|Free Agent Snapshot: Matt Roth||05.07.11 at 12:31 am ET|
Despite the labor uncertainty, over the course of the offseason, WEEI.com will present a list of 10 possible fits for the Patriots in free agency under the old Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The Browns are moving to a 4-3 under new coach Dick Jauron, which means this veteran of the 3-4 will be looking to test the free agent market. Roth is not an overwhelming threat as a pass rusher ‘ he’s posted 20 career sacks in seven seasons in the NFL, including a combined 7.5 the last two years in Cleveland ‘ but is an excellent complimentary piece who could provide depth outside and provide support in the run game.
Since college, Roth has played almost exclusively for former Bill Belichick lieutenants: as a collegian, he was with Kirk Ferentz at Iowa. In the pros, he’s also had stints with in Nick Saban (Miami) and Eric Mangini (Cleveland), which would likely mean an easy transition into the New England system. He would be a relatively inexpensive sign. And he certainly fits the body type the Patriots require when it comes to finding someone who could set the edge in the run game and provide a spark to the pass rush.
Why it might not work: Roth is a bit of a wild card. He ran afoul of Bill Parcells in Miami ‘ skipping ‘voluntary’ spring practices with the Dolphins because he was unhappy with his contract ‘ which eventually got him released. While he’s generally considered a good locker room presence, he is also known as something of a glib personality, which might not play well in Foxboro. Of course, if he comes to New England and provides a spark for the pass rush, that’s the sort of thing that can be excused.
|Don’t look for Randy Moss to re-sign with Tennessee, says the Titans GM||05.06.11 at 11:45 pm ET|
Titans GM Mike Reinfeldt threw cold water on the suggestion that Tennessee would try and re-sign former Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss for the 2011 season on Friday, saying that, ‘I think at this point in his career, he will probably go elsewhere.’
According to The Tennessean, Reinfeldt, while speaking on a conference call with season-ticket holders, made it clear the Titans would be heading in a different direction.
‘I honestly don’t think we’ll try to re-sign him,’ Reinfeldt said of the 34-year-old Moss. ‘We’ve got some young guys we like, and I think at this point in his career he will probably go elsewhere.’
After starting the 2010 season with the Patriots, he was traded to Minnesota, who subsequently released him. Moss was then picked up by Tennessee, where he wasn’t much of an impact player at all, playing in eight games with the Titans and catching just five passes for 54 yards and zero touchdowns.
In March, Minnesota’s KFAN Radio asked Moss about the possibility of returning to the Vikings for the 2011 season. Instead, the occasionally controversial wide receiver said he would actually prefer to return to New England, where he played for three-plus years.
‘I would entertain coming back to Minnesota, but if you ask me where my heart is, I think just the success as a wide receiver and everything that the New England Patriots stand for ‘¦ I’m a big fan of Bill Belichick. I really am,’ said Moss, who was acquired by the Patriots prior to the 2007 season.
‘And not just on the field. I’m a fan of his off the field, because the little grouchy man you see on camera is not what you see off camera. I’ve grown and I’ve started to respect the game, first and foremost. But if you’re asking me where my heart is and I’m happiest, I love playing with Tom Brady, I love being coached by Bill Belichick.’
Jets coach Rex Ryan continues his media tour to promote his new book, “Play Like You Mean It,” and the Patriots-Jets rivalry continues to be a popular topic. The New York Post reports that during a taping of the YES Network show “CenterStage” on Thursday, Ryan talked about his off-field strategy leading up to the divisional playoff victory over the Patriots.
Ryan explained that he wanted to get the discussion away from the team’s previous regular-season meeting, a 45-3 Patriots victory, and that’s why he made comments that the game was about him and Bill Belichick.
“That whole week, I never wanted it to be about that 45-3 game,” Ryan said. “And I knew if I didn’t do something, [the media] would be talking about it with our players, and I never wanted that negative thought to creep into their minds.
“There certainly was a method behind it, and I told [Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum] after we win the game, I was going to say that I was wrong, that it had nothing to do with me and Belichick. Because if it did, Belichick would win, because he’s that kind of coach.”
As he has in previous interviews, Ryan continued to heap praise upon Belichick.
“I don’t think he is [great], I know he is,” Ryan said. “He’s the best coach that I’ve ever seen. I know the way he motivates his team, all these types of things. You don’t luck into three Super Bowls, and I don’t know how many he’s had as an assistant coach. This guy is a phenomenal coach.”
The interview is scheduled to air next Friday, following the network’s coverage of the Red Sox-Yankees game.
|Rex Ryan talks Bill Belichick and the Patriots with David Letterman||05.03.11 at 7:33 pm ET|
Jets coach Rex Ryan made an appearance on “Late Show with David Letterman” Monday night to help promote his new book. While chatting with Letterman, he talked a little bit about Bill Belichick and the Patriots. Check out the video below:
|Does it matter that the Patriots drafted a lot of college captains again this year?||05.02.11 at 11:21 am ET|
This season, six of the nine players the Patriots selected in the draft were collegiate captains: first-rounder Nate Solder, second-round picks Ras-I Dowling and Shane Vereen, third-rounders Stevan Ridley and Ryan Mallett (the latter of whom was a two-year captain at Arkansas), as well as fifth-round pick Lee Smith (another two-year captain).
For a quarterback like Mallett, leadership comes with the territory.
“The thing I like about the position is you get to lead a group of guys during the practice, during the game, the final minute of the game, whatever it is,” he said. “You’re responsible for the 10 other guys on the field and yourself to get things done right. And that’s what I really enjoy about the position.”
The last few seasons, leadership has been a big theme in the New England locker room, and while the first-year players won’t be asked to do much when it comes to team-wide leadership, the experience of serving as a captain can be useful in many aspects when it comes to both rallying fellow rookies and learning how to communicate with veterans. We saw that last year with an extraordinary group of rookies who helped shape the new direction of the New England locker room in 2010. And while the state of leadership in the New England locker room isn’t as tenuous as it was a couple of years ago, the Patriots are always mindful of a players’ resume, and for someone to be named a college captain speaks to their character.
However, after the draft concluded, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said that while the Patriots value many of the same aspects that come with being a team captain, they don’t go into a draft looking specifically for guys who have been college captains.
‘We don’t go into the draft saying, ‘We want to get four team captains.’ We don’t go into the draft saying, ‘We want so many guys over 6-foot-4 or so many guys from East of the Mississippi or so many guys that whatever.’ You just look at each situation and try to make the best decision you can on it.
‘I’d say those kind of things ‘ I wouldn’t say they are purely coincidental, because certainly we value leadership and we value some of the characteristics that normally are associated with that type of position: respect and hard work and unselfishness and things like that. But we’re drafting football players and not everybody is a team captain. There are plenty of good players that aren’t, but there is something to be said for that.’
|Bill Belichick’s Q&A, 4/30/11||05.01.11 at 1:51 am ET|
BB: We’ve got another one in the books here. We started off the day kind of waiting through that fourth round. When Marcus Cannon was on the board there in the fifth, we felt like that was a good value for that pick. He’s a very highly-rated player and obviously we felt comfortable enough to take him at that point, so that was that. Lee Smith was an outstanding blocker at Marshall. Actually, I crossed paths with his father when I was at Cleveland the first season there. We finished up with Markell [Carter] who has had a very productive career at a smaller school. And then of course, Malcolm [Williams], a fast, physical back that has been very productive in the kicking game. That’s where we’re at. Now we’re kind of in a different mode for right now. We’ll see how all that works out. This is one step in the team building process. I’m sure there will be others to come, but maybe not for a while. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Q: When you said you felt comfortable taking Marcus Cannon, did you mean in terms of his health status?
BB: Obviously there was a reason why he was still on the board there.
Q: It seems like it’s been fairly recent that he was diagnosed. Do you have any idea how soon his treatment will be done?
BB: No, I’ll just say that we were comfortable with the situation and all that it entails.
Q: Do you prefer him at guard or tackle, or just kind of play it by ear?
BB: With all these players, once we get them and get a chance to work with them, we’ll look at their skill sets and put them in different positions. We move people around quite a bit anyway in our offense and defensive systems, so we’ll see how it all works out. I’m not sure exactly what’s best for anybody. I assume we’ll play [Ryan] Mallett at quarterback, but the rest of them, we’ll see how it goes.
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|Highlights from Bill Belichick’s Friday night Q&A with NFL Network||04.30.11 at 3:29 pm ET|
Courtesy of NFL Network, here are a few of the highlights of Bill Belichick‘s Q&A Friday night at the end of the third round.
On drafting Ryan Mallett in the third round:
‘We thought there was real good value on the board there with Ryan. He’s had an excellent college career, both at Michigan and then when [Michigan] changed offenses, [he] went to Arkansas. [He] won a lot of games in high school, his father was a coach. He’s a football guy, comes from a football family, which I think I can relate to. I think he’s a good football player. He was great value for us based on what was on the board at that point in time so we felt comfortable taking him. We’ll let him compete with our quarterbacks on the team ‘ [Jonathan] Crompton, [Brian] Hoyer and [Tom] Brady ‘ and see where it all goes. We’ve all seen when you have a football team when you don’t have depth at that position, that can be a very big problem for your team. Hopefully we have it now.’
On drafting two running backs: Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley:
‘We had some age at running back this year. I think this gives us two younger players that can compete at that position. Both very productive players and I’d say very different. Ridley’s a bigger back, powerful guy, good inside runner, big strong, physical tough yard kind of guy. Vereen is more of a space player, good hands, very good in the passing game. Both guys are quality guys. I think they’ll help us in the kicking game. They’ve had good production in a high level of competition, both at Cal and at LSU. I think Ridley was productive not only this year where he had most of his production but in the opportunities that he had in prior years when they rotated backs, he still had a lot of production at a high level in the SEC. I think those two backs complement each other well and will give us good competition at the position.’
On the deal with the Raiders in which the Patriots traded their third- and fourth-round picks in this year’s draft for Oakland’s second round pick in 2012:
‘That was probably one of the most unusual trades that I’ve ever been a part of. We started talking about that trade sometime this afternoon. It seemed like it took about six hours to make. We went back and forth, and they picked, and we picked. It finally ended up there where it did. I think that their mindset was to get an extra pick there in the third and fourth round. Once we traded back with Houston and picked up an extra third round pick, then we had a little bit of surplus there. When we had the opportunity to move that pick into the second round in next year’s draft, we just felt like that was good value for us based on what the values were on the board when we made that trade. Oakland wanted to do it early; we were happy to get it done. Again, based on the values on the board, there wasn’t a player we felt like we would draft this year that would have a comparable value to a second round pick next year. That’s why we went ahead and pulled the trigger.’
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