Lombardi: Collins didn't follow the program in New England

Lombardi: Collins didn't follow the program in New England

Jamie Collins was a freelancer on the field, and the Patriots weren't going to continue to put up with it. 

That's how former assistant to the Patriots coaching staff Mike Lombardi explained the team's decision to trade Collins, a Pro Bowl linebacker last season, to the Browns for a compensatory third-round pick. 

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"Not surprised by the Pats trading Collins," Lombardi tweeted on Monday. "Not been playing well at all they need to get the defense fixed. This will get their attention."

Lombardi added: "Collins on the second play of the game [versus Buffalo] does whatever he wants and Bills gain 28 yards. Been happening all year. It was not going to continue."

The play Lombardi referenced was Bills running back Mike Gillislee's 28-yard run in the first quarter. Collins crept up to the line of scrimmage and shot a gap between the guard and tackle anticipating an inside run. Gillislee instead bounced outside and had plenty of room to run. Had Collins remained on the defensive right side of the formation, he may have been in position to make a play. 

Collins' athleticism is what has made him one of the game's most impactful linebackers over the last season-and-a-half, but Lombardi insists that his eagerness to go off-script was not going to be tolerated any further. 

"You are either coaching it or allowing it to happen," Lombardi wrote. "Belichick decided he was not going to allow it to happen. Colllins talented but..."

Collins played 47 of a possible 69 defensive snaps in Sunday's win over Buffalo, which came as somewhat of a head-scratcher since he is usually close to a 100 percent participant when healthy. Sixth-round rookie Elandon Roberts saw time in place of Collins in certain packages, playing 28 snaps total.

Lombardi worked in New England during the 2014 and 2015 seasons, and he worked with the team into last offseason before he and the Patriots mutually parted ways. Lombardi, who worked under Belichick during Belichick's head coaching tenure in Cleveland, now serves as an analyst for Fox.

Report: Slater returning to Patriots

Report: Slater returning to Patriots

Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater has signed a two-year deal to return to the team, according to an ESPN's Mike Reiss.

Slater had made a free-agent visit to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday. The seven-time Pro Bowl special teams ace, who turns 33 in September, has spent the past 10 seasons in a New England. Slater, one of the veteran leaders in the locker room, signed a one-year, $1.8 million contract extension in 2016.

The Patriots traded with the Oakland Raiders for kick returner/wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson earlier this week to bolster their special teams.


Report: New catch rule coming to NFL

Report: New catch rule coming to NFL

A new catch rule is coming to the NFL.

So, controversies such as the Jesse James' touchdown reversal in the Steelers' loss to the Patriots in December and the Kelvin Benjamin call in the Bills-Pats game a week later likely would have resulted in upheld TDs under the new rule.

According to the Washington Post, Troy Vincent, the NFL VP of football operations, said competition committee members plan to propose getting rid of portions of the rule related to a receiver going to the ground while making a catch and to slight movement of the football while it’s in the receiver’s hands. Vincent also said the committee also intends to raise the bar by which an on-field ruling of a catch could be overturned via replay review.

That apparently was what was done in Super Bowl 52, when the Eagles' Corey Clement's juggling TD catch was not overturned via replay. 

“We worked backward,” said Vincent told the Post. “We looked at plays and said: Do you want that to be a catch? And then we applied that to the rule.”

The rule modifications could be approved by the competition committee as early Tuesday, the Post reported, and owners will meet next week in Orlando to vote on it. Rule changes must be approved by at least 24 of the 32 franchises. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been pushing for the catch rule to be modified.