Patriots

Mallett working toward leading team someday

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Mallett working toward leading team someday

We don't hear from Ryan Mallet often. In the NFL world, interview requests have a direct correlation with on-field contributions; you can imagine what that means for the backup to Tom Brady's backup.

But Mallet recently had a quality conversation with Chris Bahn of ArkansasSports360.com. The former Razorback QB spoke to Bahn (via phone, while golfing) about Mallett's opinion on Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, his aspirations as a starter, and that arm of his.

Here's part of the transcript.

Chris Bahn: As a guy that wants to be a coach, is there a better person to be around than Bill Belichick?
Ryan Mallett: Man, I love Coach. Hes really honest and thats the best part about it. Being part of one of his teams is an honor and a privilege. He tells you every day, "Do your job. Do your job." If everybody does his job, were successful. We did our jobs enough that it got us to the Super Bowl. We didnt finish it last year, but hopefully well get a chance to finish it this year.

CB: I know how competitive you are. Youd have liked it to be you leading the team to a Super Bowl or making the Pro Bowl as a rookie. But was this the best-case scenario for your situation as a back-up?
RM: Anytime you get to the Super Bowl is nice. There are guys who have been in the league 16 years and never done it. I didnt play a snap, but I can say I got to go. One day, hopefully Ill get a chance to go back. Thats what Im working towards now. Getting there was awesome, but the feeling of losing in the biggest game in the world is awful. Its the game everybody works toward. I'm working toward getting back there, leading a team there someday.

CB: So this just whetted your appetite? Sort of the appetizer before a big meal?
RM: Sort of like that. Look, if I had went out there and, you know, had a Cam Newton year, I wouldnt have got complacent, but I probably wouldnt have been working as hard as Ive been working. Not that it would have been easy, but it would have been different. I'm working hard.

CB: So is the arm even stronger now? Has your velocity improved? That was the talk after you threw to Jarius Wright and those guys at Pro Day.
RM: I dont know if its stronger. People that dont see me every day, there is probably a little bit of an awe factor. Like Ive told you before, thats not the only thing I want to be known for. My knowledge of the game, my knowledge of defenses is what I want to go down for. I want to be a player that goes to multiple Super Bowls. I want to be known as a leader.
People dont understand I know the game. Its what I do. As a quarterback you have to know the game. Well, not all of them do laughing, but I know the game. And I'm learning more all the time.

CB: So it's safe to say you're more comfortable now? Do you feel more confident entering this season?
RM: I feel more confident with the playbook. Ive always felt good about my abilities laughing. This has been my life. Football is what I do. But, to me, its like the jump from year one to year two at Arkansas. Once I get it down, I feel so much more comfortable and so much more ready to go. ... We get to jump right into it and I cant wait.

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

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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.

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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.