|Koppen: ‘Maybe I need to step up and get a little more vocal’||03.25.10 at 12:09 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Just wrapped up a 10-minute Q&A session with Patriots center Dan Koppen down here at Gillette Stadium, and one of the big topics was leadership. Koppen echoed the words of cornerback Leigh Bodden, who said recently that there was good leadership on the team, but it could always be better.
And like Bodden, Koppen openly speculated that this might be his time to step forward and become more of a vocal presence in the locker room.
“I think everybody needs to do their part,” he said when asked about the state of leadership in the Patriots’ locker room. “Really, that just starts with doing your job and coming in here and working out hard every day and … people like myself who maybe haven’t been as vocal in the past, maybe I need to step up and get a little bit more vocal.
“I may not be the most vocal guy, but maybe that role will change a little bit. Hopefully, we’ll start that now.”
Koppen said that last season, it wasn’t necessarily a case of that leadership going missing.
“I just don’t think we went out there and performed the way we needed to perform. We’ve got a good locker room. We always have. And we always will,” he said. “But it was one of those things that winning takes care of a lot of things. And when you’re not playing well and you’re losing, that’s when all the stuff creeps in. So you have to stay strong and fight through all that stuff.”
Koppen also said that quarterback Tom Brady — who was absent for the early stages of the offseason program — didn’t necessarily get a lot of grief when he showed up a couple of days ago.
“Not necessarily for that. He got more grief for that Earth Day ad he did,” Koppen said with a smile. “He just had the general ‘make-fun-of-this…’ He deserved it. He understood it. It was for a good cause.”
Koppen was asked if Brady got more grief for that or the pictures of him posing with a goat that popped up a few years back.
“The goat’s still up there,” Koppen laughed. “No. 1.”
|Curtis doesn’t appear to be on Pats’ shopping list||03.25.10 at 10:32 am ET|
While the Patriots have been looking at a wide variety of veteran free agent receivers in an attempt to bolster their receiving corps, don’t expect them to go after veteran Kevin Curtis. A league source tells me that Curtis, who was cut loose by Philadelphia earlier this offseason, has already heard from a number of teams, but the Patriots aren’t one of them.
The 6-foot, 186-pound Curtis is a 31-year-old who has been in the NFL for seven seasons, and has finished with 30-plus catches in five of those seven years. His best season came in 2007 when he caught 77 passes for 1,110 yards and six touchdowns with Philadelphia. However, he has struggled the last couple of seasons because of injury, including a knee problem that limited him to 12 games the last two years.
|Where the Pats will pick||03.24.10 at 8:08 pm ET|
We went over some of this earlier in the week, but we now know the exact spots where the Patriots will pick in this year’s draft:
1st round: 22nd overall
2nd round: 44th overall, acquired from the Jaguars
2nd round: 47th overall, acquired from the Titans
2nd round: 53rd overall
4th round: 119th overall
6th round: 190th overall
6th round: 205th overall (compensatory)
7th round: 229th overall
7th round: 231st overall, acquired from the Eagles
7th round: 247th overall, (compensatory)
7th round: 248th overall (compensatory)
7th round: 250th overall (compensatory)
|Every question you want answered about the new OT rule can be found here||03.24.10 at 4:36 pm ET|
Pretty much covered it with the title, but we had a ton of e-mails on Tuesday about what the new rules changes for overtime mean. So thanks to our man Berger from the Dale and Holley show, here’s a complete PDF document — direct from the NFL offices — that details all the rules changes involving overtime that were recently passed by the owners.
|Reports: Pats officially sign Crumpler||03.24.10 at 8:32 am ET|
The Patriots have officially signed tight end Alge Crumpler, according to multiple outlets. The 32-year-old veteran, who had agreed on a deal earlier this month, has played for both Atlanta and Tennessee. Crumpler was known as a pass-catcher earlier in his career, but has become more of a blocker the last two seasons with the Titans. With Tennessee, he had 51 catches for 479 yards, including 27 receptions for a career-low 222 yards and one touchdown in 2009. New England lost its two tight ends — Benjamin Watson and Chris Baker — earlier in the offseason, as Watson departed in free agency and Baker was released. The team has yet to officially announce the move.
|Mankins remains a rock for Patriots||03.23.10 at 11:39 pm ET|
The contract troubles that have bubbled up this week between the Patriots and left guard Logan Mankins caused me to go back and take a good look at Mankins’ performance since arriving in Foxboro in 2005.
I’ve always been unapologetic in my feelings about Mankins — at the end of the 2009 season, I ranked him as the sixth most-important player on the active roster. But what I found simply reminded me that Mankins remains an underappreciated bedrock along the New England offensive line.
Since he first arrived in 2005, Mankins has been as regular a part of the football landscape in Foxboro as pregame traffic on Route 1. The quiet left guard out of Fresno State has started every game since his rookie season — a streak of 80 consecutive regular-season starts. That durability is impressive in and of itself, but with the help of Pro Football Focus, a closer look at the numbers reveals the true grit Mankins has displayed, especially this past season.
While he’s been able to go wire-to-wire the last five years, 2009 was particularly impressive. Last year, Mankins not only started every game, but according to Pro Football Focus (which ranked him as the best left guard in the AFC East), he was involved in every single offensive snap until the regular-season finale against Houston, when he took nine snaps off. Slacker. He’s become so reliable that it’s now news when Mankins misses a practice, and his durability has been recognized with two trips to the Pro Bowl.
But it’s tough to measure just how good an offensive lineman really is. Outside of sacks allowed — and even that’s a wildly imperfect stat — there remains no significant way to measure how good an offensive lineman really is. One way to gauge one offensive lineman’s ability is to ask another one: Joe Andruzzi — who preceded Mankins as the left guard along New England’s offensive line — considers Mankins “one of the top linemen in the league.”
|NFL changes OT rules||03.23.10 at 3:25 pm ET|
NFL owners voted 28-4 on Tuesday afternoon to change the league’s rules regarding overtime. Under the new proposal, the team that loses the coin toss at the start of OT would still get a possession — unless a touchdown is scored on the first possession of overtime. The sudden-death format would resume thereafter. For 2010, this rule change will only apply to playoff games. However, the league may amend the rules again during its next series of scheduled meetings in May.
According to several reports, the four teams who voted against the plan were the Bills, Vikings, Ravens and Bengals.
The Patriots were one of the teams that voted in favor of the plan, even though coach Bill Belichick has publicly voiced his displeasure with the proposed new format — as well as the current one. In an interview with ESPN.com earlier this week. Belichick said he likes “the rules of the game as they are in regulation,” which would extend to a timed overtime period, something he advocated in a 2007 interview in The Boston Globe. “I think that’s the way it should be in overtime, but that’s not the way it is,” Belichick said of the timed format. “So whatever it is, it is.”
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