Who's the next man up for Patriots as Thuney deals with foot injury?

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Who's the next man up for Patriots as Thuney deals with foot injury?

The left side of the Patriots offensive line is going to have a very different look when OTA workouts kick off later this month. 

According to ESPN's Mike Reiss, left guard Joe Thuney is preparing for upcoming foot surgery that "isn't considered anything that should threaten his availability for the 2018 season," but will keep him off the field during passing camp practices. 

Thuney played all but five snaps last season (1354 total) at left guard alongside left tackle Nate Solder. But when the Patriots take the field in shorts, t-shirts and helmets on May 21 for the start of Phase Three of the offseason program, there will be two new bodies to the left of center David Andrews. 

Even if Thuney isn't expected to miss regular-season action, how the Patriots handle his left guard spot in the short term will be noteworthy.

Bill Belichick and Dante Scarnecchia could, in the interest of getting their five best linemen on the field, use first-round pick Isaiah Wynn at left guard. Wynn figures to be a top option to replace Solder at left tackle, but he played both guard and tackle on the left side while at the University of Georgia. That would leave tackles Trent Brown, LaAdrian Waddle, Cole Croston and Matt Tobin to battle for left tackle work. 

The Patriots could also give Wynn an honest shot at becoming the solution at left tackle -- something we argued they should do soon after Wynn was drafted -- and try Ted Karras (last year's primary backup on the interior), Luke Bowanko (free-agent addition in his fifth year) or Jason King (about three months on the Patriots practice squad last season) at left guard. 

Croston is another interesting option for the Patriots to use on the interior. An undrafted rookie out of Iowa last season, Croston practiced both at guard and tackle in his first year as a pro. He held onto an active roster spot all season despite not seeing any snaps of consequence. The team liked him enough not to expose him to waivers at any point in 2017, and they could envision him taking on a more significant role in his second season.


Even Tom Brady Sr. is in awe of the Patriots' continued success

Even Tom Brady Sr. is in awe of the Patriots' continued success

Tom Brady's own father can't believe what's unfolding in front of his eyes.

The much-anticipated fall of the Patriots dynasty will have to wait at least another year as New England heads to its third straight Super Bowl. The longevity of the Patriots' success has even Tom Brady Sr. flabbergasted and wondering when in the world it will come to an end.

“It’s beyond anything that anybody could ever imagine,” Brady Sr. told Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated. “Because this is something nobody could ever imagine in our wildest dreams. It’s not even something that you think about because it’s so bizarre. And yet, it still keeps happening. And in the middle of this year, coming out of Tennessee, many of us kind of thought that the Patriots were stumbling and bumbling and not destined for greatness.”

Brady Sr. admitted he's surprised his son is still in the league, and it doesn't look like he plans on going anywhere in the foreseeable future.

“I’m shocked that he’s even playing today. But he says he wants three or four or five more years.”

Brady's desire to stick around boils down to his love for his teammates and everything else that comes with his football lifestyle.

“He loves every part of the process to play in a game like this,” Brady Sr. said. “He loves the practice. He loves the camaraderie. He loves the team-building. He loves the offseason. He even loves his diet. He loves taking care of his body. The entire process is something he would partake of until he was 65 or 70 or 75 if he had the ability to do that.”

And as Brady prepares for his ninth Super Bowl appearance -- his fourth in the last five years -- it's tough to blame him for not wanting to hang 'em up for as long as he's able to produce at anything close to this level.

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Petition to hold NFC title game rematch closing in on a half-million signatures

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Petition to hold NFC title game rematch closing in on a half-million signatures

One of the most controversial endings in NFC Championship Game history has sprung one of the NFL's most passionate fanbases into full-sprung action.

An online petition on, started by Mississippi resident Terry Cassreino, calling for a rematch of Sunday's title game on Jan. 27 is nearing a half-million signatures, having collected more than 460,000 as of 9 p.m. Monday night.

"Refs missed a blatant pass interference call against the Los Angeles Rams late in fourth quarter of Jan. 20 NFC Championship game, possibly costing New Orleans Saints a trip to the SuperBowl," Cassreino wrote on the petition, referring to the controversial no-call by Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman on the Saints' Tommylee Lewis -- one that Robey-Coleman himself makes no effort to hide was blatantly a P.I. call.

"Due to refs’ inability to properly officiate at the game, we the undersigned want a re-match against L.A. on Sunday, Jan. 27. It’s the only fair solution to this travesty of epic proportions."

Cassreino, a journalism teacher at St. Joseph Catholic School in Madison, Miss., started the petition last night and shared it on Facebook. The response was immediately overwhelming, to his surprise.

"The way the game ended was so disappointing and so frustrating," Cassreino told the Mississippi Clarion-Ledger. "I was just looking for something to do and I thought I would put together a petition to change that order, not that I expected anything to happen from it."

It's inconceivable that this would happen. But as Mike Florio points out on Pro Football Talk, in theory NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would have the power to do this:

Consider Rule 17, Section 2, Article 1: “The Commissioner has the sole authority to investigate and take appropriate disciplinary and/or corrective measures if any club action, non-participant interference, or calamity occurs in an NFL game which the Commissioner deems so extraordinarily unfair or outside the accepted tactics encountered in professional football that such action has a major effect on the result of the game.”

Even though Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman admits that he opted to wipe out Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis because Robey-Coleman believed he’d been beaten for a touchdown, it’s hard to imagine this being the kind of “extraordinarily unfair” act that would have a major effect on the outcome of the game. Then again, the rule is there for a reason; if ever it would be invoked, wouldn’t now be the time to do it?

And here’s where it gets even juicier. Consider Rule 17, Section 2, Article 3: “The Commissioner’s powers under this Section 2 include . . . the reversal of a game’s result or the rescheduling of a game, either from the beginning or from the point at which the extraordinary act occurred.”

Basically, the Commissioner has the power to turn back time to the spot of the penalty that wasn’t called, put the teams back on the field from that point in the game, give the Saints first and goal at the spot of the foul, put 1:49 on the clock, and let the game proceed, tied at 20, with the Rams having one time out left.


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