels, Pepper Johnson,

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