|5 things you have to know about Colts: Indy a massive underdog against Patriots||10.12.15 at 12:59 pm ET|
Five things you have to know about the Colts, who host the Patriots on Sunday night at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The 40-year-old Hasselbeck, who took over after Luck went down with a shoulder issue, has started the last two games and has done a good job managing to wring just enough out of the offense to allow the Colts to escape with a pair of wins. In his two starts, Hasselbeck is 48-for-76 (63 percent completion rate) for 495 yards and three touchdowns, with no picks and a passer rating of 95.0. (Through the first three games, Luck was 65-for-116 for a 56 percent completion rate, with 753 yards, five touchdowns, seven interceptions and a passer rating of 65.1.) It has to be taken with a grain of salt because the wins were relatively narrow victories over Jacksonville and Houston, but Hasselbeck’s steadiness and consistent play the last two weeks has allowed Indy to climb just over .500 entering this game. It’s likely that the Colts will do whatever they can to keep the Patriots guessing this week when it comes to who will be under center at the start of Sunday’s contest, but Hasselbeck might be the first Indy backup quarterback in 20 years to show that he can do more than just hold a clipboard. (For what it’s worth, Indy released quarterback Josh Johnson on Monday, which likely is a sign that one or both of the Luck/Hasselbeck combo is feeling better.)
2. Hasselbeck isn’t the only veteran who has helped the Colts offense through a rough patch.
In his first season with Indy, 32-year-old running back Frank Gore (76 carries, 325 yards, 3 TDs) has provided the bulk of the yardage on the ground. Meanwhile, 34-year-old receiver Andre Johnson (13 catches, 128 yards, 2 TDs), also in his initial season with the Colts, has also seen action as a complementary pass catcher, augmenting the work of youngsters like the speedy T.Y. Hilton (a team-high 27 catches, 382 yards) and Donte Moncrief (24 catches, 278 yards, 3 TDs). The positional grouping won’t remind anyone of Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James and Marvin Harrison, but it’s provided just enough offense over the last few weeks to lift the Colts to three consecutive victories. (One more quick note on the Indy offense: the Colts are 31st in the league in giveaways with seven interceptions and five fumbles. In all, Indy is 31st when it comes to turnover ratio at minus-7. Not a good sign when you are facing a New England team that’s tied for fifth overall at plus-5.)
|Frank Gore makes recruiting pitch to Vince Wilfork to join Colts for University of Miami reunion||03.13.15 at 12:07 pm ET|
The Colts have made some noise this week at the start of NFL free agency, as they have signed a few players including running back Frank Gore and wide receiver Andre Johnson. Gore took to Instagram Thursday night and made a recruiting pitch to another free agent, former Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork.
Wilfork played college at the University of Miami where both Gore and Johnson played their college ball. They all played at the school in the early 2000s, and furthermore Colts coach Chuck Pagano was the lead recruiter there from 1995-2000.
Gore wrote: The u we waiting for big Vince wilfork now family
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|John Clayton on MFB: Darrelle Revis has shown ‘willingness’ to work with Patriots, take a discount||03.10.15 at 1:41 pm ET|
ESPN NFL reporter John Clayton joined Middays with MFB Tuesday with Greg Dickerson in for Tim Benz to discuss Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner and other NFL free agent news. To listen to the interview, go to the Middays with MFB audio on demand page.
When it comes to Revis, the Patriots reportedly won’t pick up his $20 million team option for 2015 and he will become a free agent, as of 4 p.m. Tuesday. Being the best cornerback on the market, and even overall player on the market, it seems likely he will demand big dollars.
Clayton said Revis could take somewhat of a discount to return to New England because of what he did last offseason.
“He did that last year because even though the contract averaged $16 million and he was making $16 million on the average on the Tampa Bay contract, he was willing to play for $12 [million],” Clayton said. “I think he’s shown his willingness to be able to work with the team and take a discount. The question is going to be how much of a discount?
“Let’s say for an example he does hit the market and there is nothing out there, it could be one of those things where his agents say to the Jets, make everything you can, make us an offer we can’t turn down. I think there is a chance that could happen because you know Woody Johnson knows him and he’s been there before. If it is within $2 million I think he stays [in New England].”
The Patriots have also reportedly let Browner test the market and see what his value is, as he is set to receive a $2 million roster bonus on Tuesday. The team could be looking to restructure his deal, possibly for a way to bring Revis back.
“He has a bonus that is due today that will be guaranteed, so it’s possible they may not pick up that bonus,” said Clayton. “Because he makes $5 million a year they are giving him the opportunity to see, ‘Hey, can you get into anything? If you can then we’ll let you see that.’ You kind of get the idea they may not want to have the bonus or they may want him to see what is available and what kind of market value he has so they can restructure his contract and make him stay.
“It’s a very curious move because if you think about it, part of the great success of the team was the addition of the two cornerbacks and both cornerbacks may not be there. It’s a gamble. It’s a timing thing too because they also knew they had until 4 o’clock to figure this out. If they know Revis is gone maybe they do something different with Brandon or maybe vise versa. Very curious move, but you can see it is a business and that is part of the business.”
ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter joined Dennis & Callahan with Glenn Ordway in for John Dennis Tuesday morning to talk about NFL free agency, which gets officially underway Tuesday at 4 p.m., and to also discuss what he thinks will happen with a few Patriots players. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The big story with the Patriots is Darrelle Revis and will he return to New England, but there are also other players with the team and in the league that will be available. One of those players is former Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson, who was released by the Texans on Monday. Schefter said the Patriots will be one of the teams interested in Johnson.
“I believe they will be one of the teams in there,” Schefter said. “I don’t know exactly whether he will choose there. I think he wants to play for a Super Bowl contender, he wants to play on a team with a quarterback. You look at the final four teams last year. New England, Indy, Green Bay, Seattle — that would be a smart starting point.”
When it comes to Revis, Schefter reported Monday the Patriots will not pick up his $20 million option for 2015, thus making him a free agent come Tuesday afternoon. The Patriots can still sign him long-term before then, and Schefter says the Patriots chances go down if they cannot re-sign him by Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Schefter still remains confident it will come down to the Patriots and Jets — he doesn’t believe there will be a mystery team. He also said the Patriots’ attention shifted right to Revis after agreeing to a new deal with Devin McCourty on Sunday night.
“Here is the window to get Darrelle Revis re-signed. If he is going to come back to New England, to me, the chances are greater that he would do it by 4 p.m EST,” said Schefter. “If 4 p.m. EST comes and he is not a member of the Patriots, I think the percentages that he comes back to New England drop some. I don’t know how you quantify that.
“The Patrots are going to come at him with a compelling offer. They are not going to tip toe around this. They are going to say, ‘Darrelle, here is the best we can do, we can do this.’ If that is enough to interest him and he wants to be there, you would think he’d take that, right?”
If Revis does sign with the Jets, Schefter said they will be overpaying.
“It depends, is he going back to New England, or is he going to the Jets. If he goes to New England it will be less, if he goes to the Jets it will be more. That is my guess,” said Schefter. “The Jets are going to have to overpay to get him there and my guess is they know that — they are smart enough to figure that out that they aren’t getting him at the same price the New England Patriots would have to pay, and then the question becomes what will they offer and is it so much more than the Patriots are offering that it is enough to entice Darrelle Revis.”
Here are more highlights from the conversation. For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|As opening of free agency officially approaches, Texans cut ties with WR Andre Johnson||03.09.15 at 4:36 pm ET|
With 24 hours before the official start of free agency Tuesday afternoon, teams continued to make roster adjustments in preparation for the opening of the market. Here are some of the more notable moves:
The Texans cut wide receiver Andre Johnson. The veteran, who has played all 12 of his seasons in Houston, has 1,012 catches for 13,597 yards and 64 touchdowns over the course of his career, all while working with some truly wretched quarterbacks. Johnson will almost certainly be one of the most attractive targets in free agency, but he’ll turn 34 before the start of the 2015 season, which means he’ll have to take a slight pay cut from the $21.5 million (over two seasons) he had left on his deal with the Texans. It’s debatable as to whether or not the Patriots would be in the mix for Johnson, but he’ll certainly find plenty of interested partners when free agency begins on Tuesday, including the Colts, who recently cut ties with veteran Reggie Wayne.
One note we forgot to include earlier in the day — the Bills have retained pass-rushing specialist Jerry Hughes, as the TCU product has apparently agreed to a five-year deal worth roughly $45 million, with $20 million in guaranteed money. Hughes had 10 sacks in each of his first two seasons with Buffalo, and the 6-foot-2, 253-pounder will likely have s sizable role in Rex Ryan‘s defensive scheme with the Bills.
The Eagles reached an agreement on a new contract with outside linebacker Brandon Graham. According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, it’s a four-year deal with $26 million, with $14 million in guaranteed money. One of the highest-rated edge defenders in the league, the 6-foot-2, 265-pounder finished with a career-high 5.5 sacks with Philly in 2014.
|Could Patriots make push for Andre Johnson?||05.15.14 at 1:35 pm ET|
The news out of Houston that receiver Andre Johnson has started pushing for a trade has led many Patriots fans to openly speculate about the possibility of New England trying to put together a deal for the former All-Pro receiver.
Given the depth of the relationship between Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Texans coach Bill O’Brien, the two sides would appear to be natural trade partners. That, combined with the fact that New England and Houston have been talking on and off throughout the offseason about a potential deal involving quarterback Ryan Mallett, would naturally spark conversation on the topic. The starting point between the two sides likely would be Mallett and a draft pick (probably a second- or third-round selection) for Johnson.
Johnson is a tremendous talent. The 6-foot-3, 219-pounder has played 11 years in he NFL, all with the Texans, and has 927 career receptions, 12,661 receiving yards and 61 touchdowns. The most impressive thing about those numbers? The fact that he’s had a relatively mediocre (at best) group of quarterbacks throwing him the ball over the course of his career: Matt Schaub, Case Keenum, T.J. Yates, Sage Rosenfels and David Carr. Considering the level of talent on the pre-2012 Texans offense, it’s a remarkable run.
However, when it comes to assembling a trade, the biggest hurdle might be trying to work around Johnson’s sizable contract. According to Rotoworld, Johnson still has $34.5 million remaining on a deal that runs through 2016. For a receiver who is set to turn 33 in July — even one who has been as productive over the last five years as Johnson — that’s a major financial hit. While the Patriots could get some cap relief via the recent indictment of former New England tight end Aaron Hernandez, that might still be too much to handle from a financial perspective.
In addition, a Johnson trade would leave $11.96 million in dead money against Houston’s 2014 cap, according to NFL Media’s Albert Breer. It is worth noting that overthecap.com reports that the Texans would save $3.68 million against the cap if he was dealt before June 1, so if there is going to be a trade, it would be in Houston’s best interest to do something as soon as possible.
Some have drawn an analogy between Johnson and Randy Moss, who was acquired by the Patriots in the spring of 2007 after two sad and sorrowful seasons in Oakland. While Johnson doesn’t necessarily have the reputation as the third rail of the NFL that Moss had over his first decade or so in the league, both have put up great numbers over the course of their career, and both did it with some decidedly average quarterbacks. Sprung from the Raiders, Moss went on to three-plus seasons of great success with New England before being dealt to the Vikings.
However, it is important to note that Johnson is set to turn 33 this summer, while Moss had just turned 30 when the Patriots picked him up. That’s not a colossal age difference, but something that has to be taken into consideration when you are approaching the team-building process for the next few years.
Ultimately, the Patriots should be expected to at least inquire about the possibility of Johnson. But unless the receiver is willing to re-work his contract — or New England is able to move a lot of money around over the next couple of weeks — it seems like a bit of a long shot, at least at this point.
|Texans feel things could be different if they meet Patriots again||12.11.12 at 2:31 am ET|
FOXBORO — Leading up to this match-up during the week, many were calling this game possibly the biggest in Texans history. Houston has never taken one loss this far into a season, and traveling to face a Patriots team with a 9-3 record on Monday Night Football only upped the ante.
But it was clear who the superior team was on Monday night in Foxboro.
There’s probably a lot to be said about experience; the Patriots have it in December, January and February. The Texans, not as much.
Since the Texans and Patriots now account for two of the top three teams in the AFC, the likelihood of them meeting again down the playoff road is a high one. Whether this game takes place in Houston or Foxboro is yet to be seen, if it happens at all. And if it does, several members of the Texans said they now know what to look for from this veteran New England team, and themselves as well.
‘It’s a teaching moment,’ defensive end Whitney Mercilus said after the game. ‘This is a good team and we can’t slack off. Too many penalties and things like that; beating ourselves. We’ve got to be able to move the ball offensively and defensively. We’ve got to get to the passer and help out our secondary. We can’t get gashed in the run. We’ve got to get better.’
When asked why he thought the outcome might be different should the they meet again, defensive end Antonio Smith paused for a few seconds thinking about the question, and then said, ‘We know what to expect.’
‘Now you know what you’re dealing with,’ he said. ‘There aren’t any surprises. This team hadn’t faced a Patriots team in their house this late in the year when it’s playoffs coming since I’ve been here. I think the last time we beat them was in our house. And hopefully we can get our stuff together and win the rest of these games so that they’ve got to come in our house. It’s just another battle; we’ll see how it is then.’ Read the rest of this entry »