|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.
|5 things you have to know about Colts||at 3:07 pm ET|
Here are five things you have to know about the Colts, who will face the Patriots this week Sunday night at Lucas Oil Stadium.
1. Andrew Luck is playing at an MVP level.
The Colts quarterback has had a terrific first half of the year, and is on pace to finish 444-for-699 (64 percent) for 5,484 yards with 46 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. (At that rate, the entire city of Indianapolis will be growing neckbeards by the end of the season.) Part of his success can be rooted in the fact that the Colts are playing in a mostly pillowy-soft division, and he’s managed to take advantage of a couple of woeful defenses in Jacksonville and Tennessee (he was a combined 60-for-80 for 763 yards, eight touchdowns and one pick in back-to-back games earlier in the year against the Jags and Titans). But at the same time, he’s risen to the challenge nicely when faced with some of the better defenses in the NFL. He’s passed for at least 300 yards in seven straight games, and at this point in the season, he’s one of two quarterbacks who have a completion percentage better than 60 percent (64), has thrown for at least 3,000 yards (3,085) and has at least 20 touchdown passes. The only reason Ben Roethlisberger is the other one in the conversation is because he’s played 10 games, while Luck is at nine.
2. For a (presumably) playoff-bound team, they don’t do a great job taking care of the football.
As good as Luck has been at times this season, he has been occasionally careless with the football, and can throw some bad picks. He’s throw nine interceptions on the year, which ties him for third in the league with luminaries like Andy Dalton and Kirk Cousins. (Luck had nine all year last season.) The Colts have also fumbled the ball six times, but are still even when it comes to takeaway ratio (six interceptions and nine fumbles recovered on defense).
3. They don’t do a great job defending tight ends.
Indy has what can be be described as an above-average secondary, with some talented corners. But at the same time, the Colts have had issues against good tight ends this season. According to Football Outsiders, through Week 9 the Colts are 29th in the league in defending tight ends. In all, the Colts have allowed 49 receptions for 577 yards and seven touchdowns, an average of 11.8 yards per catch. Those numbers should be sweet music to the ears of the Patriots, who have leaned heavily on Rob Gronkowski over the course of the last five weeks, and will almost certainly do the same this time around against Indy. Gronkowski has caught 36 passes for 516 yards and five touchdowns over the last five weeks, while the Colts have had issues containing players like Heath Miller (seven catches on eight targets for 112 yards and a touchdown), Owen Daniels (five catches on seven targets for 70 yards), Zach Ertz (four catches, 86 yards) and Delanie Walker (five catches on seven targets for 84 yards and a touchdown). If they had issues with Walker, Indy will almost certainly have problems trying to slow Gronkowski.
|NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: USC WR Robert Woods||03.18.13 at 7:11 am ET|
WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that might be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2013 NFL draft. Here is one is a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.
Position: Wide Receiver
Weight: 201 pounds
Achievements: 2012 All-Pac-10 second team, 2011 All-America first team, 2011 Biletnikoff Award finalist, 2010 Freshman All-America first team, 2010 Pac-10 Offensive Freshman of the Year, 2010 All-Pac-10 first team (kick returner), USC all-time receptions leader (252)
What he brings: Woods isn’t the tallest or the fastest athletic specimen in this wide receiver class, but he’s likely the most complete and balanced. While he won’t score any A-pluses on his report card from scouts, Woods likely won’t get anything lower than a B. The USC product features good, but not elite, size and speed with average strength for a receiver. He also boasts a great set of hands, is dangerous on screens and in the open field, is a willing and effective blocker and can go up and get the ball. The one area where Woods truly shines, though, is his polished route-running and his smoothness and acceleration out of breaks. While another ‘quick but not fast’ guy isn’t the true no. 1 threat Pats fans have been clamoring for, it is the type of receiver that Tom Brady can find success with quickly.
With a time of 4.51 seconds, Woods scored a resounding ‘meh’ in the 40-yard dash at the scouting combine. On top of that, he went on to put up a time of 7.15 seconds in the Belichickian 3-cone drill, which was tied for worst of the receivers who participated. However, Woods did impress scouts during onfield drills, showing that he’s likely a game day-speed type of player. Woods has drawn multiple comparisons to the Packers‘ James Jones while Woods himself has made comparisons to the Colts’ Reggie Wayne.
Probably the biggest knock on Woods is his injury history and his inability to come back completely from injuries. During his sophomore season, the receiver dealt with lingering injuries in addition to undergoing offseason surgery on an ankle injury suffered while playing pickup basketball. He was also the center of controversy surrounding a concussion test after testing a huge hit against Utah and then stumbling and falling on his way off of the field. Woods was allowed to re-enter the game soon after, with rumors swirling that he’d actually failed a concussion test.
Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 1-2
Notes: Woods kicked off his career at USC with a bang, starting all 13 games as a true freshman before becoming the team’s top receiving threat as a sophomore. During his junior season, though, Woods became overshadowed by sophomore Marquise Lee, who ended up taking his spot at the team’s no. 1 target.
While not a great sign for Woods, there’s no shame in being the the second-best receiver on the team when your teammate wins the Biletnikoff Award for being the best receiver in the country. After the team’s loss in the 2012 Hyundai Sun Bowl, Woods told the press that he would enter the draft early and that he’d accomplished everything wanted to in college. However, he did address the situation with Lee by stating, “If the coaches wanted to keep me another year, they would’ve probably got me the ball,” a quote from which he quickly backpedaled in the days following.
At this point in the process, Woods doesn’t grade out as a first-round lock. While some mocks have the Patriots targeting him at the end of the first round, he’s a heavy candidate for the Pats to go after him early in the second round should they make the ever-unpopular decision to trade down again.
Related articles: LA Times: Robert Woods isn’t complaining about reduced role
Video: Here’s a collection of highlights from Woods’ junior season.