Patriots

Patriots should go get Josh Rosen

Patriots should go get Josh Rosen

Consider this: If Josh Rosen had been on the board at 32 last year, would the Patriots have selected him?

Understand, this is a player who went 10th overall. A player who – despite it being common knowledge (even to him) that he vigorously rubs people the wrong way - still was right there with Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold as being the best bet at quarterback.

A player who now – after a season getting pummeled playing behind a porous offensive line for the worst team in the league – is now disposable because the new head coach, Kliff Kingsbury, lusts after Kyler Murray.

We’ve done our due diligence on all the Rosen-to-Patriots rumors ever since it came clear he would be on the block. Their interest has been billed as tepid. At best.

When FOX Sports’ Joel Klatt reported the Patriots were among three teams heavily interested in dealing for Rosen, I chalked that up to somebody in Arizona using the Patriots as a stalking horse.

What better way to spark a market than by making it seem if your team doesn’t jump on Rosen, the best team in the league is going to and won’t your owner be pissed.

It hasn’t worked yet. And ESPN’s Adam Schefter confirmed my initial suspicion this morning on WEEI when he said the Patriots haven’t talked with Arizona about trading for Rosen

It’s a ruse. A stunt. A shell game. A smoke screen, skullduggery, chicanery.

But should it be?

The Patriots aren’t going to be picking in the top 10 anytime soon. And even though they found the best quarterback of all time with the 199th pick in the draft, there’s more evidence that great quarterbacks are found in the first round than the sixth.

The Patriots have spent third-round picks on the likes of Jacoby Brissett, Ryan Mallett and Kevin O’Connell. They weren’t good. They got Jimmy Garoppolo in the second. He gave them six quarters of good and netted them a second-round pick back when they traded him.

In a draft that’s reputed to be stocked with interchangeably decent players from about the 15th to the 60th best player, the Patriots could still send No. 32 to Arizona for Rosen and have five more picks in the next two rounds. If they want to jump up, they have the artillery to do it.

And they can’t be using all 12 picks in this draft anyway, since they drafted 12 last year, only three played in games and no team needs 21 freshmen and redshirt freshmen running around their training camp.

If Rosen is a card-carrying dink, his comportment while being cuckolded by new head coach Kliff Kingsbury has been a terrific act. He’s handled it really well.

“I think Josh has done everything humanly possible to show what type of quarterback he is, what type of competitor he is,” Kingsbury said this week. “I’ve said it all along, I couldn’t be more impressed with his approach. He’s a great player. I mean, he was a top-10 pick for a reason. You see it out there how cerebral he is, how quickly he’s picked up our system.

“I just think there’s a misconception about him,” Kingsbury added. “He’s very confident in himself. He’s very smart, and I think people may mistake that as arrogance at times. But he’s a confident young man, and he asks the right questions. He’s very cerebral, and he works at it. I’ve enjoyed working with him.”

Now, Kingsbury certainly has reason this week to sidle up to the used car that is Rosen and say, “Isn’t she a beauty? Man, we hate to have to give her up but you know how it is…”

But forget about the salesmanship. The Patriots right now have Brady in his never-ending prime, Brian Hoyer (whose diminishing arm strength was clear last preseason) and seventh-rounder Danny Etling. This is their best chance to bring aboard a player talented enough to approximate Tom Brady that doesn’t have something radically wrong with him.

Last offseason, I banged the drum for the team to go after Teddy Bridgewater before he landed with the Jets. They didn’t do it and now Bridgewater is caddying for Drew Brees, providing that Super Bowl aspirant with insurance.

The Patriots have spent their late first-round picks on the likes of Dominique Easley (29th in 2014) and Malcom Brown (32nd in 2015). Last year, it was Sony Michel, a player who’s not destined to have a long career because of knee issues.

Unless there’s some absolute game-changer sitting there at 32 or an occasion for the Patriots to go up and grab said game-changer, I am fully on board with them dealing for Rosen.

For what that’s worth.

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Are Bucs 'automatic' Super Bowl contenders with Tom Brady? Shaq Barrett thinks so

Are Bucs 'automatic' Super Bowl contenders with Tom Brady? Shaq Barrett thinks so

The addition of Tom Brady has Shaquil Barrett feeling like Joe Namath.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker was asked Tuesday on ESPN's "Get Up!" about his expectations for the 2020 season after the greatest quarterback of all time left the New England Patriots to join his team in free agency.

The short answer: They're very high.

"I think (former Bucs quarterback) Jameis (Winston) would have made a big jump, but I think with Brady, it just makes us an automatic contender for a Super Bowl," Barrett said.

"With Jameis, I think we would have been a playoff contender. It would have been still a battle, for sure, and it's still going to be a battle now, but having Tom, I think we're going to be over the edge, and everything on paper looks perfect. We've just got to put the work in."

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There you have it: Pencil the Bucs in for Super Bowl LV, which conveniently will be held at Tampa Bay's Raymond James Stadium. At least Barrett won't have to cancel any travel plans if his bold prediction doesn't come true.

Barrett has reason to be confident: The Bucs have the NFL's fifth-best Super Bowl odds at DraftKings Sportsbook after trading for tight end Rob Gronkowski, who joins an already-loaded offense featuring Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate. Tampa Bay also has a sneaky strong defense that allowed the fewest rushing yards per game in 2019.

The Pro Bowl linebacker may not want to count his chickens before they hatch, though. According to ESPN's Football Power Index, Tampa Bay has just a 4% chance to win Super Bowl LV, while Brady's former team, the Patriots, is right behind at 3%.

Some also believe Brady's Bucs may be overhyped, with one sportsbook executive comparing them to the 2019 Cleveland Browns, who went 6-10 after landing Odell Beckham Jr. and several other stars in the offseason.

Brady has never finished under .500 during a full season as starter, so Tampa Bay should be considered a serious threat. But if it fails to meet expectations, Barrett will be forced to eat crow.

Ever Wonder Series: Why does Bill Belichick cut his sleeves?

Ever Wonder Series: Why does Bill Belichick cut his sleeves?

Bill Belichick isn't one to make fashion statements. But he's also a man of reason.

If you've watched any Patriots game in the last 15 years, you've probably wondered why the surly head coach occasionally stalks New England's sideline in a gray hoodie with cut-off sleeves.

When did Belichick start this bizarre tradition? Does he cut the sleeves off himself? And most importantly, what's his reason for doing so?

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Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran has the answers in the first installment of our "Ever Wonder" series.

As Curran tells it, Belichick was seen uncomfortably fiddling with the sleeves on his gray hoodie during the Patriots' Super Bowl XXXIX win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

The following fall, he walked into the Patriots' equipment room, grabbed a pair of scissors and started cutting.

When asked why he was ruining a perfectly good sweatshirt, Belichick replied:

"My arms are too short."

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A staffer offered to make the sweatshirt differently, but Belichick insisted it was fine. He'd cut the sleeves off himself, creating his own game-day outfit that was "designed to allow one to work as efficiently as possible toward the singular goal of winning."

The chopped-off sleeves also show zero concern toward fashion, which is probably just the way Belichick likes it. As Yahoo Sports' Dan Wetzel reported in 2012, Belichick demonstrated his displeasure toward an NFL mandate that required coaches to wear approved Reebok apparel by choosing "the most unstylish outfit" -- a gray hooded sweatshirt -- and chopping the sleeves off.

"It's comfortable," Belichick said at the time. "I carry my stuff in my pouch."

So, Belichick's decision to cut off his sleeves is part pragmatic and part rebellious. But has it worked?

Patriots.com's Mike Dussault and Pats Propaganda's Bob Yoon have charted Belichick's record in every Patriots game by his clothing choice. And the "Hooded One" actually has a better winning percentage (regular and postseason) when he doesn't use scissors.

Record in games coached in cut-off sleeves: 65-24 (73.0 percent)
Record in games coached short- or long-sleeves: 202-68 (74.8 percent)

Most notably, Belichick has lost three Super Bowls while wearing a hoodie with cutoff sleeves (2007, 2011 and 2018), while every Patriots playoff loss from 2005 to 2012 came when he wore a hoodie with cut-off sleeves.

Belichick wore a short-sleeved jacket during the Patriots' Super Bowl LIII win over the Los Angeles Rams, so it sounds like he got the message.