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Adam Schefter on D&C: Pass rushers ‘difficult to find’

10.01.10 at 10:39 am ET

ESPN’s Adam Schefter joined the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning for his weekly visit. With the Jets’ acquisition of former Ravens defensive end Trevor Pryce, the hosts wondered if there was any defensive help, particularly pass rushers, available on the market for the needy Patriots. Schefter said the outlook is grim.

“Pass rushers are difficult to find,” he said. “If there were a pass rusher out there, teams would be in pursuit of him. Pass rushers are very difficult to come by, and New England and other teams spent their entire offseason looking for pass rushers and struggled to find them.

“I think that this is a case, if you’re the New England Patriots, you have to make due with what you have right now,” Schefter added, before shining some positive light with an eye to the future. “Know that in the upcoming draft, you’re going to have four picks in the top two rounds and a chance to land some pass rushers.”

For more of Schefter’s thoughts on ways the Patriots could potentially improve their defense in-season, as well as his thoughts on Pryce, Donovan McNabb‘s return to Philadelphia, Ben Roethlisberger‘s status with the Steelers and more, see the highlights below or visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

On Aaron Schobel, a pass rusher who used to terrorize the Patriots:

I know Aaron Schobel retired, and the Texans had him in for a workout on Monday. But I’m told he looked terrible, just terrible, out of shape and just not ready to play. Aaron Schobel is somebody that can rush the passer, but it doesn’t sound like his mind or his body are there right now to go play, and I don’t know if he’d want to necessarily to leave the Texas area to go play in New England at this point in time.

Are there other defensive players we are missing, whether it’s a pass rusher or not, as the Patriots could use a lot of defensive help?

Here’s what you have to factor in also. We’re going into the fourth week of the season. In another two weeks, the trade deadline is October 19th, some teams may lose, and a team like hypothetically Carolina could be 0-5. They may be willing to trade somebody who rushes the passer for a decent draft pick at that point in time. Look at teams at the bottom, see if there’s anybody you want. Then, see if they’d be willing to part with them at that point in time.

Explain the Trevor Pryce situation like we’re 5-year-olds:

Well, basically, Baltimore assumed he would just re-sign with them. The more I look into the situation, the more I felt, “Boy, I think that was a little naive,” because basically they cut his salary in the offseason by $2 1/2 million, and I think that anybody that has their salary cut by any employer has a little thing inside them.

So, they cut his salary, then they cut him, which, he has his salary guaranteed, but they give him a window to go out and talk to Rex Ryan which he vowed if he ever had the chance to play for, he would. The Jets need pass rushers from the inside part of the defensive line, they call Trevor, and boom, the deal got done. Trevor drove up from Baltimore to New York, and that’s what happened. This was not a case of, OK, New England or Philadelphia or Washington is interested in Trevor Pryce, he’s going there. He wanted to go play for Rex Ryan.

So, the Patriots had no shot?

I don’t view it as them being actively involved or them having a chance. And, Trevor’s also got a music business, I’ve known him since the mid-199os in Denver. He’s got a thriving music business, and I think that he wanted to expose himself to New York and be around the New York area for his outside business interests, knowing he’s at the tail end of his football career.

So, given the way the Ravens have handled this, they must not have thought much of him as a player  anymore?

I disagree. They certainly had an opinion of him that was not what it was when they signed him as a free agent. But they still thought he could play. The plan was to bring him back. The quote from John Harbaugh I believe was, “He’ll be back with us next week.” Which was about as real as Andy Reid saying that “Kevin Kolb is our quarterback,” and then going to Michael Vick.

What is your take on how those lovable Philadelphia fans will treat Donovan McNabb.

I think that they have to cheer him. I think anything otherwise would be [classless]. The guy gave them 11 great years, took them to five NFC championship games. They didn’t win a Super Bowl together, but that franchise and that city are considerably better for Donovan McNabb having played there, and having worked there and having lived there.

Look, you said I’m not in the prediction business, and I can’t predict how Philadelphia’s going to act. But I would assume and hope that those fans would give him an ovation. And then when the game gets going and he throws a touchdown pass, you want to boo? That’s fine, I get it.

Do you think it took guts trading McNabb within the division?

I definitely think it took some guts to trade him in the division. But I’ll tell you this, it takes a lot less guts to do that when you have a quarterback on your roster that you believe in as much as the Eagles believed in Kevin Kolb, and a backup in Michael Vick. Knowing that you have two other quarterbacks makes it a whole lot easier to do what they did.

Plus, let’s be real, let’s be honest, they’ve been willing to trade Donovan McNabb for the last couple of years, they just could never find the right offer. They were in the situation here where McNabb’s contract was going to be up after this season and they knew, knew, that they had to trade one of these quarterbacks, and the chances were it was going to be Donovan McNabb all along.

If you go back and look, since Andy Reid took over as the Philadelphia Eagles head coach, nobody in the league has done a better job at knowing when to pull the plug on players and when to seperate and when to say goodbye than the Eagles. They’ve made countless roster decisions over the years, and maybe the only glaring mistake they’ve ever made in getting rid of a player was Brian Dawkins. That’s it. If they’re willing to say good bye to Donovan McNabb, that tells you flat out that they don’t think that he’s a great quarterback anymore and they don’t have high hopes for his future.

On next year’s quarterback outlook for the Eagles:

They don’t have to say goodbye to either one. Look at the contract structures. They paid Kevin Kolb this year, this year, $11.4 million, and his contract next year drops to $1.4 million. Michael Vick makes $5.2 million this year, he’ll make another $2.7 million in incentives and he’s a free agent next year. This year there spending $16.6 million on the quarterback position. Next year, they’re on the books, right now, for $1.4 million. That leaves them within their budget, basically, $15.2 million, which, by the way, happens to be roughly the franchise number.

Either they franchise Michael Vick and keep him, or they sign Michael Vick to a long-term extension. Or, they get an offer that’s so good for Kevin Kolb, like a [first-round draft pick] and a [third-rounder], that they feel compelled to go trade him, and the last year of his contract, and go out and sign another veteran and draft a quarterback. … They have the franchise tag at their disposal, they have the budget and the money allocated for that position. He can’t go anywhere. So, they’re in a great spot, they managed this very well. That’s one of the reasons they wanted to get rid of Donovan McNabb.

Is Ben Roethlisberger the starter Monday morning, no matter what happens this weekend?

Look, they might not say Ben’s the starter Monday morning. But let me tell you right now, Ben’s the starter on Monday morning. They may say whatever they want to say, they can present it however they want to present it. Ben Roethlisberger is one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He led this team to two Super Bowl titles on his shoulders. The guy’s a beast at the quarterback position. He’s going to come back motivated, he’s going to come back hungry, he’s going to come back inspired, and he’s going to come back as the starting quarterback of their team. I don’t care if Charlie Batch throws six touchdown passes.

Is San Francisco teetering on the brink of extinction?

What happens if they lose to Atlanta, they fall to 0-4. I don’t think they do anything, I really don’t. And you know why they don’t do anything? If you look at that division, the leader in that division may be 3-1, but is probably going to be 2-2. San Francisco’s schedule, after this, they come home for Philadelphia, home for Oakland, at Carolina, Denver in London, St. Louis, Tampa, Arizona.

I mean, they could easily rebound as horrendously as they are playing right now, and win that division with a 7-9 mark. I don’t care if they lose 48-0 this weekend. I think that it would create more controversy, it would create more tension, it will bring more negativity to them. But inevitably, they are going on as the 49ers.

Read More: adam schefter, Ben Roethlisberger, donovan mcnabb, Trevor Pryce



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