Patriots

Patriots

This is a march through newsworthy and noteworthy Patriots and NFL-related items. Delivered in two-sentence blasts spawned by the 1993 Nails song “88 Lines About 44 Women.” 

Julian Edelman’s left foot – which was operated on about a month ago so that the area around the implanted screw could be more tightly packed – shouldn’t be a nagging, career-altering problem. It was a peace-of-mind decision by Edelman because he felt a measure of instability planting and cutting.

He is expected to be ready for the start of camp (though I wouldn’t be stunned if he starts camp on the PUP list as many convalescing players do. Missing regular-season time isn’t even in the forecast.

Cause for concern? The 2015 season was hijacked by injuries as the most dominant team in the league devolved into a fatally flawed one. A key player missing OTAs, passing camps and minicamps is less than ideal and we’ve seen it the past two years at the receiver spot with Aaron Dobson and Brandon LaFell never catching up after missing their summer work.

Great check-in with Patriots Olympic rugby aspirant Nate Ebner as he delves into his very personal motivation for taking this shot and what the hardest adjustment is from football to rugby.  Having Ebner unexpectedly open up to me about his father’s murder last fall and being trusted to tell some of that story was one of the things you feel humbled by in my job. 

 

The shiny, new 2016 rookie models have rolled off the assembly line in the past few weeks and we are all enamored with them and their backstories. The truth is, after minicamp, most of them do a slow fade into regular-season oblivion (with some exceptions of course).

With that in mind, there’s one guy from the 2015 class that got lost in the shuffle last year but will be one I’ll track through the summer. Cornerback Darryl Roberts, a seventh-round pick last year out of Marshall, a 6-0, 182-pound player with an aggressive streak had ridiculous workout numbers (including a 4.38 40 and 39-inch vertical) and - if he’s improved at all – could be a player of consequence.

Scale of 1-to-10, the likelihood of Marshawn Lynch unretiring has to be about an 8. He still hasn’t filed retirement papers and seems interested in extricating himself from Seattle while using the media he doesn’t see the need to speak with to further his mythology. And the mythology surrounding Lynch (who cryptically announced his supposed retirement with a symbolic tweet on Super Bowl Sunday for maximum coverage), is significant. Teammates lobbied management to not have Lynch’s No. 24 issued “for years to come” and the push to call Lynch a Hall of Famer is persistent.

If Lynch is a Hall of Famer before Corey Dillon, that would be testimony to the power of “Beast Mode” propaganda as much as anything done on the field. Dillon ran for 11,241 yards in 10 seasons with 82 rushing touchdowns and just as many Super Bowl rings as Lynch earned. Lynch ran for 9,112 in nine seasons with 79 touchdowns and played on better teams than Dillon who was the entire Bengals offense for much of his first six seasons in the league – actually, there are a few backs who should have just as many people jabbering about them being Canton-worthy as Lynch does. 

The notion of players requesting numbers be taken out of circulation or retired is nice in theory but impractical in the NFL where certain numbers have to be reserved for certain position groups. There are seven Patriots with retired numbers (73: John Hannah, 20: Gino Cappelletti, 89: Bob Dee, 79: Jim Lee Hunt, 57: Steve Nelson, 40: Mike Haynes and 78 Bruce Armstrong) and while the practice hasn’t been halted in Foxboro, it’s going to be damn rare from what I’ve been told.

The Bucs and GM Jason Licht have caught plenty of heat for drafting Florida State kicker Robert Aguayo in the second round. 

 

Do people actually remember what happened with the kicking game last season as the PAT was moved back to 33 yards and impacted myriad games including the AFC Championship where the best kicker in the NFL pushed an attempt that may have cost the Pats a Super Bowl trip? A second-round pick to increase the chances you won’t be held hostage by a position that is a direct point-producer is a no-brainer if you like the player enough.

(Name this 2-to-6 Boston radio host).

Gronk is on the cover of Madden this year – at least someone can cover him!!!!! Bwaaaahhaaaaahhaaaa. Seriously, though, I don’t like it Mike, I don’t, I DON’T!!!! Where’s his head!! It scares me, Mike, it does!

The Senator was suffering this week from premature evaluation (I am on a ROLL!). Phil Perry has a verrrrry early look at the Patriots 53-man roster and Donald Brown ain’t gonna like it. 

Sen. Phil and I (along with DJ Adam Hart) had a very, very solid podcast this week talking Amendola’s pay cut, Edelman’s foot, arguing whether the Jets are the Patriots main competition in the AFC East still and talking to the evil Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News who gave us 15 minutes of his tortured brilliance. I liked this one.

Two must-clicks from elsewhere that have Patriots links: the sadly funny tale of Reche Caldwell, Public Enemy No. 44,365, written by David Fleming of ESPN, and Bill Belichick’s interview regarding his passion for lacrosse and his foundation which raises money to (along with other things) introduce lacrosse in areas of need.

Finally, I’m taking part in a fundraiser Sunday benefiting Horizons For Homeless Children. It’s a cross-training event at EveryBodyFights in Boston and a number of Boston sports athletes and personalities will be on hand. Check with rschlacter@horizonschildren.org if you have interest in donating or for more information.