44 lines about 22 Patriots issues


44 lines about 22 Patriots issues

By Tom E. Curran Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran Forty-four lines about 22 Patriots issues . . .
Jets week. On Wednesday, we have 'Patriots Wednesday Live' from Gillette Stadium (tune into Comcast SportsNet at noon for that), Rex Ryan and Plaxico Burress for conference calls and Belichick, Brady, et. al. Jerod Mayo is out for this week's Quick Slants (knee). We'll be replacing him with my friend Bob Glauber from Newsday -- and, yes, this is a change from a previous version of this story, when the original plan was to talk to Adam Schien from SIRIUS NFL Radio and SNY in New York -- as we break down Pats-Jets. Nobody wants to hear about travel inconveniences from media members because every reader knows our companies pay for room, board and airfare so we can attend professional sporting events in exotic places (or in Oakland). So I refrain from sharingand - honestly - don't have many gripes. Allow me one airplane gripe? The guy in the seat behind you who is so plump hecan only hoist himself upright by putting his hands on the top of your seat and pulling with all his chubby might, thereby bending your seat halfway to the floor. Facinating roll call of quarterbacks coming up for the Patriots over the next few weeks. They will see Sanchez, Romo, Roethlisberger, Eli, Sanchez, Cassel and Vick between now and the start of December, so quarterback mobility will be a big issue in every game except the one against the Giants. That reality makes this Tuesday quote from defensive line coach Pepper Johnson very concerning: "Im a little more than satisfied with the play of the defensive line. Im sure the question is spawned from the stats, but Im watching how guys are doing what were asking them to do. Were actually hitting the quarterback a couple times were late but were actually hitting the quarterback. Its just not coming up with the sack." The Patriots' pass rush isn't quick enough to hit and impact landlocked quarterbacks like Philip Rivers, Ryan Fitzpatrick and fairly stationary guys like Jason Campbell and Chad Henne, yet Johnson's more than a little satisfied? Good luck against guys who are actually elusive andor hard to bring down like the next set of quarterbacks they'll face. So far, Albert Haynesworth has played 54 of the Patriots' 265 defensive snaps this season (thanks, Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston who logs plays and has everyone else steal the info). Haynesworth's due to make a base salary of 1.5 million and will collect a 1 million bonus if he plays in 20 percent of the plays - right now, he's at 20.3 percent. If the Jets are going to attempt to run the ball down the Patriots' gullet on Sunday - as Rex Ryan indicated they might - Haynesworth will be sorely needed. Personally, I'm surprised a non-contact injury that flared up has kept him out for two games. Business being business, there's no doubt the Krafts are rubbing their temples over cash handed to newold guys. Chad Ochocinco is collecting 6 million this year in salary (1 million) and bonuses (5 million); Shaun Ellis is collecting 4 million, Andre Carter is taking in 2.25; Mark Anderson's bringing in 1.375. That's about 16 million dished out to four defensive linemen who've generated 2.5 sacks and a wideout who chipped in seven receptions. That would bug me if I were writing the checks. Meanwhile, Wes Welker is bringing in about 2.5 million in the final year of his contract. That would bug me if I were cashing that check (if I were Wes Welker, that is . . . because if I, little Tommy Curran were cashing that check, I would not be bugged). Sometimes I wonder if Tom Brady is trying to make a greater point with all his throws to Welker. A point that says, "This is the guy you haven't re-signed and are making play without an injury safety net, and that's something that I object to." Ochocinco hasn't spoken to the media as a group since before the season opener. He's gotten agitated with me for asking him to speak; so agitated, in fact, my efforts to get him to fulfill that part of his job are done for a while. Seemsmostof the media iswilling to allow Ocho room in exchange for promises that he'll be the best interview we've had once he gets this offense down. He's a funny and fascinating guy but, man, asking us for that kind of tradeoff - and then being accomodated! - is troubling on a couple of levels. Ocho had been limited to two catches or less 10 times since 2002. He's been at two or less in each game this season for the Patriots. The Patriots have 8.3 million of cap room currently. Our buddy Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has all the numbers. Loneliest feeling in the world? Being a Raiders fan and driving home in your makeup and spiked shoulder pads after a loss. Shaun Ellis did not look good trying to chase down Jacoby Ford on that reverse against the Raiders. Zombie-like (Shaun of the Dead). Please select one: Indy's quarterback Curtis Painter looks like a) Sam Kinison; b) Amy Poehler; c) Kurt Cobain. For a guy who was supposed to be the fastest linebacker in the 2008 draft class (4.47 at the NFL Combine), Gary Guyton sure does run slowly. Yes he does. Since Rex Ryan's been in New York, the Patriots are 2-2 with Wes Welker active. In those four games, these are the catches and yards he's rolled up: 15 for 192 (W), 6 for 38 (L), 7 for 80 (W), 7 for 57 (L) - suffice to say, once burned by Wes was all it took.
Tom E. Curran can be reached at Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.

Patriots-Dolphins injury report: Tom Brady sits out with Achilles injury


Patriots-Dolphins injury report: Tom Brady sits out with Achilles injury

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski both sat out of the entirety of Wednesday's practice at Gillette Stadium. 

Brady is dealing with an Achilles injury, per the injury report released by the Patriots. The Boston Herald has reported that Brady will play despite the issue. It's unclear when exactly Brady suffered the injury, but Brady was hit low by Raiders pass-rusher Khalil Mack in the fourth quarter on Sunday, and Mack was called for a roughing-the-passer penalty.

Gronkowski, like teammate David Andrews, is dealing with an illness. Patrick Chung, who left Sunday's game briefly, has an ankle issue. 

Here's the full injury report for both the Patriots and Dolphins . . . 


C David Andrews (illness)
QB Tom Brady (Achilles)
OT Marcus Cannon (ankle)
S Patrick Chung (ankle)
TE Rob Gronkowski (illness)
WR Chris Hogan (shoulder)

WR Danny Amendola (knee)
TE Marellus Bennett (shoulder/hamstring)
DT Malcom Brown (ankle)
CB Eric Rowe (groin)
WR Matthew Slater (hamstring)


LB Stephone Anthony (quadriceps)
G Jermon Bushrod (foot)
QB Jay Cutler (concussion)
DE William Hayes (back)
T Laremy Tunsill (illness)

RB Senorise Perry (knee)
S Michael Thomas (knee)


Curran: Randy Moss better not have to wait for Hall call


Curran: Randy Moss better not have to wait for Hall call

If you’re a Hall of Famer, you’re a Hall of Famer. The notion that a great player’s candidacy has to have some kind of gestation period before it can be deemed induction-worthy is just plain cruel.

And if you think “cruel” is an overstatement, consider Ken Stabler. Three times a Hall of Fame finalist, Snake had to croak before Pro Football Hall of Fame voters decided it was time to put him in Canton.

There are borderline guys whose candidacies need to marinate. There are players whose contributions to an era take on greater meaning as time passes. You could make the case Stabler was one of those.


You could also make the case that too many HOF voters in each of the major sports get caught up in a “guardian at the gate” mentality, puffing out birdlike chests until they align with swollen stomachs and declaring an athlete’s not getting inducted on HIS watch.

Or until said athlete’s served time in purgatory and either begs for induction or says, “F--- it, I don’t care if I get in at this point anyway.

Which brings me to Terrell Owens and how his HOF candidacy will impact Randy Moss.

Moss was a better player than T.O. Historic. The second he entered the league in 1998, he was probably one of the five best players in the league at any position. Owens took a while. He didn’t make a Pro Bowl until his fifth NFL season.

Moss was a technician and a savant. Owens just wrestled the game to the ground with brute force.

When measuring what a player “means” to the NFL and its fans, a reasonable Moss comp is Allen Iverson. They were iconic. Owens? Dwight Howard. Where T.O. felt needy, desperate and narcissistic. Moss just didn’t GAF.

And that’s where some voters start to rub their hands together and scheme.

How can we exact revenge for perceived crimes against football and propriety? Make 'em sweat. Use incidents, moments and comments as cudgels and pound penance out of them.

Even though Moss was better than T.O., that doesn’t mean Owens is borderline. Owens is second in all-time yards (Moss is third), eighth in receptions (Moss is 15th), third in touchdowns (Moss is second) and was a five-time All-Pro (Moss was a four-time All-Pro).

The only justification for voters keeping T.O. out the past two years was that he was a prick.

Few – if any - of his ex-teammates say that he should be kept out of the HOF for that. But scores of people in the media, ex-players and league lobbyists do think he should be kept out. At least until he learns his lesson, or whatever.

Owens’ narcissism chewed at the fabric of franchises he was a part of, is the contention. That’s why he played for five teams. That’s why he only played in one Super Bowl. That’s why tears weren’t shed when he signed someplace else.

Moss also played for five teams. He also played in just one Super Bowl (like Owens, Moss’ ’07 Patriots lost though Moss – like Owens – did his part to win). And tears weren’t shed too often when Moss left either.

Check this Tom Brady quote from September 2010. It came just days before Moss began shooting his way out of New England because he was unhappy the team wouldn’t extend his deal.

"There's only one Randy Moss that will ever play this game," Brady said. "He's the greatest, probably, downfield receiver in the history of the NFL. Those catches that he makes, where you guys see he runs 65 yards down the field, you throw it and he just runs and catches it. That's impossible to do.And I ask him, 'How did you do that?' And he says, 'I don't know, man. I've been doing it for a long time.' He has some special skills that nobody's really gifted with." 

That weekend, Moss gave his “This probably will be my last year here as a Patriot…” press conference after a season-opening win over the Bengals. The next week, he caught two of 10 passes that Brady threw his way in a loss to the Jets. One of the passes was a touchdown pass where he blew past Darrelle Revis and made a one-handed pull. Two of the other passes were picked off and Moss was non-competitive. After that, he was effectively frozen out of the offense and was traded after Week 4, less than a month after Brady accurately described him as the greatest downfield receiver in the history of the NFL.

Stuff like that, nudging a traffic cop for a half-block with his car stating “I’ll play when I want to play…,” fake-mooning the Lambeau Stadium crowd, saying he still smoked weed “once in a blue moon” – all those occasions will be aggregated and used as cudgels used to beat down Moss’ candidacy just as the driveway situps are used to beat down T.O.’s.

Whole bunch of voters will hand-wring about what it all meeeaaaannnnnsssss if they sweep Moss in on the first ballot after keeping T.O. out. And then wonder if T.O. should go in before Moss, after Moss or with him. Meanwhile, they’ll rush to get Ray Lewis in line for his gold jacket with nary a word about disappearing white suits 

The whole “between the lines is all that matters” defense.

Randy Moss belongs in the Hall of Fame. ASAP.