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Tom Brady wins AP Offensive Player of the Year Award

02.01.11 at 8:30 pm ET
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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been named the 2010 AP Offensive Player of the Year. Brady passed for 3,900 yards and a league-best 36 touchdowns with only four interceptions. In addition, he set a new league record with 335 pass attempts without an interception while guiding New England to a 14-2 regular-season record.

‘€œMy only disappointment is that we couldn’€™t take advantage of our opportunity in the playoffs, but hopefully we learn from that and use it as motivation toward accomplishing our goals for next season,’€ Brady told the Associated Press.

Brady received 21 votes for the Offensive Player of the Year award, while Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick finished second with 11 votes and Houston running back Arian Foster was third with seven votes. In addition, San Diego quarterback Phillip Rivers received five votes, while Atlanta wide receiver Roddy White, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and Philadelphia wide receiver DeSean Jackson each received two votes.

Read More: aaron rodgers, Arian Foster, DeSean Jackson, Michael Vick

NFL Mock Draft, Take 2: Ryan Kerrigan to Patriots at No. 17?

02.01.11 at 6:31 pm ET
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Since last week’s first installment of’s mock draft, we saw players both boost their stock and see it evaporate in the Senior Bowl. The pass-rushers looked good in Mobile, while Jake Locker once again failed to prove that he is anything better than a second-round prospect. Here’s the latest mock:

1. Carolina (2-14) Da’€™Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson Having the top pick is generally a good thing on draft day, but the Panthers aren’€™t in a position to get help where they need it, and that is at quarterback. Opting for the best player available in Bowers or trading down seem to be their only options.

2. Denver (4-12) Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn The addition of Fairley, coupled with the return of a healthy Elvis Dumervil would likely go a very long way in improving the numbers of a Broncos defense that finished tied with the Bengals with a league-worst 18 sacks. This also appears to be a pick that could be shopped.

3. Buffalo (4-12) A.J. Green, WR, Georgia Here’€™s a case in which the team’€™s offseason leading up to the draft will play a huge role. Lee Evans, chosen with the 13th overall pick back in 2004, had the worst season of his seven-year career in 2010. He played in 13 games (the first time in his career that he didn’€™t play all 16) and had career-lows in receptions and yards. Those two facts are directly related, but with a $1 million bonus due to him this offseason, it isn’€™t crazy to think he could be done in Buffalo. In that case, Green, who had nine catches last season despite being suspended for the first four games, could be the pick.

4. Cincinnati (4-12) Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU Here’€™s something you don’€™t see every day. Cornerbacks going in the top five isn’€™t a very common occurrence, as the last two to be drafted in the first five picks were Terence Newman in 2003 and Quentin Jammer in 2002. Neither of those guys had the size/speed combination that Peterson has, and if the Tiger becomes a Bengal, he’€™ll be the first cornerback to go fourth overall since 1998 (Charles Woodson).

5. Arizona (5-11) Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M Miller had a great week in Mobile, but it’€™s hard to really say he greatly improved his stock at the Senior Bowl. Should the fact that he made Colin Kaepernick’€™s day difficult surprise people? Miller’€™s got the speed to chase anybody down, and teams will gladly overlook his size for the sake of landing this draft’€™s premier pass-rusher.

6. Cleveland (5-11) Cameron Jordan, DE, California As has been proven over the years throughout the league, strengthening the lines strengthens the team. Jordan killed it in Mobile and may have leap-frogged Alabama’€™s Marcell Dareus as the best five-technique prospect in this draft. Luckily for those other 3-4 teams, including the Patriots, there are definitely more five-technique options early on than in last year’s class.

7. San Francisco (6-10) Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska Peterson was in this spot last week, and though his selection at No. 7 would represent tremendous value, landing Amukamara here wouldn’€™t be the end of the world for the 49ers. Amukamara would provide San Francisco with a long-term No. 1 corner to eventually replace Nate Clements, as well as an immediate upgrade over Shawntae Spencer. Read the rest of this entry »

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NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Oregon WR Jeff Maehl

02.01.11 at 3:58 pm ET
By   |   Comments will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2011 NFL draft.

Jeff Maehl

Position: Wide Receiver

School: Oregon

Height: 6-foot-0

Weight: 181 pounds

Achievements: Honorable Mention All-America (2010), 1st Team All-Pac-10 (2010), Cargill Award for Team Impact Player (2010, 2009), All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention (2009)

What he brings: Maehl shows great leadership ability as he led the Ducks in receptions and receiving touchdowns the past two seasons.  He is also deceptively athletic and has a tremendous work ethic. There are some questions of his speed, which will have scouts watching closely at the combine.

Where the Patriots could get him: 5th to 7th round

Notes: Recruited as a defensive back, Maehl converted to wide receiver late in his freshman season. He ended his career at Oregon with 24 receiving touchdowns, tied for the most in school history. His small size brings up durability concerns and with a lack of outright speed there are some some doubts whether his game will translate to the NFL.  However, this could make him the ideal sleeper pick for the Pats very late in the draft.  As a 7th round choice he is low risk, with a lot of potential due to his football intelligence and great hands.

Recent Articles:

Jeff Maehl delivers through the air for Oregon’s high-powered offense
Jeff Maehl proves skeptics wrong
Kiper projects Maehl to go in 4th round
Video: Jeff Maehl Highlights from 2010

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Jeff Maehl, Oregon, Potential Patriots

Is Ben Roethlisberger as good as Tom Brady?

01.31.11 at 11:42 pm ET
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I wasn’t ready for this.

The flood of “With a win, is Ben Roethlisberger as good as Tom Brady?” stories, I mean. Kind of snuck up on me. Ben Roethlisberger? Sure, he’s won two Super Bowls and might pick up a third on Sunday, but in the same class as Tom Brady? By the time the two teams kickoff on Sunday Brady will have more MVP’s (two) than Roethlisberger has Pro Bowl selections (one). Is it too much to ask that a guy make as many Pro Bowl teams as Brandon Meriweather before we give him a seat at the table?

I’m only half-kidding, obviously. Let’s get this out of the way now: Roethlisberger is clearly a creep and a jerk and might be in jail today were it not for a goober-buffet down in Milledgeville. But that’s a different column. Roethlisberger the quarterback is almost as great as Roethlisberger the man is flawed. Lots and lots of praise being thrown his way right now, and at least most of it is deserved.

But as good as Tom Brady? I need a little proof before he gets that bump. So let’s take a look and find out ‘€¦

Regular Season:

A quick glance tells you Brady in a Reagan/Mondale landslide. All the numbers that fit on the back of a football card point to Brady:

20-TD seasons: Brady eight, Roethlisberger two.

4,000-yard seasons: Brady three, Roethlisberger one.

3,500-yard seasons: Brady eight, Roethlisberger one.

300-completion seasons: Brady seven, Roethlisberger one.

Done and done, right? Well, not exactly. A posit: Passing yards mean almost nothing. Remember how much you complained when talking heads would point to passing yards to tell you Peyton Manning was better than Brady in 2003 and 2004? You were right, it turns out. Matt Schaub has passed for 9,170 yards over the past two seasons. You taking him over Roethlisberger? Drew Bledsoe has as many 4,000-yard passing seasons as Brady. You get the point.

So if we dig just a little deeper, we learn this: There isn’t a whole lot of difference statistically between the two guys.

Career passer rating: Brady 95.2 (fifth all time), Roethlisberger (92.5, eighth all time).

Yards per pass attempt: Brady 7.4 (seventh among active QB’s), Roethlisberger 8.0 (first among active QB’s).

Completion percentage: Brady 63.6 (10th all time), Roethlisberger 63.1 (12th all time).

Passing TD percentage: Brady 5.5 (second among active QB’s), Roethlisberger 5.1 (sixth among active QB’s).

INT percentage: Brady 2.2 (third all time), Roethlisberger 3.1 (42nd all time).

Yards per completion: Brady 11.6 (17th among active QB’s), Roethlisberger 12.7 (first among active QB’s).

See what I mean? Some favor Brady, some Roethlisberger. The reason, of course, that Brady has been able to gain that big edge over Roethlisberger in passing yards and TDs is just volume of pass attempts (also helps that he’s great). Brady has attempted at least 500 passes in a season six times (with another 492-attempt season), Roethlisberger just once. Just look at 2005 — Roethlisberger had a terrific year (66.4 completion percentage, 17-11 TD/INT ratio and a 98.1 passer rating) but attempted just 295 passes in his 14 games. That’s a little more than half a season for Brady. Just different organizational philosophies that clearly work. Could Roethlisberger thrive in the Pats offense, throwing the ball 550 times a year? Maybe, but we haven’t seen it. We have seen Brady, however, excel in a system similar to what Roethlisberger (see 2001, 2004) and that, combined with the minor edge in passer rating, completion and TD percentage and a not-insignificant edge in INT percentage gives the opening round to a guy who will not be sitting at the “Blue Bloods” table at the 2011 Emmy Awards (come to think of it, Roethlisberger probably won’t be either. Another half-thought out joke blowing up in my face. I’m basically Rupert Pupkin with access to

Edge: Brady

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Read More: Ben Roethlisberger, Patriots, Steelers, Tom Brady

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Boston College OLB Mark Herzlich

01.31.11 at 9:58 pm ET
By   |   Comments will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2011 NFL draft.

Mark Herzlich

Position: Outside Linebacker

School: Boston College

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 250 pounds

40-time: 4.75

Achievements: 2008: First Team All-American by and; AP Third Team All-American and honorable mention by Pro Football Weekly and; ACC Defensive Player of the Year; Butkus Award finalist for nation’s best LB; Lott Trophy candidate; Three-time ACC Player of the Week; Two interception returns for touchdowns, tied for most in the nation.

What he brings: A combination of speed, intelligence, character and determination and one of the best read-and-react linebackers in the senior college class. The Ewing’s sarcoma – a rare bone cancer – may have sapped some of his strength and lowered his draft value to at-best the middle rounds, but NFL teams could still be willing to take a chance on a player who showed the ability to use his lightning-quick jump on the edge to get to both the quarterback and running backs in the backfield. There’s a reason he still rates among the top five or six OLB’s in the current college class. If his health checks out, this would be a logical fit and – more importantly – fill a need for Bill Belichick‘s system.

In the right scheme and gap, he could still be an explosive and versatile up-the-field force and could still be valuable dropping into coverage and defending the pass. Before his June 2009 diagnosis, he projected as a Jason Taylor-type. Now, he has to still show he can do this in front of NFL execs. He did show incredible determination in 2010, and never was that more apparent than in the spring and summer leading up to the 2010 season when he had to regain not just stamina but strength to play every weekend at the BCS level. He was pronounced cured from the cancer but it was apparent early on that he didn’t have the same explosion and strength that made him the clear ACC Defensive Player of the Year two years prior, in 2008.

Where the Patriots could get him: Third round or later

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Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Bill Belichick, bone cancer, Boston College

Jets coach at center of ‘TripGate’ resigns

01.31.11 at 8:46 pm ET
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Jets strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi resigned Monday, nearly two months after a well-publicized tripping incident along the New York sidelines. Alosi, who had been suspended without pay and fined $25,000 for the incident, was caught intentionally trying to trip Miami gunner Nolan Carroll as the Dolphins’ player tried to make his way down the field on a play in the Dec. 12 Jets-Dolphins game.

‘€œAfter speaking with Sal, he decided that it is best for him to tender his resignation at this time,’€ general manager Mike Tannenbaum said in a statement released by the team. ‘€œWe appreciate all of Sal’€™s contributions during his tenure with the team. He played an invaluable role in our success and established what we feel is one of the better strength and conditioning programs in the NFL.’€

‘€œI’€™m thankful to have been a part of the New York Jets,’€ Alosi said in the statement. ‘€œI am especially grateful to Mr. Johnson, Mike Tannenbaum and Rex Ryan for allowing me the opportunity to be a head strength and conditioning coach in this League. I have many fond memories, including earning my first NFL job in 2002. After the events that have transpired, I feel it’€™s best for my family and me to look for a fresh start. I wish nothing but the best for the entire organization.’€

Read More: Mike Tannenbaum, Nolan Carroll, Rex Ryan, Sal Alosi

Troy Polamalu wins NFL DPOY, narrowly beating out Clay Matthews

01.31.11 at 8:39 pm ET
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Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu was named the NFL’s 2011 Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press on Monday night, narrowly edging Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews for the honor.

Polamalu received 17 votes on Monday from a nationwide panel of media members, while Matthews finished second with 15 votes. Polamalu’s teammate, linebacker James Harrison, was third with eight votes. Polamalu finished with seven interceptions in 14 games this season, helping spark the Steelers’ defense.

Also receiving votes were Chicago defensive end Julius Peppers with six and linebacker Brian Urlacher with two, while Baltimore safety Ed Reed and nose tackle Haloti Ngata got one vote each.

Read More: Brian Urlacher, Clay matthews, Ed Reed, Haloti Ngata
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