|Giants LB Mark Herzlich on MFB: ‘Kind of ridiculous’ to say Tom Brady no longer an elite QB||07.07.14 at 1:31 pm ET|
Giants linebacker and former Boston College star Mark Herzlich joined Middays with MFB on Monday morning at his charity golf tournament at the Pinehills Golf Club in Plymouth to discuss his battle with cancer, his road to the NFL and the criticism that Eli Manning deals with on an almost daily basis. To listen to the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Herzlich, who missed the entire 2009 college football season after being diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer known as Ewing’s sarcoma, is in his fifth year of hosting the Liberty Mutual Invitational celebrity golf tournament. Proceeds from the event go to Uplifting Athletes, a non-profit that funds sarcoma research.
“It was all kind of a whirlwind,” Herzlich said. “The first year I was back, I said, ‘OK, we want to do something to give back,’ so Jayme Parker at NESN was very helpful throughout the process and so Jayme said, ‘Let’s do a golf tournament.’ … Liberty Mutual jumped in and said, ‘OK, we’ll be your sponsor,’ and since then it’s just been rolling and this is our fifth one.”
After his playing days at Chestnut Hill, Herzlich signed with the Giants as an undrafted free agent on July 26, 2011. Herzlich has recorded 84 combined tackles during his three seasons in New York. While the former ACC Defensive Player of the Year has carved out a solid career for himself in the NFL, he admitted that returning to the gridiron after missing a whole year battling cancer was a long and trying process.
“The first year I was back, it was night and day,” Herzlich said. “My brain was saying, ‘You can do this,’ and my body was saying, ‘You can’t do this.’ I was going in drops and breaking and missing tackles and luckily I had Luke Kuechly behind me to make all the rest of the tackles that I was missing. … Now I feel like I’m as good or better than I was then.
Tom Brady‘s supposed decline has been a hot topic across New England this season. While Herzlich said he still believes Brady is an elite-level signal caller, he also noted that Giants fans would not come to Eli Manning‘s defense the same way Patriots fans have for Brady.
“I think that there are Eli lovers and Eli haters. There’s no one who’s like, ‘Yeah, Eli is pretty good, or whatever.’ … He does know when he has a bad game, and the problem is that every single person in New York and across the country knows he has a bad game, too, because they let him know. It’s tough, and he’s very strong-minded to get over that stuff, but I couldn’t imagine.
“Some of the stuff that’s on Twitter — he doesn’t have Twitter, and I’m glad he’s not on Twitter. As far as Brady not being an elite quarterback, that’s kind of ridiculous to me.”
|Numbers game: Tom Brady can move up several all-time statistical lists in 2014||06.23.14 at 1:43 pm ET|
When it comes to covering the NFL, one of the greatest single resource tools is the statistical database at Pro Football Reference. And sparked by the discussion regarding whether or not Adrian Peterson has a legitimate shot at catching Emmitt Smith for the all-time rushing record, we decided to take a look at where Tom Brady stands — at least statistically — when it comes to measuring his individual numbers against some of the best in the game.
Career passing touchdowns — 359, fifth overall.
Like most of the rest of the categories, he’s a step or two behind Drew Brees. In this case, Brees has 363 career passing touchdowns, fourth on the list. However, Brady and Brees should be able to pass Dan Marino within the next two years, as the former Miami quarterback is third all time with 420. Meanwhile, Brett Favre (508) and Peyton Manning (491) are at the top of the list.
Career passing yards — 49,149, seventh overall.
He’ll likely pass Warren Moon (49,325 career passing yards) relatively early in the season to move into sixth place. Brees is fifth overall at 51,081, and he will almost certainly add to that total in 2014. He and Brady should pass John Elway this year, as the former Broncos QB is fourth overall at 51,475 career yards. After that, it gets a little dicey — the top three are far removed from the rest of the field, at least at this point. Favre is first overall with 71,838 yards, Manning is No. 2 at 64,964, while Marino is third at 61,361. Again, once Manning, Brees and Brady are all done, they will all be in the Top 5 all time, provided they stay on their current pace.
Career passes completed — 4,178, fifth overall.
Brady is part of a top five of Favre (6,300, first), Manning (5,532, second), Marino (4,967, third) and Brees (4,481). Assuming that Brees is going to keep slinging it for at least the next three years, it appears unlikely Brady could pass him, but the Patriots quarterback could pass Marino between now and the end of his career, which would likely have him fourth when he decides to call it a career.
Career passing attempts — 6,586, good for ninth overall.
Brady figures to pass Vinny Testaverde for the eighth spot some time in the first month of the season, as he’s only 115 attempts behind Testaverde. In fact, he could rise a couple of notches on this list, as Drew Bledsoe (6,717, seventh) and Moon (6,823, fifth) are within reach this season. Of course, he probably won’t leapfrog Brees, who is sixth overall at 6,799. For comparisons sake, Favre (10,169) and Manning (8,452) are 1-2.
Career interceptions — 134, 70th overall
When you’re talking about the Brady/Brees/Manning group, one area where he’s better than his contemporaries (although you could say it’s because he’s attempted fewer passes) is interceptions. Among current active quarterbacks, Manning has 219 career picks (19th place on the all-time list), while Brees is second at 177 (38th in NFL history). Eli Manning is third with 171 (43rd on the all-time list), Jon Kitna is fourth with 165. Brady is seventh with 134 career interceptions, 70th overall. Again, by way of comparison, Favre is tops with 336 career interceptions, 59 more than George Blanda, who is second overall at 277.
Career completion percentage (minimum 1,500 pass attempts) — 63.4 percent, 11th overall
One statistical area that’s hard to define is career completion percentage. PFR has a minimum of 1,500 pass attempts needed to qualify, so you see quarterbacks on this list that might not necessarily be considered elite-level signal callers. However, it’s still a good indication of a quarterback’s decision making skills and his comfort level in the offense. At this point, Brady has a 63.4 percent career completion rate, which is 11th on the all-time list. Chad Pennington is the all-time leader with a 66 percent completion rate. Compared to the other lists — including Brady — nine of the top 12 quarterbacks on the list are still active, with Brees (65.9 percent, second), Aaron Rodgers (65.8 percent, third) and Manning (65.5 percent, fourth) rounding out the active quarterbacks who are currently in the top five.
|Why Matthew Slater feels ‘there’s a lot to be excited about’ with Darrelle Revis, 2014 Patriots||04.22.14 at 4:01 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Matthew Slater is a natural-born optimist.
Every time the Patriots special teams captain speaks, you can hear it in his voice. So, it should come as no surprise that Slater is like all the other Patriots players who are reacting to the addition of cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner and the chances for the 2014 Patriots.
“I’ve gotten a few chances to visit with Revis,” Slater said Tuesday, taking a break from his workout at Gillette. “Obviously, competing against him over the years, got a chance to meet him and spend some time with him in Hawaii this year. Really a good guy, does everything the right way, plays the game the right way, and you respect that about a guy, no matter who he plays for. If he plays the game hard and plays the game the right way, you respect it and he’s definitely one of those guys.
“I don’t really follow a whole lot of football in the offseason. I heard it and that would be great if he came [to the Patriots] I thought. Obviously, when you get a player like that, you’re excited about the opportunity to play with them. You know what he brings to the table. They’re 31 other teams out there that are trying to get done what they need to get done. And we’ve got to try to focus on us and improve.”
Slater and Revis spent time together in Hawaii this past January, when Slater participated in his third straight Pro Bowl. His father, Jackie Slater, was a seven-time Pro-Bowler. With 10 Pro Bowl nods between them, the Slaters are the second most nominated family in NFL history. (Archie, Eli and Peyton Manning have 18).
Revis is just one of a handful of new additions that will be on hand this spring and summer when the Patriots get back on the field to begin practicing for real. In addition to Revis and Browner, there’s wide receiver Brandon LaFell and all the draft picks and rookie free agents who will be descending upon Foxboro. This week marks the true beginning for NFL teams, as players are permitted back at their club’s facilities for offseason weight lifting and training.
“There’s a lot to be excited about,” Slater said. ‘There’s some extremely talented players that we’ve added to the roster along with some extremely talented players that we’ve had here for a while. All that is on paper. It really doesn’t mean anything right now. We haven’t even had one practice together. We have a long ways to go.
|WEEI NFL Power Rankings, Week 16: Patriots fall to No. 6, third in AFC||12.17.13 at 12:46 pm ET|
As the regular season nears its conclusion, the NFL continues to be unpredictable. Opportunities to gain ground in the conference, clinch divisions and secure playoff spots were present in Week 15, but the Broncos (4), Patriots (6), Saints (7), Bengals (9), Eagles (16), Lions (18) and Cowboys (20) squandered those chances.
One thing of which we can be certain is that the road to the Super Bowl in the NFC will go through the 12th man in Seattle. One more win clinches home-field advantage for the No. 1 ranked Seahawks. The Niners (2) and Panthers (3) are right behind in a top-heavy NFC.
Meanwhile, the AFC has never been this wide open. The Broncos and Patriots both fall two spots after disappointing losses, while the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens move all the way up to the No. 5 spot.
As we head into the final two weeks there still is much to be decided across the league. Which teams will lock up first-round byes? Can the Patriots actually miss the playoffs? An exciting conclusion to the season is upon us.
1. (1) Seahawks (12-2) – Injuries and suspensions to starters can’t even slow down this Seahawks defense. Brandon Browner, Walter Thurmond, K.J. Wright and Tony McDaniel all were out of commission on Sunday, but Seattle’s D still was able to force five turnovers and get a shutout win over the Giants.
2. (5) 49ers (10-4) — The Niners are heating up at just the right time. San Fran has won four straight and is second only to Seattle in point differential in the NFC at plus-121.
3. (6) Panthers (10-4) — Cam Newton and the Panthers control their own destiny in the NFC South. If they win their final two games, the Panthers will be division champs for the first time since 2008 and will enjoy a first-round bye.
4. (2) Broncos (11-3) — The Broncos are allowing an average of 29 points in their last four games. This team has looked vulnerable of late but still has a firm grip on the No. 1 seed in the AFC with the Texans and Raiders left on the schedule.
5. (14) Ravens (8-6) — The Ravens have just as good a shot to reach the Super Bowl as the Broncos and Patriots.
6. (4) Patriots (10-4) — It’s difficult to win in this league if your offense can’t convert in the red zone. The Patriots go from one of the best teams in the red zone to one of the worst without Rob Gronkowski. If Tom Brady and Bill Belichick can lead this team to the Super Bowl it will go down as one of the tandem’s best accomplishments of their career.
|Fantasy Football: Week 15 starts, sits||12.13.13 at 10:35 am ET|
Welcome to the Week 15 starts and sits! If you are reading this, then congratulations are probably in order. It’s semifinal week in most leagues, so you are one win away from a bowl appearance and a shot at glory. Hopefully these recommendations will help you maximize your lineup, but if you need more, then head over to Rotobahn and check out our full lineup rankings. Additionally, you can attend our weekly Sunday chat right here at WEEI. You’ll find a link to the chat Sunday on the home page under “This Just In.” I hope to see you all there.
Matt Stafford, Lions vs. Ravens
Stafford had a rough Week 14 due to the weather, but if you survived the storm, you should stick with him. He’ll be much better at home, even in a tough matchup. The Lions probably will lose, but Stafford will get his stats.
Andrew Luck, Colts vs. Texans
He’ll be solid this week at home vs. a pretty good defense. Luck now has enough weapons to get the job done. Da’Rick Rogers is a big upgrade over Darrius Heyward-Bey. Luck may not give you a big number, but he’ll produce like a top-10 quarterback.
Tom Brady, Patriots at Dolphins
Brady owners must feel cursed at this point. The rug got pulled out from under them this past Sunday when Rob Gronkowski was lost again, with perhaps his worst injury so far, and that is saying something. Giving up on Brady is a logical move, but I think even with significant missing parts, the Patriots offense as a unit is clicking now. Brady should be good for a few scores and 250-plus yards.
Jay Cutler, Bears at Browns
He should be the starter, but just to be clear, this recommendation goes for whomever starts for the Bears this week. If Cutler has another setback, go ahead and start Josh McCown, who has been astoundingly good this year in Marc Trestman’s offense.
Matt Ryan, Falcons vs. Redskins
Yes, the Falcons already are toast, but they have most of their offense back on the field and probably will cut through the Washington defense like a hot knife through butter. Ryan is a viable option this week in any format.
Jason Campbell, Browns vs. Bears
The one thing to keep on top of here is the weather. There is some snow in the forecast, and if it gets really ugly, you’ll want to have a backup plan. Still, Campbell can help you if you are in a jam. The Bears have few answers for what the Browns will be throwing at them, namely Josh Gordon. The second-year receiver has been a one-man wrecking crew lately.
|Fantasy Football: Week 10 starts, sits||11.08.13 at 10:29 am ET|
Welcome to the Week 10 starts and sits. Just to clarify, these are not the top-rated players at their positions this week. Rather, they are players who are on the edge in terms of the weekly value. If you want my top ranked players at every position, go to Rotobahn.com for our full lineup rankings. Jim Hackett and I will back later Friday with our weekly podcast, and please join us for a Sunday morning chat, as I’ll be here at 11 a.m. to answer all of your lineup questions.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers vs. Bills
I’m sticking with Big Ben after he came through for me last week. His matchup gets better going from the Patriots at Foxboro to the Bills on his home field. The Steelers also have a full complement of weapons for the first time in a while with the return of WR Markus Wheaton, who we like a lot. Roethlisberger can help in any league this week.
Terrelle Pryor, Raiders at Giants
He’s the fulcrum of the Oakland offense. Nothing happens without him involved. Pryor should be good for a few big plays against the Giants, who have been giving up plays all year. Pryor is a good option, especially in bigger leagues, and he has big-game potential if things break right.
Eli Manning, Giants vs. Raiders
Yes, there’s risk, but if you are hurting for options, he looks like a good start to me this week. The Giants have slowly become functional on offense, and I think the return of tailback Andre Brown will be another boost — giving Manning another way to make plays in passing situations. He can help you in most formats this week.
Jake Locker, Titans vs. Jaguars
He is playing better, and he should perform well in a sweet home matchup this week. His running game has kicked in, and that opens things up downfield. Plus, Locker can get you extra points with his feet. He can help you this week if you need an option in a big league.
|Fantasy Football: Week 7 starts, sits||10.18.13 at 10:37 am ET|
Welcome to the Week 7 starts and sits. I’ll be back later today with Jim Hackett for the Fantasy Football Podcast. Check it out in our audio on demand section. For those of you looking for further lineup clarity, feel free to head over to Rotobahn, where we do full weekly positional rankings and update them every Saturday. And, don’t forget to join me here at WEEI on Sunday mornings for our weekly chat for all of your lineup questions.
Jay Cutler, Bears at Redskins
Cutler is becoming a weekly play, and his offense is supporting him well. The pass protection is the key, but so is the play of his receivers. With Alshon Jeffery stepping up and with the excellent play of new tight end Martellus Bennett, the Bears offense has more than just Brandon Marshall. Cutler should do well this weekend in Washington.
Nick Foles, Eagles vs. Cowboys
He may or may not have the starting gig for the remainder of the season, but he is a very strong play at home vs. Dallas. The Cowboys are giving up consistent fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.
Eli Manning, Giants vs. Vikings
Yes, I know. The idea of playing Eli Manning right now is unsettling. I get it. The thing is, he should do very well at home vs. a Vikings team that has been a get-well matchup for passers all year, including Cam Newton in Week 6. Manning may not be a QB1 in 12-team leagues this week, but he’s a solid option if you are looking for answers. He’s going to have a lot of open receivers.
Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins vs. Bills
He’s a playable option in 12-team leagues if you are looking for an option. The Bills should be a bit better vs. the pass this week as they are finally getting healthy on the back end, but Miami throws the ball getting off the team bus, so you’ll have volume on your side. Make Miami’s refusal to run the ball work for you.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers vs. Ravens
If you are in need this week, Big Ben makes a serviceable option, even in a tough matchup. Roethlisberger’s teammates have taken their games up a notch and the Steelers have welcomed back both tight end Heath Miller and starting tailback Le’Veon Bell. That has helped out a lot.
Geno Smith, Jets vs. Patriots
Smith has shown to have some moxie and some fantasy upside when the matchup is right. That being said, I don’t think the matchup is good enough to bet on this weekend. The Patriots have injury issues on defense, but it’s going to set up more opportunities on the ground than through the air.
Alex Smith, Chiefs vs. Texans
Smith is a system guy and he’s doing a nice job, but he is unlikely to post the kind of fantasy numbers that will help your team, especially against a stingy pass defense like the Texans.
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