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Jason Cole on M&M: Greg Schiano gets advice to pass on Patriots 02.25.14 at 12:57 pm ET
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National Football Post reporter Jason Cole joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday to discuss NFL and Patriots news, including the team’s reported interest in former Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Cole reported earlier this week that Schiano was getting advised not to take a position with the Patriots under his friend, Bill Belichick.

“He’s got some agents and other coaches and people saying, ‘Look, if you go there, where are you going to get back on the head coach track? Because what credit are you going to get if the Patriots are good? Was it your genius that turned around the Patriots linebacking corps?’ That’s the problem that you have at this point in time with going to work for Belichick.

“Now, if he’s comfortable and he’s saying, ‘Look, I want to take a step back for a few years, maybe be an assistant for a little while, learn under Bill and then I’ll branch off and get a college job,’ yeah. But I think that most people are getting the feeling that Schiano wants to be a head coach sooner than later. And a lot of people basically told him, ‘Why don’t you just take the year off? You’re getting paid. Go learn about the NFL, look around at some college jobs. Go figure out the things that didn’t work when you were in Tampa.’

“But he’s doing what coaches normally do, which is they feel compelled, they can’t get out of the game, they have to be back in it. They get that jones, that itch to coach, they take a job.”

Added Cole: “That’s what other people are saying, they advised him not to do it. ‘€¦ Other people advised him to sit out a year, and he’s doing it over their advice. It’s an interesting decision. And for a guy who presumably wants to be a head coach, how’s he going to play this out?”

Looking at it from the Patriots’ angle, Cole said Schiano could help, especially if he’s willing to stand up to Belichick.

“Belichick likes him a lot and I think he respects him and he likes his discipline and some of the ideas,” Cole said. “Certainly Greg did a great job at Rutgers in building that program up. So, there’s a lot to like about Greg Schiano. Certainly he’s not the first guy who was a good head coach who didn’t do so well in his first turn around the NFL — Bill Belichick comes to mind, came back, got another job, fixed some things, got a quarterback, and then all of a sudden some things worked out. So, there’s a possibility for that.

“My only concern with bringing in [Michael] Lombardi and bringing in Schiano is I just hope that they’re guys who are willing to stand in there and say to Bill, ‘That’s not such a good idea. That doesn’t really work.’ Because the thing you worry about, particularly as coaches get a little bit older — and I don’t think Belichick is like this, I think he’s smart enough to realize you have to have contrarians on your staff and people who will question what you do.

“But that’s always a danger, and I saw Don Shula go through it [with the Dolphins in the early 1990s], which is he brought too many guys who he knew through for life, they were too comfortable with each other, and they didn’t stand up and say, ‘That’s not going to work,’ or, ‘That’s not a good idea.’ ”

The big NFL story this week has been the league considering a rule banning the use of racial slurs on the field. Cole said the only way the league can make this work is by having a strict no-tolerance policy, even when players use the N-word without bad intent.

“I get that point [that many African-Americans feel they can use the N-word amongst themselves], but I also say, yeah, but you’re just telling me that it’s only OK for black people to use this, so you’re basically segregating the language,” Cole said. “The other part of it is, you’re trying to differentiate when it’s supposed to be comfortable versus when it’s supposed to be angry and it’s a slur. That’s really hard to decipher. It’s like trying to decipher when some people are deadpan sarcastic and when they’re serious. It’s up to interpretation.”

Added Cole: “Or you get the other use where you get a real lunkhead, loud idiot like Richie Incognito, who starts throwing it around because he sees how comfortable all his friends who are black are using it. And then all of a sudden it’s like, OK, Richie, you can use it because it’s all right for you. It gets all twisted.

“The bottom line is, at least how I grew up, is it’s a dreadfully painful, hurtful word. That was what I was taught. Not just by white people but by black people. And that’s what I taught my kids. Let’s have a nice open discussion about it. Policing it? Yeah, it’s hard. But I think we’re getting to a point where there’s some issues that we’ve really got to talk about culturally about the use of this word.”

Cole predicts that if referees start throwing flags, slurs won’t be thrown around during games, although it will take longer to clean up the locker room.

“I think that you can enforce it on the field, as long as the officials are going to be strict,” Cole said. “If they strictly enforce it, it will disappear in a matter of a few weeks. And it will be done with. Because people will watch their language.”

For more Patriots news, visit the team page at

Read More: Bill Belichick, Greg Schiano, Jason Cole, Michael Lombardi
Patriots confirm addition of Michael Lombardi 02.20.14 at 1:48 pm ET
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The Patriots on Thursday announced the hiring of Michael Lombardi as an assistant to the coaching staff.

Lombardi, who was fired by the Browns last week after spending one year as the team’s general manager, has had a long relationship with Patriots coach Bill Belichick, including working together with the Browns in the early 1990s.

Lombardi also has worked in the front office for the 49ers, Eagles and Raiders, and he was an analyst for the NFL Network and

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Reports: Mike Lombardi set to rejoin Bill Belichick with Patriots 02.13.14 at 4:08 pm ET
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The Patriots and Michael Lombardi are close on a deal that would reunite Lombardi with Bill Belichick, according to multiple reports.

Lombardi, who was let go by the Browns earlier this week, has a deep and abiding relationship with the Patriots coach — it’s a connection that goes back more than 20 years when Lombardi was part of the personnel department in Cleveland and Belichick was head coach of the Browns.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Michael Lombardi,
Michael Lombardi reportedly working on deal to join Patriots front office at 8:22 am ET
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Last time it took five years. This time, it might just be a few days.

Multiple reports state that Michael Lombardi, whom the Browns ousted from their general manager spot Tuesday, may join the Patriots front office. Chris Fedor of Cleveland’s 92.3 The Fan first reported a potential agreement between the two sides on Twitter Wednesday evening.


Lombardi spent one year working for the Browns, who overhauled their front office Tuesday when they also announced CEO Joe Banner would leave the organization in two months.

The move came as a surprise, in part, because Lombardi and Banner worked together to hire the team’s new coach, Mike Pettine, about a month ago. Lombardi also took part in hiring Rob Chudzinski, who coached the Browns to a 4-12 record last season. The team has not won more than five games in six consecutive years.

Cleveland is the first team in the league to fire a coach and GM after just one year at the helm when the coach and general manager were not the same individual.

Lombardi arrived in Cleveland five years after he was fired from his executive position with the Raiders. During the gap between those two jobs, he spent time working in the media.

If the reports are true, it will mark the first time Lombardi and Patriots coach Bill Belichick have worked together since Belichick started his head coaching career in Cleveland from 1991-95.

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NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi on D&C: Seamless transition from Bill O’Brien to Josh McDaniels at offensive coordinator 08.02.12 at 10:14 am ET
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NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning to talk about the Patriots season, the transition at offensive coordinator from Bill O’Brien back to Josh McDaniels, and the outlook on Brandon Lloyd. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

McDaniels, who was the team’s offensive coordinator from 2006-08, returns to take over from O’Brien, who left for the Penn State head coaching job.

“The uniqueness of this team will be vastly different than last year,” Lombardi said. “They’ll be able to control the pace of the game much better. People talk about all the points they scored, which is wonderful and they were up and down the field, but they could never could get control of the game. … With Josh McDaniels I think they’re going to have an emphasis on running the football more in terms of later in the game and being a power football team, something I think they really needed.”

Added Lombardi: “Now that Josh is back, I think you’ll get to see a little bit more of the 2004-05 Patriots.”

When asked about the Patriots’ prospects of winning the AFC East, Lombardi started with the quarterback position but cited some question marks in Tom Brady‘s protection.

“They should [win the division],” he said. “They have the best quarterback, and typically the team that wins the division always has the best quarterback. I think that carries on. I think the Patriots have to get their offensive line fixed without Logan Mankins in there right now. Brian Waters, hopefully he will come back because he played at a high level last year. Then where is Sebastian Vollmer in terms of his health and durability? Can he play 16 games at right tackle?”

The Patriots signed Lloyd in the offseason to a reported three-year, $12 million contract with the hope of replacing Chad Johnson as the team’s deep threat. Johnson’s one-year tenure with the Patriots was a disaster, as he only caught 15 passes for 276 yards.

“[Lloyd] knows the playbook probably as well as anybody,” Lombardi said. “Not a chance [he’s as bad as Johnson].”

Read More: Brandon Lloyd, Josh McDaniels, Michael Lombardi, Sebastian Vollmer
Five early thoughts on free agency and the Patriots 03.13.12 at 6:52 pm ET
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After the first few hours of NFL free agency, here are five incredibly early Patriots’-related thoughts:

1. Devin McCourty is a happy man. The deal that sent wide receiver Brandon Marshall from Miami to Chicago for draft picks gets one of the premiere receivers in the division out of the AFC East, which should make life considerably easier for the New England secondary, and McCourty in particular. Marshall absolutely hammered McCourty and the Patriots last season, going for seven catches and 139 yards in the season opener and adding six catches for 143 yards and a touchdown when the two teams met again in December.

2. Wes Welker is a happy man. Before the start of free agency, the Patriots hit Welker with the franchise tag, which will likely mean the veteran wide receiver will get a $9 million payday for the 2012 season. But the next time the two sides sit down at the negotiating table, the landscape will be far different, especially after the Redskins reportedly signed fellow receiver Pierre Garcon to a five-year, $42.5 million deal, including $21.5 in guaranteed money. While Welker is a full five years older than Garcon, his numbers over the last three years have been demonstrably better than the former Colts’€™ pass catcher. So that effectively changes the market for Welker, who will likely look for something north of that when the two sides do decide to revisit talks.

3. BenJarvus Green-Ellis could be a happy man soon.
There’€™s apparently some movement with Green-Ellis. The veteran running back was one of New England’€™s 16 unrestricted free agents who hit the market on Tuesday afternoon, but according to Jason Cole of Yahoo Sports, there are two ‘€œunknown teams’€ involved in a possible pursuit of the free agent, while the Patriots ‘€œwant him back.’€ (In the past, the Chiefs have been mentioned as a possible suitor for Green-Ellis.) Cole says to look for a deal in the $3 million to $4 million range, which is probably a little too much for New England. Not saying the Patriots would be completely against signing him at that price — only that it would make New England take a long look at their in-house options at running back going forward and what might be available in free agency.

4. No Red Bryant for the Patriots.
The talk about the defensive tackle possibly heading to New England hit a fever pitch Tuesday afternoon, but it was quickly squelched when the Seahawks locked up Bryant with one of the first big deals in free agency. The 6-foot-4, 332-pounder started all 16 games for Seattle last season, the team that drafted him in the fourth round out of Texas A&M in 2008. (As for another big defensive body, Mario Williams is making a visit to the Bills on Tuesday night, who appear to be very aggressive in their pursuit of what is likely the premiere defensive player on the market.)

5. As for the Patriots, they were mostly quiet.
The one bit of news that did pop up specifically relating to the franchise was the report that New England was expected to re-sign special teams ace Matthew Slater some time on Tuesday, per Michael Lombardi of the NFL Network. Slater, who made the Pro Bowl this past season, just finished up his fourth season with the Patriots, having worked as a wide receiver, defensive back and special teamer. The 6-foot, 200-pounder, an unrestricted free agent, caught one pass for 46 yards this season, and also saw extensive time at safety.

Read More: 2012 NFL Free Agency, BenJarvus Green Ellis, Brandon Marshall, Devin McCourty
Report: Patriots expected to re-sign special teamer Matt Slater on Tuesday at 5:31 pm ET
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The Patriots are expected to re-sign special teams ace Matthew Slater some time on Tuesday, according to Michael Lombardi of the NFL Network. Slater, who made the Pro Bowl this past season, just finished up his fourth season in New England, having worked as a wide receiver, defensive back and special teamer. The 6-foot, 200-pounder, an unrestricted free agent, caught one pass for 46 yards this season, and also saw extensive time at safety.

Read More: 2012 NFL Free Agency, Matthew Slater, Michael Lombardi,



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