Felger: Once again, Belichick was right and I was wrong

Felger: Once again, Belichick was right and I was wrong

Score another one for Bill Belichick.

Of course, I could be talking about any one of a hundred decisions or maneuvers by the Patriots coach. But today's subject is Darrelle Revis.

-- Belichick: I'm not talking Springsteen, I'm not taking banners . . . 
-- Belichick: 2015 loss to Dolphins was 'sickening'
-- Cardinals coach calls out players by name after loss to Patriots

Belichick nailed this one. When he strongly advised the Krafts to pass on type of five-year, $70 million contract (with $39 million guaranteed) the perennial Pro Bowl corner signed with the Jets in the spring of 2015, I -- along with many in New England -- howled. The Pats had just won the Super Bowl, Revis had helped transform the defense into a championship-caliber unit, and it felt at the time like the Pats choosing finances over talent.

Eighteen months later and Revis is a shell of his former self. Last season, he showed up to Jets camp out of shape, apparently suffered a nagging leg injury, and never recovered. Last Sunday against Cincinnati, the first game of what some believed would be a comeback season, Revis just looked plain lousy. 

Meanwhile, the Pats continue to get much better play from Malcolm Butler for around $15 million less a season.

That's what we call . . . wait for it, wait for it . . . value.

There's no better example of Revis' fall from grace than his play against one player: The Bengals' AJ Green.

With the Pats in Week 5 in 2014 (the infamous "on to Cincinnati" game), Revis got in Green's hip pocket early and never let him breathe. When Revis was on him, Green managed just four catches, one of which he fumbled after a Revis strip. For much of the game, the Bengals avoided Green altogether. The only time Green got free was in the second half when Revis left the field for one play with hamstring tightness and Andy Dalton took advantage with a TD strike to Green over Logan Ryan. But when Revis was out there, Green was a non-factor.

Fast forward to last Sunday in New Jersey, when Green went up against Revis again and came away with 12 catches (on 13 targets) for 180 yards and a huge 54-yard yard TD over Revis (who said he was looking for safety help). This time, the Bengals not only didn't avoid Revis, they targeted him. When they needed a few more yards to set up a go-ahead field goal attempt in the final minutes, they went right at him and picked up 11 yards with another toss to Green.

Same players. Same matchup. Two different results.

So what happened? I don't think a player like Revis loses his talent overnight. But he probably lost his drive. He was always a player who liked to be pampered, always expected special treatment on the field and off. But when joined the Pats in 2014 he was still without a title and had one final contract score in his sights. He was motivated.

-- Other columns

By the time he went back to the Jets, he had finally won his ring and the contract in New York figured to be his last big score. So what was left? He had his money and he had the jewelry. Some players (see Brady, Tom) are driven beyond those things. But some aren't. Some, after they've accomplished everything they set out to accomplish, simply play out the string. (See Revis, Darrell.)

My guess is that Belichick saw something from Revis in 2014 that gave him pause over what he'd get out of him going forward. The analysis couldn't have been based solely on what Belichick saw on the field, because Revis was mostly outstanding that year. It was a character evaluation -- and Belichick nailed it. For the umteenth time he was right and I was wrong. So there. Mea culpa.

Now on that Malcolm Butler contract . . . 

E-mail Felger at Listen to Felger and Mazz weekdays, 2-6 p.m. on 98.5 FM. The simulcast runs daily on CSN.


Former Patriots RB Danny Woodhead announces retirement

Former Patriots RB Danny Woodhead announces retirement

Former Patriots running back Danny Woodhead has announced his retirement after 10 years in the NFL.

The 33-year-old took to Instagram to make it official.

10 years! Wow, God had crazy plans for a small little kid from North Platte, NE! It’s been a wild ride and feel so blessed He allowed me to do what I loved for so long. But now it’s time to say goodbye to the game I love. First, I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Without Him my career wouldn’t have been possible. He blessed me with the gifts and He paved the way. All I had to do was follow His plans for my life, and His plans were crazy awesome! Next, I want to thank my wife who has been by my side since freshman year of high school. She has been a rock through all the ups and downs. Sis, Willy, Mae Mae, and Hopie your daddy is going to be home a ton more and I can’t wait! Thanks to my Dad and Mom for always supporting me and showing me that God is first, then everything else will fall into place. Ben, Joel, and Anna thanks for preparing me for the NFL in our backyard games growing up. The dreaded in-laws Steve and Suzie for always being there for me. Chris Gittings (agent) you’re the best and thankful your my brother/uncle! Thank you Jets, Patriots, Chargers, and Ravens! Thanks to all my head coaches (Bob Zohner, Brad Smith, Bill O’Boyle, Eric Mangini, Rex Ryan, Bill Belichick, Mike McCoy, and John Harbaugh) who believed in me! To my rbs coaches (coach skiles, coach reiners, Jimmy Raye, A Lynn, Ivan, Ollie, Ridge, and Thomas) thanks for putting up with me. Thanks to all my teammates from high school till now. Without you guys I never would’ve become who I was as a player. To all my olinemen, you guys deserve the credit for anything that I received credit for. I thank you for helping make my career. To all the trainers, team docs, strength coaches, chiropractors, massage therapists, physical therapists, body gurus thanks for making sure I was on the field. To all the people who made my life easier at the facility (ops, pr, equipment staff, cafe workers, custodians) thanks and your work doesn’t go unnoticed. And how could i forget all my fans?! You’re the best and have always felt the love and support! I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few but know that I’m thankful for everything everyone has done on my journey.

A post shared by Danny Woodhead (@teamwoody39) on

Thursday, it was reported the Patriots reached out to Woodhead for a possible reunion. 

The last two seasons have been challenging for him, as he dealt with season-ending injuries in both 2016 with the Chargers and 2017 with the Ravens.

Woodhead finishes his career with 2,238 yards rushing, 2,698 yards receiving, 15 rushing touchdowns and 17 receiving touchdowns.


NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: C's win despite injuries, Pats make additions

NBC Sports Boston Photo

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: C's win despite injuries, Pats make additions

1:20 - Despite throwing a depleted roster out there, the Celtics were able to get back in the win column vs. the Magic. Michael Holley and Tommy Heinsohn break down the win.

6:17 - Finally, the Patriots have done something! On Friday night it was reported that New England signed defensive end Adrian Clayborn as well as running back Jeremy Hill. Tom Curran, Alex Giaimo and Ben Volin discuss the impact these additions will have on the team.

11:05 - While the Celtics were able to pull out the win on Friday, the team did announce that Marcus Smart is expected to miss six to eight weeks after undergoing thumb surgery. A. Sherrod Blakely expresses his optimism on Smart’s return for the playoffs.