|Why working with Bill Parcells gives Mike Zimmer valuable insight against Bill Belichick||09.11.14 at 2:12 pm ET|
As one of the most respected defensive minds in the NFL, Mike Zimmer knows a good offense when he sees one.
And in New England, the Vikings new head coach sees an offense that put up 20 points in a half against a good Miami Dolphins defense before running out of gas and forgetting to protect its quarterback in the second half last Sunday.
Oh yeah, he also sees Tom Brady.
“New England is a tough team to pressure,” Zimmer said. “Brady does a great job of getting the ball out, they do a good job in protection of knowing who to block, their backs do a great job in protection. They’ve got the screens that they use so often and the receivers [Julian Edelman] and Gronkowski, they know where to get to on the [reads] and hots. They do a great job.
“You know it’s never an easy thing, I know [Miami] played better in the second half, but the first half, New England did a good job. In the second half, [Miami] just made some plays. Against New England you have to make some plays from time to time in order to get them off the field. You have to be good on third downs.”
Zimmer worked with Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle when they were in Cincinnati together, with Zimmer working as the D.C. and Coyle in charge of the defensive backs.
“I don’t know exactly what Miami was trying to do defensively, I know obviously Kevin Coyle is a very good friend of mine but we have not talked about the game,” Zimmer said. “We kind of know each other’s systems well. It’s hard for me to know exactly what Miami was doing.”
Zimmer is not new to the Patriots, or their way of thinking. Before taking over as Cincinnati’s offensive coordinator in 2008, Zimmer worked for someone pretty familiar with Bill Belichick. Zimmer was Bill Parcells‘ defensive coordinator in Dallas between 2003 and ’06. Zimmer installed a 3-4 look that Parcells preferred, despite Zimmer having never worked with it.
|Mike Petraglia, Chris Price on Bill Parcells, Ty Law, Patriots Hall of Fame||04.21.14 at 5:56 pm ET|
FOXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss why Bill Parcells belongs in the Patriots Hall of Fame as one of three finalists this year on the team’s ballot. Parcells was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton in 2013. Fans can vote for Parcells or other finalists Ty Law and Raymond Clayborn at the team’s website, Patriots.com.
|Raymond Clayborn on Hall call: ‘Why did it take so long?’||04.16.14 at 9:36 pm ET|
Raymond Clayborn isn’t much for small talk.
Asked on Wednesday for his reaction to the news that he had been nominated as a finalist for the Patriots Hall of Fame, the former New England cornerback didn’t mince words.
“Why did it take so long?” he replied.
Clayborn could very well have a point. The three-time Pro Bowler played with the Patriots from 1977 through 1989. The first-round pick out of Texas finished his career with a franchise-leading 36 interceptions (tied with Ty Law) for 555 yards for a 15.4 yard per interception average. Clayborn also returned 57 kickoffs for 1,538 yards and three touchdowns — as a rookie in 1977, Clayborn returned 28 kickoffs for 869 yards and led the NFL with a 31.0-yard return average and returned three kicks for touchdowns, both of which remain franchise records.
Clayborn, Law and Bill Parcells are this year’s three finalists for the Hall of Fame. (Fans can vote on the finalists for the next month at Patriots.com.)
“I’m really honored with the people that I’m a finalist with, the two other gentlemen — Bill Parcells and Ty Law,” Clayborn said. “Bill’s already in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and I believe Ty will definitely get there one day himself.”
Clayborn and Law are often linked as the two best corners in franchise history, and are tied atop the franchise list for most career interceptions. While he remains competitive, Clayborn acknowledges Law would likely sit in first place alone if he hadn’t missed the bulk of the 2004 season because of injury.
“Realistically looking at it, Ty got hurt and he did it. I think it was the (fifth) game of the season or something and the next year, he wasn’t with the team,” Clayborn said. “So quite frankly speaking, Ty would have broken the record if he hadn’t been injured and to hold the record with him is an honor. I really truly believe he’s one of the better cornerbacks to play during his time.”
For Ty Law, it’s the chance to bring a legendary career full circle.
The cornerback, who is one of three finalists for the Patriots Hall of Fame, admitted Wednesday that when it came to how things ended with the franchise, it was a less than ideal scenario.
After playing 10 years with New England, he left as a free agent following the 2004 season. He ended his career with brief stints with the Jets, Chiefs and Broncos (and retired following the 2009 season), but it was a bittersweet final act for one of the best defensive backs of his era.
“I’d be the first one to admit now, I’m older, wiser, more mature, that if I could have done something all over again, I would have tried my damnedest to stay in New England and finish my career,” he said on a conference call with New England media.
“Not that I have any regrets about the teams that took me in as far as the New York Jets, Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs — I’m thankful for the opportunity. I think I said this early in my career; I would have loved to start and finish my career with the Patriots. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, but if I had to do it all over again, I would have made more effort to stay a Patriot.”
Now, Law has the opportunity for a final farewell. It was revealed Wednesday that he’s one of three finalists for the Hall of Fame, a class that includes cornerback Raymond Clayborn and former coach Bill Parcells. (Fans can vote on the finalists for the next month at Patriots.com.)
Law was a three-time Super Bowl Champion (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX), a four-time Pro Bowl player (1998, 2001, 2002, 2003) and a two-time All-Pro (1998, 2003) during his tenure with the Patriots. Law tied Clayborn’s career franchise-record with 36 interceptions and finished with the most interception-return yards in team history with 583
Law, who said he was “speechless” when he was informed that he was a finalist, said, ‘it would mean a lot’ if he gets the nod.
“It will put the icing on the cake, as far as my playing career with the Patriots, and give some validation to me that I’m appreciated by the fans, they still care for me and they show me that with my business on and off the field and it just puts a stamp of approval [from] Patriot Nation,” he said. “I’m really humbled by that to even be considered with the great Bill Parcells and Raymond Clayborn, who was such a great player and spent so much time in New England. I’m honored just to be considered and on the list with those two guys.”
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Fans can vote on which individual deserves to be the 2014 inductee starting Wednesday and continuing through May 15. The winner will be announced in early June.
Clayborn played for New England from 1977-89 before finishing up with two seasons with the Browns and was named to the Pro Bowl three times (’83, ’85, ’86). A first-round draft pick (16th overall) out of Texas, Clayborn finished his career with 36 interceptions (tied with Law for the team record) and 555 interception return yards (second to Law’s 583). He also returned 57 kickoffs for 1,538 yards and three touchdowns. As a rookie in 1977, he set single-season team records with three kickoff returns for touchdowns and a 31.0-yard return average.
Law played 10 seasons for the Patriots (1995-2004) as part of a 15-year NFL career after being drafted 23rd overall out of Michigan. A four-time Pro Bowler (;98, ’01, ’02, ’03), Law won three Super Bowls in New England. He returned a Kurt Warner pass 47 yards for a touchdown in the Patriots’ first Super Bowl win over the Rams in 2002. He holds franchise records for interceptions (36, tied with Clayborn), interception return yards (583) and interceptions returned for touchdowns (6). He became the first Patriot to lead the league in interceptions when he had nine in 1998.
Parcells coached New England for four seasons and led the team to the playoffs twice, including a run to the Super Bowl in 1997. He was named Coach of the Year for his performance in 1994, when the Patriots won their final second regular-season games to clinch their first playoff berth in eight years. In 1996 the Patriots won a then-franchise-record 11 games and their first division title in a decade. They eat the Steelers and Jaguars to advance to the Super Bowl for the second time in team history before losing to the Packers. Parcells, who is the only coach to lead four franchises (Giants, Patriots, Jets and Cowboys) to the playoffs and three different teams (Giants, Patriots, Jets) to a conference championship game, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last year.
|Why I gave Ty Law, Rodney Harrison, Bill Parcells a Hall pass||04.02.14 at 6:16 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Getting a chance to take part in the nomination process for the Patriots Hall of Fame is one of the great perks of my job. Meeting with some local writers and organizational staff, as well as retired reporters, broadcasters and alumni, it’s a terrific experience. Every year, there’s great discussion about the history of the team and the merits of those under consideration for the honor. From this viewpoint, I always end up learning something new.
After the nomination process, we vote on three finalists — the first choice gets five points, second choice gets three points and third choice gets one point. The votes are tabulated, and the three finalists will be announced April 15. Fans then will have a month to vote on Patriots.com, and one will be announced as this year’s inductee.
After some really engaging back-and-forth between committee members that lasted almost almost two hours — and included a healthy debate over a variety of players and coaches, including Raymond Clayborn, Ty Law, Willie McGinest, Leon Gray, Rodney Harrison, Chuck Fairbanks and Raymond Berry — I decided to cast my votes for Law, Harrison and Bill Parcells.
Ty Law – The cornerback hit most of my requirements — he not only was considered one of the best cornerbacks of his era, he played a major role in helping win three Super Bowl championships. An elite-level player in his first year of eligibility — despite the fact that there were a few others who have been on the ballot a longer time — he was a no-brainer in my opinion. (From this viewpoint, he’ll likely be the fan favorite to be the one who will be fitted for a red jacket come this summer.) A two-time All-Pro, Law ended his career in New England with 36 picks in 10 seasons.
Rodney Harrison – In Harrison’s second year of eligibility, I’m proud to say I was the one who entered his name into consideration. He didn’t have the lengthy career with the Patriots that some of the other players under consideration — in truth, you could identify him just as much as a member of the Chargers as you could as a member of the Patriots — but he had so many signature moments while in Foxboro. His work on and off the field as a key point in the history of the franchise cannot be overlooked, as he helped guide the secondary through the post-Lawyer Milloy era. A two-time Super Bowl champion and two-time All-Pro, he was one of New England’s most important defensive players over the last decade.
Bill Parcells – Parcells was a finalist in 2011 and 2012, and a past look at my votes reveals that I’ve been fairly consistent when it comes to Parcells and the Hall. He was a transformative presence for the franchise, one of a handful of people who restored a sense of relevancy to the Patriots. Once again, we were reminded that his departure from Foxboro was less than ideal, but you can’t argue against the fact that he played a key role in reviving New England and helping create a winning culture that has endured for the better part of the last 20 years. Besides, if he’s in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he should be acknowledged accordingly in Foxboro.
|Marshall Faulk on M&M: ‘Just ironic’ that Patriots have not won another Super Bowl since Spygate||01.30.14 at 1:42 pm ET|
Former Colts and Rams running back Marshall Faulk checked in with Mut & Merloni from Super Bowl Radio Row on Thursday, and he made it clear he still holds a grudge for what he perceives to be cheating on the Patriots’ part before their Super Bowl win over Faulk’s Rams in 2002. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
“Here’s the thing: In the NFL, you don’t get fined for nothing. All right? Let’s understand that. OK? We’re smart, we’re businessmen, and it’s about protecting the brand, protecting the shield,” Faulk said. “Now, you tell me, at anything that you do, if you find out somebody cheats you in any little way, that you’re OK with it. I mean, you’re not a competitor. You’re not a competitor if you’re OK with it. I’m a competitor. That’s what I am.
“It’s not like I hadn’t played that team before. It’s not like I didn’t know what they were going to do to me. That’s fine. And up until that day that we found out that information, you had never heard me say anything about that team or about what they did. And I still consider [Bill] Belichick one of the greatest coaches. I still consider Tom Brady one of the greatest players. That team and what they did, and went on that run, it was great. The only thing that bothers me is there’s something that exists that gives us doubt on why the game went the way it did.”
Faulk would not come out and directly say the Patriots cheated — and a story implying a Patriots staffer taped a Rams walkthrough never was verified — but Faulk noted that the Patriots have not won a championship since the Spygate scandal broke.
Said Faulk: “The question is, how did they become a championship team? … Listen, I’m not going to be the only one to say this: Ever since they got fined and, ‘OK, we’re not doing that anymore,’ they’ve won how many Super Bowls?”
Asked directly if he feels the facts lead him to the opinion that the Patriots have not won a Super Bowl since being punished for videotaping opposing coaches, Faulk danced around the question.
“I’m just telling you how I feel about it. If that’s your perception of what I’m saying, then that’s your perception,” he said. “I’m not taking anything away from Bill Belichick and Tom Brady; they’re great. I’m going to continue to tell you that. They’re great. They’ve won, boy, I don’t know how many games, how many AFC championships, eight? … You don’t do that without getting some things accomplished.
“I’m just telling you it’s just ironic that that’s the case.”
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