|Eric Mangini on M&M: Loose officiating benefited Ravens defenders||01.21.13 at 2:45 pm ET|
ESPN analyst Eric Mangini, the former Jets and Browns coach, joined Mut & Merloni on Monday afternoon to offer his take on the Patriots’ 28-13 loss to the Ravens in the AFC championship game.
Mangini said the Ravens borrowed a strategy from the old Patriots playbook by being aggressive toward receivers as they come off the line of scrimmage — and seeing what they can get away with.
“There were a bunch of times yesterday when the officials were just letting the teams play,” Mangini said. “There were times when Brandon Lloyd got hit in the face, there were times where he was hit well after five yards. But as Bill [Belichick] always says, ‘We do business as business is being done.’ So as long as they were letting it happen, Baltimore was going to do it. That’s the feel that it had.
“I think what you have to do against a team that can fast break like New England is you’ve got to find some way to slow down the well-oiled machine. And one of the best ways is to get up and instead of trying to cover them down the field — because it’s hard to match Wes Welker, it’s hard to match Aaron Hernandez, but if they can’t get started, that’s your best shot.
“Every time that Baltimore’s played New England — even looking back at last year’s matchups — they were hitting guys out of the backfield, they were hitting guys at the line of scrimmage; it was a very similar program. And Dean Pees [the Ravens defensive coordinator who is a former Patriots assistant], he knows that as well as anybody.”
Belichick was criticized for refusing to give a postgame interview to CBS sideline reporter Steve Tasker on Sunday. Mangini, who famously had a falling-out with Belichick when he left the Patriots staff to become coach of the Jets in 2006, said he can relate.
“Being a person that’s taken a lot of flak from the media in the past and now having a little bit different role, sometimes that can steamroll, and sometimes something that’s small can be blown up to be a lot bigger than it is,” he said. “I think it’s really a difficult time when you lose a game, and you lose a game like that. With the track record that they’ve had … that stuff hurts. As great as you are and as much of a Hall of Famer as you are and much as everybody says you should act this way, everybody responds to that stuff differently. I’m not defending it [but] I get it. It hurts a lot. But at the end of the day, you have take care of that stuff. You’ve got to do that interview. I think maybe he’d like to have that back.”
Asked about his own future, Mangini implied that he’d like to return to the sideline at some point.
“I go through the whole range of emotions,” he said. “It’s one of those things where I’ve loved this [broadcasting] experience for what it’s allowed me to do with three young boys — I’ve got 9, 7 and 4 — but I miss a lot of it. So if I could get with the right people and the right team, I think I’d strongly consider it. But it has been pretty amazing from the perspective of having a chance to see my kids grow up.”
|Patriots bringing Brian Daboll back to coaching staff||01.14.13 at 12:00 pm ET|
FOXBORO — In a move similar to bringing back Josh McDaniels during last year’s playoff run as an offensive coaching assistant, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick announced Monday that Brian Daboll is in the process of rejoining the coaching staff. Belichick said Daboll’s role hasn’t been specified yet.
“[It's] similar to what Josh did last year but without any specific responsibility at this time,” Belichick said in announcing the move during Monday’s conference call with reporters. “As soon as we get that worked out, he’ll be part of our coaching staff going forward.”
Daboll was first with the Patriots in the early 2000s, serving as a defensive coaching assistant in 2000. He then worked with McDaniels and coached the wide receivers from 2002-06.
“It’s great to have Brian back,” McDaniels said. “He’s a very good football coach, very knowledgeable and can help us a will certainly help us in a lot of different ways. Certainly having another set of eyes with experience and has a lot of understanding of our system and how we go about doing things, I think, is only a positive for us and can help our football team going forward. I look forward to doing that with Brian.
“Last year when I came back, really anything they asked me to do, I was excited to do. You know, anything you can do to help at this time of year is useful, whether that’s drawing practice cards or sitting in a meeting and having a few ideas on a certain situation in the game plan or anything like that during the course of a week. Everything is so important; every detail is very critical at this time of year and having another football coach on your staff to help is nothing but helpful for us.”
Daboll left New England and joined the staff of head coach Eric Mangini with the Jets and served as quarterbacks coach in 2007-08.
After leaving the Jets, Daboll became the Browns offensive coordinator from 2009-10. He had the same job with the Dolphins (2011) and the Chiefs this past season.
Belichick is very familiar with him, as he served as a graduate assistant for Nick Saban at Michigan State from 1998-99.
|Eric Mangini: Josh McDaniels will ‘have an impact’ on Saturday night against Denver||01.13.12 at 12:57 am ET|
Former Patriots defensive coordinator Eric Mangini said Thursday that he doesn’t see the fact that Josh McDaniels jumped from St. Louis to New England in the postseason as a “huge issue,” but says that the move will almost certainly “have an impact” on Saturday’s divisional playoff game between the Patriots and Broncos.
“I do think Josh can have an impact on this game this weekend. Not in terms of his knowledge of Tim Tebow, but more in terms of his knowledge of Denver’s defensive players, and the players in general,” said Mangini, who is currently working as an analyst for ESPN. “Because as a coach, your whole job is to help players improve on their weaknesses. And to try to get them to play better based on trends, but more importantly to take care of those weaknesses.
“In this situation, Josh can sit down with Tom (Brady) and say, ‘OK, these are the issues the guys in the secondary have. These are the issues the linebackers or defensive linemen have.’ That’s where I think his biggest impact is going to be.”
McDaniels, who was New England’s offensive coordinator from 2006 until 2008, became head coach in Denver the next year, and held that job for nearly two seasons. He was the Rams’ offensive coordinator in 2011, but was hired away by New England last week as an offensive assistant, and figures to take over as offensive coordinator in 2012 when Bill O’Brien becomes the head coach at Penn State.
“(The Patriots) were signing Josh before they knew they were playing Denver, so it wasn’t exactly cause-and-effect there,” Mangini said. “I think it’s a really good situation for New England. I don’t know if you’d ever have a situation like this in the future where a coach is going to be able to impact a game the way this has happened, this kind of coincidence.”
While there’s been a large outcry in Denver about the fact that the Patriots could hire the Broncos’ former head coach the week before they faced New England in a playoff game, fellow NFL analyst Tim Hasselbeck said it’s a slippery slope if you start thinking about blocking movements of assistant coaches.
“You have to be careful if you try to start to block coaching moves when teams fire their head coach, so that the assistants are kind of sitting there, as lame ducks, waiting for when their next opportunity is,” Hasselbeck said. “If you’re closing doors down to hire assistants for teams that are still playing, I just think that’s a bad spot to be in as an assistant coach who was just coaching for a head coach who was fired.
“I can see Denver being upset about it, and I agree with Eric in terms of the information,” he added. “In some ways, it’s no different than talking to a quarterback that plays in the same division who faces somebody twice a year and saying, ‘Well, tell me what you think the best way to attack Champ Bailey is.’ And so I do think there’s knowledge there because of the familiarity with the players. But I don’t know that there’s really a right or fair way to start blocking coaches from moving from team to team at this point in the year.”
|Shaun Ellis knows what he’s in for: ‘I was born into this family’||08.20.11 at 6:23 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Shaun Ellis has been sidelined on the physically unable to perform list since he first arrived in New England earlier this month, but it’s not like he doesn’t know the challenge that lies ahead. After all, he’s become pretty familiar with similar systems over the course of his 11-year career.
“I’ve kind of been through it a little bit — I was born into this family with [Bill] Parcells, being drafted by him, and going through that period my rookie year, and going through it with [Eric] Mangini,” he said after practice on Saturday, his first since coming off the PUP list. “You [just] have to get back into the swing of things.”
The 6-foot-5, 290-pounder, who was signed by the Patriots on Aug. 7, was back on the field on Saturday. He spent Saturday’s low-intensity walkthrough with a helmet, standing and watching many of his counterparts during the hour-long session. He did take part in the end-of-practice stretching and jogging.
“It felt good,” said the 34-year-old Ellis. “Just being on the field, around the teammates, moving around a little bit. It felt good.”
It’s been a frustrating stretch for Ellis the last two weeks — he’s been trying to get up-to-speed in other areas while watching his new teammates play a pair of preseason games.
“Lifting weights, running — doing some extra conditioning,” said Ellis when asked what he’s been doing over the last two-plus weeks. “[I’m] just trying to get caught up to speed with the rest of the guys. They’ve been running a lot, so I’ve just been trying to get caught up with them and get ready for the season.”
While Ellis has been sidelined, he’s watched the New England defensive line offer a pair of absolutely dominant performances, silencing Jacksonville and Tampa Bay in preseason action.
“It’s been great,” Ellis said of the performance of the Patriots’ defensive line over the first two games. “It made me want to be a part of it that much more. We have a lot of guys who can stop the run and also get after the quarterback — a lot of talent. I’m just eager to be a part of it and just go out there and contribute the best way I can.”
Going forward, Ellis said he isn’t sure if he’ll be good to go for the next preseason game — set for Saturday in Detroit against the Lions. (“I’m going to see this week. What Belichick wants me to do, that’s what I’m going to do,” he said.) But he believes that this New England defensive line could be capable of some “great things.”
“Just on names alone, it’s good. But we have to go out and put the work in in practice and all of us get out there and play together. I think it’ll gel,” he said. “We all have to work hand-in-hand. I think we all have the potential to do great things with this defense, but we have to get some practice in and get down the mental aspects of playing defense.”
|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.
|Has former Patriots assistant Brian Daboll already gotten the Dolphins into trouble?||03.01.11 at 4:20 pm ET|
Interesting goings on down in Miami — Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne talked to the media about new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, and sounded excited about the new direction that they plan on taking down in Miami. Daboll, a former Patriots assistant, is installing a new system with the Dolphins, one that Henne describes as “similar to what I was used to at Michigan. It’s a New England offense — New England with a little Jets in it. It’s a good offense for a quarterback.”
No shock there, as Daboll made his bones as an assistant under Bill Belichick in New England. Daboll served as the Patriots’ defensive coaching assistant from 2000 to 2001, and then was the wide receivers’ coach from 2002 until 2006. (He was one of the assistants who left with Eric Mangini, becoming the Jets’ quarterbacks coach in 2007 and 2008, and later, serving as Mangini’s offensive coordinator with the Browns in 2009 and 2010.)
However, the voluntary meetings between Henne and Daboll — get-togethers that are apparently designed to have Henne help install the offense with the other Dolphins in case of a lockout — appear to be in violation of the collective bargaining agreement, as interpreted by a recent NFL memo to each team that said players are not to meet with coaches and receive playbooks during this time in the offseason. Henne’s declaration could put Miami coach Tony Sparano in jeopardy of an NFL fine. (UPDATE: It appears that the Dolphins will not be punished, according to Jeff Darlington of the Miami Herald.)
Of course, many former New England players and executives probably aren’t surprised that something like this has happened to Daboll. When Daboll was initially hired by Miami, former Patriots fullback Heath Evans took a shot at the hiring, saying, “The Dolphins probably just got worse. … When he was in New England, he was never a guy that I would have considered the brains of the operation.” And at the NFL scouting combine over the weekend, former Patriots’ GM Scott Pioli was asked by Miami reporters what his memories of Daboll were when they were together in New England.
“I remember that [Daboll] was a part of a great deal of success there,” Pioli said, simply. Whoa.
For their part, the Dolphins are backing Daboll. This past weekend at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, GM Jeff Ireland said Daboll’s track record was what sold him on Miami.
“His history with quarterbacks, his history being a defensive coach and offensive coach. Coach Sparano and myself were really impressed with the way he put a plan together for our offensive players on the football team,” Ireland said. “I wasn’t necessarily looking at what his production was with Cleveland. I know there were some things there that were different, but we’ve got different personnel and the way he presented his play with us with our personnel was very impressive.”
In addition, quarterback Chad Pennington — who played for Daboll in New York and was in Miami the last three seasons in Miami — said Daboll was a tremendous teacher.
“A lot of the coverage knowledge that I have and understanding defenses comes from Brian,” Pennington recently told the Palm Beach Post. “The year I spent with him, I just learned so much about how defenses attack offenses and all of the nuances of coverage that I didn’t understand before.”
|A closer look at the coaching changes made by the Patriots on Friday afternoon||02.11.11 at 4:07 pm ET|
When it comes to the coaching changes that were announced by the Patriots on Friday afternoon, the biggest news was the move of Bill O’Brien from assistant to offensive coordinator, as well as the move of Matt Patricia from linebackers to safety coach.
However, for O’Brien, the shift is a move in title only. Much was made of the Patriots not having an offensive or defensive coordinator the last couple of seasons. While coach Bill Belichick and Patricia appeared to handle most of the duties on the defensive side of the ball last season, on the offensive side of the ball, play-calling was something of a collective effort. Players said that O’Brien, Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady all had serious input. But it’s been O’Brien who has had his fingerprints all over the offense. As a result, don’t look for a dramatic shift in New England’s offensive philosophy in 2011.
The biggest move on the defensive side of the ball involved Patricia, who was considered the closest thing to a defensive coordinator New England had in 2010. He will now coach the safeties after spending the last five seasons as linebackers coach. But as was the case on offense, don’t look for much to change in 2011. Patricia is well-schooled in the Belichick system, and considered the closest thing on the staff to a rising young star who could eventually become a head coach.
One sure sign to see how much — if anything, really — has changed on the defensive side of the ball next season will be to see which defensive assistant is wearing red. That’s the assistant who players look to for calls. If Patricia is wearing the red jacket or sweatshirt in 2011, he will still be regarded as the most important defensive assistant on the team.
Meanwhile, the biggest promotion comes with the move of Patrick Graham to linebackers coach after serving as a coaching assistant in 2009 and defensive assistant in 2010. (This is a move that’s been made by several young assistants under Belichick — previous coaching assistants under Belichick on both offense and defense include O’Brien, Patricia, Eric Mangini and Josh McDaniels.) In addition, Brian Flores — a former linebacker at Boston College — appears to be moving into the role formerly held by Graham.
It was also announced that Corwin Brown, who shared responsibilities with Josh Boyer as a defensive backs coach in 2010, would not return to the team in 2011. The Brown move was reported earlier this week, and while Patricia will be moving to coach the safeties, it appears Boyer will focus on only coaching cornerbacks in 2011.
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