Patriots

Ten most important Pats heading into 2015: The guards

wendell-patriots.jpg

Ten most important Pats heading into 2015: The guards

Leading up to the first day of training camp, we’re going to look at the most important Patriots, counting down from 10 to 1. Today, it’s not a sexy position, but one that’s far more critical than most ever give it credit for, even the Big Boss in Foxboro.

NO. 3: THE GUARDS

Why? Because without a solid interior offensive line last September, Tom Brady looked like a below average quarterback, prompting my question (and classic Bill Belichick response) following the debacle in Kansas City. The very next week, rookie Bryan Stork was flanked by Dan Connolly and veteran Ryan Wendell and all of a sudden, Brady and the offense looked a lot more like what we’ve come to expect than what they were to start the year. Now Connolly is retired and the interior once again will need to be sorted out, hopefully much quicker than last season.

Previous Performance: Wendell was a godsend last year, going from unwanted to a critical performer from Week Five on. A pro’s pro. No pouting. No complaining. Worked and worked and finally got his chance and then did the job on a weekly basis. Remember, Wendell was a healthy scratch, if you will, while Belichick experimented with Marcus Cannon and Jordan Devey as his starting guards. Cannon was so bad the stink rubbed off on left tackle Nate Solder. As for Devey, well, it was a nice story and all, but he was not even close to being ready for prime time.

Questions surrounding the players: So now the Pats go into the 2015-16 season with Wendell recovering from offseason surgery and then a handful of players competing for the spot vacated by Connolly. (And with Belichick, who knows? Maybe competing for Wendell’s spot, as well.) They spent a pair of mid-round picks on interior 'o' linemen, Tre’ Jackson and Shaq Mason. Mason was a violent run blocker in college, capable of eclipsing the moon with those meat hooks. Jackson got the job done at the 33rd NFL team, FSU. Both got loads of work in OTAs. There’s also holdovers Josh Kline, Chris Barker and Caylin Hauptmann. We know Kline is serviceable. The others? No clue.

Overall Outlook: More questions then answers. I hope Brady and/or Jimmy Garoppolo have their running shoes on. They may need ‘em until the Pats find the right combination.

King: It was football, not family that kept McDaniels with Patriots

King: It was football, not family that kept McDaniels with Patriots

There have been all kinds of theories of what ultimately kept Josh McDaniels from taking the Indianapolis Colts head coaching job.

NBC Sports Boston Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran offered his here and here. Ex-Pats linebacker Willie McGinest said he was told it wasn't because McDaniels was promised to eventually succeed Bill Belichick. 

Now comes Sports Illustrated's Peter King, who told NBCSports Network's "PFT Live" that you can cross off the theory that McDaniels' reversal was about not wanting to move his family to Indianapolis. 

“This had nothing to do with his family,” King said. “It was about the Patriots giving him a better option than Indianapolis.”

More here from NBCSports.com's Pro Football Talk. 



 

Report: WWE trying to sign Rob Gronkowski

Report: WWE trying to sign Rob Gronkowski

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has hinted about walking away from football at 28 and apparently World Wrestling Entertainment is listening.

According to Dave Meltzer's Wrestling Observer newsletter, WWE is willing to offer Gronk a "similar style deal" that it offered UFC star Ronda Rousey, who made her WWE debut late last month, is scheduled to be part of its "Elimination Chamber" event Feb. 25 and is being advertised as being part of their WrestleMania signature event April 8.

Gronk was part of Wrestlemania last year (see video below) and his friend, wrestler Mojo Rawley, hinted earlier this week that Gronkowski might be looking to give up football for the ring. Gronk has also reportedly been considering retiring to pursue a movie career.