Patriots

Eagles' Lane Johnson is at it again on the Patriots

Eagles' Lane Johnson is at it again on the Patriots

Eagles offensive lineman Lane Johnson, who caused a stir last week by calling the Patriots a "fear-based organization," was back doubling down on his comments on another Barstool Sports' "Pardon My Take podcast.

Johnson's comments come at the 59-minute mark of the hour-plus-long podcast. 

"I think a lot of guys just wanna be happy playing football...," Johnson said. "The Patriots, they obviously won five Super Bowls. So it's the Patriot Way to win the Super Bowl. Does that mean that everybody has to act the same way, do the same thing? Is that necessarily the guidelines to win the Super Bowl?"

After Johnson's first PMT podcast appearance a week ago, in which he wondered how much fun the Patriots had in winning their five Super Bowls, he drew responses from ex-Pats linebacker Tedy Bruschi and current Pats linebacker Marquis Flowers, who each fired back about the Eagles tackle's criticism.  

This time, Johnson told the podcast that obviously an ex-Patriots and current Patriots aren't going to be critical of the organization. 

"Well they kept interviewing ex-Patriots players, what do you think they're gonna say? 'I hated it there? No, I won Super Bowls. We had a great time.' They're not gonna bad-mouth their coach," Johnson said. "They're not gonna say what they really want to say. Do you think that's gonna happen? Hell no, it's not gonna happen."

Johnson said he's gotten plenty of hate mail from New England fans, but said he hasn't read it.

"And I just pissed in everybody's Cheerios and everybody in Boston," Johnson said. "Hey, I got hate mail I still haven't read. I'm looking forward to reading it."

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Antonio Brown rumors: Patriots still in Steelers' "no-trade zone"

Antonio Brown rumors: Patriots still in Steelers' "no-trade zone"

The Pittsburgh Steelers reportedly are doing everything they can to avoid an Antonio Brown revenge game.

The Steelers would prefer to trade their All-Pro wide receiver to an NFC team for "competitive reasons," ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported Friday.

But if Pittsburgh has to deal with an AFC team, it certainly won't be the Patriots -- New England and the other three AFC North teams are "no-trade zones" for Brown, Fowler reported.

The MMQB's Albert Breer and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gerry Dulac also reported the Steelers have no interest in dealing Brown, who officially requested a trade following a Tuesday meeting with ownership, to their top AFC nemesis in New England.

Pittsburgh general manager Kevin Colbert even suggested as much publicly, albeit in less definitive terms.

"I mean, when you're trading away a player like this who could determine your own record and your own Super Bowl potential, of course you want to not trade him to teams that might be a factor," Colbert said Wednesday, via ESPN.

"But if those teams step up and say, 'Look, we'll give you the best picks or the best players,' then we have to make that judgment. OK, yeah, they're a competitor, but what they're giving us far exceeds what these other folks are willing to do. So will we be selective? It depends on what the compensation is."

The Patriots have beaten Pittsburgh in five of their last six meetings, so it'd be a shock if Colbert agreed to give Tom Brady one of the best offensive weapons in the NFL.

As such, New England also would prefer Brown get dealt out of harm's way to the NFC instead of a potential AFC contender like the Indianapolis Colts.

But if Patriots fans need a big-name receiver to dream about this offseason, we'd suggest Odell Beckham Jr., because Brown almost certainly isn't heading to New England.

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Zac Robinson the third former Patriots QB to earn NFL coaching job

Zac Robinson the third former Patriots QB to earn NFL coaching job

The Bill Belichick coaching tree is still one of the biggest in pro football. However, another underrated tree is growing in New England, and that stems from the quarterbacks that have backed up Tom Brady.

Brady, long one of the NFL's best, has had plenty of QBs play behind him in his career. Recently, a few of these former depth players have landed notable coaching jobs. Zac Robinson's hiring by the Rams marked the third former Pats QB draft pick that got a significant NFL promotion, as Pro Football Weekly's Eric Edholm points out.

Robinson was a former seventh-round pick by the Patriots in 2010. He didn't end up making the team, but he hung around the NFL as a practice-squad guy on the Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions, and Cincinnati Bengals for a few seasons.

Kevin O'Connell was a third-round pick by the Patriots in 2008. He spent just a single season on the team and had brief stints with four other NFL teams. O'Connell was promoted by the Washington Redskins and will serve as their offensive coordinator. 

Kliff Kingsbury also spent a single season on the Patriots after being a sixth-round pick in 2003. He has been in coaching since 2008 and recently took over as the Arizona Cardinals' head coach.

It's unlikely all of this is just coincidence. The Patriots may have specifically been targeting  QBs with bright offensive minds and good leadership skills. Or, the teams hiring these former players could have been intrigued by their experience in New England's successful system. Either way, it's interesting to see three former Patriots- and Brady-connected QBs get promoted to significant positions in one offseason.

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