It Is What It Is
NEED TO KNOW
Follow WEEI.com football writer Christopher Price at twitter.com/cpriceNFL. In addition, get the latest WEEI.com updates at twitter.com/WEEI.
A WEEI.com Patriots Blog
WEEI.com Blog Network

Chad Ochocinco changing his name back to Chad Johnson

01.25.11 at 8:07 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Chad Ochocinco said Tuesday that he’s changing his name back to Chad Johnson. Appearing on ESPN’s “NFL Live,” the receiver said the name change was fun, but it’s time to switch back to his original moniker. “I don’t have a choice right now,” Ochocinco said. “I’ve done enough with the Ocho thing.” The receiver initially changed his name from Johnson to Ochocinco before the 2008 season in order to wear his nickname on his jersey.

Read More: Chad Johnson, Chad Ochocinco,

Patriots by position: Linebackers

01.25.11 at 7:40 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Over the next week, as the Patriots’ offseason gets underway, we’€™ll present a snapshot of the team by position. We’€™ve already examined the defensive backs ‘€” now, we focus on the linebackers:

On the roster: Tully Banta-Cain, Jermaine Cunningham, Dane Fletcher, Gary Guyton, Jerod Mayo, Marques Murrell, Rob Ninkovich, Brandon Spikes, Tracy White.

Stat standouts: Leading tackler (according to coaches film review): Mayo, 193; Spikes, 71. Sacks: Banta-Cain, 5; Ninkovich, 4. Interceptions: Ninkovich, 2; Guyton, 2. Best single game: There were a few quality performances from other players (Ninkovich’€™s two-interception game against the Dolphins comes to mind), but this was Mayo’€™s category by a long shot. The third-year inside linebacker out of Tennessee had a couple of really impressive outings to choose from. Our favorite was the 19-tackle game he had against the Ravens on Oct. 17 ‘€” against a team known for world-class linebackers, Mayo was the best one on the field that afternoon.

2010, in three sentences: About what was expected. You had a Pro Bowl year from Mayo, some guys like Ninkovich, Fletcher and Guyton who exceeded expectations, while rookies Cunningham and Spikes got quality snaps in their first year in the system. It was a bit of a disappointment for Banta-Cain, who was New England’€™s best pass rusher in 2009 but slipped to just five sacks in 2010.

By the numbers ‘€” tie (courtesy of Nuggetpalooza): 2.10. Among linebackers with at least 80 tackle opportunities in 2010, Mayo’€™s 2.10 miss percentage ‘€” that is, where he had a ballcarrier lined up and he whiffed on the tackle attempt ‘€” was second best in the league. (Takeo Spikes of San Francisco was first with a 1.92 percentage, while Buffalo’€™s Paul Posluszny was third at 2.94 percent.) 296: According to Pro Football Focus, Patriots linebackers made 296 tackles in 2010, second in the league to the 49ers (320). What’€™s more, they missed only 23 tackles or 5.82 percent of their opportunities, the third-lowest miss percentage in the league. (The Giants were first at 5.33 percent, the Cowboys were second at 5.73 percent, the Bills third at 5.81 percent and the Patriots fourth.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Belichick, Brandon Spikes, Dane Fletcher, Gary Guyton

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Pittsburgh DE Greg Romeus

01.25.11 at 3:24 pm ET
By   |   Comments

WEEI.com 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.

GREG ROMEUS

Position: Defensive End

School: Pittsburgh

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 270 pounds

Achievements: Big East Co-Defensive Player of the Year (2009), First Team All-Big East (2009), CollegeGootBallNews.com second-team All-American (2009), Sporting News second-team All-American (2009), Rivals third-team All-American (2009), second-team All-Big East (2008), Football Writers, CollegeFootballNews.com, Sporting News, Rivals and Scout Freshman All-American (2007).

What he brings: Romeus might be one of the more athletic defensive ends in this draft class, but whether he is big and strong enough to play the five-technique remains to be seen. He had eight sacks in his junior year before his senior campaign was derailed by injury.

Where the Patriots could get him: Second or third round

Notes: Romeus was limited to just two games in his senior season at Pittsburgh due to a back injury. That of course is a huge red flag, but given the Patriots’€™ willingness to spend a high second-round pick on a guy coming off back surgery last year in Rob Gronkowski, they could still have interest if they deem him a fit. He will need to weigh in heavier at the combine or put on some serious weight if he wants to be considered a lineman by 3-4 teams.

His ability to stay focused for an entire game has been called into question. That was a red flag for Carlos Dunlap a year ago and the Bengals ended up getting a real steal in the second round. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Greg Romeus, Potential Patriots,

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Ohio State DE Cameron Heyward

01.25.11 at 9:57 am ET
By   |   Comments

WEEI.com 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.

CAMERON HEYWARD

Postion: Defensive end

School: Ohio State

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 288 pounds

Achievements: All-Big Ten (2010), All-Big Ten second team (2009), Ohio State’s Jack Stephenson Award as outstanding Buckeyes defensive lineman (2009), Freshman All-American (Sporting News, Rivals, Scout)

What he brings: A hard worker who doesn’t give up on the play, Heyward uses his quickness and strength well and has the versatility to play everywhere on the line except nose tackle and provide underneath coverage in the passing game.

Where the Patriots could get him: No. 28 or 33.

Notes: Heyward’s father is the late Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, who spent 11 seasons as a running back in the NFL with five teams. His stepfather is Cory Blackwell, who spent one season in the NBA. The Buckeyes standout is durable, playing in every game during his four seasons in Columbus, although he had surgery on his elbow  a couple of weeks after hyperextending it in the Sugar Bowl victory over Arkansas Jan. 4 (with a 10-to-12-week timetable for recovery). He was an All-Big Ten selection in 2010 after recording 48 tackles, 13 for loss and 3.5 sacks. That followed a standout junior season in 2009 (46 tackles, 10 for loss, 6.5 sacks).

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Cameron Heyward, Potential Patriots,

Patriots by Position: Defensive backs

01.24.11 at 9:54 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Over the next week as the Patriots offseason gets underway, we’€™ll present a snapshot of the team by position. Today, the defensive backs are in the spotlight:

On the roster: Kyle Arrington, Sergio Brown, Darius Butler, Patrick Chung, Tony Carter, Devin McCourty, Brandon Meriweather, Jarrad Page and James Sanders. (Jonathan Wilhite, Leigh Bodden, Josh Barrett and Bret Lockett ended the season on injured reserve, while Thad Turner ended the year on the practice squad.)

Stat standouts: Leading tackler (according to coaches film review): Chung, 89, McCourty, 83. Interceptions: McCourty, 7. Passes defensed: McCourty, 17. Best single game: There were a few good candidates, but it’€™s hard to argue with McCourty’€™s effort on Thanksgiving Day against the Lions. He had two interceptions, two passes defensed and seven tackles. According to Pro Football Focus, McCourty only allowed two completions the entire game for a combined 13 yards despite being thrown at seven times. Three of those attempts came against all-world receiver Calvin Johnson, and only one of those was complete.

2010, in three sentences: Surprising. Without Leigh Bodden, McCourty emerged as a No. 1 corner, while Chung was as a solid presence in his second season and Sanders provided a steadiness and consistency at safety. However, questions still remain about the middle to back end of the depth chart, including Arrington, Butler and Wilhite, while Meriweather is a lightning rod for criticism.
Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Belichick, Brandon Meriweather, Bret Lockett, Darius Butler

Marvin Lewis: Belichick too smart to sign Ochocinco

01.24.11 at 6:15 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis was asked by the Boston Herald on Monday if he thought the Patriots would make a play for free agent receiver Chad Ochocinco.

“Belichick’s smarter than that,” said Lewis, who coached Ochocinco in Cincinnati for the last eight seasons.

Ochocinco recently posted a Tweet about the possibility of coming to New England, calling a potential pairing of he and Belichick “epic.” Belichick has a long history with the controversial wideout, having worked him out as a draft prospect in 2001. Belichick talked about their relationship earlier in the 2010 season.

‘€œI like Chad ‘€” I like him as a player. I like him as a person,’€ Belichick said. ‘€œI like his enthusiasm and the fun he has with football, and I like how he competes on the football field. I have a lot of respect for that.

‘€œ[We'€™re] an odd couple, but in the end I think we have a lot of things in common.’€

Read More: Bill Belichick, Chad Ochocinco, Marvin Lewis,

Rex Ryan: Jets have ‘done a pretty good job’ of beating Patriots

01.24.11 at 5:11 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Jets coach Rex Ryan, in a press conference the day after his team’s season came to an end in the AFC championship game, said that his team is close to its stated goal of winning a Super Bowl after making it to the NFL’s final four for two straight seasons. He suggested that the Jets need to figure out how to do more than just beat the Patriots, feeling that New York has handled its business against its foremost AFC East rival, but has lost the division (and thus been left without a bye or home playoff games) because of its performance against other teams.

“This isn’t just about beating New England because, quite honestly, we’ve done a pretty good job of it,” Ryan said. “It seems like nobody else in the league can beat them, so we’ve got to find ways to beat Green Bay, to beat Baltimore, to beat these other teams we lost to. That’s going to be a huge challenge for us.

“Unfortunately, we play a team that no other team in the league can beat,” added Ryan. “We might be able to beat them, but we’€™re not getting a whole lot of help from anybody else when they play that team. So we’ve got to be good enough to win against all these other teams.”

As for the Jets’ 24-19 loss to the Steelers, Ryan said that he was stunned by the team’s poor showing in the first half, but that he still felt that the season was a success, and that New York will be a champion soon.

“I’m kind of at a loss for why we played so poorly. … It was uncharacteristic of our team,” said Ryan. “How close are we to reaching our goals? Pretty darn close. … We weren’t good enough to get it done, but that doesn’t mean that we won’t be good enough to get it done next year.”

For more Patriots coverage, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: New York Jets, Rex Ryan,
Latest on Twitter
Patriots Box Score
Patriots Schedule
Patriots Headlines
NFL Headlines
Tips & Feedback

Verify