Were Patriots playing games with Mallett news?


Were Patriots playing games with Mallett news?

By Tom E. Curran

In-season or out, no NFL team sparks more conversation - or speculation - than the Patriots. A head-scratching 2011 NFL Draft brought both. One of the more fascinating bits was what happened with the Ryan Mallett selection. Friday night, with the Patriots' picks at 73 and 74 approaching, Michael Lombardi of NFL Network reported the Patriots were going to take Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett with one of the selections. And they did. Good get by him. Hey, sometimes you get stuff. For instance, as the time wound down on the Patriots at No. 33, I reported on Twitter that the Patriots would not be trading out of that spot as most everyone anticipated they would. But my buddy Greg Bedard of The Boston Globe wondered whether the Patriots played Lombardi. Bedard tweeted he was "almost positive" the Patriotsleaked Lombardi that info on Mallettknowing it would be broadcast into every war room across the league. Thepurpose? Flushing out a team to make a last-ditch effort to swing a deal with New England to take Mallett themselves. It's a sensible theory on a lot of levels. The Patriots controlled that 10-minute span with back-to-back picks and the Mallett news was relayed before the Patriots even took Stevan Ridley at 73. And if someone burst through the proverbial door waving a 2012 first-rounder, who wouldn't jump at that? Peter King got in touch with Lombardi to ask him what he thought of Bedard's theory. "Completely fictional," Lombardi told King. "The Patriots, I'm not speaking for 'em. They wouldn't have brought Mallett in for a visit if they didn't have any interest. It's completely inaccurate. The Patriots were seriously interested in Mallett, and I don't think I was used by them. Not at all."I lean toward Lombardi's opinion, though not solely because they really loved the promise and football intelligence of Mallett. I don't think the Patriots would hang someone out to dry as Bedard supposes they were prepared to do with Lombardi. In fact, I'm almost positive they wouldn't. They mean what they say or they say nothing at all.Tom E. Curran can be reached at Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.

Gostkowski named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week


Gostkowski named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week

FOXBORO -- Stephen Gostkowski is almost 34 years old, but in Mexico City he provided a reminder that he's not slowing down in his 12th NFL season. 

After going four-for-four on field goals -- including a team-record 62-yarder, a 51-yarder and a 40-yarder -- and making all three of his extra points, Gostkowski was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for the sixth time in his career. 

During a press conference on Wednesday, Bill Belichick explained that someone in Gostkowski's situation probably isn't improving at this point in his career. But if he's maintaining a strong level of play, that's OK. 

"I don’t know how much real improvement you’re going to see from a player that’s been in the league 12 or 20 years in a case like Adam [Vinatieri] or somebody like that," Belichick said. "But, if the level they’re performing at is pretty good, if they can maintain that, then that’s certainly enough to help the team.

"Are there things that a player can do better? Yeah, sure, there always are technique things. I think Steve has really improved in some of his alternative kicks on kickoffs, as an example, instead of just kicking every ball as far as he can. He’s done a great job of that. I’d say it’s maintaining the timing and the overall leg speed and technique that makes kickers good at their job."

Ex-Pats Moss, Law and Seymour among Hall of Fame semifinalists


Ex-Pats Moss, Law and Seymour among Hall of Fame semifinalists

Former Patriots Randy Moss, Ty Law and Richard Seymour are among 27 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2018.

In January, selectors will reduce the list to 15 finalists, who will join seniors Robert Brazile and Jerry Kramer and contributor Bobby Beathard on the final ballot. The annual selection meeting will take place Feb.y 3, the day before Super Bowl LII.

Click here for the complete story from NBC's Pro Football Talk.