Patriots

Friday Bag: Why would any team want to help the Patriots in a trade?

Friday Bag: Why would any team want to help the Patriots in a trade?

Every Friday, Tom E. Curran, Mike Giardi and Phil Perry answer your Patriots questions in a joint mailbag, or Friday Bag as they call it.

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Got a question for the trio? Hit them up on Twitter using the hashtag #FridayBag. Here's this week's installment:

TC: Sure. They have a few teams they can deal with. Some have former Pats executives in the mix - Detroit with Bob Quinn, Jon Robinson in Tennessee, Jason Licht in Tampa and Thomas Dimitroff in Atlanta - but the Pats have also dealt with the Eagles and Cardinals since the start of the 2016 season. So there are teams out there. It's finding the right partner to dance with.  

TC: Hello Whiner,

I'm with you. The wonders of Jordan Richards elude me. He's a second-round pick and been here since 2015 and he's got 38 tackles in three seasons. He had three tackles last year. 

He's shown a level of capability this year as a box safety playing alongside linebackers and he can hit but he doesn't seem particularly adept at anything. Certainly nothing on the level of what someone would expect from a second-round pick. Maybe with Hightower down and a linebacker need he gets a little more run. Personally, I'd have preferred the team keep Kamu Grugier-Hill last year. 

TC: That's a good question, Harry. I'd say Gronk. Adam Butler. Lawrence Guy. And especially Danny Amendola. Nobody's made more clutch catches this year on necessary third downs. He's got 29 catches for 324 yards on 36 targets. He's also averaging 13.1 yards on 10 punt returns and the Patriots entered the season not knowing who would fill that punt return void. So I'll gola with Dola. 

PP: Our guy Shimon was so fired up for the Bag, he couldn't wait to get his questions in. Appreciate that kind of aggressiveness! Let's blow through these quickly...1) I still think if Roberts is healthy that the Patriots will use him over Harris. He's been ahead of Harris on the depth chart all season, and I could be wrong, but I find it a little hard to believe that after 19 snaps against the Falcons -- even though Harris performed well -- the Patriots would all of a sudden have a different perspective on what's best for them at that position. 2) Is there a chance? Sure. Eventually. If Gilmore proves himself to be a liability. But if he's healthy, he's playing. The Patriots aren't giving up on him after five games, especially since Week 5 was his best outing. 3) Allen's just not giving them much of anything right now, which is odd because he's by all accounts an intelligent person. I wonder if maybe there's a chance he's thinking a little too much, if at this point he's pressing, and if that's hindering him on the field. We know he's been a non-factor as a receiver, but his positive moments as a blocker have been relatively few and far between, too. Maybe he can use the upcoming bye to put some extra time in and approach his role as if he's starting with a clean slate.

PP: Thanks for checking in, Sean. We hit on a bunch of intriguing possibilities here, but I'll also mention a couple of names I didn't include in that piece, both of whom were players the Patriots practiced against this summer: Lerentee McCray of the Jags and Ufomba Kamalu of the Texans. We know the Patriots have a history of scooping up joint-practice opponents, and those are players who may not cost all that much in terms of compensation. You can find more details on McCray and Kamalu here.

PP: How McClellin fits into the equation will be interesting to watch play out. He has experience on the edge. He has experience off the line. That versatility may give him a leg up on Roberts or Hightower as the No. 2 behind Van Noy. In obvious running situations, I'd still give Roberts the nod, but McClellin is probably the best option in coverage when talking about those three. In all likelihood, they'll mix and match depending on the situation. McClellin's eligible to return off IR Week 10. 

PP: Drewski, I don't think that would make sense for the Seahawks. They'd be getting a backup tackle (which they could probably use) and a struggling tight end in exchange for one of the better tight ends in football. Graham isn't what he once was, but he's still more valuable than what they'd be getting in that exchange. Never say never when it comes to Bill Belichick accumulating tight ends, but I think focusing on the front seven is where the Patriots would go in a trade if they were to make one.

PP: Curran. 

PP: He could see more opportunities if Amendola's knee injury limits him moving forward, T. But as the fourth receiver on the depth chart he has to make plays when he has the chance, and he has to stay penalty-free. Tom Brady's been picked twice when targeting Dorsett in the last two weeks (one of which was wiped because of a roughing-the-passer penalty), and Dorsett picked up a block-in-the-back penalty early against the Falcons. He started the game last week (good!) but ended up playing only eight snaps (not as good!). I don't think a breakout game is imminent, but I wouldn't rule out a productive one. Baby steps.

MG: Combo plattering these two questions. Neither guy has played a down of football this season, and in Nink’s case, he hasn’t even tried to do anything since June with pads on. I don’t care how much you work out, how much time you spend lifting and running and doing agility drills, there’s being in shape and there’s being in football shape. There’s no comparison between the two. If they’re depending on either to make any kind of impact, let alone a big one, they’re screwed. 

MG: All depends on if Brady is truly sincere when he says he’s playing another 57 years. But can we talk about the difference between Brady, 40, and Matt Ryan, 32, reigning MVP of the league? Ryan had to make four or five throws when the game was still a game Sunday night and missed every single one of them. He wasn’t pressured on those occasions. He had his targets open. And that dude couldn’t put the ball where it needed to be. Contrast that with Brady. That wasn’t a Brady game. The Pats didn’t ask him to carry them. But in big spots, Tommy boy made every single flipping throw. It was glorious to watch.

As for Jimmy, the Pats want him here next year and beyond. We’ll see how it plays out. They control him contractually for the next two seasons if they want to use that tag. Michael Holley says they won’t do it next year. Michael Holley is wrong.

MG: The injury bummed me out too, Ed, and let’s face it, we all went into the season knowing Hightower was a high injury risk and was going to miss some games. But an entire season? Damn. They don’t have one player on the roster who can duplicate what he does. Hell, they don’t have three or four players on the roster that do what he does, but they’re going to have to figure out a way. Can’t say as I’m overly confident because Hightower has a penchant for making a bunch of unseen plays and then - BOOM - the big play, but I’m also smart enough to not write off Belichick and Patricia.

MG: Q!!!!!!! My impressions were that if you get him going side to side, Harris is in deep trouble, but when he’s able to go downhill, he’s still got a decent burst and power. I’m hopeful that the Pats give him a lot of snaps this weekend and we can see how it really works. I also am convinced the communication is better with Harris out there then it is with Elandon Roberts.

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.