Patriots

How have bad quarterbacks done against the Patriots this season?

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How have bad quarterbacks done against the Patriots this season?

There might not be many moments this season in which we don’t at least worry a little about the Patriots defense. But how high should the worry really be when we’re talking about Brock Osweiler as the opponent? 

The greatest quarterback of all time will play Sunday night in Denver. Brock Osweiler is not the greatest quarterback of all time. 

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The very tall, very bad quarterback is back under center for the Broncos after a one-year stint with the Texans, setting up a Sunday night meeting against the Pats in which he’ll be making his second start of the season. 

The Patriots, who have dealt with major injuries and underwhelming play on defense, have faced a pretty wide range of quarterbacks this season, a group that’s included some strong players in Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Deshaun Watson and Alex Smith. They’ve also faced a couple of bad quarterbacks and some big names who might be having down years. 

Among the 33 quarterbacks who have played enough to qualify for the lead in ESPN’s Total QBR stat, the Patriots have faced as many quarterbacks ranking in the bottom half as they have in the first. That group breaks down like this: 

Deshaun Watson: 81.3 QBR (No. 1 in NFL)
Alex Smith: 62.8 QBR (7th)
Drew Brees: 58.5 QBR (11th)
Matt Ryan: 57.6 QBR (14th)

Josh McCown: 50.9 QBR (19th)
Cam Newton: 49.5 QBR (20th)
Philip Rivers: 40.2 QBR (23rd)
Jameis Winston: 39.5 QBR (24th)

The worst-ranking quarterbacks with enough playing time have been DeShone Kizer, Mike Glennon, C.J. Beathard and Trevor Siemian, all of whom have QBRs of under 30 and none of whom the Patriots have faced this season. 

Osweiler’s 21.2 rating in last week’s start against the Eagles would put him second-to-last in the league if he qualified, so it’s fair to say he will be the worst quarterback the Pats will have faced through nine games. 

Here’s how the four QBs they’ve faced in the bottom half have fared against New England: 

McCown: 31/47, 354 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT, 72.9 QBR (24-17 Patriots win)
Newton: 22/29, 316 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT, 87.3 QBR, 44 rush yards, rush TD (33-30 Panthers win)
Rivers: 17/20, 212 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 49.7 QBR (21-13 Patriots win)
Winston: 26/46, 334 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 19.6 QBR (19-14 Patriots win)

The takeaways there: With the exception of Rivers, all have thrown for 300-plus yards on the Pats, which in McCown’s and Winston’s cases were due to the volume of passes thrown in losing efforts. Newton, who has had a lot of bad games this season and has also been limited at times by a September ankle injury, was fantastic against the Pats. 

But it took an outlier of a performance (this season, anyway), for Newton to lead his team past the Pats, as McCown, Rivers and Winston all took losses. 

Also, only one of those quarterbacks didn’t throw at least one interception (Winston). Of the group of quarterbacks they’ve faced having better seasons, Watson (two picks) was the only one to be intercepted against the Pats. 

Anyway, the point of all of this is to remind you Alex Smith (368 yards, 4 TD, 0 INT) has had the best performance of the season against the Patriots. He’s good and you stink if you won’t admit it. 

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.