NFL News Dump: League Hands Down Multiple Suspensions

Today was suspension Friday in the NFL, as Roger Goodell handed down three different suspensions. Chief’s cornerback Sean Smith, Bronco’s defensive end Derek Wolfe, and Viking’s cornerback Jabari Price were all given some sort of suspension today.

Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith (21) covers Denver Broncos wide receiver Cody Latimer (14) as the ball falls incomplete during the second quarter on Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014, at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. (David Eulitt/Kansas City Star/TNS)
Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith (21) covers Denver Broncos wide receiver Cody Latimer (14) as the ball falls incomplete during the second quarter on Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014, at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. (David Eulitt/Kansas City Star/TNS)

Sean Smith was suspended three games for a DUI, which he pled guilty to in April. Smith is a first time offender, which is designated for a two-game suspension by the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, but the policy does leave some wiggle room for special circumstances like property damage. Smith struck and broke a light pole, which is what led to him getting caught, and added an extra game to the suspension. Smith is just one of many cornerbacks the Chiefs have, and it should not be a huge blow to the team.

during a 2015 AFC Divisional Playoff game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 11, 2015 in Denver, Colorado.
during a 2015 AFC Divisional Playoff game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 11, 2015 in Denver, Colorado.

Derek Wolfe was suspended four games for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy. Wolfe, a former second round pick, gave the standard player-suspended-for-PED-use answer, saying he didn’t realize what he was taking was on the banned substance list, ho hum. Wolfe is one of three defensive ends that looked to be in the Broncos rotation as they transition from a 4-3 to a 3-4, along with Vance Walker and Malik Jackson. Of course, the Broncos have plenty of pass rushers at outside linebacker, such as Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware, and first round draft pick Shane Ray.

<> at Ford Field on December 14, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan.
<> at Ford Field on December 14, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan.

Jabari Price, much like Smith, was suspended two games after pleading guilty to a DWI in April. Price is entering his second year in the NFL, and was a seventh round draft pick in 2014. He is primarily a special teams player.

Adam Schefter reported all three suspensions on Twitter today, in three separate tweets. In the last two, he also mentioned that on suspension Friday, there was still no Brady news. It shows you what NFL fans are looking for right now. The NFL can dump all theses irrelevant suspensions right now, and no one will care. Famous Boston sports fan Bill Simmons put everything into perspective on Twitter, saying, “AFC Title Game: 1/18, Wells Report: 5/6, Brady Suspension: 5/11, NFLPA Appeal: 5/14, Brady/Goodell meeting: 6/23, Today’s date: 7/24 27 WEEKS.” You can see why the NFL is king; they know how to control their news. They don’t want a bunch of suspensions to be a big deal, so they’ve dragged deflategate out for 27 weeks, giving them a 27-week news dump period.

Philadelphia Eagles: Tim Tebow Possibly Starting a QB Controversy in Philly

Imagine for a second that we lived in an alternative universe where every NFL coach would welcome HBO’s Hard Knocks series behind their closed curtains and give them all-access to the team’s daily ins and outs. Now, in that world, is there a single team you want on Hard Knocks more than the 2015 Eagles? After having the most interesting offseason in years, the team has not one, but four interesting quarterbacks on their roster. The presumed starter, former Heisman-trophy winner Sam Bradford, who’s missed the last two seasons with injuries. The likely backup (though possible starter), the beautiful Mark Sanchez, who had a once-promising career thrown down the toilet by Rex Ryan, then showed signs of rejuvenation when taking over for injured Nick Foles in Philly last season. Then you have Matt Barkley, who probably would’ve been the number one pick in the draft had he left USC after his junior year, but instead had a shaky senior year and plummeted to fourth round where he looks to never be a starting quarterback. And finally, you have one of the most pulverizing figures in the history of football: Tim Tebow.

during a game at MetLife Stadium on December 28, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
during a game at MetLife Stadium on December 28, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

The initial momentum for Tebow has all but died since his career went down the drain with the Jets. But two days ago, inquistir.com reported that Tebow could be at the heart of a quarterback controversy in Philadelphia. Seriously, you can read the story here: http://www.inquisitr.com/2273993/philadelphia-eagles-rumors-tim-tebow-could-be-poised-to-become-the-breakout-star-of-training-camp/ The article suggests that Tebow could not only beat out Barkley for the third string job, but may challenge for legitimate playing time.

I was and am as big of a Tebow fan as any. I’ve always liked college football just a little more than the NFL, and Tebowmania in 2011 was the closest the NFL ever felt like to college for me. Whether you supported him or hated him, the one thing you have to admit about the 2011 Tim Tebow ride is this: it was fun. I also think that Chip Kelly was smart to sign Tebow, and I think Kelly is the most innovative mind in the NFL. But Chip Kelly didn’t sign Tim Tebow to be his starting quarterback.

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library
Generated by IJG JPEG Library

There’s a place for Tebow in this league, but it’s as a situational specialist. On 3rd and goal from the 3, I’d love to have a 6’3 bowling ball that has quarterback skills behind center. But using him as a short-yardage specialist is different than building your team around him. Bill Belichick has used guys because they do one thing really well all the time. Shane Vereen only caught passes out of the backfield. He uses guys like LeGarrette Blount and Jonas Gray against teams with a bad run defense (the Colts) and then locks them in a closet for the rest of the season. Chip Kelly is an offensive genius and can certainly find a place for a player of Tebow’s skill set in his system. Maybe Tebow’s improved. I hope he has, I’m rooting for him. But the only quarterback controversy in Philadelphia right now is whether or not Bradford can make it through the entire season healthy.

Three Rookies That Will Surprise Patriots Fans In 2015

One of the most exciting parts of training camp every year is getting to see the new rookies on your team. You have spent hours watching game tape and highlight reels of their college careers, now it is time to see what they look like playing against the big dogs.

For the New England Patriots, the only rookie that fans are expecting to shine is first round pick Malcom Brown. The remaining rookies are all question marks. Most first-year players go through a huge transition year, and it is hard for them to truly show their abilities as a rookie. Here are three Patriots rookies that I believe will contribute in 2015.

Geneo Grissom: Drafted at the end of the third round out of Oklahoma, Geneo Grissom has all the physical attributes to be a successful defensive edge player in the National Football League. Bill Belichick praised Grissom the night he drafted him, preaching about his versatility. ” He didn’t play like a linebacker in there. You probably wouldn’t think he’s that light. You wouldn’t know by the way he played.”

Grissom at Oklahoma played predominately as a defensive end with his hand in the dirt. ” He was way undersized at 260 pounds, but he competed well. ” Another compliment from Belichick on draft night. In 2014, Grissom moved to more of an edge outside linebacker role, where you have to think is where he will spend most of his time in New England. With a lack of depth at linebacker, Grissom will have his chances to prove himself in game situations.

Photo: boston.cbs.local.com
Photo: boston.cbs.local.com

Tre Jackson: If any Patriots rookie were to jump right into a starting role this season, fourth round pick Tre Jackson would be a very solid candidate. With Dan Connolly now retired, the Patriots are left without a starting guard next to Ryan Wendell. Veterans like Josh Kline and Jordan Devey most likely won’t get the job done, therefore Jackson may have the best chance at starting.

In 2014, Bryan Stork took over the starting role at center almost immediately. Stork was a teammate of Jackson’s at Florida State playing under offensive line coach Rick Trickett, who has been a long-time friend of the Patriots organization. Tre Jackson is much bigger than Patriots guards of the past. He is a powerful space eater, as opposed to a more nimble player like Ryan Wendell.

jackson_tre_2

Darryl Roberts: The Patriots cornerback depth chart as of right now is paper thin. All players right now are on an equal playing field, which could help seventh round rookie Darryl Roberts. A Marshall product, Roberts is a very athletic and physical corner. He played up on the line in college and loved to get his hands on the receiver. Much like Brandon Browner, it would be to a fault at times.

Roberts has the size to be a pro cornerback at 6-0, 182 pounds. In addition, his pro day numbers were very impressive as he ran a 4.38 40-yard dash and a 6.7 three-cone drill. Had he been invited to the combine he would have ranked second among all cornerbacks in those categories.

Roberts like many other cornerbacks, has been labeled as very confident. His self-proclaimed nickname is, “Swagg.” Furthermore, his college defensive coordinator Chuck Heater seems to think that his seventh round selection will give him extra motivation. ” He’s fighting every day. That’s a great attitude to have. It’s an edge.”  Many already think that Roberts was passed over too many times in the draft. The analytical powerhouse that is Pro Football Focus had Darryl Roberts as their fourth biggest steal of the draft.

In conclusion, all three of these rookies will have success in some way, shape, or form in 2015, but Darryl Roberts will soar above the rest. Much like Malcolm Butler last season, Roberts will shine during training camp and it will lead to significant game time in the regular season. With game time comes chances to make plays, and when given those chances you can win your team the Super Bowl. Just ask Malcolm Butler.

NFL: “DeflateGate” Texts. Are They Really A Smoking Gun?

AN IN-DEPTH LOOK AT THE DEFLATEGATE TEXT MESSAGES

Ok, let’s set this straight one more time.

I, like most members of Patriots Nation, have heard more than enough from the NFL and all the haters that have the Patriots organization in their cross hairs (again).

As the Founder of @PatsGazette, which has now branched out into the internet with goallinegazette.com, and having 32,000+ followers on twitter, I seem to get my fair share of haters that want their 15 minutes of Fame trying to prove their arguments (and the Wells Report) truthful. Above all else, the Wells Report can’t even prove itself truthful (If you’ve read it you already know this).

So the NFL and the haters seem to be sticking by the “deflator” text messages between  the Patriot equipment assistant, John Jastremski, and Pats‘ officials locker room attendant Jim McNally as the sole proof that Tom Brady’s knowledge of deflated footballs was “more probable than not”(seriously?) So if that’s what they’re going to stick with after 5 million dollars and countless man hours let’s take a look ourselves, shall we?

Here’s the original text where McNally labels himself “The Deflator”

Screenshot from Wells Report
Screenshot from Wells Report

Well there it is in all its glory! That small excerpt is what seals the fate of one of the greatest NFL teams and it’s quarterback of the last decade plus, right? Not so fast…. the Wells Report dismisses hundreds of texts between McNally and Jastremski as jokes, but we are supposed to take this one single text seriously? First and foremost, it was sent June 9th…smack in the middle of the off-season (good time to go on a diet).

The part of this text that makes it sound so detrimental is the implied context (what the NFL and Wells want you to believe it means) and the placement of where it appears in the report. (You see it was written in such a manner as to lead you to a conclusion that THEY wanted you to reach).

Taken from Wells report contents
Taken from Wells report contents

As you can plainly see, it was put in the report right after the section; events surrounding the AFC Championship game (section III)   Why would you follow up the details of the handling of footballs in the AFC championship game with a text message from 7 months prior? Truthfully if they were put in a timeline they would probably have no correlation at all, would they?  Not to mention that out of hundreds of text messages, it’s the first, but not the only time its used.

What was the real context of the term “Deflator” shared between two good friends that seemed to joke around a lot? Let”s take a look at the  only other time the term was used to try to gain some insight on context.

Screenshot from Wells Report
Screenshot from Wells Report

There’s actually a couple of interesting facts about this text from McNally to Jastremski.

  1. Look at the date,  it was sent during the Green Bay vs. New England game. McNally does not travel with the team, he is employed part-time, and is only present at home games (the Wells report doesn’t bring that out). So technically he could have sent footballs inflated to 15 p.s.I. and the game officials would have reset them anyhow (one could only hope they would have anyway).
  2. Why would McNally send a text about (supposedly) letting air out of footballs to someone that wasn’t even handling the footballs at the game? (That would be up to Packers personell) Look at the text “Deflate and give somebody that jkt”.  Jkt?

So tell me, exactly what does that mean? Jacket? That’s my take on Jkt… wouldn’t you think that’s what it meant?  Remember the diet I brought up earlier? Pretty good excuse to give away a jacket, because it no longer fits, isn’t it?

In conclusion I’ll state the obvious, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell hired Ted Wells with an agenda to stick it to the Patriots. The only thing that they have accomplished $5,000,000 and 243 sheets of toilet paper later is painting themselves into a corner (again)

It’s very sad that I can connect all this with common sense and the internet. Goodell….. it’s your turn.

Yep, kinda like this.
Yep, kinda like this.

You can follow me on twitter at @PatsGazette (I’m always there even when I’m supposed to be elsewhere)

New England Patriots: Pre Training Camp 53 Man Roster Projection

With training camp rapidly approaching, Patriots fans are getting ready and anticipating the upcoming battles for roster spots that makes the month of August so exciting. This year more than in recent years, there will be an abundance of Patriots competing for jobs. With so much upcoming competition, it is time for the annual 53 man roster projection before training camp. Here is how I think the roster will look come week one against Pittsburgh.

Quarterback: Jimmy Garoppolo, Matt Flynn.

The expectations seems to be that Tom Brady will miss some game time in 2015. Whether it is four games or one game, odds are he won’t be on the field opening night. He will need to hand it over to Jimmy Garoppolo, with Matt Flynn providing solid insurance behind him.

Photo: masslive.com
Photo: masslive.com

Running Back: Brandon Bolden, Travaris Cadet, James Develin, Tyler Gaffney, Jonas Gray.

For most of the season, LeGarrette Blount will be the main running back in the Patriots offense, but in week one he will be suspended for violating the league’s drug policy. Behind him will be a plethora of running backs fighting for game time. Brandon Bolden and Jonas Gray will battle it out for touches in the, “power back” category, along with Travaris Cadet and James White fighting for the, “Pass catching back.” Tyler Gaffney is an unknown right now, he seems to have the ability to contribute in both roles. James Develin as always is the reliable fullback/tight end hyrbid. I see a rookie like Dion Lewis landing on the practice squad.

host.madison.com
host.madison.com

Wide Receiver: Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Brandon LaFell, Aaron Dobson, Brandon Gibson.

Not many surprises here. Aaron Dobson will make the roster, now that he is fully healthy he can really show his ability. Brian Tyms gets chopped here because of his lack of versatility. He can run one route and that is about it. You can’t make a living off the go route unless your name is Randy Moss. Brandon Gibson has shown that he can provide a little bit more of a spark than Tyms.

Tight End: Rob Gronkowski, Scott Chandler, AJ Derby.

I have seen Michael Hoomanawanui as a player that has been on the chopping block all offseason. I personally thought he would be gone by now. Maybe their method is to let, “Hoo-Man” play out training camp and try to prove himself. If he shows anything, theres a small possibility they get a draft pick for him. If not he gets cut. A 1.5 million dollar cap hit is too much for a run blocker. James Develin can take over that role. Jake Bequette will be interesting to say the least, however I don’t believe he will impress enough.

Tackle: Nate Solder, Marcus Cannon, Sebastian Vollmer, Cameron Fleming.

With Tom Brady’s ascending age, the Patriots ability to protect him will be pivotal in their success. With two top tier tackles they shouldn’t have a problem. In addition, Cameron Fleming is a rising talent on the offensive line. I’m not sure why Cannon is still on the team, but they love him in Foxborough. He is their utility guy that can do it all.

Guard: Ryan Wendell, Tre Jackson, Josh Kline.

With Dan Connolly gone the Patriots need insurance at the guard position, something they didn’t have when they let go of Logan Mankins last year. That was almost a detriment to the season. There will be a battle back up between Josh Kline and Jordan Devey. Neither have impressed too much over their careers, but Kline has shown at times he can step up, and Devey never has.

jackson_tre_2

Center: Bryan Stork, Shaq Mason.

Bryan Stork has his starting job locked up, now he has a little back up behind him with rookie Shaq Mason. He plays both guard and center coming out of Georgia Tech. It is hard to think that Ryan Wendell will go back to center at any point given the limited amount of talent at the position.

Defensive End: Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Jabaal Sheard, Trey Flowers, Geneo Grissom.

There will be a lot of rotation at defensive end this season with the addition of Jabaal Sheard. It will finally give a player such as Rob Ninkovich the chance to catch his breath as oppose to playing about ninety percent of the snaps. Also, rookies Flowers and Grissom should be intriguing prospects. Grissom in particular given his athleticism he reminds you of Jamie Collins in a way. Look for Zach Moore to land on the practice squad.

Defensive Tackle: Malcom Brown, Alan Branch, Sealver Siliga, Dominique Easley, Chris Jones

Another spot were there will be plenty of competition because of the loss of Vince Wilfork. Furthermore, reports have been that Zach Moore has put on significant size so look for him to receive reps at defensive tackle during camp. Joe Vellano gets cut for the second year in a row.

via blog.masslive.com
via blog.masslive.com

Linebacker: Jerod Mayo, Jamie Collins, Dont’a Hightower, Dane Fletcher, Matthew Wells.

Many believe that Dont’a Hightower will begin the season on the physically unable to perform list. However, many have reported that he is ahead of schedule in his rehab leading me to believe that he will be ready. Also, keep an eye on the health of Jerod Mayo as he recovers from a torn patellar. If he doesn’t prove to be healthy look for Belichick to pick up a veteran that was cut from another team.

Cornerback: Malcolm Bulter, Logan Ryan, Bradley Fletcher, Robert McClain, Darryl Roberts.

It is simple, with such as lack of talent the Patriots need all the bodies they have at cornerback. Expect all five of these players to see the field often early on as rotation will be key in figuring out which player belong on the field. Much like the offensive line at the start of last season.

Safety: Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon, Patrick Chung, Jordan Richards, Nate Ebner.

It was very clear on May 1st when the Patriots drafted Jordan Richards, they were drafting Tavon Wilson’s replacement. He is a guy that struggles in pass coverage, can play the run, and is great on special teams. Exactly like Wilson. Expect Devin McCourty to be on the field about one-hundred percent of the defensive snaps, and for Chung and Harmon to rotate depending on the situation.

Special Teams: Stephen Gostkowski, Ryan Allen, Joe Cardona, Matthew Slater, Chris White.

After Stephen Gostkowski just inked his new contract with the Patriots should once again be in the tops of the league in special teams. Joe Cardona was the top rated long snapper in this year’s draft and his snaps have been clocked at over 40 miles per hour. That is certainly worth noting.

Minnesota Vikings: Adrian Peterson Restructures Final Years of Contract

After a tumultuous 2014 and off-season filled with controversy and trade demands, running back Adrian Peterson finally came to terms with the Minnesota Vikings on a restructured contract.

The restructured deal is worth three years, $44 million. Peterson will earn $12.75 million in 2015, with a $2 million roster bonus. In 2016, Peterson earns $7.75 million, $7 million is guaranteed, and he will also receive a $5 million roster bonus. In 2017, Peterson earns $11.75 million and a $6 million roster bonus. You can read more about the contract details on Pro Football Talk.

Keep in mind, Peterson was suspended the 2014 season after he pleaded guilty to child abuse chargers towards his four-year-old child. Peterson was reinstated on Apr. 16, 2015.

With the amount of money Peterson is getting paid, there’s lots of questions that remain. Will Peterson still produce the elite production numbers of years past? Or has the one year suspension forced him into a decline?

Follow me on Twitter, @MigiManziel

Patriots Training Camp Battles: Matt Flynn Vs. Jimmy Garoppolo For Back Up Quarterback

Now more than ever in the past fifteen years, the Patriots back up quarterbacks will be assessed during training camp this summer. With Tom Brady’s four game suspension currently standing, you have to believe there is a good chance that Brady will miss some game time this season. With that being said, Matt Flynn and Jimmy Garoppolo will be two players to keep a close eye on throughout camp, and they are the newest installment in our training camp battles.

Matt Flynn is going into training camp this summer with virtually zero pressure or expectations. The vast majority of Patriots fans and media are all aboard the, “Jimmy G” hype train. Nobody is giving Flynn a legitimate shot at the back up job. The reality is, he should have just as much of a chance to land the job as Jimmy Garoppolo. Flynn is a much more proven pro quarterback.

Now Matt Flynn is no superstar himself. He has made a boat load of money over his career based off one spectacular game in week seventeen of the 2011 season. Against the Detroit Lions he went 33 of 49, for 518 yards, and six touchdowns. That lead to Flynn inking a three-year, 26 million-dollar deal with Seattle, only to be beat out in training camp by rookie Russell Wilson. After 2012 Flynn bounced around from Oakland, to Buffalo, and eventually back to Green Bay were he once again proved to be a reliable fill-in for Aaron Rodgers.

This summer, Flynn will have to prove that he can digest another teams playbook, which he has had trouble with over his career. He can move around the pocket well, his decision making and ability to control the offense will determine whether or not he can take over the back up role. Reps in the pre season will be huge for Flynn. In addition, he is familiar with Brandon LaFell as they were both apart of the 2008 BCS National Championship team at Louisiana State. Just something to keep an eye on.

Jan 1, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Matt Flynn (10) throws a pass during the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field.  Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE
Photo: cbssports.com

Jimmy Garoppolo on the other hand, has a lot of pressure on him going into training camp. He has barely seen any NFL game time and most fans are proclaiming him as the second coming of Steve Young. Garoppolo can move around the pocket well and take off when the pocket collapses. It is a skill that Tom Brady doesn’t have, which could be key with a young offensive line.

However, his flashes last season of making plays with his legs masked the fact that he had difficulty throwing the ball down field and making smart decisions. For the most part when his first read is taken away, he just runs around like a chicken with his head cut off.

Luckily for Garoppolo he has three huge things going for him in 2015. He has spent the most important offseason of his career healthy, he has had more than two months already to prepare as a starter, and his targets on offseason are some of the best in the league. When you have a unanimous All-Pro tight end in Rob Gronkowski, and an elite receiver such as Julian Edelman it is tough for any quarterback to not have success.

Photo: masslive.com
Photo: masslive.com

All in all, Jimmy Garoppolo will end up winning the back up job at the end of training camp this year. The reasoning for this is for multiple reasons. The most important being he is Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels special project. They drafted him high with the expectations that he could start one day. He is the type of player Josh McDaniels has always liked at quarterback.

Also, Matt Flynn has never proven that he can win a quarterback battle. He couldn’t do it in Seattle when he was given the money, or in Buffalo. Even in Oakland he was shipped out for Matt Schaub and Derek Carr. Patriots fans should feel uneasy if either of these players have to start early in the season, but Jimmy Garoppolo will give them the best shot to stay in it.

New England Patriots: Reggie Wayne? Thanks, But No Thanks

Every year, just as training camp nears, Patriot fans lose track of reality and decide another wide receiver, preferably one who can stretch the field, is just what the team needs. This year it’s Reggie Wayne. Despite the fact that, at 36, he is a shell of the receiver who was feared throughout the league, the Foxboro faithful have that gleam in their eyes once again. Please, forget it. Close those eyes…stop salivating…slap your face a few times so the hallucination goes away…and, most of all, stop smoking those funny cigarettes.

Don’t get me wrong, in his prime Wayne was one of the best clutch receivers in the NFL. But now he’s just another player trying to get one more paycheck while his body rebels. The Patriots would be crazy to even think about it for a number of reasons.

  • He’s old, slow & susceptible to another injury after years of punishment
  • He would have to learn the Patriots offensive system, which isn’t easy (check the Pats history with older free agent wide receivers not named Randy Moss)
  • The roster spot he would take, if he even made the team, would take time away from the development of younger players who are much faster and in position to actually stretch-the-field

2014 Colts

Reggie Wayne disappeared at crucial times last season. Yes, he ended the regular season with respectable numbers (15 GP/64 Receptions/779 yards but just 2 TDs) for the Indianapolis Colts.  He was, however, a non-entity in the playoffs (3 GP/1 Reception/12 Yards) and was completely shut down by the Bengals and Patriots.

In his prime Reggie Wayne was among the best
In his prime Reggie Wayne was among the best

Yes, he did have 5 receptions for 91 yards against the Patriots during the regular season (11/16/14 – known as the Jonas Gray game) when the Colts lost 42-20 in Indy. If you think back to that game he was thought to be dogging it after getting hit while the game was still close. Pats fans were literally mocking him as the game came to an end.

The Patriots do still have a lot of holes to fill, but Reggie Wayne isn’t the answer to anything. He probably will sign with a team in need of senior leadership, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he decided to retire when the contact starts.

Follow me on Twitter @SnowdonBob

EDITORS NOTE:

With the Patriots injuries piling up it now seems that the signing of Reggie Wayne to the roster has become official. The Pats have signed him to a one year deal, they were kind of over a barrel because with Jordy Nelson being out with an ACL tear, Green bay would have surely signed him today.

New England Patriots: No Panic In Patriot Nation

PANIC…HELL NO, THIS TEAM WILL BE READY

Most fans in the NFL would be concerned if their team (you mean fans don’t own the team…say it ain’t so) had half the turnover the New England Patriots have had this off-season, but not the Foxboro faithful. They know what New England has accomplished since Bill Belichick took over as Head Coach.

After going 5-11 his first year (2000 in case you forgot) they haven’t had a losing season. If you are wondering how many other teams can say they have gone 14 years without a losing record, the list is short. Zero!

Through those years this team, under his tutelage, has thrived on controversy. Heck, when he came from the Jets there was controversy. Do you remember how he wrote his resignation from the hated rivals on a piece of paper, stating simply “I resign as HC of the NYJ.” just one day after accepting the position. At that time most Pats fans didn’t welcome him with open arms!

Things haven’t calmed down since. Let’s face it, Belichick uses controversy/pressure as one of his many motivators. He loves the pressure it puts on players because he knows it will ultimately make them stronger when the chips are down. If it doesn’t happen naturally, he creates it (think Lawyer Malloy, Ty Law, Logan Mankins, etc. etc. etc.).

Anyone can see this football is/isn't deflated - right?
Anyone can see this football is/isn’t deflated – right?

Controversy over “deflate-gate” has become so big that we tend to forget that just one week earlier, Ravens’ Head Coach John Harbaugh accused the Pats of a “substitution trick” that was “clearly deception” when Baltimore lost to New England 35-31.

Forgive me my ignorance, but I thought deception was the name of the game and having a Head Coach who actually knows the rules was an advantage. Although what the Pats did was within the rules (lining up just four offensive linemen and declaring a normally eligible receiver as ineligible), non Patriot fans, which are many, jumped on the bandwagon and the word “cheaters” was once again attached to the franchise. Losers are always looking for a scapegoat and the Patriots are easy…they just win too darned much!

2015 OUTLOOK

So, as the Patriots prepare for another winning season (do you doubt it will be?) we have the usual turmoil.

  • Starting Quarterback out first four games (maybe)…relax, we have the next Tom Brady as a solid back-up.
  • Revis and Browner are gone…be calm, this year the pass rush will shine (although things sure look bad right now)
  • The middle of the DL won’t be the same without Vince Wilfork…New England will miss his leadership, but be honest, his skills have diminished.
  • No team has won consecutive Super Bowls since 2003 & 2004…oh yeah, that was the Patriots

Many media “experts” are ready to write this team off, or, at least not a legitimate Super Bowl contender, which is just what the greatest coach in NFL history wants. National Football League beware, the Patriots are once again going into a season as underdogs…and they love it.

So, relax everyone. Enjoy all the hullabaloo. The 2015 season is just around the corner and, as you know, YOUR New England Patriots will do just fine…you know “the Hoodie” has a plan

Follow me on Twitter @SnowdonBob

Rob Ninkovich: Most Underrated Player in the NFL?

Rob Ninkovich has been the model of consistency since becoming a starter in New England. With consistency and improvement every year does Ninkovich get the recognition and respect he deserves?

via nfl.com
via nfl.com

When Ninkovich became a starter at outside linebacker during his second year with the patriots he proved that he should be a starter collecting 62 tackles with 4 sacks and 2 interceptions. The next year he improved with 74 tackles, 6.5 sacks and two interceptions. Two good seasons from a prior special teams player. He was then switched to defensive end where he has really excelled. His first year at defensive end Ninkovich recorded 58 tackles with 8 sacks, a very respectable number. His next season was even more of an improvement where he recorded 91 tackles and 8 sacks. Defensive ends typically don’t record that high of an amount of tackles, which really goes to show Ninkovich’s motor as well as his versatility being able to be moved around the field. This past season Ninkovich again played well, his tackle amount decreased to 53 tackles but again collected 8 sacks, which lead the Patriots.

Ninkovich is a leader on the defense and does even more than what the numbers show. He has played the role of a QB spy against mobile quarterbacks containing the outside edge, most notably against Russell Wilson in this years Super Bowl victory where he had a clutch sack on Russell Wilson which forced Seattle to punt and New England ended up scoring the game winning touchdown the following drive.

via catchfence.com
via catchfence.com

Ninkovich is seemed to never be talked about, especially outside of New England. I’m not saying he is one of the best defensive ends in the NFL and at the elite level such as guys like JJ Watt and Robert Quinn, but he is and should be closer to the top of the league ranks than he is the bottom and one of the best defensive players the Patriots have. Ninkovich provides the Patriots to run different defensive schemes with his versatility and the effect he has to change games. In my opinion, Rob Ninkovich is THE MOST UNDERRATED PLAYER IN THE NFL. Everybody has those players that they love and think is underrated and doesn’t get the praise and respect they deserve, Rob Ninkovich is one of mine. He is a difference maker, he plays well against the run, can get after the quarterback in the pocket and force him outside the pocket, and can drop back in coverage against the pass and do all three things at a high level.

via sportswire.usatoday.com
via sportswire.usatoday.com

Like he has in years past, I expect Rob Ninkovich to have a very good 2015 season and be one of the top defenders for the Patriots.