|Can OL Shaq Mason contribute as rookie with Patriots?||05.21.15 at 12:01 pm ET|
There is no doubt that Shaq Mason has what it takes to succeed at the NFL level as a run blocker.
Mason was one of the reasons why Georgia Tech’s run-based scheme was so successful the last few seasons — behind an offensive line that included Mason at one of the guard spots, the Yellow Jackets were at or near the top of the NCAA in most major rushing totals in 2014, including total rushing yards (4,789, first), yards per carry (6.1, tied for fifth) and rushing yards per game (342.1, second).
While part of that was due to the fact that almost no one ran the ball more often last year than Georgia Tech (its 790 rushing attempts were second only to Air Force in total chances), the very fact that the rest of the NCAA knew what was coming and couldn’t stop it anyway is a tribute to the way the Yellow Jackets were able to run the ball as well as they did.
Chief among the reasons for their success was Mason, a three-year starter at guard who was a first-team USA Today All-American in 2014. Put on some of his highlights, look for the No. 70, and Patriots fans will start to be reminded of another offensive lineman who was described as salty and tough when he came out of Fresno State 10 years ago:
The questions for the fourth-round pick out of Georgia Tech lie with his pass-blocking skills, and whether or not he’ll be able to adjust to life at the next level. (Despite the fact that he has impressive run-blocking skills, there are only three pass plays in the above highlight reel.) When he does see his first NFL action, it’s not like he’ll be dropped into the deep end of the pool without a pair of floaties and asked to swim — the Yellow Jackets did attempt 203 passes last season — but at this point in his development he’s raw. As a result, the technique and footwork that comes with consistently working in pass protection at the NFL level could present something of a learning curve for the 6-foot-1, 310-pounder.
But as far as Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson is concerned, there’s no concern about whether or not Mason — whose full name is Shaquille Olajuwon Mason — can make the transition.
“I don’t think there’s any question he’ll be able to make the move from college to the pros as an offensive lineman,” Johnson said of Mason, who was taken 131st overall by the Patriots earlier this month. “People make too big a deal out of that transition — there are plenty of players in his shoes who have done the same thing, and done it well. He’s a good player and has good feet and knows how to use that leverage to his advantage.”
New York Daily News Jets columnist Manish Mehta joined the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning to talk about Darrelle Revis’ comments to him regarding the Patriots and Tom Brady. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Revis spent one year with the Patriots, winning a Super Bowl title, but then departed for the Jets via free agency after the Patriots didn’t pick up his $20 million option. Mehta was asked if Revis never felt like a Patriot, and he said that would be “fair to say.”
“That’s probably fair to say,” said Mehta. “He hasn’t came out and told me that specifically, but judging by his reaction to coming back to New York and feeling comfortable in this area. It is a place he had played for obviously at the outset of his career and an area he likes a lot and an organization — even though it is a different coaching staff now.
“I think that is fair to say, although he hasn’t came out specially and told me he never felt like a Patriot because I think when he was with [Bill] Belichick he learned a lot from Belichick, he bought in and he obviously played a great deal in their Super Bowl title.”
Mehta said Revis wasn’t reluctant to say what he did about the Patriots on Wednesday, as he’s the type of player to speak his mind when he wants.
“No. I wouldn’t say that,” Mehta said. “He also has a history with the Patriots prior to playing for the Patriots, that a lot of these other guys who have played for Belichick didn’t have, so he does have a unique perspective. The thing I know about Darrelle Revis, knowing him since he came into the league years ago is that he does speak his mind. He took a brief rest there up in Foxboro, but his personality is such that if he believes in something he’s going to say it and he’s obviously a caliber of player that carries a lot of clout. He doesn’t really care what you think, if that’s what he believes he’s going to share it with you.”
Mehta did add Revis still has great deal of respect for Brady and feels like he will be a Hall of Famer.
“I will say that Revis was very clear that he’s always had a lot of professional respect for Tom Brady and he does think he’s going to be a Hall of Famer, without a doubt and he does think he’s one of the greatest quarterbacks,” said Mehta. “The way he described it was, ‘if not the best’ quarterback to ever play, so in terms of how any potential wrongdoing with these footballs affects Brady’s legacy, I think Revis believes that Tom Brady is an all-time great regardless of what happened. He just doesn’t have the fact, he doesn’t know what happened. He was unaware of it.”
|NFL owners approve moving back PAT snaps to 15-yard line, allow defensive scores on 2-point tries||05.19.15 at 7:00 pm ET|
The Patriots did register one victory of sorts Tuesday on the first day of owner’s meetings in San Francisco.
The extra point will not be nearly as routine as in years past as owners approved the competition committee’s proposal to move the try back 13 yards. The PAT will be snapped from the 15-yard line and kicked from the 23-yard line. This proposal was tried last preseason. The result will be a 33-yard extra point after every touchdown or a two-point attempt.
Two-point conversions will remain at the 2-yard line. The new rule also gives the defense the ability to score two points on returns of failed two-point tries.
According to the rule change, if the defense returns a failed two-point try for a touchdown (i.e. interception, fumble return), they will be awarded two points. Previously, the play was simply blown dead.
Owners also considered a proposal by the Patriots similar to the adopted plan, but without the defense’s ability to score. A plan proposed by Philadelphia called for a 15-yard PAT and the ball on the 1-yard line for two-point attempts.
|Rex Ryan on facing Patriots without Tom Brady: ‘I just want to beat them no matter who’s back there’||05.13.15 at 1:03 pm ET|
Rex Ryan isn’t going to pile on the Patriots.
The Bills coach was asked Wednesday for his take on Deflategate and Tom Brady‘s looming four-game suspension, but he wasn’t about to add fuel to the fire.
“They know all the facts,” Ryan told reporters in regards to the NFL and the investigation.
New England is scheduled to face Buffalo in the second game of the regular season in upstate New York. If the suspension holds, Brady would be sidelined for the game. Ryan was asked if he’d rather play Brady, but he wouldn’t add to the drama.
“I just want to beat them — no matter who’s back there,” Ryan said of the Patriots.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|Timeline: How Tom Brady, Patriots got to their penalties following Deflategate, Wells Report||at 6:00 am ET|
Now that Tom Brady has been suspended four games for his role in Deflategate following the release of the Wells Report, and the team getting a first round pick taken away in 2016 and a fourth rounder in 2017, as well as handed a $1 million fine, it may be difficult to remember everything that has been said or happened since the AFC championship game, which was all the way back on Jan. 18, 2015.
Here is the complete timeline:
Jan. 18: The Patriots beat the Colts 45-7 in the AFC championship game to advance to the Super Bowl. Shortly after the game, it was reported the NFL was investigating the Patriots using deflated footballs.
Breaking: A league source tells me the NFL is investigating the possibility the Patriots deflated footballs Sunday night. More to come.
‘ Bob Kravitz (@bkravitz) January 19, 2015
Jan. 19: Brady goes on Dennis & Callahan for his weekly interview and is asked about the accusations, which he denies and laughs it off.
“I think I’ve heard it all at this point,” he said. “That’s the least of my worries, I don’t even respond to stuff like this.”
Jan. 20: The NFL finds all 11 footballs used by the Patriots were under inflated.
“I had no knowledge whatsoever of this situation until Monday morning,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot more about this process in the last three days than I knew – or had talked about – in the last 40 years that I’ve coached in this league. I had no knowledge of the various steps involved in the game balls, the process that happened between when they were prepared and went to the officials and went to the game, so I’ve learned a lot about that.”
With even more national, non-sports media on hand, creating at times an out of control scene, Brady spoke for over 30 minutes on the subject, maintaining he is not a cheater.
“I don’t believe so,” he said. “I would never do anything to break the rules. … I would never do anything outside of the rules of play.”
“I didn’t alter the ball in any way,” added Brady.
Jan. 23: The NFL announces Ted Wells will lead the investigation.
Jan. 24: Belichick holds an impromptu, 23-minute press conference at Gillette Stadium, complete with a science experiment saying he believes his organization is clear of any wrong-doing.
“Over the last few days I have learned a lot more than I ever knew, exceptionally more,” said Belichick. “I feel like this is important because there have been questions raised and I believe now 100 percent that I have personally, and we as an organization have absolutely followed every rule to the letter. I feel on behalf on everyone in the organization, everyone that is involved in the organization that I needed to say something.”
He also delivered one of the best Belichick quotes in recent memory.
“I’m not a scientist. I’m not an expert in footballs. I’m not an expert in football measurements. I’m just telling you what I know,” Belichick said. “I would not say I’m Mona Lisa Vito of the football world, as she was in the car-expertise area.”
|Adam Schefter on MFB: Would be a ‘surprise’ for Patriots to raise Super Bowl banner without Tom Brady present||05.12.15 at 12:44 pm ET|
ESPN’s Adam Schefter joined Middays with MFB to discuss the penalties handed down Monday following the release of the Wells Report and what is next to come for both Tom Brady and the Patriots. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
With Brady being suspended four games he will miss opening night when the team hosts the Steelers where typically the defending Super Bowl champs raise their championship banner.
Many fans have pushed for the team not to raise the banner and honor the team without Brady there. Schefter agreed, saying he would be “surprised” if the team did anything with the Super Bowl banner without Brady present.
“We were talking before on SportsCenter, the fans want them to raise the banner when Tom is [present], well of course they would do that,” Schefter said. “It would surprise me the Patriots unfold that banner and had their big ceremonies, or whatever they do to honor last year, without Tom Brady there. How do you do that? Like you can’t do that. The team’s decide when that is done, the league doesn’t decide that. If you’re the team deciding that, how do you do that without Tom Brady there?”
As for what is next for Brady, he will appeal his suspension. He has until 5 p.m. Thursday, and the league then has 7-10 days to decide who will hear the appeal.
“That is the big question right now, is what happens with that appeal? Again, Tom has until 5 p.m. Eastern Thursday to file that appeal, which he will at some point here,” said Schefter. “And then the league has seven days to come up with a hearing officer. I think most people will suspect it is going to wind up being Harold Henderson. Maybe Robert Kraft steps in and says, ‘Hey we want an independent, neutral arbitrator here. … We don’t want Harold Henderson having worked in the league office, hearing this case.’ I don’t know if Roger Goodell would consider that or not.
“Roger Goodell is the man that makes that decision. That will be the next big story line here, one of the big story lines is, who hears that appeal? I think the favorite is Harold Henderson, but that is still to be determined here over the next 7-10 days.”
Schefter said he wouldn’t even rule out the Patriots appealing their penalties, but doesn’t know how it would necessarily work because it has never happened before. He said the organization will be looking to preserve their reputation.
“I think they are going to definitely fight back,” Schefter said. “Look, we know Tom Brady can appeal and I think the Patriots can appeal. I don’t know how that works because we’ve never really seen something like that happen before where the Patriots could say, ‘We want to appeal the loss of the two picks, $1 million fine and the penalties that were imposed on us as an organization when we didn’t know anything about this.’ They can go do that and maybe they will go do that.
“What’s most important to them is preserving their reputation and they believe it’s been researched in an unnecessary and unfair way. They I’m sure, are going to want to have their chance to prove that the allegation levied against them and the discipline handed down against them are unfair and incorrect. I am sure they are going to try and clear their name and point out the error of the league’s ways in what they believe is again, something that is off base in the way it was handled.”
Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.
|List of Patriots players suspended under Bill Belichick||05.11.15 at 11:30 pm ET|
The league came down hard on Tom Brady and the Patriots Monday, suspending the quarterback for four games and taking two draft picks (including a 2016 first rounder) away from the organization and fining them $1 million, the largest ever fine imposed on an NFL team, for their involvement with Deflategate.
Brady isn’t the only player to be suspended under Bill Belichick‘s watch. Here are the others:
LeGarrette Blount — The Patriots running back has been suspended for the first game of the 2015 season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. He and Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell were arrested after police said they found about three-fourths of an ounce of marijuana in Bell’s car during a traffic stop on August 20 of last year.
Brandon Browner — Browner was suspended for the first four games of the 2014 season for violating league’s substance-abuse policy. Browner was suspended without pay for the Seattle Seahawks‘ final five games of the 2013 season, including the playoffs and then suspended indefinitely as a second time offender. He was then reinstated last March. Belichick still signed the cornerback despite knowing he’d miss the first four games. Browner wasn’t active until Week 7 against the Jets.
Brian Tyms — The young wide out was also suspended the first four games of the 2014 season for violating league’s substance-abuse policy when he was with the Browns. This may have actually helped get Tyms on the roster to open the season, as there was a chance he could have been cut after camp, but the four-game suspension helped keep Tyms around. He made his debut in Week 6 in Buffalo where he caught a touchdown pass.
Brandon Bolden — The running back was suspended on Nov. 9, 2012 for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances during his rookie season. He did return to play the final four games of the season, as well as the postseason.
Jermaine Cunningham — On Nov. 26, 2012, Cunningham was suspended four games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. The defensive end/outside linebacker returned for the final regular-season game and postseason, but was cut at the end of training camp the following season.
Brandon Spikes — On Dec. 11, 2010 the linebacker was suspended four games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Those games were the last four of the regular-season, but he did return for the postseason — a 28-21 loss to the Jets in the divisional round.
Kevin Faulk — The running back was suspended the first game of the 2008 season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. He was found to be in possession of marijuana cigars while attending a concert in Louisiana. The charges were eventually dropped, but he lost two game checks.
Rodney Harrison — Prior to the 2007 season, Harrison was suspended the first four games for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. He admitted he obtained human growth hormone, but said that he had never taken steroids.