Allen: Colts players taught to hate Patriots, 'but I always admired them'

Allen: Colts players taught to hate Patriots, 'but I always admired them'

Dwayne Allen was conditioned to think of the Patriots as the enemy during his time in Indy, but he couldn't help but be impressed by the way they went about their business. 

"Coming from the Colts, you're taught to hate the Patriots," the tight end told "But I always admired them for their professionalism, for the way they worked, and of course the winning culture that they have here. There's no wonder why the Patriots have been so successful."

The Patriots traded for Allen just before the new league year began, sending a fourth-round pick to the Colts and new general manager Chris Ballard -- who replaced Ryan Grigson in January -- in exchange for the 6-foot-3, 265-pounder and a sixth-round pick.

Allen acknowledged that when he heard about the news of the trade, he was humbled. And after he spoke to Patriots staff members, he got a little better feel of what it meant to be a part of the organization. 

"I understand," Allen said, "what this franchise stands for -- the importance of winning, the importance of class -- and was excited to be a part of it . . . I do believe that I can fit in here. The coaches were very straight forward in that, 'Hey look, we have a no-nonsense approach to things, and it's all about winning and working hard.' "

Over the course of his carer, Allen has proven to be a legitimate dual-threat tight end who can both block and make plays as a receiver. He hopes that in New England he'll have a shot to highlight all aspects of his game as he continues to improve.

"I believe that this culture gets the best out of every player that comes through here," he said. "I want to continue to develop as a better player, and I know it's going to happen with a team-first mentality."

'Leprechaun' Gronk dropping more hints about future plans - sort of

'Leprechaun' Gronk dropping more hints about future plans - sort of

Rob Gronkowski, decked out in his finest St. Patrick's Day duds over the weekend in Nashville, reportedly tried to shed some light on his NFL future.

Of course, while Gronk was doing Gronk things, he told a Patriots fan one thing and a reporter another.

Breech is an NFL writer for His father is former Cincinnati Bengals kicker Jim Breech. And the "69ers" aren't a real team.


AFC East is starting to prepare for post-Brady life

AFC East is starting to prepare for post-Brady life

The Patriots' "direction" never really changes. They're always "going for it" because they're always one of the best teams in the league. 

The rest of the AFC East is usually in flux. The other teams range from hoping for 8-8 to trying to bottom out in hopes of a high draft pick. Yet right now, it seems the stars are aligning and that the Jets, Bills and Dolphins all have the mindset: Change things now and be ready to pounce once Brady is gone. 

The Jets traded up to No. 3 on Saturday, assuring themselves a chance at one of this draft's top quarterbacks. The Bills, with picks Nos. 12 and 22, are expected by pundits to make a similar move up. The Dolphins, fresh off cutting bait with Ndamukong Suh in an attempt at a culture change, have the 11th pick and could use it on a quarterback to either push or replace Ryan Tannehill. 

None of the three teams are close to pushing the Patriots as long as Brady's around, even with the Bills coming off a season in which they reached the playoffs. Yet there's a two-or-three-year plan on which all three teams could have designs: Get the quarterback now, build around him and be in a good situation by the time Brady is done. 

We've seen these teams try to rebuild before during the Brady Era, with only limited success. Mark Sanchez worked out better in New York than anyone could have initially expected, but that success lasted way shorter than any believers could have hoped. Now, it seems they try again. 

Over in Buffalo, the end of the Tyrod Taylor era hardly means the beginning of the Nathan Peterman era. Those two first-rounders should easily be able to get the Bills into the top five, and they've also got two second-rounders and two third-rounders. Hell, they have the pieces to get to No. 1 if Cleveland is bold enough to pass on their choice of Darnold/Rosen/Allen/Mayfield. 

The Dolphins are in the more interesting spot. Tannehill missed all of last season and he's 29. If you're six years into your career and your team still isn't totally sure if you can be one of the better QBs in the league, you probably aren't one of the better QBs in the league. At the very least, Lamar Jackson should be there at No. 11. They could also trade up. 

At the start of last season, the Patriots had far and away the two best QBs in the AFC East. Now, it stands to reason that at least two of their divisional opponents (the Jets and Bills) will come away with what they hope are franchise quarterbacks. And if any of these guys hit, the Pats will have gone from the best QB situation in the NFL to seeing some actual competition waiting for them by the time their own quarterback is done. 

Of course, all three of these teams usually suck at everything, so it shouldn't be a big deal.