|Heath Evans on M&M: Monday’s game more important for Panthers than Patriots||11.18.13 at 2:40 pm ET|
Former Patriot Heath Evans joined Mut & Merloni on Monday to talk about New England’s matchup with the Panthers and his take on the bullying scandal in Miami.
Monday’s game is a surprisingly good matchup as quarterback Cam Newton has led his team a 6-3 start to the season. With the Saints winning on Sunday, Carolina moved to 1½ games behind New Orleans in the NFC South.
“I think this is definitely more important for the Carolina Panthers, and [coach] Ron Rivera,” said Evans, who works with the NFL Network and the NFL on Fox.
Newton has played well this season, but the reason for the turnaround from a 7-9 record in 2012 revolves around the strong play of the Panthers defense. Second-year pro and Boston College product Luke Kuechly leads the team from his middle linebacker position. Evans compared Kuechly to former Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi.
“Luke Kuechly, and I think Tedy would probably agree with me, is more physically gifted than Tedy,” Evans said. “This kid just gets it. … There’s literally not a weak point to this kid’s game, and it’s just going to get a lot better.”
New England ran the ball during its last game against the Steelers, but achieving the same level of success against Kuechly and the Panthers’ impressive defensive line will be a daunting task.
“You’ve got a lot of pieces here where, if you can run the ball, this offense can grow into a Patriots offense that we’ve never even seen before that could maybe even be more spectacular than what we’ve seen in the past,” Evans said.
Evans, a member of the Dolphins in 2005, took on the issue of the Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito bullying saga.
“Jonathan Martin, if you’re having mental issues, and you have to step away from the team, what are you doing at a Stanford game the other night, on national TV in front of hundreds of thousands of people?” Evans said. “When everything that will be exposed is exposed, I’m sure we’re probably going to see Jonathan Martin in a different light, we’ll probably see Richie Incognito in a different light, so to speak.”
|Willie McGinest, Heath Evans love idea of Ed Reed with Patriots||11.12.13 at 9:10 pm ET|
On NFL Network’s “Total Access” on Tuesday, analysts — and former Patriots — Willie McGinest and Heath Evans weighed in on Ed Reed‘s situation. Both believe that the veteran defensive back, who was released Tuesday by the Texans, would be a good fit in New England.
McGinest: “I know a coach down in New England that loves Ed Reed. When I was in those meetings, we talked about him a lot. He’s a heck of a player, he does a lot of things on and off the field because he’s a leader and he understands the game of football. He needs to go somewhere he doesn’t have to play 70 plays a game; where he can go in there and allow him some time to get healthier and maybe towards the playoffs if he’s feeling real good, stick him in there.”
Evans: “For me, really the only spot that makes sense is New England. You could stockpile him away on the bench, let him heal up. Communication is key for everything that Bill [Belichick] wants to do on defense – that guy has the mouthpiece to make this defense better when it counts. Let him learn what Bill wants to do [and] come Week 16, Week 17, those January games, I guarantee [Reed] will pay dividends.”
|Robert Kraft on Wes Welker: ‘I sorely miss him’||07.26.13 at 4:25 pm ET|
Patriots owner Robert Kraft talked with former Patriots fullback Heath Evans as part of the NFL Network’s “Inside Training Camp Live” on Friday, and he discussed the offseason, the loss of wide receiver Wes Welker and the core beliefs of the franchise.
On the offseason: “This is the beginning of our 20th season owning the team and you get a lot of surprises, especially in the offseason. But we’re still privileged to be part of the greatest business in America – [on] the planet, as far as I’m concerned – being part of the NFL.”
On Welker signing with the Denver Broncos: “We’re going to let the season speak for itself. Wes, I sorely miss him and I think Denver is lucky to have him. I actually heard him do an interview – I don’t know if it was on NFL Network or where – but he was comparing Peyton [Manning] and [Tom Brady] to Michelangelo and Picasso. I didn’t know he was such an art historian, but he and his lovely wife Anna, they always surprised me with their love of culture and the world. Wes was one of the special guys coming through here…All of us medium-height guys could relate to him. Actually I was at my grandson Harry’s 7-on-7 and a young man came up to me from the opposite team and he said, ‘Thanks for having Wes Welker here, that’s giving me my chance to play in college.’ He was about 5’5, 5’6.”
On what the ‘Patriot Way’ is to him: “It’s about trying to collect a lot of good people, having everybody in the organization on the same page; doing things in the community. Let’s remember, sometimes some of your colleagues, they don’t like to give autographs, they don’t like to do things but in the end, what’s paying their salary are all of the fans. Look at the fans out here today on a rainy day the first day of training camp. It’s just so special and I really think that we – the NFL – bond each of our communities together. When we win, it lifts the whole community and so they want to [bond] with us. So we have to always try to make sure we’re doing things to make them proud to be bonded with us. Whether it’s doing things in the community or trying to assemble good guys – you [Heath Evans] know what the players were like here, you know what our locker room was like, you know the way we try to do things. I think people in America today, it’s not just about money. They want to be connected to something they feel is special and when they get up every day, they look forward to coming to work. We try to create an environment here that does that. We’re not always successful, but we give it our best shot.”
To check out the video, click here.
|Willie McGinest: ‘Bill [Belichick] will put [Tim] Tebow at any position that is going to give him the best chances to win’||06.10.13 at 8:07 pm ET|
Monday on the NFL Network, former Patriots turned analysts Willie McGinest and Heath Evans checked in with their thoughts on New England’s addition of Tim Tebow.
McGinest on the Patriots reportedly signing Tebow: “Well that dispels the rumor that Bill [Belichick] hates Tebow, right? Tim Tebow is a commodity when it comes to messing things up for defensive coordinators, making it hard for them to game-plan for him when they don’t know his involvement in the packages or the game plan. Belichick as we all know, is a smart guy. If he could add a weapon to his offense, whether he’s going to play him or not play him, and defenses have to spend time in practices and film sessions to prepare for what they may or may not see, this takes away from the overall preparation when it comes to preparing for an offense that is already very difficult to stop. With [Rob] Gronkowski being out, Tebow can play a lot of different positions on that offense and tight end is one of them as well.”
On if the Patriots would really put Tebow at tight end: “Bill will put Tebow at any position that is going to give him the best chances to win, one; two, create the mismatches; and three to get the defensive coordinators to lose sleep over that. Whether he’s a quarterback, whether he’s going to run some type of wildcat system, whether he’ll be at tight end, special teams — wherever the case may be. One thing about Tebow is he’s going to give you 110 percent regardless of where you play him. He’s going to be a good locker room guy. Yes, we talk about the attention of Tebow — that’s one of the places we name that pretty much controls the media. You don’t see a lot of things coming out of New England when it comes to media. They have all of that stuff under control and there is really no insecurity by Tom Brady at quarterback. They know who their starting quarterback is so there is not going to be a quarterback controversy. You had to go somewhere where you had a quarterback in place that was confident that you knew who the guy was.”
On how he believes Brady is taking the news: “I don’t think Brady’s worried about it at all. He’s confident; he’s a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame once he decides to retire. … Brady is one of the most polished guys when it comes to asking questions, whether it’s his own situation or a team situation when it comes to the media. This is something that he’s been through before at a young age in 2001. This is something now he’s a veteran, he’s polished. I don’t think this is going to bother him. They understand what they need to do. Everything that they talk about personnel-wise, they’ll keep in-house and they’ll feed the media what they want them to know and they’ll keep them out of everything. It’s going to attract attention of course; everywhere Tebow has been has attracted attention but if there is one place where this team could still block all of that out and concentrate on winning games, it’s New England.”
On if the Patriots are a better team with Tebow: “I don’t know how they’re going to play Tebow — nobody really knows. But if he can come in and he can be productive in the packages they’re going to use him in, in a great system like that, I mean, he’s a good football player. We never said he wasn’t a great football player; he’s just not a great quarterback. There is always room for really good football players on a good team in a good system.”
|Heath Evans on M&M: ‘Terrell Suggs, shut your mouth and speak the truth’||02.28.13 at 1:21 pm ET|
NFL Network analyst Heath Evans joined Mut & Merloni on Thursday to defend Tom Brady against critics of the quarterback’s new contract and call out Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs for being “an absolute fool” in his latest attack on the Patriots.
Brady generally has received high praise for his restructured contract, although there is a faction that is critical of him for setting the contractual bar lower. Some Boston media members sounded off on Brady on a local TV show Wednesday.
Said Evans: “There’s two parts of the media I never want to be equated with. One, I don’t know what I’m talking about, which those people don’t know what they’re talking about. I don’t know who they are, but you can tell them they can call me and apologize any time they want for not knowing what they’re talking about.
“And then two, the idea that they actually think this is going to affect other people’s contracts. Here’s the thought: In 2015 our cap changes. The cap is going to increase $20 million a year. So if Tom is still playing lights-out football like I expect he will be, he’s going to go right back to the table and get a whole bunch more guaranteed money. He’s not affecting his overall purse very much as long as he’s still playing well, which — we’re betting on Tom Brady, he’s going to be here.
“They make news out of nothing. This isn’t news. This is one of probably the greatest quarterbacks of all-time saying, ‘Hey, I want to put myself in a position in my twilight years to win another ring or two, or at least get back to the big dance and have a chance.’ That’s exactly what he did. We should applaud Brady for what he’s doing.”
Added Evans: “It’s stupid media, and I don’t ever want to be a part of that.”
Suggs, the Ravens veteran who blasted the Patriots after the AFC championship game, joined The Big Show on Wednesday and insisted “the other 31 teams hate the New England Patriots” due to their arrogance. Evans, who played fullback for the Patriots from 2005 until 2008, dismissed Suggs’ comments.
“He’s an absolute fool. He is,” Evans said. “Maybe he’s one of the best pass-rushers that we’ve seen in a long time, but he’s a fool if doesn’t believe that [teams respect the Patriots]. For me, I say things that I believe in. … I just speak the truth. And the truth is, people are scared to death when they step on the field to face Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, Wes Welker, a healthy [Rob] Gronkowski, a healthy Aaron Hernandez, defensively Jerod Mayo is one of the best middle linebackers in this game, Vince Wilfork, there is no match for him.
“Terrell Suggs, shut your mouth and speak the truth. Are you a heck of a player? Absolutely, an amazing player. But give me a break. I watch this film, I watch how people move and react according to what the Patriots do. I watch this whole league sit back and try to copy them. Heck, [Ravens tight ends] Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta is a formula of what New England is trying to do.
“So, give me a break. Don’t just get on airways and speak nonsense. Watch game tape, know this game inside and out, and then speak your opinion based on facts that are truly evident to everyone across this business, that knows this business inside and out. When people come out speaking that nonsense, it screams of insecurity. It screams of the fact that, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe we actually beat them again, somehow we got lucky and actually did it, and whoo-hoo, and now we’ve got a Super Bowl ring.’ That’s what it says to me.”
|Heath Evans on M&M: Deer-antler spray ‘nothing, and I mean nothing’ like PEDs||02.01.13 at 12:00 pm ET|
NFL Network analyst Heath Evans spoke with Mut & Merloni from New Orleans Friday about his own use of the velvet deer antler substance Ray Lewis reportedly used, how it differs from traditional steroids, and how the Ravens can beat Colin Kaepernick.
Evans said he has been taking the deer antler substance in tablet form, which is stronger than the spray, and that it’s made a significant difference in his cognitive function since he retired from football.
“I’ve had ADD since I was born, but probably only in 2009, 2010 – I would be lying if I said I didn’t have concern about maybe some of the cognitive stuff, just stuff you shouldn’t forget,” Evans said. “And over the last six months since I’ve been taking the velvet deer antler tablets, I sleep. I rest. I recall on-air on NFL Network, being sent downstairs at night by Beth and not forgetting what she sent me down there for.”
“I’m, like, the least psychosomatic person in the world,” he went on. “The chips that [SWATS co-owner Mitch Ross] put on people’s wrists so they run faster and bench more, they didn’t work for me. And I think there are a lot of psychosomatic athletes, and I would not represent that product of his. But the deer antler was something I was introduced to in 2008 by a good friend of mine that runs Garden of Life, the multi-hundred billion dollar company, and I saw some good, actual things come out of it.
“I don’t use notes on air anymore. If I do, it’s once a week or it’s a longer-working subject. Last year, I was almost strapped to my notes at times.”
Evans said if Lewis did take the deer antler spray, it’s not worthy of the PED discussion it’s drawn.
“The PED word, steroids and all that nonsense – this is nothing, and I mean nothing, like that,” Evans said. “If that helped Ray recover, it was minimalistic. It probably did have some effects, but it was because Ray dieted perfect. He rested perfect. He did everything else they told him to do. He had surgery and he took care of his body, and he probably wasn’t out drinking and smoking and doing a lot of the stuff other NFL players do, and his body responded, because our bodies are amazing when we treat them right.”
|What’s with all the fullbacks?||03.26.12 at 3:51 pm ET|
The Patriots have already added one fullback this offseason in Spencer Larsen, and on Monday, they reportedly agreed to a deal with Tony Fiammetta. They already have one on the roster in Lousaka Polite, and could have a fourth in Eric Kettani, who was recently activated off the reserve/military list.
So what’s with all the fullbacks?
In the Bill Belichick era, the Patriots have occasionally employed a regular fullback, but they’ve never had this many on the roster at one time. Polite, who signed at the end of the regular season, was the first regular fullback New England utilized since Heath Evans departed following the 2008 season. (Patrick Pass had the longest career of any fullback with the Patriots under Belichick, playing in New England from 2000 until 2006.)
If you’re putting together a depth chart at this point, Polite is probably the No. 1 back, based on talent level and basic knowledge of the system. He’d be followed by Larsen, who also has extensive special teams value (as well as on defense). Fiammetta is still an unknown quantity at this point, but on paper, appears to be more of a traditional blocking fullback. Kettani remains a question mark — he’s been around the franchise since he was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2009, but has little on-field action.
Some of it could be due to the fact that the Patriots have lost veteran back BenJarvus Green-Ellis in free agency, with the understanding that the two young running backs — Steven Ridley and Shane Vereen — might fare better with a lead blocker in front of them. It’s a theory that analyst Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus agrees with.
“If I was guessing, I’d say they want to use more of a fullback next season,” Monson wrote in an e-mail to WEEI.com, “perhaps figuring the current running back stable would run better with a lead-blocker than BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and are loading up on guys to pick from when they get into the analysis of the roster.”
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