|Poll: Should Patriots try to sign Reggie Wayne?||07.20.15 at 11:29 am ET|
The “Reggie Wayne-to-New England” rumors are pretty familiar around these parts. The veteran receiver has always intrigued Bill Belichick and the Patriots, going all the way back to 2012 when Wayne was a free agent. He ended up returning to Indy, but the courtship was enough to catch the attention of the rest of the NFL.
Belichick has always been very open about his admiration for Wayne. He called him one of the best “route runners” in the history of the game last year, and despite the fact that Wayne turned 36 last November, said that the former Miami product is “still dangerous with the ball in his hands.” In this context, it’s also important to remember that the Patriots have not been shy when it comes to kicking the tires on former Colts: Joseph Addai, Anthony Gonzalez, Marcus Pollard, Dallas Clark and Austin Collie all got at least a brief once-over from New England after they departed Indy.
According to reports, Wayne has drawn the interest of several other teams, including the Ravens, Texans and Packers. (From this viewpoint, despite the fact that the Broncos have reportedly “backed off” in their pursuit of the veteran, the siren song of playing with Peyton Manning again at a new address would certainly be a big attraction for Wayne. As a result, Denver certainly cannot be discounted.)
In the end, the Patriots would likely have to weigh the importance of his presence in the lineup against the likes of younger pass catchers like Aaron Dobson and Brian Tyms, as well as (to a lesser extent) Brandon LaFell, all of whom play a similar role as Wayne. Wayne does not play special teams, and that will also figure into any personnel decision the Patriots make at the wide receiver position. In the end, however, the question surrounding Wayne is a simple one: Does Belichick and the Patriots believe Wayne can provide an upgrade, even in a situational role? If the answer is yes, there’s certainly no harm in the Patriots at least exploring Wayne as an option.
|Reports: Jets agree to acquire Brandon Marshall; Colts part ways with Reggie Wayne||03.06.15 at 11:58 am ET|
A couple of big-name wide receivers are on the move, and it affects two of the Patriots’ rivals.
According to multiple reports, the Bears have agreed to trade Brandon Marshall to the Jets. ESPN’s Adam Schefter writes that the deal will become official when free agency opens Tuesday afternoon.
A five-time Pro Bowler, Marshall struggled with injuries last season, his ninth in the league, and finished with just 721 receiving yards. Heading into 2014, he had surpassed 1,000 receiving yards in seven consecutive seasons.
Marshall, 30, has had his share of off-field problems, including last season when he allegedly went on a rant in the locker room after a loss to the Dolphins. In New York he would be reunited with new Jets coach Todd Bowles, who was an assistant in Miami when Marshall played there.
Meanwhile, the Colts announced Friday that they will not re-sign Reggie Wayne, making him an unrestricted free agent next week. Wayne has not said if he plans to return in 2015.
Wayne has spent all 14 of his NFL seasons with Indianapolis and is the franchise leader in regular-season games (211) and second in receptions (1,070), receiving yards (14,345), receiving touchdowns (80) and consecutive games with a reception (134).
“Reggie is one of the greatest men to ever wear the horseshoe, and we have been blessed to watch him play for the past 14 years,” Colts owner Jim Irsay said in a statement. “When he first took the field with us in 2001, we knew this day would eventually arrive. That reality is one of the things that makes pro football such a tough business. We feel this decision is in the best interests of the team and for Reggie as it will allow him to seek a better opportunity for playing time elsewhere if he so chooses.”
|Rodney Harrison on MFB: Reggie Wayne ‘must’ve forgot’ old Patriots teams ‘flat-out kicked their butts’||11.18.14 at 12:30 pm ET|
NBC Sports NFL analyst Rodney Harrison made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Tuesday to discuss the Patriots-Colts game and Adrian Peterson‘s suspension. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Last week, prior to the Patriots-Colts matchup, Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne called this year’s Patriots secondary the “best complete” he’s faced from a Patriots team in his 14 years in the league. Harrison, a member of the Patriots from 2003-08, strongly disagreed that this year’s team was better than the secondary of the Super Bowl years.
“I thought he was crazy and I texted Ty Law and said I said, ‘Ty, he’s crazy,’ ” Harrison said. “He must’ve forgot what we did in ’03-04 and just flat-out kicked their butts, and it was one of those things — I don’t know if he was trying to take a shot at us or what he was to do, or maybe too many hits upside the head — he probably forgot what happened in ’03-04. But, to say that that secondary is better than our secondary — and at that point it doesn’t even matter. Just go out there and play.”
Wayne finished Sunday’s game with five catches for 91 yards. Harrison liked the Patriots’ game plan against him.
“What a great game plan by [defensive coordinator] Matt Patricia putting Darrelle Revis on him, and Darrelle wasn’t even worried about Reggie Wayne going deep,” Harrison said. “I felt like Reggie Wayne, he works extremely hard, he’s trying to run routes, but because of age and injury he’s just no longer the same player than he once was. He had a great career and he’ll still continue to make plays and he will finish strong, but some things you just have to keep to yourself.”
The Colts came into the game 6-3 and looking to prove themselves as one of the elite teams in the AFC, but Harrison said he knew going in they weren’t up to the challenge.
“The Colts really disappointed me,” he said. “I just felt like this was a good game to gauge if they were ready to get to that next level of upper-echelon teams in the AFC and everyone was talking about their No. 1 offense and I just knew they had a lot of weaknesses on the defensive side of the ball, just like I told Tony Dungy. I just knew they weren’t ready. As good as your quarterback is, you have some weapons offensively — you need a total team effort consistently and they haven’t played consistent football on the defensive side of the field.”
|Reggie Wayne says Patriots secondary is ‘best complete’ in his 14 years||11.12.14 at 5:12 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne has been in the league a long time — 14 years to be exact — so when he makes a statement such as calling a secondary, “the best complete secondary” he’s seen, it certainly deserves some merit.
Wayne has gone against Patriots secondaries that have included players such as Ty Law, Rodney Harrison and Lawyer Milloy, but on a conference call with the New England media Wednesday, the 14-year veteran put the 2014 Patriots secondary above any Patriots secondary he’s seen in the past.
“Actually, this secondary here is, in my 14 years of playing New England, this has probably been the best complete secondary,” Wayne said. “I think it allows them to do more things up front with the front seven guys they hadn’t done probably during the past years. They’re very talented. They’re ball-hungry. They’re definitely talented. It gives them a little bit to where they can be more risk takers with blitzes and things of that nature. It’s definitely going to be a challenge for us: receivers, tight ends. It’s a challenge that we look forward to and hopefully we go out there mano-a-mano and see who can win at the end of the day.”
The Patriots defense and secondary enter Sunday’s game riding high, coming off of limiting Peyton Manning‘s Broncos powerful offense to just 21 points in its 43-21 triumph two weeks ago at Gillette Stadium. For the year, the Patriots defense is in the middle of the pack in overall pass defense (14th), allowing 2,116 passes yards, but a lot of that has come in garbage time. For example, Manning threw for over 400 yards, but Denver lost by 22 points.
|Bill Belichick says Colts WR Reggie Wayne is ‘maybe’ one of best route runners in NFL history||at 11:35 am ET|
FOXBORO — Reggie Wayne was romanced by the Patriots in 2012 as a free agent. The veteran wide receiver ended up sticking with the Colts, but it’s clear the level of affection that Bill Belichick has for Wayne hasn’t diminished.
‘He looks good,” Belichick said Wednesday of the 35-year-old Wayne, who has 42 catches on 72 targets for 504 yards and a pair of touchdowns this season.
“[He’s] really one of the best route runners obviously in the game now — maybe ever in the game. He really does a great job of making all the routes look the same. He’s got really good quickness to separate at the top of the route.
“He’s good on releases and smart in zones to find the open space,” Belichick added. “[He’s got] good hands, made a big play after the catch last week or two weeks ago, whatever it was, down the sideline there. Caught the ball, broke a tackle, 40-yard touchdown, so he’s still dangerous with the ball in his hands. He’s an excellent route runner. I’m sure the quarterback, (Andrew) Luck has a lot of confidence in him, which he should, because he’s such a dependable guy.’
|Bill Belichick: Colts create ‘tough matchups’ with multiple tight ends||11.10.14 at 3:21 pm ET|
The Patriots have three tight ends they use on a consistent basis to create tough matchup problems for the opposing defense in Rob Gronkowski, Tim Wright and Michael Hoomanawanui.
But come Sunday night, New England won’t be the only team on the field using multiple tight ends, as the Colts also rotate three tight ends in and out with Dwayne Allen, Jack Doyle and Colby Fleener.
“They’ve done a good job with those guys and they use [Jack] Doyle some too,” coach Bill Belichick said on Tuesday’s conference call. “So, a lot of times they have three tight ends on the field. They have a good mixture of one tight end, two tight ends and three tight ends in their offense. Sometimes [it’s] different combinations, so you can’t always count on the same group of guys being out there. Both Fleener and Allen have been tough matchups in the passing game. Some of the same things we talked about.
“Again, there are times when they’re out there together and then there are times when it’s one or the other of them. But they both have done a good job of creating separation, making plays in the red area. I’ve been really impressed with Allen’s blocking. I think he’s one of the best blocking tight ends that we’ll see”
Fleener and Allen both have 20 or more catches respectively, as Allen has 26 catches for 374 yards and seven touchdowns, while Fleener has 22 catches for 295 yards and four touchdowns. Doyle has been efficient, as he has nine catches on nine targets for 58 yards and a touchdown.