Patriots

Former Pat, current union leader Vrabel arrested

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Former Pat, current union leader Vrabel arrested

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com

Aweek ago I wondered on the Twitter how many knuckleheads would give their NFL brethren a black eye by getting into trouble during the lockout. Mike Vrabel was not a guy I had in mind. But apparently the former Patriot got arrested in Indiana earrrrrllly Monday morning for theft at the Belterra Casino in Florence, Indiana. Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk broke the story. Vrabel got booked at 5:28 a.m. My guess is he wasn't up early, but out late. As Florio reports, theft of anything in Indiana is a Class D felony so that's what Vrabel is on the hook for. Florio reports that Vrabel was released at 10:39 a.m. after posting a 600 bond.
In other words, he could have stolen a casino chip. Or a sweet top hat. Or maybe he was just helping someone out with their poker. Six hundred bucks bond doesn't generally indicate the infraction was too dire. Vrabel replied to an email I sent him with the following message: It was an unfortunate misunderstanding, and I take full responsibility for the miscommunication. I feel comfortable that after talking with the appropriate parties, we will resolve this matter.But Vrabel getting arrested for anything right now is worse than just about any other player in the league getting arrested for grand theft auto. At least for appearances. He's on the NFLPA's executive committee and was a vocal leader of that group. His suggestion two weeks ago that the NFLPA committee meet with a handful of owners while the lawyers cleared the room got a lot of play. Vrabel is a smart, no-BS guy who would have represented the players' interests well. We'll see how much this mitigates his ability to take a leading role at the table.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

EX-PATS PODCAST: Why does it seem Patriots secondary is playing better without Gilmore?

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EX-PATS PODCAST: Why does it seem Patriots secondary is playing better without Gilmore?

On this episode of The Ex-Pats Podcast...

0:10 - Mike Giardi and Dan Koppen give their takeaways from the Patriots win over the Falcons including the defense coming up strong against Atlanta but New England still taking too many penalties.

2:00 - Why it felt like this game meant more to the Patriots, their sense of excitement after the win, and building chemistry off a good victory.

6:20 - Falcons losing their identity without Kyle Shanahan as offensive coordinator and their bad play calling and decisions on 4th downs.

10:00 -  A discussion about Matt Ryan not making the throws he needed against the Patriots and if he has falling off the MVP caliber-type player he was last season.

14:00 - How and why the Patriots secondary seems to be playing better without Stephon Gilmore and why Malcolm Butler has been able to turn up his play as of late.

Mother Nature gets between Belichick and his Patriots-Falcons film study

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Mother Nature gets between Belichick and his Patriots-Falcons film study

If your team makes a goal-line stop in the fourth quarter, but you can't see it on the All-22 tape, did it even happen? 

Bill Belichick said the fog that hovered above the Gillette Stadium turf on Sunday night didn't impact the play on the field, but it did make its imprint on the game in other ways. First of all, spotters and coaches up at the press level had some difficulty relaying information to coaches on the sidelines. Video on the hand-held tablets for sideline use -- as well as the old-school still-frame pictures Belichick prefers -- was also obstructed. 

Then on Monday, as coaches tried to digest the film, the fog butted in on the process again. 

"It affected us a lot this morning because it’s hard to see the game," Belichick said during a conference call. "The fourth quarter is – I don’t know – pretty close to a white-out on the sideline film. The sideline cameras are at the top of the stadium, so that’s a tough shot.

"The end zone cameras are a little bit lower and they get a little tighter shot, so the picture is a little bit clearer. But, on that shot, a lot of times you’re not able to see all the guys on the perimeter. It’s kind of an in-line shot.

"Yeah, the first half, start of the third quarter, it’s all right. As they get into the middle of the third quarter and on, for those of us with aging eyes, it’s a little strained to see it, and then there’s a point where you can’t really see it at all, especially from the sideline. So, yeah, it affected us."

Belichick re-iterated that the fog didn't do much to the product on the field (other than maybe making life difficult for kick and punt-returners), refuting Julio Jones' claim from late Sunday night. When it came to digesting the film, though, that was another story.

"It was more, I’d say, just tougher for, whether it be our video camera or the fans that were sitting in the upper deck. It’s just there was too much interference there," Belichick said. "It was probably hard to see the game. I know when we tried to look at the pictures in between series – you know, I don’t look at the tablets, so I won’t get into that – but the pictures, it was kind of the same thing. It was hard to really be able to make out exactly what you were seeing."