Patriots-Redskins: What to expect this afternoon


Patriots-Redskins: What to expect this afternoon

What I'm looking for today as the New England Patriots host the Washington Redskins at Gillette Stadium:

1) The Redskins secondary is beat up. D'Angelo Hall is not likely to play. Their best corner, Bashaud Breeland, has a bad hamstring and will try to gut it out (although he first may need to convince trainers he can go). Another corner, Chris Culliver, has a sore knee and is in the same predicament as Breeland. Couple that with a pair of safeties in Dashon Goldson and Trenton Robinson who haven't been average this season, and it's easy to see Tom Brady doing what he's done every week: Going for 300 yards, if that's the route the Pats choose.

2) Of course the Pats could attack the Redskins between the tackles as well, with injuries playing a role there. Terrance "Pot Roast" Knighton didn't make the trip to Foxboro. He's dealing with something called cluster headaches, which are debillitating. Knighton hasn't been playing great football this year. He's been merely average. But he's the 'Skins starting nose tackle and his absence could force Jason Hatcher to a more prominent role over rookie center David Andrews. Hatcher is better suited as a defensive end either over the tackle or shaded betwen the tackle/guard gap. He might get lost on the interior. So that could entice the Pats to finally unleash LeGarrette Blount, though I'm still of the opinion that every game should be a Dion Lewis game until he proves otherwise.

3) There's also the matter of the Pats' offensive line. I expect Andrews to remain at center despite the activation of last year's man in the middle, Bryan Stork. Stork got work at guard this week in practice and it seems a smart decision to let him stay there for now, especially with Tre' Jackson out this week and Shaq Mason also recovering from a knee injury that's kept him sidelined the last two games. This is an area the Pats can ill-afford any more injuries, having placed Ryan Wendell on season-ending IR yesterday (where he joins starting left tackle Nate Solder). The third tackle would seem to be TE Michael Williams, who played tackle with Detroit before being dealt to New England.

4) If you're buying on Chandler Jones and his breakout performance this year, his matchup with Redskins left tackle Trent Williams is one to watch. Williams is a top-3 left tackle in my book, and elite as a pass blocker.

5) Little bit different of a test for the Pats secondary. DeSean Jackson is expected to play, and he is a straight burner with a big-play resume. To me, he's the guy I keep a body over the top of, and take my chances being physical with the other wideout, Pierre Garcon. The Redskins' best threat in the passing game is tight end Jordan Reed, at least when he's healthy. He is for this game, but he's been brittle. If the Pats are without LB Jamie Collins, who showed up as questionable on the injury report with illness yesterday, Matt Patricia's defense loses someone who could give Reed a different look, with the size and speed to run with Reed. Pat Chung, who's played his best football as a Patriot in the last month, surrenders 3 inches and 25 pounds to Reed.

6) Lastly, I love Ryan Kerrigan, the Redskins hybrid LB/DE. He got off to a fast start this year but has been quieter in recent weeks, and then broke his hand versus the Buccaneers two weeks ago and couldn't finish the game. One of the things that makes Kerrigan so impressive is how well he uses his hands both as a pass rusher and in the run game, disengaging from blockers. If he's casted up, or wrapped up, as you would expect him to be, I would think that would be a big deterrent on Kerrigan reaching the levels he's capable of reaching.

Agent Don Yee takes aim at the 'collegiate sports industrial complex'

Agent Don Yee takes aim at the 'collegiate sports industrial complex'

Don Yee is well known as the agent for Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, Sean Payton and others.

But his longstanding effort to shine a light on the inequities of what he calls the “collegiate sports industrial complex” may wind up being as impactful on the game of football as the work he’s done with those greats.

This week, I spoke at length to Yee on our podcast about college football at a crossroads in this summer of COVID-19.

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In Yee’s view, the awakening that’s gone on among athletes as they’ve been strung along for months by the Dumb and Dumber coalition of coaches, college presidents and administrators has been building.

“It’s a situation that’s been gaining steam in my view for at least the last 10 to 12 years,” Yee said. “There’s been such a dramatic influx of money into the collegiate sports industrial complex that when you’ve got that kind of money coming in there’s just been a single-minded focus on generating more and more money and that focus unfortunately has taken over … college administrators, college presidents, athletic directors and coaches.

“They’ve actually taken their eye off the ball in that they have completely overlooked the fact that they have a labor force that isn’t being compensated,” Yee added. “In their single-minded pursuit of every single dollar they’ve forgotten about the care and concern of the athletes.”

Patriots Talk Podcast: Don Yee and the remedy for college football’s ‘industrial complex’ | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

Everyone knows big-time college sports drips with hypocrisy and greed. It’s a shell game in which literally thousands of people wind up splitting the billions of dollars generated every year and the only ones that never see a legal buck of it are the players.

The pretzel logic used to justify it is laughable. The best way to enjoy the product and the games is, literally, to ignore the reality.

Yee has, over the past decade, forced people to look at it.

“Over the decades we’ve created a unique system that doesn’t exist anywhere in the developed world,” he said. “Nowhere in the developed world does this exist. Where you have a system, a small group of football players every year – there’s 130 Division I schools and among those 130 schools let’s say 50 to 60 are the most critical players to that enterprise for that particular season.

"So it’s a few thousand young men and what they do is strap on the equipment and roll out there for an increasingly long season – now as many as 14 games – and go out there and put their bodies on the line to generate substantial amounts of revenue to support the lifestyles of the administrators, the coaches, the coaches in the non-revenue sports, all the non-revenue sports programs and athletes which then – by extension – helps support the U.S. Olympic program (as a breeding ground for the athletes before becoming Olympians).

“The success of the football program also supports the very existence of the university because if the football program has success, the university can then initiate a piggybacking off the excitement and success of the football team and begin multi-billion capital campaigns to build new buildings on campus etc. So all of this is due to the efforts of a very small group of young men every single year. We tolerate it. Ultimately, we get distracted by the pom-poms and the bands.”

Yee and I discussed so much more, including whether he thinks there will be an NFL equivalent to the NBA’s G-League (yes), details on his new venture which will help teams easily find the players they now have to kick over rocks to discover (like Malcolm Butler) and how the change in college will be shepherded in by the players.

Joe Montana: Tom Brady hinted at displeasure with Patriots at Super Bowl LIV

Joe Montana: Tom Brady hinted at displeasure with Patriots at Super Bowl LIV

Joe Montana has wondered aloud how the New England Patriots could let Tom Brady get away to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Based on the conversation he had with Brady in February, though, maybe he should have seen the QB's exit coming.

During an interview Wednesday on ESPN 97.5 Houston's "Jake Asman Show," Montana revealed he talked with Brady at Super Bowl LIV and got the sense the 20-year veteran didn't like his situation.

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"I spoke to Tom while we were back at the Super Bowl," Montana said. "I don't think he was happy with the way things were progressing there and his ability to have input, and I think that was a big decision for him to make to leave there."

Our Tom E. Curran and others have reported that Brady wasn't thrilled about having less of a say in the Patriots' offensive game plan last season, especially after New England mustered just 13 points in a Wild Card Round loss to the Tennessee Titans.

Montana's recollection of his conversation with Brady -- the two QBs were part of an "NFL 100" pregame ceremony at Super Bowl LIV -- certainly lends credence to those reports and suggests Brady was ready to move on from the Patriots after 20 seasons.

It sounds like the 43-year-old quarterback picked the right destination, too: Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich apparently joked that all he has to do with Brady under center is "get out of the way."