Patriots

The Patriots should run like hell from Antonio Brown

The Patriots should run like hell from Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown is a one-man gang of disruption and destruction.

Before he allegedly threatened to whack Raiders General Manager Mike Mayock on Thursday, his avalanche of unchecked idiocy only resulted in him getting traded from Pittsburgh to Oakland and getting an additional $31M.

Now that $31M is imperiled since the Raiders are saber-rattling about suspending him and could conceivably cut him since he’s already in default of honoring the deal he signed just a few months ago, according to Pro Football Talk.

That will make it harder for him to pay traffic tickets for going 100 in a 45 (if he bothers to show up in court) or settle lawsuits with elderly gentlemen who he nearly hit with furniture launched from his Florida condo. It won’t make it harder for him to pay his coterie of personal chefs and assistants because apparently paying those people is optional for him.

All the Raiders need to do is cut him. They’ll be out a couple of draft picks and have a headache fighting with the NFLPA in the inevitable litigation but at least Brown won’t harpoon their season the way he did the Steelers season last year.

When and if the Raiders make that move, the universal assumption is that the Patriots will come knocking, add Brown and then score 90 a game with AB, Flash, DT and Jules and nobody will ever wonder about Gronk anymore.

Is that a reach?

Well, Brown taped a phone call with agent Drew Rosenhaus last spring in which Rosenhaus said the Patriots were interested in trading for Brown, so it’s not by any means beyond the realm.

(Also, throw that idiocy in there – taping a phone call with your agent then posting it on a podcast. But Brown had prior surveillance experience having surreptitiously taped the Steelers postgame locker room after a Steelers playoff win in 2016)

It sure didn’t sound like the Patriots interest was a ruse.

Rosenhaus: “The Patriots are in the mix,” said Rosenhaus. “I put Belichick in touch with (Steelers general manager) Kevin Colbert today."

Brown: "How is a decision going to come down? Is it going to come down to what club is willing to give up the most?"

Rosenhaus: "From the Steelers' standpoint, that's what they want. They want the most compensation. I really want you to have a good quarterback ... and a winning environment. New England and Philadelphia, these are two of the last Super Bowl champs. ..."

The Patriots came up again later in the conversation.

Rosenhaus: "The Steelers have been big communicators with me. We've talked a couple times everyday about the teams. They know (playing in a winning environment is) important to us, and that's why they opened it up for the Patriots as well. That's a good development for us. They're now willing to trade you to New England. So, now it's a process of New England stepping up. That's not great business for the Steelers to trade you to the world champs in the same conference."

Here's another part of the convo where the Patriots came up. 

Rosenhaus: "And I think the Steelers are taking it very seriously and trying to get it done. And that's why they're willing to consider even New England. Think about that, think about playing with the greatest quarterback in NFL history, and he's a cool guy."

There are other parts of the conversation that involve the Patriots as well. Rosenhaus expressed confidence in being able to get a contract done with the Patriots if it came to that point, saying "I don’t think we’ll have any problem getting a deal done with these guys."

It’s important to point out here that the Patriots won’t be trading for Brown. His contract would travel with him and – unless I’m missing my mark – New England won’t be paying Mr. Big Chest $14.65M in salary this year or any year.

But if Brown does get lopped by Oakland, would the Patriots still have any interest?

Clearly, he’s really good at football when he hasn’t frozen off the first couple layers of skin on his feet as he did this summer in Paris.

But is that enough to invite this Demolition Man into their locker room and put him next to the troubled Josh Gordon and rookie N’Keal Harry and hope he’s not a horrific influence on them if/when he shows up on time and is in meetings?

Is being good at football enough reason to import a guy who – whether it’s driving like an asshole or launching furniture from height – shows he doesn’t care too much about what may happen to other people when he’s in a snit?

I’m old enough to remember the summer of 2013 when the Patriots were rending their garments about what Aaron Hernandez wrought and how they’d been duped. Now here’s a guy all but wearing a sandwich board that says, “NOT A GOOD GUY TO HAVE AROUND” and the Patriots are just a few months from considering hiring him?

Maybe that was just Rosenhaus puffing for Brown. Maybe it was just Belichick gaining intel on the landscape.

I remember a conversation I had with former Patriots GM Scott Pioli after the Patriots signed Corey Dillon. Why did the Patriots overlook his litany of bad behavior with the Bengals?

Because Dillon – like Randy Moss after him – acted out mostly when the football was going badly. Their dustups were mostly related to things they said or did after something didn’t go right for them on the field. Not enough touches. Not enough wins. Not enough playing time. The off-field stuff was sophomoric, not sinister.

If the football was done right, maybe those talented but combustible players would behave more predictably. And both did. For a while.

Maybe Brown would too.

Even though he’s a narcissistic, self-absorbed conflict creator.

Even though his behavior has been excused and/or rewarded so often he is stunned to find that Mayock and the Raiders are telling him, “No.”

Even though his recipe for conflict resolution is to throw a tantrum and – gasp – unfollow offending parties on social media.

Maybe he’d pocket the idiocy just long enough in an effort to prove people wrong and the Patriots could profit from his bout of temporary adult behavior.

But the better bet is that AB would go on being AB.

And the smartest move for the Patriots is to run like hell from any suggestion Brown should be rewarded with an opportunity to play for them.

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Here's why a lot of Patriots recent draft picks have Senior Bowl experience

Here's why a lot of Patriots recent draft picks have Senior Bowl experience

Bill Belichick was there. Josh McDaniels was there. The Patriots had a large contingent down in Mobile, Ala. for this week's Senior Bowl practices (the game will air Saturday on NFL Network at 2:30 p.m.), which should come as no surprise.

Just look at how the Patriots have drafted of late. 

In 2019, they selected Jarrett Stidham, Byron Cowart and Jake Bailey -- all of whom participated in the Senior Bowl. They also signed undrafted rookie Jakobi Meyers, who played in the game. 

In 2018, they grabbed Isaiah Wynn in the first round, Duke Dawson, Ja'Whaun Bentley and Braxton Berrios after they'd competed in the Senior Bowl.

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Three of their four draft picks from 2017, plus two undrafted rookies, were in the Senior Bowl. 

From 2013-16, they brought aboard 20 Senior Bowl participants as rookies.

"The great thing about the Senior Bowl is that you're seeing some of the best players," Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio said last spring. 

"There have actually been some underclassmen who have been incorporated into that mix. So you're seeing them against good competition and it's a different dynamic or different situation that they've been placed in. You're kind of taking them out of their environment that they've been in and kind of giving them something new and seeing how they handle it against good people."

The small-school players -- or the players who are asked to do something they didn't do much as collegians -- are the ones who have an opportunity to really land on radars during Senior Bowl work. For the Patriots, who constantly harp on the benefit of having seen players work against great competition on a regular basis when they hail from an SEC program, seeing some of the best in the country work against one another matters.

"It’s one thing if they do it against a lower-level team," Caserio said back in 2016, when asked about the Senior Bowl. "I mean, look, not all teams are created equal. Not all conferences are created equal. That’s just a fact. We can’t control that. So when you can see them actually play against really good players or good players that are at a comparable level of competition that they’re going to see every Sunday, that has to be a part of [the evaluation], no question."

The next year, the Patriots took two Senior Bowlers from smaller programs: Youngstown State's Derek Rivers and Troy's Antonio Garcia. 

"Where [the Senior Bowl] probably helps a little bit is players on a lower level that maybe haven’t competed against the same level of competition," Caserio said back in 2017. "Obviously, they’re making a big jump. . . Garcia was down there. That’s going to be a big jump in competition because this is what they’re going to be playing against. 

"With all due respect to whatever conference Youngstown State is in, there’s not a lot of NFL players in that conference. I mean, that’s just the way that it is. You’re going to have to see him against NFL competition, which the Senior Bowl is usually a pretty good indication of that because you’re talking about the top seniors in the country. It’s a part of the process. You’re not making a decision based off of that, but maybe a player who doesn’t have as much experience against that level, you’re going to see how he fares, and then you just kind of continue to move forward."

Some small-school prospects who may have caught Belichick's eye this week? 

Dayton tight end Adam Trautman was already considered one of the better tight ends in the draft class and seemed to only help his stock.

Safety Kyle Dugger -- who hails from Division II Lenoir-Rhyne University -- impressed. Ditto for Division III offensive lineman Ben Bartch out of Saint John's, who saw rushers from Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, Ole Miss and other high-end programs and reportedly held his own.

Perhaps the most recent success story out of Senior Bowl week for the Patriots wasn't with a small-school prospect, though. It might've been with Shaq Mason, a guard coming out of a run-heavy system at Georgia Tech. The Patriots simply hadn't seen him do much in the way of pass protection for the Yellow Jackets.

But Mason got to the Senior Bowl, took to the coaching he received, and the Patriots took notice. 

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"The thing I’ll say about Shaq," Belichick said after drafting Mason in 2015, "is just watching him at the Senior Bowl, I mean it was only one week, but he made a huge improvement just in those, whatever it was, four or five practices, whatever it was down there. His stance is different. You could see each day progressively how he was taking to the coaching down there and his footwork and his hand placement and his body position. I know it was basic. It wasn’t like it was a big scheme thing at the Senior Bowl, but just doing things on a daily basis better than the day before, looking more comfortable doing them. And it was different than what they did at Georgia Tech."

Big school. Small school. Everyone had something to gain in Mobile this week. And that includes the Patriots. That's why -- with more time off this year than recent years -- they were well represented down there.


 

NFL Rumors: Patriots hiring ex-Rams assistant offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch

NFL Rumors: Patriots hiring ex-Rams assistant offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch

The New England Patriots reportedly have made an addition to their coaching staff.

According to Jim McBride of The Boston Globe, they've hired ex-Los Angeles Rams assistant offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch.

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Fisch's official role with the Patriots offense is to be determined. But now that there's an opening at wide receivers coach with Joe Judge joining the New York Giants, Fisch could be a candidate for the job.

He brings plenty of experience to the table having coached Denver Broncos wide receivers in 2008 and Michigan receivers from 2015-16. Fisch also coached Seattle Seahawks quarterbacks in 2010 and was the Jacksonville Jaguars' offensive coordinator from 2013-14.