The New England Patriots are on Lane Johnson's brain. He can't stop talking about them. And he doesn't have nice things to say.
"Here's what pissed me off," Johnson told ESPN Tuesday. "The Patriots, obviously, I respect their coach, I respect Bill [Belichick], I respect Tom Brady, but just because the way that they won the Super Bowls, the Patriot Way, is that how everybody else is supposed to do the same thing? No, it's not. And that's what I got mad at, the arrogance by them.
"There was obviously some stuff behind closed doors. Their owner talking s--- to our owner. Bill talking s--- to our head coach [Doug Pederson] before the game. I'm not going to say it, but a lot of s--- kind built up to that, and I just got tired of hearing about it, man, to be honest."
Johnson has been on an anti-Patriots tear since the Philadelphia Eagles beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII. He first spoke out against Bill Belichick's methodology on Barstool's podcast, "Pardon My Take." Johnson called New England a "fear-based organization" on Feb. 9. He wasn't done. After Patriots players -- like NBC Sports Boston's Jerod Mayo -- defended Belichick, Johnson refused to believe players actually want to play for Belichick.
“They kept interviewing ex-Patriots players,” he said on “Pardon My Take” on Feb 16. “What do you think they’re going to say? ‘I [expletive] hated it there’? No. ‘I won Super Bowls. We had a great time.’ They’re not going to bad mouth their coach. They’re not going to say what they really want to say. Do you think that’s going to happen? Hell no, it’s not going to happen.”
Danny Amendola, a newly-minted Miami Dolphin, opened up about Bill Belichick's decision to bench Malcolm Butler in Super Bowl LII.
In an exclusive interview with ESPN's Mike Reiss, Amendola weighed in on the puzzling situation.
"I have my thoughts about it because I was out there putting my blood, sweat and tears out on the field that night, and one of our best players wasn't on the field," Amendola told ESPN. "To tell you the truth, I don't know why. I did ask, but I didn't get any answers. I can't make decisions like that, so I don't necessarily worry about it, but I know Malcolm is a great player and he could have helped us win. For whatever reason, he wasn't out there. He's going to play more football in his career, and he's going to be a great player for a long time."
Butler spent the entire season as the team's No. 1 or No. 2 cornerback, and logged 97 percent of New England's defensive snaps. But he didn't get a single defensive snap in Super Bowl LII, and got just one snap on special teams. The reason for the benching was a football decision, according to Belichick and Butler.
In a game where the winner was determined on the final possession, it's fair to wonder whether Butler might have changed the outcome of the game. Butler seemed to think he could have. Amendola was asked if he sensed Butler's benching hurt his Patriots teammates.
"Yeah, I did, honestly," Amendola told ESPN. "Nobody really got an explanation for it. He's a brother of ours. He was a brother of ours that year. And I hate to see a guy who worked so hard throughout the season not get a chance to play in the biggest game of the year and really get no explanation for it. With that said, I don't know how the business aspect went into that decision. I don't know how the personal aspect went into that decision between him and Bill. But as a friend, I would have loved to see him on the field that day."
The NFL has revealed its preseason schedule for all 32 teams and while it may cheer up football fans, it includes a painful reminder for the Patriots with a Super Bowl rematch against the Philadelphia Eagles scheduled for Gillette Stadium.
The Eagles, who for the first time can call themselves defending Super Bowl champs after they beat the Pats 41-33 in SB 52 in February in Minnesota, will travel to New England in Week 2 (Aug. 16-20) of the preseason (specific dates and times will be released later this offseason).
The Patriots face the Redskins in Foxboro in Week 1 (Aug. 9-13), in Week 3 (Aug. 23-26), they travel to Carolina and they finish with their traditional Week 4 (Aug. 30-31) matchup with the New York Giants, this one on the road at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
Last year, the NFL announced its regular season schedule on April 20, a week before the draft. The league is likely to follow the same plan this year, so, with the draft on April 26, look for the regular-season schedule release late next week.