Patriots

There's a rush on Should-They-Trade-Jimmy-G? questions

new-friday-bag-92917-w-curran.jpg

There's a rush on Should-They-Trade-Jimmy-G? questions

FOXBORO -- Every Friday we take your Patriots questions on Twitter and answer them as a joint mailbag -- or a Friday Bag, as they call it. 

Got questions? Tweet the guys using the hashtag #FridayBag. 

What’s up, Jim …

I’d have to peg that possibility as low for three reasons. One, the reasons the Patriots kept Garoppolo in the first place – he’s real good, he’s tremendous insurance, the team keeps its future options open at the position. Two, it would be selling really, really, really low on an asset that they were offered more for previously and (if they franchise him in March) may be again. Three, while the pocket pressure isn’t there, they keep dealing with slippery people like Alex Smith, Deshaun Watson, Cam Newton and (to a lesser degree) Jameis Winston that they don’t usually sellout to get on the ground. In other words, I’m not sure they’d agree their pass rush sucks.

SHHHHHHHHHHIMMMMMMONNNNNN. What’s up? No. No. A thousand times no.

Hey Vyas,

Three prime candidates are Malcolm Mitchell, Shea McClellin and Vincent Valentine. We discussed on the pod Thursday night
 https://twitter.com/jeduron/status/918665340158128128

Interesting questions, Jorge. Alan Branch is a prime candidate. Garoppolo if the trade partner agrees to send back 25 percent ownership stake in the franchise and a new golf cart for the Family Kraft. Malcolm Butler. I would peg the latter two as unlikely in the extreme.
 

Ohhh, Andy.

Absolutely. The same five guys won a gottdamm Super Bowl in February. The parts around that group, the playcalling, the week-to-week matchups and challenges are all a bit different and you hope they get it fixed before Brady breaks but they will improve. They always do.

IRONHEAD!

I’m totally and completely flummoxed by his inability to contribute anywhere. Or for the Patriots to not look to him for contributions. Clearly, with the signing of Will Tye to the practice squad, the clock’s ticking on Allen now. He’s not even Scott Chandler-level. Chandler was kind of hurt and he at least got targets that he then screwed up. Allen’s not even getting that.

Hey, Pat. Tye is on the practice squad for now so he's not changing anyone's role on the 53-man roster. And I don't think his addition to the roster has much to do with what the Jets are doing. They have five games and four preseason games with new offensive coordinator John Morton under their belts. Morton comes from New Orleans, an offense the Patriots are very familiar with working closely with Sean Payton so frequently in training camps in recent years. So Tye isn't going to provide game-changing intel, I don't think. I do believe that the Patriots could use an extra body at the position with Rob Gronkowski banged up and Dwayne Allen scuffling. Tye is experienced and could realistically contribute in game action if he's able to pick up the offense. That's not always the case with practice-squad additions. 

Kevin. Interesting question. I hadn’t even thought of that. No.

Doc! The only person they have who opens up quickly and with regularity between the hashes is Amendola. White is a solid secondary outlet. But with no Edelman, and Cooks and Hogan to a lesser degree being more vertical receivers than horizontal, some of what you’ve seen you’ll keep seeing. Pats didn’t hesitate to use Gronk as a pass blocker earlier in the year and I’m sure we’ll see more until the tackles stabilize. 

 

I read things this week reflecting both views. In my unlearned opinion, he seems like a guy who was doing business as business was done back in 1492. Now, 550 years later, the things he’s blamed and credited for are seen in a context Chris, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella didn’t contemplate. If they had better foresight, they would have understood the hell they’d catch in the 21st century.
https://twitter.com/powhitekid1/status/918678099960782848
Either. But both must be frozen.

Hey, Bob. The draft capital lost because of Deflategate was significant, obviously. In theory, they're without at least two roster-quality players, and potentially more based on whether or not the Patriots would have been able to turn those two picks into multiple selections. We did this at the time of the 2016 and 2017 drafts, but just as a reminder, here are the players who went in the range of the No. 28 overall pick in 2016 and the No.118 overall pick in 2017. (It looked like the Patriots would initially lose No. 132 in 2017, but they picked up a higher fourth-rounder in the Brandin Cooks trade and were docked that pick instead.) Had the Patriots held onto the No. 28 pick last year, they would have had the opportunity to add any number of talented players to their defensive front seven. Defensive tackle Chris Jones (No. 37 to the Chiefs), linebacker Myles Jack (No. 36 to the Jaguars) would have been particularly intriguing fits because of their NFL-ready athletic ability. Later in that year's draft the Patriots took tackle Vincent Valentine and linebacker Elandon Roberts so those were positions they were interested in. If they decided to go with a corner, offensive lineman or quarterback -- the three positions the Patriots spent their first three picks on in 2016 -- what's interesting is that there weren't many impact players taken at those spots between picks No. 28 and No. 60, where they drafted Cyrus Jones. Christian Hackenberg was the only quarterback taken in that range. Xavien Howard, Mackensie Alexander and TJ Green were the corners to go in that area. Nick Martin and Cody Whitehair were the interior offensive linemen. As for what they might've missed out on at No. 188 this year? That's where the Eagles took receiver and special-teamer Mack Hollins. Bears running back Tarik Cohen went one pick later. The Patriots scooped up Deatrich Wise later in the round. 

Thanks for checking in, Tucker! It feels like we're wondering every week if THIS WILL BE THE WEEK THEY UNLEASH THE LEWIS. I wouldn't expect a drastic change in his role for a few reasons. It's been pretty apparent that he's one of their most dynamic backs. He's able to make something out of nothing better than any other player they have at the position. Yet for all the production he's had in 64 snaps (six missed tackles forced on 19 attempts), his workload hasn't changed all that much. His snap counts over five games look like this: 6, 14, 12, 14, 18. He had a season-high seven carries in Tampa, but I'm not sure if that number will rise soon. Rex Burkhead could be back, which could sap a portion of Lewis' workload, and it seems as though the Patriots want to try to manage Lewis to be as healthy as possible for the stretch run. His injury history is what it is, and if he could be a full-go in December and January, he could be a game-changer. The other thing to remember is the offense has been very efficient even with Lewis playing less than a full-time role. Their hand isn't exactly being forced at the moment.  

Want to thank the JPR for this contribution. I put some thought into this. I'm a hard "h" guy when I say the word "historian." (As opposed to "isstorian.") So I'd go with the radio host there. "A historian." Think if you're going "an isstorian" you're trying too hard. Know your concern level might now be through the roof, but you've kind of brought this upon yourself. Stop trying so hard. 

Mr. Q! They've spent a good deal on defensive personnel, depending on where you look. Stephon Gilmore is an obvious example. Devin McCourty was the highest-paid player at his position when he re-signed. Jerod Mayo got paid. Darrelle Revis got paid for one year. They've spent a good number of their first-round picks (who don't make as much as they used to but still get paid) recently on defensive players like Chandler Jones, Dont'a Hightower, Dominique Easley and Malcom Brown. I think they try to be smart with where they spend at every position. Don't think there's a specific budget for the defensive side versus the offensive side. As far as the bend-don't-break idea goes, I think that's more strategic than anything else. I think no matter the price of the personnel they have, if they can force offenses to sustain drives and come away with field goals instead of touchdowns, that's a plan they'd be OK with.

What do mean, Nick? On Twitter? Pshh. Never seen anything too . . . 

. . . Oh. 

Fast Eddy, I think we sniffed out the limitations Harris during that telling week of joint practices with the Texans. Didn’t matter which player got isolated on Harris in space, the veteran linebacker couldn’t keep up. Now he seems like a “break in case of emergency” type player. I’m not sure I see the value there, but they did pay him a million and a quarter in guaranteed dollars and maybe Belichick is seeing value in his leadership. Will be interesting to see who loses spots when two of the injured three (McClellin, Valentine, Mitchell) are able (if able?) to return. I’d put him at the head of the chopping block list.

Michael, this idea has been kicked around a lot and Lewis would certainly like more carries. He’s got some incentives in this, the final year of his contract that he’s now unlikely to reach. But with the injury to Burkhead, and even back to this summer with Edelman, the Pats are loathe to surrender a playmaker, even if this one doesn’t play all that much. Additionally, I don’t think you’re getting anything of value back for him. He’s more valuable here, doing what he’s doing, than a pick or back end of the roster guy.

Mix Master Marx (I just made that up), they couldn’t cover running backs when Collins was here either. I mean, he was athletic enough to do it and certainly flashed at times, but consistency was never his thing. With the speed of some of these so-called pass catching backs, the better matchup is a defensive back and we’ve certainly seen the Pats deploy six and sometimes seven DBs to protect themselves in that regard.

Not an unreasonable ask and something the Pats have done before, including versus the Texans on the game-winning drive (well on at least one of those plays. He also aided Cannon). But he’s still one of best receivers and a trusted guy for Brady. Can’t keep him in there forever. Pick your spots and move on, hoping Solder can get past his early season struggles.

https://twitter.com/MikeGiardi

Dwayne Allen is not getting cut, IMO. It hasn’t been great, but prior to Tampa, I didn’t think he was completely lost as a blocker. Anyway, it hasn’t been the greatest stretch of dealing for or signing NFL vets - Kony Ealy, Allen, Gilmore, Hit or Miss Marsh. As for Dorsett, one Pats wideout told me “he gets it” and there’s “ a lot of talent there we just haven’t gotten to see just yet.” I’ll take that man at his word. 9 Tailors can save almost anyone, even Tanguay. 

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 . . . 

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
C David Andrews (illness)
QB Tom Brady (Achilles)
OT Marcus Cannon (ankle)
S Patrick Chung (ankle)
TE Rob Gronkowski (illness)
WR Chris Hogan (shoulder)

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

MIAMI DOLPHINS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
LB Stephone Anthony (quadriceps)
G Jermon Bushrod (foot)
QB Jay Cutler (concussion)
DE William Hayes (back)
T Laremy Tunsill (illness)

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

 

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

randy-moss-curran-column-112217.jpg

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.

MORE PATRIOTS:

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.