Patriots

Could The Larry-Fitzgerald-to-Patriots pipe dream ever become a reality?

Could The Larry-Fitzgerald-to-Patriots pipe dream ever become a reality?

The NFL trade deadline is nearly upon us, and the question is: Could this be the year that the Larry-Fitzgerald-to-the-Patriots pipe dream becomes a reality?

MIKE GIARDI: Oh. My. God. Are we really doing this again? Right now everybody in Arizona is fighting to keep their jobs - the GM, Bruce Arians, Carson Palmer, etc. right on down the damn ball boys. You know what doesn't help that? Trading Larry Freakin' Fitzgerald. Four times in seven games, he's been targeted 10 or more times. Twice, he's caught at least 10. Yes, he's older and maybe when the Cards find themselves again, Fitz is of no help to them. But he helps now and that's what it's all about. Besides, if you were going to invest resources to make a trade of this magnitude, why the heck would you do it for a wide receiver? You have enough. And I've had enough of this conversation I'm out.

OTHER TRADE QUESTIONSWill Malcolm Butler be this year's Jamie Collins? | Will Pats trade for linebacker with Hightower out? | Will Patriots trade Jimmy Garoppolo?

 

PHIL PERRY: Sorry, kids. I don't see this happening. Do the Patriots respect Larry Fitzgerald as a player? Of course. And I get why people here might still be interested. He'd quickly be their top slot receiver, in all likelihood. He'd help provide depth in case Danny Amendola misses time. He'd give a boost to the Patriots offense, which may be forced to out-gun teams more often now that the defense is without Dont'a Hightower. But the Patriots offense is already one of the most efficient in the league, and it looks like there would have to be some finagling done financially to make room for the 34-year-old future Hall of Famer. Fitzgerald is still owed the remaining portion of his $11 million guaranteed in base salary, and the Patriots have a shade under $5 million available in cap space. The Cardinals have a quarterback with a broken arm and a running back with a damaged wrist, and they may be willing to part with Fitzgerald for a couple of mid-round picks. But given the dearth of choices the Patriots have had in recent years, they may have to start being more protective of those. Giving up draft capital what looks like a luxury rather than a need seems . . . unnecessary. Tom, would you chase Fitz if given the opportunity? Is there another receiver out there you'd be interested in? Or are we suckers for spending any time at all looking at this position?

 

TOM E. CURRAN: The lowest of low-hanging fruit trade targets. I think the first time this was run up the flagpole was 2009. And here we are - eight seasons later - pining for Fitz. I don't think wideout is a particular issue. A complementary tight end for Gronk? Yes. Maybe Will Tye fills that role in the second half if the Dwayne Allen Experience shuts it down for good. Tye is on the practice squad. The place the Patriots hurt is in the middle of the field and short. Running Danny Amendola and Chris Hogan in there will inevitably lead to both of them being less than 100. That's a guarantee. But the developing running game and the return of Rex Burkhead as the team's third dual-threat running back addresses that. If the Patriots want a slot, they don't need to trade for him. Go get Daniel Braverman - a free agent - and plunk him on the practice squad. Fitz. He'll be standing on the steps in Canton in a yellow coat and people will be saying, "Pats gotta find a way to get him..."

Here's how Jim Craig compares Bill Belichick's leadership to legendary Herb Brooks

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USA TODAY Sports

Here's how Jim Craig compares Bill Belichick's leadership to legendary Herb Brooks

Motivation is essential to being a great head coach, and few coaches have motivated players with more success than Bill Belichick and Herb Brooks.

Brooks was the United States men's hockey coach at the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, N.Y. He helped lead Team USA to an amazing 4-3 semifinal win over the Soviet Union in one of the greatest upsets in American sports history. The U.S. beat Finland for the gold medal a few days later. 

Belichick has won a record six Super Bowl titles as head coach of the New England Patriots. His first championship came in 2001 when the Patriots upset the heavily favored St. Louis Rams -- aka the "Greatest Show on Turf" -- in Super Bowl XXXVI.

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Boston University star Jim Craig was the starting goalie for Brooks' 1980 Olympic team, and in an appearance Wednesday on WEEI's "Dale & Keefe" show, he explained how Brooks and Belichick are so effective in instilling a strong sense of belief in their players. 

“What both Herb and Bill have very much in common is there's only one winner, and they know that. What they do is they focus and prepare to win, not to compete against a team. That preparation for us was so revolutionary, and Herb drove change. We played 61 games in a little over four months, and we played it against the best in the world. What he did is he put us in positions to fail so that we would know how to prepare to win. As we got closer as teams, the recruiting and how Herb recruited was really great. All the teammates that I played with had won at every level. They knew how to win.

"In the book I always say it's amazing what you can accomplish when nobody has to take credit. What Bill does really well, in my opinion, and what Herb did really well is they don’t take credit for it. It’s their job. They prepare. They become your confidence. In leadership, there’s two types of leaders: There's people who want people to follow them, and there’s people who want people to believe them. Herb and Bill are ones who prepare people so that not only do they believe in what he’s doing or what the coach is doing, but they believe it themselves."

One part that sticks out from Craig's comments is not taking credit. Belichick isn't one to publicly praise himself for a great season, even as he's gripping the Lombardi Trophy after a Super Bowl triumph. 

It's all about the team, doing your job, and trusting your teammate will do his job. It all sounds cliché, but it's impossible to argue with the results from Belichick's and Brooks' legendary careers as coaches.

Awesome NFL video highlights all 36 turnovers forced by Patriots defense in 2019

Awesome NFL video highlights all 36 turnovers forced by Patriots defense in 2019

The New England Patriots defense ranked among the NFL's best in 2019, and a huge reason for this unit's success was its ability to force turnovers.

The Patriots forced the second-most turnovers in the league with 36 during the regular season. They also led the league with 25 interceptions and a plus-21 turnover differential. Veteran cornerback Stephon Gilmore tied for the league lead with six interceptions and was named AP Defensive Player of the Year.

It's safe to say the Patriots defense was aggressive and opportunistic throughout 2019, and it certainly helped overcome some of the team's offensive struggles during the second half of the campaign.

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Check out all of the turnovers forced by New England's defense last season in the video below:

The Patriots' Super Bowl title defense ended surprisingly early with an AFC Wild Card loss to the Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium. The defense played pretty well, holding the Titans to just 13 offensive points. Tom Brady and his offense couldn't generate much of anything versus the Titans defense, though, and the Patriots lost 20-13.

New England's defense could look much different in 2020. The unit has several key players eligible for unrestricted free agency, including safety Devin McCourty, linebackers Jamie Collins and Kyle Van Noy, and defensive tackle Danny Shelton, among others.

Curran: Where things stand for Brady, Pats a month from free agency