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Behind Enemy Lines: The Patriots

Behind Enemy Lines: The Patriots

I received an invitation from Bruce Allen of PatriotsDaily.com, an outstanding independent blog covering New England, to exchange a few questions about the respective teams that we cover. I was happy to oblige. Here are Bruce's answers to my queries about the Pats. As soon as I get it I will post a link to my answers to his questions.

Rich Tandler: Does Belichick seem like a lifer as coach of the Pats? Or is there maybe a surprise retirement announcement out there in three or four years?

Bruce Allen: His contract is always a subject of discussion by the media here. The last we had heard was that his current deal took him through 2013. Coaching really seems to be his life, and I'd say the job is his as long as he wants to keep doing it. At this point I can't imagine him coaching anywhere else, nor can I really see him doing what Bill Parcells is going with the Dolphins right now, being strictly a front office type. My guess is that he'll be here at least as long as Tom Brady is.

RT: Some key members of the defense, the guys that won the Super Bowls, are getting up there in age. Give me a couple of players who will be the next generations of anchors on the defense.

BA: Two names come immediately to mind - linebacker Jerod Mayo and safety Brandon Meriweather. Mayo is already a leader on the veteran defense, will be handling the play calling and seems to be the type of student of the game that Belichick loves. One school of thought has the Patriots toying with a 4-3 defensive front this season just to free up Mayo to be able to go out and make plays. He's all over the field.

The 2008 Patriots defense didn't have many big plays in the course of the season. On the rare occasions that they needed a play made and someone actually stepped up and made it, it was Meriweather. A last season 4th down sack of Seattle QB Seneca Wallace which sealed a victory for the Patriots comes to mind. His rookie year he couldn't catch a pass thrown directly at him, last year he lead the team in interceptions. He's not the big, hard hitting type of safety, but he's a playmaker.

RT: What's the concern level about Brady's knee? And, should he have to sit out a game or two, is there another Matt Cassel on the bench?

BA: Brady had a couple of awkward throws off his back leg in the previous preseason game, and the timing on his throws has been a little off at times. Generally though he seems to be ready to start the season, and he has yet to miss a practice session in training camp - including a ridiculous stretch in which the team had double sessions seemingly every day for two weeks. The backups seem a little shaky at the moment. Kevin O'Connell was a third round pick last year, has a good arm and is mobile, he would seem to be the QB to call on, though the team did sign former Raider Andrew Walter in camp and seems high on his potential. I don't know if there is a Cassel there, but then again, Cassel looked absolutely dreadful in the preseason last year. There was a lot of surprise around that he even made the opening day roster.

RT: Give me someone on each side of the ball who will be fun to watch after the starters have departed.

BA: On Offense, seventh round pick Julian Edelman has been the talk of camp. A converted QB from Kent State, Edelman has been in at wide receiver and punt returns, and has been electric, running back a punt 75 yards for a TD in the first preseason game. He seems a lock to make the final roster. A longer shot to make the roster is undrafted WR Terrence Nunn, who has made a big impression in practice, catching everything thrown his way, and should end up on an NFL roster somewhere.

On defense, check out second round pick Pat Chung, who seems to have a little Rodney Harrison in him. He's a hard hitting safety who has also made some plays on special teams, blocking a field goal. Sixth round pick Myron Pryor has also been active on the defensive line, getting into the backfield on a regular basis.

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When is Super Bowl 52? Date, time, TV channel, halftime performer, odds

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When is Super Bowl 52? Date, time, TV channel, halftime performer, odds

Super Bowl LII (52) will feature the New England Patriots/ Jacksonville Jaguars (AFC Champion) against the Minnesota Vikings/ Philadelphia Eagles (NFC Champion) at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota on February 4, 2018.

If they go on to advance, the Vikings would become the first team to ever ‘host’ the Super Bowl in their home stadium. They are the third to play the game in their home state. Minnesota will be looking for their first Super Bowl title in five tries, the most appearances by any team without a championship.

Philadelphia is looking for their first title ever as well, and doing it with a back-up quarterback Nick Foles. They have been the underdog in every game this postseason; it would be no different in the Super Bowl.

New England is looking for their third Super Bowl over the past four years and their sixth championship since 2001. However, their path in the AFC Playoffs is arguably the easiest in their history. A win by the Patriots would tie the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most in NFL history with six.

The new kids one the block, the Jaguars are one win away from their first Super Bowl appearance in what is already the best year ever for the franchise. If Jacksonville were to pull it off, they would be the tenth team in NFL history to win in their first Super Bowl appearance.

Super Bowl LII Information:

When is Super Bowl 52?

6:15 pm ET, February 4, 2018

Who is playing in Super Bowl 52?

New England Patriots/ Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Minnesota Vikings/ Philadelphia Eagles

Where is Super Bowl 52?

U.S. Bank Stadium, Minnesota

How can I watch Super Bowl 52 on TV?

NBC

Where can I stream Super Bowl 52?

The Super Bowl can be streamed for free on NBCSports.com and on the NBC Sports app.

Who are the announcers for Super Bowl 52?

Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya, Heather Cox

Who is performing the Super Bowl 52 halftime show?

Justin Timberlake is the Pepsi Super Bowl halftime performer. It is his third Super Bowl performance, previously performing in Super Bowl XXV and more famously in XXVIII with Janet Jackson.

What are the odds for Super Bowl 52?

New England Patriots: 6/5
Minnesota Vikings: 7/4
Philadelphia Eagles: 7/1
Jacksonville Jaguars: 8/1

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Need to Know: A random walk through the Redskins past for edition No. 2000

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Need to Know: A random walk through the Redskins past for edition No. 2000

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, January 21, 52 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 44
—NFL Draft (4/26) 95
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 231

Need to Know No. 2000

This is a special edition of Need to Know. It was 2,000 days ago, on July 31, 2012, that this post designed to give Redskins fans the news and views they need to get their days started was posted for the first time. And it has gone up every single morning since that day, 2,000 mornings in a row.

There is no reliable way to measure how many have read the post since site redesigns and name changes have made reliable tracking difficult. But NTK page views are estimated in the tens of millions. Thanks to all of you for reading and commenting, both on the site and on social media. It’s the passion of Redskins fans that makes the job so enjoyable.

Here is a look back at some of the “landmark” editions of Need to Know. I can’t like to all of them because of the aforementioned changes but it’s an interesting, random walk through Redskins history.

No. 1, “Hits to the depth chart”, 7/31/12—The Redskins were trying to deal with the losses of LB Jonathan Goff, who had suffered a season-ending knee injury, and G Kory Lichtensteiger, who was out after getting his knee scoped. Also, the Saints, who were the Redskins’ opponent in the opener, were complaining about the Bountygate penalties. A lot. See, even during training camp in 2012, NTK was able to look beyond RG3 hysteria to get you to the other important stories of the day.

No. 500, “Nickel coverage—Jordan Reed misses practice”, 12/13/13—Yes, the more things change the more things stay the same. The talented tight end, then a rookie, was still trying to a recover from a concussion he suffered a few weeks earlier. Reed ended up going on injured reserve, missing the last six games. Also, Mike Shanahan said that didn’t pay any attention to all of the negative talk about the team in the media and Kyle Shanahan said that didn’t have any input into the decision to bench RG3 and play Kirk Cousins. Both claims were greeted with skepticism.

No. 1,000, “Can the Redskins draft an immediate O-line starter?”, 4/27/15—This was just a couple of days before the draft. Brandon Scherff, who ended up being Redskins’ top pick at No. 5 overall, is not mentioned but he did indeed become the team’s selection. This was Scot McCloughan’s first draft and the identity of the Redskins’ first pick was still a mystery. Although Scherff’s name often came up, most mocks had them going with edge rusher Dante Fowler, who ended up going to the Jaguars at No. 3.

No. 1,500, “Redskins searching for back to back playoff spots”, 9/8/2016—This was a “By the numbers” look at the team as it approached their season opener against the Steelers. They were coming off of a playoff berth in 2015 and, as we know now, their streak of consecutive seasons without going to the playoffs at least two straight years would continue. In 2016 were able to stop a 19-year streak of not having back to back willing seasons, just barely, by going 8-7-1. One more interesting number from the post—Kirk Cousins’ pass completion percentage at home in 2015 was 74.7 percent, the highest in NFL history.

Again, thanks for reading. See you tomorrow for edition No. 2,001.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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